Blindfold Chess

Blindfold Chess

There are lots of different chess variants, which change one or several rules of chess. However, blindfold chess is not a variant, and all of the rules of a regular game of chess still apply—but there is definitely a twist. Can you guess the twist?

Here is what you need to know about blindfold chess:


What Is Blindfold Chess?

Blindfold chess is precisely what it sounds like—one (or both) of the players playing is either literally blindfolded or cannot see the board or pieces. Instead of moving the pieces like normal, the moves are communicated with chess notation. This means that the player playing blindfolded must keep a mental position of the entire board and all of the pieces for the entire game! 

blindfold chess
FM Marc Lang and GM Timur Gareyev playing blindfold chess. Photo: Blindfoldking/Wikimedia, CC.

This is not something that a chess player can learn overnight, of course, and takes a considerable amount of time and skill. Lots of blindfold specialists say that developing blindfold chess skills helps you in your regular games, as it increases your overall board awareness and ability to see patterns and tactics. The rationale makes sense: if you can perform these tasks and play an entire game blindfolded, think of how much easier playing a game is when you can actually see the board!

The first step to blindfold chess mastery is to memorize all of the square names and coordinates. Chess.com has you covered here with a tool called "vision," which can be found at Chess.com/vision. Vision helps you recognize the names of the squares, and with time and practice, you can see the chessboard all in your head. Eventually, you may be able to do a 10-game blindfold simul, like Chess.com's IM Danny Rensch!

Blindfold Chess Records

Playing a single blindfold chess game is an impressive achievement, but playing multiple blindfold games simultaneously is even more impressive! Danny's 10-game blindfold simultaneous exhibition above is amazing, for sure, but it is less than 25 percent of the record. GM Miguel Najdorf played 45 blindfold games simultaneously in 1947, a record that was beaten by FM Marc Lang who played a 46-board blindfold simul in 2011! But neither of these mind-blowing achievements is the world record. 

In 2017 GM Timur Gareyev set a new Guinness World record by playing 48 games in a blindfold simultaneous exhibition that lasted over 19 hours. This fantastic performance is considered one of the seven most amazing chess records.

blindfold chess Gareyev
GM Timur Gareyev holds the Guinness World record for simultaneous blindfold games.

How To Play Blindfold Chess On Chess.com

If you are brave enough to play blindfold chess on Chess.com, it is very easy to do. Simply go to Live Chess, select settings, select the "pieces style" tab, and then select "blindfold." A simpler way is to go to Chess.com/board/settings, and then selecting "blindfold" for your pieces style, and you're ready to go! 

blindfold chess
Blindfold chess on Chess.com is easy to set up.

Conclusion

You now know what blindfold chess is, some blindfold chess records, and how to play blindfold chess on Chess.com. Enjoy this new knowledge, and may this be your first step for playing blindfold chess of your own! If you are interested in blindfold chess, check out Chess.com's Blindfold Chess Club