Is there a standard way to learn to play blind? How should one go about becoming better at blind chess? Should it come "natural" to a player at some point?

I am interested in knowing if it is a skill to learn or something that is simply a proof of a player's ability and so can't be learned before one reach like master level or something.

  • 1
    Playing blindfold definitely becomes more "natural" with rising general chess skill - you can expect all GMs to be able to do it. Of course, getting up to master level is not the most efficient way if you are mainly interested in just the blindfold part... – Annatar Nov 26 '20 at 10:10
  • 5
    its not unusual for people around 1800 and up to just be able to play blindfold without training. I would recommend just improving at chess generally while playing a couple blindfold games on lichess(options for blindfold pieces, typing moves, and voicing the moves) at slow time controls. – CognisMantis Nov 26 '20 at 11:48
  • Also, if you're somewhat experienced with chess, I'd recommend just trying it. I think for experienced chess players it is a lot easier than they themselves might think. (as a short anecdote, I managed to play a game of blindfold bughouse on first attempt with neither being experienced at blindfold nor a regular bughouse player; but just try it, it's not that hard) – koedem Nov 26 '20 at 12:49
  • Being able to calculate and being able to play blindfold is the same, so to say. I would start simply by memorizing a position. Add more pieces then, or put them in unnatural positions (chunking!), to improve. (The easiest game for starters I even torture my chess kids with: Name the color of a field.) – Hauke Reddmann Mar 10 at 13:32

As others have mentioned, the "normal" way to learn to play blindfold is to simply get better at chess. A strong amateur will be able to play a game blind without much specific training. This is due to chunking—being familiar with lots of patterns makes memorizing those patterns much easier.

That being said, there are specific exercises which can help a weaker player play blindfolded:

  1. Become extremely well versed in coordinates. It is impossible to play Blind without this. See this trainer for instance.

  2. Tactics involving deep calculation. Deep calculation while looking at a board is essentially the same muscle as holding a position in your head.

  3. Quiz yourself on the color of each square. This will help you get a feel for the board.

  4. Mentally move single pieces around in your head. Especially knights and bishops (long diagonals can be tricky). Write down 10 of these moves and check that they were legal afterwards. You should be able to do this reasonably quickly.

  5. Practice. Lichess has a Blindfold setting where the pieces vanish. Not quite as good as proper blindfold (you can still see the board...) but it's a good stepping stone.

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