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superblunder 155 ( +1 | -1 )
"live games." I have recently returned to gameknot after a long layoff where I focused my efforts on studying books and on playing 'live' games on the online real-time chess-sites like USChess Live, Internet Chess club and my favorite Playchess (the chessbase/fritz server). I have found that playing blitz games has(contrary to all the advice I have ever read) actually helped my game quite a bit, I have a more thorough knowledge of the openings I play and the positons they lead to and I have developed a quick, sharp tactical eye.

My question is simple...I want to improve as a classical OTB Player, (say G/60+) and I am wondering...

what time control would be the best for me to use as practice/training?

My first idea was to play tournament style games, (40/2, G/60) but as few people, including myself, have the time to sit down for a serious chessgame that has the potential to last 6 hours; I quickly abandoned this idea and sarted playing blitz alot (anywhere between G/5 to G/30) At first it seemed to me that playing the longer games would be better since they are more like tournament games, but if I play longer games, the downside is I use more of my free time and so can't play as many games in one sitting.
SO what is the proper balance in your opinion?
Will a chessplayer improve more by playing twenty 10 minute games or by playing one 3 hour game? Or is it somewhere in the middle?

All posts welcome, especially by people who actually have experience or insight into the subject :)!
soikins 141 ( +1 | -1 )
Games Blitz is ok, cause it keeps you in shape. It is also good to a certain level. But too much blitz might ruin ones playing abilities, because you will start to look for simple tactics, will play automatic moves, won't think when you have enough time to do it.
You should play on different time controls. Some blitz, some rapid (15-30 minutes/game, with or without increment). Sometimes (once a week, twice a month, depending on time you have) you should play a longer game 60/G or 90/G, such controlls are long enough IMO.

But the most important thing -- analyse your games. There is not much point in looking through your blitz games, thought they might give some ideas of your weaknesses (endgame play, certain openings etc.). Quick, computer assisted, look through your rapid games should do more good -- you will learn openings and understand your weaknesses better. The long games require serious analysis (with and without computer assistance). It takes a lot of time, thought.

Of course, lack of free time is a problem. But that's where GameKnot comes in. Here you can play long time controll games and you are not forced to find 3 free hours in one day to do it. You can analyse the position whenever you have 5-10 free minutes.
superblunder 196 ( +1 | -1 )
live games Thanks, soikins , good advice. I agree that too much blitz can be forming bad habits. But I am wondering why all the top rated players, especially International Masters and GMs, always play blitz on these sites?? I mean if you go to ICC or Playchess, two fo the biggest gatherings of titled players (2400+ elo usually) you will find all the titled players playing game after game of 3/0 or 5/0, or sometimes even 2/0 or 1/0! 3/0 meaning 3 minutes per side, with 0 increment added. It boggles my mind why these top players seem to shun the longer games even though they are capable of playing chess at such a master level in a 6 hour game, I have always wondered why anyone rarely ses these players play any more than 10/0 games? Some of the guys I have watched play like this include famous GMs...Nigel Short, Michael Adams, Aleks Wojtkiewicz, and Hikaru Nakamura, this teenage Grandmaster plays very fast games 3/0 and quicker all the time on playchess and has a rating of like 2800-2900 in blitz! Supposedly his goal is to become chess world champion someday, so why does he spend so much time playing blitz and bullet if slower games are the best way to improve? I know the answer is he probably plays slow games at a live board with trainers, etc. and he plays many tournaments year-round, but clearly he and countless other professionals find value in blitz games, and I am not quite sure why?
ANyway, I think soikins has a good idea to play some blitz (5/0) some rapid (15-30/0) and some classical chess (Game in 60+). ALso the correspondance chess id great for detailed analysis and studying opening theory, etc. which is why I came back here!
Any more comments are greatly appreciated, thanks!
soikins 54 ( +1 | -1 )
GM are not rational Why do you presume that GM's and IM's are so rational and will do only what's good for them? Blitz is fun. They do it for fun. If you need rational arguments then there are some: money (playing against amateurs who pay for that, I have also heard that some get payd just for "hanging around" on a server, it's just an advertising trick) and they also do it for some practice against other top GM's.

Why they don't play on a longer controll? Because of the advanced chess. There is no point in playing against Fritz, Junior or Shredder.