How to Handle an Opponent That Plays Too Fast in Chess?

Chess is complicated, this is a fact.

There are so many pieces that each have unique movements (plus the pawns).

There are also weird rules such as en passant, castling, pawn promotion, threefold repetition, stalemate, etc.

No wonder why most people spend a lot of time thinking about every move, they have to consider a lot of things before going into any variation.

However if you have been playing for some time now then you would know some speedsters that just play too fast.

It is like they do not even think at all, most people are annoyed playing against them.

This article will be talking about such players, in particular, those that play too fast.

I will be teaching you some things that you need to take into consideration when playing against these types of players.

Surely your winning rate will improve if you follow my tips. Without further ado, let’s get started. 

Why do some people play too fast in chess?

The reason why some people play too fast in chess is simple: they want to flag their opponent (winning on time rather than winning on position).

There is no reason to play quickly if you are not trying to put time pressure against an opponent.

Playing too fast has its consequences no matter how strong a chess player is, this is true no matter what anyone says.

The quality of moves will go lower the faster a player chooses to make use of their time.

You can actually use this against such a player since playing too fast has its weaknesses. If you know their objective then there is a way to turn the tables against them.

It is not a 100% foolproof plan, but it can become effective if you implement it correctly.

You should take advantage of two things: the lower quality of moves and their tendency to play faster once their opponent also started playing fast.

How to beat an opponent that plays too fast?

The first weakness of speed players is their tendency to play “good enough” moves rather than the “best” moves.

This is something that you can take advantage of if you are willing to drag the game out.

In some cases where people report their opponent as playing well in blitz, it is not what I see.

Most of the time someone that is playing quickly is only playing good-enough moves that doesn’t lose the game immediately.

If you can spend time and think about the moves, you have a higher likelihood of playing moves that are slightly higher in quality.

Just remember that spending more time on a move does not always mean quality, you can spend a lot of time thinking and still play a bad move in the end. Instead, look in the position and see the best move, then make it better.

If you cannot find a better move then play the first move you had in your mind initially.

But just make sure that you are trying to improve on every move that you play. Most likely than not, you will be in a better position to win after this.

The second weakness is that most speed players are egoistic. They have so much pride in their ability to play fast most of the time, this is definitely a weakness.

You would want to spend more time on every move as they do, but not so much that you lose all of your time.

You would want to prioritize the more critical positions. In the opening where not much is happening, you probably won’t spend as much time there.

When a speed player sees that their opponent is also moving quickly, they tend to play even faster and eventually lose control.

There are things that you can do to think faster without losing control. It is about prioritizing the most important moves to make.

Make sure that you are spending more time than them but also do not spend too much time on non-important situations.

This is how you beat a speed player, it is time and decision management really.

It depends on the time control.

This is an important caveat. The advice that I have given above only applies in rapid and classical time controls. If you are playing blitz or bullet then you don’t stand a chance if you are not used to playing quickly.

Blitz rewards players that only play “good enough” moves since the time control is lower.

We don’t even need to talk about bullet since that time control doesn’t even allow thinking.

I suggest staying away from these time controls if you have an anxiety against someone that plays very fast.

The only way to beat these people in speed chess is to be better than them in their own game, basically to become a better speed player.

The good news is that people who thrive in blitz or bullet usually struggle against players of similar strength when the time control is rapid or classical.

This is why competitive chess players warn beginners to avoid the path of blitzaholics, because it will ruin their classical chess.

Just avoid these time controls in the meantime until you are ready.

Things to not do against a player that play quickly

I have told you the things to do against a chess player that plays too fast, but I have not told you the things to avoid.

When playing against someone that play too quickly, don’t do the following:

  1. Trying to play even faster than them (basically playing at their own game).
  2. Spending too much time on moves that do not matter.
  3. Reminding yourself that you just play poorly against speed players (psychology matters).
  4. Thinking that your opponent is too strong for someone that plays fast (even Magnus Carlsen blunders in cases where he plays too fast).
  5. Playing for a draw.
  6. Grabbing every material that has been offered.
  7. Starting an attack too early.
  8. Playing too fast in the endgame.

All of these are issues that I see when someone is struggling against a speed player. If you can avoid these traps then you will have an easier time against them.


If you want to play well against a player that moves too fast you need to take advantage of two things:

(1) is the fact that speedsters usually sacrifice the quality of moves in order to make quick decisions.

This means that you should spend a little bit more time trying to improve your initial calculation to be a step ahead of this opponent.

It does not mean that it will take you forever, but it means that you will try to increase the quality of your moves even by just a little.

Eventually these little improvements will pile up, and you will have a better position.

The other (2) is the fact that speedsters tend to play faster once their opponent also starts playing fast.

You should spend more time than someone that is trying to play fast, but don’t spend too much time.

Try to find improvements, but make decisions reasonably.

They will have an impression that you are playing fast so they will play faster, this will make it easier for you to find an opening.

That is all for this article, thank you for reading.