Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Computer screen or real chess board?

Have you ever wondered what is the difference between playing chess on a computer screen and playing on a real chess board? Then you are welcome to read this post and if you wish to also comment it with your own thoughts! Here we will try to compare internet blitz games to real games.

1. Holding or hovering a pawn or piece. When a new blitz game starts you make your first move directly. Then your mouse cursor probably moves over to the piece you expect to move next. If you click on that piece before your opponent makes a move, then it would be the same as you would be holding the piece in your hand in a real game. Which would violate the rules. If you are hovering your piece over the square where it will go as soon as your opponent makes a move, the difference from a real board game increases.

2. Thinking posture. When sitting at a chess board, you have certain postures while you think. Perhaps you close your ears with both hands. Perhaps you frequently lean on your elbows and support your head with one of your hands and keep shifting positions. While playing on a computer screen, you have to use other postures because the usual ones probably do not work.

3. Distractions. There are tons of distractions while playing internet blitz, because you have internet access just one click away.

4. Sneaky tactics. There are some sneaky tactics in internet blitz during mutual time trouble. For example, you are playing with queens still on the board. Then you can check the king and also threaten the opponent's queen and you do it in such a way that your own queen is hanging too! The opponent was expecting a check and therefore pre-moves the king. You win the queen in the next move. Such tricks probably do not work in a real game.

5. Time lag. Lag is when the opponent's internet connection introduces a delay, so that it takes you for example 5 seconds to make your opponent use 2 seconds. This usually does not happen in real games.

6. Easy. It is easy to start a new game. You do not need to invite someone to your home or to meet up at the local chess club. There is no need to cook food for someone or to make a cup of tea or to socialize. You just seek a new game and start it up. Also, you can do it at any time of the day or night, which makes it very practical if you want to play many games.

7. Tons of opponents. You do not need to play the same player twice. There are lots of players to choose between, at virtually any level. This can be great and it can also be bad.

8. No analysis. People do not usually want to analyze a blitz game. A blitz game is like a chewing gum that just gets tossed into the nearest trash bin. Which can be too bad, especially if it had some interesting motifs and ideas. Analyzing this for a few minutes could make it stick to your head better.

9. Strange openings. Some people play strange openings during internet blitz games. This can be bad, because then you get less practice in the usual opening systems that you use in classical games. If you want to use internet blitz to train chess, then you should probably just resign games that don't create your usual opening system positions. They are probably a waste of time.

10. Bitter loss and quick comeback. After losing an internet blitz game you just want to lash out and crush the opponent. This can be a bad idea. Better would be to step back and analyze the game and find out exactly why you lost. Then, you can start a new game, it does not matter if it is the same opponent or a new one. Using a lost game as motif for a crushing style attack rarely improves your chess. But this kind of strategy could work to win a game, as long as it does not cloud your focus and objective thinking.