November 2, 2013 – Sitting blindfolded in the Cook County Jail, the No. 3-ranked chess player in America began calling out moves as ten detainees, faces tightened in concentration, stared down at the rooks, knights and queens in front of them. Gareev arrived at the jail on about two hours of sleep after leaving a Halloween party in his costume of traditional Slavic garb and boarding a plane in New York. Having already undertaken blindfolded simultaneous chess matches against 35 players, he called the games Friday just "an amazing workout for my mind."
He was invited there by Mikhail Korenman, a Russian expatriate, chess tutor and expert player from suburban Willowbrook. For the past two years, Korenman has volunteered to help run a chess program at the jail. In a booming baritone, Korenman announced the moves of each inmate so Gareev could decide his response. Korenman would then move the piece for Gareev.
It took about two hours for all of Gareev's opponents to be checkmated or concede defeat in a quiet room where the only outside sounds were the hum of the ventilation system and the occasional squawks from a passing deputy's radio. "You got beat by a blind man!" one detainee wrote on a sheet of paper after losing.
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Previous articles on Timur Gareev
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- Touring the American West + Vegas revisited
- The Maverick: play hard, party heartily
- 33-board blindfold simul at US Championship
- Breaking the record – a 50-board blindfold attempt