Blindfold Chess: History, Psychology, Techniques, Champions, World Records, and Important Games

Blindfold Chess: History, Psychology, Techniques, Champions, World Records, and Important Games

by Eliot Hearst, John Knott


View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Wednesday, October 23


For centuries, blindfold chess—the art of playing without sight of the board or pieces—has produced some of the greatest feats of human memory, progressing to the extent that the world record in 2009 was 45 [and is now 46] simultaneous blindfold games. This work describes the personalities and achievements of some of blindfold chess’s greatest players—including Philidor, Morphy, Blackburne, Zukertort, Pillsbury, Reti, Alekhine, Koltanowski, Najdorf and Fine, as well as present-day grandmasters such as Anand and Kramnik. Including some never before published, 444 games scores are presented, peppered with diagrams and annotations. Hints for playing blindfold, and its practical value, are also included.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780786475261
Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
Publication date: 02/25/2013
Pages: 445
Sales rank: 820,531
Product dimensions: 6.90(w) x 9.90(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

The late Eliot Hearst, a United States Olympic Chess Team captain in 1962, was a U.S. Life Senior Master, a distinguished professor emeritus at Indiana University, and an adjunct professor of psychology at the University of Arizona. John Knott has written numerous legal articles and is a consultant at the London head office of an international law firm. Each author has had a particular interest in blindfold chess and has studied the subject for more than thirty years. Visit their website at

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments 1

Introduction 7


1. Even Before Philidor 15

2. François-André Philidor 21

3. Between Philidor and the Late 1800s 25

Early Post-Philidor Blindfold Players 25; Louis Paulsen 29; Paul Morphy 34; Joseph Henry Blackburne 39; Johannes Zukertort 43; Other Late 1800s Blindfold Players 47

4. The First Part of the Twentieth Century 50

Introduction 50; Harry Pillsbury 54; Vladimir Ostrogsky 59; Richard Réti (with a bow to Boris KostiW) 62; Gyula Breyer 72; Alexander Alekhine 73; George Koltanowski 83; Miguel Najdorf 91; János Flesch 99; Reuben Fine 110

5. The Last Fifty Years 115

Introduction 115; Francisco J. Pérez, Kenneth Rogoff, Leo

Williams, Vlastimil Hort, Anthony Miles, Jacob Øst Hansen,

Hans Jung, Ole Boegh Larsen, and Garry Kasparov 116–127;

Other Players of Note (Val Zemitis, Ortvin Sarapu, Larry

Christiansen, Sergio Mariotti, Dimitrije Bjelica, Jacques

Mieses, Frank J. Marshall, Samuel Reshevsky et al.) 127–135

6. Women and Blindfold Chess 136

7. Major Recent Tournaments and Matches 139

Introduction 139; The Amber Tournaments 141;

The Future 146


8. Research on General Chess Skill 151

Cleveland (large units of thought and “position sense”) 151; Djakow, Petrowski, and Rudik (masters’ memories superior only in chess?) 152; Baumgarten (chess prodigy Reshevsky) 153; De Groot (recognition of patterns) 154; Simon et al. (“chunks” in shortand long-term memory) 155; Some Problems with the Simon Group’s Approach 158; Alternatives to the Simon Group’s Approach 162; Imagery, Verbal Knowledge, “Cartoons” 166

9. Psychological Studies and Commentaries on Blindfold Chess 179

Binet 179; Bergson 184; Fine 185; Ericsson et al. 186; Saariluoma 187; Chabris and Hearst 189

10. The Techniques of Blindfold Champions 191

11. The Supposed Health Hazards 200


World Record–Setting Simultaneous Exhibitions 207

Other Significant Games 313

Afterword 391

Appendix A. “World Record” Blindfold Simultaneous Exhibitions Since 1782 395

Appendix B. Proposed Rules for Serious Simultaneous Blindfold Displays 407

Bibliography 409

Games Index (to game numbers) 415

Traditional Openings Index (to game numbers) 422

ECO Openings Index (to game numbers) 424

Illustrations Index (to page numbers) 426

General Index (to page numbers) 427

What People are Saying About This

Robert Goldstone

"This is a tour de force scholarly achievement that will be of substantial interest not only to chess aficionados, but also to those who enjoy thinking about thinking itself. Hearst and Knott shed light on an extraordinary human cognitive ability through careful historical analysis and a compelling review of psychological studies and theories. This book not only documents, but goes a long way toward explaining, the amazing intellectual achievement of simultaneously playing 10, 20, or even 40 games of chess without being able to see any of them."--(Dr. Robert Goldstone, Chancellor's Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences Director of the Cognitive Science Program, Indiana University Psychology Building)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews