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There seems to be no shortage of stories about top rated players playing blindfold, either recreationally, or in tournaments. I'm curious whether all top players have this ability. Are there are GM-level players (current or former), for instance, known to not have any ability to play blindfold?

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    Not an answer as I don't have a source, but I can't imagine any GM not being able to play blindfold. Playing blindfold is not very difficult, and to get a GM you need to be excellent at calculating so that should pretty much automatically qualify you for that. But yes, I don't have a source (and in fact, lack of such a person may be hard to source). – koedem Jan 19 at 1:44
  • I would love to see your source for "playing blindfold is not very difficult". :) – Steve Bennett Jan 19 at 1:46
  • Source: I can play blindfold and not even that much worse than seeing, so it can't be that hard. :P (and I don't even have any title, never mind GM) – koedem Jan 19 at 1:48
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    But also, all reasonably strong players I know and have ever asked about this can play blindfold. – koedem Jan 19 at 1:49
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As of this post all super grandmasters can play blindfold. For young GMs who are just starting out playing blindfold, they may not be super good at first but they should be able to pick it up quickly. Also, for old GM's it might be harder for them to play blindfold, as short term memory and spatial reasoning might be diminished. But most, if not all, GMs should be able to play blindfold chess.

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    Those answers are just like the comments to this question. Of course they can, but how to prove it... – RemcoGerlich Feb 1 at 21:35
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    Thanks for the linked question, didn't see that! – Steve Bennett Feb 1 at 23:46
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Yes, unless they are very very old. It's probably not an exaggeration to say that essentially everyone rated over 2200 FIDE can do it, and many people who are lower-rated than that as well.

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