My Blindfold Chess Experience!
Today I'm going to talk about a different and mysterious aspect of chess, blindfold chess.
Blindfold chess is when a person is able to visualize the position without looking at the board. He/She will be able to use the coordinates on the board to create a picture of the board in the mind.
The history of blindfold chess is very vast. Blindfold chess started when the famous chess player Philidor managed to play 3 games simultaneously in 1786. From then on, the records increased and today the world champion in blindfold chess Marc Lang can play 46 games all at once. There are also many present blindfold chess players like Timur, Kramnik, Anand, Alexei Shirov, and Alexander Morozevich.
I had a passion to learn blindfold chess after learning all of this. I went to a blindfold chess camp with GM Timur Gareev a blindfold expert, a.k.a blindfold king (on the picture above).
Three major things to keep in mind when playing blindfold chess
- Always notate while playing blindfolded when you start
- Use a chess book to memorize positions so you can improve your memory.
- Know the board inside out.
When you get the experience of playing blindfold chess you don't have to notate. This is important because even if you forget the position you will use your notation sheet as a reference. The easiest way to learn blindfold chess is to take a chess book and study. There are many positions in the chess book, so you can picture the position several times without using the board. If you don't get the first time just keep on trying. You are also supposed to know the chessboard inside out. You are supposed to know the color of each square for ex. d4 is black. The diagonals, files, and ranks are also supposed known. For ex diagonal: a1, b2, c3, d4, e5, f6, g7, h8 For files a1, a2, a3, a4, a5, a6, a7, a8. You can also practice manuvering knights from one side of the board to another, or bishops on diagonals, rooks on files/ranks, and queens on the possible squares she can move to. This process might take a while to master.
The next step of blindfold chess is to put all the chess pieces in your mind, that is 32 chess pieces. You can start off by playing a short game by using an opening you are familiar with. For example, I'm pretty familiar with the Queen's Gambit, and the Italian Opening. After a short game you can turn it to a long game. You might lose depending on your opponent's skill level, but if you win your opponent playing blindfolded is a big accomplishment.
The next step is to play a game using an unfamiliar position. Since it is unfamiliar the moves might be harder to picture in the mind. Once you practice picturing complicated positions, and playing one game successfully, you can go beyond. You can show your talent of blindfold chess. You can start playing 2 games, then 4, then 8, and so on.
Below is a video of GM Timur Gareev playing blindfold chess: Thanks for reading and enjoy the video!