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 Bullet Chess

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mrthought



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PostSubject: Bullet Chess   Bullet Chess I_icon_minitimeTue Aug 31, 2010 5:37 am

While most chess players are comfortable with the concept of blitz chess -- the form of the game in which each player has three to five minutes to play the entire game -- bullet chess is an entirely different animal. With just one minute on the clock for each player, bullet can be as much a race as a chess game. The frantic pace leads to mistakes, but also demands players to employ new tactics and strategies. Bullet Chess: One Minute to Move by Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura and Canadian Master Bruce Harper explores the wild world of one-minute chess, sharing tips on how to succeed in the fastest form of the game.

Bullet Chess Bulletchess

This book is not for everyone, as a lot of people are turned off by speed chess. There's an obvious objection to any book on bullet chess -- namely, that bullet isn't real chess at all! The authors deal with this in the only rational way possible: by admitting from the start that no, it's not the same as real chess. Still, they contend that quality games can be played in just a minute, and that there are plenty of ways to improve your bullet play.

The book features a lot of annotated games, which might seem strange considering that virtually every game has numerous tactical and strategic errors. However, these annotations aren't like those in most books; they deal specifically with the effectiveness of moves in the context of bullet play, and the amount of time remaining on each player's clock (or how long a player took to play a specific move) is often a critical part of understanding the evaluation of a move or position. Unlike in regular chess, or even blitz, where the clock typically plays a more indirect role in the game, the clock is a critical part of bullet chess. The annotated games feature a variety of players, from class players through games played by Nakamura, one of the world's premiere speed chess players.

The book is divided into 20 chapters, covering a variety of topics of special interest to bullet players. The risks and rewards of "pre-moving," or registering a move before seeing the opponent's move (a technique peculiar to online chess) are discussed, as is the importance of time. Topics of more general interest are given their own bullet spin too: openings, endgames, strategy and tactics are all covered through the lens of bullet chess. The information provided is more interesting than I expected; the authors treat the subject with respect, and for anyone interested in bullet chess, I have no doubt that reading this book and applying the information would improve their results.

Of course, that's the main limitation of this book. It doesn't offer much for the tournament player who isn't interested in speed chess, or the casual player who has never played with a clock. This isn't a problem, as the book does give excellent coverage to a niche that is rarely given serious treatment; however, it does mean that it's only meant for a special breed of chess player.

If you're not into bullet chess, there's no reason to give this book a second look (with the possible exception of improving your play during time scrambles). On the other hand, for those speed players who want to improve their game, I don't know of a better resource out there for bullet chess, and there are few better to learn from than Nakamura when it comes to internet bullet and blitz play. Bullet Chess: One Minute to Mate may not be for everyone, but I have no doubt that speed chess players will love it.



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