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Hearst E., Knott J. - Blindfold Chess [2009]

Hearst E., Knott J. - Blindfold Chess [2009]


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Blindfold Chess

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

McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers
Jefferson, North Carolina, and London

Frontispiece: Veselin Topalov and Judith Polgar are actually blindfolded at the start of their six-game computerized blindfold match at Bilbao, Spain, in December 2006. Topalov won the match 3∂–2∂. After the first few moves they removed their blindfolds and used individual computers, as at the Amber tourneys (courtesy New in Chess).




Hearst, Eliot, ¡932– Blindfold chess : history, psychology, techniques, champions, world records, and important games / Eliot Hearst and John Knott. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and indexes. ISBN 978-0-7864-3444-2 (library binding: 50# alkaline paper) ¡. Blindfold chess—History. 2. Chess. 3. Chess players. I. Knott, John, ¡940– . II. Title. GV¡3¡8.H43 2009 794.¡' 7—dc22 20080033624 British Library cataloguing data are available ©2009 Eliot Hearst and John Knott. All rights reserved No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying or recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Edited by Robert Franklin Designed by Robert Franklin and Susan Ham Manufactured in the United States of America

McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers Box 6¡¡, Je›erson, North Carolina 28640 www.mcfarlandpub.com

To our respective children, despite the fact that none of these nine loved ones ever tried to play blindfold chess

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Table of Contents
Preface and Acknowledgments Introduction 1 7

1. Even Before Philidor 2. François-André Philidor 3. Between Philidor and the Late 1800s

15 21 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
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
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 7. Major Recent Tournaments and Matches
Introduction 139; The Amber Tournaments 141; The Future 146

136 139


Saariluoma 187. Djakow. Chabris and Hearst 189 179 10. Bergson 184. Imagery. De Groot (recognition of patterns) 154. The Supposed Health Hazards 191 200 PART III. and Rudik (masters’ memories superior only in chess?) 152. Psychological Studies and Commentaries on Blindfold Chess Binet 179. Alternatives to the Simon Group’s Approach 162. “Cartoons” 166 9. BLINDFOLD CHESS GAMES World Record–Setting Simultaneous Exhibitions Other Significant Games Afterword Appendix A.viii Table of Contents PART II. Simon et al. Some Problems with the Simon Group’s Approach 158. THE PSYCHOLOGY 8. Proposed Rules for Serious Simultaneous Blindfold Displays Bibliography Games Index (to game numbers) Traditional Openings Index (to game numbers) ECO Openings Index (to game numbers) Illustrations Index (to page numbers) General Index (to page numbers) 207 313 391 395 407 409 415 422 424 426 427 . The Techniques of Blindfold Champions 11. Ericsson et al. Baumgarten (chess prodigy Reshevsky) 153. 186. (“chunks” in shortand long-term memory) 155. Petrowski. “World Record” Blindfold Simultaneous Exhibitions Since 1782 Appendix B. Fine 185. Verbal Knowledge. Research on General Chess Skill OF BLINDFOLD CHESS 151 Cleveland (large units of thought and “position sense”) 151.

Blindfold chess whiz George Koltanowski believed that practice at developing such an ability improves one’s regular game more than does studying books. Despite the lack of restraint in these journalistic evaluations and predictions. Besides those goals. When Philidor played two blindfold games at once in the eighteenth century. till memory shall be no more. such exploits have certainly created great interest among chess players as well as others who become aware of them—like Alfred Binet.” But 150 years later. It becomes even more impressive when the player conducts 10 or more such “blindfold” games simultaneously against opponents who do have real chessboards and pieces in front of them. and Grandmaster Lev Alburt stated that “visualization” is the key to success in regular chess. a women’s 1 . Alekhine’s record has been broken more than once since then. the great psychologist who wrote a book on simultaneous blindfold chess more than 100 years ago. in terms of its practical advantages for the improving chess player. and madness begins.” However. The World called it “a phenomenon in the history of man” and added that the feat “should be hoarded among the best examples of human memory. Our hope is to fill these gaps in the chess literature. After such a performance in London in 1782. and newspapers described the performance as surely reaching “the limit of the possibilities of the human mind and human memory in this field. This doubleblind type of event is more common now than are attempts by one person to play many games simultaneously against opponents with sight of their board and pieces. Alexander Alekhine successfully played 32 blindfold games simultaneously.Preface and Acknowledgments THE ABILITY TO PLAY CHESS WITHOUT SIGHT of the chessboard or pieces is a notable achievement of human memory and imaging. we also describe the well-publicized tournaments held annually since 1993 in Monaco between grandmasters who are both playing blindfolded. Susan Polgar. to which we will often refer. But no book has ever been published that tries to analyze in detail the history and psychological significance of blindfold chess and that supplies a very large number of the most important. beyond this limit there can be nothing but chaos. newsworthy. And no book has really stressed the virtues of learning to play blindfolded. Almost anyone who is a fairly strong amateur can easily learn to play at least one or two games without sight of the board. eyewitnesses were asked to swear affidavits attesting to this remarkable accomplishment. and interesting games played without sight of the board (some flawless gems and others not).

During that time we have been collecting historical data. especially those involving visual-spatial tasks or capacities. Then. such as mentally solving mathematical and architectural problems. We also believe that understanding how humans can play blindfold chess may reveal useful general and specific information about the potential of the human mind and how to employ it effectively in unforeseen ways. Just about everyone is interested in human memory and imagery. credits it with giving her a “broader scope of imagination” than that provided by regular chess. selecting particularly interesting games out of the many hundreds of blindfold games available. but Knott has never considered himself more than a strong amateur whereas Hearst in his younger days became a U. Curiously. imagery. We have included as many diagrams and annotations as space would allow. when he bought a copy of Morphy’s Games of Chess.W. Over many years we have collected and will present here all available games from supposed world record–setting simultaneous blindfold displays. edited by P. And each of us wants to acknowledge the help of many people. The authors believe that practice in playing blindfold chess may transfer advantageously to other fields of human endeavor. and was a columnist for Chess Life during the 1950s and early 1960s. he learned that Knott had actually finished the first draft of a booklength manuscript on the topic in 1982. The authors represent an unusual team. Olympic Chess Team. new ways of graphically presenting data to the public via newspapers. and pondering the possible application of similar training methods for other human endeavors that also entail the memory and planning of sequences of responses. Knott’s interest in blindfold chess probably started in the early 1970s. or historians—but also to anyone interested in the workings of the human mind. historians.S. At about that time Knott tried playing without sight of the board and eventu- . with Knott’s professional career devoted to maritime law and insurance at legal offices in England and Hearst’s to experimental psychology at universities in the United States.S. in one way or another. Each of us has some comments to make about the development of his own interest in blindfold chess and his involvement with this book. captained the 1962 U. We have tried to make the main points understandable and appealing not only to readers who are chess players. as well as many other blindfold games of historical importance—a number of which have never been published in any chess book or magazine. periodicals. until 1985 the coauthors worked entirely independently and did not even know of each other’s existence. investigating the validity of claims for world record–setting performances in terms of the number of opponents played simultaneously and other criteria.2 Preface and Acknowledgments world champion. Senior Master. so as to relate basic mental processes to what topnotch blindfold players actually say about how they achieve their often spectacular results. No matter. but we believe that psychologists. trying to master the relevant psychological literature on chessplayers’ memory. who began playing blindfold chess at the age of six. or thinking up imaginative. This book is primarily directed at chess players. seeking substantiation or disproof of our joint belief that development of skill at blindfold play is one important route to chess improvement. and other groups will find much material here of interest to them. because each of us has been deeply involved in studying blindfold chess for more than thirty years. which included over 50 blindfold games. Knott and Hearst finally met in London in 1986 and in the mid–1990s decided to write a book together. when Hearst had finally decided to begin writing a book on blindfold chess. of course. and expertise. Both are chess players. psychologists. Sergeant. or computers.

Subsequently.. Bd3 e|d4 8. Of course. N|g6+ Ke8 21.L. helped Knott to test his ideas about the crucial factors involved in playing successful blindfold chess. both of whom had wide experience playing blindfold chess. taken together with commentaries from the general literature on chess and psychology. Knott received great help in the early days from International Master David N. he might have failed to discover some valuable reports that he unearthed in his own research—material that a computer search might have missed for various reasons. . b4 B|b4 5. Other helpful people were David Armstrong. He found that the available material and number of related topics seemed endless. A later draft of Knott’s analysis of blindfold chess was commented on by the late Professor Ian M. provided Knott with an often bewildering mass of information. At first he tried to follow up every interesting lead he came across. Black: KFH. One of his first games was especially satisfying and was published in a newspaper column in 1972. Hunter supplied important new material and showed such enthusiasm about Knott’s efforts that the whole enterprise was revitalized at a time when Knott was wondering whether he should continue work on a book that required understanding of many new topics or approaches. e5 Ng8 14. his cooperation is still greatly appreciated. Knott received encouragement and advice from the late Irving Chernev. Rabbitt. e|f6+ Qe7 23. but many details appear in the Bibliography. but he soon realized that the search had to be more selective or his work would never be finished. and then at the Department of Experimental Psychology at Oxford University. 0–0 B|d2 11. Other sources upon which Knott relied are too numerous to acknowledge individually. Nf6+ and Black resigned (a possible continuation would have been 21.Preface and Acknowledgments 3 ally was able to play three games simultaneously. Knott received many helpful suggestions and learned of studies by various American psychologists who primarily used a test situation developed by Adriaan de Groot. in the 1970s there were no computer search engines to help him find relevant material from many years before but. Examination of the psychological literature on chess. Levy who loaned him many microfilmed copies of chess columns in nineteenth century periodicals. Hunter of the Department of Psychology at Keele University. even if there had been. Although we now question the validity of several of Flesch’s claims. . Nf|e7 h6 20. ideas. opinions. From Dr. d4 Na5 7. e4 e5 2. c3 Be7 6. This task involved the reconstruction of actual chess positions that subjects had studied for a few seconds before setting them up from memory. Q|d2 Nc6 12.A. Here is the game. He does not think he could cope with many more. not all written in English. and theories. a chess enthusiast with an academic interest in mental imagery. N|f7 mate). Bd2 Qe7 10. Perhaps significantly (because the opening was one of Morphy’s favorites) this was an Evans Gambit. as well as specific remarks of blindfold experts of earlier times. International Master Robert Wade showed keen interest in the project and offered valuable suggestions. Nf3 Nc6 3. 1. R|e7+ Kd8 24. Bc4 Bc5 4. Rfe1 Nce7 16.M. Knott initially inspected many hundreds of books and several thousand issues of magazines prior to 1980. who was very generous with his time on visits to London from America. he had to make a conscious decision not to follow up every exciting lead he discovered. Qg5 Kf8 17. Nd5 Qd8 15. Each of them answered a detailed questionnaire on the subject..L. mainly in the library of the British Psychological Society. (now Professor) P. Knott gives special thanks to the late Grandmaster János Flesch of Hungary and to Grandmaster Sergio Mariotti of Italy. With respect to the collection of blindfold games themselves. N|h8 h|g5 25. Again. N|f6 22. White: JK (blindfolded). Nf5 g6 19. Their answers. c|d4 Bb4+ 9. an expert on human memory. Nc3 Nf6 13. Nh4 b6 18. Besides allowing Knott access to his vast chess library.

and Fred van der Vliet. Hearst began collecting material on blindfold chess in the 1960s and did some prelim- . formerly of Koninklijke Bibliotheek in The Hague. Hearst has managed to keep up with the latest results and trends by reading several chess magazines every month and receiving all kinds of chess news and gossip in letters. with Fine having only 10 seconds for each move. attention. Michael Mackenzie-Smith. Alice N. Jonathan Berry. and Donald Michie of the Machine Intelligence Research Unit. Pfeffer. His library has been bequeathed to the Princeton University Chess Collection. who later became a grandmaster and world championship candidate himself.B. However. of the New Orleans Public Library in Louisiana. chess activity dominated but after 1965 he stopped playing serious chess to devote himself mostly to researching and teaching a variety of topics in psychology—mainly involved with conditioning. readers of this book will have to wait for Hearst’s death to gain access to his contributions (mostly post–1950) to the Princeton Collection. but also with work in psychopharmacology and neuroscience. because Hearst had completely forgotten about this informal “exhibition. Jean Prinet of the Département des Périodiques at the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris.S. Fine won all the games. Grandmaster Reuben Fine played four simultaneous games blindfolded. e-mails from chessplaying friends who are still active players.. Jr. which inevitably led to an interest in the history of other fields. Hans Jung. David V. White Chess Collection at the Cleveland Public Library in Ohio. Hearst’s interest in blindfold chess developed out of involvement with his two major professional activities: serious chess competition and academic work in psychology. Marlene F. memory. Keith Homeyard. and concept formation in animals and humans. learning. For many years he taught courses on the history of psychology. John Réti (who translated János Flesch’s entire narrative). Despite his long absence from chess tournaments. Reina-Maria May. Vane’s long-term memory for chess events was apparently better than Hearst’s. Hearst’s first exposure to actual blindfold chess came when he was a youngster assisting at the USSR–USA Radio Match in 1945. Loranth of the John G. Collin B. Cohn. Van Meurs of the Universiteits-Bibliotheek in Amsterdam. Hamer. Attrill of the Royal National Institute of the Blind (RNIB). one of his opponents being 17-year-old Robert Byrne.N. as well as the New York Times chess columnist for 34 years. Hooper. reminded Hearst of this successful three-game attempt when they met for lunch in New York City in 1999. Burton of London University Library. who won the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine in 1982. Vane. Philippe Ruttley. and. and Alex van Dyck. calls. John M.” Hearst believes that he has never tried more than three games of simultaneous blindfold chess. but the Vane incident makes him wonder about his chess memory. J. conversations. As his play improved. Christmas messages. Library in London. now. John Henshaw. Hans H. Christine Chin and Jennifer Oldershaw of the R. which is already very extensive—particularly for volumes published before 1950. One occasion was with his pharmacologist colleague John Vane and his two daughters during an after-dinner session in the 1960s at his home near London. of the Free Library of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania. Hearst was able to play two or three simultaneous games blindfolded. University of Edinburgh Among those who aided Knott with translations are Danielle Clarke. At the close of that match U. Miss B. Others who helped in connection with searches for specific material include Robert Verhoeven especially.. Jr. Coleman of the St. Initially. Louis Public Library in Missouri. retiring in November of 2006.I. Over a period of fifty years he built up a large chess library that supplied much of the information he needed for this book.4 Preface and Acknowledgments Christopher J.

Alys Feuerstein. Fred van der Vliet. Julia Kalmanson. Christian Sanchez of Rosario.Preface and Acknowledgments 5 inary experiments on the topic while he was a visiting professor at the University of California at Berkeley in 1968-69. Richard S. Edward Winter. Hanon Russell. Victor Laties. Vlastimil Fiala. a Rosario . facts. Christopher Chabris collaborated on this work. Glenn Peterson. He was a kind and generous helper. Danny Kopec. Kenneth Whyld. Hearst would like to express special and more specific appreciation to five of the above individuals: Edward Winter of Switzerland. and Ilias Kourkounakis in Toronto were especially helpful in tracking down Knott. of Miguel Najdorf’s 40-board simultaneous display in Rosario in 1943—a world record–setting exhibition about which very few details have ever appeared because of poor communication during World War II. John Roycroft. Jack O’Keefe. György and Pal Négyesy. Justin Beltran. as well as complete newspaper reports. among other topics. Hearst and these colleagues did not deem their work to be of sufficient scope. Jennifer Hearst. Arpad Földeák. Later. Andrew Hearst. Hearst recalls that Edward Winter in Switzerland. Michael Franklin. László Nagy. “persuasiveness. Ilias Kourkounakis. Some respondents mentioned that John Knott of London was working on and may have completed a manuscript on the topic. more extensive studies were performed at Indiana University with Richard Colker and Michael Wierzbicki. Kathleen Speeth. Lothar Schmid. and at the University of Toronto with Ilias Kourkounakis and Endel Tulving. Armando Machado. However. Frederic Friedel. Diego Sans. Only recently (2003) did Hearst finally publish such an article analyzing. the well-known chess historian and author. George Koltanowski. Tomasz Lissowski. Cantwell. John Knudsen. Andrew Lenard. Jerome Tarshis. John S. Pal Benko. and Rafael Zakowicz. When in 1984 Hearst finally decided to start writing a book on blindfold chess. Russell Church. who over the course of many years sent us whatever material we requested (and much more) and gave us great support in our project. Janina Pietrzak. Hearst’s complete list of acknowledgments would have to include hundreds of individuals who are chess players or psychologists or historians. Hilbert. Kenneth Blake. Michael Franklin and John Roycroft in London. and other material. Our eventual collaboration has been outlined above. plus quite a few others. David Attwood. Sándor Szilágyi. Claes Lofgren. Stuart Margulies. Gittan Mansson. Erich Eliskases. Don Maddox. Steven Lopez. Ronald Lohrman. the validity of the oft-cited claim of blindfold masters that they can play one blindfold game as well as they can play a regular game. Hindemburg Melao. Heather Kofke-Egger. Jan Kalendovskï. Christopher Chabris. Herman van Riemsdijk. Those who provided ideas. Harrie Grondijs. despite his busy schedule as a chess writer and collector. stories. Jerome Bibuld. Will Butler. Charly Van Den Bergh. advice. Christian Sanchez. games. the person who unearthed four previously unknown games. Nira Liberman. Aben Rudy. Neil Brennen. Fatima and Russell Witte. The Millers (Al. Gabriel Frommer. Sanchez had to perform a heroic task to provide us with specific information. for the inevitable omission of whom apologies are offered. Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam. Todd Truitt. are (alphabetically) Barbara Aiken. Daniel Falcon. and Peter). or who helped with translations or computer programming. Fred Turim. Lizz.” and importance to merit publication in a scientific journal. Dexter Gormley. Endel Tulving. Dale Brandreth. Maurice Ashley. Alan McGowan. Argentina. A somewhat shorter list will have to suffice and there are sure to be people who provided valuable help but who do not appear explicitly in Hearst’s records or recollections. Andrew Soltis. which was published in the journal Cognitive Science. Charles and Marlys Witte. he sent out a questionnaire to various chess authorities that focused on gathering information about world record–setting simultaneous performances. In 2001 he managed to find 1943 copies of La Capital. Paul Harrington.

Daniel Falcon. and whose retirement to Tucson. imagery. and the University of Missouri. Dexter Gormley.6 Preface and Acknowledgments newspaper. Columbia University. the University of California at Berkeley. placed us in the same city at much more advanced ages. That time has now come. an undergraduate student of Hearst’s at the University of Arizona who was responsible for learning how to use ChessBase and typing into our computer many of the game scores from world record–setting displays. so much so that he often slept in Hearst’s university office when he had worked on the games into the wee hours of the morning. Sanchez copied out by hand the text and games in the reports. Hearst also appreciates the support offered by the five universities at which he has spent one year or many years as a psychology professor: especially Indiana University. and analyzed a sample of the games for features of grandmaster blindfold “blunders” that relate to weaknesses in human memory. His senior research project in psychology went beyond this effort. of course. an acquaintance of Hearst’s when both were young chess players in New York. who helped him again. . by using his photographic and computer skills to collate and refine as much as possible all the photographs for this book. Barbara Aiken. and expertise. who spent several years waiting for him to finish work on The Book so that we could spend more hours of the day together. Kenneth Blake. Without his exceptional computer expertise it is hard to imagine how we could have solved many technical problems that arose in connection with this book. The Harvard University McMaster Fund and Psychophysics Fund supported the work on blindfold chess done by Christopher Chabris and Hearst. Arizona. Finally. Hearst fondly acknowledges the support and patience of his companion. Hearst’s longtime research assistant at Indiana University. then went home to translate them all into English and eventually sent the material to us. but also the University of Arizona. a decade after Hearst left Indiana. He actually loved this task. in his local library but was not permitted to photocopy the numerous pages about the display that were published over the course of five or six days.

The only other alternative outcomes are that. A chessmaster sits at an empty table with his back to 20 players. And so on. the master is checkmated or resigns a game to his opponent. which he makes on the board in front of him. The master is very swift in this first go-around because he decided long before the exhibition exactly what his first move was going to be on each board number. the focus returns to Board 1. Whether such unfinished games are scored as forfeits. The action immediately shifts to Board 2. many moves. but the sighted player must 7 . The play continues in this manner around the 20 boards. each opponent has much more time to think than the master. heaven forbid. where the player there must be ready with his first move. forcing his opponents to give up (“resign”) on other boards because the position is hopeless. who then calls out his third move. Because the master is continually receiving and making moves on the other boards. or drawing the game (when both the exhibitor and the player receive half a point). which the master then answers quickly with his second move. depends on rules set up beforehand. Now that every one of the 20 players has heard what opening move the master played against him.Introduction VISUALIZE THIS SCENE. He cannot see any of the 20 positions on his opponents’ boards. Most exhibitors will allow player replacement since there is no honor in winning a close game by forfeit. All opponents have the Black pieces and therefore the master has the first move in every game. and he must have a planned system since he does not play the same first move on all boards. He is taking on the 20 opponents at once and calls out his first move on each board in standard chess notation. until play returns again to Board 1 where the opponent has to make his second move. perhaps for many. or that an opponent has to leave and is either forfeited or another player is allowed to replace him and continue the game from the position already reached. who are arranged in a rectangle behind him and have their own chessboards in front of them. in a counterclockwise manner starting from the master’s left side. who then calls out his second move on that board. until every game is finished by the master’s either checkmating his opponents on certain boards. also known as a “teller”) has actually made the master’s initial move on his chessboard. Here. Then the player or referee calls out the move to the exhibitor. the player must be ready with his response. The boards are numbered consecutively from 1 to 20. or a player replacement is allowed. going quickly around the rectangle from Board 1 to Board 20. and each opponent himself (or a referee. which is called out to the master.

They are long and grueling efforts. When playing blind he was able to sense these diverse forces in their original purity. the lack of strict rules about the above and other questions makes it hard to decide which blindfold champions have . There are a variety of ways in which different exhibitions may stray from the scene visualized above. without wasting words to describe it. Obviously some exhibitors play much faster than others. concentrated force. by a legal move of the same piece). In practice. is not very far from what real blindfold champions might say (in a much less exotic way). who was an avid chess player. so that he can decrease the number of opponents quickly. so that 20 games might take more than 8 hours to complete. such as the names of the players or the openings at each board? What happens when an opponent. Sometimes the master is in a separate enclosed room or booth and hears and transmits moves by microphone. if possible. Most games last on the average 20 to 30 minutes (that is. but displays with more than 15 opponents are never over in the time it takes to play a game of tennis or baseball. We will see later that this passage from Nabokov. however. invisible chess forces. The absence of rigid regulations often makes it difficult to compare the achievements of individual players. and over this tension he was sovereign. In the recent movie The Luzhin Defence (2000). Can and should the master take a break of a few hours or longer if he is tired? How can one compare the feat of playing 40 boards blindfolded against fairly weak opponents with the feat of playing against 30 strong adversaries? If the master offers draws that are accepted after a few moves in a good number of games. 1964). the total time devoted to that particular game. the grandmaster (Luzhin) is shown giving a sightless display while wearing a blindfold—but this was only to let the audience know what is going on. especially for the master because he cannot let his attention wander. He saw then neither the Knight’s carved mane nor the glossy heads of the Pawns— but he felt quite clearly that this or that imaginary square was occupied by a definite. Nabokov wrote that Luzhin found deep enjoyment in giving blindfold exhibitions: One did not have to deal with visible. audible. how should his performance be compared to that of a master who fights every game to a finish? Since world records for blindfold chess are ordinarily judged by the chess public solely on the basis of the total number of opponents one has played. a shock. and sometimes he chooses not to have the White pieces on every board. or the master. the master might have worn a blindfold over his eyes. he will simply be located where he cannot see any of the games. but nowadays that would be regarded merely as a dramatic gesture. The exhibitor may in theory spend as much time as he likes before calling out his move. In the novel on which the film was based (The Defense. Even though the games are “out of sight.8 Introduction move as soon as the master “arrives” at his board. here gathering in and there releasing electric power [pages 91–92]. based on Vladimir Nabokov’s novel about an eccentric champion. for otherwise a 20 board display might last for days.” they can never really be “out of mind.” Visualizing a blindfold chess exhibition is much easier to do than actually giving one. which would depend mainly on the exhibitor’s rate of play and the length of the game). he will usually answer quite rapidly. a stroke of lightning—and the whole chess field quivered with tension. There are no strict. official international rules governing blindfold play. mortal shell of exquisite. probably because organizers consider it mainly a form of entertainment. palpable pieces whose quaint shape and wooden materiality always disturbed him and always seemed to him but the crude. makes an illegal move? (In regular chess such a move has to be replaced. Instead. Many years ago. Various questions arise: Should the master be forbidden to write down anything. so that he envisioned the movement of a piece as a discharge.

but he must also find good moves. On the basis of our research. the display is not usually considered a success—unless the opposition is extremely strong. in their opinion. fascinating only to a select few people. And besides. how does the blindfold champion do it? As chess entertainment. page 133). expertise. In other words. calculation. it calls for a memory that is linked with understanding. In 1997 he said: “I don’t have to look at the board. We will have much to say about such details in this book. Among other things. computer-controlled wall boards. for most world record–setting exhibitions the expert reader can judge the quality of the master’s play as well as that of his opposition. Grandmaster Andrew Soltis declared that “it is the single most dramatic way to attract attention to chess. or look at the ceiling while deciding on their next move. but a version of the game that spectators love to watch. Even in regular tournaments there are a number of grandmasters who occasionally cover their eyes. They can see the actual positions. imagery. Not only must the master recall the constantly changing positions in all the games. and recognition of meaningful configurations or patterns. blindfold chess involves more than just memory. you’re not a chessplayer. it is relevant and perhaps surprising that some of the world’s top grandmasters have not even owned a real chess set when they were at their best. If he does not win at least 70 percent of the games.Introduction 9 achieved the greatest feats. And because we include the most complete collection of games that our years of research could muster. blindfold chess ranks highly. many psychologists and informed members of the chess and other communities believe—in our view.” Former world champion in regular chess Anatoly Karpov called blindfold chess an “entertaining spectacle. which tend to have an average length of 25 to 40 moves. this way his hands were free to play the guitar. which were represented by sugar lumps! In his book The Inner Game (1993.” So we are not going to be talking about some very esoteric form of chess. If you don’t know where the pieces stand. often analyzing his ongoing game in his head while walking. Short was “much happier discussing positions from the games ‘blindfolded. now on large. However. which reminds us of Nabokov’s hero implying that a piece itself is merely a crude representation of its intrinsic force. justifiably—that the playing of more than 20 or 30 simultaneous blindfold games ranks among the most amazing achievements of human memory. Dominic Lawson wrote that British world championship challenger Nigel Short never seemed to have a chess set in his rooms during his match with Kasparov in 1993. Julius du Mont was astonished when he found that Capablanca did not possess a complete chess set and that for a game he had to use an assortment of household articles as improvised pieces. stare into space.” In conventional tournament play Russian Grandmaster Peter Svidler walks around a great deal between moves. Even though the point does not refer to multi-game simultaneous blindfold displays.’ without the unnecessary tedium of actually moving the pieces. The only matching pieces were the two white rooks. Regardless of these possible variations in the particulars of different displays. we will try to isolate the skills and techniques that the blindfold player must possess to attain his feats.” Svidler’s remark is not atypical for skilled chess players. Such well-known authorities as polymath Douglas Hofstadter in the field of artificial intelligence and experimental psychologist Endel Tulving in the field of cognitive neuroscience and human memory have told Hearst that. On a visit to José Capablanca’s home. Many masters have said that sight of the actual pieces sometimes hinders their analysis. no other human memory feat can surpass the achievements of the best simultaneous blindfold champions. We will .

which took him 11 hours to complete in 1950. and writing about and teaching chess. walking around for so many hours. whereas blindfold chess introduces much more than that. It is not clear who holds this record. Alexander Alekhine. played in 1947. rather. serious games a master has much more time to think about each move. Money prizes in regular tournaments have increased markedly during recent years. no one has seriously attempted to play more than 28 such games since 1960. Although blindfold players can sit during their exhibitions and such lengthy efforts do require someone to be in good physical shape. will turn out to be our clear choice for the best blindfold player of all time. the world champion in regular chess for most of the period between 1927 and his death in 1946. they have the ability to grasp meaningful relationships among different aspects of a board situation. who we will argue is the rightful holder of the world simultaneous blindfold record at 45 games. Most readers who may not know much about the existence of large-scale blindfold exhibitions have usually heard about or seen simultaneous displays where a player is not blindfolded but walks around all the assembled boards. Again. They “understand” what is important to direct their attention toward and what is less so.) And Alekhine said that it was impossible to avoid a few errors of memory in blindfold events. Because of the effort and concentration required to play many simultaneous blindfold games. too. has met as many as 250 opponents at once in regular simultaneous play. our excuse is that we devoted years to research on blindfold displays and could not bring ourselves to do the same for regular exhibitions—which we do not find as challenging or fascinating. Zukertort. as have the sheer number of such events open to participation virtually every weekend in many countries—a spurt of professionalism and opportunity that many masters attribute to the unyielding financial demands of Bobby Fischer and the media interest created by his often eccentric behavior.10 Introduction discover from reports of blindfold experts that the better they are. sighted simultaneous exhibitions are mainly tests of one’s physical fortitude. There the master often takes on many more than 40 or 50 opponents. No one has attempted more than 52 blindfold games at once. Still. Miguel Najdorf of Argentina. even over 1. He did not think that the quality of his play in multi-game simultaneous displays came close to approaching the skill level he demonstrated in regular games. . than by scheduling tours like those arranged by such great blindfold players of the past as Blackburne. according to the same arrangement as in blindfold exhibitions—except of course that the master can see the actual position as he arrives at each board. an opinion with which other blindfold champions will almost all agree about their own play. Now it is much easier to make a decent living by playing regularly in standard tournaments. the less likely they are to visualize real pieces and squares and the more likely they are to describe their experience abstractly as involving interacting “lines of force” or as a clash between the potentialities of action embodied in characteristic features of a position. such skills play a large role in regular chess. where you do not have to worry much about memory or visualization problems since you can see each position as you arrive at a board. Pillsbury. (One obvious reason for this is that in regular. according to some reports.000. Standard. one thing is clear: Blindfold champions are not just memorizing moves. he included blindfold games in collections of his best games and some are real gems. but the world record for number of adversaries in sighted simultaneous play is obviously much higher. (Playing the 45 blindfold games took him nearly 24 hours!) We did not delve into the accuracy of the numerous reports about world records for regular simultaneous play. which is certainly in the hundreds or. the mental fatigue is much greater than in any regular simultaneous exhibition. Obviously.

Steven B. which we will occasionally mention. techniques.” If only blindfold chess could create such a furor! We will also have to confront the issue of whether playing multi-game simultaneous displays. two players have told us that they intend someday to play at least 30 blindfold games at once. (Some evidence suggests that these classes improve students’ overall grades. and skills to be discussed and evaluated here have implications for. selfconfidence. setting sums and problems to one another and to European visitors. In his book The Great Mental Calculators (1983. has the habit of carefully analyzing a number of games every day without the sight of any chessboard. the fact that the games are not internationally rated so one cannot suffer from a few bad losses. half blindfold and half regular chess. However. concentration. and Koltanowski. and their own monitors merely display an empty diagram and the notation of their opponent’s last move. Noteworthy is the fact that many chess teachers and writers recommend practice at blindfold chess as a way of developing one’s regular chess skill. A special program developed by Ruby Murray in Washington State involves a large number of visualization exercises. and uses in. and today they have been adopted by many teachers in other countries. not the least of which have been the boasts of many players that they can play one game blindfolded as well as they can play a regular game. and the chance to play a different variety of chess from the usual. as well as different forms of visualization training. The main form of blindfold play today is in high-class tournaments where individual players compete one-on-one against each other. and general interest in intellectual activities. Grandmaster Alexander Beliavsky. They also advise players to mentally “play over” complete games or games from diagrammed positions in magazines or newspapers with the remaining moves given in chess notation. motivation to think critically. These educational possibilities. Techniques of these kinds were a part of the training procedures used in the Soviet Union for accelerating a promising youngster’s growth as a chess player.Introduction 11 Alekhine. Chess-in-the-schools programs in the United States have burgeoned and many secondary schools in different cities offer chess classes. And available computer programs allow one to play blindfolded against a computer (see. which include many different age levels. for example. Robert Pawlak’s 2001 article on programs of this type). The issue is worth examining for many reasons. have obvious application to other fields of human endeavor. That is. page 105). Sitting a few feet apart. “They laid aside their weapons and were to be seen going about armed with slate and pencil. they play under normal tournament conditions. We believe strongly that the topics. among others. patience. our view is that this volume is not a book that has utility and interest only for chess players and scholars like psychologists and historians. many fields outside chess. Smith mentions that learning how to calculate quickly engendered an interest in abstract thought in the Samoan general population. the generous prize money. is dangerous to one’s health. Stefan . or engaging in excessive blindfold play of any kind. the introduction of mental multiplication led to an absolute craze for arithmetic calculations. but through the use of computer technology neither one of them can see the actual position. has attracted almost all the very best players in the world. There.) Hundreds of schools compete in national scholastic championships. But does the quality of play in these one-on-one blindfold games approach the quality of the games played with sight of the board in the same tournament? We will have more to say about this question later. as some medical and other experts have proposed over the past two or three centuries. the players type or “click” their moves onto a computer keyboard. because of the beautiful setting for the event. The annual tournament in Monaco. The children call it “bat chess” (blind as a bat).

one of the antagonists called out to him. he finds himself on a ship which is also transporting the world chess champion to Buenos Aires. when the editor was found to be fast asleep. He succeeded by luckily managing to steal a book of chess games without diagrams and playing over games from that book endlessly in his head—until eventually he grew tired of that activity and started to play games endlessly against himself. Charles Tomlinson wrote about when Robert Brien (editor of the Chess Player’s Chronicle) played a single blindfold game against three consulting amateurs. “Brien sat apart and spread a handkerchief over his head. and he is talked into contesting a game with him. to prevent distraction from surrounding objects. Brien being a very long time in moving. After his eventual release from prison. and raised the handkerchief. but getting no response. went up to him. perhaps we can still afford to conclude this introduction with a description of an incident reported in the British Chess Magazine in 1891 that might otherwise lead to a different conclusion. Although we have tried to make this book as interesting and absorbing as possible. but blindfold chess was not just a salvation for him but also a danger.12 Introduction Zweig’s The Royal Game (1944) tells the story of a Nazi prisoner’s success in avoiding insanity while in long solitary and barren confinement. We will not reveal the story’s ending.” . The game had proceeded many moves when.

P ART I The History of Blindfold Chess .

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Persian. but showed complete unawareness of evidence that much earlier Arabian.1 Even Before Philidor THE GREAT PUBLICITY THAT FRANÇOIS PHILIDOR (1726–1795) received for playing two or three simultaneous blindfold games in the mid to late eighteenth century provoked general astonishment. Italian.R. Philidor was not the first to play blindfolded against more than one sighted player at the same time. So. is considered by the distinguished chess encyclopedists David Hooper and Kenneth Whyld (1992) to be perhaps the most important chess book ever written in English. Accounts of blindfold chess occurring centuries before Philidor are neither detailed nor reliable enough to support strong conclusions about the quality of a player’s blindfold play compared with his sighted play. and for players before the time of Philidor we mainly concentrate on the reports he accumulated. accounts of his achievements. which required at least 14 years of research and the learning of Arabic languages (as well as the acquisition of some proficiency in several other languages): His father was the editor-in-chief of the Oxford English Dictionary and possessed work habits. linguistic skills. we do not ignore conflicting or additional sources of information. Often. who was allowed to touch the pieces on a board in front of him. But in most displays after the sixteenth century the exhibitor sat with his back to the players. and recently reprinted again in 2002).J. and Spanish players had equaled or surpassed his performances. if somewhat sensational. contrary to some common beliefs. Let us first put his achievements into their proper context. and stimulated particular interest in this form of chess. Nevertheless. Greek. and a desire for accuracy that he passed on to his son. One early player is reported to have played 10 games at once. However. According to Hooper and Whyld. Murray was well primed to undertake such an enormous task. such simultaneous games would accompany one or more games played with sight of the board—a mixed type of display that the great Alekhine and others gave during the twentieth century. with or without an actual blindfold—which was obviously 15 . Murray’s (1868–1955) monumental scholarly work A History of Chess (first published in 1913. especially if they seem well-founded. the first way of playing blindfold chess involved a player wearing an actual blindfold. or in another room. H. There are a good number of references to blindfold chess in Murray’s major work. or about the maximum number of blindfold games that anyone could conduct simultaneously. Contemporary newspaper reports in Paris and London gave fairly reliable. among the strongest players of each period since chess originated there have been those who could play at least one game blindfolded and in some cases up to four or five at a time.

have been permitted to do.16 Part I. Sa’id’s opponents may have been so weak that actual sight of the board did not matter much in terms of how easily he seemed to win. there is no clear record of which early blindfold players used the touchpieces method. although it created a more dramatic setting for the spectators. as other truly blind players of many eras. which suggests that he was not born blind but may have lost his sight in battle. As-Safadi (d. and his practice was to have his slave call out the opponent’s move. page 428). Muhammad bin Sirin. ’Ala’addin was said to be a soldier. page 204). An account by an Italian. He would then tell the slave what move to make in reply. ter). al-Mawardi (d. This is the earliest recorded report of blindfold play in Europe.Damascus in 1331.D. He said. excelled at blindfold chess. or how often it occurred. who was blind. Hooper and Whyld believe that Sa’id may have been the first to turn his back on the board and pieces. Murray discovered several reports of blindfold play in Arabian and Persian writings. which may or may not be related to his skill at blindfold chess. The Saracen player Buzecca (sometimes spelled Buchecha or Borzaga) is often credited as the first person with the ability to play several games of chess simultaneously without sight of the board. play chess with the nobility in Egypt and “beat them utterly” (Murray.R. Giovanni Villani. a Negro (665–714). and one wonders whether he was allowed to touch the pieces. but there is apparently no record of whether the draw occurred in a blindfold game or the sighted game. Al-Mawardi remarked that Sa’id could play blindfolded as well as he could play regular chess. In the 1300s the practice of blindfold chess was widespread in the Arabic world. He may have been a good player before that. according to Murray. conducting two games without sight and one with sight of the board (Murray. The History of Blindfold Chess unnecessary in such cases. Of course. and was famous for his interpretation of dreams. He must have had a vivid imagination and considerable ingenuity. a contemporary of Sa’id’s. was also a blindfold player. Murray (courtesy Edward Win. 1058) stated that Sa’id bin Jubair. instead of touching them. To our knowledge. 1362) recalled having seen ’Ala’addin. . An observer in the ninth or tenth century said of one blindfold player that he must be “in league with the devil. Other accounts substantiate the dominance of Arabian players from the early days of chess up until the sixteenth century. By profession he was a judge. from as far back as the 700s A. Buzecca won two games and drew one. According to Murray (page 192). As-Safadi also recalled seeing a blindfold player called an-Nizam al-‘Ajami in Harold J. including today.” Writing in the eleventh century. describes Buzecca’s visit to Florence in 1266. where he took on the three best players in the city simultaneously.

Probably the type of mistake referred to here was an opponent’s error in calling out his move or attempting. supposedly the first to play between 8 and 16 simultaneous games. page 206). and he defeated him blindfold. Still. . a bishop’s or queen’s diagonal move always takes it to a square of the same *Marilyn Yalom’s Birth of the Chess Queen (2004) presents some interesting and persuasive historical-cultural-social speculations as to how and why the queen became the powerful piece she is today. but the exhibitor’s reaction. as a special feature of some simultaneous displays. whose modern counterpart is the bishop]. and we did not see that it was mate until he turned to us and said. We indeed knew nothing until he gave him checkmate with a Fil [an elephant. The audience may well have been impressed. and Zukertort in the second half of the nineteenth century. so that the reader keeps in mind some factors affecting the play of blindfold chess over the ages—whose significance might otherwise be overlooked. and he rehearsed them in order at once. He added: “I have seen it written in a book that a certain person played in this manner at ten boards at once and gained all the games and even corrected his adversaries when a mistake was made” (Murray. Perhaps they did. but in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries Blackburne and Pillsbury. Until about the end of the twelfth century the chessboard had all of its squares the same color or was checkered (light and dark squares) at the option of the players. winning all of them and correcting his opponents’ false moves—apparently the same player mentioned above. Blackburne. would stop and deliberately impress audiences by calling out the exact position in any game. may have been approximated centuries before. The ability to call out the positions of the pieces—as reported by as-Safadi—is not an achievement of any greater difficulty than is playing a blindfold game. winning all three. If the claim of 10 boards is reliable. just as if he saw them before him [page 204]. Murray (page 206) also cites a similar report given by bin Sukaikir in the middle of the sixteenth century. Bin Sukaikir had also heard of other players who could play four or five simultaneous games blindfolded and even one who could manage 10 boards.” I have also been told that he sometimes played two games at once blindfold. and could also be taken as an indication that other so-called blindfold players of those times may have needed considerable prompting to avoid errors.1. “It is checkmate. Now we must digress a little. Morphy. Even Before Philidor 17 The first time that I saw him playing chess. This shows some lack of sophistication on the part of the spectators. Furthermore. if any. and the starting positions of the king and queen were fixed instead of being interchanged arbitrarily. because in order to play blindfolded properly one must know where all the pieces are. there had been several players who could contest four or five blindfold games simultaneously in the sixteenth century. would likely have been mild impatience or just relief that the error was not his own. He also vouches for this: Shamsaddin once called to him in the middle of a game. Chelebi had toured India and the Near East playing blindfold by touch. he was playing with the Shaikh Aminaddin Sulaiman. chief of the physicians. around the end of the 1400s the powers of some of the pieces were increased (producing the legal moves of the present queen* and bishop). For example. to make an illegal move. and your opponent’s”. A checkered board would be likely to facilitate the accuracy and quickness of planning and executing of certain moves in regular chess. According to Muhammad bin ’Omar Kajina. “Enumerate all your pieces. who met a Greek professional named Yusuf Chelebi. intentionally or unintentionally. The sahib al-Maula Badraddin Hasan bin ’Ali al-Ghazzi told me that he had seen him play two games blindfold and one over the board at the same time. a recurring theme in many early accounts of blindfold chess is the observer’s amazement that the player could describe the position of every piece on the board. then the feats of players like Paulsen.

e4 e5 2. Unfortunately. K6 for White is K3 for Black. Typically. that the basis of the modern algebraic system of notation was introduced. condemned a weak defense that. the “descriptive” form designates squares by the column (“file”) on which a particular piece stands at the start of the game. Philidor’s style of descriptive notation (which is slightly longer) gained popularity as a rival system—particularly in England and the United States—and it is only recently that the algebraic system has come into virtually universal use. which has not survived. 1369–1405). or have a referee transmit them. Bb5 (algebraic). and later editions of it. He traced his skill to assistance from Allah. Shortly after the time of as-Safadi there was. An example of each notation system for the first three moves of a popular opening are 1. Thus the same square always has the same name. N–KB3 N–QB3 3. where knowledge of specific properties of squares are of great benefit to a player. and moves were indicated by reference to the position of the pieces on the board. After this necessary digression about rule changes and chess notation. moves were described in sentences: for example. . The modern move description of White’s move Nf3 (or Ng1–f3) would at one time have been recorded as “The white King commands his owne knight into the third house before His owne Bishop. B–QN5 (descriptive). and it would certainly make blindfold chess a slow and cumbersome process. It was not until the eighteenth century. who played rapidly and claimed he could handle four simultaneous blindfold games and one regular game while conversing with friends. starting with the 1737 publication of a book of problems by the Syrian-born Philip Stamma. as well by how far along that column the square is located: for example. Pedro Damiano (1480–1544) wrote about “The elements of the art of playing without seeing the board” in a chapter of his book on chess in 1512—the first Italian chess book—where he advised blindfold players to learn a notation in which the squares were numbered from 1 to 64 (a system of numbering is currently used in checkers. where White’s third move could be written simply B–N5 because there is no confusion about whether QN5 or KN5 is the new location of the piece since no bishop can move to KN5. Similar considerations apply in blindfold chess. For those who are not familiar with modern chess notation. In the now standard algebraic notation. The History of Blindfold Chess color. for example e3 or a5.” That would hardly be a suitable notation system in today’s computer society. Nf3 f6). A Portuguese apothecary. Of fundamental importance in blindfold play is the method by which the two players communicate their moves to each other. e4 e5 2. whereas a knight’s move is always to a square of a different color. ironically. ’Arabshah. one ’Ala’addin at-Tabrizi. We will always use the algebraic notation in this book. He wrote a book on chess.18 Part I. In most medieval works a fixed system of notation was not used. a coordinate system is used whereby rows are labeled 1–8 starting from White’s side and columns labeled a–h from left to right on White’s side. also known as Khwaja ’Ali Shatranji (a lawyer during the reign of Moghul Emperor Timur. His book. Nf3 Nc6 3. on the other hand. “king 3” (K3) or “queen’s rook 5” (QR5). but positions from games or problems were attributed to his book in manuscripts written by later authors. a piece was said to have moved “next to” another piece. is now named after him (the opening moves are 1. who in a dream had given him a set of chessmen. A beginner using this notation system is often confused by the fact that White and Black squares are labeled differently depending on whether you are looking at the board from the White or Black side. and 1. according to the fifteenth century historian b. chess skill and the popularity of the game in Europe had begun to eclipse that in the Arabic world. P–K4 P–K4 2. Written records indicate that by the 1500s. we return to more specific historical aspects of blindfold chess itself. or draughts).

The Philidorian. Bb5. Sicily. where he occasionally played blindfold chess with Turks while horseback riding. and thus would ascertain the place where the piece should stand. 1756.. Even Before Philidor 19 Deeply critical of Damiano’s work and general advice about chess was the well-known priest Ruy Lopez de Segura (c. Sacchieri would tell him what was to be done on his side. Any sermon not above an hour long he could again deliver in the same words and order he heard it. at Turin. The historian John George Keysler in 1756 reported the following: There was a very singular instance of the stretch of human understanding. he could repeat every motion made both on his side and that of his antagonists from the beginning. was described as a fast player with a dashing style. who impressed players in Palermo. In case of a dispute about the place of any of the pieces. Subsequent seventeenth and early eighteenth century blindfold players included B.. Nf3 g5 4. author of Traitté du ieu royal des echets [échecs]. written in 1690 and perhaps the first book to deal with openings in a systematic way.. This singular address in playing such an intricate game appears to be one of the greatest instances of the stretch of human memory. he was subsequently constituted public lecturer on mathematics at Pavia. †The variation starts 1. who occasionally played three games blindfolded. in the person of Father Sacchieri. What is perhaps still more surprising.* Lopez and his closest Spanish rivals.. Boi traveled a great deal. Asperling (1650–1710) of Switzerland. Saccheri had been “a man gifted generally with extraordinary calculative powers. Leonardo was said to be much slower but more accurate whereas Boi. e4 e5 2. Bc4 g4 5. he was able to play at chess with three different persons.1570–c. e4 e5 2. because of its attachment to one of the most favored modern openings. George Walker (1803–1879).1. before he was ten years old. Boi played chess with the Italian Alessandro Salvio (c. wrote in 1840 that Fr. and probably in the world. without so much as seeing one of the three chess boards.† Salvio is also credited with being a blindfold player.1580). along with Alfonso Ortega of Spain.1640). Shortly before his death in 1598. . It is sometimes and in some countries called the Spanish Game. pages 286–287]...” How much faith should we place in the complete reliability of reports like those pre*The moves of the Ruy Lopez opening are 1. Fr. and hold a conversation with the company during the whole time. and as for the truth of it the rank and veracity of my authors forbid me to entertain the least doubt [Keysler. He was of an intellect so wonderfully precocious that. No chess-sophisticated reader will fail to recognize his name. lately deceased. who was the leading player in Spain. f4 e|f4 3. his representative only acquainting him with every motion of his antagonists. After attentively reading two pages in a printed book he could fluently repeat it backwards and forwards. and some accounts mention that he spent time in Hungary in the 1590s. and especially of memory. during a visit there in 1611. were all noted for their skill at blindfold chess. Alfonso Ceron (or Zerone or Girone) and Medrano. Of these two. and the Jesuit priest Giovanni Girolamo Saccheri (also Sacchieri) (1667–1733) of Turin. Saccheri played either three or four games simultaneously without sight of the boards. author of three chess books and after whom a variation of the King’s Gambit is named. decades before Philidor created a public sensation by playing two or three games simultaneously in that manner. Nf3 Nc6 3. for nearly twenty years.1530–c. We would like to share with the reader two vivid and rather quaint descriptions of Saccheri’s abilities. he could solve the most difficult problems in algebra and arithmetic. the British chess journalist and editor of England’s first chess magazine. Ne5. So were the Italian Giovanni Leonardo da Cutro (1542–1587) and the Sicilian Paolo Boi (1528–1598).

and in its relation to the limits of human imagery and memory—long before Philidor and the newspapers of his time popularized this form of the game. Philidor’s exploits.20 Part I. Saccheri could fluently repeat “backwards” from memory two pages of a printed book. to which we now turn. what is to be made of the claim that Fr. The History of Blindfold Chess sented by Keysler and Walker? For example. interest. are quite well documented. of reproducing an hour-long sermon “in the same words and order he heard it”? These passages resemble those written by press agents of famous performers today. But descriptions like those above indicate the curiosity. and amazement that both chessplayers and non-chessplayers showed in blindfold chess. and how was his ability tested. . And we will see that most modern masters of blindfold play have given little evidence of exceptional memories for activities outside of chess.

Young Philidor played his first blindfold game against the Abbé Chernard. At age 18 (in 1744) he publicly played two blindfold games simultaneously. His musical contributions have not been forgotten: At least one of his many comic operas. and set to music Congreve’s “Ode to Music. Sire de Légal. the Chevalier de Jaucourt described this achievement as among the most phenomenal manifestations 21 . dating from the 1600s. whose performances had greatly impressed the court in the early seventeenth century. which was performed for Louis XV. In a chess article for the Encyclopédie of Denis Diderot and Jean d’Alembert. Philidor was the eldest son from the third marriage of André Danican. At the age of 11 he composed a motet. this establishment was one of the earliest coffee houses in Paris. and a century later it was the French venue for Morphy’s displays and matches. but does not recall any allusions to chess. he found chess at the Café de la Régence to be a great distraction. a performance that captured the imagination of Parisian society and made him a celebrity. and one of the coauthors of this book enjoyed seeing and hearing it at the Indiana University Opera House around 1980. intending to earn a living by giving music lessons and copying music. among them Jean Jacques Rousseau and Benjamin Franklin. Philidor learned to play chess while studying music at the Chapelle du Roy in Versailles. Philidor wrote 17 operas. Originally called the Palais-Royal Café. By Philidor’s time it was the main meeting place for chessplayers. a bassoon player at the court of Louis XIV of France. despite the fact that he drew one game and lost the other. which he entered when he was six years old. At that establishment he met M. by Louis XIII who likened him to an Italian musician called Filidori. However. Tom Jones. de Kermuy. From Légal he learned of blindfold chess. When he left the Chapelle at the age of 14 Philidor moved to Paris itself. is still occasionally performed today.2 François-André Philidor FRANÇOIS-ANDRÉ DANICAN PHILIDOR (1726–1795) was recognized in his own time not only as an over-the-board and blindfold player. then the best player in France. and Philidor remarked that he often played over whole games in his mind before going to sleep at night. The Danican family (originally of Scottish descent) had acquired the surname Philidor as a result of the praise given to François’ great-grandfather. and a chess theoretician. but also as a player and composer of music. a celebrated oboist. In this last capacity his use of the chorus and instrumentation was deemed by many to be superior to that of any other French composer of his time. and his musical works were treated as models and studied extensively at the Conservatoire in Paris for years after his death.” the chorus of which Handel praised highly.

invited the members of the chess club.. however. The idea of the intellectual labour that was passing in the mind of Mr Philidor suggested a painful perception to the spectators which.22 Part I. [is] a wonder of such magnitude as could not be credited. without repeated experience of the fact. and so should be hoarded among the best examples of human memory till memory shall be no more. and seemed to undergo little mental fatigue. was reported in the Morning Post of May 28. perhaps would not be credible.. in glowing terms: The celebrated Mr Philidor. though he considered himself principally a musician. also on May 28. And The World. whose unrivalled excellence at the game of chess has long been distinguished. as he seldom paused half a minute. I have talked about this to M.. drawing the first game and losing the second. of course. conducted it with the most subtle complications.. He apparently did not know about the equal or superior results. however. Besides. Recall that this praise was lavished despite the fact that out of the two games Philidor scored only a half-point. Count Hans Brühl and Dr. with the multiplied vicissitudes of the two and thirty pieces in possible employment upon each table . winning all three contests. The ability of fixing on the mind the entire plan of two chess tables without seeing either. But to risk your talent and your reason for nothing is simply inconceivable.. and the amateurs in general of that arduous amusement. de Légal. who. In London a display at Parsloe’s Chess Club. to be present on Saturday last at a spectacle of the most curious kind. at once interesting and astonishing. combining (as the late English chessmaster C.O’D. was quite unnecessary. 1782. by saying This brief article is the record of more than sport and fashion: it is a phenomenon in the history of man.. François-André D. Thomas Bowdler. Later.” started its report.H. The History of Blindfold Chess of the human mind. He first played three games simultaneously in a Berlin display around 1750. in terms of the total number of simultaneous blindfold games. When the intrinsic difficulty of the game is considered. Alexander put it) “ignorance and journalistic exaggeration in equal proportions. achieved centuries earlier by Italian and Arabian players. as it was to display a very wonderful faculty of the human mind.. as well as the great skill of his adversaries. is perhaps exclusively at present his own.. which faculty. and according to some sources repeated that feat more than once in Berlin. Philidor gave blindfold exhibitions in Berlin and London. . In the same year Diderot wrote a now wellknown letter to Philidor admonishing him for what he considered to be foolhardiness. Philidor (courtesy Edward Winter). of the power of human intelligence. and certainly deserves to be recorded as a proof. especially in the absence of any financial reward: I should more readily excuse you for these dangerous experiments if you had wagered enough to win five or six hundred guineas. where Philidor conducted two blindfold games against strong players. this exertion seems absolutely miraculous.

It is foolish to run the risk of going mad for vanity’s sake. and often corrects mistakes in those who have the board before them. while also playing a third game against Francis Maseres. Take my advice. Mr Bowdler reduced his game to a drawn battle in one hour and three-quarters. James’ Street. François-André Philidor 23 Philidor playing blindfolded at Parsloe’s Chess Club in London in the 1780s (courtesy Edward Winter). Echoing a detail from some of our reports of events played centuries before is the mention of his correcting errors in the moves of his sighted opponents. and do not expose yourself further to the possibility of being an object of scorn. or even simple gross blunders. At most they will say of you: There is that Philidor creature. 1783. was reported in the London press on May 9. and this is his answer: “When I was young. A further display. will the English come forward to rescue your family? Do not believe. write it for many years yet. and at the end of that game I found myself so fatigued mentally that it was the first and last time of my life. Monsieur Philidor performed one of those wonderful exhibitions for which he is so much celebrated. This was apparently the first time Philidor played three blindfold games at once in England: Yesterday at the Chess Club in St. Philidor’s abilities must appear one of the greatest of which the human memory is susceptible. he is nothing any more. To those who understand chess.2.” Now. He defeated Count Brühl in one hour and twenty minutes. Philidor paid no attention to Diderot’s counsel. and Mr Maseres in two hours. when you shall have lost your ability. Because the players were among the strongest in England. He goes through it with astonishing accuracy. that what has not yet happened to you will not happen. this exertion of M. the errors probably did not arise from attempts by them to make illegal moves. a state in which so many are born. write more fine music for us. Sir. at which Philidor achieved a better score against the same two players. Of course. I decided to play a single game of chess without seeing the board. His opponents were Count Brühl and Mr Bowdler (the two best players in London). but rather arose during the transmission of the moves to Philidor. he lost all the sense he had by pushing little pieces of wood across a chessboard. He played at the same time three different games without seeing either [sic] of the tables. or from the incorrect placement of pieces whose previous . and Mr Maseres.

to help avoid confusion between games—would not be a significant factor where only two or three games were being played. -6. James Street. the 20th June. and that among his opponents were some of the strongest players in England. All the games from the display have been preserved and are Games 1–3 in Part III. Philidor’s overall score for blindfold games was probably not more than about 60 percent (out of nine displays for which the results were published he scored +10. he will only publish a few parties he has played against three players at once. even near the end of his life. He most respectfully invites all the members of the Chess Club to honour him with their presence. will play on Saturday. his taking Black (let alone with a pawn deficit) would certainly have been something of a handicap. 1790 (when he was almost 65 years old). Indeed. St. which also suggests his unawareness of the exploits of earlier players: Mr. By particular desire. but a fact seldom mentioned is that he usually took the black pieces in these displays.24 Part I. But Philidor was at best duplicating the feats of players of earlier times. been fairly widely reported. Philidor’s blindfold exhibitions had a great impact upon the general public. subjoining thereto the names of his respectable adversaries. Ladies and Gentlemen not belonging to the Club may be provided with tickets at the above-mentioned house. but were apparently overlooked by journalists and others (of course they had no computer databases or massive game collections to consult). Saccheri’s exploits had. affidavits were collected from witnesses attesting to the authenticity of the game reports and the conditions of play. that the games did not tire him very much. lest subsequent generations should doubt that the achievements had actually occurred. That these exertions did not overburden him is clear from his continuing to play without sight of the board until his final years and from his assurance. to see the match. Mons. two of them without seeing either of the boards. In the 1790 edition of his Analysis of Chess Philidor included only three blindfold games. at two o’clock precisely. because the consideration that we mention later— that in large exhibitions it could be to a blindfold player’s advantage to have Black in some games. Although. and that she should therefore not be worried about his health. and against Maseres he also gave a pawn handicap. 1795. and =4). No doubt much of the publicity surrounding the blindfold displays was instigated by the Club itself. and the third looking over the table. Philidor. Philidor’s blindfold displays continued to amaze those who watched them. In Philidor’s case. at 5 shillings each. being of the opinion that an entire collection of the games he has played without looking over the chessboard would not be of any service to lovers of the game. given to his wife in a letter of February 23. the year of his death. An announcement in the press advertised the event: Chess Club. in order to prove and transmit to posterity a fact that future ages might entertain some doubts of. . Philidor played with the black pieces in every game. three games at once against three good players. The History of Blindfold Chess moves were correctly transmitted. Fr. Parsloe’s. when he was nearly 70 years old. in particular. P. The reason is clear from his comment. he was evidently under no illusions about the overall quality of the games. often with a pawn handicap. The last display that Philidor gave was in 1795. positively for the last time. because from 1775 onwards its members paid Philidor a retainer to stay in London and play at the Club between February and June of each year.

1772–1819) as frequently playing mutual blindfold chess with Hypolite de Bourblanc on their strolls through London. de la Bourdonnais kept on playing regular games at odds in front of large crowds. who founded the chess magazine Le Palamède and is best known in chess history for his lengthy series of regular matches against McDonnell (six matches in 1834. 25 .3 Between Philidor and the Late 1800s Early Post-Philidor Blindfold Players AFTER PHILIDOR’S DEATH IN 1795 there was a lull of about 60 years in blindfold displays of any great significance. earlier in life. However. had lived in a grand style— was almost destitute. records indicate that Louis Charles Mahé de la Bourdonnais (1795–1840). with de la Bourdonnais finishing with 45 wins. regarded as the best English player in the years immediately before his death. formal blindfold displays in Paris and a final one in London. He died not long after completing a three-game simultaneous blindfold display in 1840. that the attack originated from his overstraining the finer vessels of the brain. gave well-organized. Paulsen. and have peremptorily forbidden his repeating the task. Because of his dire financial straits. a few months back. Morphy. and despite very poor health (he had suffered a stroke and received treatment for dropsy in 1838). the sure attendants upon the experiment. totaling 85 games. M.H. in the labour of playing blindfold. He progressed gradually from playing one blindfold game against weak players until he tried three simultaneously against strong players. Sarratt (c. under the penalty of the most fatal consequences being. until the time of Kieseritzky.* *Walker organized financial assistance for de la Bourdonnais when the latter—who. The first physicians in Paris have agreed in opinion. and 13 draws). suddenly to the very verge of the grave. In 1840 Walker quoted him as joking that “the only things which spoil chess are the board and men. is reputed to have been a strong blindfold player. 27 losses. and Zukertort. Walker wrote about this exhibition: I regret to add that our hero’s constitution broke down in the trial and an alarming rush of blood to the head brought him. Alexander McDonnell (1798–1835). The Parisian press claimed that de la Bourdonnais’ feat of playing two simultaneous games without sight of the board was unprecedented (to which Philidor’s son wrote an amusing rebuttal in verse). but still in a state of health to cause his friends constant alarm. Blackburne. de la Bourdonnais is slightly better while I write. in such case.” And Walker describes the strong English player J.

He became editor of the chess magazine La Régence. Lionel Kieseritzky (1806–1853) is known today mainly for his use of a variation of the King’s Gambit that is still named after him. Right: Paul R. is a white star cluster approximately 500 light years from Earth. (Both photographs courtesy Edward Winter) In fact. and the chess professional at the Café de la Régence. where he became a mathematics tutor. He was an avid blindfold player and in Part III is a game he played without sight in the 1830s (Game 335). In 1839 he moved to Paris. particularly dealing with “romantic” openings such as the King’s Gambit. as we will see later. and now in Estonia. de la Bourdonnais died soon afterward. and this outcome was the first actual event (but remember Diderot’s warning to Philidor) that led to the widespread opinion that blindfold play was harmful to one’s health—a belief that. de la Bourdonnais. despite good evidence to the contrary. one of a group of seven Berlin chess stars known as the Pleiades. and where he organized music concerts and amateur theatricals. The History of Blindfold Chess Left: Louis C. but whose excitable temperament prevented his reaching greater heights. has persisted in some quarters to the present day. and for his loss to Anderssen in the latter’s socalled “Immortal Game. He is remembered today mainly as the principal author of the ambitious work Handbuch des Schachspiels. It is prominent in the mythology and literature of many nations.” played in London in 1851. (One of de la Bourdonnais’s blindfold games is Game 382 in Part III. . but unfortunately he was unsuccessful and his health deteriorated while he was still a young man.26 Part I. where he was soon a very well-known figure among chess players.) Paul Rudolph von Bilguer (1813–1840). but then in the Russian Empire).* tried to make a living solely from his chess activities.To his contemporaries he was recognized as an expert who could play spectacular offhand games. The Pleiades. von Bilguer. He was born in Dorpat (now known as Tartu. which was the first series of publications that provided current opening analysis.M. located in the constellation of Taurus.

They are included in Part III (Games 4– 7). said that when one considered what vast powers of memory. voicing the popular view of blindfold chess. Haydn-Rogers Kieseritzky died in Paris’s from Dublin. Afterwards. Another win of his. the great impact that a blindfold display can have on spectators. -3. Régence by the German player Daniel Harrwitz (1823–1884). probably in the 1840s. in which both he and Harrwitz played Lionel A. 1849). changed the relative positions of the pieces and the whole aspect of the game completely (as reported in the Illustrated London News. he said. He was succeeded as pro. a very different thing indeed to contending against a few provincial amateurs. that at every move the possible variations of play were innumerable. in which both of them were blindfolded. living in England in 1849 before he went to Paris. and that the operation of castling. This demonstrates.. praise of this type has been given for almost all the notable blindfold displays that we describe. In Paris. is Game 378. his victorious outing is Game 370. and Mr. were required for such a task.3. or others of a class much below the highest. Zagadka Kieserfessional at the Café de la itzky’ego [Warsaw 1996]). From left to right are: blindfolded. -1). but I doubt the policy or the utility of a constant attempt to walk . A later correspondent. writing under a pseudonym. (The drawing. Mr. Sheriff Bell. It may be all very well for an occasional exhibition or holiday display. Mr. but in justice to others it ought not to be forgotten that .(?) Lippmann. in particular. Kieseritzky playing at the Café de la Régence in Paris. W. =1. concentration of thought. Lewis from Hamburg. Between Philidor and the Late 1800s 27 It was known that before 1851 Kieseritzky had played three simultaneous blindfold games at least once. and great intellectual ability. and often unmerited. an art which. Kieseritzky proved much superior. Harrwitz lost the second game in 51 moves. “among the strongest players in the West of Scotland” (+1. I am inclined to think that too much encouragement should not be given to blindfold chess. Lavish. one at a time. the only picture of Kieseritzky his biographers could find. but recently Polish chess historians Tomasz Lissowski and Bartlomiej Macieja (1996) unearthed the fact that Kieseritzky broke Philidor’s and others’ supposed world record of three games by playing four in 1851 in Paris.. among other things. Kieseritzky and Harrwitz had played 15 games. Drawing by WilHôpital de la Charité in May of helm Soltaus. Harrwitz. All who understood chess knew well. to a certain extent. had played two blindfold games simultaneously at the Glasgow Chess Club where at each board there were two consulting opponents. the best players in London were matched against Philidor. and which only becomes really extraordinary when the play is really scientific. achieving the score of +11. appeared in Tomasz 1853. Dr. The scores of all these games appeared in an issue of La Régence that same year. September 22. Kieseritzky.Lissowski and Bartlomiej Macieja. sought to put Harrwitz’s achievements in perspective: I have no desire to depreciate the performances of Herr Harrwitz. may easily be acquired. he doubted if there was another person in the world—he was sure there was not another in Great Britain—capable of performing it. the display lasting for over 3∂ hours.

popular opinion expressed itself in the following verse. 1851]. research by chess historians has shown that Edge’s accounts should be treated with caution. According to Edge (page 191). Harrwitz attempted to duplicate the feat. partly because of his close relationship with Morphy. page 191). as easily. The point that Harrwitz’s opponents were relatively weaker than Philidor’s is quite telling. told him that many of Harrwitz’s opponents had. January 25. but you are only its caricature) . was one of the weakest of Morphy’s opponents but one of the strongest of Harrwitz’s. Of this event Frederick Edge (1859/1973. Further. after Morphy had played eight simultaneous blindfold games in Paris in 1858. This letter clashes sharply with the uncritical and adulatory reports of most writers of the period. jouer phenomenal. nor is his performance score available in any known source. gave some interesting details. But it is unclear and really just a matter of opinion as to when play becomes “really scientific. The History of Blindfold Chess backwards unless it can be shown that you can travel as securely. some years later. Jeune imprudent. Tu n’en es que la caricature. who was then considered the world’s best player after Morphy and who had been a spectator at Harrwitz’s display. you are stretching your capacities too far. apparently on purpose. and as far by the ordinary method of locomotion [Illustrated London News. tu forces ta nature. one of Morphy’s associates.28 Part I. Admittedly.” and whether blindfold chess should be disparaged because most of its games do not really contribute to general chess knowledge and theory. he compared the relative strength of the opposition that Morphy and Harrwitz faced by pointing out that a Signor Préti. he apparently failed to publish any of the games. directed toward Harrwitz: Tu veux singer Morphy. (You want to imitate Morphy. you pretend to have originality. but the comments are entirely consistent with other reports that Harrwitz prearranged the outcomes of some of his blindfold games. Second. Daniel Harrwitz (courtesy Edward Winter). En vain tu te poses en original. In vain. First. Nevertheless. left pieces to be captured. the phenomenal player. young hothead. although Harrwitz edited a chess column in Le Monde Illustré. it may be quite significant that. he cast doubt on the validity of Harrwitz’s performance by reporting that Adolf Anderssen. who played in both events.

was a German player especially famous for spectacular chess combinations. Germany. The worst complaint seems to have been that he yawned while playing blindfold chess. the latter so named by Steinitz. and modest person. played six blindfold games simultaneously in Stockholm. Paulsen excelled in mathematics. based on a short report in Le Palamède (1844. because he won this struggle despite the odds he gave. ality no one seemed ever to say a disparaging word. in July 1851. Unlike some other players to be encountered in this book. and by the time he was seven he had beaten everyone in the neighborhood including one of his school teachers. Perhaps Kieseritzky felt he had achieved a measure of revenge after his loss in the regular tournament. Anderssen played blindfolded while Kieseritzky did not. At school. about whose personAdolf Anderssen (courtesy Edward Winter). page 566). †There is one possible caveat to be made in relation to Kieseritzky’s world record of four games (and some of Paulsen’s.† Louis Paulsen Louis Paulsen (1833–1891) was born at Nassengrund. a professor of both mathematics and the German language. Between Philidor and the Late 1800s 29 Adolf Anderssen (1818–1879).”* After Morphy’s withdrawal from serious chess in 1859. just after he had beaten Kieseritzky in the first round of the international tournament. Paulsen heard of Philidor’s exploits and discovered that he could also play blindfolded without difficulty. that a Swedish player. in Lippe-Detmold. objective. Anderssen achieved his successes despite the fact that he was a full-time teacher. Every reader of chess books has seen at least two examples: his “Immortal Game” and his “Evergreen Game. in June of 1851. pleasant. and being an informal game played by Anderssen against Kieseritzky at Simpson’s Divan. we have no further information about Wagström himself and we have no corroboration for the reported event. the chess champion of Detmold. mentioned later). Kieseritzky gave a pawn handicap and allowed Anderssen the white pieces and two moves at the start of the game. When he was 21 he emigrated to America with his elder brother and set up business as a tobacco merchant in *The first so named by Ernst Falkbeer. and once he played against the sighted Kieseritzky at Simpson’s Divan in The Strand. . London. Anderssen was an extremely honest. and proposed to visit Paris during the following year. London. Andersen was recognized as the strongest active player in the world until he was closely defeated by Steinitz in an 1866 match. Wagström. and being a tournament game played against Jean Dufresne in Berlin in 1852.3. However. the winner of the first well-organized international masters’ tournament that attempted to bring together the best players in the world (London 1851). On the other hand. but little is known of his early achievements. Anderssen occasionally played blindfold chess. otherwise unknown.

and in May of the same year in Chicago he played a total of 10 games (+9. Paulsen and Morphy played two more blindfold games against each other at New York. Later. =1). where it soon became obvious that either he or Paul Morphy would win. lost one. on each occasion winning six games and losing four. which involved an eight-game series. playing nearly one thousand moves without an error. =2). “has not yet been equaled. thereby establishing himself as the foremost player in America. 1857). Mr. with Paulsen a clear second. The History of Blindfold Chess Dubuque. while the American Congress was still going on. who mentioned during his speech Paulsen’s “wonderful blindfold play” which. winning all the games over a period of two evenings. Frank Leslie’s report in his Illustrated Newspaper formed the basis of an article in the Illustrated London News (June 26. But he soon surpassed all previous records. On the evenings of the 10th. he met five opponents blindfolded (+4. These were apparently the only times when an opponent of Morphy’s played blindfolded against him. The presentation was made by Morphy himself. . -1. The loss was to Morphy himself. The 10-board display in Chicago in 1858 had received a great deal of publicity (Game 15 is the only one available). Julian) from the October 10–12 display (Games 8. Paulsen entered the First American Chess Congress. He also played 10 games in Davenport soon afterward. He won two games. as well as a second game (Paulsen vs. Less than two weeks later in New York (on the evenings of October 21 and 22. At home in Dubuque in 1859 he tripled his original record of five from 1857 by playing 15 simultaneous blindfold games. it has not been possible to discover more details of several of Paulsen’s displays. 11th. Information about Kieseritzky’s record was not well known and possibly Paulsen did not realize the extent of his achievement. In terms of the number of boards played blindfold simultaneously. All three Paulsen-Morphy games are in Part III. including his final scores let alone the actual games. Louis he played 12 games at once. and frequently correcting the errors of his adversaries. with adjournments of unfinished games on each of the first four nights. but the display lasted five evenings. The tournament was conducted on a knockout basis with four games in each round. some 200 miles away. and he began giving blindfold exhibitions in Chicago. in which Morphy scored a win and a draw. Paulsen and Morphy were the survivors for the final round. held in New York in 1857. and 411).” There is perhaps a hint that Morphy intended to do so later. His reputation as a chessplayer spread. without sight of men or boards. A month or two later he played eight games at once. Paulsen also gave a four-board blindfold exhibition (started on the evening of October 10 and continued on the evening of October 12. Morphy won the final (+5. and 14th of May 1858 he succeeded in playing ten games mentally. and in June in St. Neither player had lost a single game until then. For this performance he was presented with a gold medal by the National Chess Association at the end of the regular tournament. 1857). does not take into account the harder-to-substantiate feats from centuries before. =1) (Games 10–14). of course. The first of these performances lasted 11 hours and the second 9∫ hours. 12th. and drew one. by gradually increasing the number of opponents he played. 9. Paulsen’s display on four boards thus equaled the prior world record of Kieseritzky (1851)—which. Regrettably. 1858): The most stupendous feat of memory ever attempted in the world has just been successfully performed by Louis Paulsen. Not content with playing three or four games in each round during the tournament. 13th .30 Part I. he twice played 10 blindfold games against members of the Pittsburgh Chess Club. in December 1858. 410. who also played blindfolded. he said. In February 1858 Paulsen faced seven opponents in a blindfold display in Dubuque. Subsequently. Iowa.

3. Between Philidor and the Late 1800s


Henry Herriss of Chicago writes: “In the midst of one of the games a piece was moved to a certain square. Paulsen demurred to that move being made, alleging that the square was already occupied. There was a movement of painful suspense, and many of the bystanders, shaking their heads, thought for once his astonishing memory had proved treacherous; but he soon dispelled all doubts by giving the position of the pieces and pawns as they stood at the close of the evening before, and recapitulating the moves made since, actually stated the exact time at which his opponent’s mistakes had been committed. Each evening, on the commencement of play, Mr. Paulsen named every piece on all the boards without error. He went further. Being anxious to keep his word and conclude the match at the appointed time he asked to be excused one night from calling the position of all the pieces, but reLouis Paulsen (courtesy Edward Winter). quested us to see that there had been no change made. To that effect, at a distance of nearly one mile from the hall, simply, quietly, and with no assistance than the “mind’s eye,” he described the actual standing of every board. We took it down in writing, went to compare Paulsen’s description with the positions, and from number one to ten, from pawn to king, found that everything stood as he had announced it!” Mr. Paulsen won nine of the games, and consented that one game should be considered drawn.

The event was not very well supervised. Bell’s Life in London of June 27, 1858, reported:
Disinterested bystanders considered the behaviour of his opponents and certain spectators as very discreditable. They freely handled the pieces and, contrary to all rule and law, consulted together over the moves—thus procrastinating the contest, and illiberally putting much extra strain on Paulsen’s chess faculties.

Suggestions by spectators and speculative movement of the pieces by the opponents occurred in many of the displays described in this book. Of course, it is very difficult to know which exhibitions had officials who were strict in enforcing prohibition of such behavior. And probably “errors” made by opponents often happened because they did not replace the pieces on their correct squares after trying out possibilities.With blindfold displays lasting many hours, the practice of adjourning the games—either for an hour or so, to allow the performer to eat a meal, or (as with the event just reported) for a day or more—seems to have been introduced by Paulsen at New York and extended at Chicago. Paulsen was generally a slow player. However, to spread a series of games over five consecutive evenings was itself an unattractive record that has probably not been broken. One of the difficulties a researcher experiences is identifying occasions when games were adjourned for any appreciable time, since it is likely that this factor was often not mentioned in some of the reports of significant blindfold events. The practice of adjourning games seems to have been confined to the nineteenth century. Large exhibitions in the twentieth century sometimes lasted 12 to 24 hours, with only a few short breaks. That there were unsatisfactory features of Paulsen’s Chicago exhibition is also clear from


Part I. The History of Blindfold Chess

Paulsen giving a blindfold display (date unknown) (courtesy Edward Winter).

an article published years later by the New Orleans Times Democrat (November 11, 1903), following a blindfold display by the American player Pillsbury. After praising Pillsbury for his fast play, the paper reported that Paulsen’s 10-board performance was “indubitably the most protracted effort of the kind ever witnessed.” The author cited a source which confirmed that the sighted players received advice from “the leading chess amateurs and club practitioners in Chicago.” He also explained that on the first three days Paulsen’s display had started at 8 o’clock in the evening and had continued until midnight; and that when play was declared finished on the fifth day, it had occupied a total of 22 hours. (In the first two sessions Paulsen played fewer than 28 moves an hour, and by Friday night his overall average was down to just under 21 moves an hour.) At that point the score was +7, -0, =3 (85 percent) in Paulsen’s favor. On the following day, Saturday the 15th of May, after the official close of the display, two of the sighted players whose games had been called draws, wanted to continue playing to a finish. Paulsen agreed to this, and he resumed playing those two games blindfold (not having seen the positions meanwhile), and won them both after 10 and 11 more moves respectively. This brought his score up to +9, -0, =1 (95 percent), with the total playing time presumably approaching 23 hours. Referring to another display that Paulsen gave on 10 boards, a correspondent wrote to the Illustrated London News (September 17, 1859) to say:
I have recently become acquainted with Mr. Paulsen, and he often visits me. He is extremely diffident, rarely speaking at all unless spoken to. His retentive powers of memory are astonishing. After his return from St. Louis, where he had been to play ten games blindfold, he came to my

3. Between Philidor and the Late 1800s


house and there, four weeks after the performance, he played the games over move for move without the assistance of the chessboard and men!

In 1860, Paulsen returned to Europe, where he frequently gave blindfold exhibitions on 10 boards. These were mostly lengthy affairs, and sometimes lasted for 20 hours. Paulsen’s slowness was not confined to blindfold chess. In one regular tournament game he lost on time in a drawn position because, as he explained to his opponent: “If we draw, I have the first move in the next game, and I was thinking which opening I should play.” On a previous occasion, when he was playing Morphy before the introduction of time controls and neither player had moved for well over an hour, Paulsen was surprised to find out that it was his turn to move. Another incident also illustrates his absent-mindedness. Not being satisfied with his lodgings during the 1870 tournament at Baden-Baden he spent most of one morning looking for other accommodations. When he eventually found a room to his liking he booked it and said he would send his luggage around later. He was no doubt surprised when the hostess said: “But your luggage is already here! It is in one of the rooms on the opposite side of the house. Don’t you know that you slept here last night, and that I gave you breakfast this morning?” Paulsen was evidently of striking appearance. Staunton wrote:
We gather from the American papers that Louis Paulsen is in appearance tall and muscular; his face smooth, hair light, eyes grey, compact facial muscles, and a head of prodigious size. His head is the largest of any man in the United States. In temper he is modest, placid, and reserved to a fault. He is very abstemious, using no other stimulant than strong coffee and soda water, of which he partakes freely during play. He is further described as performing his marvellous feats with the greatest of ease and without experiencing headache or uneasiness of any kind. He has frequently assured his friends that he can play better without the board than with it [Illustrated London News, September 4, 1858; italics in original].

