chess tricks

Chess Tricks

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chessgregory 33 ( +1 | -1 )
Blindfold chess Hi all,

Just wondering what everyone's thoughts on blindfold chess are? Do you think that only Grand masters can play chess without the board? Or do you think it is possible that others can too? Can any of you play chess without the board? Or at least to some extent anyway?

All answers are appreciated.

Thanks for any replies.

heinzkat 8 ( +1 | -1 )
No, you don't have to be a GM to play blindfold chess. It's part of many chess exercises...
chessgregory 7 ( +1 | -1 )
How? How did you start to learn without the board? Seems to be pretty tricky.
heinzkat 1 ( +1 | -1 )
Just do it.
ganstaman 82 ( +1 | -1 )
I think that even if you play only chess here and analyze using the board, you should be able to play blindfolded. That's because you do move the pieces in your head already (unless you physically play out every single variation and don't even eliminate some based on your 1 or 2 ply vision).

Heinzkat has it right -- just try it. You'll probably be amazed at how far into the game you can get before getting lost. And if you're having trouble, then looking at an empty board really helps.

The other thing to realize is that you don't have to memorize on which of the 64 squares each of the 32 pieces are. I tend to see them as coherent armies. When your pieces are acting together, they become much easier to place in your mind -- so it even breeds good chess practices!
More: Chess
wschmidt 16 ( +1 | -1 )
If I'm not mistaken, the newer versions of Chessmaster and/or Fritz have a blindfold function which would allow you to play around with this aspect of chess.
chessgregory 18 ( +1 | -1 )
Thanks I don't have Fritz but I have Chessmaster. I think it's the latest version. Never noticed a blindfold function. Will have to have a look for it.

Thanks for letting me know.
far1ey 73 ( +1 | -1 )
Quote from Training in Chess:

"We believe that playing blindfold chess is at best useless, and at a worst harmful to one's development... Practicing blindfold as such may be harmful when it interfere's with other types of training."

Full PDF here: ->

I suppose this is only relevant if you train with blindfolds (unlikely) but a one off blindfold game every now and again can't hurt. I have played a few games against beginners and won but I find it easier to go on an all out attack (King's Gambit/Evan's Gambit) as it is easier to remember the position of the pieces at the start of the game compared to the complicated middlegame.
rallyvincent 74 ( +1 | -1 )
Ah, well In school sometimes we played blindfolded; it was quite interesting. It's best to have a third man, though. He can make the moves on a board and thus control if they are legal. That's a good thing considering motivation to play blindfolded.

If totally blindfolded is too hard to begin with, then make it half-blindfolded; each player has a board with only his pieces on. After that, you can climb the next level. In my experience, playing blindfolded is much more fun with real people.

On a sidenote: I agree with farley that it's more of a "fun" thing then a possibility to really improve your play. I think you won't improve your imaginary abilities with it; but you can test them out.

Rally V.
sf115 36 ( +1 | -1 )
when I play blindfold chess, I get stuck around move 20 because I forget where some pieces are. It's hard to remember where all 32 pieces are. How do you overcome this?

Some GM's can play tens of blindfold games at once
-> How do you do this? I can't imagine how
doctor_knight 63 ( +1 | -1 )
It seems that those masters who can play many blindfold games at once and win have been the ones to turn out insane or have many health problems. I'm sure you give examples of people who can do it and are fine, but I wouldn't argue with the idea that too much blindfold chess can overwork your brain (I mean like ten games at once).

I think however, that a little blindfold every now and then is fine. I've personally never done it, but I have a friend who is an expert and not quite a master who can beat his dad blindfolded. I think he played so that his dad was not blindfolded and he was, but I don't know the playing strength of his dad.
sf115 14 ( +1 | -1 )
give me an example of someone who turned out insane because they played too much blindfold chess. I can't see how you would turn out insane?
calmrolfe 32 ( +1 | -1 )
Chess genius and insanity often walk hand in hand, Morphy, Steinitz, Pillsbury, Rubinstein all toppled off the tight rope that is the thin dividing line between genius and madness. In Pillsbury's case his contemporaries DID blame his prodigious feats of Blindfold Chess upon his subsequent madness.

fmgaijin 131 ( +1 | -1 )
Pillsbury = STD It has been well documented that Pillsbury's early death was due to an STD that he allegedly picked up in St. Petersburg (and he did not have major bouts of insanity). Steinitz's period of insanity consisted of only "a rapid deterioration" (Encyclopedia of Modern Biography) during the last year of his life (at 66) and probably had more connection with the aging process than with chess-playing (his symptoms would be familiar to those with many aging relatives). Morphy and Rubinstein undoubtedly suffered from mental illness and may indeed have crossed the border from genius to insanity that rolfe notes, but it had nothing to do with blindfold chess.

P.S. Playing blindfold chess is not particularly stressful in and of itself--I discovered that I could beat my 1500-rated friends playing blindfold while in high school and IM Leonid Bass and I used to play four boards simultaneously against each other while driving to chess tournaments in college with no difficulties. We both played up to ten boards in simuls, but that is small compared to the 30+ of players like Flesch and Alekhine. Nevertheless, I could see it as a strain only if you must do it all of the time, which in generally applies only to players with poor health in desperate financial straits . . .
marsncaissa 88 ( +1 | -1 )
heinzkat and I once discussed a loss I had to a lower rated player. Game no longer available to view.
He asked what had happened. and I explained that it was a blindfold game including a sac. of my queen.
I placed a piece of paper over the board on my screen so I couldn't see the pieces. Viewing the moves list to the right of the board was my reference.
You may ask, as did heinzkat, how did I make my moves. Simple and hard. Move your cursor under the paper to the spot you guess is the piece you want to move and click. Looking at the Submit move window will confirm if you did good or bad. Same thing for the square you wish to move to. Little practice and there you go.
I didn't have occasion to do it but if you get lost, you can lift the paper and take a quick peek.
heinzkat 9 ( +1 | -1 )
This board: board #7491032
marsncaissa 13 ( +1 | -1 )
Thanks Bro! He's good at chess and the computer thing. heinzkat Rocks!!
calmrolfe 96 ( +1 | -1 )
Sorry, fmgaigin but I don't agree with you, here is a contemporary account of Pillsbury's madness written close to his death

American Chess Bulletin of January 1911.

Pillsbury, the American champion of recent years, the victor of the great Hastings international tournament, in which he took precedence of Lasker, Tarrasch, Tchigorin, Steinitz, and other famous masters, died insane from a complication of physical and mental disorders to which his excessive labors as a professional chess player doubtless contributed; but Pillsbury had accustomed himself to playing frequently blindfold against as many as twenty opponents, and on one or two occasions even thirty, and such a strain upon the brain cannot be continually repeated without incurring the most serious risks.

I would rather take the word of someone who knew him rather than one who comments on his madness one hundred years after his death.

One thing we do agree upon, he died of syphilis.
fmgaijin 27 ( +1 | -1 )
Not from Chess Sorry to disagree, but the major biographies of HNP, written in the last few years but taking into account all of the contemporary writings, agree that his "insanity" only appeared in his final days and was wholly attributable to his STD rather than anything having to do with chess.

fmgaijin 35 ( +1 | -1 )
The Advance of Medical Knowledge Remember, in the early 1900's there was neither any effective treatment for this disease nor any significant medical understanding of its effects on the brain, so taking a 1911 account as an "explanation" that his final days of insanity were the result of blindfold chess is like taking a medieval account that blames it on an excesss of "black bile" . . .