Please Chess World: Speed up the Time Control!!!

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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)
  3. 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.

8 thoughts on “Please Chess World: Speed up the Time Control!!!

  1. I think you’re missing a point: blitz games is good fun but is far away from good chess. Ok, best players in standard play can be the best players in blitz games, but the deep understanding of chess, the fantastic analysis of the most illustrative games are a demostration of how rich is our game. Do you want to trade deep analysis for more people viewing blitz games, annoying blunders and crazy zeitnot?

    Blitz games maybe are spectacular to the view of the spectators and maybe they can give more dollars to chess, but why everything has to be under the dollar sign? What about the spectacular combinations of all times? what about the subtle analysis of amazing games, for instance, Kasparov — Topalov, Wijk aan Zee 1999? What about the last game between Carlsen and Kramnik, with this great idea of Ne2, Ng3 and Nf5? Are you going to admire chess players because they are just fast as bullets? I think the great chess, the real chess, is the standard, the classic chess, in which chess players can just evaluate deeply chess positions.

    With your point of view, maybe a good idea could be to put some sort of computer robot to play fast blitz games. Machines can play great bullet chess for sure. But this is shallow, just for fun.

    Finally, maybe Kasparov was the good catalyzer for this blitz event. Maybe a blitz between the best four players of the USA championship would not have all these people interested in the blitz tournament. Kasparov is a star even with 53 years and retired. Is a chess star. Maybe is part of this success.

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    • This is the worst comment ever and you basically show why it’s so dumb with “Blitz games maybe are spectacular to the view of the spectators and maybe they can give more dollars to chess, but why everything has to be under the dollar sign?”. More money and entertaining broadcasts brings in more publicity and grows the game. Having the same dumb 5-6 hour games solely promoted will keep chess from ever growing.

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  2. Blitz is fun to watch but for Kasparov to blunder 3 knights all in one move is hard to bear. Greg likes blitz because its a great equalizer, yes best players are still best but in Blitz a master as weak as Greg can beat a strong GM and brag about it all over Facebook in real chess however Greg probably doesnt even get to sniff the tournament where the great players play. Blitz is about instant gratification which has become the fabric of American society today, we want everything quickly and easily and long chess is about hard, painstaking work!

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  3. If you think Greg is weak then you’re ignorant. I agree that average people dont want to see long games but I would prefer a reasonably long time control to think. I like to play fast chess but I dont want chess to turn into that.

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  4. IM Shahade is absolutely correct that showcasing blitz is the key to increasing the popularity of chess. Now I don’t know if increasing the popularity of chess is really the best course of action, because I’m unsure how important it is for the game to become more popular. But I have no doubt Shahade is right about this cause-effect relationship.
    It seems to me that one of the main reasons we get such great moves from these great players is that they have played so much slow chess. I suppose that much of what is learned in these slow games involves stifling, tactic-killing, equal-endgame-producing “best play.” An increased emphasis on blitz would probably result in a decrease of those kinds of chess skills, so it seems that it’s a matter of the relative value placed on entertainment as compared to purity.

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  5. Guys, did you actually watch this?
    To me this was hands down the most intertaining three hours of Chess I have ever seen. My wife started watching it with me, because the drama was just that good (she knows the moves, that’s about it) and she actually enjoyed it.
    Yes, the fact that Garry was playing certainly added to the show, but hopefully this will be a catalyst for a tournement organiser to take take this idea forward. Like how cricket has adapted from Tests to include 20/20, I think there is room in the world to have this idea become more regular.
    I would pay to watch this.

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  6. It’s just a novelty guys, it was popular because of one person and one person only – Garry Kasparov.

    Everybody wanted to watch Kasparov, they are curious if Kasparov still has it. And we all found out, that yes, Kasparov is still force to reckon with.

    Guys, you don’t need another World Speed Championships, because we already have a n existing World Rapid and World Blitz Championship. It’s been going on for a year or two. just google it.

    If it’s only Nakamura, So, Caruana and Kamsky, I doubt if this would be as popular as it was yesterday. Kasparov will not play every month even if he is invited to play in Blitz tournaments.

    But one thing is clear, If Garry at the age of 53, can slaughter these young turks, how much more if he was at the peak of his game (when he was young).

    I shudder to think what would happen to this young elites if they met Kasparov in his prime.

    The old lion can still bite as hard as he can roar!

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  7. The one thing that really bummed me out about the commentary was the reliance on engines. I realize that it’s part of the Seirawan/Shahade/Ashley setup they use for all these St. Louis events, and maybe most other people love it, but I really hate it when an experienced GM like Seirawan starts giving really interesting human reactions only to be told “Actually, the engine prefers move B, and says that White is up by 1.5”. It sucks all the excitement out of the event for me. Everyone can see computer evaluations on chess24 or chessbomb or what have you if they want. I’d rather see a GM like Ashley give his actual thoughts than be reduced to a computer jockey.

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