No doubt phrenologists of the early Victorian age saw a relationship between Paulsen’s performance of “marvellous feats” and his possession of “a head of prodigious size.”* Even though a chess champion himself, as well as a scholar and writer, Staunton was either rather gullible in accepting this description or simply wanted to attract his readers’ attention. How could anyone establish that Paulsen had the largest head in America? That, nevertheless, Paulsen did have a large head is confirmed by James M’Cune Smith, who was present at the New York Tournament. He wrote: “[A] little skillful elbowing found us seated beside their board. There was Louis Paulsen, with his vast head, sanguine temperament, but course fibre, indicating his rough, almost pure–Bersekir blood...” (Chess Notes 3339). One is reminded of Sherlock Holmes’s deduction, from his examination of a large “very seedy and disreputable hard felt hat, much the worse for wear, and cracked in several places,” that its owner was highly intellectual. Holmes explained to Watson: “It is a question of cubic capacity. A man with so large a brain must have something in it” (Conan Doyle’s The Blue Carbuncle). Also interesting are some concluding remarks in Staunton’s report, namely that Paulsen always had the white pieces in his blindfold displays and that he tried to diversify the games as much as possible. Usually, a simultaneous player, either blindfold or sighted, will choose the white pieces in all the games. The reason why Paulsen and other blindfold players have
*Phrenology, a pseudo-science attributable to the Viennese doctor Franz-Joseph Gall (1758–1828), sought to draw conclusions, from the contours of a person’s skull, as to the person’s mental faculties, which were thought to have their seats in definite regions of the brain.


Part I. The History of Blindfold Chess

sought to diversify their games as early as possible is to give each game an individual character, so as to minimize confusion among them. In other words there may be advantages in having Black in some blindfold games. The topic will arise again in Part II in a discussion of memory techniques in relation to the psychology of blindfold chess. At a 10-board blindfold exhibition that Paulsen gave in Manchester in 1861, one of his opponents was the young Joseph Henry Blackburne, who had learned chess only a year before. Blackburne had won the Manchester Club Championship and was asked to be Paulsen’s official host and guide, to show him places of interest in the city. But Paulsen was so absorbed in his own thoughts that Blackburne never knew whether he was interested or bored. However, the display intrigued and inspired Blackburne, who went on to become one of the best and most active blindfold players ever. The score of their exciting and historic encounter (Game 425), along with a couple of comments by Blackburne, who lost nicely after he missed an opportunity to gain a large advantage, are provided in Part III, along with all ten games from a simultaneous blindfold display Paulsen gave in London in 1861 (Games 415–424). Among other achievements, Paulsen won five games from Anderssen when both players were without sight of the board; he also gave numerous sighted simultaneous exhibitions; he competed in many tournaments, coming second behind Anderssen at London 1862 and Hamburg 1869, and winning at Bristol 1861, Krefeld 1871, Leipzig 1877, Frankfurt am Main 1878, and Brunswick 1880. In matches, he drew against Anderssen in 1862 (+3, -3, =2), and beat him in 1876 (+5, -3, =1). He also won matches against Max Lange, Gustav Neumann (Anderssen’s student), and Adolf Schwarz. And he pioneered the development of certain opening variations, especially one in the Sicilian Defense that today still enjoys great popularity.* Paulsen died in Germany in 1891 of complications from diabetes.

Paul Morphy
The public career of the American chess prodigy Paul Morphy (1837–1884) spanned fewer than two years, and yet that was sufficient time for him to enrich chess theory through the principles his contemporaries and later generations could learn from his games—the need for proper development of the pieces, with newer methods for playing open positions, as well as the need to play according to the specific requirements of a given position. During a stay in Europe in 1858 and 1859 Morphy defeated over the board the strongest players of his time: Anderssen (+7, -2, =2), Löwenthal (+9, -3, =2), and Harrwitz (+5, -2, =1). Of the notable players, only Staunton did not play him (except in consultation games), but by then Staunton’s play had noticeably deteriorated and he probably no longer had the confidence or the ability that in 1853 had prompted him to challenge “any player in the world” to a 21-game match for high stakes. Morphy gained early proficiency not only in chess. He graduated in law from the University of Louisiana just before his twentieth birthday; he reportedly could recite from memory almost the entire Civil Code of Louisiana; he was fluent in French, Spanish, and German; and he showed musical talent. Frederick Milne Edge, a journalist who was an assistant secretary at the 1857 New York tournament and who became Morphy’s secretary and publicist for his first visit to Europe, wrote of Morphy: “His memory for any air he has once heard
*The Paulsen Variation of the Sicilian Defense starts with 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 c|d4 4. N|d4 a6.

3. Between Philidor and the Late 1800s


is astonishing. [His mother] is renowned in the salons of New Orleans as a brilliant pianist and musician, and her son, without ever having studied music, has a similar aptitude for it” (Sergeant, 1916/1957, page 2). Others were also impressed by Morphy’s memory. At the time of Morphy’s match with Löwenthal in Paris in 1858, Ernst Falkbeer (1819–1885), who was then editor of the chess column in the London Sunday Times, was amazed when Morphy showed himself to be completely familiar with the moves of a game (one of several) that Falkbeer himself had played against Dufresne, which had been published in a German chess magazine seven years earlier. Morphy was primarily a player of informal and blindfold games, in which settings he produced most of his brilliancies. He conducted his blindfold games at a much faster pace than Paulsen. His games with Paulsen, both playing without sight of the board, were the earliest fully authenticated instances of Mor- Paul C. Morphy (courtesy Edward phy’s public blindfold play, although he probably Winter). contested some blindfold games in private at Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama, against Father Beaudequin, S.J., in 1853; and even earlier, in 1849 on his twelfth birthday, against his uncle Ernest Morphy. When Morphy was 12 he also defeated Löwenthal, who was visiting the United States, by winning three games in overthe-board play. In most of Morphy’s blindfold games the opposition was weaker than in his tournament games, but not always so. While playing in the 1857 American Chess Congress, Morphy contested a blindfold game against Theodore Lichtenhein, a former president of the Cercle des Échecs of Königsberg, who finished third to Morphy and Paulsen in the Congress (Game 412). Morphy had defeated Lichtenhein in the semi-final round (+3, =1). Lawson (1976, page 82) reported that “apart from his blindfold games with Paulsen, only one other such game is known during the time of Morphy’s stay in New York,” namely the game against Lichtenhein. After Morphy had returned to New Orleans from New York in January 1858, he gave several blindfold displays between then and April, gradually increasing the number of simultaneous games from two to seven (Lawson, 1976, page 89). At this time Morphy was irrepressible. He issued a challenge to any player in America for a match in which he would take Black in every game and remove one of his pawns as an additional handicap. In February 1858 his supporters in New Orleans wrote to Staunton inviting him to travel from London for a match. Morphy’s blindfold exhibitions were probably arranged mainly to prevent Paulsen from eclipsing him, and during 1858 both of them were steadily increasing the number of opponents they played. By referring to Morphy’s oft-repeated remark that blindfold chess “proves nothing,” chess writers have occasionally suggested that he attached no great significance to the performances of his chief rival, Paulsen. This is not the impression to be gained from a May 1858 letter that Morphy wrote Daniel Fiske, a notable American chess columnist and editor with wide interests in other fields of knowledge. In the letter Morphy expressed indignation over Paulsen’s claims to supremacy—a contrast to the glowing words Morphy had


Part I. The History of Blindfold Chess

spoken during his presentation of a gold medal to Paulsen for his “wonderful blindfold play” the previous year in New York. The most relevant part of this historic letter is:
By the way, and “entre nous,” I have seen no blindfold game of Paulsen’s that justifies the somewhat ridiculous praises that are bestowed upon him; and while I admit that he may be able to play more games at one time than I can, I claim that an impartial comparison between the specimens of blindfold play we have both given to the public will lead every true chess man to the conclusion that Paulsen is not the American blindfold player.... All I ask is a fair trial; I am firmly convinced that hitherto justice has not been done to my blindfold play outside of New Orleans.

During his visit to Europe Morphy offered to play eight simultaneous blindfold games while he was in Birmingham, England, in August 1858.The president of the Birmingham Chess Club asked Morphy which eight opponents he wished to play and, according to Edge, he replied that it did not matter to him but that he would prefer to play all strong players. Among those present were Staunton, St. Amant, Löwenthal, Boden, and Falkbeer—very wellknown players, but they declined to participate. The likely reason: If they won, the victory would hardly be a source of pride, and if they lost under such conditions they would be ridiculed. However, although those opposing Morphy were not as strong as those who declined, the sighted players were assisted to some extent by St. Amant, who went from table to table giving advice. As we already know, this is hard to prevent in simultaneous displays of any kind. Despite St. Amant’s unwarranted help, Morphy correctly declared a move attempted by one player to be impossible. Out of the eight games, he scored +6, -1, =1 in just over five hours (Games 394–401). At the end of the performance he showed no signs of fatigue but said he was looking forward to having something to eat. When Morphy gave an 8-board blindfold display at the Café de la Régence in Paris on September 27, 1858, it aroused tremendous interest. During the exhibition there were 1,500 visitors. A corner of the salon was roped off, where Morphy sat with his back to the players and audience. During the entire display, which lasted 10 hours, Morphy neither left his chair nor ate. According to Edge (1859/1973, page 161), Morphy was ill from the effects of drinking Parisian water and had said at breakfast that morning that “I don’t know how I will get through my work today. I am afraid I shall be obliged to leave the room, and some evil-minded persons may think I am examining positions outside.” His indisposition was not evident to the correspondent who reported in Bell’s Life in London of October 3, 1858, that Morphy frequently talked and laughed with a few friends who relayed the moves. Morphy’s opponents were stronger players than those he had faced in Birmingham, and that is probably why the display lasted twice as long (unless his illness caused him more problems than were obvious to the onlookers). Such was the enthusiasm of the spectators that, when it was time for him to leave, it took Morphy nearly half-an-hour to work his way through the crowd. He had scored six wins and two draws (Games 402– 409). The following morning Morphy awakened Edge at 7 A.M. to dictate the moves of all the games. Edge (1859/1973, page 164) wrote: “I never saw him in better spirits, or less fatigued, than on that occasion, as he showed me, for two long hours, the hundreds of variations depending on the play of the previous day, with such rapidity that I found it hard work to follow the thread of his combinations.” In April of 1859, in London, Morphy gave two more blindfold displays on eight boards. In the first (April 13), after eight hours of play he had won two games; the rest were unfinished

3. Between Philidor and the Late 1800s


Morphy giving his famous eight-board display at the Café de la Régence in Paris in 1858 (courtesy Edward Winter).

and scored as draws. In the second London exhibition (April 20), which was stopped after 4∂ hours, he scored five wins and three draws, including a draw against Thomas Barnes. Barnes (1825–1874) was for a long time one of the strongest members of St. George’s Chess Club in London, and he had the best record of any English player against Morphy in regular games: 8 wins and 19 losses. Except for Paulsen, Barnes was the most powerful opponent Morphy played without sight of the board. Although Morphy played blindfold chess with comparative ease he probably never tried to play more than eight games at once. Scattered reports suggest that he did take on 10 or 12 players simultaneously, but there is inadequate substantiation of such efforts. However, as a reply to Harrwitz’s attempts at blindfold chess, Morphy had in January 1859 offered to play 20 games at once, but was dissuaded from such an undertaking by his friends. As we will see, attainment of the “magic 20” was not accomplished until 1900, when Pillsbury successfully opposed that number of opponents in Philadelphia. Morphy stopped playing serious chess after he returned to America in 1860. He did play occasional offhand games in New Orleans (especially against Charles Maurian, a close friend since school days) and during a few travels to other countries. In a visit to Cuba in 1864 he took on three simultaneous blindfold games, all of which he won. One of these (Game 413) was against Celso Golmayo (1841–1898) who was later mainly responsible for an increased interest in chess in Cuba. There is apparently no record of any chess games of any kind that Morphy played after 1869. On a visit to Paris in 1867 he would not even go near the place where a great international tournament was being held.


Part I. The History of Blindfold Chess

Most of Morphy’s games were sound, and some were brilliant, but not all of his blindfold games successfully withstand critical appraisal, either because they are flawed or because of the relatively low standard of the opposition’s play. In an article on blindfold chess (to which we return later), Alekhine (1931) said:
A main reason for the lessening of the strength of the blindfold player ... is the limitation of human faculties. Even with the most gifted blindfold player it cannot be avoided, if a large number of games is involved, that memory lapses occur. I noticed this not only in my own experience, but also in examining other masters’ games. Morphy provoked general amazement when in London he played eight games blindfold simultaneously. In analyzing these games, one finds that they contain an astonishingly large number of errors [translation by Buschke, 1971].

In the last part of his life Morphy slid into obscurity and withdrew first from chess, then from the legal profession, and then from society. When he died in 1884—from a stroke that apparently occurred when he took a cold bath right after coming home from a walk in hot weather—he was suffering from the delusion that he was being persecuted by people who wished to make his life intolerable. Morphy’s father had been attorney-general for Louisiana, and then a judge of the Louisiana Supreme Court, a fact to which Morphy had often referred in his search for recognition as a lawyer. Morphy was greatly upset at being considered mainly a famous chessplayer. At a presentation ceremony following Morphy’s triumphant return to America in 1859, Quincey said that “Morphy is greater than Caesar, because he came and without seeing conquered.” However, Morphy declared in a speech:
Chess never has been and never can be aught but a recreation. It should not be indulged in to the detriment of other and more serious avocations—should not absorb the mind or engross the thoughts of those who worship at its shrine; but should be kept in the background, and restrained within its proper provinces. As a mere game, a relaxation from the severer pursuits of life, it is deserving of high commendation [one source: Lawson, 1976, page 210].

Virtually none of the masters portrayed in this book would have agreed with Morphy on this issue, because most of them were, or are, professional chessplayers. Many words have been written by psychologists, chessplayers, and others, about Morphy’s psychological breakdown, some attributing it mainly or partly to chess, and others discounting the role of the game. Lawson (1976) has commentaries on this point, and we return to it near the end of Part II. Worthy of mention, as the Morphy era concludes, is a little-known player, James A. Leonard (1841–1862) of New York, who showed much promise at sighted and blindfold play. Leonard frequented the Morphy Chess Rooms in New York, and there is a report that he once played Morphy in October 1860 but the result is not known. In the same year Leonard won the second New York Handicap Tournament. Leonard gave several sighted and blindfold simultaneous displays, and was noted for his lively play. He gave some blindfold displays on eight boards, and on at least one occasion, November 16, 1861, he played 10 games blindfold at New York, scoring +4, -4, =2 (50 percent). Although on the face of it the score was not impressive (the strength of the opposition is not known), his result would at that time have put Leonard second only to Paulsen in terms of the number of blindfold games played simultaneously. One can only speculate at what Leonard could possibly have achieved if he had developed further as a chessplayer. Sadly, he was a victim of the American Civil War, and died at the age of 20. As pointed out by Edward Winter (1999, discussing Leonard on pages 133–140): “Incredibly enough, chess players today are most unlikely to find a single game by [Leonard] in their books or, even, in those million-game databases. This is a gross injustice which has to be rectified.”

At board one (Mr. He became a good draughts (checkers) player as a youth and was encouraged to take up chess by the publicity given to Morphy’s visit to Europe in 1858-59. however. According to the usual custom on similar occasions.. This game being disposed of about half past seven o’clock. when play was proceeded with in a manner so rapid that scarcely a moment of time for reflecting on his moves was left to the single-handed champion. Mr Blackburne proceeded in regular rotation to wait upon his three other customers. In the course of about forty minutes symptoms of distress were observable at boards two and three. page 374). all of which he won. This is James A. when he had already made such progress as to be recognized as the best chess player in Manchester. He never met Morphy.H. Shortly after the display. and shortly . he went on to play three games at once.Winter). shortly indicated that his sight of each board was clear as daylight. 1841.. Leonard (courtesy Edward usually assumed to be the only time that Black. a young amateur whose unusual genius for chess is already favorably known. blindfolded. respectively presided over by Messrs Taylor and Bott. however. who soon afterward himself attempted to play a game blindfolded. assumed the arduous task of playing four games simultaneously without sight of board or men. Paulsen’s display evidently made a great impression on Blackburne. in the presence of a considerable number of interested spectators. Blackburne participated in the 10-board simultaneous blindfold display that Paulsen conducted there. Blackburne. At the same time. Mr Jebson. England. Their own game was drawn. on December 10. as well as each. rebutting a rumor that he had lost a game in one of Morphy’s blindfold displays. His precision of play. and Mr Blackburne led off with “Pawn to King’s fourth square” [e4] at all the boards. Hamilton) a very smart little King’s Knight Gambit was waxing near its end. We described Paulsen’s visit and his winning encounter with Blackburne in our earlier section on Paulsen. At eight o’clock “mate in two” was announced and effected by Mr Blackburne at board number two. prompted by Winter’s comments. 39 Joseph Henry Blackburne Joseph Henry Blackburne (1841–1924) was born in Manchester. suffered loss from an unfavourable exchange. in consequence of somewhat reckless speculation. The Manchester Weekly Express and Review reported the event in some detail: On Monday evening last Mr J. and in the spring of 1862 he gave his first public blindfold exhibition. the first move was conceded to the blindfold player. has published a book on Leonard’s career and games. at board number four. as he wrote in a letter to the British Chess Magazine (1899. playing four games at once. taking on five other opponents who had sight of the board. burne played against a blindfolded opponent. At half past six o’clock the performance commenced . In November 1861. He was successful. but in 1868 he battled Steinitz in a strange exhibition in which the two masters played each other without sight of the board.3. Between Philidor and the Late 1800s We are happy to report that John Hilbert (2006).

-3. and that some unlucky mistake. Blackburne from memory. however. had given a blindfold display two days earlier on ten boards. The rapidity and precision of his moves elicited universal admiration. There are some inconsistencies in this report. Blackburne. achieving exactly the same number of wins. the young champion overcame every obstacle and proved his complete mastery of the art of blindfold chess.0 percent). Paulsen. As the games proceeded. scoring +5. The rectification of this error drew forth loud cheers from all sides [Blackburne. Evelyn was announced to Mr. and despite the intricacies of pawn play in a very difficult end-game. [Paulsen. cried “Hold-enough!” At board four [sic] play was prolonged for four hours. great curiosity being excited as to the party liable for the error. in which he defeated Steinitz in their individual game and at which time he gave another blindfold display on 10 boards. This report from the tournament book was included in Blackburne’s Chess Games. losses. occurring at a critical moment. An incident that occurred at Mr. Not only Blackburne but also many competent outside judges consider his game against Ballard in a 10-board display in London in 1871 to be his finest blindfold game (Game 347). See Part III (Game 336) for the Jebson game. The moves from the beginning of the game were then called by Mr. Blackburne’s book says that the game was adjourned . But amongst those who came to see Mr. where at the finish Blackburne had four pieces en prise. then an established player. attempting the task: There was a notable difference in the minds of the spectators of this match and those who looked on at Mr. Evelyn’s board still further heightened the gratification of the spectators.40 Part I. page 6]. this he pronounced to be impossible. Later in 1862 he was invited to play in the London International Tournament. then a relatively unknown player. 1899/1979.] In the latter case there was the certainty that what had been promised would be performed. might so confuse him as to render him incapable of further effort. Paulsen’s feat. and it was then discovered that the position on the board was wrong. A certain move on the part of Mr. The History of Blindfold Chess afterwards Mr Taylor at board three [sic]. A report of the exhibition in the tournament book recorded the spectators’ initial apprehension about Blackburne. It is one of the rare occasions when we see a chessplayer described as an “athlete”! And a lost game by a blindfold player (or even a master playing in a regular tournament) published in a collection of his games is something of a rarity. Paulsen having often given proof of his wonderful capacity. and draws as in his club event (65. as were all ten game scores from the event. Joseph Henry Blackburne (courtesy Edward Winter). notwithstanding which. -2. scoring +6. In the same year Blackburne played blindfold against 10 members of his club. =1 in 10∂ hours. Blackburne play there was a slight nervous feeling that possibly the young athlete had over-estimated or over-taxed his powers. which lasted slightly less than 10 hours (Games 337–346). it became evident to all present that no apprehension need be entertained. =3. it being remarked that he seemed to play with greater ease than even Mr. Mr.

But the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War led to the speedy conclusion of the tournament and eliminated this possibility. Indeed. Scott rDwDwDrD 0wDwDpDw wDp0bDk0 DwDwDwDN q0wDR)BD DwDwDwDP P)w!wGwD hwDwDwIw Blackburne The variation in which Black presumably lasts the longest and requires Blackburne to mate in 16 is as follows: 1. In a 10-board blindfold simultaneous exhibition in 1878. with unfinished games being adjourned for a day or two. We have not been able to discover the number of boards Blackburne was playing simultaneously. Nd7+ Kc8 11. Blackburne came up with a series of moves that discredited a continuation recommended by Zukertort for Black to play against the Evans Gambit. would certainly have let the world know of this achievement. Australia. Q|g6+ f|g6 4. R|a7+ Kb8 10. Blackburne was placed under hotel-arrest overnight as a suspected spy. R|e6+ Kh7 2. Re7+ Kg8 5. . Be6+ Kf8 6. In one famous blindfold game Blackburne astonished those present by announcing mate in 16 moves—surely the longest announcement of mate in the entire history of blindfold chess. Anderson Graham edited for Blackburne—who selected. and arranged them—it is said (Blackburne. In the collection of his games that P. The results and other details are not given. While the 1870 Baden-Baden tournament was in progress. probably. Baron Kolisch) the possibility of his playing the staggering number of 40 simultaneous blindfold games. Nf6+ Kd8 8. During his long career as a chess professional. Rd7 or Bb6 checkmate. N|d6+ Kd8 16. or the game score. Blackburne discussed with its organizer Ignatz Kolisch (later. page 211). Blackburne’s new moves are of particular interest because recent opening analysis in the Encyclopedia of Chess Openings still cites his play of more than a century before as the best way for White to play in that position (see Game 348). Blackburne gave a large number of blindfold displays on six or eight boards. by mistake. This bit of drama would be quite unusual even in a regular game. the location and date of the game. Nb7+ Ke8 15. 1899/1979. in 1885). Rf7+ Ke8 7. nor are any games from the event given in any of the sources we consulted or searched—which is surprising because the media. annotated. page 206) that the master played against 15 on one occasion. Qd3+ Rg6 3. and several on 12 (one in Warrnambool. Rd7+ Kc8 9. but he does not say for how long. Nc5+ Kd8 12. Rf7+ Kd8 14. it seems not to be mentioned anywhere else. Between Philidor and the Late 1800s 41 after his 21st move. the adjournment was for dinner. especially in England. provided that he would have to play only six hours a day. which would have been the first time that anyone had equaled Paulsen’s 1859 world record. It is merely diagrammed as below in Blackburne (1899/1979.3. dozens of displays on 10 boards. Rd7+ Kc8 13. The authors have been unable to substantiate this claim.

After a few minutes of study Blackburne. He said that Blackburne’s pleasant. even lazy temperament needed arousal by a particularly difficult task before he tried his best. when he was a young man in the hosiery business. Presumably Blackburne was more likely to achieve real concentration in a simultaneous blindfold display because he had to pay constant attention. And it is rarely clear whether actual successes are due to prior mastery of mnemonic techniques rather than an individual’s natural memory capacities. page 402). but psychological research has shown that supposed feats of memory by chessmasters and others are often greatly exaggerated. Graham said Blackburne was “a man who to a great extent thinks in pictures. The History of Blindfold Chess When Najdorf played 40 blindfold games simultaneously in 1943. of one of several mnemonic systems. When Graham was looking over some of Blackburne’s games with him in the late 1890s he was astounded to find that Blackburne could recall games he had not seen for thirty or more years. . page 207).it/mathchess/knight. stopping at each square only once. Thomas’ Hospital in the 1870s. and in his conversation he recalls words and gestures so well that the very men seem to rise up before him.A. but perhaps Blackburne had learned certain mnemonic systems that helped him succeed.velucchi. over 70 years later. The use of such systems goes back many centuries. especially if there are no reliable witnesses to substantiate them. Besides being skilled at blindfold chess. Blackburne frequently gave a demonstration of the “Knight’s Tour” blindfolded.’ he said when recounting a scene in Vienna” (Blackburne. successfully recalled the names on some 60 to 80 bottles. He told how once. Blackburne the chessplayer?” On answering that he was. Blackburne apparently had a vivid imagination and a strong memory. and it was not until he was on the train that he realized he had left behind the book in which details of the outstanding accounts were set out. Some of these systems are described later. any of which can be easily committed to memory with the aid.42 Part I. and typically involved mentally associating things with a sequence of known structures or locations (such as parts of a building). And Najdorf did not adjourn any games. Information about the mathematics behind the knight’s tour can be found at www. 1899/1979. On another occasion. page 207). The editor of Blackburne’s book (P. He nevertheless collected all the debts from memory without making a single mistake (Blackburne. Blackburne was asked if he thought he could repeat from memory a few of the abbreviated Latin names on some medicine bottles. he was asked by the medicine dispenser. Several of Blackburne’s contemporaries teased him by telling him that he appeared to play better blindfolded than when he had sight of the board. but played for over 17 hours continuously (as will be described later). with no knowledge of pharmaceutical Latin or medicine. There are many such routes. and offered to call them out in sequence frontwards or backwards (British Chess Magazine. whereas in a tournament game he concentrated mainly when it was his turn to move. in which the performer calls out a route by which a knight moves to every square on the board. when Blackburne was a patient at St. But Blackburne’s powers of memory were apparently not confined to chess. Blackburne was one of the strongest English *General mnemonic systems were known to the ancient Greeks and Romans. he was sent to collect a number of small debts. “Are you Mr.htm. 1924. ‘The very spectacles of Winawer laughed. 1899/1979. it was the first time anyone ever achieved the number of games Blackburne had suggested. Graham) analyzed some of Blackburne’s habits and temperament and suggested the claim was true. This seems remarkable.* We have no good reason to seriously doubt these stories of Blackburne’s memory in areas outside of chess. if necessary.

a ∂ point behind Botvinnik and Flohr.” . Hebrew. Spielmann and 15 others. and so good a pis*Among the few who have done so is Emanuel Lasker. in 1872 Zukertort stated that he had achieved fluency or near-fluency in many languages (English. when his family moved to Breslau in Prussia. account of his life and overall achievements has been summarized by Chernev (1974) and Hooper & Whyld (1984. From 1855. his name was changed to the German version by which he is now known—Johannes Hermann Zukertort. Between Philidor and the Late 1800s 43 tournament players of the nineteenth century. Blackburne suffered only one loss despite the fact that the games were played in the concert room of the Crystal Palace hall while Sullivan’s Te Deum was simultaneously being performed. after studying chemistry under the famous Robert Bunsen in Heidelberg. and some details of this account are presented here for their entertainment value. and Sanskrit in order to trace the origins of chess. and when scolded said: “He left it en prise and I took it en passant. According to these accounts. He claimed to have earned an M. †Hooper & Whyld do express some suspicion about Zukertort’s own account of his life. and often stopped between boards to have a drink of whisky. Greek. However. one should remain skeptical about many of Zukertort’s supposed achievements. and physiology under the eminent medical scientist and pathologist Rudolf Virchow in Berlin. And that’s not all. and not many players mentioned in this book were as well liked by fellow chessplayers and fans as he was. Turkish. Chess was fun for Blackburne. Johannes Zukertort Jan Herman Cukiertort (born in Lublin—then part of Russian Poland—in 1842. and for more than fifty years toured Great Britain twice a year giving regular and blindfold simultaneous exhibitions. Latin. page 42) say that for more than 20 years he was one of the best six players in the world. world champion 1894–1921. He kept playing serious chess until he was 72. He dressed very informally for these events. page 459. Petersburg tournament. at the 1914 St. Not many other players have continued to participate in strong tournaments after they were 60 or 70.3. The Oxford Companion to Chess. pages 387–388). one of the finest whist players of his time.* Following Blackburne’s success in a tournament in Vienna in 1873 (where he tied for first place but lost the play-off to Steinitz) he acquired the nickname “Der schwarze Tod” (The Black Death). and for even longer the best in England. in the next edition of their volume. actually meeting and beating the founder of the hypermodern movement. but ahead of Capablanca. Spanish. who when aged 66 gained third place in the Moscow 1935 tournament without losing any games. Aaron Nimzovitch. especially outside of chess. Arabic. Hooper and Whyld (1992.” Blackburne was a professional chessplayer after his youth. an unusual man. Russian. The contemporary exemplar is Viktor Korchnoi. 1992. The popular. joked with the opponents and spectators.† who are in fairly good agreement. Spanish to read Cervantes’ Don Quixote. and Sanskrit)—Italian to read Dante’s Divine Comedy. He was also labeled “the man with the iron nerves. still playing in international events in his 70s. Zukertort claimed to be an expert swordsman. French. the best domino player in Berlin in the 1870s. Blackburne achieved very good results in many international tournaments. indeed sensational. we notice that they omit most of this material and label the details “absurd boasts he made about his non-chess skills.D. died in London in 1888) was. degree in 1865 at the University of Breslau. Moreover. Once he drained an opponent’s glass. Italian. He claimed that he concentrated so hard that often he didn’t notice the difference between whisky and water. judged by almost any standard. but usually did not end up in first place.” During a 10-board blindfold exhibition in 1872.

the most authoritative refutation of the popular account of Zukertort’s exploits is given by Domaüski and Lissowski in their deeply-researched book Arcymistrz z Lublina (“Grandmaster from Lublin. in France. -7. some London players paid Zukertort to come to London. pages 93–94) on remarks by Robert Huebner to the effect that. there is no evidence Zukertort had a medical degree.* Ree discusses the matter of “Munchausen Tales” at some length. losing two matches to him. 2. See also the remarks of Tomasz Lissowski on the Chess Archaeology web site (in 2007 at http://www.chessarch.44 Part I. To find a master who could compete with Steinitz. pointing out many errors in an early account of Zukertort’s life given by Jan Kleczynski in Tygodnik Ilustrowany (“Illustrated Weekly”). One might easily agree with Ree (2005b) that some of Zukertort’s claims eclipse even the tales of Baron Munchausen. and that at the battle of Gravelotte. These were some of the achievements that Zukertort boasted about. =2) right after seven years during which he had played little chess. where he settled in 1872. was severely wounded twice. However. Zukertort was psychologically Edward Winter). He alleged that he won nine medals for bravery. losing the first in 1868 but winning the second in 1871. he could not quite attain Steinitz’s level of play. Anderssen was generally regarded as the best active player in the world for most of the period from the 1850s until about 1870. and physically devastated after his second defeat by Steinitz.” Despite the skepticism about many of Zukertort’s claims to excellence outside chess. =5). and was left for dead on the battlefield. but died in 1888. He asserted that he was also a military veteran. February 27. He kept on playing in London. Zukertort learned chess around the age of 18.com/excavations/0003_tomasz /tomasz. Zukertort (courtesy nized generally as determining the world championship (+5. Warsaw. among other things. every other officer in his regiment was either killed or wounded.” 2002). -7. Long after many had grown skeptical. Zukertort played two matches with Anderssen. No. suffering a stroke while he was engaged in a game at Simpson’s Divan—the London counterpart to Paris’s Café de la Régence. having served in the Prussian army. a relatively late age for someone who becomes a worldclass player. -10. but old in hours. =4) and another in 1886 in the first match to be recogJohannes H. 1886—during Zukertort’s second match with Steinitz. one very badly in 1872 (+1. *A German version was published in 2005: Der Grossmeister aus Lublin. it was gleaned from several independent sources and not from writings and statements made by Zukertort himself. However. at first receiving odds of a knight but soon holding his own at regular chess. Zukertort died at 45. . the material presented herein on his blindfold play is likely to be accurate. He began to play regularly with Adolf Anderssen. Grandmaster Jan Timman commented in New in Chess (2004. The History of Blindfold Chess tol shot that he was “morally certain” to hit the Ace of Hearts at 15 paces.shtml). Timman agreed with Huebner that Zukertort was an “inveterate braggart” and teller of tall tales. prompting Chernev to quote Francis Bacon’s remark that “a man may be young in years. although he lost a match to Morphy in 1858 (+2.

when play lasted five or six hours (by which time two games had been finished). 1997. November 3. When Zukertort arrived he put his hat on the window casing. Between Philidor and the Late 1800s 45 The report of a sighted simultaneous display that Zukertort had recently given at the Manhattan Chess Club in 1883 contained a vivid description of the man and his mannerisms: Dr Zukertort is a slender gentleman. -1.3. He has rather a pronounced nose. Four of the 16 games are in Part III (Games 16–19). He stopped in front of each player. Each was claimed by his own supporters to be . 1883]. Blindfold chess became an interest of Zukertort’s in the 1860s. he recalled playing against Zukertort in Louisville. meeting up to 14 sighted players at a time. somewhat below the medium height. we must note that Zukertort’s 16game display in 1876 was arranged so that it started on December 16. Hodges remarked that it was a big hat. in the early 1880s. Incidentally. and both excelled at regular as well as blindfold chess. brown hair carefully brushed down. who were each at least as strong as Barnes. George’s Chess Club. frequently stroked his beard with his fingers. when another seven hours were required to finish the exhibition. 84.B. both learned to play chess in their late teens. Pillsbury played continuously for five to eight hours. Marshall was the only winner in that display. In contrast. surpassing the 15 played by Paulsen (and possibly also by Blackburne). However. His biographer Tomasz Lissowski reports that he gave a three-board simultaneous display in 1864 in Poznaü. Kentucky. Zukertort’s chess career roughly paralleled that of Blackburne’s. Appendix B outlines what the authors believe are a fair set of conditions for a display to qualify as a world record performance.S. including the ones with Ballard and Minchin. and was resumed five days later on December 21. (Game 443 is an 1875 draw in which both Steinitz and Zukertort played blindfolded). page 81). and then 20 games in 1900. London (+12. and five-. Hodges recounted: “Then and there I thought how absurd it was for me to try to win from a man with a head like that. Hodges (a former United States champion. in his record displays in 1900. Sometimes he exchanged several moves in rapid succession with a single player. and has a general appearance of a man of thought and experience. then part of Prussia but now part of Poland. In 1876 he established a new world record for the number of simultaneous games by playing 16 at once at the St. reddish beard. Steinitz also reported in 1887 that the weakest opponent was a knight-odds player. there is a story about the size of Zukertort’s head. taking White on all boards. =3. lit it. When he tired he slowly took a cigarette. whereupon Zukertort explained that he had brought it with him from England as it was size 9∂. or are breaks of more than an hour or so permitted?). The two players were born within a year of each other. and inhaled a few whiffs [New York Times. In 1885 Steinitz pointed out that among Zukertort’s opponents in the 16-game blindfold exhibition were Ballard and Minchin. He alternated taking the white and black pieces on successive boards. Just as with Paulsen.4 percent). seven-. must it take place continuously. Zukertort’s record stood for 24 years until Pillsbury equaled and then exceeded it with successively 16. in 1894) was reminiscing in 1941 on his eightieth birthday. and nine-board exhibitions in 1868 in Berlin. who was the strongest opponent whom Morphy had met in his blindfold displays. with a small. There have never been well-established conditions for simultaneous blindfold play (for example. deliberated for a few seconds over the next move made. made his move. I was right—he beat me” (Hilbert. Hodges himself enjoyed giving blindfold chess displays and in Part III is a game of his played against the sighted 20-year-old Frank Marshall in a four-board simultaneous exhibition in 1897 (Game 371). and weary-looking eyes. and he reckoned it would be difficult to find one that large in the U. In the 1870s and 1880s Zukertort gave numerous blindfold displays in Europe and America. When A. 17. and passed on to the next board.

He was told that it was No. Trabue. including an assessment of the quality of the games. In this game. Trabue threw his left flank at Zukertort’s King’s position and before Zukertort could defend it. Zukertort scored well in blindfold games—probably over 75 percent—there were occasions when his results were not satisfactory. However. In that way.” The spectators smiled and cheered. I should have opened a splendid attack. 9 and he remarked “You are right. there is a knight there. in a game against Col. Dr Zukertort ordered his move. swept all of Trabue’s king’s infantry from the board and drove the king from his Palace with pawns. Zukertort apparently achieved a slightly higher overall percentage score. According to the New York Times (November 12. “Cannot be done” the caller said. The spectators then looked at board No. 9 I’ll tell you where every man stands.46 Part I. -6. The Louisville Argus carried a flamboyant report that seems to have been written by its military correspondent. The Manhattan display was one such occasion. there being no mistakes—no bad play.” “Which pawn?” asked the caller. The New York Times (November 11. the length of the displays and the playing conditions. where. Upon analysing the game. and retreat always has its doom [Illustrated London News for January 26. =2 (41. and probably impressed the spectators more than if he had not blundered. The game was well fought on both sides. What can be said is that they were both first-class blindfold players. in the absence of detailed authentication of the total performances of both players. take it.” . Zukertort “was much disturbed by conversation in an adjoining restaurant and by the music in neighboring saloons. The fleeting King took his shelter in the Queen’s Castle’s second. “Only one of my pawns can take only one pawn. always as Zukertort wished it. I.M.” He proceeded to do so. He carried Trabue’s centre by storm. it is difficult to justify superiority on behalf of either. I thought I was playing No. and was correct. Later on in the same game. if I had made that move. Zukertort had the move and the attack. The 12 games started on Saturday evening and went on until 4 o’clock on Sunday morning. 11. it appeared the best fought on both sides yet recorded. when [the opponent’s] number was called and his move was announced. Zukertort had a winning advantage but could not handle a counterattack after his own onslaught had dissipated (Game 444). One of Zukertort’s blindfold losses occurred in 1883 in Louisville. overall. he left a clear field behind him. and his flight and that clear field proved to be Zukertort’s Waterloo. 1884. Trabue received it—never tried to check it. the strength of the opposition. perhaps in honor of the profession of the winner. reprinted this passage]. But it appears that the playing conditions left a lot to be desired. 1883). Was this calculated? Was it accidental? Or was it chance? When Zukertort had driven Trabue into the last ditch. 1883) reported the incident in this way: On one occasion [Zukertort] ordered “Pawn takes pawn. and the reply immediately came. sometime chess champion of the State of Florida. Zukertort extricated himself from an error. Losses at blindfold chess can be very revealing. Although. Trabue’s heavy pieces forced Zukertort to surrender. Victory seemed in favour of Zukertort as late as the 22nd move. The report of another blindfold display that Zukertort gave in 1883.7 percent). contains a rare account of the blindfold player’s attempting an illegal move. whose great achievements in the second half of the nineteenth century were matched by no one except perhaps Paulsen. having had 29 rounds. The champion deliberated for a few seconds. but Zukertort could not keep up the attack. when he took on 12 opponents at the Manhattan Chess Club in November. The History of Blindfold Chess the better blindfold player. by which time the score was +4. and then asked for the number of the player. 11 and found that Dr Zukertort was also correct in saying that that move would have opened a powerful attack. Kentucky. But to show you that I know the positions on No.

then in Paris. then six. Other noted blindfold players of the second half of the nineteenth century were Alexander Fritz (1857–1932). and 13 boards. lost 9. and some other offhand games. achieving 95 wins. he had played 70 single games giving odds of a knight. 23. or Zukertort. 1884. Curt von Bardeleben (1861–1924). Jules Arnous de Rivière (1830–1905). Rudolf Loman (1861–1932). In Part III is the score of an unusual partie (Game 355) played by Curnock and four partners in which all were blindfolded and moved in sequence. given sighted simultaneous displays on 28. and Stanislaus Sittenfeld (1865–1902). Morphy. in two sessions totaling 9∂ hours on consecutive days (+8. at which for a number of years sighted and blindfold simultaneous displays were a weekly event. Game 385). published on April 28.” Urcan (page 26) also mentions his opinion that “blindfold displays and simultaneous exhibitions were a distinctive feature of young aspiring masters of the day—an ordeal for some perhaps. British Columbia. =2).3. -1. Emil Schallopp (1843–1919). 18. in 1876. Great masters of regular tournament and match chess. -2. and in Pittsburgh (+8. against the chess editor of the Baltimore News (+1). which would have tied Zukertort’s world record at that time. and we suspect that “16” is a typographical error for “6. According to our research Loman never played more than six blindfold games at once. Alphonse Goetz (1865–1934. he announced mate in 11 moves against Mazzonali (an announcement apparently surpassed in blindfold chess only by Blackburne’s announced mate in 16. on six boards in New York (+6). in 1863. Among the most successful of these was Ladislas Maczuski (1838–1898). pages 25–27) describes Loman’s involvement with music and chess and provides some of his simultaneous blindfold games. In one blindfold display he is said to have taken on 16 opponents in Amsterdam in 1885. Later. in Quebec (+10. and drawn 3: a score of 79.* and Arthur Curnock (1867–1935). and 6 draws out of the 109 games. =1). both blindfold and sighted. -4). he said. he listed his “achievements” during a seven-week period in February and March of 1884: blindfold displays on 12 boards in Montreal (+8.” . who all gave frequent blindfold displays in London. -2). Dawid Janowsky (1868–1927). Other Late 1800s Blindfold Players There were quite a few strong blindfold players active during the late 1800s who never achieved the fame of Paulsen. losing only 3. usually facing five or six opponents. each person changed sides on each of his moves. in northern Italy. in 1880. 27. and thus you could not label any set of players White or Black—but “White” won! Some of the following blindfold players of that time were consulted by the French psychologist Alfred Binet during his research into blindfold chess: Samuel Rosenthal (1837–1902) who played at least eight games at once. In a letter to the editor of The Field. As there were an odd number of players. but who deserve credit for playing many games without sight of the board. Blackburne. *An article by Olimpiu G. Andrés Vásquez (1844–1901). =2). and a single blindfold game in Thurlow. Between Philidor and the Late 1800s 47 Zukertort traveled extensively and played many simultaneous games. In addition.0 percent. -2. like William Steinitz (1836–1900). in a four-game display at the home of the president of the Ferrara Chess Club. see Game 368). eight games simultaneously. who as a 20-year-old law student played 12 at Mannheim. This was by no means an exceptional period for Zukertort. he played a great deal of chess during his short lifetime. 8 losses. Thus out of 50 such games he had won 38. During the same period he had. Germany. who played four. mentioned earlier. on seven boards in Boston (+5. Such was his prominence and productivity that a London chess club was named after him. Jean Taubenhaus (1850–1919). Urcan in Chess (January 2007. but in the absence of which a professional chess player’s recognition and income would suffer.

Fiala for the information that a report in a German chess magazine stating that Chigorin on one occasion played 17 blindfold games simultaneously (which would have been a world record at that time. Perhaps this incident was the inspiration for some of Pillsbury’s stunts involving cards (to be discussed shortly).and sevenboard displays Steinitz gave from 1867 to 1873 and as noted below he gave a seven-board blindfold exhibition in which Sir Walter Parratt was the only one not to lose. at the end of the exhibition Steinitz walked up to where Delmar was sitting. turns out to have involved a mis-translation from the original Russian source. Baird) but resigned after losing a piece against Eugene Delmar. a bank clerk.48 Part I. but did not attempt to set any record for the number of opponents facing them. Steinitz. achieving a draw.” He was “an inveterate smoker and always puffs the strongest cigars he can find” (New York Times.† Chigorin did play at least 10 games simultaneously. . Tarrasch is better known for the extensive comments he made when *We are grateful to V. pages 146–150) supplies game scores from six. He then said he would resume the game of chess. (Mentioned earlier was the display in which Steinitz and Blackburne each took on five players blindfold as well as playing each other. where the translator confused the number of games with the date in the month. With respect to blindfold play. June 16. affable countenance” and sporting “a luxurient mustache. Steinitz won three of the chess games (including successfully announcing mate in five moves against J. His conduct during that particular exhibition was rather eccentric. 1889). sometime president of the New York Chess Club. Two ladies in the rooms were invited to play with him. and another gentleman joined in the game. and Steinitz with his lady partner won the game.* and Siegbert Tarrasch (1862–1934)—one of the strongest players in the world. and when six moves had been made he said that if any persons in the room wished to play a game of whist he would accommodate them. Steinitz William Steinitz (courtesy Edward remarked that the process of playing blindfold was Winter). and Steinitz easily beat him. the first official world champion. The History of Blindfold Chess Mikhail Chigorin (1850–1908). Lopez (1989. A pack of cards was produced. However. and the two continued playing their game from the point where Steinitz had resigned. and immediately after the first move was announced he replied. However. was described as “compactly built” with a “frank. and a foremost member of the classical school of chess—also gave blindfold displays in the late nineteenth century. supposedly never played more than six blindfold games at once. however. and Tarrasch at least eight (see Game 353 and Game 440 for samples of their blindfold play). showing that he remembered the positions of the pieces on the different boards. if true).W. The New York Times reported on February 18: After replying to four moves of each opponent. Steinitz impatiently called for a glass of water.” although in a very complicated position he was sometimes obliged to review in his mind every move that had been made since the game started. according to Landsberger’s (1993) biography of him. “not so very difficult. †Delmar.) After a four-game blindfold display at the Manhattan Chess Club in February 1883. described as one of the best players in the country.

plished chess player. This occurred at Tenbury Wells. also occasionally played blindfold. a very Mikhail I. Parratt was one of the sighted opponents. Between Philidor and the Late 1800s 49 answering Binet’s questionnaire. Rudolf Charousek (1873–1900). From the age of 16 Walter played for Huddersfield Chess Club (an active chess town where. Chigorin giving a blindfold exhibition. By the age of seven he was entrusted to play a complete church service on the organ. by way of providing a light-hearted snapshot of a remarkable man.3. a player who would probably have risen to even greater heights but for his early death. Steinitz scored +6. and he became a professional organist at age 11. direct attacking style. Of the many others who played blindfold chess in those days. when suddenly Parratt began a new piece in a tempo obviously too fast. and proceeded to play by heart anything of Bach. the next world champion after Steinitz. the British Chess Magazine was published). page 39): Parratt was challenged to play chess blindfold against two good players in consultation on one board. His play (see Game 352) is noted for its confident. while he played a selection of tunes on the piano. =1. Mozart or Chopin the company could suggest. The conversation. . why don’t you play us something on the piano?” “All right.” but the first enemy to be beaten was a spider that had been slowly letting himself down on to the keys. the draw (Game 439) being achieved by Parratt. He was Sir Walter Parratt (1841–1924). On the occasion of one of the early inter-university matches Steinitz gave a seven-game blindfold display.” But Charousek died of tuberculosis at the age of 26. there is one more needing mention. in gifted musician and an accom. He accordingly sat in a corner while his moves and their replies were communicated by word of mouth.” said Parratt. After a few moves he said in mock misery: “It’s very dull. carrying on a varied conversation and calling out his moves whenever they were due. He later became Master of the Music to Queen Victoria. Of him. Beethoven. by which time he was able to perform the whole of Bach’s preludes and fugues from memory (“I used to play them twice through in a week”). On at least one occasion Parratt played blindfold against two players in consultation. to be described in Part II. The tempo became more and more outrageous until Parratt cried: “I’ve beaten him!” His next move was “checkmate. The following report was published in Tovey and Parratt (1941. said: “I shall have to play a championship match with this man some day. sitting here!” In a similar vein somebody replied: “Well. Worcestershire. Emanuel Lasker.an 1888 sketch (courtesy Edward Winter). who was complimented by Steinitz on his play. the music and the chess all proceeded impeccably for some time. at that time.

himself occasionally took on six or eight opponents in blindfold displays. Schlechter. but his adversary. The opening moves were rapidly made by the champion. was equally as quick in reply and the result was that the first eleven moves did not occupy five minutes. under rather distracting circumstances. who the following year drew a match against Emanuel Lasker for the world championship.4 The First Part of the Twentieth Century Introduction THE FIRST FIFTY YEARS OR SO of the twentieth century constituted the “golden age” of blindfold chess. and then found himself subjected to a form of psychological pressure. under such circumstances. In 1892 he gave several displays on a few boards. for on the ninth move he lost his queen and shortly after resigned. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (November 20 and 22. Mr. New York. winning two games and drawing one. He won all five games. The handicapping the champion was subjected to in having to face the fair guests of the club during the game told on his play and with damaging effect. Jacques Mieses (1865–1954) played a three-game blindfold match in 1909 with Carl Schlechter (1874–1918). Lasker (1868–1941) gave several blindfold exhibitions. 1892) reported that the Club was so crowded that “the fair sex did not have a full view of the table” and that When Mr. Lasker arrived and took up his position to play his single blindfold game he found himself in an embarrassing position. inasmuch as he was obliged to sit facing an array of bright eyes and. This was at the inauguration of the Club’s “Ladies’ Nights. Eliwell. but was not particularly interested in this form of chess.” Lasker arrived about half an hour late due to a delay on the elevated railway. on October 22. He was less successful. the susceptible young German was unable to do himself justice. however. perhaps not in terms of the total number of exhibitions given but in terms of the gradual climb from Zukertort’s record-setting display of 16 simultaneous games in 1876 to an approximate tripling of that number. This would have been a good occasion for actually wearing a blindfold. including one on five boards at the Manhattan Chess Club. in a single blindfold game played on November 19 of that year at the Brooklyn Chess Club. Other blindfold displays given by Lasker include one of four games played in Berlin in 50 . of course.

achieved in 1899. and demonstrated to a large crowd that he is a genius. His well-known. winning four and losing one. where he took White on two boards and Black on three. . Steven Brandwein of that institute’s chess club recently unearthed a report of that display in the San Francisco Chronicle. 1894. Right: José R. and one of five games played at Vienna in 1900.4.” Lasker’s maximum number of simultaneous blindfold games was six. which stated that “considering that [the world champion] does not claim to be a great blindfold player this remarkable man nevertheless gave a splendid exhibition. not at all like what he is called upon to produce when facing opponents of the class he is bound to meet in international contests. was also not very interested in blindfold chess. scoring +4. but as far as the performer is concerned they do him a great deal of harm in the long run. Capablanca (both photographs courtesy Edward Winter). was “Why should I kill myself?” On one occasion Capablanca condemned simultaneous blindfold chess in the following terms: Such displays may excite wonder among a large number of chess enthusiasts. August 15. but misguided remark. He also played five games of simultaneous blindfold chess at the Mechanics Institute in San Francisco on December 27. although admittedly that did not entail several games at once. The First Part of the Twentieth Century 51 Left: Emanuel Lasker.* *Presumably. Two of Lasker’s blindfold games are in Part III (Game 383 and Game 384). It gets him into the habit of playing a certain kind of game. Capablanca was unaware of Réti’s own claim (cited later) that it was blindfold study that had in his youth brought him up to expert class. 1902. who later defeated Lasker in 1921 in a world championship match. 1922]. I would not be surprised if it is Réti’s blindfold playing that has been the cause of his relative failure in the last two years [New York Times. and who held the title until 1927. -1. José Capablanca (1888–1942).

Frank J. In 1925. who was to play for the United States in a cable match (New York Times. On one such occasion. probably the bestknown incident about Bogolubow’s blindfold play is that. The game was a draw (New York Times. Other than that. Three of Capablanca’s blindfold games are in Part III (Games 349– 351). following one of his exhibitions in Switzerland after that war. who was the United States champion from 1909 to 1936. Polish and French. Russian-born Savielly Grigorievich Tartakover (1887–1956) in turn acquired the nationalities of Austrian.” he played blindfold against five of the best local amateurs consulting together. Sämisch scored a remarkable 84. fast and confident play” made a great impression on Alekhine. at the Liceo Club in Cienfuegos. and Lester Samuels. and Aron Nimzovitch (1886–1933). including some against several strong players in consultation. Other early world-class twentieth century blindfold players included Géza Maróczy (1870–1951). one of them being: “The winner of a game is the one who has made the next to last blunder. despite this view Capablanca occasionally played blindfold games. he suffered the embarrassment of being deleted from a photograph of the players. who later played (and lost) two matches against Alekhine for the world championship. Tartakover’s opponents included Samuel Katz. -4). Efim Bogoljubow (1889–1952). Cuba. Corzo. His “technically perfect. a leader of the so-called Hypermodern School of chess. not realizing who Bogolubow was.” Friedrich Sämisch (1896–1975) was a brilliant blindfold player. The History of Blindfold Chess Capablanca winning a blindfold game against a consulting team of J. 1924). Blanco.7 percent .” Tartakover occasionally played blindfold chess. R. and whose blindfold play is discussed later. April 22. The photographer. and R. and many of his chess aphorisms are well-known today. Akiba Rubinstein (1882–1961). gained considerable experience at blindfold chess while imprisoned with Alekhine and others during World War I.52 Part I. Portela in December 1910 in Havana (courtesy Edward Winter). Marshall (1877–1944). and in New York in 1924—only six days before Alekhine extended the world blindfold record to 26 simultaneous games—he played 10 games at once at the Manhattan Chess Club (+6. He was a patently honest man with a tremendous sense of humor. 1918). out of 26 blindfold exhibitions involving a total of 300 games. April 21. while Capablanca was reported to be engaged in “a lively conversation with a bevy of debutantes. giving them the odds of a knight. Nevertheless. later explained that he thought that the “fat fellow with the beer mug looked out of place.

set 24 years before. . he gave mostly 10-board displays. starting with the initial years of the twentieth century and the feats of Harry Pillsbury. Now we return to the chronology of world record–setting simultaneous displays. although his maximum number of simultaneous opponents was 20. Right: Efim D. Tartakover.. who in 1900 was the first to equal and then beat Zukertort’s record of playing 16 blindfold games at once. yet he could play fast chess well .. and who later in life won the United States championship eight times (more about him later). pages 113–115) calls Sämisch Germany’s best-ever blindfold player and states that. In serious play he could not bring himself to make a decision without first examining every possibility. who was a child prodigy at chess. played blindfold when he was aged eight. and was a professor at the University of Ljubljana—and Samuel Reshevsky (1911–1992). =44). Steinkohl (1992. a good illustration of Karpov’s opinion that handling time pressure is not correlated with skill at lightning chess. who gained the grandmaster title although he was really an amateur player—he had studied electrical engineering. Two samples of his play are in Part III (Game 435 and Game 436). Hooper and Whyld (1992.” During a tournament his friends would often hide his pipe when it was his turn to move— to stop his wasting time with it. -24.4. Bogoljubow (both photographs courtesy Edward Winter). “He lost more games on time than any other master and in one tournament. he lost all 13 games this way. Linköping 1969. pages 352–353) describe Sämisch’s tournament and match successes and sadly note that in his later years he was constantly in time pressure. The First Part of the Twentieth Century 53 Left: Savielly G. (+232. Other notable early twentieth century blindfold players who did not attempt record performances include Milan Vidmar (1885–1962).

2–0. In fact. He did not learn to play chess until he was 16. Marshall was one of Pillsbury’s opponents in another blindfold exhibition in Montreal the following year. Russia. and he also won a game in a 15. In 1893 he defeated the Berlin master and sometime German champion Carl Walbrodt (1871–1902) 2∂–∂ in a short match. and Italy. then aged 16. Frank J. Steinitz. and the champions of England. including the world champion. Germany. I mean to win this tournament. The History of Blindfold Chess Harry Pillsbury Henry (invariably known as Harry) Nelson Pillsbury (1872–1906) was in 1900 the strongest American player since the time of Morphy in the 1850s. Pillsbury lost to Marshall again during the 1890s. the son of a high-school teacher.” as he was called at the time. Williams Friedrich Sämisch (courtesy Edward Winter). he achieved proficiency in the United States and then traveled to Europe to test his skills against established players there. Pillsbury never again won such a powerful tournament. in 1895. winning three and losing one. one of 24. In fact. The “Boston Wonder. Massachusetts. Like Morphy. . but on that occasion. Before the Hastings tournament started he refused to stay at a hotel where he might socialize with other masters.” Pillsbury was born in Somerville. at the Brooklyn Chess Club on December 5. played four games simultaneously at the Franklin Chess Club in Philadelphia (his first such exhibition outside New England).R. England. Pillsbury unwisely gave the teenage Marshall an opportunity to start a dangerous attack. an achievement equaled later only by José Capablanca (at San Sebastian 1911. Hooper and Whyld (1992) point out that no other player had ever before won his first exceptionally strong tournament. the former world champion. and later in the same year beat Arnold Schottländer. where almost all the top players in the world participated. and Marshall was playing in consultation with R. He said: “I want to be quiet. but three years later—receiving odds of pawn and move—he managed to defeat Steinitz in two games out of three. France. Petersburg Tournament in 1914.to 20-board sighted simultaneous exhibition that Steinitz gave. 23. 1896 (Pillsbury’s 24th birthday) it was in a sighted simultaneous game. Lasker. when he was the same age. he is most famous for winning the first major tournament in which he played—at Hastings.54 Part I. as Pillsbury had been at Hastings). Austria. Marshall. another German master. The same year he began giving blindfold displays. was later to hold the United States championship for 27 consecutive years and was to become one of the original five “grandmasters” of chess—an honor conferred by the Czar of Russia at the conclusion of the St. which the youngster carried out neatly (Game 427).

playing a game of cards. playing 466 moves in about 5∑ hours of play (Games 20–35). Despite the fact that Pillsbury apparently never mentioned it anywhere. And Paulsen’s first exhibition on 10 boards had lasted the evenings of five consecutive days. in London in 1859. that for several hours after a blindfold display his mind was so occupied with unplayed variations that he could not sleep. in Chicago. 1899). On April 28 he extended the *An odd thing occurring earlier that year was Pillsbury’s resignation from the Manhattan Chess Club following the Club’s refusal to discipline a member who had appropriated his umbrella (Brooklyn Daily Eagle. After playing 16 opponents on at least one other occasion Pillsbury soon broke his own record.4. -2. for use in playing blindfold chess as well as for performing other kinds of memory feats and stunts. He took on 17 opponents in New Orleans on March 6.3 percent). He had found. -1. such as having a good meal. We have already mentioned that Zukertort consumed 12 hours. =4 (81.* Pillsbury did beat Marshall while giving an eight-game blindfold display at the Brooklyn Club in June of 1897. with a five-day interruption in the midst of the exhibition. 1902. The speed at which he generally played was quite remarkable when compared with the speed of some of the earlier champions. and January 15. On February 10. . studied various mnemonic techniques. 1896. he is said to have used up 12 hours. July 3. Pillsbury (courtesy Edward Winlikely that during that four-year period he also ter). page 343). or other recreation” (Bowles. (73. it seems Harry N. as indicated above. when he set his 16-game record. where he scored +6. Pillsbury scored +11. Pillsbury first equaled Zukertort’s world record of 16 simultaneous blindfold games. On resuming blindfold play in 1898 Pillsbury claimed to be able to eliminate the games from his mind after a display and to concentrate on “something different. took eight hours and 4∂ hours. =2. 1900. When Blackburne supposedly played 15 games in 1876. Morphy had taken about five hours to play only eight games at Birmingham in 1858 and almost twice as long to play eight games in Paris later the same year. We will see that he often amazed audiences at blindfold chess displays by also memorizing long lists of difficult words. as had Blackburne for example. =5. he did give occasional blindfold displays. when he largely stopped the practice for four years although. scoring +10. Pillsbury gave various blindfold exhibitions until June 1894. his two other eight-game displays. The First Part of the Twentieth Century 55 and William Berendson.5 percent) in 7∫ hours (see Game 36 and Game 37). He said he used part of those four years to study ways of improving his blindfold play—particularly with respect to shortening the time for an exhibition—and to prevent the insomnia that he experienced after an exhibition. 1900.

STAPHYLOCOCCUS. PHILOSOPHY. TAKADIASTASE. PIET POTGELTER’S ROST. monmouth. overall). THRELKELD. but Pillsbury furnished the moves of their games “without any serious effort. whereupon he would immediately name the remaining cards. he successfully announced mate in eight moves in one of the games. Newell W. RUSSIAN. Philadelphia. some of these items are spelled differently in different sources. For this exhibition Pillsbury asked to be opposed by the strongest available players. Ohio.) *Less than a decade later another American. MISSISSIPPI. MICROCOCCUS. he repeated them all in order and then backwards: ANTIPHLOGISTINE. ETCHENBERG.56 Part I.† (Understandably perhaps. =5 (84. Pillsbury often performed the knight’s tour blindfolded (that is. Pillsbury corrected from memory several mistakes made by his opponents in writing down their moves. Also. and he sometimes combined a blindfold chess display with other activities. Banks (1887–1977) a noted checkers player. he delighted his audiences with various memory feats involving words and cards. PERIOSTEUM. but it did not work well.” During the first few years of the new century Pillsbury was extremely active in blindfold chess. on one occasion in Toledo. for a good many of his adversaries selected irregular defenses. he played 12 games of chess and four games of checkers (draughts) without sight of any board. as mentioned earlier. started giving combined displays of blindfold checkers and chess. MADJESCOMALOPS. On one occasion. At no stage of the performance did he consume as much time as he did for the first moves. NO WAR. moving a knight by legal moves from any given starting square to all the other 63 squares without stopping on the same square twice). In one 16-game blindfold exhibition in Buffalo (western New York State). He sat in a room alone without board or pieces while his opponents sat at tables in an adjoining room. CINCINNATI. CATECHISM. he was asked by Dr. For example. Threlkeld-Edwards and Prof. BANGMANVATE. =5 (82. After the exhibition. over a period of seven months he gave about 150 simultaneous displays. ATHLETICS. Two of the sighted players had not kept score at all. during the course of scoring +11. But it took a different aspect as the contest progressed. PLASMON. Merriman of Lehigh University to study the following list of 29 verbal items. the exact conditions under which Pillsbury was tested are not given consistently from source to source. . sometimes accompanied by dancing or a game of billiards. Pillsbury as usual adopted a certain system in arranging certain openings for the respective boards. Pillsbury made about 600 moves in this display (about 40 seconds a move. AMERICAN. the following website had interesting comments on the words themselves and their meanings: http://www. OOMISILLECOOTSI. STREPTOCOCCUS.4 percent). In a tour spanning 1900-1901. THEOSOPHY. FREIHEIT. -1.* Pillsbury was prepared to interrupt his blindfold displays at any point and to have a portion of a pack of cards called out to him.com/~colonel/chess/pillsbury. They had no distinctive features and it seemed almost superhuman to avoid confusion. †In 2007. MANZINYAMA. SCHLECHTER’S NEK. scoring +14. mainly blindfolded. Each game gradually obtained its marked individuality and made a clearer impression on Pillsbury’s mind. with a teller announcing the moves of each player to him.html. before starting a blindfold display in Philadelphia. SALMAGUNDI. and after a few minutes study. many of which were unfamiliar to him (and perhaps to our readers). PLASMODIUM. as well as at the exhibition’s end and on the next day. The History of Blindfold Chess record to 20 games at the Franklin Chess Club. AMBROSIA. and The Philadelphia Record reported two days later that he had experienced some difficulty in the openings: It should be borne in mind that most of the boards at that stage looked very much alike.5 percent) in 6∂ hours (see Games 38–45). PHILADELPHIA. Those watching him closely noticed the difficulty he was laboring under and feared a breakdown. while simultaneously playing duplicate whist with other people.

After this “rest” he returned to playing the blindfold chess games (report in the British Chess Magazine. could for example memorize the mathematical value pi to a hundred or more places. who set world records of his own in 1931 and 1937. (Such techniques are described in Part II. Then Pillsbury was quizzed on the number of a word or the word of a number. and the reader *There are numerous ways in which numbers can be memorized. . mental illusionists. suggested a short rest for the players. however. five at a time. achieving a score of 40. 1900. but almost any person can master it. the concurrent event including players just below the strength of those competing in the main tournament. January 1998) that he once sat with Pillsbury at a railroad crossing and wrote down the fairly long and different numbers on each of a large group of passing boxcars while Pillsbury attempted to memorize them. and Pillsbury could easily have gained access to relevant material. in England. Similar systems can be used to memorize the order of shuffled decks of playing cards. Such a feat should be very difficult to accomplish without using one of the memory techniques that professional mnemonists employ. You could imagine an aunt hitting a beer mug as she eats a gigantic pear that is steaming hot! Lorayne and Lucas (1975) show how this method could be applied to remembering and linking most of the items on Pillsbury’s list. The display lasted over 11∂ hours.* In July of 1902 Pillsbury took part in a tournament at Hannover. and others. he interrupted a 12-board blindfold display after 2∂ hours. the other three players were the best three from the next strongest. much longer than would be predicted on the basis of Pillsbury’s usual rate of play—obviously because he could not afford many mistakes against such strong opposition. Eighteen of Pillsbury’s opponents were candidate masters from the secondary tournament. using such a method.5 percent. Philadelphia master and organizer William Ruth told Dale Brandreth (personal communication to Hearst. which could be linked by visual imagery to the next word via pear eat a steam. and Alekhine achieved a much better score. Although Pillsbury was able to achieve remarkable memory feats outside of chess. and invited them as a group to write on a slip of paper 30 words numbered in order. Of the 21. with respect to the quality of opposition. and then went through the list backwards without error. tertiary tournament. With a little effort most people. Of course. communicated to Hearst in 1985. in which he finished second to Janowsky. Pillsbury won only 3 games. remain a debatable point. too. Alekhine’s subsequent record-setting 26-board New York display in 1924 was exceptional. Ruth reported to Brandreth that Pillsbury’s memory for the numbers was incredibly accurate and in the correct order. pages 399–400). and drew 11.4. in jumbled fashion.) These systems were well known to professional magicians. such an ability is relatively rare among the great blindfold chess players. and then forming words and pictures. The First Part of the Twentieth Century 57 On another occasion.† That was the opinion George Koltanowski. He was perfect. †This does. The first word in the above list could be remembered as Auntie flog a stein. it would take considerable practice to successfully apply such a system. An example of one method Pillsbury could have used for remembering the above list of long words involves linking together substitute words associated with images. but really more important than the number of opponents was that many distinguished chess historians consider the opposition to be the strongest ever encountered by a blindfold simultaneous player. Probably the most versatile method involves converting digits into letters. lost 7. Germany. This was not an exceptional scoring percentage. These 30 words were read to him. which took about ten minutes. and seems to support the suggestion that during the 1890s he probably spent a good deal of time studying mnemonic techniques. and linking these in a suitable way. On a rest day (!) during the event Pillsbury set a new world record of 21 simultaneous blindfold games.

the constant effort must affect his nerves.M. Alexander Alekhine. when he tried in Hanover [sic] in 1902 to play blindfold twenty-one games simultaneously with opponents of first category strength he suffered a failure. =12 (36.4 percent. in a display lasting 10 hours (Games 67– 88). -14. while Salo Flohr (one of his closest rivals in the 1930s at sighted simultaneous play). and five shillings for each draw. then.7 percent). Pillsbury gave numerous simultaneous blindfold exhibitions while touring Europe and America. Pope (1996. =9 (38. but the result shows that such an undertaking was beyond his powers [Buschke translation. 1921–1927) scored +7. however. He paid little attention to his deteriorating health and seemed to be in denial about the effects of the disease he had acquired while playing in the St. The team was stimulated to the best effort. For example.3 percent). =4). Other top masters have fared even worse. After the great Cambridge Springs. However. page 523]. Alekhine later became world chess champion as well as. and from 6. and in addition Pillsbury generously allowed consultation. to 6 P. He was a popular man to have as a guest and player because of his friendly and modest manner. In December of the same year (1902) in Moscow. apart from the amour propre.. as reported in The Field (August 2. 1902): How far Pillsbury damages his chances by exhibition play is difficult to say. What is not often mentioned in connection with this display is. He completed the séance. Among his opponents was Ossip Bernstein. Bernstein later tied for first with Rubenstein at the Ostend 1907 tournament and eventually became a grandmaster. tournament in 1904. After 1900.58 Part I.. the best blindfold simultaneous player of all time. until past 2 A. He smoked strong cigars continuously during his tournament games.M. -13. in the light of which Pillsbury’s performance must be judged. though he is not conscious of it as yet. One spectator at the event was a 10-year-old. scored +5. that Pillsbury competed under rather adverse conditions. which he announced in German notation. Such...30 P. and moving the pieces before deciding on the reply to his moves.. The séance lasted from 2 P. News reports state that he often took only one or two seconds for many of his moves. The History of Blindfold Chess who examines all 21 (Games 46–66). Alekhine (1931) later wrote: Pillsbury was one of the greatest masters of blindfold play of all time. The performance also stands comparison with other world-class players’ achievements in sighted simultaneous exhibitions against very strong opposition. where he did not even win a prize (although he beat Lasker in a famous game). will also find that a few of his opponents accepted draws with him when they had a somewhat superior position. Pillsbury never attempted to beat his own record of 22 games. page 43) states that during the tournament Pillsbury suffered from restlessness and insomnia and was in such obvious ill health that his close friends pleaded with him to withdraw. he played hardly any more chess. -1.M. who was excited and impressed by the performance. Petersburg tournament of 1895-96. Obviously the opposition was not as strong as at Hannover. many believe. His inability to make a good living from chess distressed him greatly. . drew eleven and lost seven.. by a stake of ten shillings offered by the Committee for each win. then aged 19. amazing for simultaneous blindfold play. José Capablanca (world champion.M. a score of 86. Pillsbury raised his world blindfold record to 22 (+17. Pennsylvania. particularly when playing in the Soviet Union. against 30 first-category opponents at Leningrad in 1935. 1971. The final result was that he won three. who in the following year was to finish second to Chigorin in the Russian championship. was the standard of his opponents. and sometimes drank alcohol during his exhibitions. On the following day he put in an appearance none the worse for the exertion and had a hard fight against Süchting [in the regular tournament].

I had a very close call [a seizure] no doubt. He appears also to have been the first player to have approached the subject scientifically. He won everything apart from two of the chess games (Quarterly for Chess History. page 330). but my ‘rough and ready’ bringing up has given me something of a constitution. page 83). and one of the best. and to have created systems which helped to avoid confusion in the openings in a simultaneous exhibition. 1906. chess philanthropist. Pillsbury was addicted for several years. where he played 16 blindfold games of chess while playing four games of checkers and six hands of whist. A few months before his death on June 17. The First Part of the Twentieth Century 59 Pillsbury had in fact decided to retire from serious chess some two years earlier. Even in 1904 he was still giving blindfold exhibitions involving memory stunts. Petersburg about 10 years before his death. even in the index. playing occasionally with friends. The cause of death must have been supplied (and the real one suppressed) by his family. as reportedly having played 24 games simultaneously in Moscow in 1904.” Pillsbury was one of the most prolific. which attributed Pillsbury’s death to a “nervous complaint with which Mr. That he developed powerful memory techniques for handling various types of facts is clear from his abilities not only with chess but also with cards and words. 1906.com/text/skittles254. Pillsbury wrote to the American Chess Bulletin to say that he “was very much alive. 2001. San Francisco.† Vladimir Ostrogsky Not many chess enthusiasts have ever heard of Vladimir Fedorovich Ostrogsky.pdf appearing on May 15. The “Ostrogovsky” name is not included in Lopez’s list of world-record setters. for example. Gaige (1987/2005. †An article by Olimpiu G. and successful businessman. and states that he may have set a new record of 23 games in 1904 in Moscow. although. and even before that he had occasional attacks of the disease which often prevented him from playing his best. such as one at the Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club. at the age of 33. but Lopez’s extensive search did not yield any games from such a display. 2005.4. because evidence indicates that he actually died from syphilis. Urcan’s 15-page article can be found at the Chess Café website http://www. as I understand. Finn played as many as 12 games of simultaneous chess without sight of the board and often gave displays on five to eight boards. and to settle down to the practice of law in Philadelphia. but clearly chess had too great a hold on him. He is mentioned (with his name misspelled as “Ostrogovsky”) in a couple of sentences on page 13 in Lopez’s 1989 book on blindfold chess. reported out of chess for all time—and other sensational stories about me. Steinkohl’s (1992) treatment of blindfold chess mentions “Ostrogski” in a short paragraph on page 88. blindfold players of all time.* An explanation close to the truth was given in the obituary in the Philadelphia Inquirer of June 18. .chesscafe. According to newspaper and magazine reports cited in Urcan’s article. However. see. not only a New York State champion.” which we will see provided one of the bases for continuing beliefs that blindfold chess was hazardous to one’s health. Steinkohl regards any such record as questionable because Ostrogski’s name *“General paresis” is listed on his death certificate. and never again appears in the book. but also second to Pillsbury in America with regard to his skill at blindfold chess.” His obituary in the New York Times on June 18 stated that he died from an “illness contracted through overexertion of his memory cells. He is the mystery man on the list of those who apparently set a world record in terms of the number of games played simultaneously without sight of the board. Urcan reveals that a little-known player of Pillsbury’s time was Julius Finn (1871–1931). either as a tournament player or a blindfold chess expert. and it is common knowledge that he contracted this disease from a prostitute in St.

8. Information about Ostrogsky is scanty. has led to more information about Ostrogsky. Matsukevich. page 52) mentioned that he gave successive blindfold displays against nine opponents (+5.60 Part I. courtesy when he first attracted the attention of chessplayers by solving two difficult problems in 35 minutes during a Andrew Soltis). An article in 64–Shakhmatnoye Obozreniye (No. (1993).000 greats and near-greats in the world of chess. which may indicate that he knew of Ostrogsky’s performance and reckoned that merely exceeding Pillsbury’s widelyaccepted record might not suffice for him to claim that he had set a new one. including the scores of every one of the 23 simultaneous blindfold games (Games 89–111) he played on February 15. No. 1904. with their birth and death dates as well as extensive links to references that supply information about each individual. does list Ostrogsky. pages 62–68. -6. in Moscow. It is as if Ostrogsky and his achievements have virtually vanished from the face of the earth. . According to Matsukevich. entitled “Forgotten Champion. page 23. It is important to note that the next person to set a new world record for simultaneous play.” provides some new details about the strange case of Vladimir Ostrogsky and contains a drawing of his face (reproduced here). there are different problems in deciding about the validity of many record-setting exhibitions described in this book. 1904. there is reasonable justification for considering Ostrogsky’s 23-board performance in Moscow in 1904 to have eclipsed Pillsbury’s record of 22 at the same city in 1902. and 17 opponents (+3. there are questions as to whether his display should count as a world record. Richard Réti. aided by Andrew Soltis and Vlastimil Fiala. and 64–Shakhmatnoye Obozreniye reported that he tied for first in the Third Baltic (sighted) Championship at Reval in 1904. 8. And in some record-setting displays the opposition was extremely weak. 10 opponents (+5. 1998). =8) before the exhibition with 23 opponents. 1985. soon after giving the 23-board blindfold display (cited by Matsukevich. -1. 1985. The History of Blindfold Chess never shows up again in the literature on blindfold chess. but Gaige’s decades of research on chess personalia yielded only a couple of references to him (on page 314) and nothing about when he was born or died. In any event. A search for material about him. below). Gaige’s (1987/2005) authoritative listing of 14. =4). In other record-setting exhibitions. as will be seen. he Vladimir F. and some of Paulsen’s exhibitions took place over several successive evenings. =3). pages 5–8. -1. whose validity almost no one questions. It has already been noted that Zukertort’s 16-game record in 1876 is perhaps marred by the fact that his display was stopped after the first five hours and not resumed for five days. And his name appears occasionally in crosstables of tournaments and intercity matches in Moscow for almost a decade after 1904 (see Skinner and Verhoeven. La Stratégie (February 1904. Ostrogsky (From was studying at a technical academy in Moscow in 1902 64–Shakhmatnoye Obozreniye. played 24 and not 23 games. 15 years after Ostrogsky’s success. we now know that the exhibitor received some prompting from a friendly teller when he attempted to make an illegal move or a horrible blunder. Fiala unearthed this report and published all the games in Tesko Slovenskï ¶achovï Bulletin 12. they were published in the Russian magazine 64–Shakhmatnoye Obozreniye February-March. 1985) by A. Although.

His achievement created a sensation and he was persuaded to give the abovementioned 10-board exhibition within the next week. Ostrogsky apparently received little remuneration for the display. With the score in the 12-board exhibition standing at one win . fancier location for the chess club. -5.. with one break from 4:50 P. to 2 A. One wonders why Ostrogsky attempted to set a world record under such conditions. -1. since the Russo-Japanese War had begun a week earlier. lasted from 1 P. in terms of any hints given the exhibitor. or four sighted games simultaneously. with half the proceeds being donated to a Russian Army fund. -5.4. -2. partly because the venue was a new. whereas others played two. and whether the same unusual provisions were also in force in some of his earlier displays. 1903) Ostrogsky attempted to break Zukertort’s record of 16 games.. =3. many details of the exhibition are unknown. The final score has been reported as +9.M. Ostrogsky’s score was +6. without having any lengthy intermission during the play.M. etc. with his pre-adjudication score being +8. an average rate of 50 moves an hour (Games 89–111). in 4∂ hours. whereas Ostrogsky had achieved only second-category status. but against only 10 people! Two opponents played only one game. According to Matsukevich. Shtolts. =8 (58. and on November 3 of that year gave his first “official” blindfold exhibition at the Moscow Chess Circle (which is the display against nine opponents mentioned above). with a total of 585 moves. but readers will find some games to be of fairly good quality. a draw against A. His play in the exhibition was uneven. held at the Moscow Chess Circle.M. The audience was noisy and somewhat unruly. Thus Matsukevich’s article conflicts with the above report in La Stratégie. 1904. with the audience excited and chattering a great deal. a strong player who had won the championship of the local club.M. =7. The display. Within a few more days (on November 22. Unfortunately.7 percent).. (One recalls that it was five days for Zukertort. He achieved second-category rank (approximately the level of an “expert” in American chess) near the end of 1903. to 6:30 P. The discovery of all 23 game scores indicates that Ostrogsky did play 23 games. because the opposition was fairly good and Pillsbury was a world-class player when he handled 22 boards in his record-setting exhibition in Moscow the year before. 1904) Ostrogsky tried to beat Pillsbury’s world record by playing 23 simultaneous blindfold games. The young man had learned to play chess only two years before. giving a playing time of almost 11∂ hours. The magazine mentioned that opponents helped each other during the course of play—as is not uncommon in simultaneous displays. He won a book called Chess Evenings as a prize. to 3:20 A. “although he played first-category strength. =9 (58.8 percent). Fewer than three months later (on February 14 or 15.M. Petersburg in 1885. but the game scores and another report (La Stratégie.) The 17-board exhibition had two short intermissions and lasted from 5:10 P. three. thereby assigning Ostrogsky a minus score. which equaled the Russian blindfold record of Chigorin set in St. He is said to have tried so hard to achieve a really outstanding score that he played for a win in equal positions and in a couple of games refused draws and then lost. which reversed the number of wins and losses. Ostrogsky never again showed strong evidence of his early promise. But the story becomes stranger and stranger. =1) at his school. The First Part of the Twentieth Century 61 club competition. any illegal moves attempted by him.” The magazine supplied the score of one game.M. page 116) indicate that three games were unfinished and were adjudicated. about 10 hours. either in tournaments or in another blindfold display against 12 opponents in April of 1913—almost a decade after his 23 board exhibition. -3. but soon he gave simultaneous blindfold displays on three boards and then six boards (+3. Matsukevich (1985) reports that 64–Shakhmatnoye Obozreniye described the display as impressive. scoring +5.

and gave sighted and blindfold exhibitions in many countries. even though the team opposed to him did not consist wholly of firstclass players.F. Rice Progressive Chess Club in New York. no reports have been discovered of what Réti’s maximum was before that. =2). At the end of the event KostiW sat down and dictated the scores of all 20 games without making a single error. (Although it seems probable that Réti himself tried to play as many as 20 games before setting his actual new record of 24.62 Part I. there is apparently only one player in the world who played as many as 20 games of blindfold simultaneous chess. but the names of the other 17 opponents are not given. In 1913 KostiW moved to Argentina. played matches.The single draw was obtained by M. The History of Blindfold Chess and one loss. and gave chess lectures at the Military Academy there. blindfold or otherwise. In 1915 he came to the United States. who provided very weak opposition— Game 379 and Game 380). with Marshall tied for 5th). to be able to take quick advantage of any slip he might make. and in June of the following year he played 20 blindfold simultaneous games at the Isaac L. His name was rarely. He was a world traveler who lived. if ever. He subsequently competed in the Carlsbad Tournament the same year (where he finished tied for 19th out of the 26 players. seen in the chess press after that exhibition. They all knew enough. 1916) describes the exhibition and KostiW’s behavior during the play. In 1911 KostiW came to prominence by beating Marshall in a short match played in Cologne (+1.” Richard Réti (with a bow to Boris Kosti´) c In the 15 years between Ostrogsky’s 23-board exhibition and the new record performance of Richard Réti. and then toured the Scandinavian countries. The conditions existing were not at all conducive to the best chess. Ostrogsky is unknown to me. Matsukevich suggests that Ostrogsky must have been suffering from some kind of illness. who played 24 at Haarlem in the Netherlands in 1919. apparently because the display was lasting too long and Ostrogsky seemed under great strain. and also includes two games that he won (against Gubitch and Zuckerholz. achieving the fine score of 19 wins and 1 draw in just over six hours. even when beyond the range of his physical perception. however. all the remaining games were declared to be drawn. An article in the Washington Post (June 25. The Brooklyn Eagle (June 8. but the result offered indisputable proof of the Serbian’s mastery of the board. a Serbian who played chess professionally for most of his life.) The one player was Boris KostiW (1887–1963). 1916) reported: His score of nineteen wins and one draw is scarcely believable. Boris KostiW (courtesy Edward Winter). Stoner. During play he is said to have accom- . Matsukevich’s article ends on an unsatisfying and rather sad note: “The further fate of V.

