It’s that time of year again – Blitz! I’ve (Tony Scannell) been playing a fair amount of it lately, on playchess.com. I am sure it has destroyed my long-time-control chess, but it certainly is fun.
I thought I’d show some neat tricks from a couple of my recent games. These were all 5-minute games played against opponents around 1600-1700 range. Killian, of course, beats GMs at 3-minute chess. I’m staggered at watching players bash out moves during those games and I find the pace just too much. Five minutes allows – I feel – a little amount of calculation at least.
Black to play and win.
I am playing black. White has just played the blunder 22. Bf4. I played the instinctive 22 … Rxf4! without a second’s thought. And after 23. gxf4 Ne3+ 24. Kh3 Qg4#
The next game shows the value of quick development (I’m playing black again).
In the position above, white is terribly under-developed. But there don’t seem to be any clear ways through his defences and material is level.
After 17… Ne2+ 18. Kh1 Rd3 19. Re1 it still looks superficially level.
This is a move I spent over a minute calculating, which is quite an investment in blitz.
19… Rxf3!! I guess it is easy once you see it. 20. d3 (Of course, 20. gxf3 Bxg3#) Rf2 21. Be3 Rxg2? (Bxg2 is mate straight away!) 22. d4 Rg1#
In the next game, I am playing white and looking completely busted. After all, black is about to win at least an exchange and he looks comfortable enough. His king seems surrounded by pieces and pawns. But it is an illusion.
Here, I played 20. Qf2 which must have looked like capitulation to my opponent. I’m not even trying to win back the knight.
But after 20… Nxa1 21. Bxb7+ Kxb7 22. Qf3+ Suddenly white is closing in on the black king! 22… c6 (d5 is slightly better but is still losing).
23. bxc6+ Kc7 24. Na6+ Kc8 25. cxd7+ Rxd7 26. Qc6+ Rc7 27. Qxc7#
Even in that relatively short sequence, I missed many quicker alternatives. What about the amazing 23. Qxc6+!! which mates in 2. Or the relatively easy to find (but missed) 26. Qa8#? Even a winning combination can be far from optimal.