Tips for watching speed chess
March 24, 2014 3:50 AM   Subscribe

I'm going to watch some chessboxing in a in a few weeks with some friends. I know the rules of chess but nothing beyond that, no strategies or anything, ways to tell a good move from a bad one or see who dominating. Are there some key things I can know/read/watch in order to have a vague understanding of what's going on?

I realise that I don't have time to get properly to grips with the sport, but are there, say, a dozen rules of thumb that a person can understand in a few weeks that will make me into a slightly less clueless spectator? Or any matches that are commentated particularly well on Youtube?
posted by Cantdosleepy to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (5 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
That is an interesting question!

A couple of things - in general, the player who is getting his pieces up in the opponent's half of the board is attacking, which means, in speed chess, probably winning. If there are a large number of pieces around the adverse King, that's an attempt to put him down. If a player starts taking time before every move, instead of moving at once, he's probably in trouble (or just bad at speed chess ,ask me how I know....). As you know - you say you know the rules of chess - a pawn that reaches the final rank must be promoted, usually to a new Queen. If the players trade Queens, and start moving their Kings up to the center of the board, the game has reached an endgame, and it will now revolve around the effort to Queen a pawn.
posted by thelonius at 4:32 AM on March 24, 2014

Jerry from ChessNetwork has some great 1-minute tournament matches with commentary. They might be a bit befuddling, but when he can he explains his reasoning for moves. (Don't miss him falling for checkmate in 4 moves) He also has commentary on slower games and all kinds of lessons on his channel.
I'm not sure any amount of studying in a couple weeks will let you recognize certain opening lines beyond 2-3 moves but if you want to sound smart...
You can say a player left a piece hanging if it's left unprotected.
A terrible move is called a blunder.
When an attacking piece is holding down another piece from moving (say, a knight is trapped between its own king and the opposing bishop), it's called a pin.
If a player ends up with two pawns on a certain file it's called doubled pawns. It can be a bad thing. When pawns have moved apart and are no longer protecting each other, you can say they have a broken pawn structure.
When a piece is moved and attacks two pieces, it's called a fork.
If it gets down to the "endgame" (just a few pawns a kings), watch for the kings moving to the middle of the board. They are very powerful now.
Having tempo means having the initiative and making your opponent respond to you rather than working on their own strategy of attack.
posted by starman at 5:18 AM on March 24, 2014

kingscrusher (Youtube channel home - video will autoplay) is another player who puts up a lot of live commentary blitz chess games, among other things
posted by thelonius at 5:20 AM on March 24, 2014

in a chess club, a patzer is anybody whose game is weaker relative to the speaker.
posted by bruce at 8:53 AM on March 24, 2014

Firstly, before you can make sense of a game being played at a faster speed, it will be easier to start by following games at a slower speed.

Whether you can really learn enough in a few weeks to be of much help, I'm not sure. Partly it depends how much time you want to put in.

If you can get hold of the DVDs mentioned in this article, they're from an old BBC series "The Master Game" that was designed for a mass general audience and does a great job of players explaining what they're thinking about as they go, and making it all understandable and entertaining.

See also a bunch of things mentioned previously, though meant for players just starting out rather than spectators.

You might want to try out something like Fritz for Fun.
posted by philipy at 9:42 AM on March 24, 2014

« Older Can you make my CPU stop beeping in the night?   |   Happy yappy or upset pet? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.