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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

To Bullet or Not to Bullet

Have you, as an Internet chess player, found that some days you can think fast and play bullet, and other days it just doesn’t happen? I do, and when I don’t have time for the nice long games that I like it gets very frustrating losing quick match after quick match. So, what should we do about that? Can we do anything at all?

On the Internet chess site where I normally play bullet I have been into the 1900s, but even on a real good day I’m not worth much more than that. However, it’s the days where I’m playing like a 1400 that bug me. I don’t mind dropping a game here or there to 1600s or 1700s and fluctuating from the high 1700s to the low 1900s. I really don’t. What I do mind is dropping three or four games in a row to beginners. It hurts both the rating and the ego.

Some sites like the ICC (Internet Chess Club) feature players who frequently if not exclusively engage in 1-minute chess and do very well. Many are titled. You can really tell when they have an off day, because they drop a few hundred points, just the same as we do. The trouble is, their “bad days” consist of only playing at the 2200 level, and not the 2500 level they are used to. If I dip from the 1900s into the high 1600s I’m disgusted with myself, so I can only imagine what going from 2512 to 2240 or something must feel. Points are not gained so easily at the high level as they are down here in Patzerville.

If you can “feel” that your game is off, and really bad, I suggest only playing two or three and then leaving it alone for a while. There is no use becoming frustrated and becoming angry over the game. That will only cause further losses in my experience. Go read something, step outside for a bit, maybe talk to someone on the phone; do anything but chess. Then see how you feel in an hour or so. You might be surprised how your game turns around once you give your mind a rest.

If your bullet chess does not improve but you still feel you can play a decent game that day, try 3/0 blitz. I find that if I’m in a bullet slump and go to a slower time control my chess really wakes up. Of course, we don’t always have time for a rewarding standard game (and some of you may not even like standard at all!) but after playing loads of 1-minute chess, a 3/0 can seem like a really long game.

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