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Can the average person learn to play blindfold chess?


  • 5 years ago · Quote · #2

    orangehonda

    Other than someone with a natural talent for it, I think it's a side effect of lots of chess calculation/visualization practice and will naturally surface after a few years of playing regularly.  I say a few years but sure it will be different for everyone. 

    I think the first time I successfully played a game blindfolded was after I'd been playing 5 years regularly and I was terrible at chess when I began.  Among other things I remember when I worked hard on calculating 2 moves ahead to see if I'd loose my center pawn early in the opening.  It was defended twice and attacked twice, I checked again just to be sure... and I was safe, brilliant! 

    So I consider myself pretty standard and I eventually was able to do it, so I assume there's no special gift necessary for 1 or even a handful of boards at once.

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #3

    Estragon

    Sure you can do it, just don't expect to learn to do it overnight. It's like any new skill, it takes practice to master. But anyone can do it if determined to learn, just take it one step at a time. Start by playing from diagrams in magazines or newspapers. Try to follow the moves after the diagram in your head. At first you won't be able to get very far, but if you try it regularly, you will gradually be able to "see" deeper and deeper without the board. My old coach and I used to travel to weekend events, and he taught me to play blindfold in the car. We would play until I lost the position and couldn't follow any more. Then, we'd just abandon the game, no pressure of win or lose. Gradually I could keep it going longer, then through the whole game, eventually able to beat him. But it was because of the regular practice.

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #4

    willowdale

    why? seeing is hard enough.......for you the blind who once could see , the bell tolls for thee...........

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #5

    bjazz

    uhohspaghettio wrote:

    Sounds like a brilliant time-consuming way to waste our lives away on chess...


    Man. Have you ever uttered a constructive comment in your life?

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #6

    zankfrappa

         The ability to visualize is a gift, although others have been able to gain
    the skill through unpleasant practice.
         The great Jack Nicklaus said he would "go to the movies" before each golf
    shot.  He would clearly see the shot in his head before he attempted it, which
    was a huge advantage to be able to have.  Another golf legend Tom Kite said
    he read Jack's book and could not do the same thing, as visualization did not
    come easy for him.  Jack also pictured new golf holes in his head as he walked
    the fairways, which he would use later for the new courses he designed.
    Nicklaus clearly is some sort of extremely gifted genius in his own way.
        
     

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #7

    AnthonyCG

    Just do it until you get it right. It's that simple really.

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #9

    AnthonyCG

    notlesu wrote:

     Natalia, what do you mean by good? At least 1900, 2000+???

    Surely, you dont think a 1600 can play blindfold chess. If a guy is going to be hanging pieces with his eyes open what kind of game will he play with his eyes shut?


    I know!!! Like a GM knows what they're talking about!!.........

    ........

    ....

    ..

    .

    Undecided

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #10

    Estragon

    zankfrappa wrote:

         The ability to visualize is a gift, although others have been able to gain
    the skill through unpleasant practice.
         The great Jack Nicklaus said he would "go to the movies" before each golf
    shot.  He would clearly see the shot in his head before he attempted it, which
    was a huge advantage to be able to have.  Another golf legend Tom Kite said
    he read Jack's book and could not do the same thing, as visualization did not
    come easy for him.  Jack also pictured new golf holes in his head as he walked
    the fairways, which he would use later for the new courses he designed.
    Nicklaus clearly is some sort of extremely gifted genius in his own way.
        
     


     

    My favorite Nicklaus story relates to this concentration issue:  I saw him give an exhibition, '68 or '69 I think, at the James River course of the Country Club of Virginia.  After nearly an hour's talk and trick-shot exhibition he played a round with a couple top local amateurs.  On the par four 7th hole, he was on the green in two but had about a 35 foot putt over a tricky contoured green. 

    Jack studied it, looked at it, walked it back and forth.  Then he "plumb-line" sighted it, both from behind the ball and then the hole, taking his time on each.  Finally he took a deep breath and approached the ball.  A couple practice strokes, then he addressed the ball, and froze.  It seemed like a long time.  He stepped back, looked up, took another deep breath, addressed the ball again.  Again he stood there as if frozen.  This whole process must have taken nearly 10 minutes, but it seemed much longer.

    Finally he began to pull the putter on his backstroke, but just then some guy back in the gallery yelled, "C'mon, Jack - hit the damn ball!"  A gasp went through the gallery.  Nicklaus froze in mid-backstroke. 

    He stopped, stepped back, took a really deep breath, looked up at the sky, took another breath - and then went back to sighting the putt.  He went through the whole process from the very start, didn't omit a step - and this time the gallery was silent throughout.  When he addressed the ball, he once again froze for a long minute, then finally stroked the putt.

    It seemed he had played the first break too much, but it came back on a long slow curve - had he misread the second break?  But no, it slid back towards the cup, but looked like it didn't have enough juice to make it.  You could see the dimples as it made the last few rotations before dropping into the cup.

    The loudest ovation I ever heard for a golf shot ensued, and he deserved it.

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #11

    ManyBuffalo

    notlesu wrote:

     Natalia, what do you mean by good? At least 1900, 2000+???

