Blindfold chess : history, psychology, techniques, champions, world records, and important games

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Blindfold chess

What happens when I have an item in my cart but it is less than the eligibility threshold? Can I benefit from free shipping internationally? The first known blindfold event in Europe took place in Florence in Paul Morphy held in a blindfold exhibition against the eight strongest players in Paris with the stunning result of six wins and two draws.


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Other early masters of blindfold chess were Louis Paulsen , Joseph Henry Blackburne he played up to 16 simultaneous blindfold games and the first world champion Wilhelm Steinitz , who in played six simultaneous blindfold games in Dundee , winning three and drawing three. It was seen by these masters as a good source of income. As time went by the records for blindfold exhibitions increased.

20th century history

In Harry Nelson Pillsbury played 20 games simultaneously in Philadelphia ; not long after attempting the unusual feat of playing 15 chess and 15 checkers games simultaneously the record for blindfold checkers being 28 simultaneous games. In at the Alamac Hotel of New York Alekhine played 26 simultaneous blindfold games 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 in February in Paris he faced 28 teams of four players each, with the impressive result of 22 wins, 3 losses, and 3 draws.

On July 16, in Chicago , Alekhine set the new world record by playing 32 blindfold games, [3] with 19 wins, four losses, and nine draws.

Edward Lasker was the referee for this event. The generally-acknowledged world record that stood for the rest of the 20th century was set by George Koltanowski on 20 September , in Edinburgh , who played 34 chess games simultaneously while blindfolded.

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He won 24 games and lost 10, over a period of 13 hours. The record was included in the Guinness Book of Records.


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However, this record attempt was somewhat sullied by the fact that Flesch was permitted to verbally recount the scores of the games in progress. It also took place over a remarkably short period of time, around five hours, and included many short games. One other notable blindfold record was set in by Koltanowski in San Francisco , when he played 56 consecutive blindfold games at a rate of 10 seconds a move.

The exhibition lasted 9 hours with the result of 50 wins and 6 losses.

Blindfold Chess: History, Psychology, Techniques, Champions, World Records, and Important Games

A new European record was set in November by German Marc Lang in Sontheim , Germany , playing 35 opponents with 19 wins, 13 draws, and 3 losses over a period of 23 hours. Lang improved the world record a year later in November once again in Sontheim by playing 46 opponents simultaneously and blindfolded, with 25 wins, 19 draws and just 2 losses. While blindfold chess has been recommended in moderation by many sources as a method of increasing one's playing strength, simultaneous blindfold exhibitions were officially banned in in the USSR as they were deemed to be a health hazard.


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Given that it seems to require extraordinary visuo-spatial abilities and memory, this form of chess has led to considerable research in psychology, starting with the research of Alfred Binet in , continuing with the work of chess grandmaster and psycho-analyst Reuben Fine in , and culminating in the last two decades with several scientific articles describing experiments on the psychology of blindfold chess.

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