Dennis M's Chess Site

This is a blog for chess fans by a chess fan. I enjoy winning as much as anyone else, and I've had a reasonable amount of success as a competitor, but what keeps me coming back to the game is its beauty. And that, primarily, is what this site will be about! All material copyrighted.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

The Value of 1-minute Games!?

In an earlier post, I presented one of my 1-minute games. Part of my intent was to illustrate a strategic trap I've used to catch a surprisingly large number of victims, in the hope that some of my readers might find it a useful addition to their stock of chess ideas. One commentator found the whole enterprise rather dubious, wondering how one could learn from such a quick game.

I can see why someone might feel that way, especially if they're not aficianados of that art form. Further, one might invoke the words of tactical genius Rashid Nezhmetdinov, who scorned the idea of analyzing blitz games.

But I disagree. For one thing, I don't understand why the time limit has any significance. Suppose I had presented the game but passed it off as a tournament performance. Should the game be taken more seroiusly in that case? Or suppose that my opponent and I had followed some sharp theoretical line for 30 moves, and then one of us sprang a novelty on the other, winning by following some carefully prepared analysis. In such a case, the speed of the game would be completely irrelevant to its quality, which might have been the product of many hours' labor.

And that's where I think the answer lies: the value of the game I presented, if value there is, comes from the ideas exhibited by the players; ideas which are the product of their years of experience. It's not very likely that a player will produce a deep combination in a 1-minute game, but what bullet chess does do is reward knowledge - both explicit and tacit. A grandmaster can win games in bullet or blitz that even a strong amateur might fail to win in a tournament game, because the former understands some things - even very sophisticated things - deeply enough and so "intuitively" that he or she can execute them automatically. In bullet, these ideas might be executed in a somewhat superficial way, but nevertheless, for players who don't know these ideas, seeing such games can be valuable nonetheless.

In conclusion, while I certainly wouldn't advocate making a study of my 1-minute games, or even those of a GM - one's chess time would be better-spent studying the slower games of elite players - one shouldn't automatically reject the possibility that there's something to be learned from such games, either.


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