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mattdw 71 ( +1 | -1 )
Blindfold Chess? Has (or does) anyone play blindfold chess? How exactly do you go about it? I'm assuming you will need a 3rd person to move the pieces! When I first heard the term I just imagined two people with blindfolds on sitting at a table fumbling around and knocking all the pieces over! ;) I was just wondering about this as since I started playing chess, every night when I'm lying in bed before I fall asleep I start playing through games in my head and have found (or I think I have found) that it helps calculations and visualisations of future board positions. Has anyone else found this to be the case? or am I just imagining things? Thanks,

Matt
thunker 30 ( +1 | -1 )
Matt No way I could do it, but my old teacher used to play me "blind" while I could use the board and move the pieces. I never won a game with him even when I did it blind!

May I suggest the following? It may define it all better....
-> en.wikipedia.org
cascadejames 33 ( +1 | -1 )
Not successfully Years ago I tried it, but without much success. I always seemed to lose track of something
important after 10 or 15 moves. It helps if your opponent plays a familiar conventional opening.
Even if you lose it is an interesting excercise. Give it a try. You might be surprised at how long
you can keep track of where everything is.

James
misato 51 ( +1 | -1 )
I used to play "blind memory" as the cards are placed on the table in an 8x8-pattern (German standard tournament version).

A third person is my "right hand" and turns the cards I tell him, tells me the items on the turned cards and collects/unturns them. That looks easier as chess, but I often don't delete those cards in my memory which are already taken. So in the end of the game (but after my 17th pair which is decisive) I frequently name a square (b6 or so) which has been emptied before. I never managed to clean the table ...

daverundle 71 ( +1 | -1 )
a friend of mine many years ago went to Russia with a school party an they visited the Moscow chess club where one of the grandmasters of the day played the pupils he was with. he sat in another room without a board and someone conveyed the moves from the 12 boards he was playing to him, and from memory!! he sent his moves back! Although obviously the pupils were not of an incredibly high standard they were impressed that someone could play 12 games without seeing any of the boards or using one!

I believe the world record for blindfold chess is in the hundreds! I have played up to 15 games simultaneously when i ran a chess club at a school where i worked and that was hard enough!!
ccmcacollister 184 ( +1 | -1 )
I think Blindfold is great for strengthening your mental 'visualization' of positions, like mattdw said and for working on strategies. Guess I have a personal annecdote that fits: One time in the final round of an otb tmt, I was having trouble handling a position of a won endgame. So went for a short break away from the board. Expected to have a cig and return but instead got locked out of the school building where it was held. After finally getting back in, the solution had become apparent while outdoors working on it, and the "how to get back in!" problem at the same time. Noticed immediately that things checked out on the Real Board and he would get a piece trapped if he went into the line that was troubling me. Which he did.
***
There is a story about Fischer too. During one event the lights went out. So the director said to stop the clocks. Whereupon Fischers opponent claimed it would not be fair to stop Bobby's clock as 'he will work on the move without the board'.
So supposedly RJF confirmed that and they let his clock run :)
***
Pillsbury, Najdorf and Alekine have all performed noteworthy numbers of blindfold games simulataneously.
I had a nice KGA win once as my best. But tend to lose track nowadays and find that I'm asking for trouble if I try to post something without going to an actual board. But many players will find they can handle a blindfold game. And there are techniques to strengthen such play. Probably a good memory is key. Since then even if visualization is weaker, the game can be reconstructed if you get a glich.
Also familiarity with a great number of positions, like a GM is, so you can note that 'this is almost like such and such, except ...'
***
From past forum, we know there are a lot of players on GK who do it, and have mentioned techniques involved.
bob2 32 ( +1 | -1 )
Tony Miles Wrote a good article about playing 30 or so people at once. Its in the book (Its only me), I think at the time he set a record for the number of opponents he played.
He says that you remember the various boards as pictures and call up in memory each of the boards in turn to hear your opponents move and to make yours.
alberlie 67 ( +1 | -1 )
remember boards as pictures... well, to be honest, that is the whole problem for me. I can easily recite the first ten moves or so of the Winawer main line, and I even know how the pieces would stand in relation to each other, but I would completely loose on what colour they are standing etc. So, for example, I would know that after 7) Qg4 0-0 the queen is on the same file as the king but I know neither the color of the queens square nor the color of the kings square. Same I know that if the pawn on e6 were gone the Bc8 would attack the Qg4 - but I only "know" that - I wouldn't be able to "see" that mentally, because (I guess...) I can't "see" where the light squares from the bishop lead to... :o/
misato 59 ( +1 | -1 )
wikipedia says: The US-American George Koltanowski (1903-2000) is the current holder of the blindfold simultan world record: In 1961 he played 56 games in Edinburgh, he won fifty and drew the other six.

