Russia's "Amazing People"

by Albert Silver
11/13/2017 – Talent shows such as Britain’s Got Talent, now exported to many other countries, American Idol, and so many others are now staples of contemporary TV, but it takes a country such as Russia to feature such a show with winning performances by chess players playing chess! But not only chess, of course. Enjoy this look at "Amazing People". | Photo: WeiT Media

Developing the initiative Developing the initiative

Dynamic play is what makes your chess effective and most importantly fun! Timur Gareyev shows severeal examples which aspects are important to remember when seizing for the initiative!


While the concept of reality TV and talent shows is hardly new, they tend to gravitate around a clear cut theme. Many take the form of specific competitions such as ones testing singing, cooking, and fashion, the completely open-ended ones such as Britain’s Got Talent, and others is a much more recent development. Naturally, even that famous show has been exported to the farthest reaches on the globe, a personal favorite being Australia’s Got Talent (some really cool displays) but hardly limited to it. Possibly the biggest explosion took place after the landmark appearance and performance of Susan Boyle.

The legendary performance by Susan Boyle has already been seen 218 million times, and no doubt more in other recordings shared on youtube and more 

Nevertheless, these programs all involve very visible displays, whether in dancing, singing, magic, or more, and while we chess players may stay glued to our screens watching grand chess events such as the current Showdown in St Louis, it is hardly something one would expect to get further than a minute or two before being buzzed out by judges wondering who had the ridiculous idea of putting chess players on the stage. Especially a televised program. Yet, that is precisely what happened in the very popular program in Russia, Amazing People, which has featured not one chess talent, but several, and all making the cut to the final televised shows.

In the first video we share, Daniil Yuffa, a 20-year-old grandmaster, plays a series of classical music pieces on the piano, while playing three blindfold chess games. Please note that he never stops playing while receiving moves, and giving his. It needn’t be perfect, but it is darn impressive!


Skip to the 4:30 mark if you want to go right to the actual presentation

In the next video, Irina Drobitjko, a 17-year-old girl from Ukraine, also presents chess but with her own unique twist: while playing a three-minute blitz game, a conveyor belt slides endless Rubiks-style puzzles, such as the famous cube, but also pyramids, and more. She does this at full speed, while playing.


To be fair, these displays are not the spontaneous theatrical auditions one sometimes sees on such shows, but they are nevertheless astonishing (and entertaining) to watch

Finally, in this last video, we get to see a well-known favorite of chess fans and ChessBase: Timur Gareev. Timur is of course best known now for his record-breaking blindfold display, in which he took on 48 players that was broadcast live from beginning to end, leaving no room for questions on the legitimacy of his record. This was vital since there were issues with some of the previous claims to fame.

Trompowsky for the attacking player

Tap into your creative mind and start the game on a fresh note. The Trompowsky (1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5) is an opening outside of conventional wisdom. Create challenges and make your opponent solve problems early on.

In his appearance on the talent show, Timur is shown 50 boards, all with different positions already set up, games underway at varying points, and is given five minutes to familiarize himself with them. Note that this is spread out on small podiums that cover the entire stage. After the five minutes are over, he is blindfolded and three boards are randomly chosen, though numbered, from which he must continue the games.


Playing so few boards blindfolded is hardly an issue of course, but memorizing all the boards and their respective numbers in so little time was the biggest challenge. To this end, the Memory Techniques that were the subject of a series of articles on ChessBase, were used, and what made it possible.

If you'd like to see more shows, and examples of the other competing talents, be sure to go to the WeiT Media channel where the various talents and full episodes can be found.

Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications, and the content creator of the YouTube channel, Chess & Tech.


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