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Domestic Violence and Abuse

Blindfold Chess Records And It’s Dangers


When I was young I decided to play a game of chess without seeing the board and at the end of that game I found myself so fatigued mentally, that it was the first and last time of my life. It is foolish to run the risk of going mad for vanity’s sake. ~ Legall de Kermeur In 1744 Francois-Andre Philidor played two opponents blindfold during a simultaneous exhibition in Paris. This was the first time blindfold play against two opponents was recorded. According to Philidor he had learned how to play blindfold chess when he could not sleep at night, so he played chess in his head without sight of a chess board. Around 1750 Philidor would improve his results playing against three opponents while in Berlin. He won all three games. As time went by the records for blindfold exhibitions increased. Motivated by Philidor’s feet, German chess player Lewis Paulsen started practicing blindfold simul, becoming the first player to popularize it. In 1857 in New York he played against five opponents blindfolded. American chess master Paul Morphy called it “Wonderful blindfold play, which has not yet been equaled”. At home in Dubuque in 1859 Paulsen tripled his original record by playing fifteen simultaneous blindfold games. Meanwhile impressed by Paulsen’s blindfold play Paul Morphy and Joseph Henry Blackburne are also starting to give simultaneous displays. In 1858 Paul Morphy held a blindfold exhibition against the eight strongest players in Paris with a stunning result of six wins and two draws. In 1859 Morphy would offer to play 20 games at once, but he was dissuaded from such an undertaking by his friends. 1900 American chess master Harry Nelson Pillsbury brings into life his compatriot Paul Murphy’s idea by playing 20 games simultaneously in Philadelphia. Not long after attempting the unusual feat of playing 15 chess and 15 checkers games simultaneously. The Czechoslovak chess master Richard Reti and the 4th World Chess Champion Alexander Alekhine were the next to significantly further the record. While Richard Reti’s best achievement is 29 blindfold simultaneous games Alekhine went further and on July 16 1934 in Chicago he set the new world record by playing 32 blindfold games with 19 wins, 4 losses and 9 draws. Three years later on the 20th September 1937 a new record was set by George Koltanowski in Edinburgh, who played 34 chess games simultaneously while blindfolded. He won 24 games and lost 10 over a period of 13 hours. Despite many other attempts Koltanowski’s record is officially recognized and stood for the rest of the 20th century. December 30 2016 American chess grandmaster Timur Gareev plays 48 opponents blindfolded with the mask before his eyes and sitting on an exercise bike, winning 35 games drawing 7 and losing 6. Ever seens chess players begin to play at least two opponents simultaneously it was believed that such strenuous efforts could lead to brain damage, mental illness, insanity shortened lives or any combination of these tragedies. As a result many grandmasters have avoided blindfold play because of such concerns. When asked why they hardly play any blindfold chess the third world chess champion José Raúl Capablanca protested, “I don’t want to kill myself”, and the 13th world chess champion Garry Kasparov asserted, “I don’t want to become mad”. But even so they both could not resist the temptation of playing blindfold simuls. While blindfold chess has been recommended in moderation by many sources as a method of increasing one’s playing strength, it is said that simultaneous blindfold exhibitions were officially banned in 1930 in the USSR as they were deemed to be a health hazard. But apparently this is not correct! Soviet chess grandmaster Lev Polugaevski stated that it is untrue that blindfold chess was forbidden in the Soviet Union. Despite the well-deserved skepticism surrounding the likelihood of serious harmful effects of playing chess Blindfold, I failed to find any weighty facts supporting this argument. Insomnia is the only common outcome of blindfold play that experts complained about and for most players this problem seems to disappear with practice, as the players learn not to try to sleep soon after an exhibition ends. In 1891 Joseph Henry Blackbourne stated that he had initially slept badly after a display but eventually figured out that he needed three hours or relaxation before trying to sleep. After two simultaneous blindfold games played in 1981 Vlastimil Hort commented that his sleep was ruined for a month as chess pieces were continually floating into his mind. In some of his writings Koltanowski denies any sleep problems but in other places he reports that he sometimes deliberately got drunk right afterwards so that may have helped. Pillsbury wrote that he must do something else for example have a good Meal, play cards for a couple of hours after a blindfold display or he could not sleep and that he gave a blindfold chess in the years 1894 to 1898 in order to improve his techniques with particular attention to preventing Insomnia. In 1947 Argentine chess grandmaster Miguel Najdorf played 45 blindfold simultaneous games and later said that he could not sleep for three Days. British chess master William winter reported, “I once played six games simultaneously without side of the boards but spent so many sleepless nights trying to drive the positions out of my head that I gave up blindfold play. So to summarize we can state that despite the widely accepted belief that blindfold simultaneous displays can lead to serious health issues, facts proving this statement are hard to find. The widespread problems that blindfold chess players are facing are dizziness, headache and insomnia.

Cesar Sullivan

18 thoughts on “Blindfold Chess Records And It’s Dangers

  1. Suren, I remember that I play mind chess with my friends which we started about an year ago and we are able to picturise the image of the moves in our mind and we like playing it……

  2. ✅ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCsmlcfnegE
    How A Game Of Chess Saved Bernstein's Life During The Red Terror 👆 🧐

  3. At 5:12, Suren who is that genius man who is playing from both sides?? ~ By the way I used to play from both sides 6 years ago and did it only for 2 years….. Then I played online match against myself where once I had fun doing mate in 2 and rest of the times I played properly with these stats: Games played: 10, White Wins: 4 Black Wins: 3, Draws: 3

  4. while making the video I greatly relied on this great book available on archive.org! Blindfold Chess: History, Psychology, Techniques, Champions, World Records, and Important Games
    by Eliot Hearst, John Knott

  5. I met Koltinowski and played in a small simo in the early 70’s, at a small Houston chess club. The club was in a meeting room of a small restaurant with a bar. My father asked him if he would be interested in playing a few players blindfolded (even considering his age), and he responded, “It would be entertaining, but I am at the age that I shouldn’t and I want to drink just a little bit tonight.” ( or words to that effect, his response gave a lot of laughter and cheers) there were 24 players, which was all we could set up, and he won 23 and drew 1.

  6. Thanks for presenting a nice video regarding blindfold chess history. Nice to see you have kept your commitment. As a gift, I have subscribed your channel. And of course looking forward to see many more nice videos in the future.

  7. Great video. Playing in that fashion will rev your mind up. Far too much mental activity to gain ample rest afterwards. I used to dream about chess myself after playing for hours. The people in the dreams I had were the actual chess pieces.

  8. Her on bed: He’s probably thinking about other girls…
    Him on bed: Ahh after 2 hours of thinking I’ve reached the end game

  9. The researched paper (video) is going to win a Ph.D if it were there ! Excellent. 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻

  10. I didn't know that blindfold chess can have to harmful results to our health. Very interesting video! Thank you Suren!

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