Their analysis led to quite different evaluations. Alekhine 26 in 1924. Hooper and Whyld mention that he was a member of four Yugoslav Olympic teams from 1925 to 1937. Réti played 24 games simultaneously in 1919. but he continued his world travels and played in China. page 208) report that KostiW visited almost every state in the United States. It was. claiming correctly that he had “an express pawn” on the queen’s rook file: a passed pawn that should eventually be promoted to a queen. The First Part of the Twentieth Century 63 panied many of his moves with funny remarks. taking on local champions in matches. At the age of 75 he played in his last tournament. After 1919 his main base of operation was Yugoslavia. and tied for first place with the youngest entrant. after Gyula (Julius) Breyer (a close friend of Réti who will be discussed later) successfully played 25 games at once in 1921. and Réti. Aside from his blindfold play. he never set any world blindfold records. Savielly Tartakover tells the story of Réti and Alekhine analyzing together in their heads a position that arose during the London International Congress 1922. 29 a few days later. Because of his blindfold achievements during the time between the records of Ostrogsky (1904) and Réti (1919). who was aged 58. KostiW was named a grandmaster in 1950. although their evaluations of the final position still differed. whose death was caused by a scratch on his foot that led to blood poisoning. and many other countries. Alexander Alekhine had a very high regard for Réti’s ability. and occasionally to have playfully scolded players who left pieces where they could be taken for nothing. however. one for chess veterans at Zürich in 1962.” causing the organizers to provide him with a new wardrobe! He also won some strong regular tournaments durRichard Réti (courtesy Edward Winter). I think it would be better if we had recourse to a chessboard and men”— where the analysis would presumably proceed more quickly and clearly. Hooper and Whyld describe him as a man of great vigor and robust health. except for the interval between 1921 and 1924. and specializing in blindfold displays. and then 28 in 1925. Richard Réti (1889–1929) is generally acknowledged to be one of the greatest blindfold players in chess history. He refused an offer of a draw in one game. KostiW certainly merits attention. the two best blindfold players in the world. Réti was involved in many different activities connected . But their blindfold analysis had been correct. of course. the Swiss player Henry Grob.4. Hooper and Whyld (1992. and that he usually appeared at these events “in a threadbare jacket and worn-out shoes. allowing them to replace these moves with better ones. During the 1920s the world record for simultaneous blindfold play was held by either Alekhine or Réti. India. ing that time period. and Alekhine said to Réti: “Since we are.

Czechoslovakia). it was difficult to obtain both game scores from his important displays and commentaries about . mentioned a much less positive consequence of Richard’s forgetfulness. thank you. which was changed for a while to Bazin. But he lost it somewhere and never found it—a tremendous shock. much later. rather than by the direct placement of pawns in the center. Several of Réti’s contemporaries remarked on his almost lovable absent-mindedness. stick.) Besides Réti’s theoretical contributions and chess-related literary efforts (see also his profound analyses of the styles of some of the greatest past and contemporary players. the current world champion and known as “The Chess Machine. in Bösing (the German name for his town. published posthumously in 1933). his theoretical contributions. Tartakover (1887–1956). Hungary. finishing in the top two or three places in several very strong tournaments. and his problem compositions—his world record–setting blindfold play and his status as one of the greatest blindfold players of all time have been relatively neglected by chess historians. so that it was said of him: ‘Where Réti’s briefcase is. He confided to his brother. according to his brother Rudolf. hat. It is therefore evidence of Réti’s pre-existence.” lost his first game in eight years at the New York 1924 tournament when Réti beat him using this opening. the other was by Jan Kalendovskï) wrote that Richard. he would always leave behind him his traditional yellow leather briefcase. in his memoir of his brother. there he himself is no longer to be found. It is interesting and significant that José Capablanca (1888–1942). The country of his allegiance was Czechoslovakia (although. above all.64 Part I. now named after him (the Réti Opening). Tartakover commented about his good friend that “He forgot everything. was more interested in the creative aspects of chess than in merely winning games. Harry Golombek (the author of one of two extensive books on Réti’s career and games. his book Modern Ideas in Chess (1922) provided a rationale for what was called the Hypermodern Movement in opening strategy. (Capablanca’s last previous loss had been to Oscar Chajes in 1916. Richard had virtually finished his doctoral thesis in mathematics and carried the only copy of it around with him everywhere. he was one of the world’s leading players of regular chess during the last decade of his relatively brief life. in Masters of the Chess Board.” Rudolf Réti. He was one of the deepest thinkers in chess history and. and later to Pezinok. he was the best scorer at first board in the 1927 Chess Olympiad in London. Competing as a member of the team from Czechoslovakia. according to Hooper and Whyld [1992] he never learned to speak the Czech language).’” Soltis’s 1993 book on Marshall records that. Strangely enough—even though much has been written about Réti’s regular tournament successes. he was also successful as a chess journalist and columnist in Europe. in which the centuries-old favorites of moving either the king’s pawn or queen’s pawn on the first move of the game were replaced by moving the king’s knight (1. A basic idea of this approach was control of the center of the board by pieces operating at a distance from the center. This idea led to Réti’s development of a new way of starting the game. I have such a bad memory. to which Aaron Nimzovitch (1886–1935). Being a wordsmith as well as a well-educated and cultured man. his books. Réti was born on May 28. umbrella. on the briefcase’s return to Réti after he had set a new world record for the number of simultaneous blindfold games in 1925. among its other goals. 1889. For example. however. and Breyer (1893–1921) also contributed. Another of his activities involved the composing of chess problems. that he was near suicide after this loss (Winter. pages 373–381). More than for any other outstanding blindfold player covered in this book. 2003. Nf3). The History of Blindfold Chess with chess. which for him usually contained relatively few pieces and were characterized by simplicity and practicality. Réti said: “Oh.

by pointing out that every great master can play a game blindfolded and that. columns and rows. for example checkmating the Black king with White’s rook and king from many different starting positions on the chessboard in his mind. Although only 16 years old. He believes that the methods he used early in his mastery of chess ought to be more widely adopted and publicized. with and without an actual chessboard. he argues that it would be preferable to learn how to play without sight of the board at a beginning stage in the development of chess skill. neither Golombek’s (1954/1997) nor Kalendovskï’s (1989) book about Réti contains a single game from his record-setting exhibitions in 1919 and 1925 (not even in Kalendovskï’s section entitled “The King of Blindfold Chess”). there is hardly any difference between blindfold and regular chess. for example. He claimed that he learned much more from all this kind of practice. he mentally divided the chessboard into four small quadrants and studied their separate features individually and in relation to each other. he continues. (Top-notch blindfold champions like Blackburne. several written by Réti himself. Then he tried to visualize the whole board. He then describes the methods he used. giving the person a boost of confidence and immediate evidence that he is improving at the game. the locations and numbers of squares on long and short diagonals.) Réti found that simply trying to play blindfolded did not work for him: He would make illegal moves and forget that certain pieces had already been captured and were no longer on the board. He then mentally added pieces. Réti mentally added more and more pieces until eventually he reached the actual starting position in a real game. Alekhine. he kept score and afterwards tried to play over the game mentally. at first always checking his accuracy afterwards on a regular board. He always wrote down his moves so that he could check them later on a regular board. which were indirectly inspired by his first observation of a blindfold player in action. and visualized the squares they controlled from different locations.4. one at a time. Obviously this is not a true depiction. He practiced. He says that most masters develop this ability as a consequence of their chess knowledge and are often surprised that they can play blindfolded without much effort. he devised a system of his own. In the year before he died Réti published an article (Rotterdamsch Schaacknieuws. and the points of their intersections. The First Part of the Twentieth Century 65 them from newspaper and other periodical sources. and finally complete games from books. about two hours a day for two to three . Whenever he played a regular game. In fact. he took careful note of the relations between different squares. He notes at the beginning of his article that non-chessplayers and even very weak players usually view blindfold chess as something akin to black magic. Then he studied different openings. April 1928) on how he trained himself to play blindfold chess as a youngster and how important he thought this practice was in transforming him fairly rapidly from a mediocre 16-year-old amateur into a far stronger player. were also impressed at an early age by witnessing blindfold play. and Koltanowski. which he says raised him within a few months from a rather weak player to a top-class player in regular chess. and that any reasonably intelligent person can learn to play a game blindfolded in a relatively few weeks. with a Black and White piece placed anywhere on his mental chessboard and tested his ability to determine how either could be moved so as to attack the other. Then he worked with simple endgames. especially of course the colors of different squares (light or dark). Some little-known sources are primarily relied upon for interesting material about his blindfold career. in his opinion. among others. As he had read somewhere. However. Looking at a regular board. and the points of intersection of different diagonals.

not too many 16-year-olds would have the patience to engage in such practice. and working on his book Modern Ideas in Chess. By 1919. similar techniques have been recommended by masters for improvement in regular chess. Germany. Switzerland.” A relatively recent article by Pablo Morán (1995) re-examines what he calls “A World Record That Never Existed. In Part III (see Games 112–114) the reader will find two of Réti’s wins from that display. -1. =2). -1. =1. as reported in the Deutsches Wochenschaach (1921. =9) and 10 opponents in Bern a couple of days later (+7. =3). and 20 games on June 19 (+16. -1. although some youngsters of today probably spend at least as many hours a day studying the latest opening wrinkles on their chess computers. No. Réti did set a new record by playing 24 opponents in Haarlem. and 3 “undecided”). especially in Europe. when Réti attempted to set a new world record for the number of simultaneous blindfold games. =1) and that Juncosa scored the other 27 as forfeit wins for himself. He also played 12 blindfold games in Bucharest on June 14. -1. 9. as well as his loss to Muurlink—a game in which Réti was completely outplayed. Despite extensive inquiries. he did take on 12 opponents simultaneously without sight of the games in Kiel. 1921 (+6. 1919. =9 (68. who was born in Zaragoza. just becoming very familiar with games played by masters). and have been used at chess schools in the former Soviet Union and by coaches elsewhere. But the Juncosa story does not end with Réti’s “discovery. The accepted record at that time was Pillsbury’s 22-board exhibition in Moscow in 1902. and an equal number in Hamburg the next day (+7. The report was that Juncosa had played 32 games of simultaneous blindfold chess in 1922. scoring +30. by A. But as will be seen. -3. It is therefore hard to determine exactly how much of his improvement was due simply to blindfold play and how much to other aspects of his methods (for example. before the attempt at 24. continuing his journalistic tasks.66 Part I. and six of the third class (Tijdschrift van den Nederlandschen Schaakbond. =2). -3.8 percent). The Netherlands. the leading city of Aragon in northeast . page 71). in March of 1921 (+8. Over the next five to six years Réti was apparently content to concentrate on competing with success in several very strong regular tournaments. although the names of all his opponents and their results have been secured (see Appendix A). 13 of the second class. the scores of only three games from that event have been obtained. We have not discovered any reports of his blindfold displays before 1919 but presumably he had started with relatively few opponents and had worked his way up to around 15 to 20. Réti was told that 27 of the players who signed up to participate did not appear for the display and that Juncosa played only the five who did (+3. later in March (+7. -1. Réti’s training method involved each time checking the reliability of his blindfold ability by subsequently playing over the same published game on a regular chessboard. The same magazine briefly noted (page 80) that Réti played 19 opponents in Basel. page 152). He had become a very strong player. However. 1989. =3). Five of the players were of the first class. The History of Blindfold Chess months. Of course. than he would have gained from playing or studying regular games for years.” Morán studied newspapers and magazines from the early 1900s on and found that José Juncosa Molina (1887–1972). 1919. From an article in 64–Shakhmatnoye Obozreniye. one learns that on a visit to Spain in 1923-24 Réti investigated the truth of a report concerning the Spanish player José Juncosa. on August 6. Matsukevich. As for virtually all masters. the lack of strong tournaments during World War I had hindered his progress. taking an average of 11 minutes a game (La Stratégie. page 142). June 1921. he was one of the world’s top players. and lost not because of some simple blunder on his part. -4. -2. Réti’s result was +12.

namely that Juncosa had played only 5 games (+3. August 7 and 8. In the Buenos Aires display one of his opponents was Julio Lynch. once in La Plata (+10. Recent research by Christian Sanchez of Rosario. 15 games simultaneously twice in December. Unfortunately. =1). writer. on August 13 (+30. 1922. dedicated his life to fostering chess. but a friend of Morán’s checked the 1922 Avila newspapers for reports of the event. =2). =3) on December 13. Argentina. For his services to chess he was awarded a gold medal by the Spanish Chess Federation in 1955. when Breyer played 25 opponents at once (see below). These games supposedly include two wins and one loss by Juncosa. with some of his previous game scores. From where. =1) and had won by default against the players who did not appear. Some months later the French magazine printed a correction (1923. and then by Alexander Alekhine in April of 1924. Koltanowski. but confessed that he could not completely discover them. reports on August 7 and 8 stated that he played five games blindfolded (+3. respectively. Later on. page 125) stating that their prior report had not been accurate. -1. page 440) soon followed with a similar report. There was even questioning of where in Spain the display had occurred. -2. clearly reveals that Réti never lost interest in regaining his world blindfold title. repeated the Réti report in his book With the Chess Masters. The British Chess Magazine (1922. His article ends with scores of three of the five games that Juncosa did play. At any rate. On July 22 a blindfold exhibition by Juncosa was announced for a definite location in Avila on August 3. Juncosa was no longer alive to be interviewed. incapable of perpetrating a fraud. when Alekhine played 26 in New York and 28 in Paris. By October of 1924 he was planning to beat Alekhine’s 26-game performance by playing 28 during a tour of South America. The Wiener Schachzeitung (1924. After a few other articles about Juncosa in the interim. heralding the new record from a display held in Avila. because the Avila press never said anything of the sort and. and that Juncosa had played the games with the benefit of being able to keep the written scores of all 32 games within his view—which meant that Réti’s record of 24 in 1919 (and then Breyer’s of 25 in 1921) still held.4. Réti’s simultaneous blindfold record of 24 games was definitely broken by Gyula Breyer in January of 1921. first as a player and later as a teacher. he played 12 games simultaneously that month in Rosario (+8. Each of these performances set new Latin American records. because he doubted that there were 32 players in Avila in 1922 who could play decent chess. from El Diário de Avila. -1. Spain. page 77) mainly recognized what Réti had been told. Nothing more about the event appeared later in the Avila papers. The First Part of the Twentieth Century 67 Spain. second. and again in Buenos Aires on December 17 (achieving exactly the same score as in the La Plata exhibition). Morán believed that his investigative work re-establishes Juncosa’s good reputation. =1). page 218). particularly as different reasons were given as to why it was not a real world record. but there was no mention of the intended number of opponents. who set a new world record in 1937 by playing 34 simultaneous blindfold games. -1. So confusion reigned about the Juncosa display. did La Stratégie get its information about the 32 games? Morán concluded that there was no intention on Juncosa’s part to beat the world record by playing 32 games: first. -2. Morán asked. but actually only one final position is won for Juncosa. In the other two he is (a) a knight behind and (b) a pawn behind with the inferior position. who was the current champion of the . Morán tried to obtain the true details. Morán says that the report of Juncosa’s blindfold world record first appeared in the French chess magazine La Stratégie (1922. because one does not really have the right to look at game scores during a blindfold display. and again in February of 1925. and publicist. He was assured by Spanish colleagues that Juncosa was a perfect gentleman. then. As practice.

there are complications: some of the opponents’ names are very common in Brazil. The reader will appreciate the argument that. Alekhine achieved +22. unless one merely counts the total number of games played—always used in the past as the sole criterion for breaking the world record—Alekhine’s performance was superior. =3 in 12∫ hours. with a break of about 90 minutes beginning at 7:20 P. but the names and results for all 29 opponents are supplied in Appendix A. let us first mention how well Alekhine had done the week before when he played 28 opponents (actually. On the other hand. Alekhine won two more games and had a better overall winning percentage. The History of Blindfold Chess Argentine Chess Club and had previously won the “unofficial” national championship of Argentina. The exhibition. which began at 3:45 in the afternoon and ended at 3:50 the next morning. which Réti won. Réti was ready to try to surpass Alekhine’s record of 26 games by playing 28 in São Paulo. Heated arguments did occur in 1925. when he heard that Alekhine had just successfully played 28 in Paris. However. Van Riemsdijk. Brazil. was kind enough to look through his records and provide information about a few of Réti’s blindfold opponents. Réti scored +20. In São Paulo. Herman Claudius van Riemsdijk—the regular chess columnist for the São Paulo newspaper O Estado de São Paulo from 1970 to 2001 who has a large chess library (especially strong in Brazilian literature) and is an international master—has told us that Réti’s visit was widely praised and he was made an honorary member of the São Paulo Chess Club.5 points. So. Both players scored 23.9 percent. both given in Lopez’s 1989 book). and sev- . Beforehand. teams of players) in Paris. scoring 83. Réti spelled out the conditions for his new attempt at a world record (something rarely made explicit in other exhibitions): • Absolute silence • No involvement of non-players (“third parties”) during the course of play. (That exhibition will be discussed in greater detail below. who provided a photograph of a wall in the club that has Réti’s picture above Capablanca’s. So a week later he added a single game to his objective and played 29 instead. which is a partial aid in assessing the quality of the opposition. Réti lost one game fewer despite playing 29 opponents rather than 28. -2. something that neither Capablanca nor Alekhine achieved during their visits. =7 in 10∂ hours: 81. despite playing one game fewer than Réti. -3. and it is included in Part III along with another game from the same display vs. Sanchez has kindly supplied the score of that contest. and it is clear that both sides of the debate have reasonable positions. with the penalty being loss of the game • Loss of a game when an illegal or impossible move is attempted—it is unclear whether this rule also applied to Réti • Prohibition of analysis of positions by opponents’ actually moving pieces around on the board • Cessation and loss of games in which the directors’ committee believes someone has a totally lost position • Requiring opponents to move immediately when the referee reaches their board. In early February of 1925.0 percent. Only two of the 29 games that Réti played in São Paulo have been found: his wins against Ferreira and Godoy (Game 173 and Game 174..M. Before continuing. Rocha (Game 433 and Game 434).68 Part I.) A controversy soon arose with respect to which of the two players really deserved recognition as the world-record holder in blindfold chess. It is hard to judge the opposition’s strength. was held in the library of the Automóvil Club.

5). just a week before Réti’s 29-board exhibition in São Paulo. Alekhine himself stated that the opposition was definitely superior in New York (where he scored 71. rated as a third category player at the São Paulo club. Therefore. a champion of the São Paulo club several times in the 1910s (but Lopez gives his first initial as E). not necessarily a superior percentage. and Francisco Fiocati. The First Part of the Twentieth Century 69 eral members of a family often were active in chess circles. one is not obliged to consider his record as surpassing Alekhine’s. van Riemsdijk says. an exhibitor might score 100 percent against opposition that included only three or four players and no one would argue that this performance would merit the setting of a world record as compared to one with an 80 percent performance against almost 30 players. the former being a good player and very influential in arranging Capablanca’s visit a year and a half later (but Lopez [1989] gives Godoy’s first initial as P). One of the two who beat Réti was Enrico Panteado who. as a result it is hard to decide whether a particular player may have been X. or someone unrelated. Paschoal Pepe.9 percent against Réti’s 81. wrote an elementary chess book in 1928. but one cannot consider it inferior. However. two without). (Of course. he played one game more but scored the same number of points. who van Riemsdijk says was surely Réti’s strongest opponent. unless exactly the same opponents played in each exhibition or . and was the only one who beat Capablanca in any of his five regular simultaneous displays in Brazil in 1927. comparing strengths of opposition in two displays would be very difficult even today. Among the losers to Réti were Godoy. for example. His letter started out by stating that one cannot discount a display with a greater number of games simply because a previous display with fewer games had a higher winning percentage. page 49). In the February 1925 issue of the Belgian magazine L’Échiquier it was argued (page 44) that since Réti and Alekhine scored the same number of points (23. Among the seven who drew with Réti were Arnaldo Pedroso. probably one of the two brothers Francisco and Antonio. probably the person who conducted a chess column in São Paulo’s Deutsche Zeitung. Not at all an emotional outburst. Réti concluded that in order to set a new world record it is not sufficient simply to play a greater number of games but one must also to score a greater number of points. and Alexander Hass. or his brother Y. Alekhine met very strong opponents on 26 boards in New York 1924 (perhaps even stronger than Pillsbury’s in his noteworthy 1902 Hannover display against near-masters). We return now to the 1925 controversy over whether Réti’s 29-board display earned him the new world blindfold record or whether Alekhine’s performance in his 28-board exhibition should have remained the record. Réti immediately responded with a letter that L’Échiquier published in its next issue (March 1925. but the average strength of his opposition is still really unknown. either. but in the past this has not been done. or his father Z.0 percent). and had a regular chess column in Diário da Noite. it cannot be said that Alekhine’s record was beaten. 23∂. and the French press claimed that his opposition in the 28-board Paris display. for a truly fair comparison.2 percent). Van Riemsdijk’s helpful information leads to the conclusion that Réti was not playing a group of very weak players. The magazine also noted that Alekhine scored a higher percentage (83. the only one to beat Alekhine in his 1926 São Paulo exhibition on 32 boards (30 with sight of the board. Réti also admitted that it is obviously necessary to take into account the strength of the opposition in the two displays. only the sheer number of games had been considered in deciding whether a new record has been set. his letter presented a well-reasoned set of relevant points that ought to be considered in deciding the matter. according to Réti.4. was even better than in New York. If his display is compared to Alekhine’s.

Before starting his exhibition in São Paulo. could be confirmed by the players in São Paulo. -3. But it was an astounding exhibition. He expressed the hope that someday the international chess federation would have a precise rating system of all active players. Unfortunately. that to beat the world record one has to (1) play at least one game more. Alekhine remains unquestionably the champion of the world in blindfold chess. At São Paulo. although it would not change the fact that he did not score more absolute points than Alekhine. 1925. Réti played 29 games: but his score was +20.5 points but Alekhine from 28 games and Réti from 29. 1971) wrote an article about his blindfold-chess career. Réti has not beaten the record and . =7. to break the 1925 totals of both Réti and Alekhine. and three from B. Réti asked the editor to publish his views in the magazine. then we cannot omit such a matter as the quality of the opposition. because he felt its previous comments about Alekhine’s retaining the record were contrary to his interests. accepted draws in some games in which he still had a favorable position. in that respect. the former champion of France. The editor noted as an addendum to Réti’s letter that the magazine had never said that the Czech master had not beaten Alekhine’s record. The two displays therefore involved the scoring of 23. believing himself to have already beaten Alekhine’s number of points. he set himself the goal of scoring more absolute points than Alekhine and made an announcement at the actual event that only then would he have considered himself to have bettered Alekhine’s record. =3. He only won three games and drew eleven. against twenty-one opponents. it is agreed. but simply to indicate a misfortune that occurred. had expressed the following opinion: The record is still held by A. nevertheless. The story of whether Réti or Alekhine deserved recognition for setting the world blindfold record in 1925 did not end in the 1920s. Now. should constitute the “record”. 1931. The editor also reported that in L’Éclaireur du Soir for April. The truth of this statement. towards the end of his display. He reiterated that this was not mentioned to make his result seem better. One can admire Réti for trying to be so objective about something as important to him as the world blindfold record. This rather dogmatic statement.) Réti pointed out that if. neither of them can have equaled. 13. R. he said. where the standard of play was much higher than in Paris or São Paulo.. playing 28 games he scored +22. That is why Réti. Certainly. for example. Finally. eighteen drawn from the Haupt Tournament A. was later disputed in the British Chess Magazine of June 1925. The magazine had merely stated that both scored 23∂ points and it mentioned the two percentages just to report a fact. Koltanowski had just played 30 games on May 10. translation by Buschke. Having satisfied only the first of the two conditions. not the winning percentage. In the cases of Alekhine and Réti it would be very difficult to estimate which met the stronger team. which is expressed more as a fact than as an opinion. Brazil. Réti then asked his readers to permit him to say something in his favor. (It is possible that Alekhine did not know about Koltanowski’s new record when he actually . even though by the time Alekhine (1931.70 Part I. -2. 1901 [sic] he played blindfold at Hanover [sic]. the Brazilians were misinformed via a telegram to São Paulo that Alekhine had scored fewer points than he actually achieved. Alekhine and he had played in Prague. Georges Renaud. and (2) obtain a better percentage. allowing judgments of the opposition’s strength and more objective comparisons of displays. for if we begin to look at other aspects of blindfold performance. neither of them would have done as well. Pillsbury’s feat when on July 27. Alekhine after his “Petit Parisien” séance. Indeed.. contrary to opposing opinions expressed in certain periodicals. which argued that the number of games played. The History of Blindfold Chess all their international ratings were available and could be compared to the average and range of ratings in another display. in New York as well by us.

He did not know much about chess. He simply played according to a kind of “instinctive memory. so as not to confuse one game with another. Richard said he followed a pre-planned system of how to begin the first five games. After the exhibition was over. then the next five.. but the possibility of someone’s playing blindfold was incomprehensible to him. one of the journalist’s colleagues pulled him aside and asked: “Now tell us what the trick is and how you managed it. like the Fédération Internationale des Échecs (FIDE was formed in 1924. this is not hard. the spectator had thought moves were to be transmitted to the exhibitor by something like telepathy. Although both Alekhine and Réti were mainly interested in over-the-board play. The arguments presented above have rarely been dealt with by chess historians and few attempts have been made to resolve them.) After Réti’s display in São Paulo in 1925. in his book on Réti.” (This is actually not such a foolish question because. as we will see.” knowing which combination or plan was in progress in each game. there are cases where the exhibitor probably pre-arranged certain games with at least some of his opponents. During one of Alekhine’s displays in Brussels the person making Alekhine’s transmitted moves on his opponents’ boards was a certain journalist.) In his article Alekhine states that Réti “chivalrously” pointed out right after his 29-game display in São Paulo that his record attempt was unsuccessful because his percentage score was lower than Alekhine’s. and we tend to believe that Réti never suggested or agreed to this specific criterion.” His neighbor looked astonished. the Maltese Chess . or was given hints by the teller or move-transmitter as to what to do. that in the case of the same or a larger number of games the record (“standard of value”) should only depend on the percentage of points won. Other anecdotes suggest that people were expecting some kind of fortune-teller or magician. Réti had been dead for two years when Alekhine wrote his 1931 article and so his claims about an “agreement” could no longer be verified. although he could have done so at any time (Winter. The First Part of the Twentieth Century 71 wrote his statement. Before the exhibition started. one of the spectators was especially excited. by the intonation of the teller’s voice or possibly by some phrases planned in advance. etc. During the display he turned to the person next to him and exclaimed: “This is no big deal. critics pointed out that Réti and Alekhine could not just sit down together and decide by themselves what the criteria for a world blindfold record should be. a year before. The memoir of Réti’s brother Rudolf contains a report that Richard Réti had said that in blindfold games he did not try to see the actual position of a game on a board in his mind. such a decision ought to be left to some independent organization. Kalendovskï. as all blindfold players report.4. the question of who really deserved the world blindfold title at that time was something that clearly meant a great deal to each of them. mentions a few humorous stories concerning blindfold chess that Réti recounted in 1924. comes at the start of an exhibition. he and Réti had agreed. page 381). The main difficulty. when one must find a way of giving each game an individual character. After about 10 moves. 2003. or what not to do. just a year before the Réti and Alekhine displays). In any event. at Réti’s suggestion. This comment contradicts what Réti said in his 1925 L’Echiquier letter. On one occasion a master was playing 10 simultaneous blindfold games in a provincial town. However. they are telling him all his opponents’ moves!” Apparently. he apparently never gave any more large scale blindfold exhibitions during the remaining four years of his life. Alekhine continued by declaring that in New York. Alekhine was often criticized for his many self-serving comments. discussed above. each game became distinctive from the others. so the spectator explained: “Look.

e4 in the first 16 of the 25 games. But he met 25 opponents at Kosice. or how gradual were the steps he took towards playing 20 games or more. Breyer has not inspired many chess writers to devote much time to his life and work. In his short lifetime Breyer never had the chance to attempt a new record. †A fairly recent book. He is famous for his statement “After the first move e4. historians may understandably be amazed that every one of *Fourteen years later. where he hoped to beat the simultaneous blindfold chess world record. Hungary. he died from tuberculosis and heart disease less than a year after playing his 25 games. is Iván Bottlik’s Gyula Breyer: Sein Leben.” (That pawn.72 Part I. Being a superstitious person. but in view of the lack of details about most of Breyer’s life and career. The History of Blindfold Chess Association website notes that in 1928 Réti accepted an invitation to visit that island. he was born in Hungary and was a leading contributor to the ideas underlying the Hypermodern approach to chess openings. and the location of the display is often given as Kassa. Czechoslavkia. . came from scarlet fever—which he caught in a Prague hospital while being treated for injuries sustained when he was struck by a motor car. or as Kaschau. Werk und Schaffen für die Erneuerung des Schachs (1999). Alekhine was treated in the same Prague hospital for scarlet fever. composing several well-known chess problems. he feared the worst—but he survived.‡ on January 30. ‡By the Treaty of Trianon in 1920. Like Réti. is open to attack by Black. and setting a world blindfold record. There seems to be no available record of how long this display of his skills lasted. Gyula Breyer (courtesy Edward Winter). at age 40. having his name attached to several opening variations. White’s game is in its last throes. 1921 (Games 115–139). and was not surpassed until Alekhine played 26 games in New York in 1924. It is now in Slovakia and called Kosice. the town’s German name. in January 1943. the city changed from Hungarian to Czech control.† He did study engineering in Budapest and worked on railroad and highway projects before he decided to concentrate on chess in 1916. the reader will see that in his record-shattering blindfold display he played 1. We do not know how he acquired such skill at blindfold chess. scoring well in some strong tournaments.) However. being unprotected. He was also the editor of a puzzle magazine. at the age of 23. Réti’s premature death the following year. But lack of time and Réti’s ill-health followed by his demise prevented it. not available in English.* Gyula Breyer Gyula (Julius) Breyer (1893–1921) holds a position between Réti and Alekhine because his 25 simultaneous games in 1921 beat the record of 24 games set by his good friend Réti in 1919. Despite becoming Hungarian champion at the age of 18.

he would have achieved world-class status in regular chess and would have been successful in playing considerably more than 25 simultaneous blindfold games if he had set that as a goal. there is a tremendous amount of material available on Alekhine: detailed books and reports about his life. and died in Estoril. in proposing criteria to assess the greatness of a chessplayer. and Bled. suggested that one should take into account the degree to which that player surpassed others in the realms of sporting achievements. and descriptions of the many tours he made around the world. page ix). Portugal. 1975. scoring +10. page v). Julius du Mont rightly said that in describing and recounting the life of Alexander Alekhine “the annalist has the difficult task of remaining objective. several discrepancies between the two main sources (Lopez. = 7 (74 percent). The twenty-first century reader will be hard-pressed to name even a handful of players in the second half of the twentieth century who could possibly equal or surpass Alekhine on all these criteria. Using these standards. covering the period to 1927). Kasparov’s My Great Predecessors. collections of his games. the year after Alekhine’s death. of avoiding being carried away by his genius. The only other blindfold display of Breyer’s about which some details could be learned occurred not long after he set the world record at Kosice. -3. A brief description of this event was given in the magazine Tasopis Teskoslovenskï ch ¶achistü (1921. he also captured the world championship in regular chess—the only one to do so of all those who ever set a world record for total number of simultaneous blindfold games. He reported that in *Among the major works on Alekhine are Skinner and Verhoeven’s monumental Alexander Alekhine’s Chess Games 1902–1946. 1989. Fiala & Kalendovskï’s Complete Games of Alekhine (volumes 1–3 so far published. his own prolific writings on many aspects of chess and his career. =4 (80 percent). by the glory of his achievements. As the reader who examines the scores will realize. the American grandmaster later turned clinical psychologist. pages 167–171. the opposition was not very strong. or being led astray by a feeling of commiseration for the tragedy of his life” (du Mont in the 1947 edition of Alekhine’s 1939 book. During the time of his greatest accomplishments in chess tournaments— for example at San Remo. there are. had he been healthier and lived a longer life. Alekhine (born in Moscow in 1892. Italy. he said of his rivals “I dominate them all. which included the names of those who won or drew against Breyer. Sergei Soloviev’s Alexander Alekhine Games (three volumes covering 1902–1946). in 1946) was an enigmatic personality. and Alekhine’s own many books. however. Kotov thought that Alekhine “easily eclipses his most dangerous rivals” (Kotov. He played 15 opponents at Nitra. Breyer was admired by many of his contemporaries for his brilliance and for his potential. Yugoslavia. -1. his contributions to opening theory. saw signs of megalomania in Alekhine’s conduct after 1934. The First Part of the Twentieth Century 73 the games was obtained. and a personal communication from Jan Kalendovskï). several books by Kotov. 1930. who also displayed special skill at blindfold chess.4. Alexander Alekhine Now we come to the person most chess experts and historians (as well as the present authors) believe to have been the greatest blindfold player of all time. and the breadth of his philosophical approach to chess. page 64).* In a well-balanced memoir written in 1947. Consequently. Moreover. Breyer scored +15. The exhibition apparently took about 4∂ hours.” Reuben Fine. and some games ended in unclear positions. but there were a number of fairly “wild” and pretty games. One speculates that. . Part I. 1931—and in his status then as world chess champion. And three decades later Grandmaster Alexander Kotov.

at home in any company. Romanovsky. (There are several instances in Alekhine’s own game collections where it is clear that he changed the scores of games that had ended in a mundane way. However. At sixteen I acquired the title of Master in the St. I do not need papers” (Fine. arrived at the Polish border on a journey to Warsaw to play in an international team tournament. was an unnamed partner of another player.74 Part I. The History of Blindfold Chess the following year Alekhine. 1947. I had to analyse a lot. page xiv) tells us: In everyday life he was a striking personality. Alekhine was world champion from 1927 to 1935. We had nothing else to do but to while away our free time by playing chess. or played in some other blindfold display that Pillsbury gave in Moscow. 1956/1967. by substituting a more brilliant finish that he had presumably planned if his opponent had played differently. and from 1937 until his death in 1946. Petersburg National Tournament. He had not a few detractors. 1971. when Pillsbury gave his world-record performance on 22 boards in Moscow in 1902. yet. My first serious blindfold games were played soon after the Mannheim International Tournament of 1914. along with the names of the opposing players—all of whom are also listed in Appendix A. some of these were later published in the press. In some ways his character was curiously contradictory. All the games from that exhibition are supplied in Part III (Games 67– 88). no great master has ever been more ready to spend his time going over the game. With me there were Bogolyubov. I have a cat called Chess. however. I could not yet move in chess circles. It goes without saying that I could not use a chessboard. Since. we did not have boards at our disposal. page 53). Alekhine’s memory was either faulty or he was misrepresenting the facts—both of which were not uncommon for him. as representative of the Red Cross. all the more ardently I participated in correspondence tournaments. I played many games with Bogolyubov and others. analyzing the positions. Due to my youth. and I did this at times during lessons at school. Ilya Rabinovich. but what great man has ever been without them? Alekhine himself recounted his earliest experiences with blindfold chess. as a naturalized citizen of France. we had to resort to playing blindfold. Du Mont (in his above memoir. but research has turned up no competitor by the name of Alekhine. page 522): Pillsbury’s achievement made a stunning impression on me. Alekhine stated that his older brother was one of Pillsbury’s opponents in that display and managed to obtain a draw. with a fine physique and excellent manners. That way. chess champion of the world. Weinstein and others. I soon became convinced that I could do even entirely without the chessboard. As is well known. When I was about twelve years old I tried to play blindfold... found myself interned at Rastatt Prison. after a game with one of his weaker brethren. At that time the playing of four or five games blindfold simultaneously presented no difficulty to me. to the front in Galicia where I suffered a . together with other Russian participants of the congress. so that many casual acquaintances thought him supercilious. Although at the chessboard or in the tournament room he had the utmost self-possession. this tournament was interrupted during the first days of the war and I. I did not further develop these faculties of mine and perfected myself exclusively in the art of practical play. In 1916 I came.) Alekhine wrote in 1931 (see Buschke’s translation. unless his brother played under a pseudonym. Bohatyrchuk. So. explaining his motives and freely giving encouragement and advice. even arrogant.. away from the chess atmosphere he was very shy. therefore I drew the necessary positions on a scrap of paper and continued the analysis from memory. He had no passport but told the border officials: “I am Alekhine. He learned to play chess at the age of seven but first found out about chess without sight of the board at the age of ten. In connection with this.

the bishop moves . =1. his classmate.” an intern. Alekhine had included two blindfold games in most of his sighted simultaneous displays. Even the usually proper and reserved Bachinsky chuckled into his long whiskers. “Well. in his usual manner. Playing blindfold proved to me at that time a real salvation. chained to a bed in the hospital at Tarnopol. and so it happens that two years later I could venture on a record séance. October 1951. See Game 302. Kotov says of Alekhine: According to the boy with whom he shared a Alexander A. †According to Skinner and Verhoeven (1998. See Game 303. which he included in his My Best Games of Chess 1908–1923 (pages 124–125). =15: almost 76 percent).” The class burst into laughter. Gonssiorovski. I sacrifice the knight. after he had played 12 in Paris in March of 1922. he more often than not was simply pres. When I left the Soviet Union in 1921 I had the urge to try out my abilities in this field again. out of a total of 36. at the same time. I coped with my task with unexpected ease.4. “Alekhine suddenly stood up and with a beaming face looked round the class. Martin Fischer. “Yes. I immediately gave a séance on twelve boards in Paris. having played 25 games in 1921. 1924). but Breyer currently held the world record.. had been a medic at the hospital and reported that the opponent was actually “Dr. Alekhine decided to try to beat Breyer’s record while still in America.Edward Winter). ent at lessons. ‡In addition to giving “pure” blindfold exhibitions while in America (his score from a total of 77 games being +51. Pillsbury had never opposed more than 20 on American soil. “I remember one algebra class. page 129) states that Leon Stolzenberg (1895–1974). For months I lay immobile. have you solved it?” asked his teacher Bachinsky. -1. The First Part of the Twentieth Century heavy contusion in the spine. that he set his first simultaneous blindfold record by taking on 21 opponents (Games 304–324). Although until then I had never played more than eight games. local chess players visited me often and I had the opportunity of giving a whole series of séances playing blindfold. in his book Alexander Alekhine (1975). records an incident that bears out Alekhine’s account of analyzing chess games during school.. or better than 95 percent (Washington Post. when Alekhine was in Montreal.‡ He chose *America’s Chess Heritage (Korn. Alekhine (courtesy desk. . See also Chess Life. the one against Feldt was played. vs. taking the Black pieces in all games in the latter display. In one of those séances one of my rather well known blindfold games. and White wins. So it happened in December of 1923. but not a world record. At my request. They also indicate (pages 769–770) that Alekhine played 10–12 blindfold games at several European locations in 1922. In these other blindfold games. Alekhine played six to nine games in simultaneous blindfold displays in Odessa in 1916 and 1918.. This was a new North American record. and eight games in Kiev in 1916. scoring +12. later a Michigan state champion.” writes Korsakov.* During the time of the Russian Revolution I did not have a chance to play blindfold. -11. and spent them continually drawing chess diagrams with pieces in his notebook..† 75 Kotov. 1978. twisting with his left hand a lock of hair which had fallen down on his forehead. and April 2002. chapters 7–8). Skinner and Verhoeven (1998. page 121) write that Fischer is said to have been an attorney. May 18. Realizing that he could cope with 21 games fairly easily. From the 1918 exhibition in Odessa comes one of Alekhine’s most famous blindfold games. he had scored a remarkable +34. =5 (69 percent). -4..

At the start of play. sixteen wins. said that “Alekhine probably met the stiffest resistance of all blindfold experts during the 1924 performance. Pinkus.S. was excellently organised. mentioning Pillsbury’s strong opposition in 1902.] Alexander Alekhine successfully accomplished the astonishing feat of playing and finishing 26 games of chess without sight of boards or pieces.* The American Chess Bulletin (1924. About this blindfold display Alekhine wrote: The séance. The present authors’ opinion matches that expressed in Chess Review (November. a week or so after the conclusion of one of the most powerful and famous regular tournaments in chess history (New York 1924. in Alekhine’s 1931 article (translation by Buschke. Board 4. d4 in the first six games. leading American players. 1. The History of Blindfold Chess New York as the location for this attempt. and beat Steiner. For this reason. Alekhine divided up his opponents into four groups. Did he make a mistake in 1931 by relying on his memory and not checking the published reports from seven years earlier? .” And Pillsbury finished with a minus score. Tholfsen and others who were then. Of names now known on the International scale. page 127) described the display this way: Finally. and 1. entirely satisfactory [Alekhine. Alekhine says he played 1. where Alekhine had finished third). one has to call the result. April 28. So it looks very much as if the players were arranged in approximate order of strength. and five losses.M. Board 3.76 Part I. Albert Pinkus was on Board 2. 1924. Grandmaster Géza Maróczy (1870–1951) and Norbert Lederer (the main organizer of the event) acted as teller-referees. and Alekhine sat at one end with his back to them. What can be seen from the list of players is that Kashdan was on Board 1. 1. Suffice it to say that on the first eleven boards there played first class amateurs. Kevitz did not play in this exhibition. with the strongest player on the top board. page 522]. More details of Alekhine’s New York display are worthy of note. and announced that on the first eight boards he would play 1. and Kevitz could be mentioned. 1924). Chess Life and Review. 1971.e4 and on the next five boards 1. drew with Tholfsen. He lost to Kashdan and Pinkus. The same pattern was then repeated for the last 13 boards. New York Times. 1924. such people as Kashdan. Also. at 2 A. five draws. but only five game scores from the event have been found. and announcing Najdorf’s supposed new world record of 40 simultaneous blindfold games). after a full twelve hours séance. E. Appendix A includes the names and results for all 26 players (the openings in each game were listed in the New York Times. for the transmission of moves between Alekhine and his opponents. however it came as something of a surprise to me that the composition of my opponents was unusually strong. but Alekhine failed to mention the names of A. thereby establishing *Skinner and Verhoeven (1998). e4 in the next six.) The quality of the opposition may certainly have equaled or surpassed that of Pillsbury at Hannover 1902. despite the fact that this was a successful world record–setting performance held in one of the world’s leading chess centers. 1971. page 329) where the writer (reviewing the history of blindfold chess. page 228. e4 in the next six. However. 1931. the best representatives of Manhattan and Marshall Chess Clubs. which is often taken for granted as the world record–setting blindfold event with the strongest opposition (as discussed above). He took on 26 opponents simultaneously at the Hotel Alamac on April 27. as usual in America. (See Games 140–144. whereas Alekhine scored better than 70 percent. translated by Buschke. Actually. c4 in the last two games. 1. and Milton Pinkus. during which he stopped only long enough to eat his dinner [at 7 P. or later became. his opponents did include the champions of the Manhattan and the Marshall chess clubs. April 28. d4 in the next six.M. Steiner. page 523). The players were seated in two lines of 13 in the center of the room. Herman Steiner. 1943.d4.

His splendidly trained memory always stood by him. He sat on the dais of the hall. but he was nevertheless able to adjourn immediately to a nearby restaurant and partake of some light refreshments—and to replenish his dwindling supply of cigarettes. Alekhine surpassed his own record by playing 28 blindfold games at once (Games 145–172). in a big armchair with his back to the opponents. The strain had been great. 1925) in Paris. drew 3. The First Part of the Twentieth Century 77 Alekhine playing blindfold against 28 opponents in Paris in 1925. Alekhine received only $250 for this world-record performance. and lost 3.. To the last he had complete command of the ever changing positions and never once lost his way.2 percent in New York).9 percent as opposed to 71. A press report provided the following description of the exhibition: Last Monday at Paris in the Grand Hall of the Petit Parisien in the Rue d’Englien. who were seated at two long tables and a cross table in the body of the hall. and Alekhine remarked in several places that his Parisian opponents were weaker than those in New York. M.. equivalent to 83. Incidentally. though among the former were some well-known amateurs. M. Almost a year later (on February 1. Alekhine made a new “world record” in chess playing sans voir 28 games of chess simultaneously. a new world record for blindfold play.4. thus setting a new world record and surpassing the world record of 26 opponents he had set the year before (courtesy Edward Winter). of which he won 22.. It is interesting that La Stratégie (1925) declared that the opposition was stronger in Paris because Alekhine was playing mostly against teams of players there instead of individuals. Alekhine had the white pieces on all the boards and began by calling out his first move at each . -3. =3. His score was better percentagewise in Paris than in New York (+22. A great spontaneous burst of applause greeted the Russian upon the completion of his record breaking performance.

he received a tremendous ovation from the audience. he wrote nearly 40 years ago and his conclusions reveal an insufficient knowledge of the subject. In America. ‡Technically not true because Koltanowski had played 30 simultaneous blindfold games in 1931. blindfold play still needs research. it is valued highly. there exist altogether different opinions. Over the almost 13-hour display he drank many cups of coffee and smoked 29 cigarettes. Scientific research has in this instance an interesting field ahead. is written only on the basis of his personal experience. as is pointed out near the end of Part II. all Alekhine would take was some chocolate and mineral water. but in itself has no scientific value. and remained at her board for some 12 hours on end. When the exhibition ended. which. However. which organized the display. La Stratégie reported that although lunch and dinner were available. The History of Blindfold Chess board in succession.* Evidently many of the games were the accumulated efforts of several players. while in Soviet Russia it is even prohibited† because it is considered artistically useless. and c4 and f4 on boards 14 and 28 respectively. However. mostly grouped according to the chess clubs or associations to which they belonged. since only six days later Réti successfully played 29 opponents blindfolded simultaneously in São Paulo. One woman player refused offers of substitution. This may be implied in his 1931 article on blindfold play. The controversy that developed over whether Réti’s performance should be considered superior to Alekhine’s has already been reported. such as this one. had for many years been considered the sole criterion for establishing a new record. particularly since the total number of games played. Alekhine’s new record was apparently short-lived. The players were drawn from chess clubs in and around Paris. From a merely scientific point of view. and arrangements were made for substitution at suitable intervals—M. Réti was justified in believing that Alekhine had no more right than he to claim the world record. Possibly. and the players called out their own moves.78 Part I. It is an unsatisfactory aspect of blindfold displays lasting for many hours. Alekhine having decided to play on virtually without break. d4 on boards 8–13 and on 22–27. The veteran German master Mieses published a pamphlet on blindfold play. rather than percentage of wins or absolute number of points scored. At this event. included in his book On the Road to the World Championship (1932/1984). and closed at 11 P. *At the time of the publication of the present work. a teller did not officiate. harmful to health. and most important.” However. the exact source for this report could not be located. that sheer physical stamina is as much in demand as chess ability on the part of the opponents (as well as the exhibitor). although I am the holder of the world record.‡ I cannot consider myself an ardent devotee of this type of chess sport and consider blindfold play only as a medium of propaganda. and one old gentleman declared that Alekhine “looked as fresh as a rose. losing at last. . The work by Binet is well known.M. or possibly he had believed that he might have been able to gain some information from the inflection of an opponent’s voice. During the 1920s Alekhine used blindfold chess as one way to publicize his attempts to secure a match against Capablanca for the regular world championship. This arrangement keeps the first 14 boards “separated” from the second 14 in a systematic way. The play began at 10:20 A. Alekhine opened with e4 on boards 1–7 and 15–21. Personally. for instance. Alekhine had thought it would be helpful in identifying each game to recognize the voice of his opponent (though the substitution of players could lead to confusion). one likely possibility is the newspaper Excelsior. however. apparently. †This is apparently not true. a year before Alekhine’s book was published. and therefore may serve as material for scientific research. where he stated: About the value of blindfold play. Alekhine may not have known about Koltanowski’s performance when his book went to press.M.

Schwartz (Game 325). He even included the game in published collections of his most memorable games (Alekhine. it is possible that Alekhine was trying to ingratiate himself with the leaders of Soviet chess. this game was not part of a regular simultaneous display. bourgeois “advertising” seems very far-fetched these days. although Alekhine may have opened the door to such rejoinders by the phrasing of his comments. it is easier to play only two blindfold games at the same time as playing 26 other games with sight of the board. The implication by editors committed to the communistic party line that blindfold chess is merely a reflection of capitalistic-like. because he wanted to (but never did) revisit his homeland. During the intervening period Alekhine became the regular world champion by unexpectedly (in the eyes of most of the chess world) defeating Capablanca in 1927. as recent studies by experimental psychologists have indicated (and which are discussed in Part II). the editors commented as follows: The blindfold game. is decisively condemned by the Soviet chess movement. And the derogatory editorial statement that blindfold chess is a useless subject for scientific research has been shown to be inappropriate or premature.” against N. Obviously. and dominating tournament and match chess after that. which presents a certain interest from the point of view of disavowal of the blindfold game as a wittingly imaginary art. While in London in 1926 Alekhine played what he considered one of his “best achievements in blindfold chess. 1932/ 1984).000 for making an attempt to play more than Koltanowski’s 30 simultaneous blindfold games. The article by the present world champion underscores. but was one of two blindfold games he played while meeting 26 other opponents face to face—a point not made clear in his books. However. compared with playing all 28 blindfolded. We present portions of the account of his 32-board Chicago display (Games 205–213) from the American Chess Bulletin (1933. The author of the article succeeded with difficulty in finding the only argument—a tormented one at that—in defence of séances of play without looking at the board. often merely agreeing to play one or two blindfold games while meeting all his other opponents over the board—until he decided in 1933 to take advantage of a special chance to regain the world blindfold record from Koltanowski. By giving space to Alekhine’s article. 1939. the correctness of the position taken by us in this question. This opportunity came when the organizing committee of the chess section of the “Century of Progress” Exhibition at the 1933 World’s Fair in Chicago invited Alekhine to be its main attraction. 1931 (page 235). Réti’s total of 29 simultaneous blindfold games in 1925 remained unsurpassed until George Koltanowski successfully took on 30 players in Antwerp in 1931. as a typical manifestation of bourgeois recordmanship. page 523].4. in his references to the “propagandistic” importance of this unhealthy spectacle. the editors call the reader’s attention to the camouflaged-advertising character of this literary performance [translation by Buschke. as nothing else could do better. on our part. They offered him $1. As a matter of fact. he knew the reported Soviet party line on this subject. 1971. suppose that this reference was provided only for considerations of decency. At any rate. Alekhine continued to play some blindfold chess—but never more than 15 at once. Alekhine. “for the sake of a witticism” (for to count on including anyone to do serious research in chess by means of such trickery is the same as to recruit a devotee of raising fowl by means of cockfighting or to “propagandise” the mathematical sciences by a demonstration of calculating prodigies). we. the comments in the above editorial probably represent one of the earliest explicit uses of chess to reflect or justify the communist political agenda. in an editorial accompanying Alekhine’s article in Shakhmaty v SSR. Although then at the peak of his chess strength and very active in regular tournaments and simultaneous exhibitions. pages 104–105): . The First Part of the Twentieth Century 79 Concerning the propaganda aspects of blindfold chess.

New York. Lasker was the referee-teller at that display. Alekhine.F. Besides. and did his level best to maintain the near silence the many placards begged for.” Lasker’s statement is revealing because we will encounter at least one other report about a teller occasionally “helping” an exhibitor if he called out an illegal move or committed a terrible blunder due to faulty memory of the position at a particular board.O. say. The intruders quickly realized that they were on forbidden territory—a sort of no man’s land—and subsided promptly. 1933). the editor-in-chief of the new American chess magazine Chess Review (September. The History of Blindfold Chess Starting shortly after 10 o’clock in the morning. He later commented that Alekhine did not play with the “same unerring exactitude” as. Dahlstrom of the Edison Club of Chicago and C.. Without faltering once and going through the usual process of calling off the positions of all the pieces on resumption after luncheon. Dr. Alekhine said: I found less difficulty in playing 32 games than I had anticipated. Ill.80 Part I. Elison of the Irving Park YMCA. the world champion finished with the fine score of 19 wins. and Chicago. Lasker still maintained that the performance was “tremendously impressive. players. And President Kuhns breathed easier. eight years earlier.† But I would have no fear in tackling 35 and possibly up to 40. say. he or she often has the opportunity to correct it. He acted both as referee and teller and explained the technical details to be observed in order that all possible friction might be avoided. in the interest of the man with the indomitable will. was delegated the task of directing the séance.* Maurice S. but every additional game means more time. 9 draws. and of the “verbal surprise” that a teller may express at their occurrence. As noted. A Century of Progress Exposition. It might be an idea to devote two days to such an exhibition. his brain pitted against the machinations of thirty-two. Germany. they were a decent lot. Alekhine “made a mistake every once in a while. Leo Zalucha of Bloomington. Pillsbury. Many rushed pell-mell into the chess quarters. there are no strict rules about what should be done if. president of the National Chess Federation. In an interview after the exhibition with Isaac Kashdan. Dr. perched upon a raised platform to start nervously. considering that it was my first performance on such a scale in six years. and journalists present at the event would certainly have noticed and commented on them. whom Lasker himself had opposed in a 16-board simultaneous blindfold exhibition 31 years before in Breslau. London. *There was also a pause for dinner. Alekhine played every one of the games to a finish. there is no way of knowing how often such “aid” occurred in the exhibitions described in this book. The winners were I. Edward Lasker’s own remarks on Alekhine’s Chicago exhibition are revealing and not so completely flattering about Alekhine’s performance as are the above reports. About 6 o’clock a torrential rain descended upon Chicago’s pride and swamped the streets. Like the great majority of visitors to this fair. Kuhns. and the element of fatigue enters. and 4 losses. introduced the champion. Alexander Alekhine gave another impressive demonstration of his ability to play chess sans voir on July 16 at the Hall of States. in turn champion of Berlin. causing Dr. consuming 12∂ hours for actual play and winding up at eight minutes past midnight. And even if an opponent with sight of the board attempts to make a move that would be illegal. an illegal move is called out by the exhibitor.” However. I can carry that many games in my mind. Otherwise some of the audience. but our view is that they must have occurred rarely in any particular display. We suspect that very few world record–setting blindfold displays are totally free of such errors. Schwartz of the University of Chicago. †Alekhine was probably referring to his 28-board exhibition in Paris. . To Edward Lasker. correcting it only after I had repeated his moves questioningly. presided over the function. Of course. B.

Alekhine had had the strength of mind to give up entirely both drinking and smoking and he relentlessly carried out his determination to make himself fit” (in du Mont’s above-mentioned memoir of Alekhine. page 123. early in 1934 he teamed with Dutch chessmaster Salo Landau (1903–1944) in Rotterdam to play six pairs of strong consulting opponents in tandem style. shortly after he arrived in San Juan at the start of a tour of Puerto Rico. both he and Landau played without sight of the board and alternated moves as White (a form of partnership play also known as “leapfrog chess” or “piggy-back chess”). but also of their partner. In the event. Of course. Just before the exhibition started.M.4. Alekhine was due to play 40 games simultaneously at the Condado Hotel in San Juan. When he was in Singapore in February. and the players may not have fancied the prospect of playing all night. This duo scored +2. and numerous blindfold displays on fewer boards. =2 (Games 326–331). and said afterwards that he was much more tired than if he had played 30 regular simultaneous blindfold games! In 1935 Alekhine surprisingly lost the world championship to Max Euwe of Holland by a narrow margin. He replied: “I can usually manage to cope with fifteen or twenty opponents playing that way but more than that is a great strain” (Quarterly for Chess History. Koltanowski has described his apprehension in combining forces with the great Alekhine. Alekhine was also involved in a rare variation of blindfold simultaneous play. that is. he made the following remarks about his performance at Chicago: Since 1925 I had never played a simultaneous blindfold exhibition like that one and it is understandable that I am not in the best condition. Not only did each player have to figure out and remember the moves and strategy of their opponents. 1933. in the aftermath of his record-breaking performance at Chicago in July. -1. 1933. 1947. he was then much more confident than he had been earlier in 1933.* The evening after his arrival. 1933. I am confident I could carry on 40 games blindfold and would not set the limit even there. Alekhine stated that he believed Koltanowski was the second best blindfold player in the world at that time. Alekhine and Landau could not consult with each other. after leading 4–1 at the start. A major factor in the offer he made in Puerto Rico was probably his assessment of the strength of the opposition there. each of four strong players. But he rather easily recaptured it from Euwe two years later. but the players decided that they would prefer a sighted display. page 390). Possibly this was because the games were not due to start until shortly before 11 P. The First Part of the Twentieth Century 81 I would of course agree not to look at a chess board at any time until the performance was over. Apart from his record-breaking blindfold exhibitions. In particular. On that occasion the blindfolded duo scored much better: +3. . =1. Alekhine teamed with George Koltanowski in Antwerp for a similar tandem display against six teams. Alekhine soon repeated similar claims. Alekhine had been asked whether he was proposing to include a blindfold display in his chess program there. Alekhine offered to play all the games blindfold. Du Mont points out that in the time between the two matches “Dr. 2002. *El Mundo (San Juan) August 15. page x). and I do not want to deny it was a great effort. Under those conditions. I believe that in these blindfold exhibitions I could face as many as 48 players at a time. -3. 1999. as cited in Quarterly for Chess History. I achieved a good score and when the play ended I was not particularly tired. But I can tell you that despite my effort. On August 14. Alekhine took only just over two hours to complete the games. A few weeks later. winning them all. Alekhine’s offer to play those games blindfolded shows that.

Liverpool.” Now it is time to turn to Koltanowski’s own chess *In Skinner and Verhoeven’s indexed record of Alekhine’s career the only reference to a simultaneous display in Liverpool in 1923 is to one of 31 boards.” The frozen blue eyes stared at me for some seconds. entirely within his rights. required the signature of an English professional man on some application for visa renewal.” George Koltanowski (1986. and there was Alekhine. at the time of the powerful 1936 tournament at Nottingham. The British master Gerald Abrahams describes in his book Not Only Chess (1974. The History of Blindfold Chess During this period Alekhine restricted his blindfold play. Pawns wedged with pawns. Then Abrahams mentions a sequel that occurred 13 years later. found a pawn indefensible. The position was hard. where Abrahams was playing in a minor section: The third [sic. please ask me. and one in Cáceres in December on eight boards (+3. standing over the board. I said: “Be more considerate to small boys. even in relatively unimportant events. and two fantastically wheeling knights. endeavoring to be on guard at all moments against his king. mainly for writing anti–Semitic articles for the Nazi press during World War II. in which he says: “I nowadays do not play more than ten games blindfolded. 1937. then only 16 years old. the boy went wrong. seemed. “Yes. even after he recaptured the world title from Euwe.. “who owed everything to his genius and nothing to his southern sloth. Poverty-stricken and with less than a year to live. then made his move. He thought. 1971. He was. his performance was not impressive. -2. an unarmed Epicurean. You had pawns.* After seven hours of play Alekhine’s opponents were reduced to four. There is a letter of his dated January 20. bishop and knight. page 522).” he said. including Abrahams. and I gladly did so. =3). and his rapidly deteriorating health and depression after his alcoholism returned in full force. a delightful American lady..” He raised an interrogative eyebrow. pages 135–136) a sighted simultaneous chess display that Alekhine gave in Liverpool during 1923 on 60 boards. This should not surprise readers who know of his ostracism from the chess world. Alekhine. =2). fourth] Mrs. he gave his last blindfold displays in 1945 in Spain—one in Seville in October or November against 10 consulting teams (+4.” This incident is instructive not only as a typical illustration of Alekhine’s phenomenal chess memory (he was also said to remember the moves of every tournament game he had ever played). Capablanca. Alekhine kept this resolution and thereafter never did play more than 10 blindfold simultaneous games. . After twelve lightning moves under these conditions. in his match against Alekhine in 1927. to whom pleasure was more precious than ambition. Even though it does not involve blindfold chess. In 1974 Yugoslav grandmaster Svetozar GligoriW wrote that Alekhine’s predecessor as world champion.82 Part I. He said “If I can ever do anything for you.” I replied: “You can do something for me. He played few such exhibitions from then on. let me emphasise. bishop and knight. one final story reflects Alekhine’s usually remarkable chess memory. but also for demonstrating his powerful determination to win just about every game he played. Alekhine asked me to oblige. and resigned. insisting on instantaneous replies. “I remember. and when he did play 8 or 10 games (or even fewer) blindfolded in Spain and Portugal during the final years of his life (1944–1946). You should have drawn that game. against my pawns and two knights. The grandmaster swept the pieces aside brusquely and stalked away. rapped sharply on the table and made impatient sounds in Russian. Abrahams says: Three boards placed near to me quickly succumbed . and my king. faced by a warrior of iron will and armed to the teeth. -4. page 19) has stated that Alekhine “was undoubtedly the greatest blindfold player of all time. The fee would be the same as for forty (not fifty) games over the board” (Buschke.

directed the U. Germany. pages 159–160) criticized him more severely. perhaps no raconteur can be successful without a little exaggeration or embellishment. He wrote a number of chess books. once for the United States). 1987). However. Olympic Team in Siegen. 1930. The First Part of the Twentieth Century 83 achievements. and Kolty George Koltanowski (courtesy George (as he was affectionately known by his many fans) Koltanowski.000 columns!). He often claimed he could play better and with more energy and originality when he was blindfolded than when he was not. received the title of International Judge. in 1970. Unlike most of the blindfold champions mentioned herein—persons who also performed at a world-class level in regular tournament chess—Koltanowski’s accomplishments were almost exclusively confined to chess without sight of the board. in 1968 and in Nice. The present authors. Switzerland. George Koltanowski While it is true that George Koltanowski’s successes as a player were concentrated in the field of blindfold play. in 1974. Open Tournament many times. Except for two games he played for the United States in the 1952 Olympiad in Helsinki. also noticed many inconsistencies. became president of the U. he won the Belgian championship in 1923. who peppered his frequent regular and blindfold exhibitions (“I have given thousands”) with jokes and reassuring comments for his opponents. He was a good but not great over-the-board player. published a daily chess column in the San Francisco Chronicle that ran for 52 consecutive years (about 19. and in his senior years was accepted as the dean of American chess. He often called himself a “wandering chess minstrel. unfounded remarks. was the host of regular radio and television shows on chess. Olympic Teams in Lugano. captained the U. competed in the Chess Olympics three or four times (two or three times for Belgium.S. some of the more important ones will be pointed out. France. Open Tournament in Pittsburgh in 1946. he was also a man well-known to all active American chessplayers for the many roles he assumed in promoting chess in the United States. and co-captained the 1970 U. and 1936.” Besides his blindfold play. .S. Still. he played sufficiently well to be awarded the international master title in 1950 and to be named an Honorary Grandmaster in 1988. where he was eliminated in a preliminary section. 1927.S.” for which Edward Winter (1996.4.S.S. his last regular tournament game was apparently played in the U. Chess Federation. and errors in his writings. In his writings and statements he had what Hans Ree (2000. He was an engaging showman and raconteur. page 81) implied was a “cavalier attitude to exact facts. was a strong force in introducing the extremely popular Swiss System as a method of pairing players in major competitions. in their research.

Get me? Also you work down diagonals. and you are seldom two squares out. Belgium. the colours of the squares were. I was young and foolish. his 96-plus years of life could be used to argue that chess without sight of the board is not dangerous to your health! But this issue will be discussed less simplistically near the end of Part II. Koltanowski was “sweet seventeen” when he went with a chessplaying friend to Ghent University to watch the Serbian player Branco Tchabritch play two games blindfolded. Once you know. You can then never be just one square out in your reckoning. which squares are white and which black.84 Part I. we talked about this wonderful thing for days on end. we were accepted. and I find it easier to remem- . another possible way of tackling the problem occurred to me. for it would be the wrong colour. the year before he broke Alekhine’s simultaneous blindfold record of 32 games by taking on 34 opponents in Edinburgh. We did not trust the players there and thought that the whole thing might be a put-up job. Koltanowski writes: We thought it to be impossible. but after ten moves I had to confess that I had lost track of the position. Thinking ourselves very wise. and to our even greater surprise we found ourselves in difficulties almost from the beginning. We were convinced and we were stricken! Later I asked the Serbian how he learned to play blindfold.” . The History of Blindfold Chess apparently could not resist this sort of tendency in the books and commentaries he wrote about his own chess career and about blindfold chess in general. “I merely drew a chess board on the ceiling of my bedroom. Scotland. and yet Ree (2000) notes that Koltanowski stated in one of his own books that he was born in Eastern Europe. George Koltanowski was born on September 17. 1903. I cut a paper chess board into four parts like this: {wDwD {DwDw {wDwD {DwDw vllll Rather strangely. in fact. we asked if we could take the two boards against Tchabritch. “Quite easy. etc. He almost always gave his birthplace as Antwerp. Then every morning when I awoke I played over an opening on the board in my imagination and soon I found I could visualize the board with my eyes shut and go through whole games. but I think both games ended in draws and I know we had a very hard job not to lose. It is rumored that he used the Anglicized name “Colton” at some time in his life. I started to draw a big black-and-white chess board on the ceiling of my bedroom. I found it easier to remember the colours then. so you must be just right. half the battle is over. and made up my mind I would not let blindfold play get the better of me. This disgusted me. Koltanowski has described his introduction to blindfold chess in many places.. with the games rehearsed before-hand. Then someone challenged me to play them one game blindfold. 2000. To our surprise.. whenever we were anywhere near anybody who understood chess. I can’t recall the result with certainty. but perhaps the most vivid account is the one he wrote for the British magazine Chess in October of 1936..” he answered. When we got back to Antwerp. as an aid to visualization. I accepted . almost by second nature. but my father came and caught me in the act and succeeded in impressing on me pretty forcibly that if I could not work out some system not based on ruining a ceiling I had better drop the whole thing altogether.. He died in San Francisco on February 5. Whilst I was considering whether to tie up a board on to the ceiling instead of drawing it. Since Koltanowski probably gave far more blindfold displays and played far more blindfold games than anyone else mentioned in this book. Having learned to play chess from his father at the age of 14. I was just beginning to realise how important.

pages 32–33) he claimed that there were no negative effects of large-scale blindfold play. for me to tell you its colour without a second’s hesitation. Anyway.” Besides. he said he needed only five or six hours of sleep a night. He went to sleep. One type involved strong players who would not play against him but would walk around advising other players what to do (“I would far rather a good player sat down and played against me”). But with the slump in the diamond business.). . I spent about half-a-day learning the board by heart and after that you had only to give me the name of a square. One day I offered to play three boards simultaneously blindfold at the club. he was fortunate to end up in Namur where his military captain. such an individual would help the sighted player find the only way out.. No. and never were. he surpassed his previous record by playing 20 opponents without sight of the boards.M.. Koltanowski had to catch a 6 A. While serving as an Army draftee in 1924. establishing a new Belgian record. I am asleep!’ Soon I was asleep. They also appear at regular simultaneous displays. my dreams are not tortured with insoluble chess problems.) Up until the worldwide economic depression around 1930. so he announced that because they were rude to him he would be rude to them. The First Part of the Twentieth Century 85 ber moves and positions now. At first I would turn off a mental electric switch by a system of auto-suggestion. Since exhibitions are often treated as “entertainment. or Q7 [d7]. I found I could conduct a single blindfold game with ease. He always had to worry that.4. though I must add that I did not start playing on more than six boards until after I had won the Belgian Championship. encouraged him to take time off for chess. after this preparation. when one of them offered to buy everyone a round of drinks “if Koltanowski here will play thirty games *This was about three years later.M. many outside Belgium. awoke at 5:15 A. Koltanowski tells the story of one 8-board exhibition in Spain where he had four opponents remaining. ‘I sleep. say. if he had a winning but tricky position. Also in 1923 he played 16 simultaneous blindfold games. One day he was passing time with chess friends in a café in Antwerp. however. Virtually every blindfold champion has had to cope with these two types. or Q6 [d6]. In his book Adventures of a Chess Master (1955. where the exhibitor has sight of all the boards. to my delight. KB2 [f2]. The offer was accepted and. train to get to another town for an exhibition. Koltanowski declared that there were two types of irritating players he encountered while giving blindfold displays.M. The other type of irritating players were those who would never resign. It seems clear. (Réti insisted on this rule in his 29-board display in São Paulo in 1925. all of whom were at least a queen behind.. that when someone is attempting to set a world record. (or possibly because it was 2 A. “My mind . no non-players should be permitted to converse with actual opponents. who was also president of the local chess club. Koltanowski accepted every invitation he received to play six or eight boards blindfolded. After that it was only a matter of practice. on four little boards like this than on one big one.M. is able to relax at the end of each exhibition. There. Koltanowski divided his time between chess events and the lucrative family business of diamond-cutting.* After that. I am sleeping. and beat all four (who stayed during his snooze) in time to catch his train. Try it yourself. he eventually decided to devote himself completely to chess. The above description of Koltanowski’s early blindfold attempts does not correspond precisely with what he wrote in Adventures of a Chess Master (1955) on pages 26–27. but would not give up even though it was 2 A. Today. I can fall asleep quite easily after an exhibition. Perhaps psychologists can explain. I got through the ordeal successfully.” it is hard for organizers to enforce strict rules. At once.

they took White against six consulting groups of four expert players. The second feature. though he began to question this rash decision almost as soon as he had made it. He divided his opponents into five equal groups and. He concentrated on improving his physical condition for an event he figured would take more than 10 hours: playing football. and for ten hours twice a week. e|f6 d|c4 8. Here. then he could devote his time to chess and not have to waste energy remembering which board was which. However. 0–0 Nf6 5. in the first and third groups he opened with 1. He has mentioned that he was more likely to stop paying much attention when he achieved a winning position in a regular simultaneous exhibition. and that was more than five years earlier. it is well below 10 percent except for Ostrogsky’s 13 percent. Alekhine surpassed him by playing 32 at the Chicago World’s Fair. f4 in the sixth. e4 e5 2. especially when he was playing blindfolded against rather weak opposition. beating the world’s record” (then usually considered to be the 29 played by Réti in 1925).† He knew the opening well. say. In the second and fourth groups it was 1. =10 (83. sighted display. Koltanowski immediately agreed.The 1936 Chess article (October. it is clear that Koltanowski did mentally separate the players into groups. too. he stated that once a game had gone beyond the opening. e5 d5 7. According to his book In the Dark (1986. recalling it was easy. with sight of all the boards. . one notes the relatively high number of games lasting 16 or fewer moves (20 percent). page 20). In his blindfold displays Koltanowski relied on the Max Lange Attack whenever he could maneuver his opponent into it. d4 in the fifth. The exhibition took slightly more than 10 hours. and he liked complex games. a very unusual type of display. He did not study chess seriously. is that the strength of the opposition seems to have been quite weak. the two record-holders teamed up in Antwerp in March 1934 to give a tandem blindfold exhibition. but merely gave a couple of 15-board blindfold simultaneous exhibitions as practice. correlated with the first. the second with 3. e4 in four games. Nf3 Nc6 3. e4 in five games. and so Koltanowski would gain many quick wins.3 percent)—not a single loss while breaking the world record for total number of blindfold games played simultaneously (Games 175–204). we must praise him for his great success. he had never played more than 20. Thus he felt he was more likely to commit a big blunder in a regular. He slept regularly for eight hours. it was difficult for a relatively unsophisticated player to work out the best moves for Black. five days a week. As noted above. Re1+. as can be seen from the games themselves. e|d5.* Forgiving Koltanowski for his carelessness in recalling the openings scheme. and 1. Sharing the sentiments of many previous blindfold champions. First. †The initial moves would likely be 1. d4 e|d4 6. f4 in the sixth. and still different system! That article also mentions that he decided to meet the first French Defense. than in a blindfold display where he concentrated harder on all games. to be organized by the Flemish Chess Club in Antwerp during May of 1931.86 Part I. and long-distance walking. was his development of a plan for keeping the 30 games separate in his mind. After all. took the white pieces in all games. Important. page 47) gives a third. in all previous record-setting performances for which there is enough information to calculate this percentage. there are two negative features. running. and Koltanowski scored +20. and had to make alternate moves without consulting with each other. But he decided he had to keep his word and he went into hard training for the display. *There are some inconsistencies here. and 1. All of the games in the fifth group were opened in an irregular manner. and so on for other possible defenses. However. Bc4 Bc5 4. which Koltanowski included in his later book Blindfold Chess Genius (1986). Nc3. 1. The History of Blindfold Chess blindfold. with the third move 3. Two years after Koltanowski set a new world record of 30 blindfold simultaneous games in 1931. as is customary.

