Why is blitz chess so popular? Not what you think!

Blitz is popular because it caters to instant gratification that the longer time formats cannot offer. It is also popular because most people who play chess have other responsibilities that they need to take care of, blitz is a format that can allow them to play without it being too short.

Blitz chess is super popular right now, it probably is the most played time format in online platforms more than any other time control. Some people are wondering about this because they think blitz is bad.

I actually agree that playing too much blitz can be bad for your general improvement as a player, however, I do think that there is a reason for this. I think there is a good reason why blitz is so popular which you will find very interesting.

I think I can answer this question well since I am one of those people who like playing blitz, there is just something about this time format that is attractive.

And I am going to present it here, this is just my opinion but I personally believe that my points are reasonable. Without further ado, let’s get started. 

Blitz chess is popular because it caters to instant gratification

Blitz chess is more popular for beginners since it caters to instant gratification that influences our decisions as humans, something that makes us irrational. Classical chess for example is considered boring for this exact reason.

In classical or rapid you are likely to think in long periods of time while there is not much happening on the board, the positions are usually stale before anything interesting happens.

In blitz where the time format is shorter, people can afford to play risky lines even at the early stages of the game, this gives instant gratification on what chess can truly offer.

Most beginners are usually not willing to wait for a long time fixing small weaknesses in their position and hopefully gaining an advantage later on. They usually want to see something thrilling immediately.

And we have to understand that there are more beginners than experts in the chess community, it is no wonder that blitz chess caters to more people since there are just more beginners.

Part of the reason why blitz chess is so popular is that it immediately gives you a sense of something exciting, something that is not present in other time formats other than bullet (which is harder to play).

Blitz chess is popular since young people prefer it

There are a lot of young people who play chess that have a low attention span because of their exposure to the internet. Blitz chess ensures that there is a rush of dopamine that would keep kids interested.

This shortening of attention span is a popular topic in today’s technological world, everyone especially the young ones, likely spends a lot of time on social media.

These social media platforms usually give a constant barrage of interesting things that would trigger someone’s dopamine level. Chess, especially those on lower time controls, cannot keep up the same pace. 

There are just fewer things happening in longer time formats, and since there are a lot of young people who are interested in chess, they would prefer blitz more than those other formats.

This may just be the reason why blitz chess is so popular.

Blitz chess has become popular because of people’s lack of time

Blitz chess is popular because not a lot of people have a lot of hours to invest in chess. 

Some have their personal responsibilities, their jobs for example, in which they may like to play a game or two but not necessarily invest a lot of time.

I think this is one of the biggest reasons why blitz is so popular even among all other reasons here, not everyone is trying to become a professional player.

Not everyone can invest so much time in playing a longer time format since they have other obligations to attend to, they just want to play a game without causing trouble in their daily routine.

I have stated above that there are a lot of young people that play chess, but there are also a lot of older people who play this game. This means they’re going to have a job or some other career task that they need to do every day.

This is actually the case with this blog, I play a lot of blitz not because I just prefer this time format. 

I continually play a lot of blitz because it is the only time format that can accommodate my limited time managing this website and writing its articles.

This is probably true for most people. And with some tricks you can still be good at blitz anyway.

Blitz chess is popular because it is easier to acquire ratings

Some people prefer blitz chess because it is easier to acquire ratings in this format. Blitz may have become popular since people who play casually want to build up their rating as fast as possible.

Some people who picked up chess treat it as a number game, a game where they need to do whatever they can to boost their rating in a short period of time.

Climbing your rating in classical or rapid is not as feasible since it will take longer to finish just one game, it is easier to acquire ratings on blitz since the games are so short.

Maybe they want to brag about their hard-earned Elo rating to their friends or some other online chess community forum, it is much harder to do this if they choose a longer time format.

This can also be a reason why blitz is so popular, it is because there are a lot of people who are chasing their rating too much.

Blitz chess is popular because it is harder to cheat

Blitz chess has become so popular because it is harder to cheat on this format than compared with rapid or classical for example. Chess engines do need a lot of time to think, and blitz players can punish them by just moving faster.

Of course, there are other ways to cheat in chess than just using an engine. But even the other kinds of cheating are harder to perform in a blitz game.