    Surely, you dont think a 1600 can play blindfold chess. If a guy is going to be hanging pieces with his eyes open what kind of game will he play with his eyes shut?


    A bad game, that's what kind he'll play.  But not necessarily any worse than he would OTB.

    Practicing blindfold chess is a good way to develop your visualization skills, but it's hardly the only way.  No reason a complete fish rated 800 can't play a blindfold game, if he has adequate visualization skills.

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #12

    zankfrappa

    Estragon,

    Great Nicklaus story.  I read that he also holds his breath before he putts, which
    kept his breathing from moving his body at all.  It is hard to believe he had all
    that power and such great touch as well!!!

    Where is that course in Virginia?

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #13

    goldendog

    I could play a game blindfold when I was probably <1200--before I entered my first USCF tournament. Yes the games were terrible but I could do the trick.

    There must be many 1600s out there capable of playing a "reasonable," full game blindfold, even if they almost per force must lose several hundred points of strength in doing so.

    I always felt I lost about 500 points when playing blindfold.

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #14

    bjazz

    notlesu wrote:
    ManyBuffalo wrote:
    notlesu wrote:

     Natalia, what do you mean by good? At least 1900, 2000+???

    Surely, you dont think a 1600 can play blindfold chess. If a guy is going to be hanging pieces with his eyes open what kind of game will he play with his eyes shut?


    A bad game, that's what kind he'll play.  But not necessarily any worse than he would OTB.

    Practicing blindfold chess is a good way to develop your visualization skills, but it's hardly the only way.  No reason a complete fish rated 800 can't play a blindfold game, if he has adequate visualization skills.


     Manybuffalo, You seem to feel a 1600 player would not play any worse with his eyes shut than he would with his eyes open?  You've got to be kidding! I'll bet you a dollar to a doughnut hole that no 1600's are out there playing blinfold chess at any level. Unless by blindfold chess you mean 1. e4---OK, I resign! Game over---you win.    


    Well I for one play blindfold chess regularily, and I'm nowhere near 1600. And not only that but my blindfold chess is just as good as my play with a board visible, but it a bit slower. I find middlegame the hardest part and I've found that I don't consider as many candidate moves as with a board. It greatly helps that the only person I play blindfold with is 1800 (ICC) player with a good opening-repertoire, so that the openings phase goes through known mainlines by sheer memory, then there's the slightly more difficult middlegame part, but once the game goes to endgame it eases up again (!?) with less pieces on the board.

    Also when we play, we both play blindfolded (I'm not giving an 1800 player sight-odds). If the other player should after his third pint make an illegal move, the opponent can call that and the mistaken party loses. We don't use a clock.

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #15

    jesterville

    Personally, I've never played a "blindfold" game. I imagine it would require good memory and visualization. I have seen top players play however...why the use of the computer? Are you allowed to touch the computer? (like prints on the screen to assist you?) 

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #16

    Chess_Enigma

    I was able to play blindfold chess a few months after I picked up the game and started studying (alot). I am sure anyone could do it with practice.

    When I "visualize" the board I do not see colour or shapes really. It is kind of like remembering a friend, where you wont see the creases on there face but only their promenent features. But even this explanation is unsatisfactory.

    If you are interested DO IT, you will be suprised at your abilities I promise Smile.

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #17

    Chess_Enigma

    notlesu wrote:
    Chess_Enigma wrote:

    I was able to play blindfold chess a few months after I picked up the game and started studying (alot). I am sure anyone could do it with practice.

    When I "visualize" the board I do not see colour or shapes really. It is kind of like remembering a friend, where you wont see the creases on there face but only their promenent features. But even this explanation is unsatisfactory.

    If you are interested DO IT, you will be suprised at your abilities I promise .


     Yeah and I'm a resurrected Bobby Fischer---wanna play a game?


    If you are implying that I am lying you are wrong.

    Psychology research consistently shows that the stronger player, the better will be his or her performance in chess-memory and imagery tasks. But that does not mean that weaker players should be discouraged from playing blindfolded! They will be pleased at being capable of playing only one blindfold game, and evidence indicates they will improve their regular chess at the same time.

    (Eliot Hearst and John Knot.Blindfold Chess.pg. 193)

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #18

    WIshbringer

    In high school I played blindfold chess every day in physics class with my friend, Tom.  We got away with it for months until we were assigned a student teacher. One day she strolled up the aisle and found our physics notebooks (literally) filled with chess notation.  The regular teacher had seen it but didn't know what it was, and evidently was too embarrassed to ask.  We got busted and  it was the end of our blindfold games.  I won most of the games, but Tom went on to Princeton and Berkeley.

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #19

    bjazz

    Also sometimes on long car- or trainrides I have a saitek's kasparov model with me, and instead of trying to balance the small, ultralight plastic-pieces on the board on my lap, I'll just push my moves on the squares sort of semi-blindfold, seeing the board but lacking the pieces. Come to think of it, that's how I probably got into it.

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #20

    panandh

    Is there any sideeffect on the health?


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