Scotland. As an indication of Koltanowski’s (perhaps unconscious) tendency to embellish reports of events to create a better story. As noted. as Koltanowski (1990) reported it.3 percent (Games 214–247). Alekhine was very impressed and. e. on the next move Alekhine moved it back to c1. Koltanowski again emerged undefeated with a score of +24. and lost 1 (Games 326–331). in the early part of 1937 he began to prepare for an attempt to beat Alekhine’s record of 32 simultaneous blindfold games. but points out that the score could have been better as Koltanowski conceded several draws in superior positions near the end. however. A report in Chess (October 1937. and working out a system to segregate the boards—the first six King’s Pawn openings. such a score has never. a win for him (Game 222). -16. Training. consisted of taking long walks. Adventures of a Chess Master (1955. Perhaps Koltanowski was just providing a general idea of how he segregated games and planned distinctive ways of playing against the same opening in different games. based on a statement by one of the controllers of the exhibition. In other articles. page 35). studied no chess. -1. he said. but Koltanowski was not tempted by the offer. since in some places. Since all 34 games of the record-setting performance are in Part III. He set a new British blindfold record by playing 21 simultaneous blindfold games at Bath. to keep his mind clear of recent games. Furthermore. =10. seeing no chess boards.4. A win in that game would have made his overall score even better (+25. drew 2. on September 20.g. this never happened. Koltanowski was asked to send the score of the game. 1937 in Edinburgh. The First Part of the Twentieth Century 87 Koltanowski (1990. He proposed that the two arrange a world tour playing tandem blindfold exhibitions. †Note that there is some kind of error in Koltanowski’s various reports and game collections. =1. One amusing recollection of his was the opponent in a blindfold match who asked him: “Do you mind if I use a small set of pieces?” Ceasing tours and all exhibitions after April 1937. According to the game scores. After about 13∂ hours of play. but without a chance to discuss your move or his. confirms the score at +24. Doubtless. He maintained that he was irritated even by his wife’s buying linoleum for the dining-room floor that had blue and white squares. pages 36–38). Ireland. page 52) indicates a win for Koltanowski. he trained for about five months while living in a flat in Dublin. Alekhine considered himself first. At the finish Koltanowski said he felt far more tired than after completing 30 simultaneous games played blindfold in the ordinary manner. they won 3 games. pages 43–44). he said that the loss occurred because he moved a bishop to h6. =10. and in his writings did not check carefully whether he actually followed the procedures he mentioned.† He was said to be the freshest per*Conducted by Eliot Hearst. and so on.* he said that the outcome of the tandem display he gave with Alekhine was +4. Part III supplies the Geddes game score. the next six Queen’s Pawn.M. to our knowledge. As described in Koltanowski (1990. in a June 1985 interview. Of the 237 blindfold games he played on this tour. and Wales and in two months played nearly 500 games. the reader can determine what arrangement he did employ (his system is discussed later in the book). then Koltanowski tried Bh6 again. he states that Geddes drew on Board 9. page 27) described how nerve-wracking it was to fathom the plans of the world’s strongest player as your partner (Alekhine had been world chess champion for seven years at the time). been supplied as the final result anywhere. he scored +153. . as mentioned earlier. he described different systems that he intended to follow or actually used.9 percent). It was easier to play blindfold chess as an individual. again retreating the bishop to c1! “Humiliated. He avoided the sight of actual chessboards and. The exhibition started at 10:30 A. =68 (78. only to be followed by Alekhine’s next move. including both blindfold and sighted displays. but the game score given in Blindfold Chess Genius (1990. He toured England. stated that he considered Koltanowski to be the second best blindfold player in the world at that time. =9).. a fine result amounting to 85. which he promised to do but never did.” Koltanowski resigned the game.

considered Koltanowski’s 34-board total at Edinburgh to be then the current world record (and their judgment could be extended through 2007 because no one has played more than 28 simultaneous blindfold games since 1987). son in the room. which we describe shortly. page 55) says he was happy to accept. (As we noted above. in the Alekhine displays for which we have all the game scores. however. some of these being quick draws—which Koltanowski (1990. . 1987). As the detailed table of world record–setting exhibitions in Appendix A indicates. Hooper and Whyld (1992. to decrease the number of games he had to remember—and others very simple wins. the fact that almost half of the games lasted only a short time makes Koltanowski’s performance less impressive than many earlier world records. and he congratulated the two tellers on their accuracy in calling out the sighted players’ moves. there were no games lasting 16 or fewer moves.and 45-board displays. seem as well controlled as earlier world record attempts. only 8. agree with Hooper and Whyld that there are dubious features connected with János Flesch’s supposed record of 52 simultaneous blindfold games in 1960 (see below).” The present authors disagree with them since Miguel Najdorf’s subsequent 40. in 1943 and 1947 respectively. One might.9 percent of the games had ended by the 16th move. They believe “subsequent claims to records are based on performances lacking the kind of controls expected in such events. Still.) And in Najdorf’s 45-board exhibition in 1947.88 Part I. The History of Blindfold Chess Koltanowski setting a new world record of 34 blindfold simultaneous games in Edinburgh in 1937 (courtesy George Koltanowski.1 percent of the games ended in 16 moves or fewer. He also said (page 62) that the Ladies of the Edinburgh Chess Club were well represented at the exhibition and were “real kind to me” because they resigned as soon as they realized they had a lost game (often prematurely). The game scores reveal that the opposition was not very strong in this event. because most games in those matches were fought to a complete finish against reasonably strong opposition. in their brief summary of blindfold chess. 47. page 45).

where he took on 21 players of near master strength. told him that Najdorf was allowed to keep a written record of all the board numbers and game scores in front of him during the event. 1985.4. Flesch’s display is discussed below after the section on Najdorf. Koltanowski said. Koltanowski (1986. Second. he said that Grandmaster Erich Eliskases. when he was accompanied by three officials and players. so Flesch had to play only about 15 simultaneous games that lasted more than a few moves. in the section on Najdorf. He had his meals at the table he was seated at for the display. Even though Pillsbury lost seven games and scored only 40.5 percent. Koltanowski also criticized Flesch’s supposed 52-board world record by stating that 26 games were over by resignation in four moves. . he claimed that Najdorf’s 45-board exhibition was marred by his taking white and black on successive. The research indicates that Koltanowski was correct about the large number of short games (although they were not as short as he claimed). First. He also remarked that Pillsbury’s great performance at Hannover in 1902. each night playing 10 simultaneous games blindfolded. In fact. On further questioning. Koltanowski considered the opposition to have been the strongest in simultaneous blindfold history. page 22) also published this claim with reference to Najdorf’s 40-board exhibition of 1943. there was no evidence). but there are other serious reasons to question Flesch’s performance that Koltanowski did not mention—about which witnesses and other correspondents have written the present authors. he seems to have established a further sort of blindfold record later in that year during his second tour of Switzerland. One might have thought that after Koltanowski had again captured the world record for blindfold simultaneous play in 1937 he might have relaxed somewhat. a referee at the exhibition. which took about 20 minutes. but these opponents had lost positions anyway. During October 1937 Koltanowski gave 26 exhibitions. He thought that Najdorf could never have played that many games without vast prior experience in gradually increasing the number of simultaneous blindfold games he attempted (for which. the reader will see that the authors’ research has revealed all of these criticisms about Najdorf’s displays to be incorrect. Immediately below. he has immediate recall of all the moves and can quickly reconstruct the position. but this is not so. In the same letter he stated that only two games were finished in fewer than 15 moves. in 26 different towns. Koltanowski was asked for his views about his own and Najdorf’s and Flesch’s performances. Koltanowski gave two further reasons. and that press reports of Najdorf’s making no mistakes were of course not surprising because he had the scores of all the games in front of him. The First Part of the Twentieth Century 89 In the June 1985 interview. Koltanowski said that in his own exhibition he stopped only twice for 10 minutes to go to the men’s room. which was arranged by the Swiss master Henry Grob. During the interview Koltanowski reiterated his opinion that Alekhine was the greatest blindfold player of all time. Koltanowski wrote* that he made no mistakes during his Edinburgh display. with many more in six to eight moves. Out of the 260 games he scored 94 *A letter to Hearst dated September 13. Koltanowski commented that if he is in doubt about the details of a particular blindfold position. in 26 days. It has already been pointed out that the game scores Koltanowski provided in Blindfold Chess Genius reveal that almost half of the 34 games ended in 16 or fewer moves (see Appendix A). Finally. which would have made the games more distinctive from each other as compared to taking white in all the games. He replied that he believed he was the rightful holder of the world blindfold record. alternate boards. was the best single achievement in blindfold chess.

names.. Then I listen. A bell or buzzer rang every 10 seconds. when he began to give exhibitions at 10 seconds a move. Just how he knew was something of a mystery to him. Perhaps Koltanowski’s final “record” was playing five simultaneous blindfold games when he was 82 years old. When I want to know what moves have been made.” He said: “My mind is a gramophone record. California. He felt he could have played another 10 to 15 games but he had already beaten his own record and saw no need to go further.” Elsewhere he stated that he “knows” where each piece is on the board at any given time because he has been told. etc. Taking 8∂ hours. He won four and drew one of the games in an hour and 20 minutes. He had decided he would quit just as soon as he broke his previous record of 50 games. All of the games from both the 1951 and 1960 displays are supplied in Koltanowski’s book Blindfold Chess Genius (1990). In his book In the Dark (1986). In the 1960 exhibition Koltanowski took a 20-minute break after 3∂ hours of play (with 30 games completed) and a dinner pause after the 42nd game was finished. 1945) labeled a “phonographic mind. =6 (94. On March 5.90 Part I. On December 4. and calling off the phone numbers. For the 600 remaining spectators he concluded by performing the knight’s tour blindfold. with Koltanowski and his opponents having 10 seconds to decide on their next move. The History of Blindfold Chess percent overall.” In a statement in the San Francisco Chronicle (1960). summarizing “A Record in Review. It is also a mystery to others because—while recognizing that memory for spoken words may assist recall of a position or sequence of moves—one cannot be sure what an “immediate auditive” response is. because they represent noteworthy feats in themselves and because the number of games played is often mistakenly supplied by numerous authors and record books as setting world records for simultaneous blindfold play—an error that Koltanowski himself tried to correct. page 69)—is “comparable to the best obtained in any chess master’s tour of any country. and what The New Yorker (January 6. which sponsored the match.6 percent) in 9∫ hours. reported that 3. The event was rather informal. which—he pointed out (Koltanowski.000 spectators witnessed the exhibition. -2. at the home of Jane Banks in Belvedere. He later said the pause was a mistake because the intermission sapped his energy.” Koltanowski supplied his typical answer when asked how he was able to play simultaneous blindfold chess. moving a knight legally around the chessboard without touching any square more than once. I start the record in my mind. 1960. that were written on each square. Koltanowski played only one game at a time in his speed blindfold exhibitions (whereas Fine played up to four at a time). with no losses at all. not too successfully. This basic type of rapid blindfold chess was introduced by the American grandmaster Reuben Fine in the mid–1940s. Koltanowski took on 50 players in succession. He declared that he has no “mental picture” and he does not “see the board. Koltanowski scored +43. 1955. =5 (91 percent). He scored +50.” But he has what he called an “immediate auditive” response. The San Francisco Chronicle. These exhibitions involve Koltanowski’s playing many successive games of blindfold chess at the speed of 10 seconds a move for each player. he surpassed this record by playing 56 games consecutively at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco. One other set of Koltanowski’s blindfold achievements must be given attention. at the Marines Memorial Club in San Francisco. and after eating he felt more tired than ever. a book largely repeated word for word from his earlier . in 1986. 1951. but in fact he played five extra games. He claimed that no one 80+ years old would ever beat his record and so far he has been right.

on April 15. he tried to find ways to let his wife. He believed the world . This is the essence of blindfold play [1955. as Boleslavsky was leaving his chair after making a move. He would often ask these colleagues and fans what they thought of his position. page 168]. and he maintained that he wanted to die while at a chess event. Spain. close relatives. in Málaga. In regular tournaments he used to roam around the playing area when it was not his move. he decided. daughter. to remain in Argentina. He and George Koltanowski are the blindfold champions who lived the longest lives (87+ and 96+ years. he died of complications from heart surgery needed when he was in Spain to watch an exhibition by Garry Kasparov. And you can begin to play blindfold chess as soon as you convince yourself that you don’t have to be a master to try it! Everyone plays blindfold chess without knowing it. respectively) but Najdorf. as usual when he defeated an opponent in blindfold or regular play. Whenever you play a game over the board. Blindfold play will improve your game more rapidly than any textbook. Boleslavsky was a little stunned because his game was against Najdorf! Even in his eighties. 1910. with many medical devices attached. Having been stranded in South America when Hitler invaded Poland during the 1939 Chess Olympiad in Buenos Aires. Poland. along with the other members of the Polish team (all Jewish). unlike Koltanowski. During World War II and for a couple of years after it ended. enthusiastic. and to discover which of them had survived the Holocaust. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that. sponsor. In fact. in poor health. chatting with spectators and other players who were also walking between moves—talk that would be the cause for a warning from the tournament director today. Koltanowski discusses how to improve one’s overall chess strength by playing blindfold chess. 1986. Moishe Mieczsùaw Najdorf was born in Warsaw. In fact. The First Part of the Twentieth Century 91 Adventures of a Chess Master (1955). Once he even absent-mindedly questioned the Soviet grandmaster Isaak Boleslavsky (1919–1977) in this manner. when he set what the present authors strongly believe to be the current world record of 45 blindfold simultaneous games. he beat his physiotherapist in his last regular game of chess. His doctors had cautioned him not to attend it. you’re always saying to yourself: “What do I do if he does that?” In the course of a game you have visualized dozens of positions which never appeared on the board. was much more active as a competitor in regular tournaments than as a blindfold exhibitor. most of them avoided giving him a clear answer. Koltanowski the showman always wanted to keep his “customers” happy. and died on July 4.4. Miguel Najdorf Miguel Najdorf was a passionate. He confessed that he did not engage in blindfold exhibitions mainly as entertainment or as a memory stunt or as a symbol of chess prowess. Hospitalized at age 96. and friends know where he was and that he was safe. and uninhibited man. there is no clear evidence that Najdorf gave any serious blindfold displays except between the early 1940s and 1947. but the prohibition of which was not widely enforced until fairly recently. and will do it in a more enjoyable way. page 184. and play in regular tournaments. he said: “You’ll get me next time!” As Hans Ree (2000) commented. 1997. whose love for chess and life was contagious and obvious to anyone who met him. He says: The two questions most frequently put to me by club players are these: “How can I improve my play?” and “How do you play blindfold chess?” The answer to the second question is also the answer to the first. Najdorf continued to attend.

he adopted the first name of Miguel and became a very successful businessman in insurance and finance. Nd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6. but never managed to qualify as a world championship candidate. He exchanged correspondence with Pope John Paul II. also a chess Miguel Najdorf (courtesy Edward enthusiast. in a vivid obituary in New in Chess (1997). Once those reasons disappeared. He is said to have claimed he would become world champion someday but. and Argentinian president Juan Perón. especially in Poland. and Russia. The History of Blindfold Chess record–setting blindfold exhibitions he gave in 1943 and 1947 in Argentina and Brazil would attract enough worldwide media attention. most of his fortune coming from activities outside chess. but he did make at least one significant contribution to opening play by developing the theory of a variation in the Sicilian Defense. Ché Guevara. unless he was off somewhere else in the world playing in or watching some chess event. including Fidel Castro.” Najdorf was proud of the fact that he had played chess with some famous world leaders. He found out before the end of 1945 that his wife and daughter had been killed. Najdorf played every official world champion except Steinitz (the first official one). He officially became a grandmaster in 1950. he usually went to the local chess club at the end of his regular business workday and played for two hours for relaxation. but he still hoped to hear from other relatives and friends in 1947. d4 ed4 4. So this is the first world blindfold champion who had very special personal reasons for conducting large chess displays without sight of the games. to cause any surviving relatives to contact him. e4 c5 2. Still. adopted country. *The opening moves of the Najdorf Variation are 1. and most of the tournaments in which he played before 1939 were in his native land—where he became known as the “Polish Morphy” because of the imaginative attacking games he produced. Najdorf’s early chess career began when he learned the game at the age of 14. He was a wizard in the middlegame and never an exceptional endgame player. but he did gain high places in many such events. which is still extremely popular in the twenty-first century and bears his name. he played chess frequently and was generous in sponsoring tournaments in his new. Like after a Mozart or Beethoven concert. Nikita Khrushchev. the Shah of Iran. Winter).* Najdorf rarely finished first in tournaments in which other world championship contenders competed. Nf3 d6 3. He consistently placed well in tournaments that included Soviet participants. and in his Buenos Aires chess column he published a problem composed by the pontiff. although it is true that he played Alekhine only in a minor exhibition and Emanuel Lasker only in the game of bridge! When Najdorf returned permanently to Argentina after revisiting Europe at the end of the war. .92 Part I. He started a new family and became one of the richest chessplayers of his time. Germany. he stopped that form of play. Often stating that he must play chess every day. Amazingly. “I play my games and I feel wonderful. Hans Ree stated his belief that Najdorf really meant that he was as good as all the other world championship candidates at that time. Najdorf was a world-class tournament player from the 1940s into the 1970s. Winston Churchill.

living in Lexington. This success encouraged him to try to beat Koltanowski’s then current world record of 34 boards. José Feola. from which we obtained some details about Najdorf’s life and personality. recall of the last board was easier than if he had been asked to recount one in the middle. seems to have occurred around 1940. Najdorf gave a display on 10 boards at Bolívar (date unclear) and subsequently another one in Buenos Aires on June (or July) 19. Najdorf deemed himself ready to beat Koltanowski’s record a few months after he successfully handled the 20-board simultaneous blindfold display in Buenos Aires. Najdorf was willing to chat for a while with a few people who remained. Kentucky. Argentina. and to meet 40 opponents in Rosario. The First Part of the Twentieth Century 93 An extensive collection of Najdorf’s games and comments. Argentina. in turn. A more recent excellent book on Najdorf is by Tomasz Lissowski and Adrian Mikhalschishin (2005). and can attest to Najdorf’s infectious enthusiasm and incessant chatter in offhand games and conversations at the Manhattan Chess Club. drinking whisky while he called off his replies during the display. and that he could also recite the moves for every board forwards or backwards. Perhaps the display Feola referred to was relatively informal. Very likely. November 1943. 1943. he elected to double the number of boards he had managed to play in Buenos Aires. he wrote similar letters to other cities where chess was popular. Afterwards. -3. say. Chess Review. The earliest mention we could discover of Najdorf’s actual simultaneous blindfold play dates back to 1942. later Carlos Skalicka) of Czechoslovakia. Readers will also enjoy an obituary written by the English grandmaster Daniel King (1997). where he surpassed Réti’s 1924 Argentine record of 15 games by taking on 20 at once (+14. Because of effects of the ongoing world war. because he said it would be several hours before he could fall asleep. Najdorf began to practice simultaneous blindfold chess more and more (SkaliVka. He recalled that Najdorf was seated in another room.) Note that if. find some way to contact him. on October 9. Board #13.4. When asked to do so backwards for Board #21. To break the record all he had to do was to play 35 games—one more than Koltanowski—which of course would have been quite something in itself. he had no problem at all. reminisced about the 25 de Mayo 21-board exhibition in a 1997 letter written after Najdorf’s death. one of the signatories at the formation of the Fédération Internationale des Échecs (FIDE). Najdorf’s decision to use exploits at blindfold chess as a means of increasing the likelihood that his family members in Europe might learn of his whereabouts and. which according to SkaliVka was established the following year. 55 years later. page 329). . Najdorf did play 21 simultaneous blindfold games in 1942. and a complete tournament record (but with little on blindfold chess. he would have exceeded his supposed Argentine record of 20. or possibly his memory of the exact number of games from 55 years earlier was faulty. stated that after the aborted 1939 Olympiad. in addition to anecdotes. when he wrote chessplayers in the town of 25 de Mayo. =1 in about 17∂ hours. -2. Feola remembered his astonishment at Najdorf’s claim that he could recall the position of every piece on every board after any move you named. for the staggering result of 91. Najdorf scored +36. that he wanted to play blindfolded against the best players there because he was in training to set a new world record at simultaneous play. When one of the present authors was a youngster in New York he became acquainted with Najdorf. (Possibly. according to Feola. However. 1943.3 percent. a large bibliography. can be found in Postma (1996). coverage of the exhibition was not widespread but some chess magazines did report the overall results (for example. Facing two consulting players at each board. Karel SkaliVka (1896–1979. except for brief mention of his two greatest performances). 1947). Feola (at the age of 16) was one of the two opponents who won against the master. =4).

M. where he could not predict his opponents’ first moves. all the games from this display were missing.com/chvsanchez /ajedrez / ajedrez. presumably the name given was that of the first person in alphabetical order. He took the Black pieces on the last five boards. 36–40. except perhaps the last five. The exhibition started around 4 P. 25. to observe the display and make sure that acceptable rules of play were followed. Taking Black on the last five boards was not really a disadvantage. 1. (Other Argentine sources state that Héctor Rossetto was the second teller. 1. and 1. 1. the president of the Rosario Chess Federation. If any doubts remain that Najdorf set a new record in the 1940s. The History of Blindfold Chess Details of the exhibition remained scanty for many years.html. 1. g3 on board 25. the local ex-champion. 1947). 14. His statement was correct. along with the four now available game scores in Part III.) Najdorf played 1. 1947). remedied this deficiency in 2001. in 2007: http://www. stated in New in Chess (1998) that because of difficulties with communications during wartime. d4 on boards 8–10. The opponents were 40 pairs of players. However. Najdorf’s 1943 record was never recognized worldwide and that. mostly of third. Fifty-five years later. even though on each board Najdorf was playing a pair of consulting partners. He did compete in several *Sanchez’s findings are now set out in more detail on his web site.and fourth-category strength. the overall system he used here for choosing his first move is not as elegant as the one he employed in his subsequent 45-board display in 1947. 28.geocities. and 35 boards just before his 1947 exhibition (see SkaliVka. and 29–34. except for some practice displays on 10. a painstaking effort by Christian Sanchez of Rosario. e4 on boards 1–6. Herman Claudius van Riemsdijk (an international master. c4 on boards 22–24. and the tellers were Robert Grau. Najdorf did not attempt to play any further blindfold simultaneous chess in the three years after the Rosario display. 1. and one of the leading chess historians and journalists in South America). Nf3 on boards 11–13 and 27. Sanchez went to several Rosario libraries and found one that contained local newspapers for October 1943. which he did successfully at Newell’s Old Boys de Rosario Club (SkaliVka. We analyze Najdorf’s “system” more extensively near the end of Part II. b3 on board 26. there is much more information about the 45-board display he gave more than three years later. To our knowledge. . on October 9 at the Circulo de Obreros and lasted until around 9:30 A. and Oscar García Vera. but rather an advantage because the last five boards could be easily distinguished from the remaining games. so far as he knew. and 35.* The reports show that FIDE designated Vicente Pomponio. f4 on boards 7. Only a single player’s name is given as the opponent. 21. “Relaxing” after the exhibition. Najdorf planned beforehand what opening to play on each board. three times Brazilian champion and four times vice champion. he offered to call off from memory and comment on all moves in the 40 games. There seems no reason not to accept Najdorf’s 40-board effort in 1943 as a new world record. 15–20.94 Part I. to be described shortly. We believe that no previous world record–setting performance in the twentieth century involved the exhibitor’s playing Black in any games.M. however. Obviously. including one for a game that Najdorf lost (Games 248–251). former champion of Argentina. so far as could be determined by the year 2000. In the Acknowledgments to the present book the efforts that Sanchez made to collate all the relevant material are described. to which we now turn. The names of all the opponents and Najdorf’s results against each one are given in Appendix A. on October 10. Responding to a published appeal from the present authors.

and played some rather irregular first move on the 15th board of each set (f4. but ate nothing and took only liquid refreshment. There were three tellers. Najdorf wanted to try again to contact any surviving relatives and friends in Poland by performing a feat that would receive worldwide media coverage. 1. Najdorf did change his suit once during the exhibition.1 percent (Games 252–296). he suggested that a player take back a bad blunder and substitute a new move. e4 on the first six of each group. and Américo Porto Alegre. Three doctors were in constant attendance in Najdorf’s room.”) Thousands of people came to watch the display. and on another occasion he insisted that a player not give up because he still had a good position (“if you are tired. and Nf3 respectively on boards 15. and finished around 7:25 P. 30. It is not known how soundproof was the separate room in which Najdorf was sitting. *Najdorf reiterated this justification very seriously to Herman van Riemsdijk and Grandmaster Oscar Panno at a private dinner a few months before he died. 1. says the third teller was Paulo Duarte). in 1952). and almost every game was fought to a clear finish (only 8. where Réti had given his record performance on 29 boards in 1925. Van Riemsdijk (1998) also provides many details of the 1947 display. find a replacement”). Dutch Master Ludwig Engels. van Vliet (1998) wrote the magazine that most of the games involved relatively quiet and safe play on Najdorf’s part. After his permanent return to Argentina. January 24. and 45).4. an impressive 91. on Friday. -2. He mentally divided the display into sets of 15 boards. president of the São Paulo Chess Federation (SkaliVka. so a total of 83 adversaries participated on the 45 boards. c4 on the next two. b4. Marius C. He played 1. a 15-year-old opponent of Najdorf’s and an acquaintance of van Riemsdijk’s. He permitted new players to replace anyone who got tired or had to leave before a game was finished. The players sat in a horseshoe-like pattern. (Najdorf called this aspect of the event a “medical simultaneous exhibition. . the next day— 23∂ hours later. took the Black pieces on the next two. and only 10 games were finished in the first 12 hours). Najdorf finished with a score of +39. He offered to excuse some mistakes of Najdorf by the great number of noisy spectators at the exhibition. =4. In response to the publication of all the games in New in Chess. José Pinto Costa. Held in the luxurious Prestes Maia Gallery. in a terrible rainstorm. each one in charge of 15 boards: Erich Eliskases (who was named a Grandmaster a few years later. which did not change much during the entire exhibition.M.M. recalled fifty years later (right after Najdorf’s death) that a few times players would have the wrong position after “thinking with their hands” and Najdorf would correct the position and allow the game to go on. Holland. Despite these indulgences. Many writers have commented on Najdorf’s gracious behavior during the event. the display started around 8 P. even though it occurred on one of the hottest summer days of the year. Three of the four draws were with women.9 percent lasted 16 moves or fewer. d4 on the next four. often taking his blood pressure and heart rate. with Najdorf seated in a another room hearing his opponents’ moves and calling out his own via microphones.* The 1947 45-board exhibition took place in São Paulo. which the reader will recall were each handled by a different one of the three tellers. Once. Najdorf’s method for keeping the games separate in his memory was simpler and more systematic than in 1943. The First Part of the Twentieth Century 95 strong regular tournaments in Europe in 1946. 1947. finishing fourth in the exceptionally powerful event at Groningen. where he defeated the soon-to-be world champion Mikhail Botvinnik in the last round. almost exactly the same percentage as he had achieved in Rosario in 1943. The quality of his play was generally judged to be quite high. By this method each set of 15 games was “anchored” by two Blacks and an irregular move on the final three boards.

Hans Ree (1997) mentions a different article by Whyld that confirms this inference and adds the point that Whyld had heard rumors that “large numbers of opponents agreed to resign after a few nominal moves. g6. It’s something inexplicable yet concrete and objective. Bg7. as in Rosario.. if many or all the opponents in a formal blindfold exhibition planned beforehand to adopt such a strategy there is no way that any great blindfold champion could handle the situation. and that he in no sense saw “photos” of successive positions.” Ree doubts the truth of such rumors and the objective observer can reject them outright because the scores of all the games reveal no such thing. Some very respectable chess historians. In other words. Nd7. but changing their order on each board and varying them in such a way that in some games he included h6 or a6. The magazine Canadian Chess Chat (January. which are true regarding the very large number of extremely short games (as is substantiated in the next section. as well as several writers on blindfold chess. d6.96 Part I. making on purpose on all boards the moves e6. state in their section on Blindfold Chess that claims to world records subsequent to Koltanowski’s “are based on performances lacking the kind of controls expected in such events.. or played Nf6 or Nc6. That is why all blindfold champions find the opening part of the games in a large simultaneous display to be the most difficult. but with different move orders and move repetitions. . he wanted every game to be as similar as possible. Can you imagine how bad that movie must have been.. b6. Najdorf said that a blindfold display “sounds like magic” and “requires a special talent . For example. have questioned the validity of Najdorf’s record-setting 45-board 1947 display.. in the letter to Hearst that we will discuss shortly. Bb7. Once each game becomes distinctive.. A total abstraction within each unity. Whyld may have mistakenly attributed to Najdorf’s exhibition some criticisms of Flesch’s 52-board display in 1960..” They do not give specific reasons for this conclusion. a major worry for the exhibitor is over. Although he did not expect this to happen in the forthcoming official display. on Flesch). Najdorf very soon quit playing against this type of 10-board practice arrangement because he was unable to keep the games separate in his memory. Najdorf asked a member of the São Paulo club to try to confuse his blindfold play by playing 10 games simultaneously against him with sight of the board. The History of Blindfold Chess Notice that.. told an amusing story about Najdorf’s preparation for the match. Obviously. In an interview with A Gazeta. would have been an advantage in keeping certain games especially distinctive right from the very start of the display. it is. Ne7.” SkaliVka (1947) reported that Najdorf described the boards as having some kind of unconscious existence. Hooper and Whyld (1992... that allows a player like me a total abstraction of the other boards when you have to deal with only one board. the belief that Najdorf had access to the written scores of all games during the display. Jules Welling (1996) wrote that he asked Najdorf whether the story was true that after the 45-board exhibition he could not sleep for days and that he finally fell asleep in a cinema. the choosing of the Black pieces in some games (a total of six). Najdorf smiled in reply and said: “Yes. but it appears that the criticisms of Najdorf’s exhibition (explored mainly on page 89 above) are behind their statement. Making the different games as distinctive as possible and soon as possible is crucial to playing a successful simultaneous blindfold exhibition.?” Erich Eliskases. 1961) reiterated one of the criticisms made by Koltanowski as a main justification for not recognizing Najdorf’s record. and have argued that Koltanowski’s 34-board exhibition in 1937 should be accepted as the world record.. that is. This supposed shortcoming has been cited in other publications and we will return to it in a moment. page 45) in their well-researched and generally authoritative work.

Germany. Eliskases was gracious and detailed in answering questions about Najdorf’s 1947 exhibition.”) He was born on February 15. let me do it now. and he was the only person to play in the Olympiads for three different countries. The First Part of the Twentieth Century 97 Koltanowski’s criticisms of Najdorf’s displays are untenable. the most telling criticism offered by Koltanowski was Eliskases’s supposed statement that Najdorf had written scores of all the games in front of him while he played. and Argentina. Living at that time in Rio de Janeiro... Nothing that Eliskases wrote in his letter was contradicted by the newspaper report. he beat Rudolf Spielmann in three matches to confirm his ranking as the best player in Austria. Alekhine chose him as his second for his return match with Euwe in 1937.. or any kindness I can show to any human being. and including some remarks that indicate a bit about his personality: I shall pass through this world but once. It had many photographs from the exhibition. which confirmed Eliskases’s statement that game scores were not available to Najdorf during the exhibition. Here are some passages from Eliskases’s letter. “I do not remember that Koltanowski ever spoke with me in Helsinki or any other place in those years. brought the reply. (2) No player was permitted to quit before his game was decided. at the beginning of this one I had the intention of sending them to a Brazilian admirer of my play. nor is it convenient to permit entrance of genuine “rabbits. anticipating that somebody might ask for them in the near future. written in English from Córdoba. but could pass it on to somebody else whenever he felt bored or tired. I might have said yes. he sent along a copy of the edition of A Gazeta (the newspaper sponsor of the display) for the day the exhibition ended. and not either to use an empty chess board. Austria. But on a second thought. However. whose task consisted in transmitting to Najdorf the respective move of the player as well as to the player the answer of the master and to see that those moves were correctly carried out on the corresponding board. After keeping [the pages of A Gazeta] for 38 years. asking him whether he could have told Koltanowski in Helsinki 1952 that Najdorf had access to all the game scores during the exhibition.and 35-board informal displays before the 1947 event. In a letter to Eliot Hearst written in September 1985. he became chief editor of Wiener Schachzeitung when he was 23. but if he abruptly had asked me if Najdorf had access to the scores.. thinking they might get lost after my death. 1913. he remained in South America permanently after the aborted Chess Olympiad in 1939. with descriptions of every one of the 45 games. I did not do it. I had been chosen as one of the three referees.. Every one of the referees conducted and examined that way 15 boards. at Innsbruck.” A subsequent letter to Eliskases from Hearst in 1985. because I knew that some of the games of the .. where Eliskases was also described as a “polite and pleasant person. Najdorf played a good number of blindfold exhibitions before setting an Argentine record of 20 in 1943 and practiced with 25. he was awarded the title of Grandmaster in 1952. such as game scores or names of the opponents. The score of every game is available from the 1947 exhibition. and now this occasion pleases me very much. Austria. (5) I would say that the players were of second and third category. Every good thing therefore I can do. on February 2. and comprised almost four full pages. the sources for which all agree that Najdorf did not— as Koltanowski asserted—alternate white and black on all the boards (although he did take black on six of them). Eliskases was the last topnotch Austrian player of the prewar period. Argentina.4. like Najdorf. 1997. and died in Córdoba. Not only did he write a long reply. tying for first in the Austrian Championship at the age of 16. No one can play such a lot of games against first-class strength. In the following I shall answer your questions: (1) During the exhibition Najdorf was not allowed to keep any written record. (This information was mainly culled from an obituary about him written by Michael Ehn [1997].

There are no strong reasons to discount Najdorf’s 45-board exhibition as a new world record. Mr. been discussed in the vast literature on simultaneous blindfold chess and requires thought as to the penalty. Koltanowski never mentioned the possible problem of prompting during Najdorf’s display. This interesting point has rarely. for a few such mistakes. Qg5 in order to mate the black king.. I beg your pardon. Edward Lasker. Koltanowski and Eliskases apparently misunderstood each other and Koltanowski was pleased to learn that his 34-board effort should still be considered the world record. should govern world record–setting simultaneous blindfold attempts. page 70) also states that Najdorf had no notes of any kind and no empty chessboard available. to enable historians to decide whether his earlier exhibition was marred in any way. Appendix B offers some rules that. Eliskases stated that something similar happened a few times in Najdorf’s 1947 exhibition: Let us suppose that at a certain moment Najdorf might have played. correcting it only after Lasker had repeated his move questioningly. can of course not be applied very frequently and only works in similar cases. and publicized it as such from then on. called Alekhine’s performance tremendously impressive even though he occasionally made a mistake. it is proposed. quoted at length above. has now probably been unearthed. The History of Blindfold Chess blindfold performance had been published and might not have perceived that he meant “during the exhibition” since I do not know a single one where such a privilege would have been allowed. Najdorf?” And Najdorf would correct himself: “Oh. h7. and research reveals that the various criticisms he actually offered have no factual basis. On the other hand.) In his first letter. who took on 52 opponents simultaneously. the h-pawn is on h6. .”(Emphasis added: the authors have read of some minor blindfold exhibitions in which access to the game scores was allowed. say.” Thus Najdorf would have come to know that the only important pawn stands on its third square and would abstain from Qg5?? This little trick. Readers may want to formulate their own set of regulations. and that therefore the exhibition should not count as establishing a new world record. Alexander Alekhine. not adverted by the players and spectators who enthusiastically applaud that evidence of a magnificent memory. But if the greatest blindfold player of all time.”* The original reason why many in the chess world thought that Najdorf’s display was marred by his having the game scores in front of him.” Then the referee would retort: “How. a little prompting by the teller occurred over the many years that blindfold masters have been demonstrating their skills! Certainly one can forgive a few such errors and Najdorf of course “forgave” some mistakes of his opponents and let them take back moves.) “You say all 45 games have been published.. *Skaliˇka (1947.98 Part I. and when. Eliskases did add a point related to Alekhine’s 32-board world record–setting display in 1933.. The teller in that event. if any. does contain so many dubious practices and aspects that his “record” is suspect. If then came the reply h6|g5. Let me point it out—white pieces and pawns . (The exact technical details of Najdorf’s 40-board display in 1943 are not available. black pieces and pawns . if ever. capturing Najdorf’s queen. Andrew Soltis c (1986) wrote that Najdorf sold the rights to publish the games. Who had them?—Probably Najdorf himself. the 1960 blindfold exhibition of János Flesch. though that kind of action can certainly be questioned.. Najdorf would say: “Here we have arrived at a very interesting position. The fact that Najdorf was prompted a few times by his teller seems not so important when viewed in the context of Alekhine’s teller’s admission that he felt it acceptable to do the same thing. If only we knew how often. accepted a few prompts then we cannot immediately discredit anyone else who did.

playing first board for my club. exaggerated. I was not even given a grading. I refused to join the clique of the chess association as it was then. mostly relatively minor. Following this period came the lean years. or simply untrue.4. which contains many sensational elements? First is the version given by Flesch himself in a series of interviews with and letters to John Knott.) The reader should bear in mind that Flesch’s statements are his alone. A year later I won the District Youth Championship. the Chess Life columnist Grandmaster Andrew Soltis (1986) pointed to some authoritative sources and declared: “If I’m guilty. unwilling to sacrifice my independence. and that a good number of them will subsequently be criticized as self-serving. This material supplied the basis for Knott’s articles in Chess and the British Chess Magazine in early 1984. I became [Hungarian] Youth Champion in 1951. for. Only after the extensive research for this book did the realization come that acceptance of Flesch’s performance as a world record was very likely unwarranted. as permission was not granted by the chess authorities. as did Knott (1984a and 1984b). The First Part of the Twentieth Century 99 János Flesch If one examines post–1960 books and articles that provide lists of world simultaneous blindfold chess records. I began to play chess—with my schoolfriends. In 1949. or that actually focus on blindfold play. Then the war broke out. which are now often cited as the strongest (and sometimes only) positive support for Flesch’s right to claim the world record. 1933. (There are so many such citations that enumerating them seems pointless. when I was aged 15.) When criticized for accepting Flesch’s performance as a world record. Our home was twice hit by bombs. . What is the fairest and most efficient way of presenting the Flesch story. My wish for independence succeeded to such an extent that I was deprived of making a livelihood. so is most everyone who has written about chess. My father disappeared. He has written: I was six years old when I first learnt the moves. János Flesch (courtesy The British Chess Magazine). János László Flesch was born in Budapest on September 30. I stayed in Budapest with my grandmother. I was not allowed to compete in tournaments. Her job took her far away from us into the country. But they do give his side of the story. with one exception I won all my games including an encounter with Grandmaster Gideon Barcza. my mother becoming the sole bread-winner for her three children and her elderly parents. In 1948.. I was poor and starving.. the majority of them cite János Flesch as the world blindfold champion. This was a great loss to me for I was passionately fond of chess. In consequence.. then Hungarian National Champion.” Both of the present authors admit guilt themselves! Hearst and Wierzbicki (1979) stated that Flesch held the current world record with 52 games. (The two magazine articles should be consulted for other details. not long before Flesch died in an automobile accident in 1983. I even had to play a qualifying match against a strong master-candidate and to win 6–0 before I was allowed to enter the youth championship.

who went round the 52 boards *In corroboration of Flesch’s playing many blindfold games at that time is György Négyesy’s report to Hearst in March 1997 that Flesch played two 30-board exhibitions in 1960 before the world record attempt. In the early morning [Sunday. but without giving odds. the chess organizer. which was then held by Najdorf who had played. In 1959 I was X-rayed and lung cancer was diagnosed.. Vice-President of the Hungarian Chess Federation.. Fortunately for myself. The teller was a candidate-master.” Zoltán Gábor.100 Part I. who asked László Balogh. on little food. I could see everything was in order. simultaneously. The world record attempt [was made] at a very well-equipped lecture room of a Budapest High School [the assembly hall of the High School of the Hungarian Socialist Workers Party] with a good microphone and loudspeaker system which did not distort the human voice. but a few jealous. members of the press arrived. with photographers. and they were afraid that I might succeed.. directed these events and was also one of the organizers of the world-record attempt. and 30 boards. Some players wished to have the White pieces and. the international arbiter and president of the jury. The choice of venue was also important.. was appointed to form the organizing committee together with the aforementioned experts. I believe I owe my recovery to the stress-effect induced by playing blindfold chess... two famous Hungarian chess writers. Then. and to accept Najdorf’s forty-five board simultaneous display as the existing world record. after playing thirty opponents. These people were more than satisfied by the system which gave them great privileges. The chance of success was put at 70 per cent. I found that it was most important to simplify the games quickly so that the simultaneous displays would not last as long as did Najdorf’s. I was cured of the illness within that year. 1 candidate master.. within the time limit of 4 to 4∂ hours. . then twenty. I decided to play the sharpest openings as this brought fast decisions and I won games more quickly. if only..* . and in hopeless poverty. The prospect of death concentrated my will-power. To these I gave a queen handicap.. many from abroad. 25.. Then I continued playing first ten. the other in Kassa. as I had no other opportunity. I began to compete against myself without sight of the board. forty-five games of blindfold chess.. The public response was tremendous.. I continued my training.. Hungarian television made a film of the entire proceedings. one in Gyula. on the advice of Dr. I was determined to show the world what I would be capable of.. known as a trainer of women players. October 16]. I considered that blindfold chess would offer me the most success.. Bán and László Alföldy. of whom 12 will play the White pieces. János Flesch will sit at a table far away from the competitors..” .. the official chess organization decided that my world record attempt should take place. The two committees reviewed the previous blindfold simultaneous events and decided to follow the stringent arrangements made by Alekhine at his encounters. to set up a seven-member jury. This is still not understood by my doctors. opponents..... and for Hungarian chess. the well-known international arbiter of the 1950 Budapest Candidates Tournament and director of many other zonals.. 11 first category. with his back to them. The History of Blindfold Chess I thought about this for a long time and. Doctors’ opinions on the attempt were very off-putting.. [One said] “We hope that it will not result in brain-thrombosis.. at about that time the new guard ousted the old and... yet influential. I toured the provincial towns playing against 20. The gift of unexpected health increased my self-confidence and determination: I announced that I would make an attempt at the world record. miraculously. I began at a country inn against five opponents. I also noticed that the more people I played blindfold the better I felt... although the chief arbiter thought this was quite unreasonable. announced: “The 52 players comprise 1 woman master. This in an unheated room... Then László Balogh. and of Kornel Kovács. chess players turned against me. 18 second category and 21 third category. Kornel Kovács... I nevertheless agreed to play the twelve bottom boards as Black. Without any help from doctors and without any medicine. He must conduct his games on the 52 boards without a single glance at them..

* In the straightforward method used.. not to mince words. Much to his surprise. =11. Only five game scores have been found that are presumably from this 52-board event (Games 297–301). The reason for this was at that time the positional game was the style at home and the average players were more vulnerable tactically. as well as some additional blindfold displays in Europe. It has been estimated that the film was shown to 100 million people in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union alone.. the chess writer. and what they would have liked to have seen was some kind of disaster. during the record attempt. To eat was not advisable. He also claimed that he easily memorized the entire set of logarithmic tables. While he was still at school in Budapest a teacher who had just been jilted arrived at the school one morning in a furious temper and banned the use of chess sets. In addition. 1962. He waved back. also some chocolate. I asked for three intervals of about 5 minutes each. this brought *The three winners were Gyulane Balla (given elsewhere as Mrs. When he entered the playing area a small girl in the audience waved to him. I drank orange juice and ate one lightly boiled egg with a biscuit. Flesch added some other personal notes. referring to “Blind János” (in German. on July 4. on behalf of the Chess Federation and the jury.. Others were rooting for me and were afraid for me. -5. He became a FIDE international master after his first international tournament in 1963. this attempt can be compared only to Alekhine’s achievement. According to Lázsló Alföldy. the tactical struggle finishes more quickly than in a dug-in position. a competitor in Hungarian Women’s Championships). Tomaszewicz in the magazine Szachy (1962. It was distributed to 64 countries. He was permitted to go abroad and he mentions his successes in several strong tournaments. arranged some rather curious publicity. Poland. . Flesch goes on to say that. The young Flesch and his fellow students thereupon decided to play without a board.. which duly ratified the world record.. †One such display was in Gdynia. including an amusing account of how he was first introduced to blindfold chess. A great proportion of the spectators discounted any hopes of success. it took another three years before he was allowed to play in regular international tournaments. and achieved only a fair score. on behalf of the chess correspondents. sent a communiqué to FIDE. where Flesch took nine hours to complete 22 games. ‡He certainly satisfied John Réti—who kindly acted as interpreter at meetings between Knott and Flesch—as to his strong memory for Hungarian poetry. The documentary film was shown all over Hungary and on television.” Then Zoltán Gábor.. the games against Hrumo and Csizmarik vindicated my tactical approach and also caught the audience’s enthusiasm. especially at the end. which were not allowed in class... József Tomasi (given elsewhere as József Tanai).4. Lázsló Alföldy declared: “János Flesch has today surpassed the world record .. presumably passing moves written on paper slips or whispering the moves to each other. to only a few geniuses. After the last game was finished Zoltán Gábor was handed the following statement by the jury: “The world record attempt has succeeded! János Flesch won 31. reported as +5. and István Hend (given elsewhere as István Henth). unknown to him.” Then. Pál Balázs. taking about 5 or 6 hours on the average.† As a result of his regular tournament performances he was awarded the Grandmaster title by FIDE in 1980. which must contain a small error because the numbers add up to only 21. drew 18 and lost 3 games. according to an article by L. despite his achievement. pages 240 and 246).. Flesch stated that he possessed a very retentive memory for maps and poetry. where he played 20–25 opponents simultaneously. I tried especially to play sharp openings. He recalled that he managed well.. The First Part of the Twentieth Century 101 and made the moves for me. but I drank neither coffee nor cola. for that takes too much blood out of the brain. blindfold chess is called “blind-schach”).‡ Flesch also recounted that for one of his blindfold displays in Germany the organizers had. I drank tea in the final hour. which he willingly recited. and succeeded in this superhuman effort which demanded from him an exceptional memory and a great talent for concentration which is available.

In further commenting on the 1960 event. to mark his retirement from blindfold chess. The History of Blindfold Chess forth great applause from the audience. However. And a later surprise was that some of Flesch’s relatives living in the United States. 1960. The company continued trying to persuade Flesch to attempt this feat even though they had misunderstood his comment “It will take six months out of my life” to mean that the strain would shorten his life by six months. Flesch offered to send all the game scores from the 1960 exhibition. In Chess Notes (No. He also asserted that “my moves are proof that people err when they doubt that ‘blind János’ sees all.” Taken by itself. event in which Flesch played 53 games.* Flesch said that many of the opponents in his display subsequently became masters and that all games were fought properly. saying that. and Flesch had told others (for example. despite the fact that FIDE awarded him the titles of international master and grandmaster. †In 1983. Koltanowski did play 56 consecutive 10-seconds-a-move blindfold games on December 13. he had intended to play only 48 games. When a game was not fully played out. the revelation of many details of the arrangements and results. Flesch said that the result reflected the actual state of the position. including yoga practice. that he would no longer play more than 20 simultaneous games. sent him some money to enable him to have treatment from an eye specialist. Flesch said that for many weeks beforehand he not only spent time preparing himself physically. who had thought from the publicity that Flesch was really blind. but for chess training he read through a number of published chess games every day. ‡This was in Knott’s presence at the offices of a London company interested in promoting such an event.S. However. a loss or draw for the opponent. 674. authorities. English Grandmaster Raymond Keene *As mentioned above. A great deal of material has been amassed leading to this conclusion. Flesch told Knott that he soon hoped to publish all the games from his 1960 display. eyewitnesses. Benko replied that Americans were always interested in sponsoring world records and he would help in organizing a U. Also. 1984) chess historian Edward Winter stated that Flesch’s record was omitted from his list of blindfold champions “since we understand the display was played under suspect conditions. some months before his death. besides his supposed world blindfold record. much of the controversy surrounding that event might have been cleared up. Had these been received. and historians. Grandmaster Pal Benko) years before 1983. in order to establish a nominal margin over Najdorf’s 45. .” Shortly before his death in an auto accident in England on December 9.† He also expressed his intention to play 60 simultaneous blindfold games. on hearing of the exhibition. that is. the above story that Flesch himself presented about his 52-board performance in 1960 and related events is certainly a convincing one. immediately after the exhibition and as days and months passed. March-April. as well as the authoritative comments of informed chess masters.‡ But Flesch seemed to have lost enthusiasm for that form of chess. played in 1947. at the last moment he heard a rumor that an American player (presumably Koltanowski) was preparing to play 50 games and so he increased his total to 52. 1983.102 Part I. Flesch’s reaction was a “resigned silence.” In a Sunday Telegraph column appearing in July 1997. in response to Flesch’s request for aid in arranging a tour of the United States to give blindfold displays. but which balked at the idea of supporting Flesch (and compensating him for loss of income from journalism and other writing) during the six months that he said he would need for preparation. Walter Arpád Földeák corroborated Benko’s remark. It is significant that Hooper and Whyld’s highly-respected and well-researched Oxford Companion to Chess (1992) did not even include János Flesch among its encyclopedic entries. called the supposed record into very serious question—serious enough for many of them to conclude that the display should not be designated a world record-setting performance.

After Flesch’s death a fairly long obituary in the Hungarian chess magazine Magyar Sakkélet (No. November 1998). see the nine-move game with Sinka in Part III (Game 301). whereas all the other important events for which there are data sufficient to make proper calculations involve the exhibitor’s taking considerably longer per game. +7. In fact. =18). pages 40–41). Flesch. in these games so as to quickly decrease the number of games he had to play simultaneously. Szabados resigned because he thought it was dishonorable to win a game that way. had informed him that more than a few games ended in draws after 10 moves or less in what were still standard opening positions. It did not highlight the event at all. three game scores from master events. 2. Readers will see in the world-record table in Appendix A that no other supposed world record–setting display involved the completion of more than half of its games in 16 or fewer moves. or hungry. or offered draws. -1. this means that his average time per game was less than 15 minutes. Several current officials of the Hungarian Chess Federation expressed embarrassment when asked about Flesch’s exhibition and refused to answer any further questions about it. Because Flesch’s exhibition took only 12 hours. =13). page 172). respectively) exceeded a value of around 10 percent. What are the reasons for the negative judgment about the acceptability of Flesch’s display as a real world record? They can be classified and evaluated as follows: (1) Large Number of Very Short Games Several reliable reports of the event. Of course the mere numbers could mean that Flesch was an exceptionally quick and devastating player! However. Obviously.0 percent and 47. included information mainly about Flesch’s tournament performances. a good number of correspondents have independently reported that many of his opponents quit early because they were bored. For Flesch this value was 67.” according to the Hungarian chess organizer Lázsló Nagy (personal communication to Hearst. and 15 more by the 16th move (after about seven hours. György Négyesy wrote Hearst in March and November 1997 that András Osváth (then the current editor of Magyar Sakkelét) and Sándor Szerényi (the president of the Hungarian Chess Federation from 1960 to 1990). total +18. 1984.9 percent of the games ended before the 17th move. Other short games ended in draws. -1. One amazing outcome was in Flesch’s game against Gábor Szabados (an economics professor). state that of the 52 games there were 20 that were finished by the tenth move (after about four hours. Since (unlike Najdorf and other exhibitors) Flesch did not permit replacement of these opponents with another player. Apparently. “to minimize the burden of Mr. written by Pál Koszorús. For example. After merely seven hours of play 35 games were over. the most widely-cited one published in Magyar Sakkélet (1960. according to Négyesy. Similarly. Flesch accepted draws. of all those exhibitions for which there are complete relevant data. and did not even mention Flesch. where on the sixth move Flesch made a terrible mistake. By the 25th move a total of 43 games had been completed (+24. tired. leaving Flesch only 17 games to go. . In Najdorf’s 1947 45-board display only 8. only Koltanowski’s 1931 and 1937 displays (20. The First Part of the Twentieth Century 103 listed the world simultaneous blindfold champion as Miguel Najdorf with 45 games. The Hungarian chess authority Walter Arpád Földeák wrote the authors in August 1997 that the display was dubious and it would be best to suppress (“put away”) the story. He is certainly never listed as one of the winners against Flesch. who talked with Szabados in 1997. the games were scored as forfeits and thereby wins for Flesch.1 percent.3 percent.4. =16 for those 35 games). and only a very brief paragraph noting that he once played 52 blindfold games.

Brigitta Sinka. who said that Flesch had “made some notes though he did not write down the actual moves” (letter to Hearst from Roycroft. or knew only the basic movements of the pieces. (3) Note-Taking During the Exhibition Several reliable and independent sources have said that Flesch wrote some notes about each game during the display. March 1997). is incorrect. said that he searched for articles on the Flesch display. had . which involved opponents mainly of the second. but in the absence of a listing of the names of all the opponents (which none of our many correspondents could discover. As the games by various other exhibitors in Part III will collectively show. and there were many mates in three moves” (personal communication to Hearst. namely that all opponents were at least third-category players. and concluded: “Yes. In fact. Béla Balogh. Judging by Flesch’s opposition. seven first-category players. and 18 others (unrated). 11 second-category players.and third-category. It is almost surely the case that the participants were nowhere near as strong as in Najdorf’s 45-board display. eight third-category players. Examination of all 45 games in Najdorf’s exhibition reveals that a large proportion of them were good fights. in responding to a 1985 letter from John Roycroft of London.” including a good number of youngsters off from school. loss or draw) was clear. Obviously Flesch’s above statement that at the conclusion of games the status of the position (win. with no “rabbits. Hungarian-born Grandmaster Pal Benko told Hearst that many opponents were “virtual beginners. six fourth-category players. Noted chess historian Vlastimil Fiala said that in his opinion Flesch’s display “was an absolutely unserious try. Benko mentioned he had recently talked to the referee-teller in the match. 46). In the 1980s. it is hard to believe Flesch’s statement that many of his opponents later became masters. Brigitta Sinka. who supplied her nine-move draw with Flesch to Hungarian chess authority Négyesy in March of 1997. October 2000). almost half of them— a total of 24—were listed as below the strength of a third-category player. almost all of them had definitely decisive outcomes. January 1986). March 1997). Sándor Szilágyi. despite what they described as careful searches) this conclusion is really a strong opinion that cannot be verified. Flesch’s statement in his above report. In other words. For example.” according to Eliskases’s report. rather than an actual fact. The History of Blindfold Chess Only five games lasted more than 40 moves (maximum. (2) Relatively Weak Opposition In the above-mentioned 1960 Magyar Sakkélet article reporting on Flesch’s 52-board exhibition there is a listing of the strength of the opposition. a Hungarian chess authority who supplied virtually the same data on the opposition as just presented. is not very close to the truth. whether the games were close and hard fought or not. Földeák. I heard that many of the players did not know chess rules.104 Part I. opponents [were] very much weak chessplayers” (personal communication to Hearst. The participants included one female master. Thus there is much evidence that the strength of the opposition was considerably weaker than Flesch claimed in his communications with Knott. a candidate master in 1960. one candidate master. talked with Négyesy at that time and told him that the only help Flesch used was a plain sheet of paper on which “he had drawn 52 boxes and an arrow to sign the direction of the attack for each table” (personal communication from Négyesy to Hearst. László Kurtesch. Földeák wrote that a few months before Flesch’s 52-board exhibition he.

have stated that Flesch wrote down notes during the event. one taken from in front of him. quick finishes in Flesch’s contests with Hrumo and Csizmarik (14 and 18 moves respectively). no notes were ever used—cannot definitively be determined. “tabular” form. For one shot the table is completely empty. a good number of games ended in a draw after 8 to 10 moves. He obtained from Flesch three photographs of the exhibition that show him and most of the table in front of him at three points early in the event (judging by the board positions of his visible opponents). but it indicates the way in which he handled a somewhat earlier one. one from some distance behind him. The First Part of the Twentieth Century 105 witnessed a 20-board blindfold display in which Flesch took notes on the moves in each game via a diagrammatic.4. be trusted rather than isolated shots of his table in the photographs or television clip? (4) Possible Prearrangement of Games Although not much stock should be placed in Koltanowski’s remark that Flesch may have had “co-operation” from friends during the exhibition—cited in Steinkohl (1992. Nagy concluded that if what Filep said was true. to lighten Flesch’s burden). and it casts further doubt on the acceptability of Flesch’s performance as setting a world record. given years later. who were all students around 16 years old. and one from his left side. but had no other written material or help (“the players. note-taking has never been permitted in any serious modern simultaneous blindfold exhibition. October 2000). the brother-in-law of Flesch. respectively). Flesch’s performance is really dubious insofar as a world record is concerned. were not likely to have been possible for someone playing 52 games at once blindfolded. Several chess experts who have looked over the collection of blindfold games in Part III expressed to Hearst their view that the depth of analysis and the beautiful. January 1997). especially early in a game with so many other board positions to keep track . He stated that he personally knew Tibor Filep. The brief Hungarian television film clip that Hearst obtained from Négyesy includes three very similar shots of Flesch. Földeák left early but was informed later by the referee that when the dinner bell rang the students left and their games were forfeited (personal communication from Földeák to Hearst. that report does not prove that Flesch took notes during the 52-board display. including the forfeiture of players who quit before their games were complete. on the other hand. page 147)—more damaging evidence on this point was given by Hungarian chess organizer Lázsló Nagy (personal communication to Hearst. a FIDE master when Nagy was a student at Debrecen University from 1976 to 1981. John Knott remains somewhat unconvinced by these reports. and possibly even the two other games ever made available after the display (with Holdosi and Bodnar: 22 and 24 moves. Of course. as we already know. were weak players”). jugs. Whether Flesch was warned that the shots were about to be taken and he concealed or removed the paper on which the eyewitnesses reported that he wrote notes—or. Naturally. Even though two eyewitnesses at the 52-board display. The television shots are quite clear and indicate no written material on the table. for the other two there are bottles. Filep spoke to the university chess players about the Flesch simultaneous blindfold exhibition and told them that many games were arranged beforehand (and that. and microphones on his left side and a chess clock on his right (although in the shot taken from the left. they all involve risky tactics of the kind most blindfold players would avoid. his right shoulder obscures part of the right side of the table). Kenneth Whyld has said that a seemingly reliable source told him that some of the Flesch games “had been prepared in advance” (personal communication to Hearst. Should eyewitness reports. one an opponent and the other the teller-referee. November 1998).

The authors (and Edward Winter separately) wrote the FIDE office again in 2004 about its possible ratification of Flesch’s record. And if such records do exist it seems amazing that not a single one of the many chess historians and experts we consulted over the past twenty years knew anything about them. Najdorf had Black in 6 of 45 games (13. Hearst wrote FIDE about the ratification. he could greatly increase the number of games he was capable of playing. responded in a way that did not clarify the matter. 28–29. From the time of Zukertort’s display in 1876 until Najdorf’s exhibitions in 1943 and 1947 the blindfolded player in world record–setting exhibitions always had the White pieces in all the games.” (6) Twelve Games Out of 52 with Black Pieces Flesch mentioned his willingness to let 12 opponents have the White pieces even though the chief arbiter thought this request from the players was “unreasonable.106 Part I. In August 1985. There are hardly any other games in the authors’ collection of more than 300 from world record–setting displays that compare with these four games in brilliance. Furthermore. It’s a pity more extensive records [of his games] were not kept” (letter from Miles to Edward Winter in April 1994). not a disadvantage. the vice-president of the Hungarian Chess Federation. Recall that Najdorf actually asked in advance for Black on Boards 13–14. Koltanowski stated that if he could alternate White and Black on successive boards. sent a notice of Flesch’s new blindfold record to FIDE. Flesch wrote as if he were making a concession. the General Secretary of FIDE. It is unclear whether Lim Kok Ann actually searched the 1960s’ FIDE records for information about any acceptances of blindfold records. or are at least an astonishing illustration of what serious training can do.” We have previously noted that the opportunity to play Black on some boards is an advantage. Lim Kok Ann. The History of Blindfold Chess of. so as more easily to keep separate in his memory three sets of 15 games. located in Lucerne. brevity. (5) Ratification of a World Blindfold Record by FIDE In his report for Knott. and 43–44 in his 45-board display in 1947. Also. the reader who is a chess expert and who has studied many of the games in Part III will have to decide whether some or all of the four games made available by Flesch (or the event organizers) right after the match are likely to have been prearranged—as other reports have implied or stated some games might have been—or were simply beautiful productions on his part while playing 52 games at once. However. but no answer has been received. even when champions are playing many fewer than 52 games. because it makes the different games more distinctive. Once again. He stated his belief that Pillsbury’s 21-board display in Hannover in 1902 against strong players is “approached by no one” and referred us to Edward Winter for more information. and whether such records ever existed. Because there are no strict FIDE rules for blindfold play it seems unlikely that the organization would become involved in ratifying world records in that sphere of chess. and originality.3 percent). on behalf of the federation and jury. whereas Flesch had . Grandmaster Anthony Miles has written that “Flesch’s games suggest that his performances do indeed verge on the superhuman. which duly ratified it. a query in Winter’s widely-read “Chess Notes” column on the Chess Café website in 2004 yielded no reply from a FIDE official or anyone else as to whether FIDE ever actually “ratified the world record. It is rare for blindfold games to be both brilliant and original. Flesch stated that Zoltán Gábor.

” as Flesch reported that it did. and other matters.1 percent).. contacted Flesch’s two children in March of 1997 while they were living in the Netherlands. Perhaps this was not the film Flesch referred to. It was not received. if in fact it existed and covered “the entire proceedings. weak opposition and the number of very short games with no clear outcome at the finish). (8) Other “Subjective” Opinions from Chess Experts Besides the negative comments about Flesch and his 52-board exhibition already mentioned. could have been refuted if the chess public had access to the game scores (for example. The First Part of the Twentieth Century 107 Black in the final 12 of 52 games (23. and Flesch’s son answered that they did not possess any relevant records. Flesch claimed shortly before his death that he had all 52 game scores and was going to publish them someday soon. followed by shots of applauding people as Flesch accepted a trophy at the display’s end. Why wait more than twenty years after the display to do so? A number of the criticisms above. despite numerous chess historians’ efforts. However. and they offered to send it.4. Regardless. Flesch seems to have been disingenuous in implying that he was making a concession. György Négyesy. many derived from statements made right after the display. but it was all the Hungarian correspondents could find. In 1997 the authors were excited to hear that Négyesy had apparently located the film from a Budapest television station. in the light of the numerous criticisms. area resident and for a long time one of the top chess players there. Since there are no strict rules about blindfold play (Flesch mentioned that his exhibition followed Alekhine’s “stringent arrangements. he would probably have been smart to ask in advance for the Black pieces on the bottom 12 boards. D. even though some of them may be judged mere hearsay or gossip. and game records are not conscientiously kept—unlike games from important regular tournaments. a few others deserve inclusion here because they come from reliable and knowledgeable sources. there is nothing basically unethical about playing some games with the Black pieces. (7) Inaccessibility/Disappearance of Game Scores and the Documentary Film It is not unusual for a good number of the games in a blindfold exhibition to be virtually impossible to obtain. because such events are often considered “entertainment” or memory stunts. On his return he . He went to Budapest with no obvious biases about the validity of Flesch’s display (he was told very little about it before his trip). They confirmed that there was such a film.C. have not been unearthed).” which. Flesch also stated that a full-length documentary television film was produced about the exhibition and was seen in 64 countries and by more than 100 million people. without the game scores historians cannot. A copy of the video revealed that it was less than a minute long and merely showed the columns of players and Flesch sitting at a table with his back to them— photographed from three different angles. the brevity of many games. visited Budapest in late 1997 and tried to gain more information about the Flesch exhibition. Other Hungarian contacts said that the game scores had “vanished” and at least one correspondent stated his view that Flesch had deliberately destroyed them. make a favorable case for Flesch on the basis of the games themselves. In fact. The film could be very revealing about note-taking. Richard Cantwell. a Washington. Shortly after Flesch’s death Knott met Flesch’s first wife and their son in London.

They ignored the request and sent the following curious reply: “In the opinion of the [Hungarian] chess editors this game is certainly so beautiful that without question we should reserve it for inclusion in an obituary article on János Flesch. Miles’s description of the actual available games as “superhuman” would seem to hold regardless of the duration of the exhibition.” The authors hope that the detailed descriptions of earlier world record–setting events will have convinced the reader that Flesch’s attempt. the time of Flesch’s display) scoffed at the possibility that Flesch had set a new world blindfold record. Grandmaster Lothar Schmid of Germany. involved the response of the Hungarian chess press about publishing the game. Miles’s erroneous belief that it lasted only five hours would understandably have been likely to prejudice him against it. Some of the persons Cantwell questioned stated simply that Flesch’s claim of a world blindfold record was an embarrassment for Hungarian chess. forfeited games. Those who willingly gave the more negative. such logic carried to its ultimate conclusion would mean that to set a new world record all one need do is to gather 53 warm bodies. Inciden*Chess. who was the chief referee at the 1972 world championship match between Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky. chess journalist Larry Parr wrote that Grandmaster Lázsló Szabó—who according to Steinkohl (1992. and the weakness of the opposition. What Knott (1984b) called “a sad sequel” to a brilliant game. and claim the world blindfold championship. British Grandmaster Anthony Miles remarked that “Flesch’s 52 was performed in about five hours and included many suspiciously short games. which Knott remarked was a missed opportunity for publicizing one of their country’s players. Hungarian Grandmaster István Bilek (born 1932) said that the exhibition was a “joke” and told Cantwell that no one would ever get a list of Flesch’s opponents or the game scores because Flesch probably destroyed them. a view expressed by others Cantwell approached for an opinion.” Yet Parr argued that in the absence of agreed guidelines the Hungarian may have as much right as anyone else to the world record. However. and who is respected as a knowledgeable chess historian.” From the remarks collected above. He believes that they will not end up with an opinion favorable to Flesch.108 Part I. who has one of the world’s largest chess libraries. page 590). compared to all the others. so long as a relatively large number of games were played. Flesch’s performance lasted about 12 hours. He added that Flesch was basically a dishonest person. as their main justifications. He continued: “Of course. make a single move against each. in view of Földeák’s belief that Flesch’s display should not be considered in the same breath as Koltanowski’s or Najdorf’s. Cantwell returned home thinking that those who want to defend Flesch’s record should talk to informed people in Budapest. perhaps it is understandable why the editors composed such a sarcastic response. played against Reuter in a simultaneous blindfold exhibition by Flesch in 1964 against 20 players in Luxembourg. leading Parr to state that “the Flesch effort was fishy. Perhaps I do him an injustice and it was genuine— are there any witnesses around?”* In Chess Life (September 1986. . February 1994. Commenting on a conversation with George Koltanowski. page 45) said that Flesch was a good blindfold player but took on too much in his attempt to play 52 games—told him about the large number of very short games in Flesch’s exhibition. but they would not expand on their reasons for holding this opinion. page 39. as indicated above. The History of Blindfold Chess reported that every one of the masters and authorities he had spoken to who were willing to state an opinion (a majority of whom were active in chess in 1960. stronger views often mentioned the number of very short. was not conducted in a way that comes close to being a valid try at the world record. wrote the authors that in his view the Flesch exhibition was indeed “doubtful” or dubious—words that Hungarian chess authority Földeák felt were too kind-hearted.

Négyesy. and not because he criticized the conditions and outcomes of the 1960 blindfold display. one is likely to be forced to the sorry conclusion that Flesch was not accurate with respect to many details in the narratives that he gave Knott in the early 1980s. the game was not published twenty years later in the actual obituary written about Flesch in Magyar Sakkelét. On a personal note. Benko told us that Flesch apparently won the case. Földeák.” Négyesy declared that the case never went to an actual trial. since Barcza may have lost the initial ruling because he publicly demeaned Flesch’s general character. So the Flesch display seems by far the most contentious in the often-controversial and argumentative history of world-record simultaneous blindfold chess. Barcza!? For completeness. . A Sensational Postscript: Flesch vs. but the outcome is rather unclear. job.4. Földeák stated that Barcza used strong words in a discussion about Flesch’s display. pages 40–41) (Game 367). historians. it should be mentioned that at least four of the Hungarian contacts— Benko (a long-time American citizen after defecting from Hungary in 1956). Földeák merely said that “the whole trial was mentioned sarcastically in the press. and players to give him any real credit for his blindfold and other chess achievements. one wonders why (at least according to Flesch) the well-known officials associated with the 1960 exhibition were willing to accept obvious defects in the arrangements and outcomes and to make extravagant and dubious claims about his performance. the major Hungarian chess magazine (1984. 2.”) Perhaps these characteristics irritated others so much that they played a role in the reluctance of Hungarian chess officials. Taking into account everything mentioned in connection with Flesch’s world-record attempt. (He attributed his chess battles with authorities to his search for “independence. John Knott *In all of the present authors’ research on blindfold chess. It appears that Flesch made enemies easily and apparently was a difficult person to deal with. and Szilágyi—independently reported to the authors that a year or two after Flesch’s controversial 1960 exhibition Grandmaster Gedeon Barcza called Flesch a “crook” and a “fraud” and that Flesch then sued Barcza for defamation of character. This seems to be the simplest. on its own authenticate Flesch’s exhibition. but Barcza refused to pay damages and served a jail sentence instead. Hungarian Chess Federation ‘kept back’ this case.* And one wonders why FIDE readily ratified the result as a new world record. No. and that the president of the Hungarian Chess Federation intervened to stop the proceedings. Barcza didn’t pay damages and this case didn’t happen nothing [sic]. and Flesch won this libel action on court of the first instance [sic]. which led to a lawsuit by the latter. no mention has been found of the “stringent arrangements made by Alekhine” for his blindfold exhibitions. the two authors of this book disagree on how to view Flesch’s overall status as a blindfold champion and how to treat opinions of others about him. even stating that only Alekhine’s efforts were comparable to and as stringently controlled as Flesch’s. and Alekhine’s displays in particular. On the other hand. The First Part of the Twentieth Century 109 tally. for which no takers could be found)? It seems likely that Flesch sued Barcza and the initial ruling was in Flesch’s favor. and perhaps impossible.” How is one to interpret these statements about a lawsuit. which Flesch stated his organizing committees decided to follow. The case may well have gone to a trial. in the absence of a careful examination of Hungarian court records and press reports in the 1960s (a tedious. however. This outcome cannot. and perhaps the only conclusion that holds together all the material and criticisms presented. Szilágyi asserted that “Barcza really was sued for libel and slander by Flesch.

intending to adopt a variation developed by Flesch. Therefore we feel that we must include him as one of the most important blindfold players during the first part of the twentieth century—even though he did not set any regular world record for simultaneous play. Perhaps it was sponsored by the Manhattan Chess Club. half a point behind Capablanca and Botvinnik. that he was prevented from watching a blindfold exhibition that Alekhine gave at the Manhattan Chess Club. but ahead of Alekhine. his father left home. *Knott regarded Flesch as a friend and has fond memories of him. He performed very well during the many months he spent there. Knott has no doubt that János Flesch was a fine player of blindfold chess and considers it a great pity that the conditions of his record attempt in 1960. however. . Fine was one of the strongest players in the world in the late 1930s. because he was too young to become a member of the Club. as White. ahead of Euwe. that “though I hate to admit it because it will probably cut down the sale of my books. while Fine was still at high school. but was side-tracked. There are just too many misrepresentations or inaccuracies in his reports to Knott for historians to rely so exclusively on his own words to justify honoring him with a place in the pantheon of blindfold world champions. first at Zandvoort 1936. were such as to have led to controversy and to have prejudiced many people against him. Tartakover and Koltanowski. Reuben Fine Reuben Fine (1914–1993) was an excellent blindfold player who also developed innovative ways of holding blindfold displays (based on time limits) and who contributed to the theoretical understanding of the psychology of chess without sight of the board. When he was in his late teens. It was in 1929. Among those memories is one of a game against Flesch. and subsequently at the City College of New York. 1951. unlike all the others assigned separate sections above.110 Part I. After seeking information about Flesch from scores of knowledgeable chess experts and historians over the past twenty years. page 210). again undefeated at the very strong Nottingham 1936 Tournament and achieving a respectable third-to-fifth place tie with Reshevsky and Euwe. I never read a [chess] book until I was already a master” (Fine. †Woodger (2004.* Hearst did not know Flesch and feels that it is impossible to judge how good a blindfold player Flesch was. According to Skinner and Verhoeven (page 774). with only a handful of his games available. later in 1936 first at Oslo. Flohr and Lasker. undefeated. in an amusement center at Coney Island. Knott. page 5).† When Fine was two years old. Tartakover and Keres. the only display that fits this description was an eight-board exhibition played by Alekhine at the Hotel Astor on June 16. He was successful in American tournaments and matches but did not receive much international recognition until he went to Europe when he was 21. where he gained his bachelor’s degree despite devoting more time to chess than to his studies. in person and by correspondence. both players being without sight of board or pieces. ahead of Flohr. but did not take a strong interest in it until his high school years in New York. His successes included taking first place at Hastings 1935-36. played the King’s Indian Attack against the French Defense. He learned chess at the age of eight. Hearst believes that prejudice played a relatively small role in the almost unanimously negative opinions he received about Flesch and his supposed accomplishments. and his report of it. undefeated. Fine frequently supplemented the family’s meager income during the Depression by playing all comers for stakes. The winner was the man he then regarded as the world blindfold record holder. 1929. The History of Blindfold Chess knew Flesch and had a good deal of contact with him. He confessed later. in the Baroque-style coffee lounge of the former Piccadilly Hotel in London.

at tourneys in Moscow and Leningrad. a Dutch radio broadcasting company. and some of his fast games with Bobby Fischer are included in collections of Fischer’s games. Among other 1937 triumphs he took first place. and first equal with Euwe at Amsterdam. with Pilnik and Euwe a further 1∂ points below. and finished first equal with Keres. sponsored by AVRO. 1∂ points ahead of Najdorf. In the last major tournament before World War II. and he tied an eight-game match with Najdorf (+2. He was invited to play in the match-tournament that FIDE arranged in 1948 to determine the successor as world champion to the recently-deceased Alekhine. In 1948 he did play in and win (undefeated) a fairly strong tournament in New York. A classmate and he were trying to find out whether they could manage to play that way. some in joint authorship. For years afterward Fine occasionally paid visits to the Manhattan Chess Club to play rapid chess against top players. Pedersen and Enevoldsen (himself a blindfold player who will be mentioned again). and eventually received a Ph. Psychologists who were also active chessplayers sometimes joked that his departure from the chess battlefield was a loss for chess and at best a draw for psychology. The First Part of the Twentieth Century 111 undefeated. Reshevsky. and undefeated. and Practical Chess Openings (1948) are especially to be noted.4. Fine accomplished some notable feats in blindfold chess. =4) a few months later. Woodger (2004) gives only 140 formal games played Reuben Fine (courtesy Edward Winby Fine in United States championships and other ter). and almost never against world-class competition. half a point ahead of Alekhine. He retained a strong Freudian emphasis in his work. he tied for first place with Keres. held in the Netherlands in 1938 and considered by many a qualifying tournament for a match with the world champion (Alekhine). Euwe. and Flohr. at Margate. Fine became interested in psychology. half a point ahead of Alekhine. American tournaments and matches during the war years. achieving a tremendous overall score of almost 95 percent. degree in that subject from the University of Southern California. -2. although Fine says that ordinarily he would have beaten this friend. Alekhine himself. The game ended in a draw. During the war Fine played little serious chess. In that event. Capablanca. He wrote several exceptionally clear and authoritative books on chess: Basic Chess Endings (1941). He also wrote over a dozen other chess books. . He played his first blindfold game when he was 14. His monograph on The Psychology of the Chessplayer (1956/1967) presented a basically Freudian view of motivations for attraction to chess. Fine won the annual United States Speed Championships (10 seconds a move) during the years 1942 to 1945. The Ideas Behind the Chess Openings (1943). For the rest of his life he devoted himself mainly to the practice of psychoanalysis in New York City. and his article “The Psychology of Blindfold Chess: An Introspective Account” (1965) is drawn upon in recounting them. Keres and Fine were the two youngest among the competitors. ahead of Flohr. but he decided not to participate mainly because he wanted to concentrate on his new profession. even after Freud’s views on many matters had been rejected or radically revised by his colleagues. and they were successful. undefeated. who included Botvinnik.D.

but later to become a world correspondence chess champion. then a schoolboy. g3 in that order and repeated this sequence on Boards 5–8. and systematically prepared the openings in advance. drawing against Donald H. .” The year 1943 was the first time he played blindfolded at 10 seconds a move—the standard way of playing regular rapid chess (“rapid transit”) before chess clocks became easily available for players to purchase. 1. Hearst vividly remembers his own first such weekly rapid tournament in 1945 (held Tuesday nights at the Marshall Chess Club. Fine’s display went well. In the blindfold variant the exhibitor. In the spring of 1933 he gave his first official blindfold display on eight boards at the Hungarian Chess Club in New York. Fine played 10 consecutive blindfold games against sighted opponents at 10-seconds-a-move. Nc3.. when so many games could look very much alike. the Divan’s speed champion. on which he could imagine the pieces on each board. =1. He was somewhat apprehensive and asked the organizers to provide him with a blank chessboard. He won the six games easily. First of all. Having been asked to give a regular simultaneous exhibition at a small club. 1. later employed by other players. usually ranging from 5 to 30 minutes but sometimes less. in an effort to confuse me. either by the opponent or a referee. is merely told his opponent’s move.a5 followed by Ra6. rapid chess became mainly a matter of giving each player a maximum amount of time. at the Washington Chess Divan. 1944. A regular exhibition would have finished in a half-hour. d4. On Boards 1–4 I played 1. page 30) stated that before the Hungarian Club exhibition he already knew that the main trouble in such exhibitions lay in the opening stages. (After the easy availability of clocks. Fine beat Berliner and scored +9. Fine (1951. he found that only six weak players showed up. However. and 1. where he achieved one win out of 21 games. or someone hit a gong every 10 seconds. such as . and he has 10 seconds to call out his reply. the opponent is looking at an actual board and is also limited to 10 seconds to reply after the “blindfolded” player calls out his move. usually on 8 or 10 boards. a buzzer sounded every 10 seconds. Sometimes wily opponents. The entry fee of 25 cents was used to distribute prizes of a few dollars to the top three scorers. Fine found it more of a hindrance than a help and never used one again.) Second.) But before the 1950s. Although Fine never played more than 12 games simultaneously without sight of the board—something many others have accomplished or could accomplish with practice—he remains a significant figure in blindfold chess.The opposition included Hans Berliner. namely “clock blindfold chess” and “10seconds-a-move blindfold chess. without sight of any board. and Friday nights at the Manhattan Chess Club in New York). would choose some bizarre opening moves. On August 30. and after that he gave regular simultaneous blindfold displays. Then to differentiate the two d-pawn openings or e-pawn openings I could call up an accurate visual image of the board as its number came up.. Accordingly.... so he suggested playing blindfolded against all six at once. This actually made my task all the easier. but never on more than 12. Mugridge.112 Part I. since it immediately gave the game an individual cast. In his other writings. The History of Blindfold Chess His first multi-board blindfold display came when he was about 16. his 1965 article delved deeply into the associative and imaginal-visualization processes he thought were basic to blindfold chess. Fine introduced some new ways to hold blindfold displays. in which to complete the entire game or lose by time forfeit. e4. (These topics are turned to in Part II. I followed the practice of most blindfold experts.

Fine played ten consecutive 10-seconds-a-move blindfold games at the Marshall Chess Club. for the only time during the display. chess editor of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle for over 60 years. The event was held to celebrate American-Soviet solidarity (which did not last too long. The Washington Chess Divan reported that this event attracted the largest crowd ever to gather at that club. In March 1945. taking White and Black alternately. Pilnik won. winning all the games (two are Game 357 and Game 358). losing only to Oscar Shapiro (1909–2002). -1. and publisher of the American Chess Bulletin for almost as long. Fine did not like to lose. clock blindfold chess. The draw was gained by Richard Cantwell.0 percent). Virginia. (United States Champion Arnold Denker was the teller. as in a regular tournament game. and long-time chess columnist for the New York Times. Also having only 10 seconds per move. etc. The games were played successively.V. in which he was blindfolded and Pilnik was not. against some of the best Washington players. one at a time. (There is no evidence that any of the games were ever published but Cantwell secured four of the original game scores from Dale Brandreth—Games 363– 366). He defeated District Champion M. =2. Hearst recalls that one of Fine’s opponents. 1945. In this Washington event. because his clock started in other games while he was contemplating a move in one game and his opponents would be making their moves in the other games. This meant he had to decide on a move very quickly after he reached a certain board (Boards 1 to 4 and then back to Board 1. who was then the Washington Divan champion.C. was Robert Byrne. and allowed his queen to be captured. Grandmaster. Stark and went on to score +3. in New York. Fine played a 10-seconds-a-move tengame match against Argentine Grandmaster Herman Pilnik.4. The display was equivalent to six tournament games played at the same time. 6∂–3∂. Fine became confused as to the location of a piece. which cost him a rook. Fine lost one game by misunderstanding the move announced. The loss was to H. Each board had someone selected to move the White pieces for Fine. Fine had his eye on six clocks and he obviously had to move much more quickly than usual. but to score 3∂ points out of 10 games against a grandmaster under these conditions is certainly an accomplishment. With his back to his opponents. Fine won all the games within two hours. Fine played six simultaneous blindfold games on January 13. Thus he had 10 seconds for his reply in each of the games. Out of the 10 games Fine scored +8. =1 (85. and occurred when. at 10-seconds-a-move. The large . The next month he played five successive pairs of blindfold games. although chess had nothing to do with that). Fine played four games simultaneously at 10 seconds a move. about 30 seconds since their last move. Hearst witnessed Fine give a 10-seconds-a-move display under even more difficult conditions than the normal case when you play one opponent at a time. and the time limit was strictly enforced for both the blindfold player and his opponents. In the same month Fine also gave a regular 10-game simultaneous blindfold display in Richmond. Klein.) Opponents had to reply as soon as Fine returned to their board. -1. then a strong player at age 17 and later a United States Champion.) and had heard the teller’s announcement of his opponent’s move. Fine beat Mugridge and again beat Berliner. At the Manhattan Chess Club in August 1949. at the rate of 20 moves an hour. A fierce competitor. chosen in a lottery involving members of the audience. The First Part of the Twentieth Century 113 With respect to his other blindfold innovation. As a youngster. His opponents included Hermann Helms (1870–1963). The time taken by each player was recorded on a standard chess clock. This feat occurred at the conclusion of the USA–USSR radio match played right after the close of the War in 1945.

