29 May 2013

Improving through Blitz

I am a blitz addict in recovery. In recent months, I have played as many as 115 games of blitz chess in a single day. I play mostly three minute and five minute with no increment. These blitz marathons produce plenty of slop, but these days are punctuated by days when I play half a dozen or fewer games. Last Wednesday, I played 44 games, winning exactly half. On Thursday, my frenetic pace slowed to nine games for the day.

I have played two online blitz games since last Thursday. When the number of my games drops, my post-game analysis improves. When ten minutes of play is followed by fifteen minutes of analysis, blitz is no longer a drug. It becomes a tool for improving my chess skills.

Yesterday, after eating lunch in my usual coffeehouse, I used their Wi-Fi connection to play a five minute game on the Chess.com iPad app. I tried a new idea against the Sicilian. My opponent missed the refutation and quickly found himself in a hopeless position. After one more weak move, he resigned.

Stripes, J (1779) - Internet Opponent (1862) [B41]
Live Chess Chess.com, 28.05.2013

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.Be3

The fifth most popular move scores poorly. 5.Nc3 is my usual move and is most popular.

5...Nf6 6.Nd2

I decided to try this unusual approach. According to my database, Attila Groszpeter is the strongest player who has employed it, seemingly only in three games against Gyula Sax--all drawn.

Black to move

6...Qc7 7.Bd3

7.Qf3 d5 8.0–0–0 Nbd7 (8...Nc6 9.exd5 Nxd5 10.Nxc6 Qxc6 11.Nc4 Bc5 12.Bd3 Bxe3+ 13.Nxe3 Nb4 14.Be4 Nxa2+ 15.Kb1 Qa4 16.c3 Nxc3+ 17.bxc3 Qb3+ 18.Kc1 Qxc3+ 19.Nc2 Qxf3 20.Bxf3 Ke7 21.Na3 Ra7 22.Nc4 b5 23.Na5 Rc7+ 24.Kb2 Bd7 25.Ra1 Rhc8 ½–½ Groszpeter,A (2554) -- Sax,G (2506) Nyiregyhaza 2008


7...d5 8.f4 dxe4 9.Nxe4 Nd5 10.Qf3 Nxe3 11.Qxe3 Nc6 12.Nxc6 Qxc6 13.0–0–0 Bd7 14.Rhe1 h6 15.g4 0–0–0 16.g5 Be7 17.h4 Qa4 18.Kb1 Bc6 19.g6 Bxh4 20.gxf7 Bxe1 21.Nc5 Qd4 22.Rxe1 Qxe3 23.Rxe3 Rhf8 24.Nxe6 Rxf7 25.Nxd8 Kxd8 26.Rg3 Ke7 27.Kc1 Kf8 28.Rg4 Bf3 29.Rh4 Rf6 30.Kd2 g5 31.fxg5 hxg5 32.Rh8+ Ke7 33.Ke3 g4 34.Rg8 Kf7 35.Rg5 Rh6 36.Kf4 Rh2 37.b4 Ke7 38.Ke5 Kd7 39.Rg7+ Kc6 40.a4 Rh5+ 41.Kf4 Rd5 ½–½ Teske,H (2538) -- Drabke,L (2433) Germany 2004


8.0–0 Bb7 9.Qe2 Nc6 10.Nxc6 Bxc6 11.f4 Be7 12.Rae1 d6 13.Kh1 0–0 14.Qf3 d5 15.e5 Nd7 16.Qh3 g6 17.Nf3 b4 18.Nd4 Nc5 19.Rf3 Rfe8 20.f5 exf5 21.Nxf5 Bf8 22.Bxc5 1–0 Mamedov,R (2494) -- Negi,P (2167) Dubai 2004


8...Bb7 9.0–0 d6 10.Rc1 Nbd7 11.c4 b4 12.Qa4 Ng4 13.Bf2 g6 14.f5 Bh6 15.fxe6 Bxd2 16.Qxd7+ Qxd7 17.exd7+ Ke7 18.Rcd1 Be3 19.Nc2 Bxf2+ 20.Rxf2 Nxf2 21.Kxf2 a5 22.Ne3 Kxd7 23.e5 dxe5 24.Bxg6+ Kc7 25.Bf5 Rad8 26.Nd5+ Bxd5 27.cxd5 h5 28.g3 Kd6 29.Ke3 Rb8 30.Ke4 Rb5 31.Bh3 Rc5 32.Rf1 Rc4+ 33.Kd3 Rd4+ 34.Ke3 Rf8 35.Be6 Ke7 36.Bh3 Rxd5 37.Rf5 Rh8 38.Ke4 Rc5 39.Rf2 Rd8 40.Kf5 Rd4 41.Kg5 e4+ 42.Kf4 f6 43.Bf5 Re5 0–1 Laato,S (2035) -- Luukkonen,T (2287) Naantali 2008

White to move






This move seems to be my most significant error. 10.Nd2, 10.O-O, or 10.a4 all would have been better.


After 10...Ng4 11.Qd2 dxe5 12.Nxe5 Nxe5 13.fxe5 Nd7 Black has a clear advantage.

11.Qe2 Nxe3 12.Qxe3= dxe5

White to move


Better would have been 13.Nxe5

13...Bc5 14.Qg5?! 0–0 15.0–0–0 Nc6??

15...Bxd4 16.Nxd4 Nd7 with a slight advantage for Black
15...h6 16.Qg4 with a slight advantage for Black

White to move

The so-called Greek Gift is not difficult to find, even in blitz. From this point on, I had a decisive advantage, although I missed the strongest continuation in two instances.

16.Bxh7++- Kxh7

16...Kh8 17.Qh5 Rfe8 18.Bg6+ Kg8 19.Qh7+ Kf8 20.Qh8+ Ke7 21.Qxg7+-

17.Qh5+ Kg8 18.Ng5 Rfd8 19.Qh7+ Kf8

White to move


Stronger is 20.Ngxe6++-

20...Ke7 21.Qxg7

The only move that maintains the advantage.

21...Nxe5 22.Ndxe6

More convincing would have been 22.Rhf1 Bxd4 23.Rxf7+ Nxf7 24.Qxf7+ Kd6 25.Rxd4+ Kc6 26.Qxc7+ Kxc7 27.Nxe6++-


After the game, I spent some time looking at 22...Rxd1+ 23.Rxd1 Be3+ 24.Kb1 Qb8 25.Rd8 Qxd8 26.Nxd8 Kxd8 27.Nxf7+ Nxf7 28.Qf8+ Kc7 29.Qxf7++- trying to find better options for Black. I needed to go back to his move 15 to find where the game had been decided.


Going through blitz games in this manner, and going through the reference games that I have embedded in the annotations, cannot fail to improve my performance.

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