For some time now, blitz (in any of various formats) has been a very popular format of chess.

It is obvious that in order to play blitz you need to have a chess clock and these have been around for about 150 years.

When did people start playing blitz games? It was right after chess clock were introduced or the habit took a long time to catch?

In particular, does anyone know when is the earliest reference of blitz? Not talking about the game's score or even the players' names, but just the earliest mention of games played at a fast time control.

1 Answer 1


Wikipedia Fast Chess

Before the advent of digital clocks, five minutes per side was the standard for blitz or speed chess.

Before the introduction of chess clocks in the mid-1950s chess club "rapid transit" tournaments had a referee who every ten seconds called out.

The Washington Divan (2445 15th St. NW) had regular weekly games and used a special clock that beeped every ten seconds to indicate the time to move. Players had to use their full ten seconds and move on the bell.

  • Actually the Divan did not have a clock. It had a special built timer that rang a bell every ten seconds. When available there was a ref watching all boards to ensure the move got made. Otherwise there were occasional arguments when somebody failed to play properly. The rapids were held every monday night and had a small fee to enter with prizes to the top third or so.
    – yobamamama
    Jan 1, 2020 at 16:32

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