[blindfold rapid transit] seems to be only an interesting stunt. In his 1958 book. Charles Bagby. The History of Blindfold Chess audience gave a loud collective gasp when Byrne’s number was drawn. Today the record is forty-five. otherwise nobody would have believed it. and had to be attested to by witnesses.114 Part I. In Philidor’s day three games was a miracle. If Reuben Fine had continued actively competing in chess tournaments and developing and practicing his blindfold skills he might well have someday eclipsed Najdorf’s simultaneous blindfold record of 45 games. as a rule no great examples of the art of chess. that a strong blindfold player can play a single game almost as well as with full view of the board. If we wish to discover how far chess has advanced in 150 years. His interest in blindfold chess. He also believed. Yet on the other hand blindfold chess is an index of the chess-playing ability of the human mind.. since no one expected that Fine would have such a powerful player among his opponents. Writing about this event a few years later. Clearly. an attorney of San Francisco” (page 31). This requires such a prodigious feat of memory that I have met only one person who has played several games simultaneously in that way. Rapid transit blindfold concentrates on speed rather than on the number of boards.. plus the fact that he had at one time been among the best in the world at regular chess. no startling ideas. Fine commented that “theoretically. it is possible to play blindfold chess without visualization. It produces no new variations. blindfold play is one of the most convincing answers [emphasis added]. it would not be possible to play blindfold chess at the rate of 10 seconds a move if it were necessary. to repeat mentally all the previous moves of the game. pages 54–55) commented that Like blindfold chess in general. Fine (1948. merely by remembering all the moves. Mr.. . It is natural to want to know how far the chess master can extend himself. again nobody believes it and witnesses have to swear that it happened. make this a reasonable possibility. like many others. Fine won all four games (Games 359–362). his ability to play quickly and virtually effortlessly. However. no novel theories. before each move.

In recent years there has been a tremendous growth in the frequency of lucrative tournaments. for example. Réti (once). and even televised or computer-generated coverage of world championships and other important events (including man versus machine matches). have also served to draw attention away from simultaneous exhibitions of various kinds. You can have fun engaging in Internet chess activities while alone at home. even if you never compete in a standard tournament. or by writing books. (The famed Manhattan Chess Club closed in 2002 after 124 years of existence. instructive and entertaining videos. 115 . In the last decade or two. There are a number of reasons why the first part of the twentieth century produced a large number of blindfold displays and new records. These can be achieved without the tremendous mental and physical efforts required to practice for. Koltanowski (twice). with Alekhine’s blindfold games being of the best quality among all the persons who ever played blindfold chess. it is surprising that since 1960 no one has tried to play more than 28 blindfold games at once. large-scale blindfold exhibitions. In addition. described above. the popularity of Internet chess competition has drawn players away from old-fashioned chess clubs—where men and women enjoyed offhand games sprinkled with conversation. and Koltanowski did to support themselves or their families). and to give. Najdorf’s display on 45 boards in 1947 now stands as the world record for number of games played simultaneously. compared to the many years since then. mostly to aspiring youngsters. Pillsbury. or to go on tours playing blindfold or regular simultaneous exhibitions in many cities or countries (as. and where club managers were encouraged to arrange and sponsor various kinds of exhibitions.) The much greater availability of chess books in many languages. from which many top masters can gain respectable (and occasionally astronomical) financial rewards. international and regional. Alekhine. many chessmasters can now earn a decent living by giving chess lessons. In our opinion. Blackburne. In the 35 years preceding 1960 Alekhine (twice). There may no longer be the motivation to perform spectacular feats like playing 40 games at once without sight of the board.5 The Last Fifty Years Introduction CONSIDERING THE RELATIVELY FREQUENT attempts to set a new world simultaneous blindfold record. and Najdorf (twice) set generally accepted world records by successfully playing from 28 to 45 such games (and Flesch did attempt 52 in his questionable exhibition). and the sometimes self-serving and even hostile or petty battles over who really deserved what was viewed as a very important title.

Francisco J. and many masters have remarked that regular chess involves visualizing ahead. many past blindfold champions have employed them in one form or another (without the use of computers. and no one who has faced more than 28. 27 games in 1986). Unless some unknown blindfold star has managed to keep his or her performance a secret from the media. Pérez is recognized as the best Spanish blindfold player ever (Lopez. The History of Blindfold Chess However. page 271). Pérez gave a simultaneous blindfold exhibition against 15 opponents (+11. Playing 20 games at once is quite an accomplishment—not achieved before Pillsbury in 1900. and probably large sums of money would be offered to anyone who is able to achieve such a performance. Pérez Born September 8.. Leo Williams (22 games in 1973. Interest in blindfold chess and related activities are now demonstrated in different ways. Hans Jung (26 games in 1993). If someone does try to play more than 40 or 50 games at once there will certainly be great attention given to the effort. One major recent innovation is the scheduling of full-length tournaments in which masters play individually against each other. Pérez was also an opponent and confidant of Alekhine’s while he was in Spain during his tragic final years.. All these drills are a form of blindfold chess. and Ole Boegh Larsen (28 games in 1987). which has components that mimic chess without sight of the board. from memory experiments. blindfold chess has historically been viewed as involving a combination of exceptional memory as well as chess skill. there are only eight new players since 1954 who have played 20 or more simultaneous blindfold games. blindfold chess events still capture the interest of chess players. In chronological order they are: Francisco José Pérez (20 games in 1954. Spain. We will see later. =4). =2) in 1947. In 1985 the best player in the world.. have been an important part of the chess scene since 1993 (more about them shortly). in Vigo. 25 games in 1982. Jacob Øst Hansen (25 games in 1986). However. Anthony Miles (22 games in 1984). Garry Kasparov. but in some or all of the games neither player has sight of a chess position. which attracts the very best grandmasters in the world. Vlastimil Hort (20 games in 1979 and 1981. against very strong opposition—an individual effort that in terms of difficulty may be as admirable as any. 1920. These Melody Amber tournaments (named after the young daughter of the chess patron who fostered and funded them).116 Part I. Various web sites offer the computer-minded chessplayer exercises or advice that involves “visualization training. of course). Kenneth Rogoff (26 games in 1968). and 25 . Such exercises are greatly useful for developing regular chess skill. but not in terms of watching or following the latest attempt at someone’s setting a new world record for number of games played simultaneously. gave a “clock” simultaneous blindfold display on 10 boards in Germany. The best known of these tournaments is one held in Monaco every spring. although in 1995 Hort stated that his maximum was 22).” These present diagrammed positions or partial game scores and sequences of moves that the player has to follow “mentally” from the original diagram or score. But there are easier ways to make a living. and followed that up by playing 20 at Pobla de Segur (Lérida) in 1954 (+16. This is primarily because chessmasters have stopped trying to accomplish that goal. -2. which established a Spanish record. and the memory factor becomes relatively unimportant when one is playing only 10 games. 1989. 25 in 1956). The moves are usually typed out by the players and fed into linked computers. that merely following 10 games simultaneously is not too difficult for someone of strong master strength.

harvard. He went on to graduate school in economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and. with an average rating typically of about 1700–1800. -1.. despite his spotty high-school record. One of his blindfold efforts is Game 426.edu/rogoff/bio. eventually becoming a top name in that field as chief economist at the International Monetary Fund and as a professor at Princeton and now at Harvard. mostly in Yugoslavia. The average strength was much lower than my usual 10–12 person exhibitions simply because we had to use everyone at the club that day. In his biographical sketch. and yet he is apparently the youngest player ever to play more than just a handful of games simultaneously without sight of the board. when he was 14–16 years old. I honestly do not think I ever made an illegal move. and moved to Europe where he supported himself by playing in various tournaments and giving chess exhibitions.html .5. =4) to commemorate the tenth anniversary of Alekhine’s death. he reports the following: My exhibitions were always done under fairly strict rules. I believe the day I played 26 opponents was the first Saturday in October 1968. Although he does not remember any published material on his blindfold chess that can be cited for specific details and confirmation of his memory.. he was accepted as a freshman at Yale.” he left school but re-entered a year later. achieving the titles of international master in 1974 and grandmaster in 1978. I was not thinking in terms of records. though my opponents often tried (but the rules I played under were “touchmove”. I did not keep the score sheets. I required opponents to keep score.economics. He was awarded the international master title in 1959 and moved to Cuba in 1962. so (despite the participation of some strong players) there were certainly at least a half dozen unrated players. I had to try to make a legal move. Rogoff decided to miss most of the last two years of high school. mostly at the Rochester Chess Club. though I did sometimes write down the moves afterwards. say 12–15. but continued to play chess during the summers. My exhibitions at the Rochester club (the only place I played more than 10 at once) were against the people who came to the club and who ranged from Class D to Expert. At age 17 he played first board for the United States team that won the Chess Olympiad in Haifa. still “torn between being a professional chess player and a serious research economist.” By the age of 14 he was a master and the New York State Open Champion.* he insists that “there is no such thing as a pure prodigy at chess and I worked very hard at it. The Last Fifty Years 117 (including five with the Black pieces) at Madrid in March of 1956 (+20. at http://post. if possible. A year later. since I was just doing it for fun. My best recollection is that I won 20.. Israel. Born March 22. but occasionally at shopping malls—about a dozen well-controlled exhibitions. Corresponding with Hearst in May 2004. with that same piece). and would always have a strong player monitor the games. Rogoff’s name has never before been mentioned in the vast literature on blindfold chess. had 3 draws and 3 losses over the course of 4–5 hours. New York. *In 2007. he grew up in Rochester. Kenneth Rogoff So far as can be learned. Rogoff was ranked as one of the top ten players in the United States before he was 20. 1953. Rogoff recalled that he gave blindfold displays once every three months or so during 1967–1969. My records are very sketchy. From then on he concentrated on economics. if I were to make an illegal move with a piece. The consistency of my play was notably lower than when I did.

-2. 1986. taking 16 hours to score +21. always trying to play one game with the aid of an empty chessboard in front of him so that he could imagine each piece on its square.9 percent) in 18∫ hours—which remains the current Canadian blindfold record. in March 1973 he took on 22 opponents simultaneously in Montreal (+17..118 Part I. organizer. 1953) informed us that. =3) in a display that lasted 11∂ hours. However. cannot be summarized here. =3. The opposition in such large simultaneous exhibitions (over so many hours) could be quite varied. Leo Williams. but the four to five hours he required are fewer than any blindfold champion (in Appendix A) took to play at least 16 games. in Baie-Comeau. His occupation involves management of a power plant. (Recall that Alekhine had played 21 in the same city exactly 50 years before. 36 years later. However. Playing one blindfold game continued to remain an effort for him until one day he decided to remove the board. and Hans Jung receive special attention because they are the two most successful blindfold players in that country. These bald facts are certainly impressive. regrettably. January 26. Some opponents *In August 2005. †In 2007. one must. On his website† he chronicles the history of blindfold chess in Canada since 1970. -1. therefore. scoring +16. it was easier!” and he graduated to two boards the next day. Rarely were any but the very best games conserved [for publication]. but they were unable to state with any certainty the maximum number he ever played at once. The History of Blindfold Chess This report is extraordinary! Not only was Rogoff just 15 years old when he played 26 opponents at once blindfolded. should be accepted or viewed with reservations.htm . confirming the above information and adding some personal material: When executing these exhibitions. and they recommended that we place great confidence in his own report. =9 (75. It has been the goal of the authors throughout this book to obtain at least two independent sources for all factual statements and the reader must decide whether Rogoff’s own description. Québec. 1950. in Ottawa) has not been a professional chessplayer. and he mentions several players and events of interest that. “Suddenly. for the purpose of review/appeals. Despite the hope that he would find the approximately six game scoresheets from the 26-player event that he recalled writing down himself after the display. Williams responded to an inquiry from us in November of 2002. etc. both of them said Rogoff was an “extremely trustworthy” and honorable person. Canadian chess had a boom in blindfold play. two Rochester players were located who either played in or recalled Rogoff’s blindfold exhibitions. and journalist Jonathan Berry (b. A few years later he extended the record to 27 on November 15. and thus set a new Canadian record.shaw.” He himself has given some blindfold exhibitions (apparently no more than 10 games at once) and he recalls that he started that type of chess at age 13. all games were recorded.. rely on Rogoff’s own description. the current Canadian record holder.) Williams eclipsed that number by opposing 25 in Montreal on July 15. (One of Berry’s own blindfold outings is Game 334). 1982. at http://members. he was unable to locate them (he mentioned that a large number of his game scores had been stored at his parents’ house and mice ate most of them).. Leo Williams (b. at a time when “the rest of the world wasn’t so interested anymore. In the absence of newspaper reports or scoresheets.ca/berry5868/blind. -2. starting in the 1960s.* Leo Williams The Canadian chess master. but it is at least equally interesting to hear what the exhibitor himself has to say about his blindfold experiences.

5. There are (very few) selected blindfold games published in various issues of Quebechecs over the years. Hort’s blindfold play culminated in his taking on 20 opponents at once in Munich in October of 1979 (+9. -4. At a number of Amber combined rapid-and-blindfold tournaments in the 1990s he was appointed the “guest grandmaster. Suffice it to say that many games did not always merit immortalization. January 12.0 percent. The present volume has made it easy to understand why the first four merit such an honor. He became a grandmaster at the age of 21. Hort (b. as Hort does on pages 151–154. He was selected to play fourth board for the Rest of the World in their match with the USSR in 1970. The Last Fifty Years 119 were quite weak. losing to Spassky in the quarter-finals. 1944) is best known for his accomplishments in regular. Vlastimil Hort The cover of Ludwig Steinkohl’s book on blindfold chess (1992) is graced by portraits or photographs of only five players: Morphy.” which meant in some cases he had to be prepared to replace any player who became ill or could not show up at the last minute. in games where a particularly brilliant combination was launched. however.5 percent) and the same number of adversaries in Meran. as the opponent would have ample time to contemplate his predicament. Alekhine. separate from the actual tournament. Austria. Pillsbury. Hort was a world championship candidate in 1976. stayed the German record until Anthony Miles surpassed it with 22 in 1984 (to be described shortly). and in the 1970s was Czechoslovakia’s leading player. where he achieved a plus score against Polugaevsky in their four games. =8 for 65. and Hort. is included in Part III: Game 441. and so Pillsbury’s famous 21-board exhibition against topnotch opposition in Hannover in 1902. Some players (through innocence and/or connivance) would not resign even when all the bounds of chess etiquette has been long surpassed. Steinkohl’s book was published in German in that country and would presumably have greater appeal if a German player received recognition. and Hort was probably included because the former Czech grandmaster has been considered the best blindfold player in Germany since he emigrated there in the 1980s (although Robert Huebner has also been active and quite successful in recent blindfold play). in 11 hours). played more than 20 games in Germany. Hort said that he was “maybe weak in rapid Chess Magazine). it would be met with a much speedier resignation than in overthe-board play. -3. presumably from the 1986 record display. He was no longer rated highly enough in the world to be chosen to play in the tournament Vlastimil Hort (courtesy The British itself. in July of 1981 (+9. Hort never. over-theboard chess. and ample onlookers to convince him. Najdorf. =7 for 62. others would have weaker opponents suddenly grow stronger (through replacement) after many hours of play. Conversely. . as well as to give simultaneous eight-board blindfold displays against a group of strong players. One of Williams’ games.

but I still believe I could do fine in blindfold.120 Part I. he scored his first notable victory in the 1974 World Junior Championship in Manila. Again and again she comes by. . at a nursing center in Meran. 2001. as is often stated. Miles (courtesy Edward Winter). Relating a story that could have happened to any blindfold player. from his youth to the present day. I know you’re trying to concentrate. is much more widely known for his over-the-board successes than for his blindfold play. with a home of his own in Germany. like Hort. he died at the age of 46 on November 12. †Jacques Mieses.‡ He scored some new tournament successes in the 1990s. and are given high fees for doing so. the master isn’t blind at all! Anthony Miles Miles was the first native-born British player to earn the grandmaster title (this was in 1976. other health problems. was named a grandmaster at the age of 85 in 1950. ‡The Bundesliga is the premier German Chess League. thereafter dividing his time between events in England and Europe and. the same year that England’s Raymond Keene also attained the title). Then the president of the club says to him. 1955.* For him “the biggest problem in blindfold chess is that you have to keep concentrating and that is very hard. in which some foreign players are allowed to play on the teams. stating that everything is a deceit.. *The year is not given. He was one of the world’s top 10 or 20 players in the late 1970s and early 1980s.. when FIDE awarded the title to many players who in past years had deserved the title but never achieved it because no strict criteria had been established for gaining the title.” In a personal communication to Hearst (March. and was viewed as England’s first potential challenger for the world title. The History of Blindfold Chess play now. after becoming a naturalized British citizen. Hort described an exhibition where time after time a woman in a hat passes and looks the exhibitor in the eye. He stated that the most blindfold games he has ever played at once was 22. than anyone else in Europe. and he is getting very nervous.. 2008). Unfortunately. and one wonders if this is the display that Steinkohl lists above as involving only 20 opponents. but eventually returned home.† Tony Miles. He tried to recover his confidence by moving to the United States and competing there. I don’t think blindfold chess was forbidden in Russia. of complications from diabetes and Anthony J. But around the mid–1980s his health and huge self-assurance began to falter. Hort claimed that he has given more blindfold displays of six to 16 boards. it’s just that it is very tiring and none of the masters wanted to do it” (three of Hort’s blindfold performances are Games 372– 374). Born April 23. but never regained the high world ranking he had previously achieved. frequent competition in the Bundesliga. but did you see this lady. she made a terrible scene. A revealing and often entertaining interview with him was published on pages 237–241 of the 1995 Amber tournament book.

it is easy Tony. but did not feel inclined to do so again. the fact that Hort’s memory is every bit as bad—well... and let them know if I thought it was possible. and all the games were immediately put on disk and recorded for posterity. The Roetgen Chess Club had decided to celebrate its centenary by staging a special event. I should mention that my memory is basically extremely average—quite good for faces and phone numbers. “Oh. at the risk of stating the obvious. I should explain that the critical phase is the opening. but with 1. For this purpose it is necessary to have some sort of system. Nf3. The absolutely essential thing is to separate the positions so they each develop their own individual character. The Last Fifty Years 121 The February 1994 issue of Chess reported (at pages 34–35) on an eight-board simultaneous blindfold exhibition by International Master Paul Littlewood of Great Britain. though there were a couple of hiccoughs and two nightmares. but if I required clarification my own previous move was also given in full algebraic notation.. “You could do it easily. and so on. Hort told me that when he played against the first Sicilian he would play 2. a table for refreshments and a comfortable sofa. d4 and on five 1. 1. I must say. For anyone thinking of trying such a performance. c3. Nc3 and so on. I would then try to classify each opening by a letter. 1. 1.” he said in his inimitable way. e4 e6—f (for French Defense). =10 (68. Nf3 on ten. Generally things went very smoothly. The same again for the next five. extremely professional. but they should be specified since earlier “records” are somewhat open to question. I was simply given the board number. probably the more accurate term is scatty—as my own. c4. this was just abbreviated to board number and move. The rules are quite simple.. -2. e4 e5 would be e. I am. The editors knew of Miles’s achievement in that field and gave him an opportunity in the same issue to discuss his own blindfold experiences and his thoughts on blindfold chess in general (pages 36–39). my previous move and my opponent’s reply. The first nightmare came quickly and was completely due to my lack of detailed planning. +10. hopeless with names. using vowels as frequently as possible in the hope that the set of five would be a pronounceable sound. As it happened they did this at a Bundesliga match at which I was present. quite accustomed to remembering chess positions. On boards one and three I would play 1.5. Miles pointed out that in 1984 he had given a blindfold exhibition in the small town of Roetgen. I concluded that it was. they wanted to find someone who could break the German simultaneous blindfold record. Ian Hunnable. d4 Nf6—u (for usual) and so on. Germany (near Aachen). Without my realising it . One long-suffering girl-friend with twenty-four chess sets on the floor later. against the second 2. A sound-proof booth was specially constructed which contained simply a microphone for communication. the third 2.. though. There was no “safety net” such as the score-sheet available if I forgot anything. Also. suddenly four . Thereafter I played pretty much my normal openings. In my naiveté I did not develop anything so refined.. e4.. GMI of Aachen. Normally.” Moved by such simple faith in my ability and . which had remained at 21 games for more than eighty years.2 percent). Back at Roetgen the would-be organizers took their first step by contacting the nearest available exponent of the practice—my then German clubmate Vlastimil Hort. The Roetgen organisation was. The writer. two and four 1. against 22 players. I agreed with the Roetgen delegation that I would have a trial run at home. one of the sponsors of the event was a computer company. For example. 1. Vlasti has done a few 20-board displays before. and become memorized as pictures rather than strings of details. and a date was duly arranged for the attempt.. The last item was my choice—I had practised at home simply lying on the settee with my eyes closed and found this arrangement most pleasant. Out of nothing more than curiosity I joined the discussion and asked Vlasti about his experiences. so the genuiness of the performance and quality of games can be readily checked.. set by Pillsbury in 1902. implied that Littlewood was England’s leading exponent of blindfold simuls. d4 d5—d. .

forgetting I had moved my a-pawn there some moves before. that is.. I started there by losing my first four games with White! . The second came when the man who was transmitting the moves became slightly over-immersed in one position. who when I last met him was the most lucid and mentally alert nonagenarian I have encountered. It was with considerable relief that I forced a draw a few moves later.. c4. . as noted above]. He deserves special credit for showing such ability on the single occasion he played blindfolded.. and we know from his above remarks that he had never done it before Roetgen. and I did find the performance basically easy. 19. It was clear that I had to eliminate a back rank weakness and I played g2–g4 which had a secondary function.. Lastly.122 Part I. I was walking my king out of some checks to the safety of a6 when I thoughtlessly announced Kb4–a5.. Everything had been exchanged in the centre and there was simply no positional structure to remember. For statisticians. averaging 31 per game. Luckily the man immediately realised his mistake and no harm was done. Four of his games are in Part III (Games 389–392).. because he scored 5∂–5∂ on boards 1 to 11 and 9∂–1∂ on boards 12 to 22. the organizers probably had placed the better players on these boards. after what seemed like an eternity but was probably around ten minutes. After a while I went to the toilet. Ironically one each. and with hindsight doing it a week before playing in a grandmaster tournament at Bugoyno may not have been wise. Mine came on the very last game to finish. It was tiring of course. The hiccoughs were two illegal moves. I have to say that I agree with Hort.. The error was discovered a few moves later when one of us tried to do something impossible. The second nightmare was the one all blindfold simul givers must dread—I simply completely forgot a position. 1. Whilst various British Chess Federation officials and Times columnists like to doubt my sanity from time to time. . or particularly Koltanowski. Still nothing. I played a total of 674 moves.. and I had the terrible task of re-separating them. To our knowledge. Miles’s record does bear out this hunch. though. but whenever this happened in practice it was on board 17. Rd1|d5 and the reply was . and 1. Maybe I have something against prime numbers. will testify that if it does drive you crazy it does so very slowly! Examination of Miles’s games in this exhibition reveals quite good and solid play on his part. . h7–h5. . and I think that about half an hour per game is a reasonably normal rate. against opposition that he was told had an average rating of approximately 1900– 2000. An evaluation of the play of adversaries on the first 11 boards shows it to be substantially superior to that on the last 11 boards. the shortest game was drawn in 20 moves after about six hours—the longest won in 68 after 11∂. close to Expert. the position came back.. Probably the most prohibitive aspect of such displays is the time factor. but sure enough on board 19 my move had been 22. because everyone else mentioned in this book gave at least a few organized displays before taking on 20 opponents. My mind was a total blank..M. I started at noon and finished at 11:30 P. The History of Blindfold Chess games transposed from 1. or 23 [Miles had played 24 games in practice. I knew the opening had been a QGD (of course!) but other than that—nothing... I don’t know why. I went back to the booth and gave serious consideration to Rd5–d1 and a draw offer! Finally. Miles never again gave a serious blindfold exhibition. anyone who has ever met Najdorf. Unfortunately the intermediary had been expecting h2–h3 and played that instead. I do not know of any connection with the Roetgen display! Furthermore. from time to time one comes across the theory that blindfold chess is dangerous to one’s mental health.. threw some cold water over my face and had some fresh air. I quickly corrected my mistake when the move was queried.. He is therefore an anomaly in the history of simultaneous blindfold chess. Nf3 into Queen’s Gambits Declined. d4.

5. would never allow him the travel and study time to find out how far he could go in regular chess. but there was no time when he felt he was losing track of the games. at 6:45 P. for three minutes—to go to the toilet. For a long time Enevoldsen’s record was never challenged. varying between 23 and 58. even after O. In an interview. 179. a talented Danish tournament player. being awarded the title of international master in 1950. realized that his professional activities (as a school teacher). =11 (77. he maintained complete control of the games. =4 (84. It was not until more than nine hours later.M. Larsen successfully played 28 games simultaneously a year later. (A report of the event by Zvend Novrup was published in the International Players Chess News. The only possibly questionable aspect of this display was Hansen’s opportunity to ask yes or no questions about the position. Otherwise. Enevoldsen was a successful tournament player.. a single game more than Enevoldsen. The media pursued the tired Hansen relentlessly for days after the display. but I have the ability to visualize and to associate names and voices to games”).0 percent).” . pages 29–31) gives details and games from Enevoldsen’s blindfold career. The newspaper Politiken offered him financial support for such an attempt and. August 18. of course. a little more than one piece of pastry. although all were experienced tournament players. Denmark: +13. see Game 356.” to which his second could only answer “yes” or “no. He paused only once. Will you do it again? (“Probably not—unless some player establishes a record of 26 games—then I might try 27!”). and his family life. Research has not turned up any previous instance in which this option had been permitted in simultaneous blindfold displays. Hansen’s opponents. he had scored +19. From then on Hansen played faster and faster. He had noted that his powers of visualization were quite good. The games all lasted a relatively long time because Hansen refused to take any early draws and fought each game to a finish. There is no count of how often he asked such questions. Hansen remarked that the display had been really tough. 1986. he was ready on Saturday. and had set a new Scandinavian blindfold record (see Game 369).M. and he decided instead to try breaking Enevoldsen’s record.B. to try 25 at once. too. 1986.) The record attempt took place in the House of Politiken in Copenhagen. in 1987. During the event he consumed only five or six cups of coffee with lots of sugar. May 24. which had an average length of 35∂ moves. After he was handed a sizable check from Politiken for this accomplishment. No. Why did he do it? (“Why do you climb Mount Everest? Why do you make a high jump when you are destined to come down to earth again?”) Isn’t it difficult? (“Yes. The Last Fifty Years 123 Jacob Øst Hansen Jens Enevoldsen (1907–1980) had established a Scandinavian blindfold record in 1939 by playing 24 games at once in Roskilde. who called out their own moves.” When the last game finished around 10:45 P.1 percent). that the first game ended—a win for Hansen. as each game now had “its own face. as this goal was more practical than striving to gain the grandmaster title. Occasionally he had taken advantage of his right to put questions of the sort “Is there a pawn on b4?.” according to the rules. Winter (2006. but in the 1980s Jacob Øst Hansen (b. had an average rating just under 1700. He never did do it again. -2.M. from which the following details and quotations were derived. she said: “He is a little absent-minded. and two glasses of water. Hansen’s wife should perhaps have the final word. after six blindfold displays in which he gradually increased the number of opponents from eight to 20. starting at 9:30 A. 1952). he does not remember things when he does the shopping. During the display no player simply left a piece to be taken for nothing.

I was surprised at how easy it was to visualize the board and pieces (they looked just like the set I always played on). I now can only visualize abstract pieces in quarter sections (meaning for example I know it’s a knight but it doesn’t have color or substance and I can see it going say from f3 to g5 easily and I can see the affected squares and pieces around it but I don’t see the entire queenside of the board. and eventually gave numerous displays of as many as 10 boards. a punk rock band began blasting out music for a CD promotion release at a nearby record store. putting blindfold chess on hold. who had successfully opposed 25 in 1982 (see above).. I am a blindfold purist and abhor any physical aids such as reading scoresheets. The other positions I patched together with mnemonics. Instead I analyzed positions on the dark ceiling of my bedroom.. But during his chess career he has given more than 100 exhibitions of at least 10 boards.) When I came back [to blindfold chess] in 1990 I could now visualize only 3 or 4 boards of every exhibition. I can read a newspaper at the same time as doing a 10-board display or carry on a light conversation as part of a publicity stunt. After five moves I found that what did the difference was keying on varying different pawn moves in the position. The History of Blindfold Chess Hans Jung Canada enters the picture again.. Two hours after the exhibition began.. With almost every game there are problems remembering the first five or so opening moves before the opening becomes specific or a major identifying feature occurs. These were great trigger moves and the other pieces fit the “picture” around them. Ontario. but asking for the repeat of the last move I think is OK and I have done that often. Since extremely noisy surroundings make blindfold displays almost impossible to give... 1993. .. FIDE master 1999) handled 26 boards at a mall in London.. He went to Europe and played some regular chess there. In 1984 the Chess Federation of Canada would not support him in arranging a national tour because he did not yet have a master’s rating..124 Part I.. and other memory aids. So a few weeks later he arranged a 30-board display at a different mall in London. My parents would send me to bed early on school nights but I was not ready to sleep. In large displays my most common memory stunt would be to anchor sets of 5 games with four e4 openings followed by one game with the black pieces.).. Either a unique pawn structure such as a pawn chain or hanging pawns or pawn levers or doubled pawns or even pawn ticklers (annoying pawn moves that harass) or prophylactic pawn moves such as h3 or a3. and at the time thought he had wrested the Canadian blindfold title from Leo Williams. and so on.. and plans to try for 30 at some future time. 1958... The black games were benchmarks separating the four games with e4 openings.. I was wrong. for the exhibitor as well as the players. in June.. (Jung developed his blindfold play while at university.. Koltanowski’s method of breaking the board into quarters. to beat Williams’s Canadian record and also to become the first person over the age of 50 ever to play as many as 30 games.. To Jung’s horror. followed by four e4 openings and again a game with the black pieces. I thought every serious chess player could do this. . I started playing chess every night after school. Hans Jung (b. Some of his musings merit quoting: After the Fischer–Spassky match in 1972.. So far.... rather it is like focusing in on a target. it had to be stopped. Jung has never again had the chance to surpass his 26-board performance. he almost immediately afterwards discovered that Williams had played 27 in 1986. Jung corresponded with the present authors extensively and enthusiastically in October of 2002.

Denmark. to which he could refer during the exhibition. the newspaper Politiken sponsored the exhibition. Edward Winter and Claes Lofgren helped to obtain specific information about this little-known exhibition. 1987). successfully took on 28 opponents at Helsingør and scored +19. He gradually increased the total number of opponents to 22. About a year later (April 25. He had unlimited thinking time. At that time Larsen was rated about 2300. During the event he drank 15 cups of coffee and 15 glasses of soda water. Ole Boegh Larsen Hansen’s Scandinavian record of 25 simultaneous blindfold games did not last very long.M. four masters served as opponents. which gains in importance when one realizes that 28 games is the maximum number of simultaneous blindfold games anyone has successfully attempted since 1960. So sen. to 11:30 P. and not to analyze by moving pieces around on the board nor to accept advice from anyone. 1995].M. but ate nothing. The average number of moves per game was 37. Larsen (Erik Hansen and Åge Peteras possible throughout the exhibition. also of Denmark. all his opponents’ names are supplied along with their individual results. The rules for the display were clearly spelled out beforehand. -7. to move immediately when Larsen reached their board. . he could ask questions that could only be answered yes or no. Larsen was given a list of the names and rankings of his opponents on each board. After about seven or eight hours he started getting tired and this cost him several points. Niels Granberg (1987) reported on this exhibition and gave a summary of the rules and procedures for the event and two game endings won by Larsen. but no complete game scores. =2 (71. In Part II are brought together all the similarities. Though the average rating of his opposition was not as high as Hansen’s.5. Larsen began his simultaneous blindfold career with small displays in cafés and clubs. however. The Last Fifty Years 125 Readers will recognize Jung’s comments as containing methods and psychological experiences that many other blindfold champions have also described. and the few differences. and during his chess career he has had the reputation of being a strong but not tremendously ambitious tournament player. Ole Larsen (b.). and decided he was ready to try to exceed Hansen’s Scandinavian record. Helsingør Skakklub 70 År: 1924–1994 the opportunity of asking yes-no questions [Helsingør.4 percent) against players with an average rating of 1536. As it had for Hansen. His adversaries had to keep score. but he steeled himself and was all right from then on. three of whom Larsen defeated. in reports of various blindfold players who have commented on their performances. Like Hansen. 1949). and the event lasted about 14∑ hours (9:15 A. page 48). Silence was maintained as much Ole B.

However. The History of Blindfold Chess introduced. e4). he was apparently anxious about “going mad” if he played blindfold chess seriously. and perhaps that was enough for him. sponsored the event. an advantage that no other prior major exhibitions had included. but merely an equal mix of regular over-the-board games. So far as is known. to make 40 moves in two hours on each board. The first four boards of each five-board set started with either 1. He is an excitable and rather superstitious person. Larsen’s record stands. De Zeit. even to many chess fans. a few months before he captured the world chess championship from Anatoly Karpov. Kasparov needs no introduction—even to readers who do not follow chess. The Amber events do not even involve simultaneous play against several players. that at the age of 22 Kasparov gave an impressive blindfold display in Germany in June. he was still negatively influenced by reports that some of the world’s best blindfold players had suffered from mental problems. as it had for Hansen. He is so well known outside the chess world that when he appeared in a television commercial for Pepsi-Cola during the 2004 football Super Bowl in the United States. under a time limit (a “clock chess” blindfold display.126 Part I. d4 or 1. Larsen’s memory system for organizing the games was similar to that of some other players in the recent past. who announced to the organizers of the first Amber blindfold tournament in 1993 that he wanted to “stay mentally well”. Despite his refuting the common belief that simultaneous blindfold chess was prohibited in the Soviet Union (“you merely needed approval and medical oversight to give a blindfold display”). His presidential politicking in Russia in late 2007. no other player in the world has tried to play as many as 28 games. since then. e4 (and the last three games of the exhibition all started with 1. and one-on-one games in which neither player has sight of the board position (more on those tournaments shortly). One may also wonder whether knowing the strength. and board number for all players was an advantage for him. Larsen never attempted to give any more large-scale simultaneous blindfold exhibitions. A Hamburg newspaper. as introduced by Reuben Fine in the 1940s). And so it is not well known. He had Garry Kasparov (courtesy The British Chess Magazine). which involved Kasparov’s playing 10 strong opponents simultaneously without sight of the board. Garry Kasparov There is only one world-class player who has refused to play in the Amber blindfold tournaments. name. and his televised “man versus machine” matches against computers beginning in 1996 have attracted worldwide attention. he was not even identified for the millions who watched. For the first 25 games he took Black on every fifth board. . 1985. and before his recent retirement he was the world’s best player for about twenty years.

made some cogent comments about blindfold chess in general and Kasparov in particular in one Amber tournament book (1996. who won the first combined rapid-and-blindfold Amber tournament in 1993. He sat behind a partition and received the written moves from a messenger.5. Other Players of Note What is to be said about the large number of players who occasionally gave noteworthy blindfold exhibitions in the twentieth century. and a Mephisto chess computer (Game 377). And he still admitted apprehension about playing blindfolded. pages 154–155): I am certain that every chess professional has at least once analyzed his own game or an interesting position without looking at board and chess pieces. Kasparov was granted the extra half hour to make up for the time needed to relay the moves back and forth. This form of behavior is present even in regular tournament chess. imagining everything in his mind. Although he has been a pioneer in trying out unusual forms of chess competition. get enough sleep and recover for the next game.. declaring: “I don’t want to become mad!” Respecting all his reasons. often even “invisible” to a human eye. Once again. This habit was particularly prominent in his televised match in November 2003 against the computer X3d Fritz. Kasparov never gave another serious blindfold simultaneous exhibition. playing “blindfolded” is not confined to games without any board. if he is so sensitive to blindfold chess. Kasparov’s 10-board clock-blindfold-chess display in 1985 represents his one serious venture into chess without sight of the board and he performed with great distinction against strong opposition—even though the “memory” factor itself did not play as substantial a role as in many blindfold displays previously discussed. while travelling or simply lying in bed.. Grandmaster Ljubomir Ljubojevic. I still wonder: how does he overcome. even against a single opponent. The computer lost in 36 moves. Women’s Master Regina Gruenberg. with a risk of damaging your mind. with such great success. . they often close their eyes or look upwards while analyzing. So far as we know. when he often removed his threedimensional glasses and “studied” the position by gazing straight ahead. At any rate. after he won the regular world championship in November of 1985 he evidently felt no need to show off his skills or make substantial money by playing without sight of the board. In Part III the reader will usually find one or several blindfold games played by the following individuals. Game 376). we were able to prove to ourselves that blindfold analysis could be of very high quality and surprisingly productive in discovering new and hidden ideas. A blindfold simul on many boards might be considered an extraordinary effort. but one simple game for Kasparov’s capacity must be a joke. Kasparov is well-known for looking up in the air or staring into space while analyzing during a regular tournament game. these games often suggest that they . seated in a restaurant. and Kasparov’s final score was 8 wins and 2 draws. but never tried to achieve feats comparable to most of the masters mentioned above? They ought to receive some credit (while avoiding making this book impossibly long). Many times. His adversaries included Andreas Röpert (ELO rating 2225. dozens of tense games in his World Championship matches. That’s why I don’t understand Garry Kasparov’s reticence to take part in the Amber tournament. often for more than a few minutes. (We presume he could not keep these messages after they were delivered). The Last Fifty Years 127 while his opponents each had 1∂ hours for 40 moves. where more than a few masters have said that the actual sight of the pieces interferes with their thinking.

* Sarapu told Lopez that he does not believe that the ability to play blindfolded helps one to be a good chessplayer..J.128 Part I. November. and if you can play two surely you can play four. One must “see” white and black or whatever color these squares are and then “see” that the a1–h8 diagonal contains black squares and h1–a8 white squares. and for many years has been a California chess journalist. it’s a “gift of the gods” that allows one to visualize the whole board the same way one is capable of imagining the portrait of Mona Lisa with your eyes shut. Zemitis told Soltis that his maximum number of opponents in such exhibitions was 16 and he still remembers most of the games. until a6 and the queen can “go” from d1 to e2 to h5. Val Zemitis (b. pages 10–11). For him. Zemitis sent a commentary on Fritz Sämisch (mentioned above) and on his own blindfold chess experiences. but as far as I know they have only played at 10 sec. page 261) Sarapu once played 20 opponents simultaneously. According to Lopez (1989. Purdy. The History of Blindfold Chess could have been very successful blindfold players if they had pursued that form of the game more avidly. At this stage one must “see” that the bishop from f1 can “go” to e2. His suggestion to Zemitis was to: stare at an empty chess board for five or more minutes and then close your eyes.” After all the white pieces have been “put” on the board then “move” a pawn from e2 to e4. Soltis kindly passed this letter to the authors in February 2002.. page 242. He sent three game scores to Soltis. Reuben Fine and George Koltanowski are the only persons I have heard of who play lightning chess. If one can “see” the entire board then he suggested placing one pawn at a time on the board mentally. and eventually gave many 10 to 12 board displays. depending how good is your mechanical memory. in 1950 he became a permanent resident and eventually a 19-time champion of New Zealand. Zemitis knew Sämisch very well and says that he “saw” the entire board. Zemitis disputes Soltis’s published remark that “nobody sees 64 squares and 32 pieces at one time” and states that Sämisch would also have disagreed. but rather the lines of force with which each piece is endowed. as a reaction to an article Soltis wrote about blindfold chess for Chess Life (February 1986. Almost all the worldclass blindfold players profiled in this book do not report seeing actual pieces and differently-colored squares. (A further discussion of this appears in Part II. Dawdlers!” †But can any reader visualize that famous painting as a whole and with great detail? . as follows: “Sarapu thinks nothing of playing lightning chess at five seconds a move—his opponent seeing the board. and master. cites a report from Chess World. most of Sämisch’s suggestions.† Like many others. apply to players who are learning to play blindfold chess. 3444 on October 10. Sämisch used to say that if you can play one game blindfolded then you can play two. which have also been published in Lopez (1989. Though these remarks are of interest. to Grandmaster Andrew Soltis in August of 1986. etc. put a white pawn on a2 and “see it there. it seems clear. one of these is Game 442). publisher. written by C. 1952. He is the author of The Unknown Tal (1960). Besides Sarapu. 1925) grew up in Latvia. and not to what powerful blindfold champions end up doing once they are proficient at this skill. He gained the title of international master in 1966. Sarapu noted that each game presents difficulties at the start of an exhibition because individual positions need to take on a distinct character to avoid confusion. 2004. At the age of 11 Sarapu was able to play four games of simultaneous blindfold chess. pages 266–267. it is a photographic memory that helps blindfold players. One must “see” the board and pieces from one side (White side) only.S.) Ortvin Sarapu (1924–1999): Born in Estonia. He believed that the former world cham*Edward Winter’s Chess Note No. then moved to Germany. that is. Then place the black pieces in the same manner. etc. Perhaps. lecturer. the first book on that great Latvian world champion. he said.

The strong players would try to match me in the opening but were outclassed. Right: Larry M. with at least Steinitz and Lasker taking on four to seven antagonists simultaneously at one time or another. did not turn out well (“a miserable 6/10. Steinitz. research indicates that all four of these great players occasionally played blindfolded. Against weak players. page 117) does quote Euwe as saying “blindfold chess makes no sense!” and as further pointing out that Anderssen. pion Max Euwe could not play even one game blindfolded.” and he toured the U. Larry Christiansen (b. although the teller caused some problems by his lack of facility with algebraic notation). He comments: Blindfold simuls demand unwavering concentration. 1956 in Riverside.5. A year later Church’s Fried Chicken Corporation sponsored him as “a sort of goodwill ambassador for chess and their fried chicken. it was difficult to get a fix *Steinkohl (1992. and Capablanca were not excited by or supportive of that form of chess.* One of Sarapu’s best blindfold efforts is Game 437. too). by-passing the intermediate title of international master. . Washington. But Christiansen’s efforts at blindfold chess began to pay off. Christiansen (2000) discusses his chess career and games.S. The Last Fifty Years 129 Left: Ortvin Sarapu (courtesy Edward Winter). His first such display. Christiansen (courtesy The British Chess Magazine). and how he was one of very few players to go directly from having only a national master’s title to gaining the international grandmaster title. Strong showings in European tournaments within a year or so (in 1976 and 1977) were the reason. However. in Tacoma. especially in the opening as patterns of each board gradually become established. In 1980 Koltanowski and the Church Corporation persuaded Christiansen to attempt blindfold simuls with a maximum of 10 boards. and Grandmaster Max Dlugy and Daniel Kopec are often mentioned as very strong blindfold players. California) is often considered to be the best current American simultaneous blindfold player (although grandmasters Yasser Seirawan and Gata Kamsky have also been invited to the one-on-one Amber rapid-and-blindfold tournament. giving lectures and regular exhibitions. Lasker.” with some illegal moves on his part. I had more problems against very weak players than strong ones in these blindfold exhibitions. Strangely enough.

like “ghost chessmen” on a board. the longest game was 54 moves. The strain of calculating variations in over-the-board chess seemed a breeze compared to the rigours of keeping ten games on track without sight of the board. has not yet been fulfilled. 1971. Edward Winter has written that Bjelica’s books are filled with many simple errors. His maximum number of simultaneous blindfold opponents has been 16. The game he lost was to his mother. while the players remained silent. the expression “ghost chessmen” might conjure up a more abstract kind of image than a vivid photograph would imply. Bjelica also mentioned that Yugoslav television stations reported on the event. Mariotti stated that he is fortunate to possess a strong and “effortless” general memory. -1. inaccurate and inconsistent claims. The exhibition was played at the International Congress of Nurses and his opponents were all woman nurses. 1997. Mariotti prefers to hear only one voice throughout. 93.* He added the “capacity for concentration” to his list of qualities for success at blindfold chess. organizer. . The History of Blindfold Chess on the position because of the random nature of their moves and I sometimes hung a piece or worse by forgetting a pointless move by my opponent. †In scathing critiques. -1. and friend of Bobby Fischer and Anatoly Karpov. He claimed that his vivid imagination allows him to see the different blindfold positions depicted in his mind. Like most blindfold players. but it seems fair to let him have his say here. at that time more than 80 years old. Game 354 is from an Amber tournament. was featured in the publication Bayswater Chess (June–September. playing White. The teller called out all of Mariotti’s and his opponents’ moves. e4 and 1. alternated 1. page 22. near Herceg Novi. Readers will recall that Alekhine sometimes arranged for every participant to call out his or her own moves. d4 on the 10 boards. 1935) is mainly known as a chess journalist. Exhausting as it was. contemplating and making their moves. Yugoslavia. italics added]. several of his remarks were inconsistent with comments he made in other e-mails. =1. =5. see Game 386).8 percent)—a very high number and an almost incredible score. on May 25. My [over-the-board] results shot up dramatically during this period [Christiansen. in two hours. and plagiarism. 1971 (+8. On his websites and in personal correspondence he has asserted that he broke the world simultaneous blindfold record at Igalo. He has published more than 80 books† on chess and is certainly a player of master strength. not one exclusively for chess. the shortest 16. He answered some but not all of the queries put to him in emails exchanged with the authors. 2000. as well as a book including some games from the display. In this event Mariotti. pages 16–21) for his impressive 10-board display in London on January 17. who became a grandmaster in 1974. qualified as an international chess arbiter. Sergio Mariotti (b. 1946) has played as many as 18 games of simultaneous blindfold chess. because he said that associating a particular game number with a specific voice helped him to separate the various games. playing blindfolded had a positive impact on my play. from which a video CD was produced. Mariotti said that he puts forth his best efforts only when a sufficient incentive is present. *To some. The best Italian simultaneous blindfold player ever. On these grounds one might hesitate to place much stock in his reports of his own achievements. So Christiansen is one of those topnotch players whose regular play apparently benefited from giving blindfold displays—after he was already a grandmaster.130 Part I. He recalled that shortly before school examinations he could read the relevant books and remember photographically all the necessary facts and figures. especially since he claims the world record for simultaneous blindfold play. He stated that the referee-teller of the event was Obrad Manojlovic. by taking on 56 opponents at once (+50. Mariotti. Dimitrije Bjelica (b. His offer to send a copy of the CD.

He drew a match with the world champion. he was also a chess journalist. He won a brilliancy prize when he was 80 years old at the 1945-46 Hastings Congress in England! Named a grandmaster in 1950. Jacques Mieses (born in Leipzig in 1865. and organizer. his ability to keep whatever written records he wanted. in 1910. He told us that none of his opponents had chess ratings but “some of them were very good. as well as a devotee of blindfold chess. Bjelica stated that he could not ask the referee any questions about the details of any game. known more for his tactical than his strategic skill. . Mieses wrote a short book on the topic (in 1918. e4 on every board. so playing 56 was quite a leap compared to the relatively gradual increase most other blindfold champions have reported. He mentioned that of all the distinguished blindfold players of his generation only Fritz and Blackburne had reached his age. if it does not last longer than a performance at the theatre. Mieses limited himself mostly to five or six board simultaneous blindfold displays. Mieses won the match 2∂–∂. However. Among these was one of his own.” Taking White in all games. he replied that his previous maximum number of opponents had been 15. this claim of a world record should perhaps not be taken very seriously. Schlechter (1874–1918) was among the world’s top ten players from 1900 until he died. Jacques Mieses (courtesy Edward Winter). The Last Fifty Years 131 Bjelica reports that the exhibition lasted seven hours and that in several games his version of chess. a win against Carl Schlechter in 1909. In 1938 he emigrated to England and acquired British nationality after the War. =2). the report that some games were played with his own variant of chess. if not the apparently weak quality of the opposition. Asked about his experience giving blindfold simultaneous displays. Chess for Peace. partly to avoid great mental effort. which covered historical and psychological aspects of chess without sight of the board. was used. 1954) was a fairly successful tournament player. Emanuel Lasker. which leads one to wonder how he was able to keep all the different games separate. but also because he felt that “an elegant and firmly dealt-with but short session receives more acclaim from the public and the participants.” In 1936 he handled six blindfold games at once at the age of 71. republished in 1938).5. died in London. he admitted that he was permitted to write down whatever he liked during the exhibition but could take no phone calls from Karpov or Fischer! He did not specifically mention what he wrote down. so we do not know whether actual recording of all or most of the game scores was part of that material. he opened with 1. and inconsistencies in his messages. In view of the lack of independent verification of the exhibition’s conditions and results. writer. Tellingly and surprisingly. A blindfold session will only be watched from beginning to end with unfailing attention. from a match in which both played blindfolded and had to make 15 moves an hour (see Game 388). in which the bishops standing initially on f1 and f8 were replaced by pawns. as well as 18–25 selected blindfold games. it took three hours and he emerged undefeated (+4.

Here are some interesting comments from the 1938 Dutch edition of Mieses’s book (as translated for us by Alex van Dyck): “Basically. Not long after Marshall and his family returned Frank J. =1) in 1986. What impresses the connoisseur most in the massive achievements of those who play a very large number of games is not so much the number of games but more the enormous mental stamina which enables them to continue without fail for more than twelve hours. the teenager won a nice game from his opponent (his first win against a master)—a game included in his own book. It is much more difficult to distinguish between games. I respond that it would not make a great difference for me whether I play five or eight games of blindfold chess. however. as reported by Lopez (1989. Alexander Alekhine.” Frank J. =3).132 Part I. page 15).” Marshall’s first exposure to blindfold chess came when he was 16 years old and faced Pillsbury in a blindfold display that the latter gave in Montreal in 1893. although it does itself require the support of practical experience to develop entirely. It is Game 427 in Part III. As indicated earlier. to surpass Mieses’s performance and to set a new age record more than 40 years later. Marshall (courtesy Edward from Montreal to the United States in 1895. The History of Blindfold Chess these two apparently did not give any blindfold displays during the last 25 years of their lives. when for instance the openings have been almost identical.” “When asked. the contrary is the case: An opening treated in this manner remains clearly engraved in the master’s memory. Mieses beat his own blindfold “age record” by taking on five players simultaneously when he was 73 (+2. that George Koltanowski at age 82∂ opposed five players in a simultaneous blindfold display (+4.” “The opinion often held by laymen that the blindfolded player is confused by bizarre moves which deviate from the accepted theory. he joined Winter). =3). and Siegbert Tarrasch). is a fallacy. namely his visual memory. republished in 1960) included a reproduction of the postcard he sent his wife from Russia after the tournament. In his game collection Marshall (1942. as well in Soltis (1994). Later on. and then five again when he was 78 in 1943 (+2. but became even more widespread after the czar of Russia conferred the title of “Grandmaster of Chess” on the five finalists in that event (the others were Emanuel Lasker.” “The most essential condition for blindfold chess is already present in every good chessplayer. . with Marshall’s scribbled notation “the five woodshifters. José Capablanca. The gift for blindfold chess must be innate. The title had been occasionally used in a rather loose way prior to the great St. It was noted earlier. Petersburg Tournament of 1914. Marshall (1877–1944) was the United States champion in regular chess from 1909 to 1936 and is recognized as one of the five original “grandmasters” of chess. in 1938. It includes a photograph of the five finalists. In fact. every form of chess is also a form of blindfold chess.” “There is no guide to blindfold chess and such a guide could not exist either. a session of eight boards is only more tiring because it lasts that much longer.

whereas the tiny Reshevsky had sight of the board. and in London took on one of the editors of Modern Chess Openings. *Napier also became the British champion in 1904. Samuel H. he would occasionally play blindfolded against teams of opponents. Marshall’s game was drawn and is included in Part III: Game 34. Johnston to oppose Pillsbury in his simultaneous blindfold display on 16 boards at Chicago—the exhibition that equaled the world blindfold record set in 1876 by Zukertort (both are covered above). At the time of their game Rubinstein was a world championship contender. and around that time gave up serious chess to develop an insurance career. the match. The Last Fifty Years 133 the Brooklyn Chess Club. tesy Edward Winter). six years old. successfully giving regular 20-board sighted exhibitions when he was hardly tall enough to see over the table tops. in a game in which both players were blindfolded. .5. He played the game blindfolded. One such outing is Game William E. Marshall teamed with Sidney P. Soltis (1994. page 154) comments that Marshall rarely played blindfolded himself but was quite capable of handling a few games at a time.* In February 1900. In 1919. and Soltis includes examples in his book. 387. At that age Reshevsky toured Poland and later other parts of Europe. a few years younger than Marshall and his main rival at the Club. Samuel Reshevsky (1911–1992) and Akiba Rubinstein (1882–1961) played an informal game in Warsaw when Reshevsky was a Polish child prodigy. While on tours. R. Marshall won his game. =3. at about the same time as English-born William Ewart Napier (1881–1952). Reshevsky (courGriffith. Marshall also took part in a novel event in New York when his Marshall Chess Club played a four game match against the Brooklyn Chess Club—each game played without sight of board or pieces. -1. Although displaying some clever ideas. Napier. young Sammy lost in 24 moves (see Game 431). When Sammy was eight he began to play some blindfold chess himself. who at 15 became the Brooklyn Club Champion. Napier. and the Marshall Chess Club. Napier (courtesy Edward Winter).C. In 1906 he married Florence Gillespie. started giving blindfold displays in March 1897 on two boards (one of his blindfold efforts is Game 414). the daughter of Pillsbury’s sisterin-law. had beaten Marshall in a sighted match in October and November 1896 by the decisive score of +7.

including the reigning Norwegian junior champion. from New in Chess. Let’s go and find a restaurant where we can eat. The History of Blindfold Chess The eight-year-old won in 30 moves. There are other top masters who have given relatively small but formal simultaneous blindfold displays in recent years. and was one of the best players in the world from the 1930s through the 1950s.S. the American master Edward Lasker. 2006. winning them all within one hour. who had concentrated very hard on the game. He continued to play serious chess well into his old age. 2000. for a performance rating of about 2200 (courtesy Ingrid Løvsland. No. 4. That exhibition was held 100 years to the day after Blackburne played the same number Left: Hikaru Nakamura (courtesy The British Chess Magazine). lost four. Later. Championship eight times. exceeding his previous limit of six. His family moved to America in 1920 when he was almost nine. As noted above. and drew two. in 1993 British International Master Paul Littlewood (b. and Reshevsky (1948/1960) later declared that this was one of his best childhood efforts (see Game 432). =1). They started in the taxi and continued in the hotel room. he won the U. and who was invited to the 2007 Amber blindfold-and-rapid tourney (finishing in a tie for eighth out of the 12 grandmasters who participated)—giving a blindfold simultaneous display against 10 strong players (average rating. He won four games.” To our knowledge. suddenly jumped up and said: “I’m hungry now. when Reshevsky was in Chicago. However. Right: Magnus Carlsen— the teenage Norwegian sensation who became the world’s youngest grandmaster at 13 and in mid–2007 was ranked in the top 20 in the world. Reshevsky never indulged in formal blindfold exhibitions as he grew older. who was his host. frequently being the oldest player in a strong tournament— quite unlike his early years as the strongest chess prodigy ever. Reshevsky gave a simultaneous display on 11 boards. 1956) played eight at once (+7. page 17). . including one in which he played blindfold. being America’s leading hope against the Soviet domination of chess until Bobby Fischer came along. On the night before his ship docked. was surprised that in the taxi to his hotel Sammy asked Lasker to play a game with both of them blindfolded.134 Part I. whom he beat) at the Norwegian College for Top Athletes in 2006. It was only in the endgame that Lasker began to gain the upper hand and at that point Sammy.

at the age of 16 took on 10 opponents in 2006 at the Norwegian College for Top Athletes. where the art exhibit The Imagery of Chess Revisited was being opened.5. Hikaru Nakamura. and declared that next he wanted to try 12 games. he won 4. and in 1999 he followed up by playing eight at once. blindfold simultaneous chess seems to be gaining popularity among some of world’s best young grandmasters. The Last Fifty Years 135 of blindfold games at the same club in London. The accompanying photograph shows him in deep concentration at this blindfold event. now a resident of Slovakia. 1948). at the Noguchi Museum in New York. 4. There are probably others who have recently equaled or surpassed the players just mentioned. a former junior champion of Kazakstan now living in France. and a four-time world championship candidate. 2005. Championship at the age of 16. world chess champion from 1975 to 1985. No. in 1998 Grandmaster Sergei Movsesian (b. in 1997 German Grandmaster Robert Huebner (b. gave his first blindfold display on October 21. who won the 2005 U. More recently. in terms of total number of simultaneous games. In 1996 Anatoly Karpov (b. and drew 2 against strong players whose average rating was about 2000 (New in Chess. He played six opponents at once. 1978). and some of those mentioned may have later exceeded their previous total number. Vladislav Tkachiev. played 10 simultaneously. met six opponents simultaneously. won all the games easily. winning 11 and drawing one. may well be entering a phase of renewed interest. pages 17–21). considered by Hooper and Whyld (1992) the strongest German player in the second half of the twentieth century. Simultaneous blindfold play. 2006. gave a blindfold display in Cannes against 12 players in March of 2004. And Magnus Carlsen. at least on a relatively small number of boards. 1951). lost 4. the teenage Norwegian grandmaster whose great recent results in powerful tournaments make it likely that he will soon become a challenger for the regular world championship. played four simultaneous blindfold games.S. .

in the past three or four decades many exceptionally strong women players have developed. education. and Xie Jun from China. where 13 of his opponents were women. and Judith in 1976. 1924). President George H. in the spring of 2007 FIDE ranked only one woman in the top 100 in the world: Judith Polgar. Many books and articles have been written about their upbringing. world-class opposition. 1992). Garry Kasparov. During a 1924 regular simultaneous 40-board display in Chicago. Sophia in 1974. However. Even so. and the various forms of recognition bestowed upon them: For example. Results for those three are provided in Chapter 7. two of whom obtained quick draws—research has unearthed only one extremely favorable comment on the blindfold play of a woman adversary by the many champions discussed so far. was a teacher who believed that there is really no such thing 136 . as any of the recent well-known world champions: Anatoly Karpov. Previously. inside and outside the chess world. February 21. rated thirteenth.6 Women and Blindfold Chess ALTHOUGH WOMEN HAVE OCCASIONALLY taken a board as one of a great master’s opponents in a blindfold simultaneous display—especially numerous in Koltanowski’s world record–setting 34-board exhibition in Edinburgh in 1937. The Polgars’ father. which began in 1993. The Polgar sisters (Sophia is the third of these Hungarian world-class players from the same family) are almost as famous.W. She gave him a very hard fight and lost only because of a very bad blunder on her 31st move in a position where Alekhine had no advantage in a relatively simple endgame. promising women players had themselves chosen to play in gender-segregated events. The only three women to play in the yearly Amber grandmaster blindfold events. the women’s world champion from 1991 through 1996—when Susan Polgar finally had the opportunity and interest to play for the women’s championship and captured the title from Xie Jun. László. where Alekhine offered to play his usual two games blindfolded. the major reason probably being their acceptance in tournaments with male masters. Bush and his wife Barbara met with them when America’s first couple visited Hungary in 1989. chess feats. or tournaments were set up with separate sections for males and females (see Forbes. The lack of a definite connection with blindfold chess leaves us with few women to discuss. where they could face more powerful. Alekhine commented that “in my opinion there was not another woman in the world who could do what Miss Gleason had accomplished” (Brooklyn Daily Eagle. a woman named Florence Gleason insisted on also playing blindfolded. are Susan (Zsuzsa) Polgar and her sister Judith (Judit) Polgar. Susan was born in 1969. and Vladimir Kramnik.

also a teacher. had been a bit hesitant about marrying a man who talked on their first date about raising any children they might have within the framework of some kind of educational experiment.” The pieces that are “stuck” on the board can confuse your further calculations. intelligent person could achieve great success in a specialized field if he or she were given extensive and concentrated training in that field from an early age. Women and Blindfold Chess 137 as innate talent or genius and that any reasonably normal. These comments are reminiscent of those of the well-known chessmasters already mentioned who declared that having the actual pieces in front of them can often be a distraction. His wife. Susan. though Forbes (1992. None of the sisters has ever given a large multi-board simultaneous blindfold exhibition. it sort of “stands in the way. mathematics. when “nature calls” and you have to briefly leave the playing area). “dolls” were for. page 45) states that “even blindfold simultaneous displays (!) were part of the mental exercise regime provided by Laszlo Polgar.” Forbes does supply two blindfold games won in 1984 in Budapest by Sophia and Judith. starting particularly before they were six years old. Neither he nor his wife was a strong player and he had been unclear up until then within what area he would perform his “educational experiment. then the position was removed. But when three-year-old Susan showed some excitement The Polgar sisters at a young age: Judith (left). and they had to reproduce it. The 9. If there is no chessboard in front of you. Sometimes. was an important part of the Polgar sisters’ early training. She answered: I think it gave me a broader scope of imagination. it is sometimes easier to visualize the new position and “see” further into the game [Polgar and Shutzman. he decided that chess would be the specific area in which she would be trained to excel.6. . in which their male master opponents were also blindfolded. about a chess set her father pos. When you try to go a little deeper to check longer variations and the board is in front of you.” According to his theory.and Sophia in about February or March 1985 (courtesy sessed and wondered what those The British Chess Magazine). 1997. At the age of five or six all of them could play full games blindfolded under fast speed limits. they were trained to examine a position for 20 to 30 seconds. Blindfold chess. page 22]. you are trying to calculate moves ahead and create in your mind the new position resulting from those moves. as well as speed chess. Klara. which they avoid by looking up toward the ceiling or staring into space while they are analyzing. the area could just as well have been music. or chemistry.and 7-year-olds complained that one of their opponents was taking too long to think and maybe a clock should be used to make him move faster. Before that. She also told her husband (Shutzman) that sometimes the best ideas on how to proceed with an ongoing game come to the player’s mind when he or she is away from the board (say. Susan was asked much later in her career what she thought was the greatest contribution of blindfold chess.

page 266) do provide the score of a 1987 exhibition game between Judith and Sophia. involving one-onone games.” Forbes (1992. and 1996.138 Part I. both Winter (1988. but they have been so personally and financially successful in other forms of chess that we believe it unlikely they will ever try to line up 20 opponents for large-scale blindfold exhibitions. The International Herald Tribune had a banner headline about Judith: “Chess Player. So far as is known. The Polgars seem to be the prime candidates to handle a much larger number. See Game 428. No blindfold game scores are apparently available from the time the Polgars spent in New York However. . The best evidence that women can play blindfold chess very well comes from the performance of the women who have competed in the Amber tournaments. According to Forbes. They have proven themselves in so many other ways that such an attempt might seem pointless. page 73) and Lopez (1989. played on television in Biel. Switzerland. no woman has ever played blindfold against more than a very small number of opponents at once. a New York Times journalist lost to the blindfolded Judith. Sophia and Judith played occasional blindfold games there. 10. with each player blindfolded and entitled to only five minutes for the entire game. page 45) points out that Judith was actually three months short of her tenth birthday when the tournament was held. rather than from multi-opponent simultaneous displays. The History of Blindfold Chess In 1986 all three sisters played in the New York Open and did very well. Can Win With Her Eyes Closed. Chess Notes No. 1594. Sophia lost on time on the 24th move.

Larry Evans. Florence Gleason taking on Alekhine when neither had sight of the board. some played on trains and in cafés and elsewhere. each filled with chessplayers traveling to the 1950 U. Hearst recalls a particularly hard impromptu game he played against another youngster. and remembers how difficult it was to get to sleep after the game—perhaps because both players took it too seriously. Anderssen playing Paulsen five games without a chessboard. NO ONE since the mid–1990s has attempted any well-controlled. The moves selected by members of each car were transmitted to the other car by a loud shout through the open windows as they alternated passing each other. Both of the present authors have occasionally engaged in this form of chess.7 Major Recent Tournaments and Matches Introduction TO OUR KNOWLEDGE. largescale (for example. Had a police car come upon the scene. many years ago. And then there was the time when a pair of cars. A review of a few of the many examples given above of this form of chess finds Flesch passing scribbled chess moves to friends during class. 139 . 15 to 20 games or more) simultaneous blindfold displays. occasional blindfold games while walking with a friend in the countryside. A doubleblindfold game played against Flesch was mentioned earlier. played blindfold chess against each other on a fairly crowded highway. The new. There is probably no expert chess player who has not from time to time attempted an informal single game in which neither player has sight of any board. However. in addition to those referred to in the Introduction. Morphy insisting on playing blindfolded against Paulsen when Paulsen was giving a four-board blindfold display. Open Tournament. one at a time. blindfold chess in other forms may be more popular than ever among world-class and even lesser players. would the officers have appreciated our excuse for this strange behavior? Readers may be relieved to learn that Knott’s blindfold games have been conducted in a more responsible manner! Among those he recalls. was a 12-game match with clocks (25 minutes a game) against a friend who played on first board for an English county. Harrwitz and Kieseritzky contesting 15 games. fashionable approach appears in the form of matches and serious tournaments where individual players cross swords with neither of the two having sight of the board.S.

The most obvious move was Nc6 and e is like c. The closest this text has so far come to describing anything like a modern blindfold tournament with many contestants occurred when Alekhine and his fellow Russian players (including Bogolyubow) were imprisoned by the Germans at Mannheim in 1914 right after the start of World War I and. The nature of the game presupposes the need for a constant. such training helps the development of combinative vision.” Krogius continued by remarking that it may be. Spassky spent a session playing blindfolded with eight of Sochi’s strongest players (one infers that the games were played one at a time).” Karpov was “thinking in Russian. in blindfold play. Also. It is particularly important not to let the exact positioning of the pieces slip from one’s mind.. who agreed with other experienced coaches on the usefulness of blindfold chess. and the very young Sophia and Judith Polgar each beating a master under similar conditions. this was not really anything like organized. The History of Blindfold Chess both blindfolded. it was on every television channel in Indonesia. . showing himself to be in no way inferior to his opponent in dynamic thought. Krogius (1976. there were 50 journalists at the press conference. At the suggestion of his trainer. The reading of chess books without the aid of a board is also to be recommended—Korchnoi has employed just this method for some time.) And one way Boris Spassky prepared for his 1965 World Championship Challengers’ Match with Mikhail Tal was via blindfold practice just before the match began. In preparing for his FIDE world championship match with Anand in 1998. as is usually the case in blindfold chess played without computer displays. Such are the kinds of mistakes that can occur when moves are transmitted vocally. and the game scores were retrieved from Alekhine’s memory. so I thought he had played Nc6. and K stands for knight in Russian and Kr is king. Zukertort and Steinitz engaging in the same kind of competition.” Karpov lost when he put his rook on a square where it could be taken by the knight. Anatoly Karpov included a blindfold training match with Indonesian Grandmaster Utut Adianto. accurate comparison of past images with the present position. more than in other forms of training.. the 8year-old Sammy Reshevsky beating Griffith in the absence of a chessboard. Karpov (courtesy The British Chess Magazine). Lopez (1989.” Karpov won the overall match. page 16) gives other examples. This demands systematic control and the application of will power to overcome distractions. page 29) stated that “possibly because of this Spassky played the match with inventiveness from the very start. having no chess boards. they constantly played each other blindfold games. but he did lose one game because when Adianto (moving his king) called out “Ke6.140 Part I.. and such sluggishness and indifference are incompatible with blindfold play. (Of course. some of which were later published. In any event he suffered from no optical illusions in this match. Anatoly E. that dynamic qualities of thinking and attention are most easily improved. Grandmaster Igor Bondarevsky (1913–1979). He said: “There was huge interest in this match. which had not moved. serious competition.

and lost by forfeit if this limit was exceeded. once with White and once with Black. Major Recent Tournaments and Matches 141 The Amber Tournaments The idea of holding a round-robin (all-play-all) tournament in which individual games involve both opponents playing without sight of the board began to blossom when computerized transmission of moves made such arrangements easy to implement. has her name attached to a major billiards competition!). Computerization was the key to making rapid blindfold play feasible.000 total each year). girlfriends or boyfriends. flair for innovation. The hotel accommodations and restaurants available for the tournament entrants and officials are luxurious. and high standards. Such generosity was overwhelming. and children. and from the very beginning they attracted world-class grandmasters. Known for his generosity. . won by the chess-problem composer Jan Dobruskï (1853–1907) with 13∂ out of the 14 possible points.000 to $200. Grandmaster Yasser Seirawan said that Joop had “an iron determination to stop the players from spending any money at all. The players needed only to sign their names for all their needs and he did the rest. Therefore top masters do not have to worry about losing international rating points based on their results in this event—something relaxing in itself. Everybody played each other twice. Each contestant had 30 minutes for the entire game. However. Before retiring. the players and officials can bring along their wives.). regular or blindfolded. He has been deeply involved in all the tournaments since then. written notes. with an interval of an hour or two between the games. the prizes are considered “mouthwatering” ($100. Because the games are played at a rapid speed. among other things. with all expenses paid. 1969) of Ukraine ended in first place with a score of 14 points out of 22. An active player in his youth. players really relish participating in the event. There was a 15-man blindfold event along those lines played in Prague in 1874. how moves were exchanged between the players (word of mouth. But in the 1990s along came Joop van Oosterom (b. 1937). Seirawan suggested that this is “what a tournament organized in heaven would be like. born later. So. and these competitions have been unusually successful and prestigious.” There are enticing excursions on days when no games are scheduled.7. etc. he had accumulated a fortune in the computer business in the Netherlands. All these events have been held in or near Monaco during the early part of the year (usually in March and April). the general idea is not really a new one. he had maintained a great interest in chess. to which only 12 world-class grandmasters are invited each year. van Oosterom had already organized and subsidized other events before he conceived the idea of holding an unusual type of chess rivalry. Numerous photographs appeared in the 1992 tournament book showing different players hugging the real Melody Amber—unusual illustrations for a publication on chess. the yearly Amber tournaments that began in 1992. Melody Amber is the name of his daughter. Details of this event are scanty and there seems to be no description of. Grandmaster Vassily Ivanchuk (b. but they had to play two games with the same opponent on a given day: one rapid and one blindfold-rapid.” During the first Amber Tournament (1992) all the games were played at a relatively fast speed with sight of the board. As before. who was born five months before the first tournament (another daughter. In fact. and there is a nearby casino where a number of the grandmasters lost more money than they won in the chess tournament. 12 world-class players participated. The next year’s tournament (1993) introduced innovations which have remained in force up to the present day—a total of 15 tournaments by 2007. they are not rated by FIDE.

all players are initially allotted a set amount of time for a game. Thus. after checking it. could not themselves view. could be seen by the audience on large computerized boards that the players. In the Amber blindfold-rapid tournaments each player has been allotted 25 minutes for the entire game. (The increased allowance in a blindfold game is intended to take into account the fact that a player also needs to enter his or her move on the computer. (In later years. One cannot.in the blindfold games diately transmitted to his opponent (courtesy New in Chess).puter keyboard. along with the amount of time they had left is no other penalty. in a roped-off enclosure facing the audience. players much preferred the alternative of first clicking on the square where a piece currently stood. first having to Alexander Morozevich (left) playing Vladimir Kramnik (right) in a blindfold game at the 2005 Amber Tournament.) In the rapid games the players use regular chess clocks. and then clicking on the square to which it was being moved. The History of Blindfold Chess In the blindfold games both players could again see only an empty chessboard projected on the individual monitor in front of them. arranged to adhere to the Fischer bonus system. instead of typing.) In the rapid game with sight of the position. with blindfold games of the same length taking slightly longer.142 Part I. based on Bobby Fischer’s system for timing chess games. All the current positions. with a bonus of 10 seconds for each move made in a rapid game. but for every move a player makes he or she is given a set number of extra seconds or minutes. blindfold or rapid. along with the time they had left and the most recent move that their opponent had typed into their linked computers. Each grandmaster used a keyboard to enter his next move. making the previous move ensures at least 10 or 20 seconds for the next one. but there puter screens. press “Escape” on the comBoth players could see a blank chessboard on their com. he or she loses time by having to replace the old move with a legal one. If a player attempts to make an illegal move in a blindfold game. a rapid game lasting 42 moves would take a maximum of 32 minutes per player (25 plus 42 | 10 seconds ) and a game lasting 63 moves would take a maximum of 35∂ minutes per player (25 plus 63 | 10 seconds). which was imme. no one can ever reach the point where he or she has only a second or two left for all remaining moves. and 20 seconds for each move in a blindfold game. both players faced each other across a regular chessboard. but in practice most sighted games should finish within 60 to 80 minutes. Spectators especially enjoy the blindfold games. of course. With the Fischer system. A player forfeits the game if he or she oversteps this time limit (not an uncommon occurrence). predict at the outset when a particular game will end. According to this system. The time limit was “equated” for both types of games. as they can see the actual positions while the players cannot (and there is also nowadays a worldwide audience on the Internet). there is no equivalent of the . Thus and their opponent’s most recent move. for example. plus whatever may still be left on a player’s clock.

who wondered. Several grandmasters have participated in almost every one of the events. who had played in all five tournaments since the blindfold games were introduced and had won two of them. change his or her mind and move another piece.000. twice). plus all the memories and the benefits of the extras the tournament provides.000 to the overall winner. it has been extremely rare over all the 15 tournaments for anyone to take first place in both kinds of competition (only Anand has accomplished this.7. So a player would receive $25. before pressing the “Enter” key. . The percentage of games ending in draws in these events is much lower than in standard tournaments. In fact. For the six tournaments from 1993 to 1998. page 70). the average was 2666.000. Over the 15 years of blindfold play the age range was from 16 (Judith Polgar in 1993 and Magnus Carlsen in 2007) to 63 (Victor Korchnoi in 1994). In 2003. Usually there are not many more than about 100 active players in the world whose ratings exceed 2600 and only about 40 to 50 above 2650. with an average of 2634. Grandmaster Anand. In the 2006 tournament. players had to become accustomed to using the computer keyboard and playing fast blindfold chess. 4.500 for first place in each of the competitions. nine of the top 12 players in the world participated. Even a person who finished in last place in all three categories took home close to $1. The total prize fund in the 2007 tourney was higher than ever. and another $10. No. This opinion echoes British Chess Magazine). the 1993 tournament report in New in Chess (No. In fact. This means that a master could perform fairly well in one of the two kinds of competition and very well in the other. The winner of a tournament is the player who has the best combined score from the both the blindfold and regular games. PCA World Champion Kramnik claimed that playing with or without the pieces in front of him doesn’t really make a difference (New in Viswanathan Anand (courtesy The Chess. stated that “The general level of the blindfold games was surprisingly high. according to the April 2006 FIDE rating list. 3. especially when compared to the rapid games played at the same time limit? In the first such event. and beat out players who surpassed them in either type. It is fighting chess. a player may type a move or click on squares but then.000 for finishing first in both the sighted and blindfold games. more than $200. and that on the contrary it was one of the strongest events of any year. In the first combined blindfold-and-rapid tournament in 1993 the FIDE ratings of the competitors ranged from 2560 to 2725. 2003. said that he did not think the level of chess at Monaco was worse than in a normal tournament. How strong was the blindfold play. but play seems to have improved somewhat over the years. Major Recent Tournaments and Matches 143 “touch-move” rule. with an average rating for all 12 players of 2727. in 1997. No American or woman has played since 1996 (some may have declined invitations). their quality added convincing counterweight against the disgruntled complaint of one of the players before the tournament. pages 35–43). Van Oosterom originally offered prizes of $7. Even so. ‘What will van Oosterom ask us to do next year? Play naked?’” Later.

A recent research study performed by Chabris and Hearst (2003). After 35. cited above. He played 29. R|c1 R|c1+ 32.Qd1???... A powerful computerchess program was arranged to apply precise criteria for measuring large and small blunders in the approximately 400 games of each type. R|d1 instead of his expected Q|d1. . B|e6+? K|e6 37. .) What chess fans always enjoy seeing are amazing mistakes made in the blindfold games. Here he played what he thought led to a beautiful attack: 36. which would have led to a good position for him. who were of course not playing at such a fast speed.144 Part I. He believed his move involved the capture of a rook on d1. Of course Kramnik had to surrender after this queen capture. left his queen to be captured for nothing because he had forgotten that he had a pawn on h4. not g4. at which point he resigned.. (See pages 189–190 for the results of this study. . later to become world champion. in a game against Ivanchuk. although he carried on as if Q|d1 had been played (30. and although they are quite uncommon two diagrams are presented illustrating such errors: After 29. Qe2 wDwDwDw4 Dw0kDBDw bDwDpDwD DwDn)wDw w0wDwDw) DP0wDwDw wDwDq!wD DwGRDwIw In the 1994 tournament Kramnik (White). former world champion Karpov (Black) left his queen where it could be taken for nothing by Judith Polgar. He probably did not realize what he had done until the game continued 30.. Rc1 31. Qf5+?? K|f5. examined all the games in the first six Amber blindfold-and-rapid tournaments (1993–1998) to see whether the number and magnitude of errors differed significantly between the blindfold and regular games. Re3 wDrDwDwD Db4wDpip w0wDphpD 0wDwHwDw wDw)wDwD )qDw$PDw w)w!wDP) DBDwDRIw In the 1993 event. to be discussed in some detail in Part II of this book. .. The History of Blindfold Chess many views expressed by blindfold champions of the past. Q|c1). Karpov had been confused by one of Polgar’s rooks shuffling back and forth along the first row and thought White’s queen’s rook was at d1 and the king’s rook at e3..

