Blindfold challenge with Vidit Gujrathi

by Aditya Pai
12/18/2018 – Vidit Gujrathi, the youngest Indian to breach the 2700 Elo mark, is known for his thorough opening preparation and solid style of play. But while his bent is more towards positional niceties, his vivid imagination and almost impeccable calculation let him transcend styles on demand. The following video shows Vidit’s mind in action as he solves four studies and a real-game puzzle, while also explaining how he found his way through the woods of variations.

The Fashionable Caro-Kann Vol.1 and 2 The Fashionable Caro-Kann Vol.1 and 2

The Caro Kann is a very tricky opening. Black’s play is based on controlling and fighting for key light squares. It is a line which was very fashionable in late 90s and early 2000s due to the successes of greats like Karpov, Anand, Dreev etc. Recently due to strong engines lot of key developments have been made and some new lines have been introduced, while others have been refuted altogether. I have analyzed the new trends carefully and found some new ideas for Black.


Go after the pretty ones!

One day after the Tata Steel Chess India, held earlier this year, IM Sagar Shah caught up with Vidit Gujrathi and recorded his mind in action. He gave the 24-year-old four studies to solve. Of course, with a board, Vidit would not have had much difficulty. So, Sagar upped the ante by asking him to solve the puzzles blindfolded.

However, the absence of a board in front of him hardly made a difference. Vidit breezed through the variations every time. In each case Vidit cited the “feel” guided him to find the best moves, even when there were multiple options.

An awestruck Sagar asked Vidit at the end how he had developed this intuition which helped him find these brilliancies so quickly. Vidit replied: “In studies, something which is very pretty or attractive is the solution, because that is the whole point of the study – it’s very beautiful.”

We now invite you to take a dig at the studies yourself and try to find the pretty ones before you proceed to the video. You can move the pieces on the board to analyse.

We now invite you to take a dig at the studies yourself and try to find the pretty ones before you proceed to the video. You can move the pieces on the board to analyse.

What about the not so pretty?

Since Vidit admitted to having gone after “beauty” in the studies that were presented to him, Sagar decided to test him with a real game problem where the critical move may or may not be pretty. Vidit had some problems solving this last one but his “feel” was once again, spot on! 


Vidit's insane blindfold calculations

Replay all solutions


Special thanks to ChessBase India for providing this video. There are hundreds of videos on their very successful ChessBase India YouTube Channel, and we are going to make vigorous use of them in the future.

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Aditya Pai is an ardent chess fan, avid reader, and a film lover. He holds a Master's in English Literature and used to work as an advertising copywriter before joining the ChessBase India team.
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Justjeff Justjeff 12/19/2018 02:19
The board position for study 2 indicates it is white to move with the rook on d3, but the game score says it is black to move after Rd3.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 12/18/2018 03:02
Very interesting! Thanks for this!