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Learning To Be Blind

Learning To Be Blind

May 12, 2017, 6:23 AM 1

Hello! My name is Neal. The purpose of this blog is to track my progress and observations as I tackle the goal of learning how to play chess purely from memory, also known as blindfold chess.

First, some background about me: I am in my early 30's, married, with a child on the way, and work as a paramedic in Chicago. I have an analytical mind, and the process of analyzing a position is fascinating and pleasing to me. I first learned to play chess around the 6th grade, although I wouldn't say I started to truly learn the game until around sophomore year of college; this was when I first started reading basic chess books. I have never played in tournaments, and do not have a FIDE rating or anything like that. I do decently in online play, and my tactics trainer rating here tends to hover around 1900. Ultimately I consider myself to be a happy amateur; I have built a chess library that I'm pretty happy about:


The ability to play chess blindfolded always seemed to be this skill that simply required genius, not something learn-able, but I'm willing to try and see if I can train myself to do it, like any other skill. It's benefits with regard to calculation are hopefully self-evident.

I was recently inspired to attempt this when I watched the documentary "Magnus" on Netflix. There is a scene where Magnus is playing a game with his father while traveling, both purely from memory. I have been asking myself ever since, "Why can't I achieve this?"

Hopefully this will be a blog charting success and will be helpful for others who wish to attempt the same. If not, I hope you enjoy the train-wreck to follow! Please feel free to comment, and helpful suggestions are always welcome!

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