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Journey Into the Dark: My Blindfold Training

Journey Into the Dark: My Blindfold Training

Mar 18, 2013, 2:22 AM 5

I have been playing blindfold games at my dorm for chess training since last year around this time (I'm now a second year at the University of Chicago).  Even before that, when I was a beginner in my senior year of high school I would play blindfold games with a friend in my calculus class by writing moves on a notebook and passing it back and forth.  I have found it helps greatly with visualization skills and calculation.  My biggest simul blindfold success came in November 2012 (if I remember correctly) where I won three games blindfolded without clock.  Until IM Rensch (aka "Papa Bear") released his "Full Board Awareness" video series I was unaware that we had a blindfold option here on chess.com.  Upon realizing this excellent feature, I began putting it to great use.  Here are a couple of my experimental training games on the live server of chess.com.  I will continue to train this way in addition to studying famous games of masters and participating in local tournaments.  I will show two successes and two failures to highlight my strengths and weaknesses with visualization.  This is intended to be mostly for my benefit, but I hope others will enjoy the games (laughing at the silly errors and maybe learning from any instructive moments).  Please leave comments if you have any tips or anectdotes to share.  Thanks!

Game 1:  This was played only a week ago (or thereabouts).  A pretty big failure, littered with positional error and simple blindness.  Time control was 10|0

Game 2: Played the same night as the above game.  Also a 10|0 live game.  Note: To the best of my knowledge my opponents were not using the blindfold feature for any of the games I have shown here, though I did not ask them.  This game was a success but only with a good deal of help from my opponent.
Game 3:  A well-played game for the opening and early middle game, but I went awry around move 20.  This and the following game were played over the last two days. Time control was 10|0 here I think.  A nice change from a French Tarrasch, this game features my pet line, the Scotch Gambit, which I learned from GM Dzindzichashvili on chess.com.
Game 4:  This final game is a Caro-Kann played with a time control of 15|10 (I found this much easier to actually focus on visualizing and calculating than the other time control of the first three games).  I used a line I learned about through GM Shankland's video series on chess.com, which he mentions in passing of Ivanchuk's novelty 12...a5!? in the classical mainline  of the caro.  I thought this was fairly well played by me.  Again, my opponent helped me considerably in opening up his king.
Thanks for reading and happy chess! Hopefully, I'll have more chess training news in a couple weeks.

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