The sun is shining and I’m enjoying my afternoon at a park in Washington Square. Like most people there I’m not looking to relax in the grass, instead I’m sitting at a table across from a rather intelligent man who has a creative flair in chess. But like most days I’m winning. I don’t make a ton, enough to buy myself some food and some extra spending money for next week. It’s not about the money though, it’s about the thrill and what’s on the line.Most people know that speed chess is all intimidation. We’ve seen Searching for Bobby Fischer and know all too well the trash talk that goes on. But for me winning in chess goes far beyond that.
Dress for the job you want, not the one you have. I wear a rather flashy outfit, one that looks clean and polished. I have a nice gold Nixon watch (check here if you’re asking yourself “are nixon watches good“) that I like to flash around on my wrist. It draws the eye, and it keeps people from focusing on the board. The best part is it’s cheaper than a luxury watch but has the same intimidation effect.
In comparison when I’m going to an actual chess tournament I’ll wear a nice suit. I’ll also wear a watch that is much less intrusive, usually I trust my Citizen Nighthawk (great citizen nighthawk review here) as I find the gold watch distracts me to much during matches. Real long chess tournaments require far more skill than speed chess, and you’ll find that playing in them will increase your skill far more than playing speed chess, but you will never get the same thrill.
You see the same people keep coming back every week to play matches. Some of them so often that we know them by name. It’s like a sickness, and like any other form of gambling could result in so many problems they would need the best credit repair companies in the world to come save them.
But it’s a passion, it’s fun, and the results can sometimes be unexpected. It’s also a visual spectacle, people can’t help but watch and try to follow the fast paced game that is moving so quickly it can be rather easy to miss a move.
If you really want to know how I prepare for my matches you’ll be a little disappointed. I generally read through some of my favorite chess matches and prepare my openings for the day. I generally favor anything that is open and not too complicated as it allows me to set up a good pawn structure, things like Queen’s gambit I stray away from as it’s easier to avoid any big complications. I also try to play the Halloween gambit every chance I get, as the play is confusing and fun, it opens up game play that I would never try in a real tournament.
This is the real beauty of speed chess, you can play in ways you never dreamed of in a tournament. Taking risks can actually pay off and memorized play falls short as nerves are pushed. If you’re looking into playing speed chess, good luck, it’s a lot of fun.