How To Improve Your Chess Visualization?
François-André Danican Philidor perfoming a blindfold game. Public domain

How To Improve Your Chess Visualization?


A chess player needs to train seven fundamental skills. There are: Visualization, Calculation, Tactics, Evaluation, Strategy, Openings and Endgames. One of the most important skills for a chess player is visualization.

What is visualization in chess?

Visualization is the ability to see in your mind the positions reached when certain moves are made – without making them on the board – and seeing them so clearly you can accurately consider the implications of each new position. Imagine how it must be to visualize any combination of moves in your mind and being able to “see” the outcome of it. It's related to calculation and can help you play or watch a game without a chessboard.

Paul Morphy in an exhibition playing a blindfold game in cafe de la regence, Paris.
Paul Morphy playing a blindfold game in an exhibition. It's necessary to train a lot to play like Morphy

Visualization is is what allows GM to play blindfold chess games, like the one you can see below. While you are watching it remember that it was played without a chessboard! You can try to see the game in your mind

Awesome game

(At the end of this blog you can see Carlsen playing blindfold simultaneous chess.)

With perfect visualization, it would be possible to calculate, without mistakes, a lot of moves. Super GM can play games without problems because they have a chessboard in his mind. Ivanchuk didn´t see 30.Bf8, but... Would he have seen it without the blindfold?

The blindfold chess king

Timur Gareyev, alias "Blindfold Chess King", has the record of simultaneous blindfold chess games. 48 games! played in Las Vegas, 2016, with the outcome of +35=7-6, after playing for 20 hours. He uses the method of Loci.

Here is Timur playing blindfold in a Russian TV:

Thanks to Aditya Mittal for telling me about him

After this "little" introduction, let's answer the question... How To Improve Your Chess Visualization?

The answer is... training!   There are a lot of little exercises that you can do.

Visualization exercises for chess

  • Try to think how many moves needs a knight to go from one square to another, for example.
  • Or try to watch a game that you find in a book. For example, try to visualize this game. There are only 17 moves!
  • You can improve your visualization skill training with chess puzzles
  • And the last one, you can use this app: ChessVis .FM Sebastian Fell told me about it. You can configure it as you want.

Let´s see an example

Now try to visualize this moves:

1... Nh3+

2. gxh3 Qd4+

3. cxd4

And after those 2 moves, there is a mate in two. Can you see it?

To finalize this blog, let´s solve 4 puzzles:

First one

An easy problem. Three moves to visualize, and mate in one.

1... axb5

2. Nxb5 Qc2+

3. Ke1 Qb1+

4. Ke2


Second one

In this one you need to visualize 5 moves, and then there is an easy puzzle.

The moves are:


2. Bb2 Qf6

3. Rc1 Qh6

4. d4 exd4

5. exd4 Rae8

6. 0-0









Third one
Are you ready for this?  Your will visualize 9 moves, and in that position you you will have to see a mate in 3!
The moves are:


2.Be3 Rc8

3.Nc3 a6

4.Bd3 Re8

5.h3 Bh5

6.Qd1 Qd6

7.Be2 Bd8

8.Nh2 Bc7

9.g3 Rxe3


Can you see mate in 3?








Fourth one
Another type of puzzles are this one:
White pieces: Kd3, Qe4, Bc6; Black pieces: Ka6, a5, b6
White to play and win









You can train your skills in, as you can see in this video (thanks to @Gitananda):
Here is the video of Carlsen:

As in other blogs...

Sorry for my english , I'm open to suggestions. I want to improve my english.  It is a very long article and there may be mistakes

P.S: More exercises:

Another english versions of my blogs 

Bishop pair

Sacrifice Rule

My memorable games: Aronian-Popov

Bxa6 sacrifice!