Blindfold Chess: Everything You Need to Know

Have you thought about changing the way you play chess? How to learn chess openings  to surprise your opponent and challenge yourself?
In this article you will learn about the possibilities of a completely new chess technique.

What is Blindfold Chess? And how does it work?

Blindfold chess, as the name implies, is played with one or both opponents unable to see the pieces or the chess board (though in most circumstances, the players merely face away from the board — wearing a blindfold is not required).

Blindfold chess is a difficult variation of the game that tests your multitasking and memory abilities. Blindfold chess is unique in that it allows whole chess games to be played without any visual input. This is intriguing because it has the potential to level the playing field between a blindfolded high-ranking player and a lower-ranking player with full access of the board. Experts at blindfold chess will play “simuls,” in which they compete against many opponents at the same time, as this article will explain.

Blindfold chess can technically be conceived of as a technique to play without a board or pieces. Knights in the Middle Ages are supposed to have entertained themselves while riding their horses from place to place. Regardless of how, where, or why players choose to blindfold themselves, it’s an intriguing way to improve your chess skills. You’re about to discover everything there is to know about it, including the advantages and how to play blindfold chess as a beginner.

The player will recall positions, picture moves, and state their intentions. They’ll say “rook to A4” while staring at a blank board. Either an intermediary will perform the action on a separate, live board (out of sight of the players) or both players will sit and consider their next move.

A screen or live board will depict the moves of the players so that an audience member can follow along.

In any case, the concept is that you can’t judge your next move by looking at any of the pieces on the board. It demands a great deal of concentration, attention, memory, and the ability to envision a board.

It’s a one-of-a-kind training method since it teaches you how to approach the game differently. This method allows you to have a better understanding of the sport while also honing your talents as an over-the-board player.


Everything You Need to Know About Kriegspiel
Kriegspiel is a chess variant that incorporates the concept of blindfold chess. Only the player’s own pieces are shown, not those of their opponent. The game will be umpired by a third party, but it will be played solely by memory and imagery of their opponent’s moves.

When checks are encountered, pieces are taken, or moves are unlawful, the umpire will proclaim whose turn it is to move.


Blindfold Chess Has Its Advantages
When it comes to blindfold chess, there are numerous advantages. Here are a few of the most significant ones.

  • Visualization of the Board in a Better Way

The improvement in your visualization is, without a doubt, the most significant benefit. You may improve your chess vision by visualizing the chess board and imagining the various moves you can make.

This ability translates straight to a conventional chess game. When you play blindfold chess, you aren’t thinking about the pieces or the physical limits. You’re playing chess in its purest form, centered on the game’s essential concepts.

  • I’ll show you how to “Zoom Out.”

In a similar spirit, you’re learning how to “zoom out” your approach to a board. Physical objects that get in the way are no longer a distraction. When you play blindfold chess, you must imagine the entire board.

When playing a traditional game, it’s easy to get caught up in thinking what each piece can do as you move your attention from one to the next. When playing blindfold chess, you must imagine how your entire board will play.

  • It Helps You Remember Things

Your mind is like a muscle. Blindfold chess is a high-intensity workout for your mind and memory. It’s difficult to express how much you have to remember during a blindfold chess game until you’ve played a whole game.

  • You’ll get a lot better at remembering things over time.

Allows you to play chess whenever and anywhere you want
Blindfold chess becomes something you can do in your spare time after a while. To play chess, you don’t need a board or pieces.

Close your eyes and play a brief game of blitz (if you’re really good) when you’re just lounging around. You may recall Beth Harmon’s blindfold chess sessions on her ceiling from the film Queen’s Gambit. That is the concept.

Who Can Play Chess While Blindfolded?
The good news is that blindfold chess is a game that anyone can play. Another question is whether a player can play blindfold chess at a similar level as conventional chess. Anyone who understands the lawful moves of chess pieces can play blindfold chess.

It’s just like anything else in chess: practice makes perfect. Blindfold chess takes a lot of practice to master.

Keep in mind that this is a strenuous workout. If you want to practice blindfold chess, be aware that you will quickly become exhausted. Try practicing in small, manageable chunks.


