USA's Top Daily Chess News Blog, Informative, Fun, and Positive

hosted by Chess Queen™ & 12th Women's World Chess Champion Alexandra Kosteniuk


Monday, September 7, 2009

Incredible Blindfold Chess

Hello everyone!

Today I found the following video, it's amazing! It turns out there's a woman, named Jenny Nixon, who can play a blitz simul blindfolded! I've been in chess all my life and I've never heard of her. I looked her up in the FIDE rating list, but could not find her. How could that be? Who is she? Have a look at the video for yourself.

I guess you figured it out, it's an advertising for the brand Eleviv. I'm not too sure what kind of brand that is, but their advertising is quite imaginative, and it's nice they chose chess to illustrate what seems to be some positive influence of a product. Quite funny. Have a look at the other teaser videos on their site.

Now let's go back to being serious and let's discuss how far people have really gone to in blindfold chess.

How many games of chess can you play blinfolded? Strong chess players such as Grandmasters have very good visualization skills, so they are able without difficulty to play at least one game blindfolded, but it is not clear up to how many simultaneous games they can manage. I'd say I would manage 3 or 4 games at the same time, I haven't really tried to play more than 3 games blindfolded simultaneously.

Many strong champions of the past like André Danican Philidor, Wilhelm Steinitz, Harry Nelson Pillsbury, Richard Réti, Alexander Alekhine gave very successful blindfolded simuls.

The record of blindfold games played simultaneously was set in 1960 by George 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 six losses.

While blindfold chess has been recommended in many sources as a method of increasing one's playing strength, simultaneous blindfold exhibitions were officially banned in 1930 in the USSR as they were deemed to be a health hazard. Mikhail Botvinnik also warned against it. chess players have reported that it is more tiring than regular play, even if faster time controls are used.

Of the recent simuls I remember that in 2004 Vlad Tkachiev played 12 games simultaneously blindfolded, you can read the full article about this simul here.

On December 7-9, 2006 there was a blindfolded match between Veselin Topalov and Judith Polgar played. Which Topalov won with the score of 3,5 to 2,5.

There is even a book on blindfold chess by Eliot Hearst and John Knott which was published in December 2008 and seems to be very interesting.

A very interesting article about blindfold chess can be read here.

While searching the internet on the topic of blindfold chess I even founded an article by Edward Winter with unsolved chess mysteries one of each includes the following paper clip of the Daily Sketch of 1936:

which says: "Miss Angeligi Leoni, of Cyprus, won twenty-seven and drew three of thirty simultaneous games of blindfold chess."

I hope I managed to entertain you with the teaser video at the start of this post and to inform you on blindfolded chess in the latter part of this post.

Now what's your experience with blindfolded chess? Can you do it?

Posted by Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women's World Chess Champion



  • At September 7, 2009 at 5:06 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Quite obvious it was a joke. Funny anyway.

  • At September 7, 2009 at 9:27 PM , Blogger allrounder said...

    I could play 3 boards at once. After the first 1 hour I feel shivering in my body due to the stress. I don't if I can even manage one now ;)

  • At September 9, 2009 at 4:44 PM , Anonymous Eugene said...

    What's the point of blindfolded chess? Just so that you can go around saying "Hey, I can play chess blindfolded?" It seems to me like a contrived kind of game. I don't necessarily think it's bad for the image of the game of chess, but I do think it's sliding into the category of unnecessary world records (one example that comes to mind: solving a Rubik's cube while riding a unicycle crossing a busy New York street). What do you think, Alexandra?

  • At January 10, 2010 at 1:56 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I watched the whole segment of 'Jenny Nixon' on an ELEVIV DVD which looked more like a commercial than a testamonial. I thought it was such an insult to people who play chess and that a supplement can make this woman able to have the vigor to achieve playing 5 chess tables blindfolded. What a joke!

  • At July 15, 2010 at 6:00 PM , Blogger Unknown said...,com_wrapper/Itemid,181/

    there's no American player (the person in the video is clearly American) by the name Jenny Nixon. Further, there's no female player with the last name Nixon with a USCF Quick rating, period. Also, anyone that plays chess seriously will out of habit move the piece and touch the clock with the same hand.

    lastly, blindfold chess is done by calling out the moves to the blindfolded player and them responding verbally. Moving the pieces blindfolded isn't really feasible, unless you are playing braille chess, specifically designed for blind people (thus indicating why you can't physically play blindfolded chess with a normal board).

    in other words... fake. i don't care if it was a joke or not. it's fraudulent and false advertising.


Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home