How to get the hang of chess quickly

. 2 min read

Chess is a great game. For me, the fascination lies in the fact that each game depicts the events of a war: there are fights and wins and losses and strategic moves and sacrifices. You can even apply some of the advice Sun Tzu shares in The Art of War.

While I've known the rules of chess ever since I was little, I never really studied chess. I know there are certain openings that you should know by heart but I never bothered to learn them. So for a long time, when watching people who had studied those openings and other strategies play, I didn't get why they performed certain moves. It all seemed arbitrary at best.

Only recently I realized that my inability to understand the common tactics wasn't because I hadn't studied the game; it was because I had only watched people play regular chess, aka long games that take hours. You see, lately I've been watching a lot of blitz chess and bullet chess on YouTube and Twitch, and that has changed everything.

When you see a lot of games played very rapidly, as in 1 to 2 minutes for each player, your mind will start to see the patterns insanely quickly, and soon enough you can predict the moves the players will make.

When watching a regular game that takes several hours, your mind doesn't know how to connect the dots. Most of the time, nothing happens, as players are thinking about what to do next. And chances are that if you can make it and watch an entire slow game, you won't have the willpower to watch another one. Teaching your brain this way would take a lifetime.

When watching blitz games, the players don't have time to think; they'll make moves out of memory or intuition, and thus they'll end up using certain patterns over and over again, which allows you to memorize them and figure out why the player uses them. You'll learn the basics quickly, and if you watch a good player, you'll learn more than basics - you'll learn how the very best play.

So if you want to learn chess without studying it from a book, watch blitz games online (for example chessbrah). You'll probably be entertained as a side effect.