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If I play blindfolded or don't look at the board and just visualize the board, pieces and position in my head, can this improve my regular style of play (physically looking at a board). Is there any proof to improving regular play via blindfold play?

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    I used to play blindfold with a friend at school during boring lessons so the teacher couldn't catch us with a board under the table, but the only effect I am pretty sure of is that my school grades didn't improve because of it :)
    – Ray
    Jun 1, 2012 at 19:01
  • @Ray - That was a good idea. Good thing I am done with school :)
    – xaisoft
    Jun 1, 2012 at 23:03
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    I've played blindfolded. It's interesting. Unsurprisingly, I played far below my normally unimpressive strength.
    – Tony Ennis
    Jun 2, 2012 at 14:00

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I don't think there's any proof (nor do I think you'll find any), but I think playing blindfold definitely helps as regular chess practice. The better you can play blindfold, the more you can visualize the board and calculate ahead, in my opinion.

Better yet, try playing blindfold against someone who's not.

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    Bobby Fischer said he could not visualize the entire board at the same time. This implies that being able to do so isn't a requirement for playing somewhat strong chess.
    – Tony Ennis
    Jun 2, 2012 at 13:59
  • Visualising the whole board also isn't a requirement to play strong blindfold chess … Concerning the question: Larry Christiansen writes that after a blindfold tour through the states, his calculation improved a lot. Feb 2, 2015 at 12:08
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Did not help me. I used my OTB skills to be able to play blindfold.

I have seen no data that blindfold play helps your OTB skills.

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Playing blindfold (or even trying to do so) can help intermediate players in another aspect: focus on pawns. To keep track of the position in blindfold play, it is essential to notice the position of the pawns. For players who do not give importance to pawn structure, this could (in theory) persuade them to take position of pawns more seriously.

In blindfold play, it is nearly impossible to ignore the factor of pawns getting in the way of your pieces. In OTB play, a beginner/intermediate player can ignore this factor (unintentionally, of course).

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