3.2 Beer

“Blitz chess kills your ideas.” – Bobby Fischer

Last night was a first-time chess experience.  I played in the Denver Chess Club‘s year-end blitz tournament. The tournament was played at a Fischer time control of 3 minutes with 2 seconds increment per move. I had never before played at that time control, neither in competition nor in casual games.

During my 20-year hiatus from tournament play 1991-2011 I attended chess club once a week to play 5-minute blitz. While openings languished, endgame play got better and better.

Furthermore, as a musician, I’ve always had a sense of tempo. Over the years, I came to be able to tell precisely where I was in the game with regard to time allowance while barely glancing at the clock.

I came in equal second-third and won a class prize last July at the 2015 Kansas Open Friday-night blitz session in Wichita.

I did miserably last night (+5-5), dropping 96 USCF blitz rating points. Better in all 10 games, I was too far down on time in the late midgame, dropping two games in time trouble from superior positions and flagging out in winning positions in the other three.

3.2 is very different from 5-minute. 3.2 favors static, prepared variations over chess creativity. If you spend any time pondering the opening, you’re not earning your 2-second intervals. The moves must be rattled off from memory lest the seconds run short for calculation as the game approaches the solution horizon.

Late in the rounds, the regular DCC TD asked me earnestly, “How’s this time control for you?” His concern is club member satisfaction. I told him, “It makes no difference to me,” which is the truth. 3.2 is clearly the wave of the future for blitz competition. One must face the struggle head-on rather than gripe or blame.

Thus, my own little North Jeffco Chess Club is in for a surprise at our next weekly pub session. We’ll be pouring down the 9.6 suds and playing at 3.2 so that Jacques can become competitive in this brave new world.

Jacques Delaguerre