Jeu du jour Sep/22/09
[Event "Amber Tournament (Blindfold)"]
[Site "Nice FRA"]
[White "Peter Leko"]
[Black "Veselin Topalov"]
Blindfold chess was first played quite early on in the history of chess, with perhaps the first game being played by Sa'id bin Jubair (665–714) in the Middle East. In Europe, playing chess blindfolded became popular as a means of handicapping a chess master when facing a weaker opponent, or of simply displaying one's superior abilities.
Harold James Ruthven Murray recorded another type of unseen chess: two Central Asian horsemen riding side by side playing chess by calling chess moves to each other without using a board or pieces.
The first known blindfold event in Europe took place in Florence in 1266. The great French player André Danican Philidor demonstrated his ability to play up to three blindfold games simultaneously in 1783 with great success, with newspapers highlighting his achievement, having taught himself to visualize the board while in bed at night when he had trouble sleeping.
Paul Morphy held in 1858 a blindfold exhibition against the eight strongest players in Paris with the stunning result of six wins and two draws. Other early masters of blindfold chess were Louis Paulsen, Joseph Henry Blackburne (he played up to 16 simultaneous blindfold games) and the first world champion Wilhelm Steinitz, who played in Dundee, in 1867, six simultaneous blindfold games (three wins, three draws). It was seen by these masters as a good source of income. (Source Wikipedia)