Having spent the last couple of days watching the Rapid and Blitz World Championships I became, once again curious about the following subject.

In some circumstances, especially in blitz games, it can be a slight but significant advantage to be able to perform the move as quickly as possible in a physical or mechanical sense. Now, playing a lot certainly gives confidence and ease, and there are some simple principles (such as short moves cost less time), but I was wondering if some players actively and in a structured way train this aspect of the game. To make this question answerable let me ask specifically:

Are there any books or other sources that discuss ways to train and to improve carrying out moves quickly (in a physical or mechanical sense)?

However, I would also be interested in slightly more anecdotal answers on this subject. My primary intent was to ask this for over the board games, but I aspects specific to online games are also welcome.

2 Answers 2


I'm a FIDE master and in my experience I've never come across any material on how to physically move pieces faster. There's not a lot you have to do: pick up the piece, move your arm to where you want to move the piece, and let go. As you play more this becomes second nature, to the point where training wouldn't make much sense.

As for short moves costing less time, this usually isn't a factor in blitz/bullet games; the exception is when you're about to flag and just need to make moves quickly. Then moving a piece 1-2 squares can be better than moving it across the board. Also, if you move pieces that are physically closer to the clock, you can save very small (but possibly precious) amounts of time. So for Black it would be moving pieces on the right side of the board, and for White the left side. Again, such strategies would only be implemented when you're down to literally a few seconds.

  • The brain is a fantastic artificial intelligence device.
    – Lee Mosher
    Commented Jan 1, 2020 at 15:01
  • @ Lee Mosher Or artificial intelligence devices are very poor brains :) At least in certain areas, for now. Commented Jan 1, 2020 at 15:02
  • 2
    Don't forget exhibition games with bigger boards. Then one can actually actively force the opponent to make long moves on the opposite side of the board to make him waste precious seconds running back and forth, and the effect is much more noticeable.
    – Arthur
    Commented Jan 1, 2020 at 21:06
  • @Arthur I recommend not assuming that a hypothetical opponent has to be male. There's too much sexism in chess communities already; defaulting to male pronouns perpetuates that bias. Commented Jan 2, 2020 at 4:45
  • @GregMartin You're right. I shouldn't said "them". Too late to edit now, though.
    – Arthur
    Commented Jan 2, 2020 at 6:39

I don't know the answer to your question on over the board games but in online games, it is good to have a mouse with a fast response time for blitz and bullet. In online chess, the dragging and clicking of the pieces just comes with practice. I don't think that players actually specifically practice moving pieces over the board, but just play a lot of over the board blitz games and that skill just comes with it.

  • 1
    +1 Just play a lot of over the board blitz games and that skill just comes with it.
    – Mason
    Commented Jan 1, 2020 at 19:42
  • Where possible I configure settings so that I don't need to drag pieces - just click the start and finish
    – Miriam
    Commented Jan 1, 2020 at 20:25
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    @ArtemissupportsMonica I'm not sure if that's faster though, since now you have to release click on the piece before clicking on the square to move it to. Commented Jan 2, 2020 at 0:34
  • @InertialIgnorance On a touchpad at least, I find dragging over long distances pretty tricky. Mouses (mice?) make it easier, but still you can run out of space
    – Miriam
    Commented Jan 2, 2020 at 12:15

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