Wednesday, November 10, 2010


I learned how to play chess when I was about 10 years old. By that I mean, I learned how the pieces moved. It was not until I was in college that I learned how to play the game. My mentor was a Jesuit priest by the odd name of Hacker Fagot. He and I played hundreds of games. I was hooked for life after that. I've played chess virtually every day of my life ever since, either out of books, by correspondence, or now, the easiest and most convenient way possible, via computer. It's rare that I don't have 15-20 games going on simultaneously.

When I was a member of the Baton Rouge Chess Club, we used to play five-minute chess--each player has five minutes on his clock. If you time runs out you lose. Three-minute chess also. I was never very good at speed chess. In fact, I was lousy.

Now, in top-ranked world class chess Speed (or Blitz or Bullet) Chess Tournaments and Championships are common. If you've never seen a speed chess game, have a look at this one. It's between two strong grandmasters, Maxim Dlugy on the right and Hikaru Nakamura, US chess champion for 2009, on the left. The game takes a minute. Nakamura wins. It's astonishing to watch, and you can bet the quality of the game was quite high.

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