In blindfold chess players don't see the position on the board or touch the pieces. They receive and dictate the moves in standard chess notation and have to follow the game in their minds. Some players undertook multiple games simultaneously, and throughout history this feat was considered miraculous.
Engraving in Sporting Magazine, 1794 entitle "Philidor Playing Blindfold at Parsloe's". Philidor's blindfold exhibitions against two or three opponents were very popular and at the time considered extraordinary. Muslim masters had engaged in similar feats, on as much as eight boards, five centuries earlier.
Illustration in Harper's Weekly, November 1858, of Paul Morphy playing eight simultaneous games blindfold at the Café de la Regance [both historical images from Fred Wilson's book "A Picture History of Chess"].
In the 20th century the record for blindfold simultaneous play increased dramatically. In 1900 Harry Nelson Pillsbury played 20 games simultaneously in Philadelphia – previously he had played 15 chess and 15 checkers games simultaneously.
In 1924 Alexander Alekhine played 26 simultaneous blindfold games [image from Blindfold Chess] against very strong opponents (Isaac Kashdan and Hermann Steiner among them), with the score of 16 wins, 5 losses, and 5 draws. This was probably the strongest of any blindfold exhibitions ever held. The next year he played 28 teams of four players each, and in the same year, Richard Réti bettered this record by playing 29 players simultaneously in São Paulo. In 1934 Alekhine set a new world record by playing 32 blindfold games.
In 1937 George Koltanowski played 34 blindfold games simultaneously in Edinburgh, taking 13 hours and scoring 24 wins and ten losses. This was included in the Guinness Book of Records. Later, Miguel Najdorf played against 40 opponents (+36 =1 –3) in Rosario, Argentina, and went on to increase this record to 45 opponents in São Paulo in 1947 (+39 =4 –2).
In 2011 FM Marc Lang played 46 opponents simultaneously and blindfolded in Sontheim, Germany. The simultaneous exhibition lasted 21 hours and ended with Lang winning 25 games, drawing 19 and losing two. Lang is rated 2,300, and most of his opponents were 1,700 or lower. The moves were exchanged on a computer screen.
Timur Gareyev is a chess grandmaster originally from Uzbekistan. He has held the rank of fourth highest rated chess player in the US and top 100 players in the world, with a peak USCF rating of 2780. He has recorded two DVDs, "Developing the Initiative" and "Trompowsky for the attacking player" for us.
He is best known for playing blindfold chess. His dream is to a new world record for blindfold chess. In the past two years he has already broken two blindfold world records. In 2015 he broke the record for tandem blindfold chess with current blindfold chess champion, Marc Lang. In September of this year, he broke the world record for rapid blindfold, playing 64 chess games consecutively, blindfolded!
His personal record stands at 35 blindfold chess games at the same time. He hopes to beat this and set a new world record by playing 47 games simultaneously while blindfolded – and on a spin bike!
Together with his friend and manager Jennifer Vallens he is organizing a Blindfold World Record Event in Las Vegas to involve the community and public about blindfold chess and showcase how someone can push the limits of his mind. "We want to include interactive side events that will allow spectators to push their own limits as well," Jennifer writes. "We are short on time and funds. I am seeking your help to reach our goal of $8,000 so that we can put this event on in 2016! Please check out our presentation deck below for more information on our event and how your dollars will help.
The Chess Academy of Timur (CAT) is an affiliate of the International Chess Institute of the Midwest (ICIM) and is a recognized 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit organization. ICIM, that operates the famous school, promotes chess in education, both in the public and private sectors. ICIM is organized exclusively for educational purposes, the making of distributions to organizations that qualify as exempt organizations under section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal REvenue Code, or the corresponding section of any future federal tax code.
Date: December 3, 2016 – Venue: UNLV Las Vegas
You can contribute to history making event, be a part of a creative, fun and interactive event, promote the royal game of chess. Contact: Jennifer Vallens (818) 674-2006 / firstname.lastname@example.org.
