I have started playing "real chess" but the problem is it takes too much time. How will I able to win in small time-controls? Does this process of searching the opponents threats and looking for candidate moves ever become a second-nature?

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    What do you mean by "real chess"?
    – Herb
    Commented Jul 29, 2020 at 16:42
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    It means before playing a move you check all the opponents threat,captures or any hanging pieces you might have and then you come up with the right move.And hope chess refers to you just play a move cause you want to play it.
    – bretlee
    Commented Jul 29, 2020 at 17:38
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    @HerbWolfe: This is referring to Dan Heisman’s concept of “Real chess”. See the earlier question How to get out of “Hope” chess into “Real” chess, which has a link to one of Heisman’s articles.
    – Stephen
    Commented Jul 29, 2020 at 17:43
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    "Real chess" is played with time control, so you won't ever make the full process
    – David
    Commented Jul 30, 2020 at 6:27

2 Answers 2


If you are interested in the psychology of learning and improving in chess, I really recommend reading Chess for Zebras from Jonathan Rowson (and/or Move First Think Later from Willy Hendriks, which has a very similar message).

tl;dr: Yes, finding the "best" move continually becomes more and more natural (and thus faster!) while you improve (although even masters never reach the point of perfection).

Rowson explicitly distinguishes between Knowledge (theory learned from books etc.) and Skill (the practiced ability to actually use that knowledge on the board). If you think about learning languages, the former would be knowledge about grammar and vocabulary (you can learn that to a reasonable degree in school), and the latter would be the ability to speak/write fluently (you can only really learn this by constant practice of the language). Someone with only school knowledge will have to consciously think about everything and thus needs more time than a skilled speaker to form sentences - even if he/she knows all the parts!

It works roughly the same way in chess, up to the point that strong masters can often subconsciously "feel" a move within seconds and then "just" have to use their calculation abilities to make sure it actually works.

  • Thank you! @Annatar,that answers everything.
    – bretlee
    Commented Jul 30, 2020 at 8:09

You've got to be able to instinctively know how to play a position for blitz/bullet chess. You don't have time to ponder over tactics, so you should be able to do those things instinctively(you can check your move with calculations in rapid chess, and if you have time in blitz).

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