Don’t be fooled by my last post. Blitz is bad for your chess. I was frustrated by my low ICC rating and looked for an excuse to continue playing fast games. 2 days later my rating is up again (1565) and I had some time to think about it.
Here Blitz can help, however, you would like to play short games, review the opening moves and completely ignore the results. "Ignoring the results" is very difficult and you cheat the other players who think that you take the games seriously. Another point is how much time is required until you have confidence in your opening repertoire. A completely new system took me 1-2 months. Of course I don’t remember the reply to every possible move but this is not required. Often it’s enough to play a logical move and if there is a trap involved you will find out soon. Always remember: the real battle is fought in the middlegame so don’t be afraid that you play the "wrong" moves. Unless you blunder this won’t lose the game. Alternatives for opening study are specialized programs like "Chess Position Trainer" or "Chess Openings Wizard". Once you know your openings, Blitz isn’t helpful anymore.
Blitz is absolutely inefficient if you want to practice tactics. How many positions with simple tactics will you get in a game – maybe 4? If you take a book with puzzles you will easily do 15 in less than 30 minutes. Blitz however can test if you are able to spot the tactics in a game.
Aggressive piece play
Piece play is something you have to learn by playing. Studying games will help you to understand what is good and what is bad but it’s hard to apply this knowledge to your own chess. Personally, I have to make my own mistakes, review the games with a strong chess engine and understand why another move is better. This requires time and first of all you have to build the skill. Blitz will test if you can do it quickly but it won’t help you to improve it.
Another area for which Blitz is absolutely inefficient. It’s better to set up some endgame positions on the board and play them out against a computer or a human. Play them over and over again until you get them right. The concepts can be tricky and counter-intuitive so in Blitz you will have no chance to work them out. Endgames need precision, often there is only one winning or drawing move while all the other will lose the game. And finally, a golden rule is: don’t hurry. This is completely against the attitude you need to apply to win a Blitz game and therefore Blitz is bad for your endgame.
You learn to deal with losses
At least this should be true, shouldn’t it? Again the answer is no unless you are able to ignore your ELO rating. If you just play chess, alright, but most of us want to prove that their chess is outstanding and the only indicator for this is the rating. Another fact is that on ICC most players will only play against someone who is at least on the same level, so if you are able to beat a 1700er but your rating is 1500, you will never have the chance to play against them and that’s why the rating is not unimportant.
Blitz is basically a test how quickly you can apply your knowledge to the game and a competition if you can calculate faster than your opponent or if a better positional understanding can outweight other disadvantages. It’s a lot of fun, no doubt, and if the balance is right there is no reason not to play fast games. Blitz is like sweets – you can eat them from time to time but it’s not the healthy food you consume regularely.