Look up on chess.com, chess24.com or lichess.org and you will see that most titled players are playing blitz games. Chess blitz and bullet games are quick and fun, and if you want to improve your chess impulses, chess blitz and bullet games are an absolute must!
In fact, if you look through these forums, I would go as far as to say that 80 percent of high-level games are shorter than rapid games―that is, blitz and bullet games.
But, to think that you are good at standard chess and thus, you will be able to score high in blitz and bullet games as well is a complete fallacy. They are a different beast altogether.
Following are a few tips for you to master these quick form of chess and come out on top always.
Chess Blitz & Bullet Tip #1. Shocking your opponent
In any chess game, time is of the essence, no doubt, but in a blitz or a bullet game, it is of paramount importance. If you have to sacrifice a piece to put the opponent’s king in check or play a subpar move that shocks your opponent, so be it.
When your opponent is in time trouble, one of your primary goals is to delay him as much as possible. Such little tricks, even though they might be inaccurate, will add to his time pressue.
Chess Blitz & Bullet Tip #2. Utilize pre-moves
In most of the chess-playing platforms, pre-moves are 0.1 seconds only. Talk about saving time, right?
You can use pre-moves amply for recaptures and in some cases, for strategic moves as well.
Having said that, it must be understood that for amateurs, pre-moves can turn out to be disastrous if not done correctly.
I have seen many rookie players try to play fast only to fall into traps they cannot recover from. Whether it is a chess blitz or a bullet game, even though time is the deciding factor most of the time, you cannot sustain good performance unless you “know” chess.
Chess Blitz & Bullet Tip #3. Play to your strength
The best way to win in a chess bullet or a blitz game is to steer the game toward familiar waters. You do not want to think much during the game.
What you rather want to do is, control the game and gradually play it from a position based on your strengths. If you are a more well-versed in the Tartakower variation in the Indian game, why not choose that opening instead? Why would you rather play the Benoni where you would have to analyze for 30 minutes during the first 10 moves only?
That also applies to whether you are a tactical or a positional player. Tactical players look for dynamic opportunities and positional players utilize static imbalances to suck the life out of their opponent’s play.
It probably originates in the mindset of the player himself―is he always looking for a combination or is his focus more on defense and gradual positional advantage instead?
Whichever type of player you are, play the game as such. You will feel at ease during the tense 1-5 minutes and stand a much better chance to win the game.
Chess Blitz & Bullet Tip #4. Practice, practice, practice
Last but not least, being good at rapid forms of chess is to practice playing them all the time. Yes, playing fast games is not good for your chess skills but if you want to excel at blitz or bullet games, you got to play them every day.
Also, timed tactics have been known to make you better at developing your tactical vision over the board. You do not want to miss ANY opportunity that might get the full pointer, right?
One more thing, try to develop chess understanding in general. Try to understand the overarching themes in your games. When you develop such a deep understanding of your positions, you would not have to calculate your moves (or even analyze for that matter).
And when you are strapped for time, not having to calculate is a big relief!
So to recap:
Here’s what you need to score high in your chess blitz and bullet games.
- Shock your opponent
- Utilize pre-moves
- Play to your strength
- Practice timed tactics
- Develop chess positional understanding
If you do the above things, you will probably end up beating Hikaru Nakamura in blitz some day…who knows?