His opponents were not too strong players, other people played better opponents - but this number of 56 is the maximum. There may be some other numbers because official judges and such is needed for an official world record.

In Russia blindfold simultan chess once was forbidden by law, fearing mental damage. Another GM (was it Najdorf?) couldn't sleep for days after such an event.
mattdw 32 ( +1 | -1 )
Thanks for all the insights everyone! I think I'll try to give it a go properly when I get the opportunity. I read this quote on Wikipedia and found it quite humorous, '...Réti bettered this record by playing 29 players simultaneously in Sao Paulo and amusingly commented on his poor memory after leaving his briefcase behind after the event.' ;)
ccmcacollister 118 ( +1 | -1 )
mattdw ... Reti was lucky! ... At one tmt I played Bughouse between rounds, got in my car to go home, and Drove OVER my Briefcase ... !?!?? Sad but true. One can hardly imagine the mental damage that playing BLINDFOLD Bughouse might bring !!? :))
*****
misato ; I was wondering about Kolti's blindfold play. Thanks for filling us in. I knew he played it but not that he had the record. Apparently he has a very great memory too, besides visualization, from what I've read.
*
Another thing he does to entertain is: "The Knight's Tour", which consists of having someone chose a starting square for the Knight, and he will 'tour' the board with it, landing upon all 64 squares, without repeating any of them. And i believe that is blindfold too,
but not certain.
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Before reading your info about Kolti, Najdorf was the last record-holder that I knew of ... and I believe he played 49 games simultaneously, blindfolded.
*
Pillsbury used to give blindfold chess exhibitions to entertain, that would include playing blindfold checkers, and engaging in a game of Whist, whilest doing the 20-
some games of Chess blindfolded. Now that's Showmanship, ay? !!!
*****
}8-)
wschmidt 115 ( +1 | -1 )
I don't remember if it was Kolty's suggestion, but somewhere I remember reading that a good way to help visualize the board when learning to play blindfold is to divide the board into four sections of 16 squares each and visualize the position of each section. At first you may be able to hold only one of the sections in your head, but eventually, you'll be able to get the entire board.
*
I've always been frustrated by my lack of ability to rapidly reset the board during analysis sessions (how do those guys remember what a complex board looked like 7 moves ago (with lots of exchanges) and reset it so fast?) and I've thought that doing that exercise might help. For awhile I took a puzzle book and tried that method - studying the four sections and then setting up the board. I don't know if it helped my chess but maybe it will stave off Alzheimers.
*
I don't know about earlier editions, but Chessmaster 9000 and, I presume, the newest edition has a blindfold chess feature. I've never used it but I just checked my copy and it's there. Fritz 9 doesn't seem to have that option but maybe the newest edition does. ws
ccmcacollister 153 ( +1 | -1 )
alberlie ... Reading the post from wschmidt reminds me of having read the quadrant method too. And I think that might be very helpful for the difficulty you mentioned,
of knowing square colors blindfolded.
A FIDE master friend has trained several Juniors of promise, up to as high as Master level in otb and among the top dozen or so in the USA. One of his requirements for his student IS to know the board 'inside and out' as we say. That they should be able to know what color a square is if he names it, without thought.
I don't know his rationale behind this requirement, but maybe it promotes faster analysis; or a foundation of confidence to build upon. I should ask about it sometime. In any case, he does seem to feel it important enough to require it of all students.
Back to visualizing... I use the Long Diagonals a lot if I need to figure out square color. Knowing that "WHITE is on the RIGHT" of the board, and so to the catycorner
square. And BLack always LEFT Lufting Right.
But the helpful trick is that the Mini-Boards (quads) are the Same as the Large Board. WT always on your right lifting to left. Like h1 to e4. And your corner on the Left side of a Quad is always BL going to the other BL corner. Like e1 to h4.
.....So looking at it broken down into a Quad like that,there are only 2 squares to consider between any of the Quad corners. Its pretty hard to miss! :)
***(Apologies if this is not clear or overstated; it has been a long night, and not a time for editing myself)
Regards, Craig
zhnkiu 56 ( +1 | -1 )
As a prize for comming in 1st at my elementary school tournament (5th grade, 1985), the winner was given the opportunity to play a blindfolded GM/IM. He failed to show up, and I played my teacher with queen odds instead (a stalemate). I got a nice stauton chess set in compensation...

In highschool, I was pretty good at playing Pencil&Paper chess: capitals for white, lower case for black with an underscore. The board ends up getting destroyed and illegible (and upside down), so the game is played mostly by memory. I suppose I would consider this playing with one eye open...