Major Recent Tournaments and Matches 145 In 1994. 354. the winners for each year are named below. particularly in the opening stages. and thus the reader can determine whether the winner did about equally well at both blindfold and regular games). 2006: Morozevich (9∂) 14∂ and Anand (6∂) 14∂. 2005: Anand (8) 15∂. Also in 1994. John Nunn. in view of the Vladimir Kramnik (courtesy The British fact that they have long been also ranked among the top two to five in the world in regular. the great majority of the games have been of good or even excellent quality. with the players gaining experience with computerized blindfold chess. The average FIDE rating of the players in the 2007 event was 2731. But what people tend to remember are the glaring errors. 333. which may have been too kind. 393. seem definitely to have decreased. 1995: Karpov (6) 16. the number of errors of this sort. It would be possible to write an entire book. the move may not have such a good chance to register in the mind of the player.7. 1999: Kramnik (8) 14∂. 2000: Shirov (6∂) 15. 2002: Morozevich (9) 15. Karpov accidentally entered an illegal move on the computer keyboard and overstepped the time limit because he failed to remember that he had to first press “Escape” when attempting to replace the move with his intended one. Karpov’s opponent. In parentheses is the total score for the 11 games in the blindfold half. Players have also learned not to move too quickly in the blindfold games. The first prize is determined from the full 22 games (the number not in parentheses). including those played with sight of the board. 429. on the Amber tournaments. as it presents a false impression of the caliber of most of the blindfold games. Over the years. He began shouting loudly. 2003: Anand (7) 14∂. Korchnoi forgot that he had just made a particular move and kept trying to enter the same move into the computer on his next move and lost so much time trying to figure out what was wrong that he eventually overstepped the time limit against Susan Polgar. These types of mistakes would obviously not happen in a game played with sight of the board. Worth pointing out is that Anand and Kramnik have been the most successful players. 1994: Anand (8) 17. as well as other “technical” ones. especially ones that would not occur with sight of the board. which was hard for the other players to disregard. because it is then more likely that a move will be forgotten. 381. or a set of books. 2001: Kramnik (7∂) 15 and Topalov (8) 15. . This is unfortunate. That is one reason why seven good Amber blindfold games are presented in Part III (Games 332. For now. 1993: Ljubojevic (7) 14∂. and 430). 1998: Shirov (7) 15 and Kramnik (8∂) 15. Even though the above two examples illustrate some blunders in Amber blindfold play. 2004: Morozevich (8∂) 14∂ and Kramnik (8) 14∂. 1997: Anand (8) 15∂. had an inferior position and he graciously offered Karpov a draw. and may have caused Judit Polgar to blunder away a rook in her nearby game with Seirawan. 2007: Kramnik (9) 15∂. Chess Magazine). which is reported to be the highest ever. 1996: Kramnik (9) 16.

who in 2006 amassed the best score ever achieved to observe and enjoy high-level blindfold chess in the blindfold half of the annual would be relatively rare today. and on the enormous increase in “alternative chess” tournaments. In New in Chess (2004. but in the 1993 tourney Judith Polgar finished fourth in the blindfold half of the event and Susan Polgar tied for fifth. The History of Blindfold Chess classical (slower) chess. behind Kasparov (who has never accepted an invitation to the Amber tournaments). in 1997 there was a purely blindfold event held in Reykjavik in which 10 masters competed (average FIDE rating: 2391). in 1996 Judith finished eighth and Xie Jun twelfth.” which attract top players mostly because they have good prizes. journalist. there were 12 invited players in all the tourneys. there have been other recent tournaments held with neither player having sight of the board. opportunities Alexander Morozevich. For example. in 1994 Susan finished ninth and Judith tenth. . The Future Grandmaster John Nunn of England played in a couple of the early Amber blindfoldand-rapid tournaments and attended all the others as a writer. Were it not for the Amber tournaments. man versus computer matches.146 Part I. and others. in 1995 Judith was the only woman entrant and finished tied for eighth. It was basically an elimination tournament. do not last for days and days. and do not involve risks to anyone’s FIDE ratings. memorable value. This exciting. human-plus-computer versus human-plus-computer contests (“advanced chess”). To repeat. notching a victory in their third (sudden-death) game after the initial two games had been split. traditional events still have a future. unexciting drawn games is much lower. These include the Amber events. Nunn has made some good points. other rapid tournaments. No women have participated since 1996. No.* Certainly stimulated by the popularity of the Amber blindfold events. and the finalists were Hel Gretarsson (2475) and Han Stefansson (2545). however. *We promised earlier to provide the blindfold results for the women competing in the Amber tournaments. but flawed contest is Game 438. and the chances that Amber tourneys—9∂ points out of a possible 11 (courtesy The British Chess anyone would ever again attempt to play many games at once would become even smaller than they Magazine). He expressed the hope that old-fashioned. and the games do not last longer than most contests in other sports. Organizers like them because of their generally lower costs and their greater entertainment value for spectators than old-style tournaments— primarily because the percentage of short. Gretarsson won the final match. But Nunn feels that the “alternative events” produce relatively few games of lasting. Nunn expresses mixed emotions about the rise of these “alternative events. 3. The chessplayers of Iceland—which probably has as many chessplayers per capita as anywhere in the world— are among the devotees of blindfold chess as well as regular chess. or editor. page 64) he commented on the decline in “classic chess” tournaments with slow time limits and one game per day.

” presumably even for the astonished general public as well as for the chess aficionado. Najdorf’s record of 45 will stand. what was most exciting and amazing to chessplayers and the general public about blindfold simultaneous exhibitions over several centuries was the ability of an individual to accomplish what was a prodigious memory feat. If not. probably unlikely in the near future. some of the younger grandmasters have tried recently). say. as noted above. Such types of blindfold play may well be more enjoyable for players and spectators. six or seven hours and a continuation within the next day or two. or one-on-one tournament games as in the Amber events. memory. We move now to Part II. finally. primarily on chessplayers. would want to understand. imagery. and require less time and exhausting effort from the exhibitor. The limits of human memory and the extraordinary power of the human mind seem to be tested by such tasks. After all. unlike almost all the world record–setting displays described in this book. and displays like the clock blindfold matches that Fine and Kasparov have given: The master has a time limit of. Major Recent Tournaments and Matches 147 have been over the past few decades. additional one-on-one blindfold tourneys. while his opponents play under approximately the same time limit—but each has only one game to handle. an account of the most important work that psychologists and other researchers have performed. unlike a clock blindfold display on a relatively few boards. simultaneous blindfold exhibitions of 30–40 boards could be arranged to have an intermission after. This kind of arrangement might satisfy the generally short attention spans of people. Record attempts involving more than 20 to 30 opponents are. and thus shorten the time for a display. Echoing other masters. however. which are achievements that anyone. Nevertheless. For example. Vlastimil Hort has declared that “the blind simultaneous is the chess discipline which has the highest entertainment value. which could more quickly make the different games distinctive from each other and therefore easier for the exhibitor. The present authors know of a couple of players who hope to take on at least 30 adversaries simultaneously in the next few years. and problem solving. Even though events split up over several days have obvious disadvantages for players and onlookers. Or exhibitors might alternate colors on successive boards. and perhaps they will go further if they are successful.7. or devotees of operas or plays that occasionally require an intermission of a day or more. Recall the need for testimony by eyewitnesses that the blindfolded Philidor had actually played two or three games simultaneously in the eighteenth century and the persistent attitude in the twenty-first century that it is a true miracle of memory that anyone could ever have successfully taken on 30–40 opponents at once without sight of any of the positions. The “old-fashioned” way of one master’s taking on many opponents at once without sight of the boards may regain popularity. think of the number of fans who watch cricket matches spread over days. analyzing the methods used by blindfold champions to achieve their feats could reveal novel and specific ways to improve the memories of people engaged in non-chess activities requiring exceptional or merely betterthan-average memory skills. More likely are simultaneous exhibitions against 10–15 opponents (which. offered suggestions on how they can astound their friends and others by taking on a good number of them at once while “blindfolded. 20–30 moves an hour in each of 10 games. Chess players are. primarily because they involve such long sessions. Besides their spectacular aspects. The “entertainment value” would be even higher if an exhibition did not last more than six or eight straight hours. say. psychologist or not. The techniques of blindfold champions are emphasized. the professional psychologist might favor special encouragement (presumably financial) of the types of largescale blindfold simultaneous exhibitions described repeatedly in this book. to explore the bases of expertise.” .

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in everyday life. Not only might this material encourage readers to try playing blindfolded themselves. for example. architecture. and thinking (such as mathematics. music. To make any strong statements about the psychology of chess in general. without having to take our eyes off the road to keep referring to the detailed map we looked at earlier. Evaluating different alternatives in one’s head is certainly a form of mental problem-solving that many people fail to use efficiently when making. the authors in Part II now undertake a more specialized task: to explain how blindfold players accomplish the feats of skill and memory that laymen. concrete or abstract. using general and specific types of methods like those employed by blindfold champions. Practical applications aside. to drive a car from one unfamiliar place to another. Too often we rely mainly on hastily-written notes or scribbles when we may not have to. planning. and even most chess players. A good number of cognitive scientists believe that the rigorous study of chess 149 . And the skills that play a role in blindfold chess can be valuable in a practical sense. find amazing. physics.P ART II The Psychology of Blindfold Chess The preceding history of blindfold chess and the personalities and achievements of its greatest players has introduced the reader to many of the psychological factors involved in playing that type of chess. can lead to our being more able. one needs both the detailed comments of great experts and the actual results of carefully-performed studies and experiments. The next two chapters aim to provide both an overview of the information available and specific conclusions. financial or design decisions. and especially blindfold chess. for example. Improvements in our ability to use visualization. and even sports)—have had to move gradually from one level of skill to higher and higher levels. but it should aid in improving their regular chess. Experts in almost any activity—especially those requiring much practice.

perception. . in computer-like fashion. How many different kinds of memory are there? Why do we absorb some ideas and facts easily and others with great difficulty? What leads an expert to pay special attention to meaningful aspects of a complex situation and to ignore unimportant details? How important is extensive analysis of various alternatives. An appreciation of the results and conclusions of those studies will aid in understanding how great blindfold champions achieve their remarkable feats. 2004). and problem solving. memory. Binet’s somewhat outdated but still admirable work. depicted a young girl moving a pawn in a crystal chess set. The Psychology of Blindfold Chess skill is as useful for furthering our understanding of human thinking and problem-solving as the study of the fruit fly proved to be for advancing our understanding of genetics in biology. as compared to immediate judgments about the best course to follow—deep analytical thinking vs. which featured articles on important recent advances in our understanding of cognition and behavior. The many psychological studies that have used chess material are typically based on speculations about how human memory. as well as some modern research on blindfold chess itself. as well as for investigating how expertise in a particular area develops and can be fostered. the cover photograph on a special issue of Science (October 15. the reader can gain an appreciation of what research has revealed and what conclusions may possibly be drawn. and even now there are only a handful of (relatively recent) reports that explicitly concern blindfold chess. In fact. Charness (1992) has summarized the large amount of work that has led many researchers to consider chess playing as a model task for studying perception. Certainly the most intensive study of blindfold chess was performed in France by Alfred Binet more than a century ago. Since Binet’s time most of the relevant research has concentrated on chess with sight of the board. especially its more technical aspects. and imagery work.150 Part II. “gut feelings” and quick insights? Why can an expert notice in a brief glance what takes others minutes or hours to perceive. will be covered after some of the studies on regular chess skill performed in the past century have been described. if others can distinguish it at all? Do chess champions have greater general intelligence than the average person in a population? While obviously not all the relevant work can be covered.

advances from telling the difference between letters to identifying and comprehending longer and longer words. Other players reported some visual picture but said they also had to build up the resulting positions move-by-move in verbal or other terms.” the knack of knowing in an intricate situation how to place the pieces to the best advantage. Cleveland argued that this skill involved the increasing ability of a player to recognize larger units of perception. and even151 . argued that others might analyze as much as they liked. THE NEXT MAJOR STUDY of chess players was that of an American. or a child. The least common answer was from players who said they had a clear visual picture of that new situation. Cleveland asked whether the players could imagine. Cleveland asserted that the major gains with continued practice were improved ability (a) to perceive the most likely and feasible continuations. The remaining players stated that they had no visual image at all and relied completely on the presence of the pieces. and (c) to calculate more rapidly. the nineteenth-century English master. The sight of the pieces on the board confused them. learning to read. in 1907. Cleveland’s players frequently stated that improvement in position sense and chess improvement are one and the same thing. However. who relied on his own personal observations and on replies to a questionnaire he distributed to chess players of varying strengths. they often mentioned that the presence of actual pieces was really not an aid in planning combinations but in fact could be a definite hindrance. Cleveland’s respondents often emphasized what others have labeled “position sense. Henry Bird. what difference in the position a few moves would make in a regular game. pictorially. Exactly what this kind of report means is unclear. (b) to discard inappropriate lines of play swiftly. enabling him to grasp the position as a whole or as a collection of more and more meaningful individual patterns or features—just as a person learning Morse Code progresses from recognizing simple dots and dashes to meaningful units such as words and phrases. even though he often could not say exactly why.8 Research on General Chess Skill Cleveland (large units of thought and “position sense”: key to chess skill?) AFTER BINET. Based on such comments. Alfred Cleveland. but he felt and knew that a certain move was the right one.

“The chess player’s skill is measured largely in terms of his ability to use larger and larger units of thought” (Cleveland. and Rudik (masters’ memories: superior only in chess?) The next extensive study of chess players was carried out by three Russian psychologists. Therefore the conclusion was that chessmasters do not possess generally superior visual memories. Richard Réti. page 301). paying less attention to unimportant details. The tasks included assessment of every subject’s memory. But. with more experience. Any strong player knows that new acquaintances are likely to immediately assume that he or she is a very smart person (which usually pleases the player enough that he or she hardly ever disputes this questionable inference). Petrowski. Nevertheless. and personality type were also evaluated. strong constructive imagination. and their performances were compared to subjects who were not chess players.N. Masters did somewhat better than the other subjects in remembering the location of dots on different squares of an 8 | 8 board. From this man’s games Cleveland decided that chess skill is not an index of general intelligence. Each chess player was given a variety of psychological tests. for him. and planning. The reader will repeatedly encounter in the present work the concepts of patterning. Cleveland’s final summary identified more ingredients of expert chess skill than mere “position sense. . more selective. The Psychology of Blindfold Chess tually understanding sentences and the “gist” of paragraphs. Chess experts and non–chess players scored about the same on almost all the tests. Petrowski. However. quickness of perception. It involves reasoning within very narrow limits.” He concluded that the mental qualities most utilized in chess are a strong chess memory. there were no group differences. Djakow. Besides the other four chess experts. According to Cleveland. Cleveland’s century-old approach bears great similarities to the main aspects of certain modern views about chess skill. “inner experimentation” (analysis).A. studies of visual memory revealed some consistent differences: The chess players performed much better the more the task resembled chess—not much of a surprise. power of accurate analysis. selectivity.W. Rudik. However. and Carlos Torré participated. a player becomes. I.152 Part II. Cleveland also asked whether chess skill is a good index of general mental power. will power.” An examination of those two games indicates that the player was well above beginner’s strength but played very erratically. Savielly Tartakover. who used as research subjects eight competitors from the strong 1925 international tournament in Moscow. making it possible for a player to direct his attention to the relations of larger and more complex units. When the memory test had no similarity to chess. Their imagination. Cleveland concluded that chess skill is not a “universally valid index of high mental endowment. and a power of far-reaching combination. but performed better only on chess-related materials. the well-known champions Emanuel Lasker.” He presented two games played by a feeble-minded person who had relatively little chess experience. and P. as well as their speed and accuracy of performing various intellectual problems like checking arithmetic calculations. and considerably better when the memory tests involved a real chess position. combining good moves with terrible ones. He thought that a “considerable degree of chess skill is possible to one who is mentally deficient in almost every line. N. Djakow. the main psychological factor in attaining chess skill was still the progressive organization of knowledge. attention or concentration.

but she had tested Reshevsky about a decade before.8. Baumgarten found that Sammy’s mental development was extremely narrow. the Russian investigators should be credited with the first attempt. to employ what has come to be known as the de Groot–Chase and Simon test arrangement: subjects’ reproduction of a previously presented but no longer visible position. other people so far as various mental abilities and personality traits are concerned. . and only a few of the many tasks she administered showed him to be exceptional. particularly in what was supposed to be an objective. had never been to school. Still. Sammy was unquestionably one-sided when compared with other children of his age. Baumgarten did not suggest that these “deficiencies” could be pitted against the fact that he had probably played more chess. When he was asked to remember one-digit numbers arranged in a 4 by 7 matrix he performed perfectly after 3 minutes of study. and even when the matrix was made more complex (5 by 8) he needed only 4 minutes to memorize it without error. However. On additional tests of spatial visualization— combining shapes in a jigsaw-like puzzle or remembering 40 shapes in the order they had been presented—he did better than many adults. We note that Reshevsky later graduated from the University of Chicago and worked as an accountant when he was not playing chess professionally. her work is of interest both because of her general conclusions and because Sammy eventually became one of the world’s leading grandmasters. The results of the Russian group gave no indication that chess experts are generally superior to. careful study of a chess prodigy. later research using a similar procedure found considerably better performance by chess experts when chess positions from actual games were used—despite the experts’ having only a few seconds to study each position. Baumgarten explicitly blamed the child’s parents for this kind of treatment. However. Tests of his verbal abilities placed him below the average level of five-year-old Berlin boys. Only in chess-related tasks did they exhibit a definite advantage—a finding that later research has basically continued to uphold. The single position used was a composed chess problem. with pieces in unusual locations and relationships. had never made a drawing or observed anyone else draw. He had not been given the types of education and experiences to which most eight-year-olds are exposed. and had merely learned parts of the Talmud and some Hebrew. Research on General Chess Skill 153 The chess-memory task involved reconstruction of a chess position that the subjects had been allowed to study for a relatively long time (1 minute). the eight-year-old Polish chess prodigy Samuel Reshevsky. than most masters have played by the time they are twice his age. She noted that the child had never seen a picture book. Baumgarten concluded that the vast difference between Sammy’s potential general talent and his actual non-chess knowledge and skills was due to the unusual environment in which he had been raised. Sammy’s memory for other kinds of material was relatively poor. mainly in the numerous 20-board simultaneous displays he gave. She published her observations in 1930. Baumgarten (chess prodigy Reshevsky: a “one-sided” eight-year-old?) Franziska Baumgarten studied only one subject. or different from. despite its rather rudimentary nature. As we will see. which was unwarranted as a value judgment.

De Groot was surprised to discover that the grandmasters did not differ very much from weaker players in most of his measurements—for example. 2006).com website for important patterns. in the number of first moves examined or in how many moves ahead they searched. The reader can take the test by viewing any diagram in this book or elsewhere for a few seconds and then trying to reconstruct it on a chess board 30 seconds later. de Groot did not employ a composed chess problem. and Keres—to talk continuously while deciding on their move in various chess positions he showed them. Rather. but he also developed a test that could simply and easily distinguish between players of various strengths. To study this possibility experimentally. he presented chess positions (one at a time) from actual games to his subjects for just a few seconds and then removed each of them for about 30 seconds. De Groot discovered that masters performed much better than experts or weaker players in this task. with pieces in unfamiliar locations and relationships. De Groot concluded that the superiority of the grandmasters was due to the ways in which they perceived chess positions. Gobet (1999) has called de Groot “The Father of Chess Psychology. and not so much on calculating August 16. Immediately after that. with the strong players often reproducing complicated positions without a single error and the relatively weak players rarely being able to place more than a few pieces correctly. . not only obtained some rather unexpected results from the use of “protocols” (detailed records of what skilled and relatively unskilled players said when asked to think out loud while analyzing a position). Chess enthusiasts will find much of interest in the word-by-word protocols of the great players de Groot studied. The Psychology of Blindfold Chess De Groot (recognition of patterns: most important factor in chess skill?) The extensive. the subjects had to reconstruct from memory the just-seen position. the so-called cates a strong player! “father of chess psychology” De Groot concluded that high-level chess expertise (from Frederic Friedel on the was most dependent on the ability to quickly recognize www. However. The grandmasters just found much better moves. Euwe. pioneering work of Adriaan de Groot (1946/1965/1978) set the stage for much of the research on chess skill performed since the 1960s. The best source for a large amount of this material in English is de Groot’s Thought and Choice in Chess (1965/1978). used initially in 1938 when he had access to the grandmasters playing in the powerful AVRO tourney in Holland. These results have been confirmed many times in later experiments by different researchers.154 Part II. This Dutch psychologist and chessmaster. Petrowski. he developed a test situation similar to that used earlier by Djakow. Flohr. and Rudik. The positions were often taken from his own games—so they were not known to the subjects beforehand. who died at 91 in 2006. he asked his subjects—among them Alekhine. An almost perfect performance likely indiAdriaan de Groot.” In de Groot’s first procedure.Chessbase. Fine.

8. and evaluating them in more depth. The LTM system presumably contains all our knowledge about the world. Simon et al. outside psychology. Behaviorists generally argued that thought. as a result of their vast experience. Later researchers checked up on whether big differences between masters and weaker players would still occur if the positions did not resemble those in regular games. and even memory were terms or concepts that were too subjective to be a strong basis for a true science of psychology. Research on General Chess Skill 155 variation after variation. Quick recognition of that arrangement enables them to remember where most of the pieces are posted. long-term memory (LTM) and short-term memory (STM)—a distinction that has become commonplace in everyday talk about memory. This conclusion is not very different from Cleveland’s emphasis on the development of “larger and larger units of thought” in strong players. such as in science and business. choice. With . The potential significance of de Groot’s work did not become obvious until more than twenty years after his initial research in the 1930s and ’40s. Based on his protocols. This kind of organization may lead one to think of items with similar meanings. associations. de Groot also pointed out that the thinking processes of his subjects involved what he labeled “progressive deepening”—returning often to previously considered moves. In the absence of brain damage. experimental psychologists began to examine human cognitive processes much more than they had in the prior decades. when approaches to psychology were dominated by behaviorism—which emphasized the direct. (“chunks” in short. an inventory of items grouped together into categories of similar items. Astute readers will wonder what would happen if the test positions were constructed by placing pieces randomly on the board—rather as if the words in this sentence had been scrambled in a haphazard way. For a long time some. lions and tigers are dangerous animals) as well as those that are time-dependent or “episodic” (“I saw a lion at the zoo last Tuesday”). including facts not dependent on a particular time or place (for example. Selective perception is very important. “forgetting” supposedly does not occur in LTM. In the 1960s such views lost favor and psychologists rediscovered and expanded on de Groot’s work. psychologists have distinguished between two types of memory. Masters may immediately decide that the position is one that developed from a “minority attack” by White in the Queen’s Gambit Declined Opening. De Groot thought that this sort of process is also a main factor in solving a variety of problems outside chess. or sounds—for example. Then. students taking a course in scientific psychology often read about studies of chess skill in their textbooks. Nowadays. not calculation?) Much recent research on chess skill has been based on notions about how different memory systems interact and function. imagery. and the mention of Bird’s Opening may cause you to imagine the sparrows that forage in your backyard. Masters see rapidly what is important as they scan typical positions—almost automatically. objective study of the observable behavior of subjects.and long-term memory. Long-term memory comprises a virtually permanent store of information. but not all. “pawn chain” may call to mind the French Defense (which often involves a diagonal linkage of pawns).

U. However. a subject can usually remember about seven items (the “magical number”) if they are explicitly chunked in a meaningful way—about four more than FBI. I). Herbert Simon (1916–2001) did pioneering work in economics during his early career. Apparent variations in the small capacity of STM are usually explained by employing the concept of a chunk. Since the 1970s the study of chess skill by various psychologists and computer scientists has usually been directed at testing. as well as to the development of theories and computer models to handle his findings and those of others. A. and USA. CIA. C. plus or minus 2” is a simple way of describing the capacity of STM. Miller (1956) introduced that term to explain why different kinds of material may be much better remembered than others. numbers. In fact. when positions with pieces placed randomly on the board were presented to the subjects the masters did no better than the weakest players tested. which are discussed after the most important and interesting features of the early work at Carnegie-Mellon are presented and then specific criticisms of it. CIA. easily remembering the phone numbers of your family members or best friends. A. F. S. If presented in a meaningful English sentence.” examining the role of perception in chess (Chase and Simon.” For example. On the other hand. for which he won the Nobel Prize in Economic Science in 1978. we can hold them in our memory for a relatively few seconds and repeat back about seven letters. without looking them up). The added implication is that they do not possess superior memory abilities outside chess. A. After hearing or seeing items briefly. S. words. this outcome demonstrates that masters do not possess extraordinary general memory capacities for holding any kind of material in their STM. People usually rehearse items in STM by repeating them over and over until they have finished using them. even more items (words) can be recalled right afterwards. Real forgetting from STM occurs rapidly. I. In his first influential articles on chess skill he collaborated with William Chase at Carnegie-Mellon University to offer an analysis of “the mind’s eye in chess. or “units. As a first step. (Imagine how much harder it would be to recall the same letters if they were presented as B. A if they are coded as meaningful units or “chunks” like FBI. a subject will do much better in remembering the briefly-presented letters F. These papers were followed by many others from Simon’s laboratory. and USA. the STM system contains items that can be held in memory for only a brief period. A variety of alternatives developed. According to Chase and Simon. or criticizing the basic features of approaches offered by Simon’s group. The Psychology of Blindfold Chess appropriate clues one can presumably recover memories that just seem to have been lost but are actually still available. I. However. refining. on the order of seconds—like recalling a new telephone number as we rush from looking it up in a phone book in one room to the phone itself in another. I. B. during the last 30 years of his life he devoted himself mainly to psychological research on chess skill and human problem solving.* The random positions were technically “legal”. rather than as individual letters. Simon’s group concluded that what must be responsible for masters’ superiority in reproducing regular game positions after a brief look at them was their much greater knowl*In later research (to be mentioned shortly) masters did perform better than lower-rated players even with random positions. whereas weaker and still weaker players do increasingly worse. C.156 Part II. The items may enter LTM if they arise again enough times in the future (for example. a pawn could not stand on the first row or last row on the board. 1973a and b). . Chase and Simon corroborated de Groot’s basic finding that masters can reproduce individual game positions with very few or no errors after viewing each one for only five seconds. for example. U. He concluded that “the magical number 7.

placed on the board with again no more than two seconds between each piece placement. To determine what types of chunks players of different strengths actually use.000 to 100. The chunks turned out to be very similar for both procedures. But when the experimenters examined chunk size for players of different strengths they found that in the memory task the masters had consistently larger chunks than weaker players. the subjects had merely to copy a chess position that they could always see on one board. and so on. According to Chase and Simon. not merely the individual squares on which pieces stood. strong players registered the original positions more quickly. This result obviously supported the idea that stronger players are superior to lesser players at this task because they pack more pieces into their chunks. chunks were defined as all pieces placed on the reproduction board with very short intervals between them (two seconds or less). stored in their LTM—specifically their ability to quickly see meaningful relationships among different pieces and chunk them together.000. according to Chase and Simon. and to test their ideas further. So. Thus. a finding not in direct support of Chase and Simon’s theory. onto another board. the next Herbert Simon (courtesy Herbert Simon. the achievement of chess mastery involves acquiring an extremely large set of patterns in LTM. CIA. consisting on the average of about two or three pieces in each. because their storage in STM was in terms of previously learned patterns. Thus this task did not involve recall of a position no longer visible to them. In one. the standard de Groot memory task. that kind of knowledge was presumably why the masters did no better than weak players when the pieces were randomly set up. masters were able to use clusters already in their LTM to recall positions quickly and correctly after their brief exposure.8. Chase and Simon used two kinds of test procedures. and USA. Research on General Chess Skill 157 edge and understanding of chess. about 50. Chase and Simon videotaped the subjects’ behavior (glances back and forth between the board containing the position to be copied and the board for copying it onto) and considered a chunk to be any group of pieces placed on the copying board without a glance back at the other board. which . In the perception task chunk sizes did not differ depending on chess rating. which permits quick registration of new positions in STM. Once two seconds had elapsed. they had no more chunks available than did much weaker players. for instance a castled kingside pawn configuration or clusters of pieces of the same color. presumably. Then. but the better players had shorter intervals between their successive glances. called a “perception” task. They suggested that a master’s LTM probably contains as many chess chunks as a native English speaker’s vocabulary of words. This is like chunking the letters FBI. Because STM has a limited capacity. In the other test procedure. chunk would comprise the next group of pieces 1978).

page 67) list references for many of these applications. Understanding some problems that the theory encountered in experiments will help clarify why chess skill is viewed in a much more complex way today. not evaluation and calculation of various possible moves. you may want to read about and study some of these practical applications. Weaker players do not possess these chunks in their LTMs and they must recall positions in a much more fragmentary way. That is why psychologists have called Chase and Simon’s approach a recognition-association or recognitionaction theory. Any subsequent evaluation of these moves occurs primarily because the player is checking whether his immediate move choices have any flaws. Even workers who still favor an approach similar to that of Simon’s group agree about serious weaknesses of its early versions (see. this process does not seem to be anywhere near the whole story. Because of the limited capacity of STM. Charness reasoned that if players were distracted by having to perform some other kind of task during the interval between looking at the position and setting it up later. later research has also cast doubt on other aspects of Chase and Simon’s original theory. and other groups (even burglars). The Psychology of Blindfold Chess of course requires many years of practice and experience to build up (they estimate at least ten years). Some Problems with the Simon Group’s Approach Charness 1976 (chess memory resists interference: can’t be in STM?) Charness tested Chase and Simon’s view that. CIA. Recall of the items ought to be poor when you have to name them 30 seconds later. Imagine having to hold in your memory even a short list of letters or words that you see for just a few seconds. people would not remember well all the letters in FBI. architects. Unfortunately. despite realizing the limitations of the original theory. and USA if these abbreviations had no previous meaning for them. perception and memory are by far the major bases of chess skill. 1996. during the brief presentation of a chess position. the moves leap to mind after certain patterns are recognized. In recent years psychologists. computer programmers. say. Masters do not have to search hard for good moves. their memory of the position should seriously suffer. de Groot and Gobet. medical diagnosticians. or architect interested in improving your memory. expert waiters. volleyball players. music students. good players quickly recognize learned chunks and hold them in their STM until asked to set up the position soon afterwards. map-readers. radiologists. According to this theory. in the non-chess example above. How does the master’s mere possession of many chunks lead to his choosing certain moves? The presumed answer is that different kinds of patterns or piece clusters trigger memory of moves that are promising in positions containing those chunks. have applied its general themes in the study of the memories of bridge players. Charness examined this prediction by requiring Class A and C chess players to perform . radiologist. Likewise. basketball players. a waiter. Charness (1992) and Saariluoma (1995. and most experienced chess players would intuitively find such an explanation of move selection to be too simple—although they will agree with the idea that learned patterns are definitely important.158 Part II. for example. Besides. maintaining the list of letters or words in your memory should be difficult. So if you are. and then during the next 30 seconds you have to count backwards by threes from a given number. pages 115–119).

8. copying unfamiliar symbols. These tasks also had very little effect on recall of the original position. this outcome showed a weakness of Chase and Simon’s theory—which would predict that having to retain so many chunks in STM would appreciably worsen recall of the positions. since they did not know beforehand which one they would be asked to recall. and counting backwards aloud. when Charness’s chess players were originally asked to recall nonchess material. Therefore. and thus contain much more information—something akin to what Cleveland called “position sense. Charness also tried to interfere with memory of a briefly-presented chess position by asking players to engage in chess-related activities during the period between presentation and recall of the original position: for example. failed to have a clear effect. repeating lists of random numbers. tasks had little or no effect on the usual levels of recall of the test position in either group of players. and then. rather than only one. . Therefore the results indicated that the chess information was transmitted quickly and directly to LTM and was not dependent on its rehearsal in STM. Frey and Adesman’s result implied either that the information from both positions was quickly transferred to LTM or that the chunking units of two to five pieces that Chase and Simon had proposed were a big underestimation. the players were given an interfering task to perform during the delay between presenting the positions and their recall 3–30 seconds later (the task was counting backwards by sevens from some arbitrary number like 578). or between test delays varying between 3 and 30 seconds. To his surprise. Charness concluded that almost all the chess information presented during the brief exposure of a position must have very quickly reached LTM for experienced chess players. In one experiment they displayed two positions in succession to their fairly skilled subjects. and it was not the case that the accurate memories were due to chunks held and rehearsed in STM. to perform well. There had to be virtually immediate transfer to LTM. and presumably interfering and demanding. Strong players’ chunks would have to be much larger than Chase and Simon’s estimates.” Frey and Adesman concluded that stronger players identify more and bigger chunks and notice more relations among the chunks. the same intervening tasks greatly worsened later recall of the original material. it was due to the great resistance of chess memory to interference. and that this “deeper level of processing may in fact be the key to better retention” (page 76). their subjects had to remember both positions. these intervening. after a delay. such as a list of meaningless syllables or a series of geometrical shapes instead of a chess position. Like Charness’s results. Research on General Chess Skill 159 various tasks during the period between the presentation of a position and its reproduction—for example. counting and naming the pieces or finding the best move in a different position on another chessboard. As in Charness’s work. Frey and Adesman’s attempt to “saturate” or overload STM by forcing subjects to hold two positions in memory. Rather. It turned out that there was not much difference between the results of this two-position test and remembering just one position. asked them to recall a particular one of the two. Thus the lack of interference with recall of chess positions was not due to the mere ineffectiveness of the interpolated tasks to interfere with memory in general. Frey and Adesman 1976 (is recalling two positions harder than one?) A similar conclusion was reached by Frey and Adesman. On the other hand.

or the arrangements in many other memory tasks. and in keeping them separate in one’s memory. For example. Egan and Schwartz proposed that skill in recalling chess positions. but not in a different one). Freyhoff. This result led Egan and Schwartz to highlight three problems they felt were weaknesses of the Simon group’s approach to chess skill. Experts rapidly identify themes or properties that characterize an entire display and that hold many element clusters together. A specific pattern depends on other aspects of the situation (for example. Reynolds (1982) offered support for the view that weaker players tend to direct their attention towards squares on which pieces stand. Masters proposed much larger groups than the weaker players. a pattern of three linked pawns might be treated as a chunk in one position. The ability to keep distinctive. . global features of individual games in mind must be extremely useful in handling several blindfold games simultaneously. The Psychology of Blindfold Chess Egan and Schwartz 1979 (is grasping entire configurations what occurs?) Egan and Schwartz examined the memories of skilled and novice electronic technicians for symbolic circuit drawings. labeled chunks in STM. and the recollection of their plans. Subsequently.160 Part II. blindfold players should gain from knowing the preceding moves in a game. they do not rely mainly on simple chunks. It has “meaning” for them. could study all the moves in the game leading up to the test position. which would make the position even more meaningful. Supporting this speculation. Gruber. whereas strong players are more likely to attend to those squares that are affected by many pieces—regardless of whether they are occupied or empty. Third. or the electronic drawings they used in their experiments. they “understand” the whole position much better than weak players do. in chess. Second. before seeing it. Once again. Holding (1985) argued that chunking explanations stress piece groupings and neglect the empty squares on which the pieces interact. is much more global than Simon’s group proposed. In other words. and Ziegler (1992) actually asked players of various strengths to partition a position into groups that seemed meaningful to them. And. they argued that treating chunks as separate units failed to take proper account of an expert’s ability to grasp the entire display very rapidly. First. Frey and Adesman (1976) had found that recall of a position improved when subjects. unlike in the de Groot-Chase and Simon position-recall task. an expert can tell in a second that a position comes from the Poisoned Pawn Variation of the Najdorf System in the Sicilian Defense. random positions) Eye-movement data obtained by Tikhomirov and Poznyanskaya (1966) revealed that an expert studying a position focuses a great deal on empty squares. highly-skilled players seem to grasp overall aspects of a briefly presented position and to report “between-chunk-connections. they pointed out that a given pattern might or might not form a chunk depending on the context in which it appeared. Other Relevant Studies (empty squares. and months later found that the experts recalled the material in essentially the same broad organized groups as before.” Readers will recall the emphasis placed by Alekhine and other blindfold players on the importance of remembering overall “characteristics” of different positions when taking on many opponents at once. they agreed that Charness’s and Frey and Adesman’s results with interfering tasks indicated that visual patterns are not represented by simple.

where major pieces are normally most effective. from anecdotes in Part I— Paulsen’s forgetting where he lodged during a tournament. again. page 57) found that when positions are exposed for more than a few seconds (they used one minute) masters do recall random positions better than weak players. This result contradicted the original Chase and Simon approach. This is something the reader may already have suspected. involving more complex relationships among the pieces. They refer to Ericsson and Harris’s (1990) fascinating study. (Her average recall matched the performance of 33 German chess masters). page 117). Another problem with the original approach of Simon’s group comes from research showing clearly better performance by strong players than weaker players. which are ordinarily tested by noting where pieces stand in recall tests. memory for those actions should be relatively weak. page 111). the explanation for this result is that the chunks she learned were not associated with appropriate actions (chess moves). These crucial squares are usually somewhere near the center of the board. 1983. which took a novice chess player and gave her 50 hours of practice in recalling chess positions. de Groot and Gobet. However. If people do not pay attention to what they are doing. Chunking theories. Thus the original belief. that differences in recall between strong and weak players disappear with random positions. than the early work did. even in recall of random positions. it is wrong to assume that mere possession of tens of thousands of chunks is enough to explain chess skill. For example. and a mass of evidence indicates that chessmasters as a class do not possess exceptional memories outside of chess. even in random positions (see a summary in de Groot and Gobet. which had predicted and found no differences between players of various strengths with pieces randomly placed on the chessboard. Simon and his colleagues themselves found a clear difference in recall between strong and weak players when they both had only five seconds to view random positions—a difference that increased as the viewing time was lengthened. described in Hartston and Wason. 1996. page 111). there may be a difference between such instances of “absent-mindedness” or inattention in practical situations. Research on General Chess Skill 161 Masters often state that a main goal in their planning involves possible occupation of a square where one of their pieces can operate without being easily dislodged (“get a white knight solidly posted on d6 or e6 and you can almost go to sleep”. other (non-chess) tests do show that this is the case (see. These and other problems with the original Chase and Simon chunking theory have forced the Simon group to develop considerably more elaborate approaches and computer models. Now it is accepted that there is a definite skill difference. Hansen’s frequent forgetting of what he had promised his wife to shop for. But could she play chess any better than when she started? No! Within the types of approaches suggested by the Simon’s group. . as well as training in specific memory techniques. and general memory ability. cannot be used to argue that players of various strengths do not differ in “general” memory skills. However.8. “place a major piece on the square in front of an opposing isolated pawn. do not clearly take into account the importance of empty squares. Réti’s constant forgetting to take home his briefcase. Paying attention and remembering are not the same thing. Lories (1987) and Goss (1982. where the lack of enemy pawns on adjacent files means it cannot easily be driven away”). As de Groot and Gobet themselves point out (1996. She eventually reached a level of recall approaching that of a real chessmaster.

loss. He labeled his framework the SEEK model (Search. but also because they view chess skill in a basically different way.1 vs. Gobet and Simon stated that recognizing patterns allows knowledge to be accessed so rapidly that analyzing ahead plays a relatively small role and may even be “dispensed with entirely without much loss in quality of play” (1996. not only because they may handle apparent limitations of Simon’s group’s approach and improve on it. However. 2.8 half-moves) and show a maximum depth of search about 70 percent greater (8. and Know). whereas analyzing ahead is a minor factor. The other frameworks also have adherents. defines skill at chess.2 half-moves).162 Part II. Holding (1985. this outcome convinced Holding that moves are chosen mostly on the basis of anticipated consequences—with differences between players’ abilities depending mainly on the efficiency and accuracy of their search and evaluation. EvaluatE. in all its complexity. and so on. Simon’s group argued that fast recognition of patterns leads directly to quick choices of moves and is the key to expertise in chess. but neither probably tells the full story. plus many other individual articles) has offered an approach that is quite opposed to that of Simon’s group. Among other reasons. Holding’s own research revealed that experts make 75 percent fewer errors than weak players when evaluating whether a position is a win. In terms of numbers. page 256) claimed that “thinking ahead. A quickly-voiced criticism of Holding’s approach was that masters can play quite well at blitz or speed chess. re-analysis of his data showed that in some or most cases there were actually clear and significant differences.6 seconds on the average. page 53). or draw for one side. On the other hand. Holding and his co-workers claimed that genuine search and evaluation of various potential move sequences (greatly emphasized in computer chess programs) are much more important than pattern recognition (hardly present in computer programs). Later work by Charness and others demonstrated that skill differences in “searching” are extensive and reliable. Holding tried to determine how many moves ahead a player can see at speed chess. 5.” These two extreme positions have been pitted against each other in research. Holding drew attention to Charness’s conclusions that experts typically search about 45 percent deeper than an average player (4. There seems little or no time for search and evaluation. Therefore. Holding argued that the neglect of “thinking ahead” in studies of chess skill apparently resulted from faulty conclusions drawn from de Groot’s work. when they may have only a few seconds per move. Before results are cited that lead to this conclusion. The Psychology of Blindfold Chess Alternatives to the Simon Group’s Approach Several approaches to chess skill differ from the ones that Simon’s group developed— that is. Holding’s ideas need some development. De Groot had reported that there were no clear differences between players of different strength in various measures of “search”: number of first moves examined. Quite to the contrary. Each alternative considered before making a move consumed 1. number of moves seen ahead. He arranged fast games and stopped them without warning when a player had taken about 10 seconds for a particular move—after which the player had to describe how he chose that move. Holding calculated that a top master . ones that stress patterning and chunking.9 vs. Holding 1985 (thinking ahead defines chess skill: more than pattern recognition?) Dennis Holding (1985.

supporting his general view that skill at chess is based primarily on “the anticipated consequences of moves rather than recognizing specific patterns. Chabris and Hearst (2003) put a computer to work to obtain very objective measures of performance at fast and slow chess. A difference of 100 rating points is hardly “slight. Their powerful Fritz 5 chess program calculated the number and size of the blunders made by the same 23 grandmasters (all the participants in the 1993–1998 annual Monaco tournaments) in hundreds of serious games of (a) slow (“classical”) chess where the average time was about 3 minutes a move. No one knows how slight a difference would make that conclusion really convincing. without knowing whether a game was played by a strong or weak player. They maintained that analyzing ahead is much slower than pattern recognition and may even be avoided “entirely without much loss in quality of play. and Glickman. 1995). too. The players probably did curtail the time taken to evaluate the final positions in their analysis. pattern recognition or thinking ahead.’s conclusion is seriously marred by the fact that Bisguier and Soltis’s judgments of move quality also failed to distinguish between strong and much weaker players at the normal tournament speeds. they took a dim view of Holding’s argument that planning by looking ahead is of great importance. when asked to explain their moves.8. did identify goals like preventing an opponent’s strong move or better protecting the squares around their own king. Although he had an average of less than a minute a move. and this could explain why even very strong players often make blunders in fast chess. Klein. the FIDE-rated quality of his play (an ELO rating of about 2650) was not much lower than the rating (2750) he was achieving at that time in serious. pattern recognition must be the “predominant basis” for Kasparov’s skill. Holding concluded that some degree of search is quite possible even under these demanding time constraints. (b) “regular rapid” chess where the average time was somewhat less than . For example. 1999. which is borne out by actual results. slow tournaments (played at an average of about three minutes a move). and Crandall (1988) had earlier reached the same conclusion as Gobet and Simon. subjectively judged the quality of the moves in the fast and slow conditions and found little or no difference between them within either group. or the great emphasis on analyzing ahead in Holding’s group? Several attempts have been made to achieve this goal. Calderwood.” A player ranked 100 points above another would be expected statistically to win about 60 percent of their games. hoped to cast light on the persistent question of which is more important in chess skill.” Is it possible to devise a relatively convincing test to determine which approach is closer to the truth: the great emphasis on fast pattern recognition in Simon’s group. They. Gobet and Simon (1996) looked at Garry Kasparov’s play in a series of timed simultaneous-chess exhibitions against masters. But Calderwood et al. So it seems premature to conclude that planning ahead is a rather inconsequential factor in chess skill. Using masters (rated 2400–2500) and much weaker players (rated in the 1700s) they compared tournament games allowing an average time of 135 seconds a move with fast chess allowing an average time of about 6 seconds a move.” Gobet and Simon’s strong conclusion may be criticized on several grounds. Therefore. Holding found that players of speed chess. Research on General Chess Skill 163 needed less than one second per move and could therefore search about 10 moves in those 10 seconds. They concluded that because the lack of time for search had only a “slight” effect on the quality of his play. some too technical to pursue here (but see Chabris. Two grandmasters (Arthur Bisguier and Andrew Soltis).

(c). he stated that his results do not show that search in chess is irrelevant.5 pawns worse than the program’s choice of the best move). or 9 pawns worse than what the computer judged as the best move). that is. a highly significant difference. Chess skill is based on both (plus other factors).” ranging from relatively small errors (at least 1.02 blunders of a 1. the average size of the blunders (how much worse these errors were than the computer’s choice of the best move) was smaller under slow-play conditions than in rapid play. although in his opinion they are more favorable to the approach of Simons’s group. or the examination of performance ratings for one player. the grandmasters made on average 5. analysis and evaluation that can be drawn from Chabris and Hearst’s work? Those authors did not dispute the point that quick pattern recognition is important for skilled chess players. playing simultaneously against substantially weaker masters in non-tournament play (as in Gobet and Simon’s work).5-pawn size. However. Also. (b) vs. Are there any strong conclusions about the relative importance of pattern recognition vs. To reconcile the two positions one could argue that. No one can currently state which of the two is more important.5 percent). to even larger errors (at least 3. too. 6-. Gobet and Simon and their colleagues would have to agree that an appreciably larger number and size of errors in the fast games casts doubt on their views about the importance of pattern recognition versus thinking ahead in chess skill. and 6.’s work).” The Chabris-Hearst analysis suggests that “search” is quite important even among the very best players in the world. they maintained that how much time you have per move is not very important in high-class chess. “thinking ahead” is obviously important. Chabris and Hearst’s “subjects” were among the world’s best grandmasters and they ought to make a very small number of errors under almost any arrangement. The results from the blindfold vs. a world champion. For bigger blunders of 3-. when rapid play was compared to slow play—although of course the total number of blunders in those categories was lower than those of a 1. 6. Moreover. but because of the clear differences in the number and size of blunders in comparisons of fast and slow chess. and 9-pawn sizes there was at least a 100 percent increase in blunders in each case. this outcome would be particularly revealing. skilled players have both a greater opportunity to recognize more patterns as well as to analyze ahead.000 moves in slow games. when more time is available. Chabris and Hearst believed that objective. regular games. the (a) games from the most recent slow games played between the same opponents in the 1990s. computer-defined mistakes or blunders could be much more revealing about chess expertise than either the use of subjective judgments of move quality (as in Calderwood et al. If appreciable differences in blunders in fast versus slow chess still appeared in their play. The extreme positions of Simon’s or Holding’s group about the importance of either factor appear unwarranted. The (b) and (c) games were from the Monaco tournaments. which should come as no surprise to experienced or even inexperienced players. and (c) “blindfold rapid” chess with essentially the same time limit as the regular rapid games.5-pawn size per 1. and the controversy may be forever irresolvable and perhaps fruitless. Thus Chabris and Hearst concluded that the grandmasters make substantially fewer and smaller mistakes when they have additional time to ponder their moves. . are discussed later. The computer could select different standards for judging “blunders. He also said that “the contribution of search processes to performance may be real but fairly constant past a certain skill level.* *Burns (2004) found that performance in blitz chess (five minutes each for the whole game) correlated highly with performance in much slower chess.164 Part II.85 blunders in rapid games (an increase of 36. Of the approximately 400 games in each of the (a) and (b) categories. The Psychology of Blindfold Chess 1 minute a move.

” The goal may be admirable. such as its rhyming with “chill”. to popularize the sport of chess. Regardless of psychological theorizing. as the Simon group stressed. with the result that attention may be directed at different aspects or details. They listed several issues that had disturbed all of them. Shallow processing definitely leads to inferior recall and performance. In chess. traditional top tournaments. can usually be reacted to in various ways by humans.” The last one involves the deepest processing. Expert players connect the moves through their meaningful relationships. chess games would eventually be reduced to “15 minutes.” “kill” and “ill. The three grandmasters stated that “drastically shortening the amount of time available during a game is an attack on both the players and the artistic and scientific elements of the game of chess itself. including a chess position. and to learn to analyze ahead in a great variety of situations. There is a clear analogy to our understanding of a fairly complex sentence or paragraph in (for example) a well-written scientific. on seeing the word SKILL. Craik and Lockhart focused on how material is processed—in a shallow or deep way. or might process its vocal features. 1972 (does “deeper processing” improve chess memory?) Another way to view important aspects of chess skill and general mechanisms of human memory was instigated by proposals of Craik and Lockhart (1972). Contrary to predictions of Simon’s group’s approach. Rather.8. followed by storage in STM and LTM. but do not appreciate their deeper. and so it is no surprise that blunders occur often under those conditions. a deeper level of processing. .” Well. Garry Kasparov. The features of a situation. legal. For example. consider a remarkable joint letter sent to FIDE in April of 2001 by three past world champions (Anatoly Karpov. to study what general plans typically arise from them. invariably play worse than the player who grasps the reasons and logic behind the successive moves when he learns that opening. or literary text. and Vladimir Kramnik). “but it is impossible to achieve it by assaulting the very things that elevate the game most of all: beautiful games of chess.They believed that memory should not be considered in terms of rigid sequences of initial registration. and relate them to moves and ideas in other openings—again. a person might merely notice very simple features of the word. such as its being a synonym for “expertise” or as containing the words “ski. ranging from very superficial properties to more meaningful ones. underlying themes or ideas. If they did not move rapidly. today’s games have not been reduced to 15 minutes but relatively fast time limits are not unusual in serious tournaments. the displays would go on for hours and hours. And imagine how the need to move quickly may cause extra problems for masters giving blindfold or regular exhibitions against many opponents. such as its being five letters long or typed in capital letters. Of course these goals are more easily stated than achieved. players who memorize various opening moves. it seems clear that they ought to achieve knowledge of standard patterns or configurations of pieces. Research on General Chess Skill 165 In terms of practical advice for developing players. or might encode its semantic features. Craik and Lockhart et al.” Kramnik later said in an interview that he had “never spoken to a player who was in favor of the new time control” and that if FIDE were not reined in. One of the complaints related to FIDE’s decision to cut the total time limit in serious tournament games by approximately 50 percent. and the quest for the World Championship. decreasing the amount of time available to grandmasters for a game has more than just a “slight” effect. who are rarely in unanimous agreement.

1982. Later recognition of the original positions. For example. but based on a different line of argument.. In another place Bronstein stated that “the art of playing chess is the art of seeing blindfold” (Bronstein and Voronkov. he .. Many oversights and blunders can be explained by the inertia of the visual image. In high-level chess thinking the image component . Quotations from masters support this view.. as compared to when players had merely been asked to count the pieces. This omission may seem especially strange in a book like ours. 2007. but used accuracy of reconstruction of a previously shown position as their measure. Imagery.166 Part II. concentrating on blindfold chess. Craik and Lockhart’s approach has encouraged chess research somewhat different from work discussed above... The Psychology of Blindfold Chess An inexperienced reader of such material may have great difficulty comprehending such a sentence or paragraph. Knowledge of the chessboard [the names of the different squares. which is a superficial type of processing unrelated to chess meaning. One way was to count the number of pieces on the board. Players recalled positions much better after they had been asked to determine the best move and to judge which side had the advantage. for example.. although several moves earlier it was exchanged. the number of squares on different diagonals. page ix). pages 3–4) said almost the same thing: “It is of importance that the student of Chess should know the board very accurately.] is to aspiring players what mastery of the multiplication tables is to children studying arithmetic. out of a choice of presented positions. It borders on the essential. its post-action. pages 43–48). Lane and Robertson (1979) performed a similar study. their colors. Verbal Knowledge.” The alert reader will have noticed that so far we have rarely used such words in discussing research on chess skill. Lane and Robertson concluded that a really important aspect of chess skill involves an ability to combine much larger piece configurations than simple theories based on chunk formation suggest—a conclusion similar to others mentioned above. which is based on teaching techniques developed over many years in the Soviet Union. 1938) or “visualization. Soviet world championship challenger David Bronstein wrote that “visual images in solving processes play practically the leading role. where an expert player visualizes future positions. even in regular chess. Goldin (1978) asked players to treat chess positions in different ways. whereas an expert reader can usually breeze through it all without any trouble. imagery seems likely to be a necessary ingredient.. For example. a piece is still seen on a square. when. A second task was to choose the best move in a position—a deeper form of processing. occupies a leading place” (Bronstein and Smolyan. that “visualization is the key to success in chess” and “a student’s knowledge of the chessboard should be perfect in the sense that visualizing the board becomes automatic. However. Grandmaster Lev Alburt and his collaborator FIDE master Roman Pelts state in their Comprehensive Chess Course (1992. was substantially better after the choose-the-best-move task..” World Champion Emanuel Lasker (1932/1991. “Cartoons” (important but neglected?) Ask chessmasters what abilities are involved in high-level chess and you will usually find that they make some reference to “a rich imagination” (Capablanca. page 223). etc.

Imagery might be one neglected factor that merits special treatment. Research on General Chess Skill 167 should be able to visualize each square in its individual position as well as in its relation to its neighboring squares.. and Ganis’s The Case for Mental Imagery (2006).” But we cannot rely too much on subjective. These points are discussed in more detail later. Image and Brain (1994). meteorology. The student should endeavour to acquire the habit of designating the squares and of visualizing their position. page 20). Studies of imagery go back more than a century. He was a man of great curiosity whose interests were amazingly broad: Besides other areas. This knowledge may help readers to extend conclusions about visualization in chess to other kinds of human activities and settings. There are many Chess-players who fail merely from their incapacity to master this geometrical task. reiterates: “The reports of chessmasters suggest that mental imagery may play an important role in expert thinking and may be a locus of differences between experts and novices.. many of them reported *The reader will recall that blindfold champions typically report that their images of games were not very concrete. a cognitive scientist and chess master.” And Chabris (1999. .8.* However. or depth of processing omits the possibility that something else might intervene between stages of the mental events. Galton (1883/1928. He even had a few (uninformative) words to say about blindfold chess. and even fingerprint classification. He was surprised to discover that his scientist friends typically did not report strong mental images and he explained this by speculating that “their habits of highly generalised and abstract thought” would be unfavorably influenced if Francis Galton (Hearst collection). when Galton questioned various people whom he had met “in general society” and who were not scientists. and Kosslyn. anthropology. to “see” actual pieces and colored squares. What does psychological research have to say about the role of imagery in general and as applied to chess? Just talking about pattern recognition. page 66) prematurely wrote that blindfold chess involved concrete. exploration. In the early stages of trying to play blindfold chess. not suspecting its value. they relied very much on clear mental pictures. it is best to briefly discuss how psychologists have treated the general topic. personal opinions about the importance of any specific aspect of chess skill. Relying on scanty data. however. to the eminent English polymath Francis Galton (1822–1911). Thompson. as well as Shepard and Cooper’s Mental Images and Their Transformations (1982). hereditary genius. Ghosts in the Mind’s Machine (1983). Galton (1883/1928) composed a questionnaire to determine the ability of different groups of people to visualize objects and settings. he contributed to statistics.. Those interested in further pursuing details of the material ought to consult Kosslyn’s Image and Mind (1980). “photographic” imagery. or search and evaluation. weak players tend. psychology. General research and views on mental imagery Before covering approaches and studies that relate imagery directly to chess skill and blindfold chess.

In other work Shepard and his colleagues demonstrated that people are able to mentally “fold” objects in images and then to pick the correct picture of how an object would actually look after it had been “folded” in a certain way. Among the best known are Roger Shepard and his colleagues’ work on “mental rotation. in describing details of their breakfast table. Obviously. With shorter words. as illustrated in the accompanying picture. novel images (for example.). and its growing links with neuroscientists studying brain function. Galton went on to become a pioneer in the study of individual differences—a topic that he pursued in areas besides imagery and that was later the major interest of Alfred Binet. which type of dog would have its snout closer to the board?). a lake. the time it took depended on how many degrees from its upright position each type of stimulus was tilted. It involves “representation in absence. and Reiser (1978) first trained subjects to draw a very accurate map of a fictitious island with various landmarks on it (a tree. inspection. a second landmark was called out and the subjects were asked to scan their mental map for it. who played a key role in the development of intelligence tests. Ball. (b) to inspect and answer questions about the generated images (does the dog appear larger or smaller. What is a mental “image”? No definition will satisfy everyone but most psychologists would consider an image to be a representation of something. for example.” When subjects were asked to decide whether it was the letter R or its mirrorreversal that was actually shown in various orientations. in the vividness of their images. The Psychology of Blindfold Chess mental imagery that was distinct. A few seconds later. and transformation are more “active. concrete.” Kosslyn. but also inspected and transformed. not by direct perception of an actual object but by memory or imagination. similarities between actual perception and imagery are revealed by many experiments.168 Part II. an Irish setter sitting at a chessboard). etc. And they are especially relevant to the topic of blindfold chess where positions not only have to be generated. and (c) to transform or manipulate the image (now the Irish setter is replaced by a dachshund. However.” productive. and practical processes than those implicated in mere “passive” representations of previously experienced events or objects.” With the rise of cognitive science in the 1960s. and colorful—for example. Galton eventually concluded that there was substantial diversity among people. he usually cannot do so very rapidly or accurately. Then they were told to form a mental image of the map and to focus on one landmark that was called out to them. they had to perform the rotation mentally. depending on the size of the chessboard in front of it?). they could not move the actual stimuli with their hands. such as those Galton questioned people about. . The analysis of individual differences is often viewed as one of psychology’s major contributions to society. Not only has research on imagery been performed concerning our ability to bring to mind and recall actual prior experiences and the features of familiar objects—what Galton studied—but also on our capacity (a) to generate new. performance is much better. some psychologists object to equating them too closely. the topic has recaptured widespread respectability and interest.” Another well-known set of experiments involved “image scanning. The operations of generation. and to push a button when they had focused on that landmark. even scientists. If you ask a person to first imagine in print a fairly long word like “checkmate” and then to spell it backwards from his image. In his above-mentioned books Kosslyn states that such results “gave life to the idea that images are internal representations that ‘stand in’ for (re-present) the corresponding objects. Although imagery and actual perception are today generally believed to be intimately related. a hut.

or naming a succession of landmarks along a route that you take while driving to work. this kind of process was not confirmed. the longer it took them to respond correctly. (A similar “distance” effect occurs in various chess experiments. a tree. After a series of experiments Kosslyn. Rather. thing in a single glance.” Blindfold distances between the two imagined landwere further apart. one a lake. Other research also reveals that two classes of processes are used to form images—those that activate memories of the appearance of parts. Another of Finke’s principles (“spatial equivalence”) refers to similarities between the arrangement of elements of an image and the way actual objects are arranged. a rock. Research on General Chess Skill 169 The further away the second landmark was from the first. Cave. Ronald Finke. When then were asked to imagine the map and (where). It contained seven landmarks. and Von Gierke (1988) concluded that objects in a mental image may seem to appear as a “whole” but. strated when imagining chess positions. subjects sequentially. “Therefore parts have to be imaged focus on two landmarks successively. Kosslyn cites Mishkin’s work that posits marked by X’s: a hut. The results indicate similar effects for actual perception and opening a familiar closet. objects in images are constructed a part at a time. A simple illustration from chess would be counting mentally the number of pieces that remain on the board after a blindfold game has reached the 25th move. No blindfold champion would keep track of that number but could respond correctly if asked to. as would happen chess experts typically report this kind of marks map they could actually see and scan. One principle (“implicit coding”) refers to the use of imagery to bring to mind fairly detailed information about properties of objects or settings that were never explicitly (intentionally) attended to or counted previously. Provost. Ball. a well. Examples would be correctly answering the question of how many windows there are in your house. two visual systems in the brain’s cortex.) Studies like these may be helpful in suggesting methods to improve a person’s general navigational and spatial skills. copywhere everything is but does not “see” every.8. and a grassy area—at for shape (what) and the other for location different distances from each other. When a real . stressed a few basic principles that he believed were characteristic of imagery—some already mentioned above. Spatial ability is certainly a part of chess expertise. as Binet concluded that blindfold chess is like described in the text. with a sequence. they cannot visualize the whole A similar “distance” effect has been demonposition at once unless it is very simple. when the time taken to form or generate complex images is actually measured. in his book Principles of Mental Imagery (1989). They were performing in a way analogous to physically scanning an actual map. one must know what (‘part’) took longer to focus on the second when the before one can arrange where. The person knows imagery (courtesy Stephen Kosslyn.right ©1978 by the American Psychological Association). a sandy area. and those that arrange parts into The map that Kosslyn. and Reiser (1978) first asked their subjects to draw accurately the proper “whole” configuration and memorize.

if the arrangement of pieces on an actual chessboard remained exactly the same but the colors of the pieces were converted from White to Black and from Black to White. dart throwing. but they fail to do so because they do not know enough to employ it effectively. foreign words. blindfolded. and similar exercises. names of new acquaintances. Really. In a quite different line of imagery research. he had to play his opponent’s position (“switch sides”). muscular movements are not being practiced here. as they would be for an actual stimulus. a comparable result would be expected. Dallenbach (1917) made a similar comment. that is. Researchers believe that sports coaches should more often recommend the use of mental practice. Making a different point. players have some difficulty analyzing the position or reconstructing it.’s 1988 article. The use of imagery in remembering. juggling. However. *Blackburne (1899/1979. The whole imaginal configuration may never be seen at once. Krogius (1976. as discussed above in relation to Kosslyn et al. the more the parts in the arrangement. The Psychology of Blindfold Chess map is reversed vertically. turned 180 degrees (so that. Jean Claude Killy for skiing. when the White pieces are placed at the top. Regardless. page 207) implied that if the board were reversed so that. among other things. with some distinctive features being the main focus of their attention. and even pre-arranged plays in basketball. page 98) found that expert players often had unexpected trouble adjusting to the change and proposed unusual and bad plans. psychologists have examined the validity of numerous athletes’ reports that mental practice is useful in retaining and improving their skills and expertise. Often such transformations are difficult. if ever. For example. The same would presumably be true if a chess player were asked to study a position that was set up with the White pieces closest to the player and then he was asked to recall or reconstruct the position starting with the pieces on the Black side closest to him. Finke cautions that it is a common misconception that images are created all at once as if they were a slide on a screen. Chris Evert did the same for tennis. telephone numbers. many errors occur and the time taken to give accurate answers to questions about the map is greatly increased. and this is done in successive steps. Somewhat resembling the examples in the last paragraph and footnote. In fact. This phenomenon is reminiscent of the reports of blindfold players that they rarely. many chess experts and instructors have recommended blindfold play. and Mark McGwire for baseball.”* Finke’s “transformational equivalence” principle refers to cases where an image has to be changed or rotated in a certain way. for example North is at the bottom of the page). balancing. as well as increasing an athlete’s confidence (“imagined success”). An extensive review of actual research on this topic can be found in Smith (1990).170 Part II. It looks “strange. he could not handle it. a kingside-castled White king on a white square rather than a black square). These can be said to be “spotlighted” and the remainder of the position blurred. to improve the skill of weaker players. players are so used to seeing diagrams in chess books and magazines with White at the bottom that. For an image of the map. but only its key features. and they often “view” it as a succession of parts. shopping lists. visualizing the moves in published games. Experiments demonstrate that mental practice does improve basketball shooting. the longer it takes to generate an image. The same difficulties should occur for an imagined position. . Jack Nicklaus often “practiced” by imagining how his golf swing should look for best performance under different conditions. unlike the above examples. and many other activities. This outcome may be related to the fact that some critical pieces would then stand on different colored squares (for example. “see” the entire position. ring tossing. Flesch is the only noted blindfold player the authors know about who reported that he liked to visualize boards from the side.

thus accounting for the fact that these two extra games always embarrassed the blindfold player. Horgan and Morgan (1990). Recall that Harry Pillsbury could memorize long lists of very obscure words on the same evening he gave a simultaneous blindfold chess display. were blurred and indistinct. and the right hemisphere is more involved in the transformation and manipulation of already-generated images. such results suggest that good spatial abilities are advantageous in chess. The patient’s name is a sure sign that what follows was a hoax. the 13th and 14th boards. a Fellow of the Royal Society in England. Research on General Chess Skill 171 is a highly recommended memory technique. with certain marks on the squares supposed to represent the final position of the pieces in the last 12 games that had been played blindfold. experienced tournament chess players about 20 percent are left-handed. As is well known. as it were. Lorayne and Lucas’s popular The Memory Book (1975). published in the British Chess Magazine for 1891 (page 387). It is virtually certain that he employed mnemonic devices involving imagery to achieve these feats. however. the Raven’s Progressive Matrices Test. Of course. of whom six scored higher than 99 percent of the general population. studying the importance of spatial abilities in chess. No one has ever been able to detect an image of any kind by observing some actual. Chess may well be one such task. although not many blindfold experts explicitly mention using these techniques. The general result. He mentions evidence indicating that the left hemisphere of the brain is more involved in the generation of images. literal . it may be no surprise that among active. by quoting part of an article. They also tested seven adult masters and experts. Richardson (1999) has written a clear. of this most interesting enquiry leads to the conclusion that the chessplaying organ thus highly excited so far undergoes molecular changes as to spare the memory by enabling the player. found that children who are chess players score higher than average in the most common test of those abilities. Would that there were a “chessplaying organ” (there isn’t). 1992). A stroke caused by damage to the left side of the brain is most likely to lead to loss of movement control on the right side of the body. Damage to the right hemisphere seems to impair performance on tasks that require spatial skills and visualization. Charles Tomlinson. who could successfully play 12 blindfold games simultaneously but had trouble if the number of opponents was increased to 14. provide many examples.8. which includes research indicating that the brain areas involved in actual perception and corresponding imagery are basically the same. just as if he had the material wooden boards and men before him. nontechnical introductory book on imagery. Since spatial skills are believed to be controlled mainly by mechanisms in the right hemisphere. wrote about a post-mortem performed on an English patient named Richard Rooke Rookewooden. Such methods could help a blindfold champion keep the positions on different boards distinctive and thus reduce memory confusion. The molecules [of the brain] had arranged themselves into forms somewhat resembling chessboards. right hemisphere dominance for a skill is mainly manifested on the left side of the body. and vice versa for left hemisphere dominance. to see the various positions in his own brain. whereas only about 12 percent of the general population is (see Chabris and Hamilton. as well as numerous “how to improve your memory” books by psychologists and others. this finding might be the best evidence ever that perception and imagery are virtually the same. which many readers took seriously. If true (which it is not). Twelve positions were thus probably indicated by the aid of the highest power the microscope could supply. or what might represent them. How better to conclude these comments than in a lighthearted manner. based on experience going back centuries. although he never publicly revealed how he did it.

. Rg5 which seemed to block the check from the bishop and force Black into 29.. Rossetto played 23. B|g5+ 30. whereas only 22 involved “rebirth” of a piece captured during the steps in their “solution” or forgotten about because . Actual studies of chess imagery and related topics Soviet grandmaster-psychologist Nikolai Krogius was probably the first to perform research on chess imagery.. The Psychology of Blindfold Chess imprint in the brain. Krogius supplies striking examples from grandmaster play. f4 e5 26.172 Part II. A retained image can cause errors when a player does not realize (or “forgets”) during his analysis that some piece is no longer in its original location. or that other characteristics of the original position have changed.) Krogius asked strong players to write out their analysis of 20 tactical problems that they had to solve without moving the pieces.. changed position of a piece not being taken in account. . . or has been captured and removed from the board. His focus on errors in chess is a welcome emphasis. even though he knew that his rook could be taken by the bishop.. with the retained image of Black’s bishop on h6 still in his mind . including two where 1960 World Champion Mikhail Tal made the mental slip of assuming a piece was still on its old square.. g|f5 when White is a piece ahead. neglected by most writers. Nd4. but had intended to meet it with 25.. B|c6+ K|c6 27. 115 involved the new. Of the 137 mistakes they made. Krogius classified errors due to faulty imagery into three types: retained images. inert images. The fact that he discussed these different types at great length indicates the importance he attached to them. Here is one example (from Tal–Rossetto... when it had in fact moved to another square in the variation he had been analyzing. and forward images. . When Rossetto actually played 24. Amsterdam 1964): Rossetto wDwDw4wD Dp0kDwDp pDnDpDpD DwDwDwDw wDwgwDw) DwDBDw)w P)PDR)wD DwIwGwDw Tal Krogius (page 21) comments: “Tal has a clear advantage because of the two bishops and Black’s isolated [e6] pawn.. The game was eventually drawn. In his book Psychology in Chess (1976) the first chapter is devoted to the “chess image” and the different kinds of mistakes that can occur through errors in visualizing a position a few moves ahead in regular chess.” (Other moves would have led to the above variation or Black’s winning with 25. Bh6+.. . Be4? He had not overlooked Rossetto’s next move. Bg7 and Tal replied 24. although it is certainly relevant to chess expertise and probably to expertise in almost any area. Tal planned on playing 29.. R|e5 R|f4 28.. g|f4 B|f4+ and now. Bd2. Neuroscientists know enough about brain function to state categorically that it will not happen. 24. Bh6+ Tal realized his previous mistake and played the only move possible: 25. .

creating “mirages” that may never arise. The weak players did show an effect of the distance between pieces. If the image were more abstract. There was a gradual increase in time as the number of squares apart increased from one to five. both of which could capture a Black queen. The distances between the pieces were varied across many test trials.” An inert image. occurs when a player assumes that he has a winning position and does not consider how changes in the position might be troublesome for him. a forward image occurs when a player considers future unlikely possibilities as if they were extremely likely. the real point of the experiment was to see how long it took the subjects to press the button indicating they had successfully visualized the position after the capture. Of Krogius’s three types. We have already mentioned that many great blindfold players have described their visualization of positions in terms of such concepts as “lines of force” and have said that they do not retain literal “pictures” of the games as they play without sight of the board. Although the subjects were told that Milojkovic was interested in whether the final position was right or wrong on each trial. Each position was removed after its exposure. like that of an inert image. only the “retained (ghost) image” seems to us a mistake in actually visualizing a position. The player may exaggerate his opponent’s potential threats. Only a few real “experiments” have examined the possible role of imagery in chess skill.” But once again the idea of a forward image. and in turn could themselves be captured by the queen. a new position was shown that either corresponded to the correct position after the capture or was shifted one square away. but in a player’s judgment or attention. In Krogius’s terminology. queen takes bishop. He relaxes his attention too soon. then the time needed to make a mental move should be longer when the pieces were far apart. the chess master showed virtually no time difference depending on how far apart the pieces were. Milojkovic (1982) performed the most extensive one. Krogius seems confused during his discussion of inert images because he is not talking about any specific errors in imagery. taking longer when the pieces were five squares apart in the original position than only one square apart. The subjects then had to decide whether the new position was correct or incorrect—which was intended to test the image they had created. appears to reflect more an error in judgment than some mistake due to a particular failure of imagery. However. After the subject had pressed a button indicating he had visualized the resulting position. then the time to respond should not depend much on that distance. In our opinion. All these would be errors caused by what he called “retained images. If the players established concrete images of the positions. and looking for possible counter-chances from his point of view. In this connection Krogius cites the famous aphorism: “The threat is stronger than its execution. or he may attach too much significance to future activities of his own pieces. To prevent such over-confidence. Milojkovic concluded that the master’s image of a position was quite abstract and less controlled by the actual physical details of the spatial arrangement presented to him. and an instruction about what capturing move the subjects should visualize was flashed on the screen (for example. Research on General Chess Skill 173 it played no important role in the original position (“phoenix rising from ashes”). as defined by Krogius. Subjects included several weak players and one chessmaster.8. or rook takes queen). He projected onto a screen positions that included just three pieces: a White rook and White bishop. . Krogius recommends thinking as if you were your opponent.

in both sighted and blindfold chess. See Chabris (1999) for another example of a distance effect in chess. or know how to proceed in them. There also. page 210 and elsewhere) state that chess skill. Turning to another topic. In other words. However. and general strategic rules of thumb. principles. was also shown in the work of Church and Church (1977). regardless of whether the king was one square or six squares away). On each trial the subject had to decide as quickly as possible whether or not the White piece was attacking— checking—the king. typical middle-game plans. and along a diagonal about the same for the queen and a bishop (a bishop being able to move only in that direction). which could be either nearby or far away. standard endgame maneuvers. page 74). Pfau’s research (Pfau and Murphy. As Pfau and Murphy state. there were large differences when a bishop or queen was placed the same number of squares away on a diagonal. “Chess-specific verbal knowledge should be useful because it can serve to encode many typical plans and procedures as well as to provide a network of chess information” (1988. say in inches. Pfau had developed a 75-item multiple-choice test designed to assess overall verbal knowledge about chess. Such a difference between the speed of judging horizontal-vertical moves vs. and details of different openings. These results resemble the outcome in Kosslyn’s image-scanning study. and the displayed positions involved a single White piece (queen. we believe that the role of verbal knowledge and labels in imagery and blindfold chess has been badly neglected or underestimated. This kind of knowledge may well help both the blindfold and regular player to remember different positions. the time to respond increased with distance. The USCF ratings of Pfau’s and Murphy’s 59 subjects ranged from 882 to 2494. is based mainly on visual-spatial and not verbal properties. in this case only for a bishop. and then to answer questions about a different part. than an attacking bishop three squares away on a diagonal. or tactical combinations to solve. In this test there were no chess diagrams or board positions to evaluate. they answered questions such as the following: . they think that knowing the names of different openings. 1988) suggested their potential importance. but more than twice as long when they were six squares apart. The Psychology of Blindfold Chess In another experiment Milojkovic found that speed of response was dependent on the actual distance between the pieces. The test examined verbal knowledge or labels concerning the names. and endgame techniques is not too important. ideal defensive setups. in which subjects were asked to focus on one part of a whole object (a map) they had learned to visualize in detail. This result suggests that players may generally need more time to process diagonal moves and threats than horizontal or vertical ones. rook. Just one subject (Class A rating) served. common tactical themes. or bishop) and a Black king.174 Part II. mentioned above. diagonal moves. standard variations and tactics. and for the blindfold player to keep a single game (or more) in mind and separate from other games. not on the number of intervening squares. An attacking rook three squares away from a queen horizontally or vertically is physically closer to the queen. In contrast to minimizing the role of verbal processes in chess skill. The speed of response for a horizontal or vertical move by the queen was about the same as for a rook (a rook being able to move only in those directions). Subjects took less time to make a decision about the rook move than the bishop move. The subject showed little difference between the time to react when the rook or queen was placed at different distances horizontally or vertically from the king (about 600 msec to respond.. The average reaction time was around 600 msec when the bishop or queen was one square away from the king. De Groot and Gobet (1996.

Checkmate is easiest when one has (a) two bishops vs. (e) both knights should be near the enemy king for forks. (e). (c) half-open files and superior piece play. ages. in simple chunking theories. what is the best defensive setup (no pawns)? (a) the queen wins against any setup. . Cooke. King’s Indian Attack. All participants also received a standard chess memory test involving reconstruction of a previously but no longer visible position. (e) two knights vs. endgame themes. are interrelated” (1988. styles of play (tactical. Black obtains compensation for his pawn through (a) play on the light squares. (d) a bishop and rook’s pawn vs. page 83). (e) Black. (d) strengthen one’s position on the opposite wing. 5. (c) the knights should be set up so that they mutually defend each other. Lane. (b) defend on the attacked wing. (b) two knights vs. He will recall that Board No. positional). 4. or that he can aim for a smothered mate (“Philidor’s Legacy”) on Board 20. They certainly seem important in large blindfold simultaneous displays. (b) Black. a lone king. (d) the knights should be placed sideby side with the king defending them. Colle System.. King’s Indian Defense. because they aid the exhibitor in keeping the different games distinctive. The verbal test also proved to be much more predictive of USCF ratings than scores on the standard chess-memory test. (c) White. the multiple-choice test was by far the best indirect measure of chess skill. Atlas. a lone king. (e) The King’s Indian Attack. (e) counterattack in the center. 2.* Besides the verbal test. and scores on that test were amazingly close to the tactical and positional scores in terms of predicting chess ratings. a queen. evaluative skill and search skills . a lone king. (c).8. (b) the knights draw with nearly any setup. (c) a knight and bishop vs. (e) attacking chances against White’s weak QP. and information was obtained about their USCF chess ratings. Pfau gave his subjects sets of tactical problems to solve or positional judgments to make. hours spent studying. (c) counterattack on the opposite wing. the best way to answer a wing attack is to (a) counterattack on the same wing. (d) a Q-side majority. With two knights vs. (d). Dutch Defense. (c). (a). 2. Generally. 6. Research on General Chess Skill 175 1. a lone king. 5. Hours spent studying and style of play showed no significant relationship with ratings. (d) Black. The Staunton Gambit is employed by _______ in the _______ (a) White. is open to debate. Pfau and Murphy did not argue that verbal knowledge is the sole basis for chess skill. In the Benko Gambit. 6. How well could each type of test or information predict the players’ ratings? Although the strongest correlations with chess ratings were found for the tactical-problem and positional-judgment scores. or merely a reflection of it. tactical maneuvers. (b) a quick attack on White’s king. 3.. 4. 3. for example. French Defense. (d) The English. 14 was a Falkbeer Counter-Gambit in response to his King’s Gambit. and tournament records. pattern-recognition memory. and strategic principles imply higher-level representations than would be the case. which were of only moderate predictive value. Whether the sort of verbal knowledge revealed by Pfau’s multiple-choice test is itself a determinant of chess skill. (c). (c) The Sicilian. Which of the following would least suit a strategical player who does not want to learn set theoretical lines? (a) Queen’s Gambit Declined. They concluded that “it remains a task for the future to work out how verbal knowledge. (b) The Réti. a king and pawn. Verbal labels for various chess opening variations. and Berger (1993) also argued that the most popular theories of *The authors’ preferred answers are: 1.

four pieces at a time in a random order. for all the subjects. As Cooke et al. The Psychology of Blindfold Chess chess expertise neglect the role of high-level verbal knowledge—general descriptions of chess positions based on tactical and strategic considerations. and one second elapsed before presentation of the next position. For example. de Groot and Gobet (1996. 7. 1996. Cooke et al. Because expert players seem rapidly to characterize positions. say. and that expert chess memory can probably be enhanced by adequate verbal descriptions. Using up to five positions and presentation times of five seconds. And de Groot and Gobet did train one subject to recall up to nine positions fairly well. Cooke et al. 85 percent for three positions. or 9 positions from master games. “The multiple games that are often played simultaneously by blindfold players provide informal evidence in support of this hypothesis” (Cooke et al. recall was better when there were few rather than many positions presented. which is rather amazing. and 54 percent for nine positions. the description on the computer screen might read “Sicilian Dragon with opposite-side castling. Each position appeared for eight seconds. page 332). And it was no surprise that. 3. In a post-experiment interview he remarked that for the larger set sizes he used a memory technique (mnemonic) in which he tried to associate each position with the name of a different famous player. with the expectation that presentation before viewing should enhance recall compared to presentation afterwards. concluded that experienced chess players definitely use high-level knowledge to label and later remember chess positions. and a result that is far beyond what could be explained by his holding just a few chunks from each position in his memory. They presented. Gobet and Simon (see de Groot and Gobet. The positions were presented on a computer screen. White is attacking on the kingside. 5. and then erased and replaced by the next set of four pieces. formed meaningful units for him. asking him to associate each position in the sequence with the name of a different world champion.. but the present authors believe that with practice players could do much better—just as blindfold champions gradually increase the number of boards they can play. but see also page 210) admit that such results indicate that the size of chunks was seriously underestimated by Chase and Simon’s original experiments. 1993.’s study seemed to have difficulties when the number of boards rose above four. 50 percent for seven positions. in about two sentences. brief descriptions of positions either before or after subjects viewed them. pages 108–110. 78 percent for five positions. page 108) performed a very similar experiment. At any rate.” The subjects’ USCF ratings ranged from 1412 to 2314 (Class C to Master). In two similar experiments the description-before subjects showed significantly better recall than the description-after subjects—when they all had finally to set up the no longer visible positions. very skilled players should be able to remember substantially more than one or two positions. They devised a clever test of their notion that such knowledge plays a role in chess experts’ perception and memory of board positions. this type of strategy supports the view that large configurations. showed that experts’ ability for immediate recall of multiple chess positions is markedly greater than previously believed and that high-level knowledge in the form of .176 Part II. So they performed another experiment in which players were shown in succession 1. The strongest player correctly recalled about 90 percent of the piece locations after having seen only one position. rather than individual chunks. A group of high-rated players (1950–2515) of course recalled the various positions considerably better than a group of much weaker players. They stated that almost all players in both their and Cooke et al.

not their particular shapes. A master’s ability to represent the chess domain does not mean that he will be good at playing poker. as contrasted with photograph-like representations of the domain’s constituent elements. The “lines of force” that many blindfold players say characterize their images of positions may not closely match “real” distances. this should increase students’ likelihood of remembering and understanding the material for the day. An internal representation (“image”) of a board position often discards those features. they appear to portray problems in cartoon rather than realistic form. or predicting the result of horse races. colors. Chabris stresses two aspects of the cartoon metaphor as applied to expertise. With this necessary digression concerning the important role of verbal knowledge in chess expertise concluded. . specific details of a task or new activity are presented to a person.8. of certain properties of the spatial relations in a position. found that most scientists and mathematicians he questioned about their thought processes showed great similarities in their reports. For example. Chabris cites Reuben Fine’s (1965) comment that the rules of chess involve the functions of the pieces. along the lines one could describe as cartoons. search procedures. They offer the speculation that this conclusion holds for skills other than chess. Robbins (1994). too.” He notes other instances and fields in which a similar notion applies. material more directly related to imagery and visualization is now presented. page 88) argued that the drawings made by physicists in solving a problem probably correspond to the images they use. The French mathematician Hadamard. not an image with all its details included. Bemoaning the small amount of attention devoted to mental imagery in chess skill (as compared to discussion of patterns. Chabris (page 21) offered the following hypothesis. But sometimes a transfer *By coincidence. big ears) and can recognize who he is with many details omitted. In many fields. the mind seems to represent familiar faces as caricatures that emphasize their distinctive or unique features. Similar remarks were made by Binet’s blindfold experts (see the next chapter). and other types of processing of chess material). in his well-known analysis of creativity. Another type of cartoon-like distortion in an image concerns the absence. Research on General Chess Skill 177 general descriptions really helps in the processing and recall of chess positions. For example. Chabris speculates that mental cartoons are usually specific to a particular domain. Greatly influenced by personal reports of chess experts. etc. shadows. should certainly aid his memory of the details. Anzai (1991. which can help in the understanding of how blindfold-chess play can benefit from what has been learned about regular chess skill: “Expertise in visual-spatial domains such as chess is based on the development of cartoon-like representations of the domain’s important properties. when a teacher gives his students a brief preview of the key general principles linking the specific points he is about to make in a lecture. or incompleteness. shooting a rifle. giving high-level information just before. as well as their relation to topics discussed previously. or at the same time as. replicating a term used by John Knott in the early 1980s. “Cartoons systematically distort spatial relations” and “they highlight important information and obscure unimportant information” (page 22). (Can the reader form a “perfect” image of his or her mother’s face?). Chabris (1999) proposed a “mental cartoons”* hypothesis that stresses aspects of chess expertise different from most other theories. Everyone has seen simple drawings of some distinctive features of an American president’s head (for example. suggests that architects sketch their recommendations analogously. Good teachers usually do this. distance from the viewer.

reiterates that the more standard theories of chess expertise. such as the quick and accurate imaginary execution of a chess move. The Psychology of Blindfold Chess may occur. and the like. Offering something different. This rather cautious conclusion seems reasonable and somewhat obvious. Many masters cannot easily verbalize the reasons for certain moves and they will often just say “It looked good. hardly mention visualization as a distinct and important process. focusing on pattern recognition. as compared to a novice (overwhelmed by attention to minor details) who does not produce a cartoon that eliminates insignificant features. . Chabris suggests “expertise is nothing more or less than the application and adaptation of the full range of relevant cognitive abilities to the constraints and demands of an unusual problem domain. The distortions in a mental cartoon may often help an expert player to carry out crucial procedures in chess. long-term memory. since they are rather individualistic. may often be very hard to express in words to others. as when someone goes from visualizing a position in chess to visualizing one in checkers—they have a similar geometric structure (an 8 | 8 checkered board). Chabris. search and evaluation. The mental-cartoon hypothesis was devised to take seriously actual reports of experts and presumably can handle a wide variety of cognitive differences between experts and novices.” Chabris is saying that an explanation of chess expertise is much more complicated than any single current theory can handle. Cartoons can also worsen as well as improve performance (possibly because they are too simple or distorted) and.” Thus communication to other players may be difficult. but it challenges researchers to integrate various approaches to chess expertise in general and blindfold chess in particular.178 Part II. in his final comments.

the painter who copies an absent model. he had “an exact representation of [his actual board and pieces] and not that of another chess-board. and the armed forces. for without this they would be unable to foresee the probable consequences of their adversary’s and their own moves” (italics added). His initial interest was sparked by hearing about these great mental feats.” Taine suggested that “the chess player who plays blindfold. a French critic and historian who himself wrote about intelligence. In his book On Intelligence (1870/1875). the musician who hears a score when he looks over the sheet *See an English translation of the 1893 article by Simmel and Barron (1966). The full citation is given in the Bibliography under Binet (1893). and by the writings of Hippolyte Taine (1828–1893).9 Psychological Studies and Commentaries on Blindfold Chess Binet THE ONLY REALLY EXTENSIVE investigation of blindfold chess ever carried out was performed more than a century ago in Paris by Alfred Binet (1857–1911). Binet was especially interested in players who could handle 8–10 blindfold games simultaneously. page 38). He said (1875. by interviewing Alphonse Goetz. 1894)* on imagery and mental representations in players who can play chess well without sight of the board is worthwhile reading for any chess player or psychologist. with the different pieces in order. presents itself to [blindfold players] at each move. who had just played eight blindfold games at once. Of course. as in an interior mirror. Taine had mistakenly concluded that the blindfold chess player uses a purely visual memory and can maintain a full pictorial image of the board and pieces as the position changes from move to move. “Evidently the figure of the whole chess-board. who were intrigued by Binet’s incisive coverage of the topic as well as his elegant writing. in playing blindfold chess. Taine was apparently relying on an American friend who claimed that. industries. His monumental work (1893. Binet is best known for his later work on human intelligence and his pioneering development of tests to measure it—still widely used in revised form in schools. 179 .

