Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Blitz as test, not as exercise

The past few days I have played about 85 blitz games (G/10) in order to find out if I could use blitz play to train my scan habits. Allthough I resolved to scan before every single game, I didn't manage to actually do so during the game. With 10 minutes there is so little time that I can only work on my usual autopilot, in trial and error mode. I just forget to scan.

So alas blitz play isn't suitable to train scan habits. Since you play on autopilot, habits are paramount in blitz. That makes it an ideal method to test your scan habits. Despite my scan training the past month (DaBattPinOlC) my blitz rating hasn't improved.

Maybe I have to admit that Phaedrus and DLM are right, and is transfer from training to OTB a separate problem alltogether. I hoped that my approach would work around this, but obviously that hope turned out to be in vain. It's a pity, because I like to play blitz.


  1. Hello,

    I play blitz at 10 min controls only to iron out any kinks in the opening repertoire.

    It is possible to do scanning. I normally take about 1 minute in complex middlegame positions to look for play.

    Beyond that, blitz is very limited in its usefulness. Blitz games with Fischer time controls are only slightly better.

    Nothing still beats plain old OTB. :)

    cheers and take care.

  2. Good slogan, that blitz is a test of what you already do habitually. (Though it can be a great test for tactics, which you can then turn into a puzzle book perfectly tailored to your own shortcomings tactically!).

  3. Tanc,
    the problem is that the opening is so familiar that I am on autopilot until move 9 or so. To exercise scanning consciousness is needed though. I'm just too absorbed by the game to remember it.

  4. Blue,
    there were a few moves that I saw fast which I attribute to new formed habits. It is easier now to see double attacks when there are a lot of possibilities. But it is seldom that one move decides the game. It looks as if the only difference now is that I see it fast, while before I saw it slow.

    That indicates that it is the right track, but the habits I train aren't decisive enough in comparison to my old habits.

  5. It looks as if the only difference now is that I see it fast, while before I saw it slow.

    Which is half the point! That's progress.

  6. Blitz for me is only a "relaxation" and not really true rtaining. If I want to work on a new opening, its a good practice... if I want to see how bad I suck at recognizing tactical patterns...well that's there too. But to do any deep scan analysis, going over un-annotated games on my own ( then finding the annotations) is one way as well as just more OTB play.

  7. A test, yes! Blitz will be very useful once I've finished my Semi-Slav repertoire to find lines where I'm particularly weak.