I am in the middle of watching the Ultimate Blitz Showdown in St. Louis, with Garry Kasparov, Hikaru Nakamura, Fabiano Caruana and Wesley So.
It is BY FAR the most entertaining and interesting chess event I have seen in my life.
I watched 11 rounds of the U.S. Championship coverage, and there was a good amount of commentary and people watching.
In this one blitz tournament, there has to be at least 5 times as much commentary in the chat box on chess24. People are going absolutely bonkers over this event.
The world needs to wake up and understand the extremely simple truth “People love blitz chess and it’s more exciting than regular chess”.
What are the reasons why this is true:
- It’s much more fun to watch. It’s so fun that I actually clapped out loud on numerous occasions during the show. I just couldn’t help myself when Kasparov would find some unbelievably strong move with just a minute left on his clock.
- The results stay very consistent in blitz and slow time control games. (the best player will usually be the best in this and in slow games)
- Blunders happen, and the players have very little time to process them so you see a lot of emotion. Right now, as I’m writing this, Kasparov has just achieved a winning position against Caruana and is rocking back and forth in his chair in satisfaction. Kasparov eventually didn’t get the win after one of the most intense time scrambles I’ve ever seen. After the game he sat back in his chair, staring at the ceiling for a good 15 seconds. It was simply incredible to watch and this was just one of 36 games!
4. It’s much less unnecessarily grueling. In fact I don’t think that Kasparov would have ever retired if this was the standard.
5. You can have a tournament with a huge number of games. For instance with two rivals, you can easily have a 50-100 game match. With four players you can easily have a tournament that includes 50-100 or so games. In St. Louis they are doing 18 rounds over 2 days. You could easily make that 54 over 3 days, and the playing schedule is not so grueling at all, despite the ability to play such a large quantity of games. For a ten player super tournament, you could simply have one round robin every day for 5-9 days. This would be somewhere between 45-81 total games played. It would be simply incredible.
6. You get to see the incredible intuition that the best players have. It is absolutely incredible to me at the natural attacking and dynamic feel that Garry Kasparov has. The moves he’s finding in such a fast game are simply out of this world. (Although he needs to manage the clock a little bit better)
7. A lot of credit has to go to the commentary team. Their enthusiasm and the production team in St. Louis is doing a lot to add to the excitement of this incredible event.
Do we have to get rid of standard chess? No of course not. But blitz chess, and especially this time control of 5 minutes with a 3 second delay, needs to be more popular. In fact there need to be attempts to make it as popular as classical chess. This is real chess. The best players win. They play interesting and powerful ideas with just seconds on the clock. There’s raw emotion. When Kasparov loses a game he goes into the hallway and gesticulates wildly. It’s not like watching paint dry for a casual non chess player.
How do we make it popular? We simply have to make it important. How do you make it important? You need someone who has money and has a vision to put up serious prize money for a series of speed tournaments, and also a Speed Chess World Championship Match.
I would do anything to help this be considered “real chess”. Because it is real chess, and anyone who says it isn’t because every move isn’t perfect and occasionally there’s a blunder, is doing their best to stop the progress and popularity of the game. I could watch this all day.