This is an interesting reason why blitz is so popular, there are just fewer opportunities to consult an engine due to the limited time. In classical or rapid, it is more likely to encounter someone who is cheating.

In blitz, players do not need to concern themselves too much with computer players, they can just outplay them by moving incredibly fast.

Of course it is still hard to beat someone using a computer by just moving too fast, however, there is at least something you can do in blitz than with other time formats.

Blitz has become popular since most influencers promote it

Blitz is more popular as a content format since viewers prefer to see something happening on the board for them to enjoy the game. No one wants to see a player thinking for a long time without anything exciting going on.

This inadvertently promoted a lot of blitz chess for people who are just starting to learn the game, and when they do manage to learn it eventually they of course are going to prefer blitz chess more than any other time format.

They want to play the time format that they saw their favorite influencer is playing on, they want to see how they would look if they played on the same field. 

These are not the fault of chess influencers since they are just feeding what the algorithm wants, content that is interesting. They are part of the reason why blitz chess became so popular but it is understandable.

Influencers promote blitz because it is not too short nor too long

Blitz is a sweet spot that will cater to viewers without being too long that it becomes boring, and not being too short that it still contains the essence of chess.

If the influencer who promotes their content shows a classical game where they are just thinking for a long time without anything happening, it is not going to be rewarded.

If they play a bullet game which some viewers may enjoy, it is not going to teach their audience anything about chess since the time format is so fast.

Some of these chess influencers do take pride in their ability to play chess and want to educate the masses. Blitz is the sweet spot where they can show their calculations but also not make it too long that it becomes boring.

Blitz is popular because people are not trying to improve

Most players who play online are not necessarily trying to improve their game and are just trying to have fun. Blitz chess is more popular because it is arguably the most exciting format of all.

I think the majority of players in the chess community right now are not trying to be a professional, they just want to experience some of the things that they have seen online.

This means that they are not going to play a bullet game since it is too fast for their current level, nor play longer time formats that are stale and boring at times.

Blitz is a time format that they can play without too much time commitment and they can still think properly. This is why people prefer blitz to some other time formats.

Blitz is popular because people are just lazy

Another reason why blitz chess may have become popular is that people are just lazy, they don’t want to think as much. In blitz, you can actually win games by playing moves based on intuition without much calculation.

This one of course depends on the level of your opponent, but generally, you can win without as much calculation when compared with other time formats.

I know this may sound funny but people just don’t want to use their brain sometimes, maybe they are just tired from their work and want to play a game or two.

They would not want to play a classical where it is not only long and boring, but also it will likely involve a lot of calculation from beginning to the end. People sometimes just want to play decent moves without losing immediately.

Blitz caters to that, it may have become popular because people are just lazy at times.

Blitz is popular because mastering it is a lot cooler

Some people exclusively play blitz chess since they look a lot cooler to their friends who are not necessarily interested in the game. 

For non-chess players, it is fascinating to see someone think of moves in a fast manner. If you mastered chess in a long format like classical, it is likely that no one is going to appreciate all the time that you have spent studying.

This is because non-chess players do not understand how deep a single move can be, which is the theme in classical formats (deep, non-obvious moves). 

This can apply in rapid as well, most people are not going to watch 10-minute chess games since they don’t really understand what is going on.

People are more likely to prefer blitz chess since it is just cooler on the surface. This may sound like a ridiculous reason but this can apply to some individuals.

You may argue that the bullet time control is a lot cooler if this is the reason, and I agree. Bullet chess is also popular for a lot of beginners the same way blitz is, I think this is part of the reason why blitz is so popular.

Final thoughts

In chess there are so many time controls that you can choose to master, however, some will be preferred by others generally due to some reasons. One of the most favorable ones is the blitz time format.

I have provided my own take on why blitz is so popular in the chess community right now, it’s also part of the reason why I have been playing it so much.

Sometimes there are bad reasons, but for others like me, it is just convenient for the situation that I am experiencing. I am sure that this applies to others as well, you can of course, choose to play whatever time control that you want.

But for those of you wondering why blitz is so popular, I hope I have satisfied you. That is my job with this website anyway, sleep well and play chess.