Because of quarantine I haven't been able to meet up with my friends to play OTB games or go anywhere including tournaments to play OTB for that matter, so for the past year I have been playing purely online chess with my friends and randoms. When I play online I only ever play games faster than 3+0 because I hate sitting down and staring at the screen for too long, just not the same as staring at a board.

I got a lot better since last year going from 1700 rated online in blitz to 2000 rated. My friend who is around 2300 rated says that it's gonna make me play trash in tournaments and not good for my game, is it true?

I know I make one move blunders and mistakes often in this time format but I quickly realize a second after I made the move or sometimes as soon as I make it. So my logic is if it was a classical game I would spend at least 10 extra seconds looking over and I'd see the obvious blunder.

Has there been significant evidence or reason to believe that speed chess will make you a worse regular chess player overall? Or is it purely anecdotal?


5 Answers 5


Usually, when playing speed chess our eyes get trained to find tactics quickly, and we tend to overlook complex ones. Also, repeatedly playing speed chess over a significant time reduces your stamina which is needed for long games.

In my experience, when I spend too much with speed chess before a tournament, after I analyze my games I see that my games are not as technically sound as it used to be. It is a bummer for me because love bullet chess :(.


The main problem with only playing blitz and bullet is that you do not train your calculation ability. Everything is quick pattern recognition. Doing deep calculation, having creativity, and managing your time correctly are a couple key things that you won't improve very well at if you only play blitz and bullet. Also, your endgame ability might suffer as you never play an ending with much time on the clock.

I'm not saying that you won't get better at classical time controls by playing a lot of blitz and bullet, but it's not the most efficient way of improving your otb rating.


In my experience, the main negative effect is that you might play too fast in your games. This can be countered by (for example) sitting on your hands, or practicing in classical formats more.


Has there been significant evidence or reason to believe that speed chess will make you a worse regular chess player overall? Or is it purely anecdotal?

Rather anecdotal for chess particularly. Maybe there will be some meaningful (meta-) studies in future since due to excessive upcoming online speed chess within the last years, the data fundament for such studies is there in general.

Besides that, your question itself might be branched and distinguished further on since there are potentially at least two relevant aspects here: Absence of specific classical training vs. adaption effects from speed-specific training, that might influence your general habits in terms of position analyzing. The latter one is also obviously heavily associated with discipline. Due to the fact that many great classical players are also very good in speed-chess, the potential aspect of adaption effects doesn't seem to be that important at least as long as the classical abilities are trained sufficiently too. So it's likely not a question about too much speed-chess but rather a question at least about the absolute value of sufficiency of classical training.

A well studied aspect of cognition is, that the human brain's ability in pattern recognition and storing details is extraordinary, even for distinguishing almost identical patterns (it's quite bad in reconstructing them from scratch although...). It's trivial to see, that a familiar position is almost always a better fundament for further analysis than a totally new one (stressors...) and with speed-chess, you're able to memorize thousands of positions within a short time range in general, at least subliminally. For too familiar positions, this needn't to be an advantage and could even switch into the negative since commonly known issues from overtrained neuronal networks might be influential here too. Further on, familiarity is only a fundament here. Classical deep analysis discipline is obviously required further on.

Assuming that the individual classical training is "sufficient", this aspect theoretically emphasizes, that speed-chess can be a productive additional training even for pure-classical players (better awareness for non-deep tactics deep analyzers might sometimes miss, see for instance Kramnik's famous blunder of the century...). Worth to mention further on, that time-drouble is an often seen issue in general, so a good speed-chess performance can be a further positive constraint at least for those situations, enhancing your general self-confidence in terms of time-management.


I think playing slow chess is very important. It gives you time to go through lines and find moves you will not see whilst playing blitz/bullet. I also think you will get frustrated and a lower rating when playing faster games. When I play slow games, I realise that I am very tactically aware, but when I play fast I blunder. Most chess grandmasters begin playing slow games with family and I think this is really important, so in my opinion playing slow games is way more valuable than faster ones. Once you have a good subconscious mind for chess, then move to the faster pased games.

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