Take the slow, methodical gameplay of chess, give it 10 shots of adrenaline, and what you have is Bullet chess. Is Bullet chess good for you as a beginner player?
Is Bullet Chess Good for You?
If you’re looking to try new openings and improve reflexes Bullet chess can be good. If you’re a beginner looking to improve your game stay away!
With the advent of chess apps, Bullet chess has quickly become one of the most popular versions of the game out there.
It’s super fast paced, and if you’ve ever watched it being played, you’re either completely intimidated, or ABSOLUTELY DYING to give it a try yourself.
What is Bullet Chess?
Understand this, watching bullet chess being played is like watching pure chaos! It’s almost always impossible to follow, and, well, see for yourself.
The video below shows 2 games of bullet chess.
In the first a Grandmaster is playing with literally only 1 SECOND of total time on his clock vs his opponent who has 15 seconds.
Yes, it can be that fast paced! And at that speed, the moves are literally impossible to follow.
In the second game comparatively, both sides have AN ETERNITY to play, 30 seconds each, and it’s still a chaotic race to a mad finish.
And it’s because of this super fast, chaotic pace that players are completely addicted to its game play.
What are the Rules of Bullet Chess?
Bullet chess and normal chess have the same rules. The only difference is in the speed of the game.
Bullet chess is a timed version of the game where each player has 3 minutes or less to move. Your clock starts when your opponent has made their move and hits the timer. When you make your move, you hit the timer to start your opponents clock.
The most popular version of bullet chess is 1|0, where each side has 1 minute total time to play with no increment, meaning they gain no time back after each move.
Arguments For and Against Bullet Chess Helping Your Game
The forums at Chess.com weigh in on this question with very legitimate arguments.
“Bullet chess is good for your bullet chess, but bad for everything else.”Ivandh at Chess.com forum
And some are much more passionate about their disdain for the game:
“I hate bullet chess with a passion! I see the positive effect of improving your speed, but other than that I don’t see anything but negative things. Many a game ends with no resolution. One player just moved faster than another. There is no chess here. It is played predominately by bored teenagers.RaymondStingray_ at Chess.com forum
And this is not to say that there aren’t lovers of Bullet chess. Bullet chess is easily one of the most popular versions of the game.
“I find myself unable to stop playing bullet chess at times because it’s so addictive.”The_Bald_Man at Chess.com forum
“Spot tactics quicker, learn to make rudimentary plans, see the board quickly, evaluate in a hurry, spot weaknesses. These are some of the things that can come from bullet, but not slow chess.pfve at Chess.com forum
So the question is, do you want to beat your opponent because of skill and strategy, or because of the clock?
Most seasoned players want to win based on strategy, not on a blunder caused by being rushed.
Rushed blunders can also create a stalemate where no one wins. Not fun.
Granted, both sides go into the game knowing the rules and how clock management is a MASSIVE factor, but do you think this helps your overall game?
Does playing bullet chess regularly improve your reflexes and ability to spot tactics and weaknesses quicker?
The fact of the matter is that Bullet chess is more of a time scramble than anything else.
When it comes to the question of Bullet chess helping your overall game, I think it’s clear that taking your time and strategizing would be more prudent than a chaotic race against the clock.
Think about how you’ve learned any other skill.
Do you learn its basics and then chaotically rush to apply what you leaned? Or do you take your time, slowly but surely mastering the tactics and principles of the undertaking?
For just about everything, it’s the latter, isn’t it?
Good thing there’s no such thing as bullet brain surgery.
What do the Grandmasters and Experts Think?
Most grandmasters agree that bullet chess hurts your overall chess game play, especially as a beginner.
In a normal game, each player is taking their time to calculate how certain moves and openings will play out.
Time is taken to set things up. Pieces are moved in conjunction with one another to create traps.
But with Bullet chess, you don’t have any time to do any of that.
Because of the mad rush, sometimes blunders aren’t even seen by your opponent and vice versa.
You could be losing a game badly by the number of pieces captured, but still win because of the clock or because of a blunder made by your opponent to beat the clock.
This just doesn’t happen outside of Bullet chess.
In standard chess, if you’ve taken your opponent’s key pieces, and he or she is “material down”, meaning your pieces are more powerful than your opponent’s, then no mad rush on their part will allow them to come out with a win.
Because of this, If you’re a beginner looking to improve your game, there’s a big chance that Bullet chess will make your standard chess worse.
Bullet chess can be a little slice of chaos. But if you’re a beginner, the speed and chaos can actually diminish your overall game.
At its fastest speeds, Bullet chess really boils down to a race against the clock instead of a match of any kind of chess skill.
As one player put it, “Bullet chess is good for your bullet chess, but bad for everything else.”
How do you feel about Bullet chess? Have you ever played? Have you ever watched a game and been ultra curious as to how you’d fare?
Are you a beginner level chess player or have you been playing for a while? If you’re a regular Bullet chess player, how do you feel your chess skill have improved or diminished?
Let me know how you feel in the comments section below! I love reading your questions and comments and I always reply back.