29 April 2016

One Good Game

As a blitz addict, I find innumerable motives for wasting endless hours in futile chess play. Sometimes I can rationalize my binges with a few instructive positions that I may show my students. Indeed, a young student whom I've been coaching the past year started individual lessons yesterday, and among our concerns in the lesson was cultivating his understanding of pawn majorities and king position in the endgame. We looked at this position played in the wee hours of the morning in online blitz.

White to move

This morning, I started played some blitz on a site where I seem to care about rating. Losing the first game to an underrated "cheat"* meant that I could not stop after one game. My second game was a positional and tactical crush of a slightly higher rated player, but I gained less than the first game had taken from me. My opponent was down three pieces for three pawns at move 34 but did not resign until one move from checkmate thirty moves later.

Then, I lost again. Then, another game where my opponent squandered a three pawn advantage in a rook ending to reach a theoretically drawn position that I lost on time. My fifth game was a twelve move win against the same opponent.

Then, I won another miniature with a classic checkmate sequence.

Black to move
After 17.Bh6??
I made my move and spoke aloud, "take my rook." Doing so, of course, is suicidal. My opponent took the rook and fell to a checkmate in three.

I was able to stop the binge after this game.

*Suspicions of cheating dwarf actual instances of unfair play. In the blitz addict's mind, every untitled player who beats him must therefore be cheating in some manner. Such irrational thinking sometimes renders a game that should be entertaining and even beneficial something only slightly less damaging to healthy existence than substance abuse. Happily, these suspicions are held with a sense of irony. I use the term with full knowledge that it is rooted in paranoid fantasies concerning the extent of my own skill and therefore the extraordinary means that must be taken to defeat me. On the other hand, having analyzed with the computer many thousands of blitz games, I realize that my own pitiful play is the sole cause of most losses and indeed mars even most of my best wins.


  1. In the last diagram, I think White can hold on longer with 17...Qh4 18.Bf4 Bxf4 19.g3, which seems to only lose a pawn.

  2. James, there's not much cheating in G/2 +1i, I think. You play G/3, if I remember correctly, so why not play the former, "bullet" control?

    Great positions. Thanks.

  3. I do play a lot of 2 1. Way too much. I've stopped playing bullet on chess.com after 10,000 wins, but there are other sites.