Binet’s lack of chess sophistication is revealed in one comment that many writers have seized upon in criticizing him—that in regular games “it is said that the great masters never risk a move without extensive deliberation. He gathered a “long list” of many possible “illicit practices. Chessmaster Goetz had baffled Binet by telling him that playing blindfolded had nothing to do with visual memory. The Psychology of Blindfold Chess of music. we forgive Binet for this lapse and believe that his work on blindfold chess deserves great admiration. discreetly stopped him National Library of Medicine. objective experimentation. even today. Binet was also able to persuade several Parisian blindfold masters to visit his laboratory and allow him to study and question them in person. Binet tried to gain basic information by composing a questionnaire that asked blindfold players such questions as how they call up their memory of the positions. can be viewed at their website: from making an error. Obviously. a good number of whom answered his queries—some at great length.” Some players were said to have been helped by looking at small chessboards drawn on their cuffs. because they suggest possible experiments and because they also require analysis and explanation in themselves. Binet’s writings and studies are often criticized as naïve and rudimentary when compared to how scientists would now investigate the mechanisms of blindfold chess. were actually experienced in their senses” (1875. And in Paris he witnessed several actual displays involving 8–10 simultaneous blindfold games. page 72). However. the symphony. others very superficially.” Binet and his respondents thought these frauds were rather rare and generally easy to unmask. examining as many as four or five hundred possible combinations. Others had been known to play against a confederate. and “to recite games planned in advance.nlm. increased objectivity was the direction in which Binet was trying to move. But his research should be evaluated in the context of the psychology of his time—based mainly on introspective. and experience the same emotions. the nature of their representations. . He wanted to analyze blindfold chess in a more systematic and reliable way than Taine had done.” This unfortunate remark has prejudiced many people against Binet’s findings. the numbers he mentions are ridiculously high! However. But.gov). the model.180 Part II. as Alfred Binet (courtesy of the the player announced his moves. The leaders of chess organizations around the world helped him gain access to prominent players. the personal reports of subjects can be valuable in studying blindfold chess. Binet was not much of a chess player himself. subjective verbal reports and not on precise. go through the same reasonings. but his major interest in the 1880s and early 1890s was in exceptional memories. and the role of senses besides the visual. form the same judgements.nih. More frequent were those blindfold players with a friend stationed nearby who. as if the chess-board. Most of his general conclusions would be accepted as basically correct today. Earlier in this book we mentioned some examples from important displays where the tellerwwwihm. Binet was certainly not naïve about the possible role of fraud in blindfold chess and his awareness of this “delicate question” is rarely realized by his critics.

Note how abstract the representation is. have unclear boundaries.” he therefore concluded that great blindfold players employ primarily an abstract visual memory rather than a concrete one. Starting the research with a bias derived from Taine’s writings.9. which some players said they often had to reconstruct. There is almost nothing concrete in this sketch. Concerning visual memory. No pieces are present in the drawing. Binet was quite surprised. which Binet considered a form of verbal memory. (This represen- The famous drawing of Stanislaus Sittenfeld’s “blindfold” representation of the actual game position on the left. step by step. They typically did not have any real “picture” of the current position. Psychological Studies and Commentaries on Blindfold Chess 181 referee occasionally helped the exhibitor by changing the tone of his voice. winning or losing). or even the shapes of the pieces. or otherwise indicating that the exhibitor should rethink the move he had just called out—if it was obviously a bad blunder (see the descriptions. imagination. 1894). mainly based on vertical and diagonal lines of force of the important pieces. Concerning “memory. The actual position and the sketch are both shown in the accompanying figure. . In discussing “imagination. what is shown are the lines of force that indicate their potential direction of action. characteristic maneuvers and themes. but only an abstract type of representation.” Most of Binet’s subjects insisted that. Knowledge and experience produce the meaningfulness that makes positions well-structured and unified. but a series of interrelated.” Binet pointed out that his expert subjects were often vague about their imagery. No actual pieces were visualized nor did the few squares imagined have clear boundaries (from Binet.” For the expert blindfold player an entire game is not a sequence of disconnected moves. He eventually concluded that blindfold ability was based on three main factors: knowledge and experience in the field (from practice. they were unaware of the colors of the pieces and squares. of such instances in displays by such champions as Alekhine and Najdorf ).” Master Stanislaus Sittenfeld drew a sketch of how a particular position was represented in his mind. In his investigations he discovered little support for Taine’s notion of an “interior mirror. in Part I. But sometimes uncertainty about the exact current position compels them to mentally replay previous moves. one subject said: “We know only it is a knight or a pawn without bothering about anything else. the configuration of the position “integrates itself. and not all the squares on the board are included—only those important for understanding the main themes in the position. Binet advised that a careful observer should exercise suspicion when viewing any blindfold exhibition. when playing blindfold chess. The squares are colorless. and memory.

J.” Binet concluded that the descriptions of topnotch blindfold players are fundamentally alike. objective measures such as reaction times or scores on memory tests for verbal or visual material. because piece positions and square colors are asymmetrical in the two cases. the very best players are really skillful in the art of abstraction. in today’s cognitive science. However.” He went on to remark that somewhat better. Blackburne did try to describe his blindfold play.” He was evidently not speaking of the outward appearance of the pieces.. Blackburne once stated that he “sees” the position on the board exactly as if he had it in front of his eyes. but the quoted remarks imply that he did not mean that he envisaged the board and pieces as if he were looking at them in something like Taine’s “interior mirror. Once. he said that he did not know how he was able to play blindfold chess and that. find their mental images of the chess positions a bit distorted and diffuse.”) Another strong player.H. The complementary squares g1 and g8 (where the White and Black kings end up after castling kingside) are of different colors. often find it very hard to verbalize clearly the reasons behind some of their moves and thus have difficulty conveying their thinking processes to other people. a bishop is not a uniquely shaped piece. presented and controlled by an experimenter. The Psychology of Blindfold Chess tation resembles what Chabris [1999] would describe as a “cartoon. “despite differences in terminology and inclination of mind. in others the English Staunton pieces. One example is that White’s king starts on the righthand side of the chessboard. Rather. for example. They “tell us that they imagine the chessboard exactly as if they were looking attentively at the board and pieces”—a “veritable mental photograph. I am aware only of the significance of a piece and its course. he would not be able to explain it in words.” Following are a few reports of excellent players who took the trouble to answer Binet. are favored over subjective reports about a player’s own thoughts or activities.182 Part II. .. Goetz commented: I do not see the shapes of the chessmen at all. “A good player must not concern himself with the colours of squares or the shape of the pieces.” Binet reported that “plain amateurs” did conform to Taine’s beliefs. To the inner eye. As noted earlier. These two statements may appear inconsistent. That obstacle illustrates why. intermediate-strength players. instead it makes an intelligent selection according to the particular aim of the person evoking that memory. I really cannot tell which type I “see” when I play blindfold.” On the other hand. However. when commenting on their regular or blindfold games. moves in a straight line. He probably meant that when playing blindfold chess he had as complete a knowledge of the location of the pieces.. The rook. In some [sighted] games that I play.” But Binet viewed these descriptions skeptically and declared that “even the most beautiful visual memory does not retain all details of the original stimulus array. told Binet that he could do so but it was “not of any help” and “would have no other effect than to tire him. “their visual images are stripped of all material and concrete baggage. Regency pieces are used. He said. and of the geometry of the position. when asked if he was actually able to form concrete images of positions. but rather an oblique force. and seemed to be inconsistent at times. On the perception of form. he was talking of their existence and of their relative positions. Goetz wrote that he could always easily recall if he had White or Black in a particular blindfold game. whereas Black’s is on the left. as he could gain from looking at the board with pieces on it. this remark is typical of statements by many chessmasters who. Other similar personal accounts—many obtained years after Binet’s work—were presented in Part I. but with their powers. A. Blackburne was extremely vague. if he did know.

. The shapes of the pieces appear only very dimly. it is an abstract kind of memory. During the average game . pictorial quality. S. Yet I know by heart nearly all the games I played there.9. Right: Siegbert Tarrasch (both photographs courtesy Edward Winter).” (The authors believe that if Binet had also studied painters’ memories he would have found them to be more abstract than he assumed. but only lighter or darker. was the strongest player who participated in Binet’s research. any combination of five moves is carried out in one’s head—the only difference being that one is sitting in front of the chessboard. For example. Mr. Binet pointed out that these players utilized visual memory. I really consider them only as carriers of particular actions. I picture a rather small chessboard about the size of a diagram (about 8 cm wide). I could not say whether cardboard or wooden chessboards were used during the tournament in Dresden in 1892. The sight of the chessmen often upsets one’s calculations. one does not perceive the individual pieces.. How then are they perceived in the blindfold game? I can speak only for myself. He also provided the most detailed comments of just about anyone who answered Binet. It lacks the latter’s concrete. or at least one does not see them clearly. Psychological Studies and Commentaries on Blindfold Chess 183 Left: Alphonse Goetz. Though visual. a world-class master in regular chess. I do not see the squares as distinctly black or white. Tarrasch. Thus I can see the whole board at once and I can pass the mind’s eye quickly from one square to another. Here are a few excerpts: Some part of every [regular] chess game is played blindfold. rather they appear to me as friend or foe. The color difference between black and white pieces is even less marked.) Two of Binet’s respondents (David Forsyth and Samuel Rosenthal) reported an even . yet “we must realize that their visual memory differs profoundly from the visual memory of a painter. Charcot has aptly named it a geometrical memory. even if someone had asked me as soon as I left the table on what kind of board the last game had been played. I would not have known how to answer.

This could mean. and he can go anywhere without having to look. as you see shops while walking along a familiar street when you are preoccupied. hallways. a “sort of formless vision of the positions.” Blackburne chose a somewhat similar analogy when he once compared his mental picture of the chessboard to that which he could form of his bedroom. And when an opponent’s move is announced in a blindfold display.” Bergson An eminent philosopher. Binet concluded by referring to some of Galton’s findings. he recalls it progressively via sequences of connected ideas and themes. closets. rarely have ‘beautiful colorladen images’. Dragon Variation. and thus should command more respect than concrete visual images. but rather some abstract or geometrical general scheme (the “character of the position) that indicates the rules or operations one must follow to reconstruct the position. for example. knowing exactly where he is and where he is going. a memorization of the moves as the games continued. that the master might mentally note: “The game on Board 5 is a Sicilian Defense. These men who play visually lack certainty in their games and they lose most of them. Fairly complex images are generated step by step—not all at once.” a process involving inferences and therefore basically a process of thinking. but only very vaguely. the columns that have no pawns on them. This point of Bergson’s parallels the conclusions of contemporary cognitive scientists.” Rosenthal said that during a blindfold game he sees neither the chessboard nor the pieces: “I do not proceed on a visual basis. The Psychology of Blindfold Chess higher degree of abstraction. Forsyth declared that “when someone has lived in a house for a long time. He declared that detailed. Rosenthal admitted that that he might visualize the position in his mind. because objects in a house or bedroom do not frequently change their position or location—unlike chess pieces. They would appear before him in an indistinct way. The mind of a chessplayer roams just as easily from one square to another. memory of the opening.” This value judgment seems unwarranted but expert players should be glad to be viewed in such a respectful way! Some years after Binet’s work.184 Part II.” On prodding from Binet. the great blindfold player Harry Pillsbury also claimed that he did not see actual images of the chessboard in his mental vision.” According to Bergson. However. which are continuously being shifted from one square to another during a game. the whole position in that game does not immediately leap to the master’s mind. Henri Bergson (1902) was intrigued by blindfold chess and reached some conclusions rather similar to Binet’s. but on mathematically reasoned strategy. in which I am attacking Black’s castled king on the open king’s rook’s file. and then stating that “people accustomed to intellectual analysis. he reported that there were no definite patterns of the game in his mind and it was. Blackburne’s and Forsyth’s analogy seems to us somewhat strained. mentioned above. scholars in particular. and the position of the opponent’s king should enable a player to reconstruct most details of the position. he knows its rooms. We may conclude therefore that these abstract images are the result of intellectual refinement. De Groot later argued that Binet never really realized that one reconstructs the position “by parts. picture-like visualization was not crucially involved in concentrated mental efforts of this kind. they “actually lose the feeling that the mind’s eye sees the chessboard. De Groot was saying that Binet conceived memory too narrowly and neglected imaginative . and floors. as far as he could say. they make use of abstract visual images that differ profoundly from the sensations presented to the eye.

These are rather highbrow arguments. His article. The Psychology of Blindfold Chess: An Introspective Account. he thought an introspective account of his own might be valuable.” Fine declares that he visualized each position as it arose and later says that “there is no question that blindfold chess depends upon the capacity to visualize the board with full clarity” (page 366).e. Fine In Part I of this book.” Also. (c) the formation of a spatiotemporal Gestalt (“organization”) of the entire board. So there is nothing really new in the early part of his article that would help us understand the intricacies of blindfold chess. He misstates Binet’s conclusions by saying that the French psychologist found great agreement on the point that a blindfold player “conducts his games by visualization. Psychological Studies and Commentaries on Blindfold Chess 185 inferential reconstruction. But. Then Fine discusses the role of visualization.9. like many other exhibitors. although Binet had made “many excellent points” in his work. we see that this apparent disagreement with the fairly consistent reports about abstract rather than concrete representations of Binet’s subjects. he mentions how he managed to keep individual games separate in his displays—using the familiar method of grouping sets of games according to the first move he decided to play in each set. only one part of the position changes at a time. But earlier. first centering around the king.” and “there are minor Gestalten [‘chunks’?] in various areas of the board which are related to the rest of the position and yet may not change for a long time. (b) knowledge of chess notation. 10 seconds a move) and clock-timed simultaneous exhibitions without sight of the board. “This immediately gives the game an individual cast and solves the blindfold player’s problem” (page 357). which allows positions to be summed up in a relatively few phrases. After Fine had given up serious chess for a career in psychology he recognized that. i. devoted to describing his achievements in regular blindfold displays and his introduction of rapid play (for example. appeared in 1965. before each game takes on an individual character. Bergson’s. and some of his personal experiences connected with it. After discussing blindfold chess in general. in terms of what they can or cannot do in any particular position. there had been no penetrating account of blindfold play by psychologists over the next 70 years. and that most of Binet’s subjects were neither topnotch blindfold players nor trained introspectionists. and de Groot’s writings and decide for himself whether there is really such an important difference between Binet’s and Bergson’s views. as he continues his exposition. grandmaster and psychologist-psychoanalyst Reuben Fine commanded considerable space. “The pieces are seen dynamically. Fine said that visualization combines learned skills including (a) the wealth of associations that players gain as a result of long experience. and of many blindfold players afterwards.. but the philosophicallyminded reader may want to consult Binet’s. He scolds opponents who try to throw him “off the track” by making some preposterous move. begins to fade away. second around the pieces attacking or defending the king. Since Fine was both a blindfold expert and a psychologist. And he states. Fine had declared that the spatial character of a position is organized into more and more important details. and fourth around the rest of the position. He remarked that the art of blindfold chess had advanced substantially since Binet (the world record for simultaneous games had almost tripled from 16 to 45). . “so that not everything has to be reviewed at any particular move” (pages 362–363). that mistakes are more common in the opening stages. third around the discrepancy in material.

Ericsson and Oliver first tried to determine the time required by their subject to mentally store new board positions as they changed from move to move during a game. 1989) used a subject who never actually played blindfold chess during their research with him. and so the position of the king need not be reviewed constantly after castling. White’s king usually ends up on king-knight-one (g1) after castling early in the game.186 Part II. e6 on a computer screen facing him. These pawn configurations signify where the major pieces are likely to be stationed and towards what points attacks are likely to be directed. some of his above comments do indicate that his view of the board was more fragmentary. and perhaps his memory was not completely accurate about some details of his play. instead. which presumably permitted the experimenters to record the time required to store the last move. PS. who report very abstract representations of the board. The Psychology of Blindfold Chess All these points make it likely that Fine’s blindfold play was not—as he had said—based on visualizing the board “with complete clarity” at all times. c4. and that is what he does. However. For example. He saw only successive moves denoted as. page 100) implied that Fine was not so clear about what he actually did and “saw” and commented that he did not really distinguish between his visual (concrete) images and spatial (abstract) schemas.” Still. From these initial sessions they decided that evidence about the mental representations of chess positions could not be satisfactorily revealed by actual blindfold play.” It is possible Fine’s visualization may have been more concrete than virtually all the other blindfold champions mentioned. others have also criticized his claim. cited in Ericsson and Staszewski. bishops end up on c4 or g2 much more often than g8. and involved more inferential reasoning. devoted most of his article to memory. Different squares have a host of different associations: a pawn on the first row is legally impossible. so pawns are never “seen” there. say. d4. For example. Ericsson et al. he insists that it is most economical to visualize the same board and pieces all the time. . De Groot and Gobet (1996. page 52) remarked that Fine hardly elaborated on this point and. Nf6. He continued: “The visualization that takes place must emphasize the chess essentials and must eliminate accidental factors. Holding (1985. PS did not have a chessboard in sight. it would be hard to separate the time spent storing the new board positions from the time spent selecting the best moves. such as size or different colors. Since Fine is just about the only expert blindfold champion who insisted he had completely concrete visualization. This seeming inconsistency again illustrates the shortcomings of personal reports—even by a grandmaster who was also a trained psychologist. He stressed the importance of learned associations in facilitating his recall of the specific features of a certain position. In addition. but it is minor in character. who had an expert’s chess rating. One of Fine’s insights that deserves special attention involves a factor that few players have explicitly mentioned (perhaps because they were not psychologists). Relatively permanent features like pawn structures—the pattern of pawns that generally separate the powerful pieces of one army from the other—are extremely important in organizing a position. than playing a blindfold game as if there were a real position in front of him. However. “Occasionally some difficulty in visualization occurs. Ericsson and Oliver (1984. He had to press a button to see the next move. could play blindfolded against an experienced player and still win easily. they initially verified that their subject. Fine was writing about 15 or 20 years after his last blindfold displays.

two knight moves by either knight was legal. performance is better if you can concentrate on one position at a time. one at a time.9. it seems probable that PS was also judging the position.) In another experiment Ericsson and Oliver did not ask PS to mentally play through a series of moves to reach a middlegame chess position. and about 1. say. has performed several kinds of experiments analyzing cognitive skill differences by means of blindfold chess tasks. they presented him with two actual chessboards containing similar middlegame positions. PS’s memory of the final positions was excellent (more than 95 percent correct). Ericsson and Oliver believe that their overall findings have useful implications for a variety of everyday cognitive activities. Saariluoma Perrti Saariluoma. or the absence of a piece on that square. As a comparison condition. In all the work (summarized in his 1995 book). PS had to call out the name of the piece on that square. Psychological Studies and Commentaries on Blindfold Chess 187 However. “thinking time” does not include the time needed to reach out and move a piece some distance. At any rate. if any.9 seconds for probes alternating between the two boards. which eliminated the possibility that he may often have been guessing. either (a) articulatory (saying a single syllable—TIK—over and over again). He responded much faster (in about 1. PS had to study two such positions. That is not mere storage. Then PS’s recall of the pieces on each square in each position was checked under several different conditions. The conclusion was that updating the mental representation of a current position can be made remarkably quickly. a Finnish chessmaster and psychologist. it would apparently only confuse them. or (b) imaginal . Instead. not merely storing it. he had to decide which of. Ericsson and Oliver also had PS play out games on an actual board with pieces in front of him. by presenting the names of squares in Position 1 or Position 2 on the computer screen and asking PS to identify which piece (if any) was located there. stood on the last designated square. subjects were presented with a total of three randomly chosen games. Champion blindfold simultaneous players do not report focusing on more than one position at a time. Ericsson and Oliver tested his memory of the final position by presenting the names of all 64 squares on the chessboard. Obviously. faster making moves mentally than physically. and he took an average time of 11 seconds for each position before he was ready to look at the next one. if anything. The result surprised Ericsson and Oliver: PS was. masters (with ratings generally over 2300) far surpassed much weaker players (generally under 1700). When 15–20 moves by each player in the game had been presented to PS. The computer recorded the subject’s response time for each location and then presented the next one. The average response time was between one and two seconds. such as comprehending text passages and problem solving. one game at a time. A number of different test trials like this were arranged. it depended on how fast he gave his answer about what piece. During each of the three games subjects had also to simultaneously perform a different secondary task. How could he store the positions accurately without also noticing relationships among the pieces and perhaps even deciding on the best move? Occasionally. (But actually making a move does not really parallel thinking of it. to see if he would respond even faster than when making the moves mentally. one at a time and in a random order. In his first experiment.4 seconds to respond to probes selected randomly from the two boards. with one move read out to them every two seconds.2 seconds) to probes that involved first one position completely and then the other. The subject controlled how quickly the different locations appeared on the screen. PS took about 2.

) The study was self-paced. a3. move by move. or (c) doing nothing (control condition). and the reading of the 10 simultaneous games was stopped occasionally as a break for the players. The color of the square “just popped up. and one national master. every one of them quit before the first recall test at move 15. Saariluoma believed that this experiment demonstrated that the upper limits of skilled memory are much higher than had been thought. Thus the major interference with performance. when the games ended at move 35 all three of them could predict correctly the future course of some games and to tell why the loser had resigned the game. The masters performed at least twice as well as the weaker players. but subjects were also asked to recall the positions in all 10 games after 15 and 25 moves. The novices were totally unable to follow the games. The Psychology of Blindfold Chess (visualizing a syllable—TAK—and mentally walking along the sides of the letters one at a time and classifying the corners of the letters into left. Saariluoma agreed that a serious player should be able to immediately identify the color of a particular square on the board.). Can he? His second study examined this point. The best group in the study contained one grandmaster. only the two best players said that they were able to image the square directly. etc. when their results were about 10–30 percent less than perfect. the imaginal secondary task interfered with performance by 15–25 percent. Drawing upon a suggestion of Emanuel Lasker. one international master. because they had been played at least 20 or 30 years before. but masters responded within an average of 1. In another experiment. (The subjects were instructed to tell the experimenter if they could identify any of the games. For him. The average players could “fragmentarily” follow some games to the end. with novices. came from an additional type of visual imaging task. Saariluoma concluded that one reason for skill differences in blindfold chess is the speed of transforming algebraic notation into visuo-spatial images.34 seconds whereas the weaker players took an average of 2. Saariluoma (1991) came closest to the conditions that characterize multi-board blindfold simultaneous exhibitions. whereas the articulatory task had virtually no effect. the memory load demanded in his 10-game simultaneous blindfold chess experiment was far larger than in any other study . one criticism of this experiment is that the imaging task was much harder than the articulatory one. However. was white or black. with the grandmaster’s recall of all 10 games being almost perfect. The 10 games were presumably unknown to all the subjects. Subjects were asked to follow 10 master games simultaneously. usually scoring close to 100 percent correct recall of the positions. Neither group made many errors. except for the condition involving imaginal interference. Still. An entire session with the best players lasted about 3 to 3∂ hours. after 15 moves and after 25 moves. even with masters.” or could be seen “instinctively.188 Part II. written on a slide in algebraic notation (g6.” as one of them put it.94 seconds. When asked later about the strategies they had used. and there was a fourth group. The masters were able to remember whole games—tested by asking them to recall a chosen two of the ten games after they finished the experiment. The percentage of correctly placed pieces was recorded at these times. whereas two of the other three groups consisted of average players. Overall. since the games were read to the subjects slowly. Games ended after 35 moves. Masters and medium-level players participated. The subjects had to recall the current position of each game twice. and that of the other two masters somewhat worse. Other subjects had to reason it out. Subjects were asked to say as quickly as possible whether a given square.or right-turning). All the masters were able to follow the games. The experimenter called off sequences of five to ten moves at a time for each game.

Evidence suggests that most grandmasters can play 10 simultaneous blindfold games. page 87). In other words. “classical” time limits. “All the geometric points on a chessboard are not represented equally well by blindfold chess players. The successes of Saariluoma’s masters are impressive. thus supporting all those claims of champion . skilled players are going to focus their attention on sectors of the board that are critical at the moment. page 79). Their 1998 paper concluded that blindfold players remember better the significant areas of a chess position than they do the insignificant areas. Chabris and Hearst As noted earlier. It is unnecessary and inefficient to do so. In discovering whether the number and severity of blunders differed greatly between the Monaco blindfold games and sighted games. if ever. but the ones relevant for current action are much more intensively encoded. He stated that “the major difference between skilled and less skilled subjects is the long and systematic practice of skilled subjects. Blindfold champions rarely. his results do not take first place. try to envisage the whole board at a given time. And real simultaneous blindfold play not only involves recall of prior moves but also finding good moves in each successive position. too. but when you are familiar with the feats of champion blindfold players in the twentieth century. which makes it possible for them to construct faster more detailed images of auditorily presented games” (1991. because there were fewer external distractions. indeed. This is an important additional factor. knowing that you can light up other parts of the room if necessary. Some players have even stated that they could play better blindfolded. Obviously chess knowledge must be involved. but also in hundreds of sighted games played elsewhere between the same players under much slower. Readers will recall that grandmasters made substantially more and larger errors in the sighted rapid games than they did in the classical games. Chabris and Hearst (2003) examined hundreds of games from the annual combined rapid-regular and rapid-blindfold tourneys held in Monaco. seem fairly obvious that. Psychological Studies and Commentaries on Blindfold Chess 189 involving skilled memory.”(1998. blindfolded or not. The actual process is rather like shining a flashlight on part of a dark room. Other research of Saariluoma’s on blindfold chess was described in Saariluoma and Kalakoski (1997. which makes an actual display even more exceptional than what Saariluoma’s subjects achieved. It does. It was a surprise to Chabris and Hearst that the frequency and sizes of errors did not differ significantly in rapid-regular vs. Saariluoma concluded that “blindfold chess implies a strong connection between human conceptual systems and mental imagery”(1995. That outcome challenged the strongly-held view of Simon’s group that very limited time for thinking ahead would have only a slight effect on quality of play among topnotch players. one can help evaluate the claims of many blindfold champions over the past 150 years that they could play one game of blindfold chess about as well as a regular game. having tried only a few at first and then gradually increasing the number to 10. Almost everyone would predict that individual games with sight of the board between the same players would contain fewer and smaller errors than blindfold games. Their research used a powerful computer program to calculate the number and size of blunders not only in the two types of game conditions in the Monaco events. rapid-blindfold games. both of which were played under the same relatively fast time limit. you cannot explain why some squares or configurations are more important than others just on the basis of imagery. 1998).9. page 86).

So. 6-. The Psychology of Blindfold Chess blindfold players. this explanation is dubious because regular and blindfold games are combined equally to decide final standings and distribution of the prize money. forgets that Black has played h7–h6. However. playing blindfold. sighted games did not differ significantly by the computer-based criteria for a blunder. the types of blunders may sometimes differ qualitatively. Or blindfold players sometimes think that a move which they considered only as a possibility was actually played. and moves a major piece to g5. Readers can examine our large collection of blindfold games (which includes a few from the Monaco tourneys) to decide for themselves whether this is a real possibility.190 Part II. there were 266 errors at the 1. where Black captures it with his h-pawn. 35 and 33 at the 6-pawn level. this may be due to riskier play in regular games producing more errors involving simple tactical oversights than in the blindfold games—a source of errors that may have been balanced by a greater number of errors in blindfold play caused by “forgetting” the exact position. where the pawn is seen. For example. and 9-pawn levels when playing blindfold than when they could see the positions.5. and 24 and 18 at the 9-pawn level. Another possibility is that grandmasters may play more cautiously in blindfold chess and thus avoid complex positions where big blunders are more likely. whether their own or an opponent’s pawn or piece has already moved from its previous square to another square. This balancing possibility could partially explain the lack of a significant difference between blindfold and regular play. 6. or are more highly motivated in blindfold than in sighted chess. 112 and 100 respectively at the 3-pawn level. Even though the difference was slight. say. regular rapid games were about equal. He recommended simplifying blindfold positions as soon as possible and added that he would not recognize as his own many of his blindfold games (that is—if he did not remember that he had played them!). However. So. though it could happen during the mental analysis of a variation several moves ahead. Even though the number and magnitude of errors in blindfold vs. This result held regardless of whether the computer criterion for a blunder was a move 1. since the number and size of the errors in blindfold vs. progressing from a relatively minor error to a very large one. or 9 pawns worse than the program’s choice for the best move— that is. and 277 in the blindfold games. but occur occasionally in blindfold chess. To give the reader some actual numbers. Alekhine said that his style of blindfold play was less risky than when he could see the board. . This misfortune would be very unlikely to occur in a regular game. some kinds of blunders may be very unlikely in sighted chess. Masters playing blindfolded do occasionally forget. White. and so they may place a strong piece where it can be captured by a mere pawn.5-pawn level in the hundreds of regular games. and that is why blindfold players do better than expected. There are certainly many complicated and “wild” blindfold games among them. Several chessmasters suggested to Chabris and Hearst that the Monaco players concentrate harder. the players actually made fewer blunders at the 3-. 3.

or learn to do so without extensive practice. After observing the games in the first Monaco combined-blindfold-and-regular chess tourney in 1993. and that masters are frequently surprised that they can play well blindfolded without much effort. or (much less frequently) at h3. Of course. There is little doubt that any reasonably strong player can either spontaneously play at least one blindfold game. From studying game collections and writing down his own moves in serious contests. the diagonal f1–a6 contains many key squares. and to easily identify the squares along routes the different pieces may travel. He stressed. the distinguished journalist and editor-commentator for New in Chess. Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam. Interesting as much of this material is. that looking ahead in regular chess also involves examining positions that are not currently visible—another source of the ability to play blindfold chess. For example. But one can isolate key factors and techniques. to which White’s king’s bishop may initially be developed. Of these squares the least likely target is a6 (because it would normally be open to capture by Black’s b-pawn). and d3 and e2 in queen-pawn openings (where White’s c-pawn is often at c4. theories. and psychological research on topics related not only to blindfold chess but also to regular chess. introspections. speculations. the most likely are b5 and c4 in kingpawn openings. stories. Richard Réti said that there is hardly any difference between chess with and without sight of the board. and commentaries of its most skillful players. in a so-called “fianchetto” (flank) formation. The mass of facts.10 The Techniques of Blindfold Champions UP TO NOW. as just mentioned. White’s king’s bishop may also be developed on the short diagonal (f1–h3) at g2. he will be familiar with standard chess notation. as have many others. 191 . It has probably improved since then. He should be able to rapidly name the colors of specific squares within that notation system. And. the records. personalities. stated that the general level of blindfold chess was surprisingly high. and controversies suggest that there can be no extremely simple answer. a concise answer to the question “How do blindfold champions accomplish their feats” is still lacking. Chabris and Hearst found no difference between the number and size of errors in blindfold and regular games at the first six Monaco tourneys. THIS VOLUME has mainly covered the history of blindfold chess. blocking a longer move).

But that does not mean that weaker players should be discouraged from playing blindfolded! They will be pleased at being capable of playing only one blindfold game. Still lacking is not so much the ability to remember the individual moves but the knowledge needed to play in accordance with the requirements of a position. Another method would be to engage in “mental practice” by imagining one particular piece at a time on different squares. Despite the fact that not all blindfold champions have been true grandmasters—that is. proficiency at thinking ahead. and learning where different diagonals. the capacity for understanding and viewing a position as a whole rather than as a collection of separate parts—everyone agrees that “knowledge” must be included. One way is to carefully study a chessboard with the different-colored squares marked with their unique names. keenness in spotting essential details and disregarding unimportant ones. spatial ability. are the acquisition of relevant knowledge and the intensive practice needed to develop expertise. and to examine intersection points of light. Psychological research consistently shows that the stronger the player. whether by traveling to a certain location or playing on the Internet. mastery of additional techniques is needed to play numerous games simultaneously without sight of the board. imagination or visualization aptitude.192 Part II. being able to state the color of any particular square. The Psychology of Blindfold Chess So the abilities and background necessary to play a single game of regular chess seem basically the same as those required to play a single game of blindfold chess. All the just-mentioned points are fairly obvious. A tremendous amount of chess knowledge may be gained from these sources. virtually indispensable in managing the memory and imagery problems that arise in playing without sight of the board (and also helpful in analyzing ahead or noticing patterns in regular chess). and figuring out the maximum number of squares to which it can legally move.and dark-colored diagonals with squares on the eight rows or columns. and evidence indicates they will improve their regular chess at the same time. However. and videos and computer programs produced. Geometric knowledge of the chessboard in an important factor in chess. among the very best in the world in regular tournaments and matches—every one of them has been a strong over-the-board player. This kind of knowledge presumably underlies what an expert blindfold player means when he talks about visualizing “lines of force” or “powers of a piece”—rather than seeing actual pieces and colored squares in the mind’s eye. Natural talent is not enough. and columns intersect. researchers. This could be done quadrant by quadrant. a good memory. as Réti and Koltanowski did when they started playing blindfolded as youngsters. that can supply players with the know-how needed to improve their regular chess. . in chess or almost any occupation or sport. Regardless of what writers. near or far away. extensive reliance on pattern recognition in the form of large chunks or templates. There should be no problem for any chess player (or even a non-player) to attain goals like mastering chess notation. rows. the mere possession of such geometric knowledge is not sufficient to play a good blindfold game. and expert players have considered to be the major ingredients of chess expertise—a highly developed “position sense”. the better will be his or her performance in chess-memory and imagery tasks. Thousands of books have been written. Familiarity with the name of and basic ideas behind the opening variation being played. will increase a player’s skill more than mere study of the games of others. The positive or negative reinforcement (feedback) that a player receives from his or her moves in serious contests. as well as from participation in the many events open to everyone. Of course. or the minimum number of moves needed to move the piece legally to a particular square. but not everyone appreciates how important. and particularly the later analysis of any losses.

he stated it simply: “I already knew . Even the greatest blindfold player of all. to 34 (a new world record in 1937). that finding good moves is harder than keeping 20–30 simultaneous games available in one’s memory. Koltanowski increased his number of blindfold opponents from three to six. to 20. This outcome will be useful in itself. They should be carefully planned and thoroughly memorized. possible for anyone who has become a fairly good over-the-board player. even as applied to just a single blindfold game. as compared to giving the description after displaying the position. (1993) found that supplying a brief verbal description of the opening variation. to 16. The review in Part I indicates that the world record for number of simultaneous blindfold games is best awarded to Miguel Najdorf. Some points refer to memory aids. Alekhine took a break from this type of chess. improves memory for that position. Following are the major techniques. consider now the more interesting question of what is required to play many at once. to 28 in 1925 (another new world record). to 45 (a new world record in 1947). he was already aware of this prerequisite. to concentrate on regular tournament play. He increased the number he played simultaneously from 10 to 15. The personal reports of blindfold champions are revealing about how they accomplished their historic feats of playing 15 to 20 games or more at once. there has not been a serious attempt to play more than 28 blindfold games simultaneously since 1960. Recall that Cooke et al. Then he returned to blindfold chess and progressed gradually to six to nine simultaneous games in 1916 and 1918 (playing black in every game in the latter). Later. Beyond the background needed to play a single blindfold game. to 26 in 1924 (a new world record). but one can never count on perfection in that respect. to eight. After playing four to five blindfold games at age 14 in 1906. “Finding good moves” comes under the heading of general chess skill. however. including the geometric type mentioned above. to 21. admitted that memory lapses are unavoidable. By then he or she will have gained a sufficient amount of chess knowledge. procedures and strategies that have typically been involved in a champion’s ability to play many blindfold games at once: A Gradual Increase in the Number of Games This is obvious. to 40 (a new world record in 1943).10. He did remark. and will possess most of the ingredients of chess expertise. A System for the First Few Moves on Every Board: “Anchoring” and Grouping Games Decisions about a system for choice of openings on each board number must be made before multi-game displays. Reasonably strong players can probably handle about three games in their initial attempts to play more than a single game at once. When the teenaged Reuben Fine took on eight opponents in his first official blindfold display. who played 45 opponents in 1947. to 10–12 in 1922 before breaking the North American record in 1923 with 21. The Techniques of Blindfold Champions 193 means the ability to attach verbal descriptions to it. to 20. As noted above. before a position is displayed and later recalled. and then finally 32 in 1933 (yet a further new world record). These are daunting numbers. Playing at least five or ten is. to 30 (a new world record in 1931). Najdorf did not start giving formal blindfold displays until he was about 30 years old. Alexander Alekhine. however.

Thus Alekhine’s plan for keeping the first 14 boards more clearly separate (“anchored”) from the second 14. and 20. e4 on the first eight boards. Germany. When. he opened with d4 on only three boards. was by use of an unusual and different first move on Boards 14 and 28. At Pillsbury’s most famous record-breaking display in Hannover.194 Part II. the more specific is his verbal knowledge of the names of openings and the variations that emerge from them. and 1. nor any really detailed statement of his own. including a pre-planned system for meeting the same defense played by different opponents. The Psychology of Blindfold Chess that the main trouble in such exhibitions was in the opening stages. Pfau and Murphy found that test scores. Setting another new world record of 28 games in Paris in 1925. and 15. He apparently became slightly more confident about his ability to separate e4 games from each other by varying his next move or two after 1. numbers 12. Since all the games from these three displays (Chicago. He apparently felt that associating a voice with a partic- . Richard Réti stated that the main difficulty was in the openings. where the 21 opponents were extremely strong. In the e4 games he varied his next moves depending on his opponents’ replies. He liked to play 1. he tied Zukertort’s world record of 16 simultaneous blindfold games. 5. Accordingly. he divided the games into groups of four. d4. A noteworthy sidelight was Alekhine’s request that the opponents themselves call out their moves in his Paris exhibition. so as not to confuse one game with another. and c4 and f4 on Boards 14 and 28 respectively. Thus Boards 1. and with e4 on the other 19. d4 on Boards 8–13 and 22–27. 11. When setting a new world record of 26 opponents in New York in 1924 he played 1. were more predictive of actual chess ratings than the ability to reconstruct a no longer visible position. page 30). Like everyone else. so we cannot be more specific about his opening systems. then the next five. and so on. Hannover. I followed the practice of most blindfold experts and systematically prepared openings in advance. opening with d4 on the first board followed by e4 on the next three. e4. d4. against much weaker opposition in Moscow. and so on. in Chicago in 1900. Nc3. in 1902. 1. d4 on the next five. Alexander Alekhine’s pre-planning was elaborate. he used a similar system with only e4 and d4 as first moves. in his 22-game record-breaker later that year. 7. 1. and Moscow) are in Part III. Recall the work of Pfau and Cooke and their colleagues demonstrating that the stronger the player. He told his brother that he “followed a pre-planned system of how the first five games will be opened. Surprisingly. the reader may enjoy trying to figure out what system he used to keep all the games starting with 1. 1. 9 and 13 started with d4 and all the others with e4. On Boards 1–4 I played 1. King’s Fianchetto.” No complete set of game scores is available from either of his world record–setting exhibitions. Ruy Lopez. Associating a board number with the appropriate opening name really helps in distinguishing among the games: Bird’s Opening. and then used the same pattern for the last half of the games. according to a pre-exhibition plan. measuring possession of this kind of verbal knowledge. during the opening stages of his blindfold displays. and then concentrate on the remaining. and seeming the most uncomfortable. e4. probably because the former generally leads to a more wide-open game and thus he would be likely to quickly defeat his weaker opponents. he opened with e4 on Boards 1–7 and 15–21. the latter played on Boards 3 . probably stronger players. Reports of Harry Pillsbury’s exhibitions frequently refer to his consuming the most time. when so many games could look very much alike. After the first few moves have been made in a simultaneous display almost all openings can be identified by distinctive names. 16. e4 much more than 1. e4 e5 distinctive from each other (presumably achieved by planning beforehand his second or third move instead of just the first). g3 in that order and repeated this sequence on Boards 5–8” (1951.

and so on for other defenses. c4 on the next two. There. As before. the substitution of players in that display would have lessened the benefit. to help anchor each of the three sets of 15 games. except for the 18 games that began with e4. Anthony Miles added a clever twist to the *According to the Glasgow Herald. thanks to Alan McGowan for this information. . f4 on Boards 7. d4 on the next four. He took the Black pieces on the last five boards. except for another e4 on Board 15). He also started with f4 on Board 34. which might otherwise have been hard if several opponents selected the same defense. each set of 15 games was anchored by two Blacks and an unusual move on the final three boards. d4 on Boards 8–10. and played a relatively unusual first move on the fifteenth board (f4. 15–20. Thus he also tried to more clearly segregate or anchor each separate group of six games by playing f4. and in the last six games (Boards 25–30) he chose a few less common first moves but again played f4 on the sixth. Miguel Najdorf first broke the world record when he played 40 games in 1943. Notice that here he took the Black pieces in six games. the purpose was to make each game distinctive as soon as possible. beginning the first four in a set with e4 or d4. He divided the games into groups of 15 and opened with e4 on the first six. like the Sicilian. he planned on how he would continue beyond the first move. He is apparently the only blindfold champion who has made such a request. in the last game in each group. Koltanowski gave up many other activities for five months while he planned to set a new world record of 34 games in 1937. 30. Najdorf’s system was not so elegant but. in the second and fourth groups he began with d4 on the first five boards. Of special interest was Koltanowski’s request that his own and his opponents’ moves be announced in descriptive notation on the first 14 boards and in algebraic notation on the other 20*—another way of helping him separate groups of games. becoming the first world record–setter in the twentieth century to accept the Black pieces in any games. Thus he anchored every group of seven games in the first 35 by opening with f4 in the seventh game. g3 on Board 25. e|d5. and 45). In 1943 he had merely taken Black on the last five boards of the display. and 35. Note that with the White pieces he played 1. Nf3 on Boards 11–13 and 27. Thus. worked well. but it makes good sense. the second with 3. September 21. Koltanowski said that his pre-exhibition preparation also went beyond the very first move. f4 on every board divisible by 7 and. He subdivided the games into five equal groups of six: In the first and third groups he started with e4 on the first five boards and with f4 on Board 6. b4 and Nf3 respectively on Boards 15. 28. 21. Playing 22 blindfold games at once in 1984. he played 1. 1937. The Techniques of Blindfold Champions 195 ular board could make individual games even more distinctive—although. by deciding what he would do in succession if the same defense were chosen by different opponents. His winning score was 91 percent—extraordinary! When Najdorf exceeded his own world record in 1947 by playing 45 opponents at once. c4 on Boards 22–24. and with f4 on the sixth. George Koltanowski first captured the world record when he played 30 games in 1931. Nc3. once memorized. his opening plan was more systematic. each set of four to five games was again anchored by a relatively unusual move in its last game. d4. He decided to subdivide the first 30 games into sets of five. 36–40. and b3 on Board 26. and 1. That is probably why he made an exception to the above system and played e4 on Board 15. but with a different opening move in the fifth game (f4 or c4. Accordingly. but he ended up with a system similar to that in his 1931 display. and 29–34. Nf3. 14. a rare opening move. he opened with e4 on Boards 1–6. Again. 1. He planned to meet the first French Defense by 3. took the Black pieces on the next two. as pointed out earlier. c4 on three consecutive boards.10.

aggressive. This may reflect their differing styles in regular chess. the exhibitor should exchange major pieces and avoid risky attacks. despite the fact that both recommended simplicity as a guideline. 1. . d4 d5 would be “d”. If a supposedly clever opponent tries to “rattle” the exhibitor by playing some very unusual move early on. e4 and 1. In advising “simplicity. d4 Nf6 would be “u” (for “usual”). 1. Seizing the initiative early. and 1850. e4 e6 would be “f ” (for French Defense). rather than playing a relatively harmless. c4 d|c4 would be “a” (for Queen’s Gambit Accepted). c4 or 1. 1.* Keeping the Games as Simple as Possible Most blindfold champions do not recommend striving for wild and complicated positions. with Fine being a player who sought relatively clear positions and Alekhine being versatile. see Lorayne and Lucas’s The Memory Book..196 Part II. Handling a Bizarre Opening Move by an Opponent Although a few blindfold experts have complained about the difficulty of remembering a game in which an opponent made a bizarre (and probably inferior) move. for numerous alternative mnemonic techniques. defensive opening. and playing some other move in the fifth. d4 in the first four.” however. e4 e5 would be “e”. 1.g. and innovative. d4 d5 2. and then add vowels as necessary to make up words—a method used in many mnemonic systems. or many of the other books on developing one’s memory. although there are many examples of such games in Part III. Before the exhibition he classified each standard opening by a letter. 1974. If Miles’s type of approach is adopted. 1. 1. by stage magicians and others. Simplicity facilitates ease of memory and he could more effortlessly outplay inferior opponents in endgames with relatively few remaining pieces than in tricky middlegame situations. Nf3 d5 2. this tactic immediately makes the game different from all the others. using vowels as much as possible “in the hope that the set of five would be a pronounceable sound. c4 could be “r” (for Réti regular). it would be preferable to confine the identifying letters to consonants. Of course when he was forced into fairly complicated positions he almost always handled them well—as a good number of his games collected in this book demonstrate. brilliant. So readers will guess the opening moves in a set of five that spelled out “fusar. is important but Alekhine declared that. e4 c5 would be “s” (for Sicilian Defense). when possible. which is one of the exhibitor’s *As mentioned at several places in this book. Nf3). e. With the actual system that Miles devised. a certain amount of luck would be involved— to avoid forming unpronounceable groups of letters. the movement of these artful cavaliers being extremely difficult to calculate blindfold” (italics added).” easily pronounceable. page 313. His games were rarely wild ones. Readers can probably devise a similar but better system of their own.” For example. Reuben Fine also said that simplicity is a virtue in blindfold chess. and especially the knights. and 1. unlike Alekhine’s. 1. one should not advocate the extreme approach recommended in the nineteenth century by George Walker (1840. The Psychology of Blindfold Chess commonplace strategy of dividing the first 20 games into groups of five (alternating 1. most champions have expressed delight rather than concern at such an incident. page 135) of “[taking] off the pieces as early as possible consistent with safety.

as Najdorf did. This actually made my task all the easier. However.. in an effort to confuse me.. Koltanowski once said that if he could alternate White and Black he would be able to play twice as many games successfully. and this is easier with the White pieces.” The Advantage of Sometimes Taking the Black Pieces In most simultaneous blindfold (or regular) displays the exhibitor takes the White pieces on every board. The reason for taking Black in some games is the same as for certain other techniques. 28–29. The disadvantages are two-fold. nose. instead of having White on all of them. Dependence on Features of the Position. its white and black pieces—the way.10. a positional strategy that is unfolding. the shape of the face. Not Memorization of All the Moves Alekhine remarked that something like this is what all blindfold champions do. he took the Black pieces on Boards 13–14. Second. and mostly to group or “anchor” sets of games. Besides Philidor in the eighteenth century. in a way similar to the way one recollects some friend in life. the configuration of a part of the board. some book or thing” (Alekhine. in Buschke’s translation. incidentally. one cannot predict in advance what opening move or moves opponents with the White pieces will play. the hair style. 1971). Those board numbers immediately become distinguishable from all the others. . or if a capturing sequence is underway. Zukertort alternated White and Black on successive boards. compared to when he always had White. So we seriously doubt that there would be a happy outcome to Koltanowski’s boast that he could successfully play twice as many games in a large blindfold exhibition if he alternated White and Black on successive boards. pawn structures. you imagine only the eyes. 1931. which he called logical memory: “The player does not try to recreate before his eyes the whole board with its white and black squares. In his world record–setting display on 16 boards in 1876. page 30) stated this point as follows: “Sometimes wily opponents. When you visualize a friend’s face. According to Najdorf’s pre-planned system. in the twentieth century the only record-setter to take Black in some games was Miguel Najdorf (not counting Flesch’s dubious exhibition. a5 followed by Ra6. Therefore. giving him a slight overall advantage—the opportunity of moving first—to compensate for the disadvantage of having to play so many opponents at once. in which he accepted Black on 12 successive boards). lips. since it immediately gave the game an individual cast. mentioned above. the majority of the uninitiated visualize it—but he recollects only some characteristic move. The features recalled in blindfold games may be such things as the attacking formation of a group of pieces and the way the opposing pieces are set up in defense. and so the exhibitor cannot easily plan beforehand his openings on those boards. First. you do not recapture every detail. in simultaneous displays the blindfold player wants to gain the initiative without much risk. would choose some bizarre opening moves. such as . Fine (1951. and 43–44 to help separate every group of 15 games in his 45-board display. there were nineteenth century players who occasionally took the Black pieces in blindfold exhibitions. The Techniques of Blindfold Champions 197 main goals. an exhibitor should accept Black in only a few games.

Board 25.198 Part II.. And backward moves may be ones that are overlooked—particularly if the opponent is attacking.. Concentration on Only One Board at a Time Experiments show that when subjects have to remember two (or more) positions presented in succession before they have to reconstruct them. you are able to. and this direction of gaze may transfer to blindfold chess. Or if there is an error in the communication of moves between the exhibitor. Subjects who must recall as many as nine positions shown in rapid succession try to later reconstruct them one at a time. when the unconscious assumption is that his pieces will be advancing. the influence of distant. move by move. or bishop—the only pieces that can move many squares away in a single move. If an exhibitor is focused on a particular part of the position. This may sometimes be difficult if you are having a hard time in a couple of games and their current status may keep reappearing in your head as you go from board to board. then they must keep both in mind almost simultaneously. Of course. An exhibitor moving fairly quickly could err by overlooking a long-distance threat by a queen.. or fail to notice.” We think that Najdorf was trying to say that when you are ready for the next move on.. Miguel Najdorf made a revealing comment along the same lines: A blindfold display “requires a special talent . not necessarily in the order presented. the exhibitor should be able to recapitulate. as compared to their performance when they are asked to switch back and forth between the positions. Fine mentioned Charles Bagby as the only person he knew who used that system. to make sure an error of this type does not occur. or are asked to. but Bagby took on relatively few opponents. Watching Out for Long-Distance Threats Psychological research reveals that it generally takes more time to visualize or otherwise handle moves that cover a long rather than a short distance on the chessboard. they do much better if they decide to. say. or could capture one of his own pieces. he usually can recall the whole game if necessary. there are moments when an exhibitor is not so sure about the position on a particular board and then he has to review some or all of the previous moves before choosing a reply. The Psychology of Blindfold Chess Memorization and subsequent repetition of all the previous moves as one approaches each board would be very time-consuming and inefficient in blindfold displays. Having planned his opening choices on different board numbers beforehand. the impression arises that a long-distance horizontal move by a queen or rook is more easily overlooked or misjudged than a vertical move. referee. the champion blindfold exhibitor presumably scans the position quickly before finally announcing his move. he may underestimate. .. A total abstraction within each unity. opposing pieces that could move to refute his plan. Such errors may occur because in regular chess we tend to look straight ahead rather than from side to side. put all the other positions out of your mind.. rook.. Judging by the games in Part III. and a player. It’s something inexplicable and objective. the whole game. Paralleling what he does in regular chess.. and should. that allows a player like me a total abstraction of the other boards when you have to deal with only one board. recall all the pieces in one position before reconstructing the second.

And sometimes. most exhibitors learn how to cope with this kind of short-term problem. but more often the modern exhibitor may sometimes cup his hands over his eyes and ears to minimize disturbing external factors. or calls of nature. But maintaining one’s physical endurance is useful in any form of extended competition or pursuits that require sustained mental effort. images of different game positions keep appearing and reappearing for hours and even days. or films of modern displays occasionally show the performer blindfolded to add to the drama. Najdorf remained in a separate. not only contributed to the drama but may also have eliminated certain visual distractions.10. Mainly to reduce outside noise when he set his 45-board world record. Breaks. eating more than a few light snacks could make them sleepy or produce digestive problems in such an intense situation. Some have needed hours of relaxation after a display. Photographs. Just think of the relatively few players over past centuries who have been able to successfully play more than 20 blindfold games at once. An actual blindfold. It is obvious that a simultaneous blindfold exhibitor should try to keep in good physical shape to handle the effort involved in multi-board simultaneous blindfold exhibitions. others engaged in a very different kind of activity (playing cards. In their displays Kasparov sat behind a partition and Miles stayed in a soundproof booth for the same reason. one should never lose any respect or enthusiasm for the memory and visualization feats that such an event entails. eating a long meal and conversing with friends). Noise. Perhaps 15 persons. many masters and grandmasters follow a strict daily physical regimen that includes the kinds of exercises every doctor would recommend for preserving good health. avoidance of long pauses shortens the length of the display. Again. We have noted that most players seemed to prefer to complete a simultaneous blindfold exhibition in one continuous session. isolated room with a microphone and thus was well insulated from various disturbances. One can only smile when recalling the skepticism and disbelief people showed upon hearing that Philidor had played two blindfold games simultaneously back in the eighteenth century. Psychologists who are experts in human memory and imagery recognize that the accomplishments of the blindfold champions of the twentieth century can hardly be surpassed by any other kind of display of exceptional memory. Also. and one champion at times deliberately got drunk. presumably making it less likely that an exhibitor will forget any of the positions—which might occur over a long “rest” interval or dinner period. Handling Post-Display Problems Probably the most common complaint of blindfold champions has been the insomnia they often suffer after completion of a grueling multi-board display. The Techniques of Blindfold Champions 199 Avoidance of Distractions. Occasionally. With increasing experience at giving such exhibitions. they were probably afraid that such pauses would interfere with their concentration and affect their memory. which may still go on for many hours. pictures. Even though it is now clear that the planning necessary before a large multi-board display will definitely consume more total time and effort than the exhibition itself. Eating Most pauses during multi-board blindfold play after the nineteenth century have been brief and infrequent. They paused only briefly for food and drink. Even when playing regularly in chess tournaments. as was sometimes placed over the eyes of exhibitors before the twentieth century. . and many hardly ate anything during the course of a 12 to 24 hour event.

lived to be 96 and 87 years old. Koltanowski and Najdorf.”* And.11 The Supposed Health Hazards Ever since chess players began to play at least two opponents simultaneously without sight of the games. 200 . Taking them as examples. shortened lives. Possibly. “I don’t want to kill myself!” and Garry Kasparov asserted. mental illness. not only to blindfold chess. both died at the age of 53. In fact. Despite the fact that almost all great blindfold players have admitted that multi-board displays are taxing. insanity. primarily from the medical profession. and the only well-publicized display he ever gave. the largest number of opponents the Russian ever met without sight of the boards. Similar opinions have at times been extended to excessive chess activity of any kind. the two most recent world record holders. Capablanca’s well-known laziness had more to do with his reluctance to play blindfold chess than any real fear of “killing himself. page 157). there have been concerned and well-meaning critics. Two games from that display are in Part III (Game 376 and Game 377). Blackburne lived to be 82 and competed in major chess tournaments into his seventies. 1989. a win at an exhibition in which he played 11 regular games and two blindfolded. the former of a stroke and latter presumably from various effects of long-term alcoholism. Kasparov gave a 10-board simultaneous blindfold exhibition played with clocks in 1985 in Germany. Doubtless some grandmasters have avoided blindfold play because of such concerns. Capablanca declared that almost any first-class master could play six simultaneous blindfold games without preparation (Winter. one could even *There is some irony in this remark because Capablanca and the world’s best-ever blindfold player. respectively. or any combination of these tragedies. Alexander Alekhine. there is virtually no good evidence that such attempts can produce any really dire effects. Part III of this book includes three of Capablanca’s blindfold encounters (Games 349–351)—a loss against three consulting adversaries in Cuba. World champion José Capablanca protested. and while on tour in the United States in 1910 he usually offered to play one game blindfolded at the same time as the sighted simultaneous games. and a win in another single game. as noted earlier. and they maintained their basic enthusiasm and keen cognitive powers almost to the end. These people have been acting from a sincere belief that such strenuous efforts could lead to brain damage. who have expressed strong opinions about the dangers to a person’s health from the strain of so demanding a task. “I don’t want to become mad!” when asked why they played hardly any blindfold chess.

and his job as secretary of the Paris Chess Club had ceased when the club closed a year before his death. these uncomplimentary remarks about him were made even when he was a young man! Most commonly listed as examples of blindfold champions who died at a young age. Despite the well-deserved skepticism surrounding the likelihood of serious harmful effects of playing chess blindfolded. the New York Times (June 24. Lissowski told the authors in October 2005 that he had consulted experts in the 1990s to discover what this term referred to. Tomasz Lissowski. are de la Bourdonnais. analyst. and over the years he constantly reassured his wife that the displays were not especially fatiguing and that she should not worry about his health. and Pillsbury. They lived to the ages of only 43. rather than hasten it. according to the British chess writer George Walker. or doing crossword puzzles) in later life seems to provide protection against dementia. where he played chess for the better part of two days in public. Citing an article in the New England Journal of Medicine. But this was probably the first specific event that caused people to wonder whether blindfold chess might really threaten one’s health. who advised the world’s first wellpublicized simultaneous blindfold player that if he were to continue such “dangerous experiments” he would be risking his talent and reason. Perhaps the earliest explicit warnings along these lines came in the famous letter sent to Philidor in 1782 by the French encyclopedist Diderot.11. and offhand games at odds) and continued them even after suffering from a stroke and dropsy for a few years before he died. and 33. Diderot agreed with Legal’s view that it would be “foolish to run the risk of going mad for vanity’s sake. Kieseritzky. Death came a few weeks after all this chess activity and. The Supposed Health Hazards 201 argue that the mental activities they engaged in as older chess players helped prevent cognitive deterioration. but no one was sure. This conclusion has some research support. 2003) reported that mentally demanding intellectual activities such as playing chess. Since Kieseritzky’s hospital admission listed . mostly games at odds. 47. blindfold displays against two or three players. had no significant impact. Although he was often described as a rather boring and humorless person. Morphy.” Obviously his death may very well not be due to blindfold play itself but to his frenetic activity while in poor health—or it could be related to great personal stress. in the labour of playing blindfold. regular simultaneous exhibitions. 45.” Despite this advice Philidor continued to give frequent blindfold displays until he was nearly 70. the cause of Kieseritzky’s death in a Paris hospital was recorded as “reamollissement de cerveau” (a softening of the brain). Most physical activities. such as group exercise. playing a musical instrument. or writer have ever contracted Alzheimer’s Disease. He had frittered away a large inheritance. which should not be considered definitive. but also at least one three-game blindfold exhibition. According to his biographer. it is worth retracing the history of the belief that it is harmful. 47. respectively. De la Bourdonnais was very active at all forms of chess (matches. Some points mentioned earlier seem to merit reiteration here. checkers. and who may also have suffered from mental illness or brain damage. Zukertort. doctors attributed it to “his overstraining the finer vessels of the brain. There is a hard-to-substantiate belief among knowledgeable chess devotees that remarkably few masters who throughout their life remained active as a competitor. or cards (and even reading. At that time Philidor was in his mid-fifties and had been acclaimed for playing two or three blindfold games at once since the age of 18. No writer can be found who has ever mentioned any loss of Philidor’s mental powers as he grew older. In late 1840 an invitation from Simpson’s Chess Divan in London caused de la Bourdonnais to leave France for England. For the last 10 years of his life he was plagued by financial insecurity and played chess constantly to win enough money to support himself and his family. A few words may be added to what was said about them previously.

At any rate. which in low doses was supposed to ease heart problems. power of reproducing visual images of his sitters developed in time to a hallucinatory insanity. he never became successful as a lawyer. he had announced that he would stop playing competitive chess once he turned 21 and was old enough to practice law in Louisiana. He then abandoned all types of serious chess for the rest of his life. He was found dead in his bathtub in 1884 at 47. and others beside him. This had always been his intention. In a discussion of Domaüski and Lissowski’s (2005) biography of Zukertort. Great chess players. It is interesting that in October 2004 the Journal of the American Medical Association chose to reprint for its “100 Years Ago” section an article originally published on October 15. Doctors warned him not to play Steinitz in 1886 because the exertion might kill him—to which Zukertort answered that he was prepared to die without warning.. it may work damage to the general mentality. than de la Bourdonnais. Lissowski believes there is “absolutely no reason” to think it was related to playing blindfold chess. but died of a stroke while engaged in an offhand chess game in London in 1888.. However. for example. Morphy. perhaps. . The Psychology of Blindfold Chess a stroke causing paralysis on one side of the body. was a direct cause of his death. pain. practically an exercise in hallucinations—external projections of visual energies mentally conceived—and only possible with a probable special development of the visualizing centers and apparatus of the brain. The autopsy revealed that he had died of a stroke. but there are no reports of his suffering from any type of obvious mental illness. His reputation of being an inveterate braggart does not qualify. his consultants suggested that this could likely have been a result of syphilis. or Morphy. especially in the first couple of years of the twentieth century.202 Part II. have broken down mentally to a certain extent. a matter of visualization. beat every great player there who was willing to contest a match with him. Blake’s . both with and without sight of the board. giving all kinds of exhibitions. 1904. he did not show definite signs of mental illness until more than 15 years after his famous blindfold exhibitions. Morphy became detached and withdrawn and in the mid–1870s began to exhibit paranoia. and fever. Attributing his early death to blindfold chess seems far-fetched. among other conditions. and gave four blindfold displays on eight boards in England and France. and this involves a kind and degree of mental strain that can not be considered other than abnormal. Kieseritzky. the cause. As the years passed. He kept on traveling extensively after that defeat. Ironically. It is difficult to make a case connecting his mental illness or death to blindfold chess. However. and this may be. colleagues and friends commented that he was lazy and showed annoyance because people seemed to regard him only as a great chess player. if not exclusively. against Steinitz in 1886. Pillsbury’s name is the one most frequently given as a blindfold champion whose participation in a large number of such displays. Hans Ree (2005) mentioned that Zukertort was genetically predisposed to death from a stroke and that in 1883 he was taking huge quantities of aconite. Others who have possessed this faculty of reproducing visual images have likewise shown the evil effects of its overexercise. In the past. and unless the person is just so constituted and specially resistant to the possible influences. and died 25 years after that. The author mentioned Pillsbury’s skill at blindfold chess and argued that his strong play is largely. Zukertort gave many more exhibitions. This implies a certain abnormality. two years after Pillsbury set a new world simultaneous record of 22 games. The English painter. It is in fact. Morphy toured Europe in 1858–1859. During the American Civil War (1860–1865) he was torn between allegiance to his Southern heritage and his belief that the Confederate cause was not worthy of support. his case is probably is the easiest one to refute as far as the health hazards of blindfold chess are concerned. chess historians report that he was psychologically and physically devastated after losing the first officially recognized match for the regular world title.

which lasted 24 hours. may cause mental illness or insanity. recording his blood pressure and heart rate.” which supported the rash speculations of the JAMA writer. It is hard to see how blindfold chess could have been involved in the death of this great blindfold champion. Although the evidence suggests that players need not worry about any serious or permanent consequences of giving multi-game blindfold displays.. painters were in the same category as blindfold-chess champions. and finally World Champion Garry Kasparov (cited in Steinkohl. and maybe even serious chess itself. Soviet Grandmaster Lev Polugaevsky (in the Amber tournament book for 1993. page 45) that. which hardly changed during the course of the spectacle. however. the authoritative encyclopedists. three doctors were constantly with him in his isolated room. he died of syphilis (“general paresis” is given on his death certificate) contracted in St. 1992. Korn stated that speculations based on the harmful consequences of blindfold play are “dubious. asserted that he did not think that blindfold chess was ever forbidden in Russia “as is often stated—it’s just that it is very tiring and none of the masters wanted to do it”. 1906. his blindfold simultaneous play in particular. Soviet chess officials banned them from 1930 on. Hooper and Whyld (1992. Koltanowski’s. his obituary in the New York Times gave as the cause of death “an illness contracted through overexertion of his memory cells.* Another widespread and often-mentioned fiction that may possibly have restrained players from giving blindfold displays is the bald statement in many sources (for example. Petersburg. Readers will recall that at Najdorf’s world-record display in Argentina in 1947. *Korn (1978. (Najdorf joked that the doctors had given a “medical simultaneous exhibition. or activity. sport. [His decline] was primarily due to the physical and mental consequences of the then incurable infectious disease that was also responsible for his early death. The Supposed Health Hazards 203 Here we see the major medical journal in America fostering the view that blindfold chess. So we conclude that there is no more reason to think that blindfold chess is very dangerous to one’s health than almost any other occupation. Petersburg tournament of 1895-1896. De Groot (1965/1978. page 307) explicitly state that Pillsbury was unwell from syphilis. As we now know. He was no longer a top chess competitor. It is common for expert blindfold players to complain of insomnia. a blindfold champion himself. was in itself harmful and a cause of his deterioration is unfounded. However..”) There are no reports of which we are aware indicating that doctors were officially present at any of Alekhine’s. (Surprisingly. 1992. page 355) implicitly reached the same conclusion: The popular myth that [Pillsbury’s] excessive chess activity.” .. and must have discouraged some chess players from playing blindfold chess at all. Grandmaster Vlastimil Hort (in the Amber tournament book for 1995. and had apparently been in denial for some time about the debilitating effects of the disease he caught while at the St. When he died on June 17. believing mental health could be endangered by multi-game blindfold displays. or Flesch’s exhibitions.) In 1904 Pillsbury had only two years to live. He offered other alternatives that led him to conclude that venereal disease can neither be ruled out nor proven as a major factor. at least when they first start giving public exhibitions. page 239). But perhaps it is best to be cautious. there is little doubt that right after a long exhibition no player feels in perfect shape. pages 70–74) was much more tentative about the causes of Pillsbury’s illness and death than the writers cited.11. this rumor is apparently not correct. Hooper and Whyld. page 117) declared that blindfold displays were not prohibited in Russia but one needed approval and medical oversight to give such an exhibition. page 162) stated that it was untrue that blindfold chess was forbidden in the Soviet Union (such displays just didn’t happen). the real cause of Pillsbury’s death was probably suppressed by his family.

play cards) for a couple of hours after a blindfold display or he could not sleep. page 159) noted Hort’s comment that his sleep was ruined for a month after he played 20 simultaneous blindfold games in 1981. and apart from that. the 1997 Amber tournament book (pages 83–84) includes mention of Hort’s remark that. since many years later he was talked into playing one game at a friend’s house after dinner. although the dangers of blindfold chess should not be exaggerated. a problem for him was that “you don’t forget the positions so quickly. Pillsbury wrote that he must do something else (for example. Even though he did not faint this time.” Because of its unusual nature.” which “cured” Kreymborg of blindfold chess (1925/1957. “which astounded and delighted them effusively” (1925/1957. After his world record performance in 1947.204 Part II. page 104).” Not long afterward. and that he gave up blindfold chess in the years 1894 to 1898 in order to improve his techniques. and can stay there for years. out of Kreymborg’s sight. but then—fainted. it is worth mentioning one other relatively short-term effect that a blindfold champion suggested could have been a result of giving a major display. Fainting or dizziness can occur after any one of a variety of exciting episodes in one’s life. Kreymborg was not completely cured. The British Chess Magazine (1982. When he was 15 or 16 he tried playing three blindfold games simultaneously against club members in another room and managed to handle all three well. . novelist. He checkmated them easily. even though he complained that he had not played blindfold “since I was a kid. Najdorf said that he could not sleep for three days and finally dozed off while watching a very bad movie.” Holding one of the host’s children in his lap. Similarly. have a good meal. so that may have helped. as chess pieces continually floated into his mind. but in other places he reported that he sometimes deliberately got drunk right afterwards. playwright. as the players learn not to try to sleep soon after an exhibition ends. Any serious tournament player—and champions in any sport—knows that it is hard to go to sleep after playing an exciting game. The Psychology of Blindfold Chess Despite his easygoing personality. his winning of the championship of a club in Greenwich Village as a teenager when all the other members were grownups. Harry Pillsbury. But “since then. the current world blindfold champion “lost his sanity and had to be placed in an asylum. At that time he did not know the likely cause of Pillsbury’s mental disorder. he apparently never tried blindfold chess again. Readers who aspire to playing good blindfold chess should probably not be frightened off by these experiences. and how his “chess appetite” at that time could not be appeased.) The noted poet. That outcome “frightened [him] out of the habit. my tremendous efforts at blindfold play have not affected me one jot. and for most players this problem seems to disappear with practice. Afterwards they are carved in your memory. he played a group of the dinner guests who consulted on each move at the other end of the room.” In some of his writings Koltanowski denied any sleep problems. “I once played six games [simultaneously without sight of the boards]. British master William Winter reported. with particular attention to preventing insomnia. anthologist and editor Alfred Kreymborg’s autobiography Troubadour (1925/1957) mentions his chess activities.” (He is the player who died at the age of 96 and who had given a successful five-board exhibition when he was past 80. page 53). Blackburne stated in 1891 that he had initially slept badly after a display. Insomnia is the only common outcome of blindfold play that experts complain about. George Koltanowski reported that not long after he had set a new world record of 30 simultaneous games in 1931 he was walking with a friend when he abruptly turned white as a sheet and had to grab his friend’s arm. but spent so many sleepless nights trying to drive the positions out of my head that I gave up blindfold play. but eventually figured out that he needed three hours of relaxation before trying to sleep.

The first. . comprising games 1–301. full citations may be found in the Bibliography. Many of the citations to sources are in a short form. All annotations are by the present authors except as noted.P ART III Blindfold Chess Games Part III is divided into two sections. is a collection of all available games from world record–setting simultaneous blindfold exhibitions (arranged chronologically and then by board number if available). The second. and then by board number if available). games 302–444. then chronologically. is a selection of other significant blindfold games (arranged alphabetically by player.

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15.-A. Kg2 R|f4 From now on Philidor plays the ending faultlessly.. Board 1 (of 3) Bishop’s Opening (Philidor Counter-Attack) C23 1. d6 4. . aiming for c4.. . Bd7 20. d3 Nf6 6. g3 Rab8 25. . plan was 35. R|b3 {DrDwGw)P} {wDw$wIwD} {DwDwDwDw} vllllllllV Mieses wondered whether. Philidor starts a maneuver aimed at breaking up White’s position. no less an authority than Ruy Lopez recommended 3. from this position.. Be3 Qe7 Philidor is surprisingly reluctant to castle. 35. B|f5 7. 5. the developing move 2. but double-edged. Nb6 19. but suspect with no Black pieces developed and White’s queen on the e-file.... . 36. Rfc8! 26. Ra2 B|d2 34. Ng3 g6?! 19. but nevertheless White should draw. Bb4 29. any early twentieth century master could have played the Black pieces better.. N|b3 seems preferable. Ne2 b5 18. . 25. ... Philidor (Blindfold) London. Rd8 Rd3 207 . e. some of the opening moves appear rather strange.. . 13. f3 11... 0–0 11. alternative here was 18... Bc5.D. R|a6 Rc3 32. Q|g7+ K|g7 24.. Rc2 c|b3 28. B|f4 Rf3+ 40. Ra1 Bb4 or 30.. c|d5 Capturing with the knight would give Black a somewhat freer game. 16.. Nd2 Nbd7 10. 3. Rc7+ Kg6 37. 41. vacating d5 for the knight. Qf2.. Nf6 would nowadays be preferred. b3 Ba3 27.. followed by Ng1–e2 with a choice of sides for castling. c|d5 White should be seeking to complete his development by.. d4 e4 8.. B|c4 b|c4? 24. but 13... . Rd7 N|f4 39... R|d2 R|b3 cuuuuuuuuC {wDwDwDwD} {DwDwDwiw} {wDwDwhwD} {DwDpDpDp} After {wDw)p)wD} 34. . Here. . Rac1 Nc4 21.. g4!? 18. Qg3+ Qg7 22. even if sighted.. Bg5 d5 Now Philidor has a significant advantage. Qe2 In reply to the text move. 14.World Record–Setting Simultaneous Exhibitions 1 Count Brühl– F. . c3 f5?! Vigorous. Kh8 23. d|c4 would have been preferable.. But in order to make progress. 0–0 An aggressive. passed pawn. May 8.. . g|h4 Nh5 38. Bb3 Bd6 10. .. Kf2 Rd3 33. .. Ne8. e|f3 was stronger. . 1783. . e4 e5 2.. Qf2 0–0 17. e|f5?! 6.. h6 12. R|d5 Rf3 42. 15. and possibly better. .. h4 An alternative. .. f4?! This gives Black a supported. Nf3 6.. 35. 13. 3. while White’s blockading bishop has only limited activity.. h3 Relatively better was 11... Rfc8 28. Rc2 Black is better because he has a supported passed pawn. a|b3 28. R|c8 R|c8 30. c4 a6 15. 28.. 0–0–0 Nbd7 11. h5 Preventing the cramping follow-up g2–g4. Bc4 c6 As may be expected with a game played over 225 years ago. Rc1+ 31.g.. 9. for example. N|f5 g|f5 22. . .

