Are blindfold chess games playable for chess world champions and grandmasters? Does the ability to do so show mastery for a player?

Blindfold chess is, without looking at board, the player will just say the move. Is this possible for a human?

For example, the moves 1. e4 e5 2. d4 d6 and so on. The moves will be recorded and played on a board in the background by a computer or human.

3 Answers 3


Prashant what you describe is called blindfold chess and I've edited your question accordingly.

Humans have been playing blindfold chess for more than a thousand years and there are even blindfold tournaments. From Wikipedia:

Today there are Blindfold Chess Tournaments held throughout the year, with the highest profile event previously being the Melody Amber Tournament, held in Monte Carlo until 2011. Of the modern day players, Vladimir Kramnik, Viswanathan Anand, Alexei Shirov and Alexander Morozevich have proven themselves to be particularly strong at blindfold chess, being alternating winners of the Amber Tournaments between 1996 and 2007. Levon Aronian won Amber 3 times since then and won the blindfold event at the 2012 SportAccord World Mind Games.

Not only are blindfold games and tournaments commonplace but there is competition to see who can play the most blindfold games at the same time.

In the 20th century the record was held by George Koltanowski who played 34 simultaneous blindfold games on 20 September 1937, in Edinburgh.

The current world record is 48 blindfold games played simultaneously by Timur Gareyev. This was sufficiently big news to make the regular press and was reported in Leonard Barden's chess column ion the Guardian newspaper.

Do you feel chess masters who can play Blind chess games by winning shows more mastery over chess game than who can look at chess boards and win?

Neither Koltanowski nor Gareyev are anywhere near world champion level although Koltanowski was a GM and Gareyev is currently a GM. Giving a blindfold simultaneous display is a party trick. It is impressive and difficult but nowhere near as difficult as beating the world champion.

  • Thank you Brian and Pranav. I would like to ask the second question regarding : Do you feel chess masters who can play Blind chess games by winning shows more mastery over chess game than who can look at chess boards and win? Commented Aug 28, 2020 at 17:32

Yes! That is what blindfold chess is. If you improve your memory and practice your ability to imagine the board based on the notation, you too can play such games! Here's an article about GM Timur Gareyev setting a world record by playing 48 simultaneous blindfolded chess games. I'm sure you can find many more about others too.

From your response to Brian's answer:

Do you feel chess masters who can play Blind chess games by winning shows more mastery over chess game than who can look at chess boards and win

No. It shows more mastery over being able to visualize the board than someone who cannot play blindfolded, but I don't think any high-level players fall into that category. One could be the best at visualizing the board from the notation, but if one doesn't know what moves to make after visualizing the board, one would be pretty poor at the game of chess.

Note: When I started typing my answer to this question, it asked "Do you feel notation chess games can be played..."


When I played for my university against teams in London we would sometimes play blindfold on the return train journey. The four players facing forward on the train would take turns to move against the four players facing backward. There was actually very little correlation between having facility at this and regular playing strength. One of our strongest players was quite helpless, whereas some of our weaker players had no difficulty. It seems to depend on whether you are a visual thinker.

  • Thanks Philip. Do you feel players who can play Blind chess games in winning have more mastery over chess game on over those players who look at the chess board and win? What are the skills required to win blindfold chess games? Commented Aug 29, 2020 at 17:34
  • Thanks. I mean all Chess world champions and Chess grandmasters can play blind chess? If Not, Why? What are the different skills required for winning Blind chess games? Commented Aug 29, 2020 at 19:02

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