Video: Timur Gareyev Blindfold Chess Player Vegas Event
Blindfold king Timur Gareyev on tour
4/6/2016 – In 2016 Timur Gareyev wants to break the world record in blindfold play by taking up 47 opponents simultaneously. In March he played a 35 player blindfold simul in Santa Clara, California. Gareyev lost one game, drew two and won 32. As Gareyev believes that physical fitness and mental excellence go together he spun a stationary bike for over nine hours during the simul!
Gareyev gives blindfold simul in Amsterdam
5/31/2016 – The Caissa Amsterdam chess club, the largest chess club in Amsterdam, just celebrated its 65th anniversary. In honor of the moment they organized a series of activities for both the youth as well as the adults in the club. One of thesewas a blindfold simul by Timur Gareyev on thirteen boards. Lennart Ootes was there and brought some excellent photos.
Timur Gareyev Breaks World Consecutive Blindfold Chess Record
9/28/2016 – GM Timur Gareyev is a man with a mission: the man who likes to call himself "Blindfold King" wants to set records in blindfold chess. And he does: on September 24th, at the Coralville Marriott Hotel in Iowa, from 9:32 in the morning to 7:45 in the evening, he played 64 consecutive blindfold games, winning 54, losing 8 and drawing 2. That's a new world record!
Breaking the record – a 50-board blindfold attempt
9/11/2013 – Uzbek grandmaster Timur Gareev, who now resides in San Diego, has, as our readers know, been touring California in the past months. He brings us pictures of the Burning Man festival and the biggest living entity on the planet. He also tells us about his experiences with blindfold simultaneous exhibitions, and a plan to break the world record. Anyone like to host it?
Breaking records in blindfold tandem chess
8/8/2015 – In 1934 Alexander Alekhine and George Koltanowski set this world record for Tandem Blindfold Chess, playing six opponents with a score of +3 =2 –1. Last week in Germany two blindfold experts, GM Timur Gareev and Marc Lang broke this 80-year record by playing seven opponents. Together they won five games and drew two,making them the new wonder twins. Report by Jennifer Vallens.
The Blindfold King vs The Machine
6/30/2016 – Later this year GM Timur Gareyev will try play 47 opponents simultaneously, blindfold, breaking the current world record of 46 games. Neuroscientists found this interesting enough try to find out how his brain works – they put the GM into a MRI scanner while he played four blindfold games. In CHESS Magazine Timur provides a look into how he is preparing to take on arguably the game’s most impressive record of all time.
ChessBase Christmas Puzzles 2015 (3)
12/27/2015 – In the previous installment we showed you a study that Garry Kasparov gave to a ten-year-old prodigy to solve – in his mind. Today we bring you the solution and tell you how 2600+ GMs fared with the same task. And then there is a second study which Garry gave the lad to solve, one that will help you understand some important principles and improve your calculation skills.
Blindfold against ten detainees
11/2/2013 – On Friday, Timur Gareev's quest to break a world record by playing 50 simultaneous games of chess took a detour into Cook County Jail's Division Six. The 25-year-old grandmaster faced the top ten finishers from the medium-security division's first-ever chess tournament. Chapeau! The No. 3-ranked chess player in America is doing a lot for chess in the media. Chicago Tribune report and video.
The Maverick: play hard, party heartily
5/29/2013 – GM Timur Gareev of Uzbekistan, now living in the USA, is one of the most energetic mavericks in the chess world. He is sure to remain a stellar grandmaster for many years, but is also a representative of the new generation of grandmasters with a passion to bring the game to a wider public. Marck Cobb reports on his adventurous 1000-mile journey from St. Louis to San Diego.
33-board blindfold simul at US Championship
4/30/2013 – The 2013 U.S. Championships is scheduled to be held from May 2 to 13 in the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis. Today, to kick things off, Uzbek GM Timur Gareev will be conducting a 33-board blindfold simultaneous exhibition – preparation for a world record attempt on 64 boards, to be held on December 21 on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. Press release.