Tips & Tricks for Learning Chess While Blindfolded
If you want to learn blindfold chess, we’ve put together some pointers to help you get started.

Step 1: Get to Know the Board

The first step is to become familiar with the board. Know where the pieces begin and what each square’s name is. Continue to examine the board until you can see it with your eyes closed.

You’ll never be able to imagine a chess game if you can’t visualize the board.

Step 2: Put the board together, then close your eyes.

This simple drill is another wonderful approach to practice blindfold chess: set up the board in a random position, then close your eyes and imagine it.

An endgame position would be an excellent place to start. Place the kings on the board, along with a few pawns and rooks. Close your eyes and look at the board until you can visualize it.

Repeat the drill until you’ve mastered it.

When you’re ready, place a piece on the board and then mentally move it. Making the connection between the board and your thoughts is what you’re doing. You’re taking physical chess and introducing it to mental chess since you’re used to physical chess games.

Step 3: Play Online Chess While Blind

Blind chess may be available on your favorite online chess site. Try a game of blind chess versus a computer once you’ve become used to the previous workouts.

The stakes are modest, and you can play over and over again.

Step 4: Play Blindfold Chess Against a Person

Finally, you’re ready to take on a human opponent. Understand that your blindfold chess rating will be significantly lower than your actual Elo rating – especially when you’re just getting started.

As a result, try to challenge someone with a blindfold ability similar to yours.


Tip #1: Take it Slow

As previously said, this type of play is quite cognitively taxing. Furthermore, it is an extremely difficult skill to master.

With that in mind, remember to be patient and take things slowly. Try to recall the days when you were learning to play chess on a chessboard. It didn’t happen in a flash.

Blindfold chess is another skill that you should develop gradually.

Tip #2: Talk to Other Players

Other gamers may be ready to teach you their strategies and even compete with you. Even if you’re not as excellent as they are, it’s a terrific way to rack up hours. This is no exception to the rule that practice makes perfect.


Blindfold Chess and Grandmasters

Some people believe that playing blindfolded improves your game. Naturally, you’ll be curious as to what the world’s best players are up to. If they’re practicing blindfold chess, it’s got to be the key to their success, right?

The majority of Grandmasters can play blindfold chess, but not because they have practiced. It’s a skill that comes naturally when you’ve excelled in the sport. Consider that for a moment. Are you able to add simple numbers with your eyes closed?

You’ll have to physically add 3 + 5 on a sheet of paper when learning addition. You can do math with your eyes closed once you’ve practiced and know enough about it.

Grandmasters and blindfold chess are both examples of this. It’s not a talent that must be mastered in order to reach that level of play, but rather an ability that develops with time. Having said that, not all Grandmasters must be able to play blindfolded.


Famous Grandmasters Who Play Chess While Blindfolded
Many Grandmasters employ the concepts of blindfold chess without necessarily embracing the method.

When Hikaru Nakamura or Magnus Carlsen play chess, for example, keep an eye on them. When they’re considering a move, they’ll either stare up at the ceiling or close their eyes. Because of how frequently they do this, these two players are excellent examples.

Do you know what they’re doing when they’re not staring at the board? They’re planning movements, running through scenarios, and zooming out. They’re playing chess with blindfolds on.


Blindfold “Simuls”
If playing blindfolded isn’t difficult enough, some players go even further by blindfolding oneself and then competing against numerous opponents at the same time on a variety of different boards.

Blindfold chess games have been documented for over 1,000 years! Grandmaster Timur Gareyev of the United States now holds the world record for the most simultaneous blindfold chess games played.

Gareyev played 48 games over the duration of slightly under 19 hours at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in December 2016, opting to wear a blindfold for the event. He won 35 games, drew seven, and only lost six.

Gareyev goes by the (well-deserved!) moniker “Blindfold King,” and he writes a weekly newsletter on his chess and non-chess exploits.

Timur Gareyev during a blindfold chess match in Las Vegas in 2016, where he broke the world record.

Timur Gareyev during his world-record-breaking blindfold chess game in Las Vegas in 2016.


You now have a better understanding of blindfold chess. It’s a difficult way to play chess, but it will benefit your game in a variety of ways. Try out our suggestions and see how they work for you!