What is special about slow chess? | Saswath Academy

What is special about slow chess?

As popular the game of chess, wider is the variety of methods in which its admirers like to
play it. From the traditional sixty four squared boards to the modernised AI engines, the
methods might be different, but the basic idea and fondness behind playing chess has
remained the same over the centuries. It is indeed, one of the oldest existing games and has
stood tall even in the test of times, divisions and transformations. In the contemporary times,
the kinds of chess that are being practised and played by even the world champions range
from Rapid to Blitz. These are played in fifteen minutes or less and the people fond of them
find them dangerous as well as exciting. There is even yet another form termed as Bullet
Chess which has a one minute time control but in that people generally lack the coordination
to move the chess pieces efficiently in such a constrained and limited amount of time which
is just sixty seconds. On the contrary, there exists a more traditional form of the game which
is called slow chess.
It is relatively slower as compared to the first three mentioned kinds and unlike them, it is
meant to enhance the quality as well as the integrity of the game. For the beginners trying to
learn how to play chess in the initial stages, Blitz is considered unhealthy and slow chess is
found to be just the opposite. Introducing the concept of speed into playing chess proves to be
harmful for the beginning junior players. This is because they would want to rush through the
game with exceeding speed, making blunders after blunders as they progress in the game.
What actually happens is that when either of the two junior players makes a fast move, the
other one is compelled to make the next move even faster, out of the sheer competitive spirit.
It then becomes a case in which each of the two junior players wants to show off their
superior skills of playing chess. They are generally guided by the misconception that playing
fast (but not accurately) is going to enlist them as a brilliant chess player.
The experts, on the other hand, strongly believe that patience is an important factor that plays
a key role as and when a person is learning to play chess in the beginning. No doubt, the
beginner players are fired with loads of energy when they sit to combat with their opponents
via skilful moves, but patience is the necessary entity that they are often found to be lacking.
Sometimes the chess mentors and experts deliberately slow down the speed of playing chess
for their pupils. For an instance, Snapshot Puzzle System (SPS) is one verified technique
whose primary benefit is to develop the art of patience in the aspiring chess players, without
even them realizing it. In this system, a snapshot is created after every move which is further
treated like a puzzle of its own kind. Now, the puzzle can be solved in multiple unique ways
and the learners are required to come up with three possible moves. For them to be valid and
considerable, the three suggested moves should be based on some specific principles else as
we all very well know, a student can quickly come up with the first three moves, which
would then defeat the sole purpose of following this system.

Essentially, slow chess is “correspondence chess” or “daily chess,” as the popular website
“chess.com” terms it. It accounts for the chess games that are played over days or weeks,
with moves submitted on the Chesskid.com website. The major advantage of playing chess
games of this kind is that players have several days per move and there is a possibility that
multiple games might be going on at the same time. Playing chess in the slow manner comes
with another benefit that it helps develop the good thinking abilities as when given ample
time; a person is able to reach an apt decision as to what moves they should proceed with.
There have been various significant developments in the arena of slow chess. The Internet
Chess Club (ICC) provides a fair opportunity to everyone to play all types of chess, with all
different types of opponents and at all possible chess speeds, wherein slow chess is one
among them. ICC based slow leagues are designed in such a way that they help the players to
learn how to play chess slowly. On a daily basis, thousands of slow chess games are played
on the ICC platform which has slow time limits. If one wishes to try their hand in slow chess
on the ICC platform, they just have to simply go to the twenty five minute pool which will
pair them with the first person available online.
Renowned chess coach Mark Johnson, who is also a Tournament Director and addicted
Wood Pusher prefers 40 moves in two hours on an average. He suggests that when the
opponent makes his move the, before doing anything else, one should note down the move
because it helps them to double check that they have already written down their last move.
Also, if possible, one should mention the times as well so that when pondered over later on, it
becomes easier to understand how much time one takes to make a move in a particular
situation. It is really great if one is able to sit on their hands and decide on their best move.
For the same, the following 7 necessary steps have been suggested:-
1. Always try to figure out why your opponent has made some particular move. Try to
find if you have some unprotected pieces or a fork or check coming that you have not
been able to notice yet.
2. Consider at least 2 candidate moves by pondering over the strategic impacts it is
going to have on the game. We have to always make sure that we are not leaving any
chess piece unprotected, a sudden pin etc.
3. Give the move one more look and ensure if it is the best one in the given
circumstances.
4. Make the move.
5. Jot your move down.
6. Punch the clock.
7. Repeat the above steps in order to avoid making any blunders and head straight to
victory.

Slow chess is an art in itself which further teaches us the art of patience and
thoughtfulness and hence the beginners are recommended to consider playing chess in
this form.

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