Kg3 Bd1 43. Board 2 (of 3) Sicilian Defense B20 1. 47.... Rc1 Qa3 29. . e4 c5 2. Ke8 is answered by 48.. then Black will not be able to capture the c3-pawn and win the game. while 47. while if he moves his king to prevent immediate mate... 0–0 f5?! One of Philidor’s favorite moves. Re4.. K|g4 Nf5 After 42. b4 b5?! Again.. Bc2 Qc7 18.. 19.. Rd7+ when 47. . Re7+ followed by 49. . where Black has chosen to block the c.. . d4 c4 The outcome is a pawn structure that would nowadays be judged as probably resulting from the Advance Variation of the French Defense. 18. Bc2 34. 15.. . Bc4 e6 3. d3 Bg7 10. Ne3 Bf8 36. 24. before any exchanges. but better was either 12. B|a4 Rfb8 would have been more meaningful. Kf1 Kf7 46. . 1783.. The only move to save the game was 47. Be3 d5 A notable feature of the game so far is the large number of pawn moves—out of ten. . Consequently... a5 At last! 25.. B|f3 If the bishop and knight are removed from the board before any pawn is captured. Nf3 Nge7 8. Rg3?! 24. g6 9. 47. . 33. b|a5 R|a5 26..-A. Black will promote a pawn.. 39. 16. g4? This was White’s last chance to play a4–a5. c7 and b7 would also have been adequate) in time to prevent White’s king from shouldering its way towards the vulnerable e6-pawn. Ne3) Nf5+ is also good for Black. 45. was one of Philidor’s patrons in London. but again a4–a5 would have been good.. .. Re1 R|e1 41. Rc1. rewarding detailed analysis. d6 Rd2+ 45. . Nc6 4. but in reality a complex. position. 47. 4. Qd1 Ra2+ 31. Kh2 White continues with his plan. ambassador for Saxony. 3. h5 (or 40.. [Fiala... Na7 37. . N|e1 f|g4 42. . the consequence being a closed position. Nf1 Qb3 At last Philidor is playing actively. the knight is apparently fixed. . b|a4 Also good was 20. . but with no captures. Philidor chooses to block the position. 13.. . h5 Re2 40.. Kh7?! For the reason just mentioned. Bc1 Ba3 Even better was 36. 37.. R|a5 Q|a5 28. Bb7 or 12. Kf8 and 47. N|f5 g|f5+ 44. Rd8!. B|a4 Nb5 It was better to exchange bishops first. Ne8+ Kh7 47. 19. There are more pawn moves to follow. h4 B|c1 38. . . then 33.. Bowdler– F. Bb3 34. 22.. Quarterly for Chess History. c3 a6 5. g|h5+ 43. However..... Kg3 Nc6 with a fine game. Philidor (Blindfold) London. Kg8 are all met by 48. . 45. Nf6+ Kg7 46.. Ng4 Nf5 45. Rb1 If 33. Ke6. Nf3!? Now. (2000). . Bb1 Bd7 17. just when a draw was within White’s grasp.. after the ex- . a key question is: Can the White king reach b2 before the Black king reaches a3? If it can. the Black king does manage to maintain the opposition from the critical defensive squares a5 and b5 (control of the triangle c6.208 Part III.. b|a4 19. d4 8. a5 21. h5 e3 47. acknowledging that Philidor has the better chances on the queenside. h3 Closing the a-file by a4–a5 would be logical. .and ffiles. B|b5 B|b5 23. 20. f4 d6 7. as if the a-file is opened Black will have more room on the queenside in which to regroup his pieces. f3.D.. 30.. N|g4 Ne7 40. V. A glance at the position after White’s 46th move will show that White’s king will reach b2 with time to spare.. there have been five by White and no fewer than seven by Black (including two by the d-pawn). Bd1 {Dw)wDwIw} {wDwDwDwD} {DwDbHwDw} vllllllllV This is an apparently simple. Na7 Signaling his intention to capture on a4 and plant the knight on b5. Nbd2 0–0 12. d5 f4 44. 24. Rgg1 Rga8 27. Kg4 Bb1. Rg1 Rg8?! Philidor ought to be playing on the queenside. all leading to a draw. neither side is able to make further progress. R|d1 Ba4 33. Bb2 Nb5 intending . Nc7 Ng7+ 48. d4.... as otherwise the h5-pawn will be lost. 43. ... 392–393] 2 T. 11.Na3. Kg3 Nc6 35. Qe2 To hinder Black’s intended . 18. Qf2 planning on Qh4 seems a better idea. May 8... Kf6.. h6?? An unfortunate blunder. f|g4 39. Bd2 Q|d1 32. . e5 h6 14. Ba2 8. 0–1 Count Hans (John) Moritz von Brühl (1736–1809).. ..d5.. K|h5 Ba2 44. R|c1 Ne7 38. cuuuuuuuuC {wDwDwDwD} {DwDwDwDk} {wDwDpDw0} {DwDp)pDP} After {wDp)w)wD} 44. and White’s king is restricted to guarding it. a4 b6 6. when White’s checks are of no consequence. Game 2 20..

. B|f5 R|f5 22. V. . Ke4 Bf6 44. . b4 23. 14.. h3 0–0 16. However. K|e4 K|g5 0–1. Bc2 Rb8 Although logical. .. Kb2 Kc6 51. Qg4 18. Q|g2+? As often happens. Q|d4. f4 19. notable mainly for White’s refusal to resign earlier. e5 c5 6. Bd3 g6?! This further weakens Black’s kingside. . More appropriate would have been 10. V. (2000). is a mistake. Bc1 Qb6 27. Game 3 change of pieces neither side can make further progress. a|b5 a|b5 18. Q|d4 White would have been in a very serious position due to the pin on the e3-knight and the possibilities available for Black’s queen’s rook. Philidor (Blindfold) London. London. 46. even after the exchange of queens Black maintains the advantage. Bd3 e6 4. K|f3 Kg7 47. gave rise to the term bowdlerize as a result of producing expurgated editions of Shakespeare’s plays and other works. were played on the first occasion when Philidor conducted three blindfold games simultaneously in England (he having performed a similar feat in Berlin over thirty years earlier—see chapter 2). allowing Black to reply with 29.. Nh2 b5 17. K|g2 Rb3 31. Bb5 Bd7 9. Maseres– F. Q|b2 {DwDwDwDP} {w1NDwDQH} {Dw$wDRIw} vllllllllV Perhaps understandably.. heading for h4. Board 3 (of 3) Handicap Game–Remove Black’s f-pawn 1. Ke3 Kd5 53.. N|c4 d|c4 41. Kd3 e4+ 54. 30. Kg7 Guarding against a sacrifice at g6.and d-pawns. both of White’s knights are out of play. K|c3 Kd6 49. Ra|c1 Q|b2 cuuuuuuuuC {w4wDw4wD} {DwDbgwip} {wDwDpDpD} {DwDp)wDw} After {wDp)w)PD} 28. Ke3 K|h4 59. who had the white pieces. and his pieces are . Ke2 Kf4 57. . 1783. The event took place at Parsloe’s Chess Club in St. c3 As with Philidor’s game against Bowdler (Game 2) the central pawn structure is that of the Advance Variation of the French Defense and. Ne3 c3 45. 4. Quarterly for Chess History. Philidor jumps at the chance to recover his handicap material and reach a position where he has a supported passed c-pawn. allowing a greater flexibility in response to the further advance of the f-pawn. apart from the unusual placing of Black’s king’s knight. .. Nf3. However. 25.. May 8.. 29. 14. . a6 10. Kc2 Kd7 50. Qe2 c4 13.. 19. .. however. Ng4! 18. After 29. 28. g5 h5 56. 393–394] 3 F. R|d3 c|d3 34. N|c3 B|c3 48. Nf3 d5 5. c|d4 8. with a very strong attack. a4 So that. Thomas Bowdler (1754– 1825). Nc6 7. . seems more appropriate.. d4 Nf7 3. 4. and served as attorney general for Québec for three years during the 1760s. Kf2 Kg4 58. He was also a fellow of the Royal Society and made some controversial contributions to the study of mathematics... N|b4 24. R|d3 Bc4 40.. . Nc2 N|c1 28. if 9. Kh8.. c|d4 followed by play on the queenside. (2000).. Rd1 Ba4 33. Qf3 or 22. James’s Street. Rf3 R|f3 42.D. Ke3 Ke5 55. At present. The rest of the game is fairly straightforward. Qg2 White has been wasting time with his king’s bishop. Nhf1 Bb4 35. ... g4 Rff8 25. This game. Quarterly for Chess History. 9. Rf2 Bc3 36. and the c. undoing the mistake on his 14th move. . Ke3 Kf7 48. Rf3 Rd3 32. [Fiala.. . Ke4 Ke6 51. Be7 15. [Fiala...Part III.. Kd2 Ke7 49. 22. Na3? The knight is worse than useless here as it will obstruct the rook on the a-file. has a modern look. 19..-A.. Nc2 23. He also campaigned for prison reform. Kd4 e5+ 50. h4 h6 52. 11.. both knights. both bishops.. … Nh6 20. 6. Rf2 B|d4 38. 391–392] 209 now uncoordinated. The text move. c|b4? 23. one mistake produces another. Nd3 26. f5! e|f5 30. Rd2 R|f4 39. K|f3 B|e5 43. 29.. Ka3 Kb5 ∂–∂ At this point a draw was agreed. Kd3 Kf7 46. Francis Maseres (1731–1824) was a barrister. Q|d5 would have brought White back into the game. 0–0 Qc7 12. Ra2 Bb3 37. Nd1 Ke7 47. and his queen. Be3 b6 7. and the next two. Nb1. kept a tighter grip on the position. . . e4 Nh6 2. this looks very slow compared with White’s possibilities on the kingside. Qg3 Nf5 21... Ne3? 29. N(c6)|e5 White can capture with his d-pawn as his b5-bishop is now defended.

Bf4 e5 21. Bg4 followed by moving the bishop to h5 would provide a better defense against White’s occupation of g6. Ba4 Kc7 White is a rook and two pawns behind in a hopeless position. . 28. Qh5+ regaining the bishop with the better game for White 3. . April 27.. . Nc3 B|c3 12. b|c3 f6? Weakening Black’s kingside and allowing White to open the e-file for his rooks. Ng5 h6 16. Ne7 10. by exchanging queens (Qd4+) or by playing the prettier N|g3!. Qc4+ Black would be in some trouble. Nbd2 0–0–0 11. page 124] 4 would win even more easily than he should. Bc4 Rh7 7. but after 19. which is usually considered slightly better for White. N|c7+ K|a7 36.. N|e6 f|e6 20. Nc3 Bg7 12. 25. 17.. e4 e5 2. 1851. . 0–0 d|e5 8. d4 Bb6 5. Nh4 Re8 18.. for example. Board ? (of 4) King’s Gambit C39 1. Nf3 g5 4. Ne5 The Kieseritzky Gambit. 9. Rhe1 Qf6 24. Kieseritzky–de Sivers Paris. Q|e3 Q|e3+ 32. Kf2 Nd7 13. . a5 Ba7 26.210 Part III. a5 Nd7 36. Bc5 Qb5 28. Nf5 {DBHwDp)w} {wDPDwIwD} {$wDw$wDw} vllllllllV 28. Qg6+ Kf8 (see diagram) 19. 13. d|e5 Q|e5 23. Zagadka Kieseritzky’ego. Rab1. Q|h6+ Kg8 21. d6 4. . Qc2 Nh6 12. The standard line is 9. Bc8 Qc6 19. .. R|e7 Qd2+ also wins. . Be6 or h6 followed by 0–0. B|d4 and not 3. Bc4 Bc5 3. b|c6 b|c6 26. B|a7 K|a7 30.. f4 e|f4 3.. cuuuuuuuuC {wiw4wDw4} {0wDwDwDw} {QhpDw1wD} {DwDpDnDp} After {PDwDwDp)} 27. Re1 Black cannot defend against White’s various threats. Re1+ Kf8 After 14. Bb3 Nb6 18. B|f7+ K|f7 18. a3 Ba5 11. played here (badly) by the person whose name it bears! h5 6. a6 Qb6 27. a|b7 Rd6 18. . f3 9. Better was 12.. 16. Qd3 Rh8 14. Rb7 checkmate. Ra7+ Kb8 35.. Nd4 Qd7 31. which restrains White’s counterchances. d4 e|d4 4. Bb3 c2 9. Q|c2 Ne4 10.. . Qd3 Qc5+ 30.. Games 4–6 L. c4 or Qe2 would be strong for White. b4 Qb6 15.. Kieseritzky–Potier Paris. Nf4 c6 11. B|f7+ K|f7 5. N|f7 R|f7 9. Nd3 Often played here is 8. 1851. A game well played by Kieseritzky but not by his opponent. 28. 17.. c3 d|c3 6. B|h6! Qd7? This move loses to a quick checkmate. Nf3 Bg4 6. Rfb1 Ka8 29. e|f6 N|f6 14. e4 e5 2. Black conducted the game quite well. g3? This is an inferior move.. B|e5 B|e5 22.. Kf2 Re2+ 34. b4 Bh5 14. ... g|f3 Be7 10. major ones be- . Nb3 N|b7 24... Bb4 Bb6 23. Be3 Qc7 15. B|f4 with an unclear position.. B|f7+ K|f7 10. April 27. 1851. April 27. Zagadka Kieseritzky’ego. h4 g4 5. Bg5 f6 9. gh6 20. e4 e5 2. . Bc4 Bb4+ 5. d|e5 Qe7 7. Rb1 Qd8 34. N|d4 B|d4 22. Q|c3 28. Bc1 Nc6 10. d4 d6 8. Qd4+ followed by Nf5 Black 6 L. Be6+ Kb8 17. Be7 Rd4?! 21. e6 B|e6 19. d4 Black would do best to reply 3. d|e5 17. e|d4 because of 4. b|a6 Qc5 16. 15. Ne7 15. Ba3 Rdd8 20. Re3 N|e3 31. . b5 Na5 15. Qd3 was the only reasonable move but Black could win in several ways after that. Or 27. Kf1 Rhe8 35. K|e3 Rde8+ 33.. Board ? (of 4) Scotch Gambit C44 1. 0–0 Nf6 7. Board ? (of 4) Bishop’s Opening C23 1. Nf3 Nc6 3.. e5 d5 8. a4 Nf5 By playing 27.. 1–0 [Lissowski & Macieja (1996).. . pages 124–125] 5 L. Q|c3 29. Rad1? Kieseritzky apparently overlooked that his knight on c3 could be captured. a4 a6 13. 0–1 [Lissowski & Macieja (1996)... The move played allows Black to establish a solid pawn chain. perhaps because he now realized that he must stop Black’s Qd4 and used his rook to do so. B|b7 Q|b7 25. Nf3 Kf7 Playing 16. Rb7+ Ka8 32. Qa6+ Kb8 27.. 8. Nb5 Rc8 33. Kieseritzky–Campbell Paris. e5 d5 After 16. c3 Were White to play 3. Kd2.. R|e8+ N|e8 22.. Be3 B|h4+ 11. Q|b4 is probably playable but Black most likely feared the loss of time he suffers and the open b-file White gains after 16.. b5 0–0–0 Black has played well enough and has achieved a winning position. .

Board ? (of 4) Center Game C21 1. Nf3 Nc6 3. Kf2 Bg4 28. c|d3 B|b3 16. Q|g2 B|g2 28. Kh8 16. . Here was yet another {wDnDwhQ0} chance to ease the bishop back into the game After {DwDpDwDw} by 15. Qf2 N|d3 15. . R|g2 R|g2+ 27. N|e5 does not promise much. K|g2 Qh3+ 25..g. Qf3 Qh4 25. Qc2 d|c3 11. f|e3 Qh6 12. 21.. 5.. April 27. R|g4 seems stronger. N|c6 More straightforward seems 7. Morphy (Blindfold) New York. Qf3! 12.Part III. f4 e|f4 11. Qh2+ 26. . Q|f7 Be6 23. as in addition to playing Morphy he was conducting three other games blindfold. Board 1 (of 4) Ruy Lopez (Classical Variation) (by transposition) C64 1.. Qf7 Bh5. Bf7+ Ke7 15. Bd5 Bg4 9. Nf2 Rg8 18. N|e5 d|e5 20. Q|f6+. N|d4 e5 5. Ng6+ Kg8 22. 0–0 7. . Nd3 18. 8. Qf6 On November 2.g. Ng4. Qf3 Rg6 22... Bb5. g5!? Another idea was 16.. Rh8 checkmate. Bd3 Nf6 7. Zagadka Kieseritzky’ego. Ref1 Rh6 26. Qf2 Rg6 22. Bb3 R|g2+ 26.. 4. Bc5 4.... a|b3 0–0 17.. Paulsen (Blindfold)– P.. 1857. Rae1 Ne5 14.. page 162] L. Morphy played 8. . e.. Bh3 24.. Nd4.. N|d4 Bd7 7... October 10. 23.. B|c6 b|c6 8. Kieseritzky–Witcomb vllllllllV Paris. pages 123–124] 16. . 9. N|c3 f6? 12. 15.. d6 More energetic was 4. 4. Kf3 Rf8+ 27. Q|c7? This hastens the end. B|e3 11. . R|g2+ 24.. 3. . e4 e5 2. Nd5 checkmate. Zagadka Kieseritzky’ego.. Re3 and Bc2. . . Nf3 Nc6 3.. d4 e|d4 6. P.. . Qf3 Morphy by now has a winning game. This transposes the Three Knights’ Game into the Classical Variation of the Ruy Lopez.. Kf2 h5. e4 c5 2. Nf3 c5 4. 18. After Paulsen’s 23rd move Morphy announced mate in 5 moves. Q|f7 Rag8 23... 0–0 d6 8. Qe2 0–0 15. Ng5 Nh6 6. 17. b|c6 8.. as then {0p0wDw0w} gains a valuable tempo. Qh4. Morphy’s games.C. Rab8 17. etc.. d4 c|d4 4. Rd2 Qh2+ 27. Retreat on the other diagonal would have been better. Kf2 (If 25. B|f4 a6 12. .. Bb3. 0–1 [Sergeant.. Ng6 13. Kg1 then 25. f4 Na5 8.. Rf2 Rag8 25. Nc3 Be6 10. Board ? (of 4) Sicilian Defense (de la Bourdonnais Variation) B32 1. Qa4+ Bd7 10.. f|g5 Ng4?? 14. 1857.. 1–0 [Lissowski & Macieja (1996). B|c4 N|c4 20. Rg8+ 26. 1851. R|e8+ {DwDw)wDP} Kh7 23. Bb3 c5 18. Rae1 Ne5 14.. g4! keeps the g-file closed and gives White a few moves in which to re-group his pieces. d4 e|d4 3. 21. c3 Nc6 7. 0–0! f|g5? 13. This can be accomplished by 23. 20. Rf2 Be6 24. Kf8 {wDwDwDwH} cuuuuuuuuC {)B)wDwDw} {rDwDw4wi} {wDwDw)P)} {0w0bDp0p} {$wGw$wIw} {wDp0wDw1} vllllllllV {DwDwhwDw} After ing 23.{BDwDPDwD} 16. h3 Be7 9. Rg1 Q|e4+ 30. Games 7–9 211 uuuuuuuuC better {rDb1riwD} lessly weakens the kingside. Paulsen (Blindfold)–Julien New York. Q|c4 Bb5 with advantage to Black. g4 19. page 124] {P)PDQDPD} {DwDN$RIw} 7 L. h3?! A nervous reaction which need- 8 L. It was White to let Black force this by 15.. e. . . Bb3 10. Nd1 18. .. Qe2 Qc7 13. Nf2 c4 19. e4 e5 2... It is check. . Qg7+ R|g7+ 27. (1957). October 10.. Ba4 Here the bishop is misplaced. Nb3 h6 6. K|g2 Qh4 29. Bc4 d6 5.. . Be3?! 10. Qf7 R|f7 mate. . h|g4 B|g4 20. Kf2 Qg2 mate) 25. Nc3 A safe and not very adventurous line by Paulsen—understandable. 1857 in a tournament game between the same players.W. Qf7 21. . d4 Qb6 9 . . but even after the better 23. 1–0 [Lissowski & Macieja (1996). Nd1 mate after 20. Qd3 12. 0–0 Ne7 10.

Q|d4+ 21. g|h5 g|h5 54. as the exchange of pawns by 30. d|e4 5. e. Qg5 with numerous threats. . Here. Ne7 when. . 1858. h|g3 Ne7 34. Re5 b4 40. b4 Now it is White’s queenside pawns. 36.g. B|b2 K|g5.. Kg3 Ke6 cuuuuuuuuC {wDwDwDwD} {DwDwDwDw} {wDwDkDp0} After {DwDwDwDw} 49.. Bc4 Be6 7.. b6 27. Qd6 14.. but Paulsen makes no attempt to bring his king into the fray. 14. e6! 14. h5 g|h5 53. with equality. Q|a7 with threats of Nd6 and Nb6. rather than Black’s. . Rf7 26. Game 10 undefended. e. Qf2 Kh7 31. Here.. K|d4! Now Black has the upper hand.. Ra3) 28. R|b4 b6 43. B|c6 B|c6 7. October 21–22.. Bg7 Nf7 52. Nc2 Kc7 19... Rh3 Rh8 (27.. . Rf4 h5 36. Provoking weaknesses on the queenside would seem to be a better idea. h4 g6 49. 5. Re2 Nh5 35. . 38. c|d4 Q|e6 Pawn grabbing would lead Black into further trouble. Kd5 28. Was there a mistake in calling out Black’s move? Did Black have to leave for an urgent appointment? Who knows.. Rf3 Rf8 25. Ne4 is answered by 22. R|f4 Kd6 24. g4 Kf7 48. pages 261–262] 18. e|d4 4. Bd4 Kg6 47. g|h5 Kd5 54. Nf5 37. Qd3 Re8 12. Kh2 Raf8 27. . Bg7 h5 53. .. R|a7 K|b5 43.. K|d4 31. 30. Be3 Q|b3 19. 52. The record simply reads “And White wins. Board 1 (of 5) Scotch Game C44 1.. 12. with many open lines.. Rf4+ Kd5 37. Qd5? would allow Paulsen to play 15. R|e4 f|e4 23. f4 g6 10. B|b6 Nc4 46. R|f5 K|c3 39.. Qf3 Qc6 30. . d|e5 d4?! 6. 37. K|d4?! would merely simplify White’s task. Kf2 26. Kf4 Nd6 (50.. 0–0 Qd7 9. e|f5 g|f5 14.g. ... Heilbuth New York.. .. f|e6 Q|e6 13.. a4 26. Kh2 Rg7?? An astonishing move.g. Rae1 Q|f4 23. . ∂–∂ [Chess Monthly. 36. Ra3 a6 26. 20. Qc5. Bf4 Qb6+ 26. 27. 35. f5!? 0–0–0 11... Rf7 25. e.. N|f6+ R|f6 25. e4 e5 2... Ne7 18. Nh4 31.. Rc3 f4 30. R|c6 Ne5 36. a|b5 R|g3 41. . and when 21. Rf1 Ng6 32. as the Black queen is 10 . e5 d|e5 20. Rc2 Qa4 34. Rb5 Ne4 41. . . Rf7 with the complete collapse of Black’s position) 18. Ne4 f5 23. B|d8 K|d8?! 13. D. Rg3 Around here Paulsen starts drifting towards an inferior position. Bb8 Nd2 42. c3 Considerably stronger was 17. Rh4?! Throughout the game Paulsen has been reluctant to make use of his king.g.. 0–0 Black already has problems in developing his pieces while maintaining a respectable pawn structure... d|e5 Nh7 21.. . g3!? Rg7 33. . Rh3 was necessary. Qf3 was a good alternative. Nc3. First American chess congress. Rae1 Nf6 20. Kf5. (1859/1985). . . Rb3 b5 27.. Rf7 Kb4 42. 1857. Rc3 and the White rooks are now on their ideal battlefield. Kh1 Heading in the wrong direction.. . 21. for which there is no known rational explanation... Bg5 e|f5? Less drastic would have been 11. Re2 Nd7 32.” 1–0 [Fiske. Be5 Rg6 28. . Kh2 was an improvement. The text move takes advantage of the potential check at d4.. b5 c|b5 40. R|f5! 15. .. Qb8+ Qc8 21. Qf5 Nf6 37. 33.. . Bb5 Bd7 6. R|f8+ N|f8 29. Kf7 51.. 30. . Kh1 Q|b2? 22. Qg3! Qd7 19. Qf4+ Qd6 22. h|g5 Kf5 52. Rab1 followed by Qd6 or Rfd1 or R|b7. N|b2 53.. Bg3 Nf6 33. Be5 Qc6 36. b4 Ke6 52. then 16.. Kf2 was possible. Kg5) 51. B|e6 f|e6 8. Rf6 intending 30. Nc4! Qc7 (If the queen leaves the h2–b8 diagonal by 17. Q|e6 then 18. R|b6 R|b6 45.. Kh4 Nd2 53.. Rge3 Ng6 29....W. winning.. Qf3 c6 17.. Kg3 N|g5. g5? 50. e|f6 B|f6 24. Q|f5 Nf6 19. N|e5 N|e5 If 4.. Bf6 52. Ba7 Rc6 44. as appropriate. 50. N|d4 B|d4+ 20. Na3 Bg7 16. Nf3 Nc6 3. pages 246–247] L. .212 Part III. Qg3+ Kc8 23. Paulsen (Blindfold)– S. Qg3 Qe6 22. Ke6 {wDnGwDP)} {DwDwDwIw} {w)wDwDwD} {DwDwDwDw} vllllllllV 50. Rh6+ Kd7 29. Bg3 Qb5 38.. 17. e. R|c6 would greatly favor White. that are weak. when if 15. h|g5 51. Rd1 The rooks cannot cope well on their own against three pieces in this semi-closed position. Bf6 Nf3+ 54. f|g3 34. Rf7 28. 25. Q|b5 a|b5 39. R|h5? The dismal 37. d4 d5? 3. 35..

25. h3 Be6 10. h4 g5 35. Rg2 Nf6 25. (1859/1985).Part III. Nc3 Bd7 9. October 21–22. N|e7 K|e7 22.. N|e4 f5 15. Board 2 (of 5) Sicilian Defense B40 1. 0–0 Nd7 13. Rd1 Kf7 26. e|d4 Ne4 31. K|e3 Rfd7 26. Board 5 (of 5) Dutch Defense (by transposition) A80 1. e4 e5 2.. Rad8 or 16. pages 263–264] L. 18. Rg2 Kf6 23. Nf3 d5 3. Q|c2 N|e3 28. Bc4 f6 7. Ndb5 B|e3 (7. f4 c5 17.b5) seems better. a3 B|c3 9.. Bf5 30. 1–0 The result is not surprising. of course. Nbc3 Bd6 8. .. Rd1 Rd8 23. Be3 Bd6 8. B|d3 h6 6. a4 (guarding against . . Rd1 or 21. Kh2 (creating the option of . d|e5 d|e5 5. 25.. f|e5 f|e5 15. by refusing to use his rooks. Nf3 e6 3. . Kg1 Ne4 21. e|f5 R|f7 36. 1857. 1–0 [Fiske. Bg2 Bb7 12. Qc1 f6 Releasing the knight for further pressure on e3. First American chess congress. Rad1 Nf6 14. K|g2 Qe7 16. Rg6?? Instead of this unfortunate blunder in a satisfactory position. Kd4 Kf6 34. Qc2 Rbc8 28. e4 e5 2. Ne5 Qc7 29. Bc5 Q|c5 18. R|h6 Re8 34. D. Paulsen (Blindfold)– A. Q|d2 d6 8. b4 Rd6 28. Qd3 Rad8 18. Qd2 e4 13. c3 Nbc6 8. 0–0 0–0 9. Rde1 d5 19. Q|e6+ Kh8 31. on which Black has a fixation. Rd2 f4 24. Ne7 7.. October 21–22. d4 Bb4 5. Rd2 Now Black has a winning position. Qb8 29.W.W. pages 262–263] 213 11 22. Rdg1 Bf8 24. Rc|c2. a3 Nf5 22. 1857. Bf7 Nf5 35. h5 Bd6 27. 6. Rd8+ Kf7 33. Nc4 Qa7 15. Hawes New York. 0–0–0 Nge7 10. Oscanyan New York.. g|f3 h6 20. Qb6. First American chess congress. Ng5 e|d3 5. Rg6+ Ke7 25. Be6 Ne7 30. Qb1 were safer. b4 a|b4 20. Be3 Nc6 11. Nf3 Nc6 3... 1857. Nc3! when if 6. R|c2 N|e3 The alternative was 26. Be4 was an ingenious try. 17. but after 26. f4 b6 14. Re6 R|e6 38. Re2 25. R|g7 c5 31. 24. g4 c|d4 30. (1859/1985). Q|c3 0–0 10. Bd5 Ra7 18. (1859/1985). 1857. D. e3 Nf6 3. . Bc6 B|f3 19. Nd5 Nge7 21. 16. . Re4 R|e4+ 31. R|c8+ B|c8 28. Rhd1 N6e7 12. Re2 h6 23. Rf7+ Ke8 32. . Board 4 (of 5) Scotch Game C45 1. B|f5 Bd5! Black’s attack is irresistible. Nba3 Be6 15.. B|b7 when Black will have difficulty in coping with White’s bishop and queenside pawns. 26. h5 Rg7 36. a4 Ke6. Nf3 Ng6 16. Bf3 Rc8 24. h4 Bg4 17. Be3 Qb6 6. Ne1 a6 13. … b5 first. Bd2 N|d2 7. R|d6+ Kc7 37. d3 d|e4 4.. Qe7 Qb8 30. pages 264–265] 13 14 12 R. b3 Rfe8 22. Kh1 Ne7 19. Qb3 Kh7 33. Rb1 winning the queen....C. Qd2 N|e3 12.. [Fiske. 16. b5 Re6+ 30. Games 11–14 L. Bd2) 8. Qc7 N|f1 29.. d4 d6 4. Q|e3 Be6 31.. Qe3 Q|e3 20. Rad8 16. Kf2 f|e3+ 25. d|e4 Re7 32. Qf7! 29.. Board 3 (of 5) King’s Knight (Irregular Defense) C40 1. Much better was 6. c|b4 Bd6 21. Nf3 Ne4 6. g3 b6 11. Rc1 29. b3?! A miserable move. Qb1 Rc|c2 26. N|d6 Q|d6 16.. Frère–L. . Ne4 Nf6 7. e|d5?! N|d5 11.. Rf6 Kd8 33..J. Rb2 27. Rd|c2?? Oh dear. Bb4 8.. g4 Rh7 37. Nd2 B|g2 15. . h3 d|c4 26. Re4 b6 27. White could have continued with 33. . R|e6 Nb4 19.. October 21–22. Paulsen (Blindfold) New York. winning a piece. given that Black. The correct move was. N|d4 Bc5 5. a4 Rb8 24. Rd2 Nc8 11. R|c2 27. Qd3! 30. 13. D. Rc8 23. ∂–∂ [Fiske. e4 c5 2. Q|b2? then 7. c4 f5 2. Qb3+ Kh8 29. c|d3 Rf7 T. Ng3 Ne7 12. . Rae1 16. f|e3 N|d3 21. October 21–22. f|e3 e5 Black has a clear advantage.. 0–0 d5 10. g|f5 e|f5 32. N|d6 R|d6 22.. First American chess congress. d4 c|d4 4. Nc|e4 N|e4 14. Nf3 Qb7 20. Be2 0–0 9. Dodge– L. Rdg1 c6 29. Qb2?? 24.. 27. Q|d8+ K|d8 6.W. Rc4 R8d7 29. Paulsen (Blindfold) New York. Bd5+ Kf8 28. b|c4 Qc6 27. f|e6. Nc3 e6 4. 25. was effectively two pieces down for the whole game. Paulsen (Blindfold)– C. Nc2 a5 14. . . Rae1 Nd5 17. Qe1 Qc7 leaves Black’s queen better placed.

Be7 Rf7 26. hg5 10. d|e5 N|e5 12.. Bc4 Bc5 3. “K” Chicago. Games 15–17 sequences... Bh4 20. 9. Bd5 29. h6 because of 8. R|e8 26. 8. . Board ? (of 16) Scandinavian Defense B01 1. . 9. d|e5 Be6 7. Ne4 h6 20.. f|e5 Nd2 36.. Qh8 34.. . 25. . 15. 0–0 Be7 8. d3 Nge7 5. Rg6 33.. B|e6 fe6 9. Bc4 was the killer move that Paulsen missed. Bd3 Ng6 14. . December 16 and 21. with a secondary threat of 33. Qf7 18. (1859/1985). .. preparing to castle on the queenside.. 1858. B|f6 with mate to follow within a few moves. Ne4 Bb6 10. B|e6+.W. g4 to stave off rapid defeat)... Paulsen (Blindfold)–Mr. N|g6 Q|g6 17... Rae8 21. Bc4 30. Nc3 Nc6 4.. Bb2 Be6? 27. f|e6 cuuuuuuuuC {wDwDwDrD} {0p0wDkDw} {wgwDbDw0} After {DwDwDpDw} 31. e|d5 Q|d5 3. Bd3 Nf6 7... He continues his attack in the hopes of a quick win... Rde1 Bd7 25 . N|e5? 16. but Zukertort prefers to avoid having to move his king after 9. 32. B|f2+ with some counterplay. N|e5 f5 Black sees the danger too late. pages 266–267] 15 L. R|h6+ g|h6 35. e|f6 Rg6. . h4 Weakens White’s kingside in the hope of massing a strong attack against Black’s castled king. D. Ke7 35. 7. .. Na5 to trade this knight for White’s well-posted bishop on c4. Q|f5+. b4 Qd6 19. e4 e5 2. Ballard London.. Ng3 Black could resign at this point. Qh5 hg5 9. 33.. Rf1 Bc7 39. d4 d5? 5. Rf2! creating the threat of 35. Bd2 Qc7 11. . winning the exchange. Qe2 Qe8 11... Nf3 c6 5. .. K|h2 h4 22. Be6 31. Be5. May 10–15. Nf6+ g|f6 17. Qh7+ Bf7 36. Qg5 was relatively best. 34. Nf6+ g|f6 23. Qh3 {wDwDw!PD} {DPDBDPDq} {PGPDwDw)} {DwDwDRDK} vllllllllV 31. c4 Again. .. 16. Rfe1! 20. page 58] 1. 1876. First American chess congress. December 16 and 21. b3 f4 19. Qf6 Q|f6 41.. B|e6 and if 9. h6 9. 8. Qe7.. .. Bg3 41. Zukertort–W. Q|e6+ Kb8? 29.R|e8 An improvement would have been 25. N|e6? White now drifts into a position in which Black obtains a powerful attack.. g3 N|h2? 21.. However.. Rg8? 30. looks healthier.. Bc4 Nf6 4. Q|f4 f5 24. .. 6. . B|e6+ f|e6 23. Bc3 Qc7 14. e|d5 N|d5 6.. h6 12. hg5 and White’s threatened checkmates at h7 and h8 cannot both be prevented. Kg2 b5 24. . Bg5 Qd7 11. Stronger would have been 9. . d6 Black might well have played 6. Be5 Bd8 40. . N|e7+ Q|e7 17. Qc2 h5 18. Rad1 Nde7 13. Nf3 0–0 6. Rf2 Bh4 or 40.. f3 Also good was 30.. Qd3 Rg8+ 37.. June 26. Re1+ Kf8 37. Q|f5+ Kh8 39. R|e5 34. 33. Rad1 Qc7 25. Board ? (of 16) Vienna Game (Irregular) C25 1. c4 e5 10.. e4 d5 2. 33. Qe8 here or on the next move. 1858] doubling rooks on the g-file) 33. with counterchances for Black.. d4 e6 6. .. c5 34... 1876. . Board ? (of 10) Two Knights Defense C55 16 J. Qh5 The simple 8. Bc4. g4 Qh3? 17 J. . N|e6 forks Black’s queen and rook. Ne2 Nbd7 9. 1–0 [Illustrated London News. . B|f2+.. Instead Black could try 9. Rf1 29. e4 e5 2... Kh1 Qh5 22. Qh8+ Bg8 38. Qe4 b|c4 28. Bc4 was available. Bc3 29.. Ball London.. Zukertort–W. .. Bf1. Nf5 0–0–0 16. R|d8+ K|d8 26. Bf5 Ng4 20. Ng5 Be6 Perhaps Black was afraid to play the natural 7. 1877.. 17. he could simply defend with 8. g|f5. N|e5 Q|e5 13. Nbd2 0–0 8..214 Part III. 1–0 [Chess Player’s Chronicle. . Qb2 when both Rfg1 and d5 were possibilities. . Bf6 Kf7 27. 0–0 Bc5 8. 0–1 [Fiske. which at present would have unfortunate con- . .. 32. Qd3+ Kc8 27.. Qe5! 28. . Bb3 with a winning position (Black would have to surrender a pawn with 10. Qd2 Nc|e5? 15.. .. Qh4 41. . Ng3 Be6 15. Nc3 Qa5 4. Nf3 Nc6 3.. The main threat is simply 33. Kh1 N|f1 38.. Qg5 28. Re1 28. and wins the exchange for White. Q|f1 Qg7 40. Qe5 32. Rcd8 34.

Part III. Game 18
10. B|e6+ Kh7 11. 0–0 A misjudgment. Now Black’s attack soon becomes stronger than White’s. To protect f2 White would have been better off playing 11. Be3 followed shortly by castling on the queenside. 11. ... Nd4 12. Bb3 Ng6 13. Bg5 Qd7 14. Nd5 White is losing his way. Either Na4 or Be3 would be better. 14. ... c6 15. Ne3 Nf4 16. B|f4 R|f4 17. Qd1 White feels he needs the queen for defense rather than offense, but he was probably most afraid of the threat of Nf3+ followed by g6 trapping his queen. But Black’s attack now is no less than overwhelming. 17. ... Raf8 18. Qd2


uuuuuuuuC {wDwDw4wD} {0pDqDw0k} {wDp0wDw0} After {Dwgw0wDw} 18. Qd2 {wDwhP4w)} {DBDPHwDw} {P)P!w)PD} {$wDwDRIw} wuuuuuuuuC vllllllllV {wDkDwDwD} 18. ... Nf3+! A neat move that wins by {0w0wDpDp} force. 19. g|f3 R|f3 20. Rfe1 White could {wDw0whwD} try 20. Nf5 but Black still wins by 20. ... R8|f5 {DwDPDwDw} After 21. e|f5 Q|f5, with variations similar to those {wDw)PhwD} 32. ... Nf6 in the actual game. 20. ... Qh3 21. c3 R8f4 The threat is simply R|h4 followed by an un- {DwDwDw4w} avoidable checkmate. If now 22. Nf5 one way {PDPHwDp$} for Black to win is 22. ... R|f5 23. e|f5 Rg3 {DwDKDw$w} mate. 22. Bd1. Zukertort gave up without wait- wllllllllV ing for Black to actually play either 22. ... Rg4+
23. N|g4 Rg3 checkmate or even 22. ... B|e3, which wins quickly in all variations. Black played well once he repelled White’s attack and began his own. This was Zukertort’s only loss in his world record–setting 16-board blindfold display. 0–1 [Westminster Papers, 1876–1877, page 189]

both kings having moved within the first dozen moves, without either castling. 13. Bc3 B|b5 14. Q|b5 B|c3 15. Q|b7 Rc8 16. b|c3 g4 17. Nd2 The move 17. Nd4 was more aggressive and better, as after the (inferior) reply 17. ... Q|e4, 18. B|g4 would leave White with the superior game. 17. ... Nf6 18. Qb4 18. Bd3 would present more problems for Black. 18. ... Rg8 19. Qd4 Qh6 20. Ke1 f3 21. Ba6 Better would have been 21. g|f3. Now Black gains the advantage. 21. ... f|g2 22. Rg1 Q|h2 23. B|c8 K|c8 Black’s mass of kingside passed pawns easily compensates for his loss of the exchange. 24. Ke2 Qe5 25. R|g2 Ng6 26. Rf1 Nh5 27. Kd1 Q|d4 28. c|d4 Ngf4 29. Rh2 29. Rgg1 or Rgf2 gives White more chances to restrain the quick advance of Black’s g-pawn. 29. ... g3 30. Rh4 g2 31. Rg1 Rg3 32. Rh2? The final mistake. Either 32. c4 or a4 followed by return of the exchange after 32. ... Nh3 33. R|g2 R|g2 34. R|h5 would lead to an endgame that is not so easy for Black to win. 32. ... Nf6!

18 W. Martin–J. Zukertort London, December 16 and 21, 1876, Board ? (of 16) King’s Gambit C33
1. e4 e5 2. f4 e|f4 3. Bc4 Qh4+ 4. Kf1 Nc6 5. d4 g5 6. Nf3 Qh5 7. Be2 Qg6 8. d5 Nce7 9. Nc3 Bg7 10. Qd3 d6 11. Bd2 Bd7 12. Nb5 Kd8 It is rare to see

33. Nf1 White decides that his best chance is to sacrifice this knight rather than to allow Black’s decisive threat of Ng4. But it happens anyway. 33. ... g|f1Q+ 34. R|f1 Ng4 With the double threats of N|h2 and Ne3+. White now emerges a knight behind in a hopeless endgame. 35. Rhf2 N|f2+ 36. R|f2 Rg4 37. Kd2 Rg2 38. R|g2 N|g2 39. Ke2 Kd7 40. Kf2 Nh4 41. Kg3 Ng6 42. Kg4 Ke7 43. c4 Kf6 44. a4 Ne5+ Just to show White how hopeless his position is! After 45. d|e5 K|e5 Black will win all of White’s remaining pawns (if he wants to) while White has to cope with preventing passed Black’s h-pawn from queening. A tough fight for both players. 0–1 [Westminster Papers, 1876–77, page 209]


Part III. Games 19–21

J. Zukertort–M. Minchin London, December 16 and 21, 1876, Board ? (of 16) Evans Gambit C52
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. b4 B|b4 5. c3 Ba5 6. 0–0 Nf6 7. d4 N|e4 8. N|e5 N|e5 The move 8. ... d5 could be met by 9. N|f7 K|f7 10. Qh5+ with good chances for White. 8. ... 0–0 is the preferred move here. 9. d|e5 0–0 10. Qd5 B|c3 11. N|c3 N|c3 12. Qf3 Na4 13. Qg3 d5? The threat of 14. Bh6 should have been met by ...Kh8 but White would still retain the two bishops and a big lead in development for his two pawns. 14. Bh6 g6 15. Rad1 Nb6 16. Bd3 Qd7 Black gives up the exchange presumably for greater king security. After16. ... Re8 17. Bg5 followed by Bf6 White has a good attack. But now, after accepting the exchange sacrifice (or blunder?) White is clearly winning. 17. B|f8 K|f8 18. h3 Played primarily to prevent Black’s Qg4. However, 18. Qh4 was probably the strongest move. 18. ... Qe7 19. f4 Bf5? Badly weakening Black’s kingside. 19. ... c5 was better. 20. B|f5 g|f5 21. Qf3 Qe6 22. Qh5 Qg6 23. Qh4 h6 This move does not help Black’s defense against White’s upcoming Rd3 or Rf3. The best chance to defend was to play 23. ... Ke8 followed by Kd7. 24. Rf3 c5 25. g4 Rc8 26. Rg3 f|g4 27. R|g4 Qe6? The move 27. ... Qh7 was necessary but after 28. Kh2 (to double rooks on the g-file) or 28. Qf6 White still wins. Now Black loses very quickly.


29. ... Ke8. 30. Rg8+ K moves 31. Qd6 checkmate. The checkmate occurs in the reverse move order after 29. ... Ke7. 1–0 [Lopez, B. (1989), Ajedrez, page 141]

H.N. Pillsbury–J. Abbott Chicago, February 10, 1900, Board 1 (of 16) Queen’s Gambit Declined D55
1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 Be7 5. e3 0–0 6. Nf3 Ne4 7. B|e7 N|c3? 8. B|d8 N|d1 9. Be7 Re8 10. Ba3 N|b2 11. B|b2 Nc6 12. c|d5 e|d5 13. Bb5 Rb8 14. Ne5 f6 15. N|c6 b|c6 16. B|c6 Re6 17. B|d5 R|b2 18. 0–0 Rbb6 19. Rab1 Kf8 20. B|e6 R|e6 21. Rb8 Re8 22. Rc1 Be6 23. R|e8+ K|e8 24. R|c7. 1–0 [Pope, J.N. (1996), Pillsbury, page 318]



H.N. Pillsbury–C.W. Phillips Chicago, February 10, 1900, Board 2 (of 16) Four Knight’s Game C49

uuuuuuuuC {wDrDwiwD} {0pDwDpDw} {whwDqDw0} After {Dw0p)wDw} 27. ... Qe6 {wDwDw)R!} {DwDwDwDP} {PDwDwDwD} {DwDRDwIw} llllllllw
28. f5! Obvious and very strong. Black cannot defend his h6 pawn. If he continues 28. ... Q|e5 then 29. Re1 decides the game for White, e.g., 29. ... Qd6 30. f6. 28. ... Q|f5 29. Q|h6+ White forces checkmate after

1. e4 e5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Bb5 Bb4 5. 0–0 0–0 6. d3 d6 7. B|c6 b|c6 8. Ne2 Bd7 9. c3 Ba5 10. Bg5 h6 11. Bh4 c5 12. Ng3 Of course if now 12. ... g5 White would “sacrifice” his knight by 13. N|g5 h|g5 14. B|g5 with unstoppable threats of Nh5 combined with Qf3 and f4. Black’s bishop on a5 is out of the game and cannot aid his defense. 12. ... Bg4 13. Nf5 B|f5 14. e|f5 Qd7 15. B|f6 g|f6 16. Nh4 Kh7 17. f4 Rg8 18. Qf3 Rab8 19. Rf2 Bb6 20. c4 Rbe8 21. Kh1 e|f4 22. Q|f4 Re5 23. Raf1 Ba5 24. Rf3 White still hopes for a successful attack on the Black king but this goal is illusory. 24. ... Re2 25. Rh3 Bd2! This bishop reenters the game and destroys all of White’s attacking chances. 26. Qf3 Re3 27. Qf2 R|h3 28. g|h3 Qc6+ 29. Qf3 Q|f3+ 30. R|f3 Re8 31. Ng2 Re2 32. Kg1 Bc1 33. Rf2 R|f2 34. K|f2 B|b2 35. Kf3 Be5 36. Ne3 c6 37. Kg4 Kg7 38. Nc2. Even though Black could be two pawns ahead (B|h2), his only chance to win would seem to be to march his king over to the queenside, but so long as White’s knight remains on c2 and White shuttles his king back and forth there is no way for the Black king to force an entry on the queenside.

Part III. Games 22–25
A set of doubled pawns are a hindrance for Black and all of White’s remaining pawns would stand on squares that cannot be attacked by the Black bishop. However, Black could really try to win by playing d5 and attempting to enter in the center by moving his king to e5 and e4 (after an appropriate d|c4), which would be hard for Pillsbury to prevent. Pillsbury defended as well as possible once he realized he had to play for a draw and to give up trying to win. Still, Black should not have agreed to a draw in the final position, as he has excellent winning chances by mobilizing his king in the center, which may produce new possibilities on the queenside. ∂–∂


Rg8 12. Qe2 0–0–0 13. Nf3 Rg3 14. Bd2 Rdg8 15. Rh2 Qg6 16. 0–0–0 R|g2!? Walking into Pillsbury’s trap? 17. R|g2 Q|g2 18. Rg1 Q|g1+ 19. N|g1 R|g1+ 20. Kc2 Bg4 21. Qf2 Rg3

wuuuuuuuuC {wDkDwDwD} {0p0wDpDp} {wDn0wDwg} {DBDwDwDw} After {wDw)P0b)} 21. ... Rg3 {Dw)wDw4w} {P)KGw!wD} {DwDwDwDw} uuuuuuuuC wllllllllV {wDwDwDwD} {0wDwDpiw} 22. Be2? A definite mistake. Best was the {wDp0w0w0} safer 22. Bd3 or B|c6, but Black still has good compensation for his queen. 22. ... B|e2 Final {Dw0wgPDw} 23. Q|e2 f3! 24. Qf1 Rg2 25. Q|f3 position {wDPDwDKD} R|d2+ 26. Kb3 Na5+ 27. Ka4 b6 {DwDPDwDP} 28. Q|f7 R|b2 29. Q|h7 Bd2 30. Qg8+ {PDNDwDw)} Kb7 31. h5 B|c3 32. h6 b5+ 33. Ka3 {DwDwDwDw} Nc4+ White must surrender his queen by in a vllllllllV 34. Q|c4 and is then This hopeless position. A nice finish by Black. was Pillsbury’s only
H.N. Pillsbury–L.C. Jacquish Chicago, February 10, 1900, Board 3 (of 16) Ruy Lopez C66
loss in his world record–tying 16-board blindfold display. 0–1 [Pope, J.N. (1996), Pillsbury, page 318]

[Pope, J.N. (1996), Pillsbury, page 318]


1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 d6 4. d4 Bd7 5. Nc3 Nf6 6. 0–0 Qc8 7. B|c6 b|c6 8. d|e5 Ng4 9. e|d6 B|d6 10. e5 N|e5 11. N|e5 B|e5 12. Re1 Bg4 13. R|e5+ Be6 14. Be3. 1–0 [Pope, J.N. (1996), Pillsbury, page 318]

H.N. Pillsbury– G.A. L’hommede Chicago, February 10, 1900, Board 5 (of 16) Queen’s Pawn Game (Colle System) D05
1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. e3 e6 4. Bd3 Nc6 5. 0–0 Be7 6. Nbd2 0–0 7. c3 Bd6 8. e4 d|e4 9. N|e4 N|e4 10. B|e4 h6 11. Re1 Ne7 12. Be3 Nd5 13. B|d5 e|d5 14. Qd2 Bf5 15. Bf4 Be4 16. B|d6 Q|d6 17. Ne5 f6 18. Nc4 Qc6 19. Ne3 Qd7. ∂–∂ [Pope, J.N. (1996), Pillsbury, pages 318–319]



H.N. Pillsbury–W.H. Edwards Chicago, February 10, 1900, Board 4 (of 16) King’s Gambit C39

1. e4 e5 2. f4 e|f4 3. Nf3 g5 4. h4 g4 5. Ne5 d6 6. N|g4 Nf6 The moves 6. ... h5 or ...Be7 are more common here. 7. N|f6+ In a 1975 game Korchnoi tried 7. Nf2. 7. ... Q|f6 8. d4 Nc6 9. Bb5 Bd7 10. c3 Bh6 11. Nd2

H.N. Pillsbury– M. Sonnenschein Chicago, February 10, 1900, Board 6 (of 16) Vienna Game C29



Part III. Games 26–29
22. B|c6 b|c6 23. Qf3+ Kg8 24. Q|c6 Q|c6 25. R|c6 Rdc8 26. R|c8+ R|c8 27. Re2. 1–0 [Pope, J.N. (1996), Pillsbury, page 319]

1. e4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. f4 d5 4. f|e5 N|e4 5. Qf3 N|c3 More common here is 5. ... f5. 6. b|c3 Nc6 7. d4 Be7 8. Bd3 Be6 9. Rb1 Rb8 10. Ne2 a6 11. 0–0 g6? Weakening the black squares on the kingside for no good reason. Castling was to be preferred. 12. Bh6 Rg8 13. Nf4 Qd7 14. Rf2 Bf8 15. Bg5 Bg7 16. Rbf1 Rf8 17. N|e6 Q|e6 And not 17. ... f|e6 because of 18. Q|f8+ and mate next move. 18. Qg3 Kd7 19. Be2 Even stronger here or on the next move was 19. Rf6! B|f6 20. R|f6 Qe7 21. R|c6! 19. ... h5 20. Bc1 Returning home to threaten the powerful Ba3.


H.N. Pillsbury–C. Madsen Chicago, February 10, 1900, Board 8 (of 16) King’s Gambit C33

uuuuuuuuC {w4wDw4wD} {Dp0kDpgw} {pDnDqDpD} After {DwDp)wDp} 20. Bc1 {wDw)wDwD} {Dw)wDw!w} {PDPDB$P)} {DwGwDRIw} llllllllV
20. ... Bh8 The best defensive tries were 20. ... b5 to answer 21. Ba3 with b4, or 20. ... f5. After the latter move there might follow 21. e|f6 R|f6 22. R|f6 B|f6 with the much superior game for White in view of the exposed Black king in the center and weak pawn at g6. But White of course cannot play 23. Q|g6 because of B|d4+ losing his queen. Best for him would be 23. Bd3. 21. Ba3 Ne7 22. Rf6! B|f6 23. R|f6 Nf5 24. R|e6 N|g3 25. Re7+ Kc6 26. h|g3. 1–0 [Pope, J.N. (1996), Pillsbury, page 319]

1. e4 e5 2. f4 e|f4 3. Bc4 Qh4+ 4. Kf1 g5 5. Nf3 Qh5 6. Nc3 c6 7. h4 g4 8. Ng5 Nh6 9. e5 d5 10. e|d6 B|d6 11. Qe2+ Kf8 12. Nce4 Be7 13. d4 f6 14. Ne6+ B|e6 15. B|e6 f5 16. Nc5 Bd6 17. N|b7 Bc7 18. Nc5 Kg7 19. Bb3 Re8 20. Ne6+ Kf6 21. B|f4 B|f4 22. N|f4 Qf7 23. B|f7 R|e2 24. K|e2 K|f7 25. Rae1 Nd7 26. Kd3 Nf6 27. Re5 Ne4 28. Rf1 Rd8 29. Ne6 Rg8 30. R|e4. 1–0 [Pope, J.N. (1996), Pillsbury, page 319]


H.N. Pillsbury–V. Eichorn Chicago, February 10, 1900, Board 9 (of 16) Queen’s Gambit Opening D06


H.N. Pillsbury–C.A. Rossiter Chicago, February 10, 1900, Board 7 (of 16) French Defense C13

1. d4 d5 2. c4 Nf6 3. c|d5 N|d5 4. e4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e6 6. Nf3 Bb4 7. Bd3 0–0 8. e5 Nd5 9. B|h7+ Perhaps the most common winning sacrifice in this type of position and a well-known tactic to all experienced players! If 9. ... K|h7 10. Ng5+ Kg8 11. Qh5 Re8 12. Q|f7+ Kh8 13. Qh5+ Kg8 14. Qh7+ Kf8 15. Qh8+ Ke7 16. Q|g7 checkmate. 9. ... Kh8 10. Bd2 g6 11. N|d5 B|d2+ 12. Q|d2 K|h7 If the knight on d5 is captured then 13. Qh6 wins quickly for White. 13. Nf6+ Kg7 14. h4 Rh8 15. h5 Nc6 16. 0–0–0 Ne7 17. h|g6 N|g6 18. Qg5 b6 19. R|h8 Q|h8 20. Nh5+ Kg8 21. Rh1 Bb7 22. Nf6+. 1–0 [Pope, J.N. (1996), Pillsbury, page 319]

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 Be7 5. B|f6 B|f6 6. Nf3 Be7 7. Bd3 c5 8. d|c5 B|c5 9. e|d5 e|d5 10. N|d5 B|f2+ 11. K|f2 Q|d5 12. Re1+ Be6 13. Re5 Qd6 14. Bb5+ Ke7 15. Qe2 Rd8 16. Ng5 h6 17. N|e6 f|e6 18. Re1 Qb6+ 19. Kg3 Kf8 20. R|e6 Qc7+ 21. Kh3 Nc6

H.N. Pillsbury–H. Frank Chicago, February 10, 1900, Board 10 (of 16) Irregular King’s Pawn Game C25
1. e4 e5 2. Nc3 c6 3. f4 e|f4 4. Nf3 d6 5. d4 Bg4 6. B|f4 Qf6 7. Qd2 h6 8. Be2 Qd8 9. 0–0 Nd7 10. Bc4 Bh5 11. Rae1


Part III. Games 30–33
Qc7 12. e5 0–0–0 13. Ne4 d|e5 14. N|e5 N|e5 15. B|e5 Qd7 16. c3 Bg6 17. Qf2 h5 18. B|f7 B|f7 19. Q|f7 Nh6 20. Q|d7+ R|d7 21. Ng5 Rg8 22. h3 Bd6 23. B|d6 R|d6 24. Nf7 N|f7 25. R|f7 Rd7 26. Ree7 R|e7 27. R|e7 a6 28. Kf2 Kb8 29. Kg3 Ka7 30. Kh4 g6 31. Kg5 Kb6 32. Re6 Rf8 33. Re2 Rf5+ 34. K|g6 Rd5 35. h4 Kb5 36. Rf2. 1–0 [Pope, J.N. (1996), Pillsbury, pages 319–320]



H.N. Pillsbury–G. Silberberg & A.L. Friedlander Chicago, February 10, 1900, Board 13 (of 16) Queen’s Gambit Declined: Semi-Slav Defense D46


H.N. Pillsbury–R.G. Hamilton Chicago, February 10, 1900, Board 11 (of 16) Giuoco Piano (Italian Opening) C54

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Bc5 3. Bc4 Nc6 4. c3 Nf6 5. 0–0 N|e4 6. d4 e|d4 7. c|d4 Bb6 8. Re1 d5 9. B|d5 Q|d5 10. Nc3 Qd8 11. R|e4+ Ne7 12. Qe2 c6 13. Bg5 f6 14. Re1 0–0 15. R|e7 f|g5 16. Qe5. 1–0 [Pope, J.N. (1996), Pillsbury, page 320]


H.N. Pillsbury–T.F. Leech Chicago, February 10, 1900, Board 12 (of 16) King’s Gambit C38

1. e4 e5 2. f4 e|f4 3. Nf3 g5 4. Bc4 Bg7 5. d4 d6 6. c3 Be6 7. B|e6 f|e6 8. Qb3 Bf6 9. Q|e6+ Qe7 10. Qc8+ Qd8 11. Q|b7 Nd7 12. h4 g4 13. Ng5 Rb8 14. Qd5 Qe7 15. Na3 h6 16. Ne6 B|h4+ 17. Kd1 Ndf6 18. Qc6+ Qd7 19. N|c7+ Kd8 20. Q|d7+ K|d7 21. Na6 Rb6 22. R|h4 R|a6 23. B|f4 N|e4 24. Kc2 h5 25. Nc4 Rc6 26. Ne3 Ne7 27. Rah1? Although White has lost some of his great advantage, this oversight takes it all away. White could keep the better position by, say, 27. Rf1. 27. ...Ng6 28. R|h5 R|h5 29. R|h5 N|f4 30. Rh7+ Kc8 31. N|g4 N|g2 32. R|a7 Ne1+ 33. Kb1 Rb6 34. Ra3 Nd2+ 35. Kc1 Nc4 36. Rb3 Rc6 37. Nf2 d5 38. Kd1 Re6 39. Rb5 Ng2 40. Nd3 Re3 41. Kc2 Re2+ 42. Kc1 Nge3 43. Rc5+ Kb7 44. b3 Rc2+ 45. Kb1 Nd2+ 46. Ka1 Ne4 47. Nb4 R|c3 48. R|c3 N|c3. ∂–∂ [Pope, J.N. (1996), Pillsbury, page 320]

1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. e3 e6 4. c4 c6 5. Nc3 Nbd7 6. Bd3 Be7 7. 0–0 0–0 8. e4 d|e4 9. N|e4 N|e4 10. B|e4 Nf6 11. Bc2 h6 12. Qd3 Bd6 13. Re1 c5 14. Ne5 B|e5 15. R|e5 Q|d4 16. Qg3 Qg4? The move 16. ... Kh8 (stopping the threatened 17. B|h6) would leave Black a pawn ahead with a safe position. 17. Q|g4 N|g4 18. R|c5 Bd7 19. Be4 Rfc8 20. R|c8+ B|c8? The recapture with the rook is better and would lead to a position in which White maintains the advantage but not such a great one as actually follows. Now Black has difficulty developing his queenside pieces. 21. Bf4 Kf8 22. h3 e5 23. Bd2 Nf6 24. Bf3 Ke7 Playing 24. ... e4 gives Black a better chance of holding the game; for one thing, his king would be less exposed. 25.Bc3 Nd7. There is a question of whether this is a resignable position. Black gave up, in view of White’s possession of the two bishops and queenside pawn majority, and Black’s unsafe king and undeveloped queenside. Despite White’s vastly superior position most players would not surrender until White actually won material or a win was in immediate sight. A grandmaster might resign to another grandmaster here, but White is playing blindfolded and could still make a major mistake of some kind. White could continue here with 26. Rd1 or Bb4+, increasing the pressure on Black. Incidentally, Silberberg played the first 20 moves of this game and when he had to leave Friedlander took over. The latter player may have realized how poor Black’s position really was and decided to go home early, too. This display lasted only 5∑ hours so it was probably not a question of extreme fatigue by Friedlander. 1–0 [Pope, J.N. (1996), Pillsbury, page 320]


H.N. Pillsbury–S. Morris Chicago, February 10, 1900, Board 14 (of 16) Vienna Game C29

1. e4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. f4 d5 4. e|d5 N|d5 5. N|d5 Q|d5 6. f|e5 Nc6 7. Nf3


Part III. Games 34–35

Bg4 8. Be2 B|f3 There is no need to cede White the advantage of having two bishops. Instead, the simple 8. ... N|e5 would lead to an equal game. 9. B|f3 Q|e5+ 10. Qe2 Q|e2+ 11. B|e2 Nd4 12. Bd1 Bc5 13. c3 Ne6 14. d4 Bd6 15. 0–0 0–0 16. Bb3 Rae8 17. Bd2 h6 18. Rae1 Nd8 19. c4 c6 20. c5 Bc7 21. d5 c|d5 22. B|d5 Be5 23. b4 Bd4+ 24. Kh1 a5 25. a3 Bb2 26. b5 B|a3 27. c6 b|c6 28. b|c6 Ne6 29. B|a5 Rc8 30. h3 Nc7 31. Bc4 Ne8 32. Bd5 Nc7 33. Bf3. Strangely similar to the previous game vs. Silberberg and Friedlander. There, too, White’s two bishops and queenside pawn majority were decisive. Now White will continue with Rd1–d7 and his advanced c-pawn, two bishops, and strongly posted rooks will lead to a sure win. 1–0 [Pope, J.N. (1996), Pillsbury, page 320]

wuuuuuuuuC {rhw1kgw4} {0p0wDbDp} {wDwDw0ND} {DwDnDwDQ} After {wDB)pDwD} 9. ... Bf7 {DwDwDwDw} {P)PDw)P)} {$NGwIwDR} wllllllllV
10. Qh3 There is a lot of action early in this game until it quiets down after the 17th move. 10. ... B|g6 11. Qe6+ Ne7 12. Q|f6 Rg8 13. B|g8 N|g8 14. Qe6+ Ne7 15. Bg5 Nbc6 16. c3 Qd5 17. Q|d5 N|d5 18. Nd2 Be7 Material is approximately equal but Black would be considered to have the better chances to win because he has the two bishops and more attacking possibilities. 18. ... Kd7 followed by Re8, retaining the two bishops, is a better continuation now. 19. B|e7 Nc|e7 20. 0–0 e3 21. f|e3 N|e3 22. Rf3 N3f5 23. Re1 h5 24. Ne4 0–0–0 25. Ng3 Kd7 26. N|f5 N|f5 27. Re5 Rf8 28. Rf4 Rf7 29. g4 h|g4 30. R|g4 Bh7 31. h4 c6 32. Kh2 Nd6 33. h5 Nc4 34. Re2 Nd6 35. Reg2 Nf5 36. Rf4 Ke6 37. Re2+ Kf6. Neither side has very good chances of winning. ∂–∂ [Pope, J.N. (1996), Pillsbury, pages 320–321]


H.N. Pillsbury–F.J. Marshall & S. Johnston Chicago, February 10, 1900, Board 15 (of 16) Petroff’s Defense C43

Frank Marshall, later one of the first five great players to be labeled a “grandmaster”—by the czar of Russia after his performance at St. Petersburg 1914—was 22 years old when this game occurred. He had previously defeated Pillsbury in a blindfold display by the latter in Montreal in 1894 (the date is given erroneously as 1893 by Marshall in his game collection) when he was only 16, and by 1899 he had already competed in a minor tourney in London in 1899 and achieved deserved prominence in the U.S.A. Why, as such an established player, he would “risk” his reputation by playing in a blindfold display, against a master who was not much better than he, is an interesting question. Later in 1900 at a major tournament in Paris he beat Pillsbury with the same third move as he used in the game below—of course when neither player was blindfolded. Marshall began this game himself but was later joined by Johnston, one of the strongest players in the Midwestern United States. 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. d4 d5 4. e|d5 e4 Marshall played 4. ... e|d4 in the Paris tourney months later. 5. Ne5 N|d5 6. Bc4 Be6 7. Qe2 f6 8. Qh5+!? g6 9. N|g6 Bf7


H.N. Pillsbury–A.B. Davis Jr. Chicago, February 10, 1900, Board 16 (of 16) French Defense C14

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 Be7 5. e5 Nfd7 6. B|e7 Q|e7 7. Nb5 Qd8 The most common move here is 7. ... Nb6. 8. c3 0–0 9. f4 f5 After this move Black is in a purely defensive position and White’s attack is straightforward and easy to conduct. Better was a6 followed by c5. 10. Nf3 Rf7 11. Bd3 a6 12. Na3 Nf8 13. Nc2 Bd7 14. 0–0 Bb5 15. B|b5 a|b5 16. Qd3 Qe8 17. a3 c6 18. Kh1 Na6 19. Rg1 g6 20. Ng5 Re7 21. g4 Rg7 22. Rg3 Rc8 23. Rag1 Rcc7 24. Ne3 Rce7 25. g|f5 e|f5 26. h4 Ne6? A blunder allowing White to break through quickly. Better would have been 26. ... Nc7 but Black’s position is not a happy one. 27. N|e6

wuuuuuuuuC R|e6 28. N|f5 Rc7 29. Nh6+ Kh8 30. f5 {rDbDw4kD} Ree7 31. f|g6 h|g6 32. R|g6 Rg7 33. Qf5 R|g6 34. R|g6 Rg7 Permitting White to {0p0wDp0p} conclude with a pretty combination, although {wDpDwhwD} he has many other ways to win. Two pawns be- {Dwgw1wDw} After hind and with a destroyed kingside, Black would {wDwDPDwD} 8. ... Qe5 be lost anyway. {DwHBDwDw} uuuuuuuuC {P)P)w)P)} {wDwDqDwi} {$wGQDRIw} {DpDwDw4w} wllllllllV {nDpDwDRH} 9. h3?? B|h3 10. g|h3?? Pillsbury overAfter {DpDp)QDw} looks Black’s next move, which wins by force. 34. ... Rg7 {wDw)wDw)} But he is losing in any case. 10. ... Qg3+ 11. Kh1 Q|h3+ 12. Kg1 Ng4. If one did not {)w)wDwDw} know who was playing White and Black one {w)wDwDwD} would think White was the amateur and Black {DwDwDwDK} the master! 0–1 [Pope, J.N. (1996), Pillsbury, vllllllllV page 321]
35. Nf7+ Q|f7 If instead 35. ... Kh7 then 36. Rh6+ followed by mate. If 35. ... Kg8 then 36. R|g7+ K|g7 37. Qf6+, with e6 to follow in most variations, decides. If 35. ... R|f7 then 36. Rh6+ Kg7 37. Qg6+ Kf8 38. Rh8+ Ke7 39. Qd6 checkmate. 36. Rh6+ Kg8 Of course if 36. ... Rh7 then simply Q|f7. 37. Qc8+ Qf8 38. Rh8+ White wins after 38. ... K|h8 39. Q|f8+ Kh7 40. e6 Nc7 41. e7 Rg8 42. Qf7+ Kh8 43. Qf4! There are other ways to win quickly, too. 1–0 [Pope, J.N. (1996), Pillsbury, page 321]

Part III. Games 36–37



H.N. Pillsbury–C.O. Wilcox New Orleans, March 8, 1900, Board ? (of 17) Petroff’s Defense C43


H.N. Pillsbury–B.V.D. Dixon New Orleans, March 8, 1900, Board ? (of 17) Four Knights’ Game C48

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bb5 Bc5 5. 0–0 0–0 6. N|e5 Qe7 Usually played here is 6. ... Re8 or ...Nd4, but this move certainly could not be handled by Pillsbury. 7. N|c6 Now Black gets a very strong attack, with his big lead in development. Much better would have been 7. Nd3 or Nf3. 7. ... d|c6 8. Bd3 Safer was 8. Bc4 or Be2 allowing Black to regain his pawn after 8. ... N|e4 9. N|e4 Q|e4 10. d3. 8. ... Qe5 Now it is not easy for White to meet the threat of Ng4. Pillsbury’s next move is terrible and 9. Qf3 provides the best defense.

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. d4 N|e4 4. Bd3 d5 5. N|e5 Be7 6. 0–0 0–0 7. c4 Be6 8. Qc2 f5 9. c|d5 B|d5 10. Nc3 N|c3 11. b|c3 g6 12. c4 Bc6 13. d5 Bd7 14. Bh6 Re8 15. Rae1 Bf6 16. f4 Na6 17. c5 Nb4 18. Qb3 N|d3 19. Q|d3 c6 20. N|d7 Q|d7 21. d6 b6 22. Bg5 B|g5 23. f|g5 b|c5 24. Qc4+ Kf8 25. Q|c5 Rad8 26. R|e8+ R|e8 27. Rc1 The move 27. g4 was stronger, giving White more opportunities to break through Black’s defense. 27. ... Rd8 28. Rd1 A more favorable alternative was probably 28. Qc3 Kg8 29. Q|c6 Q|d6 30. Q|d6 R|d6 31. Rc8+ Kf7 32. Rc7+ Ke6 35. R|a7. 28. ... Re8 29. h4 Re6 30. Qd4 Kg8 31. Qc4

wuuuuuuuuC {wDwDwDkD} {0wDqDwDp} {wDp)rDpD} {DwDwDp)w} After {wDQDwDw)} 31. Qc4 {DwDwDwDw} {PDwDwDPD} {DwDRDwIw} wllllllllV


Part III. Games 38–40
27. B|f6 N|f6 28. R|f5 Now White is clearly winning but he still has to be careful. 28. ... Kg6 29. Re5 d6 30. Re7 Bh3 31. Kh1 Rf8 32. Rg1+ Ng4 33. R|e4 Kf5 34. Re2 Re8! 35. Rge1 Ne5 36. f4 K|f4 37. Rf2+ Kg5 38. Bd5 c6 39. Rg1+ Ng4 40. Bf3 Re3 41. B|g4 B|g4 42. Rfg2 And after 42. ... Re4 43. h3 White will emerge a rook ahead. Connoisseurs often consider this to be Pillsbury’s greatest blindfold game. The intricacies and complications in the game can be analyzed almost endlessly and one would probably need a computer to make final conclusions about the correctness of various moves and tactics. 1–0 [Pope, J.N. (1996), Pillsbury, page 322]

31. ... Kf8?? Black has defended stoutly but finally blunders. 31. ... Kf7 would lead to a position where White could make little progress. He might try first bringing his king to a safer position at h1 or h2 and then using h5 or a4 combined with moves like Qb3, but the method of his achieving a certain breakthrough is unclear. 32. Q|e6. Of course the capture of White’s queen would be followed by 33.d7, winning quickly for White. 1–0 [New Orleans Times-Democrat, March 11, 1900, page 10]


H.N. Pillsbury–S.W. Bampton Philadelphia, April 28, 1900, Board 1 (of 20) Ruy Lopez C67

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. 0–0 N|e4 5. d4 Nd6 6. Ba4 Good alternatives here are 6. d|e5 N|b5 7. a4 and 6. B|c6 d|c6 7. d|e5 Nf5 8. Q|d8+ K|d8, etc. 6. ... e4 7. Re1 Be7 8. Ne5 0–0 9. Nc3 Bf6 10. Bf4 Re8 11. Ng4 B|d4 12. Nd5 Be5 13. N|e5 N|e5 14. Qh5 f6 15. Bb3 Kh8 16. Re3 g6 17. Qh4 Re6 If instead 17. ... g5 then 18. B|e5! g|h4 19. B|f6+ or if 18. ... f|e5 or R|e5 19. Qh6 White is better. 18. Rh3 h5


H.N. Pillsbury–M. Morgan Philadelphia, April 28, 1900, Board 2 (of 20) Sicilian Defense B34

cuuuuuuuuC {rDb1wDwi} {0p0pDwDw} {wDwhr0pD} After {DwDNhwDp} 18. ... h5 {wDwDpGw!} {DBDwDwDR} {P)PDw)P)} {$wDwDwIw} vllllllllV 40
19. N|f6! Leads to extremely complicated and beautiful play. 19. ... Nf5 20. Qg5 Nf7 21. Q|g6 Q|f6 22. R|h5+ N7h6 Had Black played instead 22. ... N5h6 it was thought for many years that White would have no convincing continuation, for example, 23. Q|f6+ R|f6 24. B|f7 R|f4 25. R|h6+ Kg7 and White comes out a piece behind. However, computer analysis indicates a White advantage after 23. Be5!! Q|e5 24. Q|f7 Qg7 25. B|e6. It is doubtful that Pillsbury “saw” all of this. 23. Q|f6+ R|f6 24. Be5 Kg7 25. g4! N|g4 26. Rg5+ Kh6

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 c|d4 4. N|d4 g6 5. N|c6 d|c6 6. Q|d8+ K|d8 7. Bc4 Ke8 8. Bd2 Bg7 9. Bc3 B|c3+ 10. N|c3 e5 11. 0–0–0 Ke7 12. Rd2 Nf6 13. Rhd1 Be6 14. B|e6 f|e6 15. f3 Rhd8 16. R|d8 R|d8 17. R|d8 K|d8 18. Kd2 Kc7 19. Ke3 Kd6 20. Nb1 Nd7 21. Nd2 An uninteresting game with a surprise finish. White has a small advantage but there is no reason for Black to resign, since the game is likely to end in a draw with accurate play on both sides from this position. Morgan must have had a curfew at home or was merely impatient with the pace of a blindfold exhibition, although Pillsbury completed the 20 games in only 6∂ hours. 1–0 [Pope, J.N. (1996), Pillsbury, page 322]

H.N. Pillsbury–D.S. Robinson Philadelphia, April 28, 1900, Board 3 (of 20) French Defense C10

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 d|e4 4. N|e4 Nd7 5. Nf3 Ngf6 6. Bd3 N|e4 7. B|e4 Nf6 8. Bg5 Be7 9. B|f6 B|f6 10. Qd3 h6? 11. B|b7 B|b7 12. Qb5+ Qd7 13. Q|b7 0–0 14. Qe4 Qb5 15. 0–0–0 Rab8 16. b3 Qa5 17. Kb1 c5 18. Ne5 Rb6? 19. Nc4 Qb4 20. N|b6 a|b6 21. Qe1 Qa3 22. c3 c|d4 23. c|d4 Ra8 24. Qe2 Qb4 25. Qd2 Qb5 26. Qd3 Qa5 27. Rd2 Rd8

N|f6+ g|f6 16. Rhoads Philadelphia. Q|f2+ 18. e|f6 d|c4 8. April 28... 1–0 [Pope. Nce4 Bb6? 12. Board 4 (of 20) Queen’s Gambit Declined D53 1. N|g8 Bh5 18.. d|e5. Pillsbury. 8. Bh6 Q|g2 wuuuuuuuuC {wDwDwDwD} {DwiwDw0w} {wDwhw0w0} {)wDB0wDw} Final {wDw0P)wD} position {DwDwDw)P} {wDwDwIwD} {DwDwDwDw} vllllllllV R|d2 18. Bc4 Nf6 4. f4 Rc8 33. Bg7+ Kg8 20.. J. Pillsbury. Qc4 Qf5+ 30. 1900. Pillsbury–C. page 323] Black resigned in this position. Board 14 (of 20) Vienna Game C25 1. (1996). . Games 41–44 28. Board 15 (of 20) Max Lange Attack C55 42 H. Nc6 Qe8 13.O..N. e4 e5 2. Q|d8 Rf|d8 14. B|b7 N|b7 34. 0–0 is much better. April 28. Nc3 Nf6 4. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nf6+ Kd8 16. c4 e6 3. Qf5+ g6 44. Pillsbury–W. Q|f6. Be3 d5 11. Bd5 Nd6 31. 1–0 [Pope. since he played so well most of the game and deserved to win. (1996). Qc2 Qf6 31. Nc3 Nc6 3. Bc3 N|c2 21. 1900. c|d5 e|d5? 7. 0–0 d|e4 12.N. J. Bd5 cuuuuuuuuC {wDwDw4kD} {0r0nDpDp} {w0wDw0wG} After {DwDwDwDw} 16. . Qe4 e5 32.J.. d4 d5 3. Rfe1 B|e2 16. J. Qf3 Bc5 38. f|e5 R|e5 35. Ne2 Nf6 8. N|f7+ Kc8 17.N. J. b4 Kf8 25. 6. d4 d5 2. g3 Bc5 4. Rd2 44 H.. h3 h6 10. (1996). Rg1+ Kh8 19. B|d4 c|d4 26. Bf1 c5 24. Bc4 Ke7 30. Ng5 Qd5 10.N. Amazing! He had maintained the advantage throughout most of the game and.. (1996). Na4 Bb6 6. Qa8+ Kh7 36. g4 Q|g4+?? 13. e5 d5 7. f4 Rd8 20. Bd3 Rc8 28. d|e4 0–0 13. Pillsbury–W. g3 Be7 40.Part III. B|b7 R|b7 12. a6 and the a-pawn will queen).N. Re2 Rc5 34. Kc1 Kh8 19.H. f|g7 Rg8 15. April 28. Dunbar Philadelphia. Q|f3 18. Black had a winning position when he resigned. 1–0 [Pope. Qd5 Qe3 41. with an eventual win of White’s a-pawn followed by logical maneuvering with his king and knight—eventually forcing a winning entry into White’s position. Qd3+ Kg8 39. 17.J. Nc3 Qf5 11. . Kf2 f6 23. 1900. Pillsbury–J. Re8+ Nd8 19. Rc8+ Kh7 43.N. e4 e5 2. April 28. N|d5 Qe4 15. Q|g4 B|g4 14. He merely has to play 34. d4 e|d4 5. B|d2 Nd4 19. page 323] 1. Bb5 Bb7 9. Rc1 Bf6 42. 1–0 [Pope. pages 322–323] 223 41 H. Qf3!! Of course if then 17. Black now loses a pawn. Board 17 (of 20) French Defense C11 1. R|d8 checkmate. b|a5 Kd7 33. despite Pillsbury’s attempt at a swindle (33. e5 . N|b6 a|b6 7. B|f6+ with mate next move. Bc6 Rb8 11. Bg5 Be7 5. N|d5 is necessary. 0–0 Bc5 6. B|b7 Kc7 34. Ferris Philadelphia. Nf3 b6 7. e3 Nbd7 If Black intends to play b6 shortly then 5. R|e2 Ne8 17. Rg1 Ne5 20. . page 323] H.. R|c8+ N|c8 29. Rhd1 B|d4 29. a5 b|a5 32. a4 Nd6 27. Newman Philadelphia. . Ne5 0–0 10. Pillsbury.N. It is hard to believe that Rhoads would resign. Kb8. Rc1 Nd4 22. e4 e6 2. d3 Be6 9. R|e5 Q|e5 37. Re1+ Be6 9. N|e7+ Q|e7 14. Pillsbury... Bg2 d6 5.N. Kd2 This move wins but Pillsbury missed a chance for a real brilliancy by not playing 17. 1900. Q|g2 {wDw)wDwD} {DwDw)wDw} {P)wDw)q)} {$wDQIwDR} vllllllllV 43 17. Nc3 Nf6 4. . a3 Bc4 15..

A pawn ahead and with White having little or no counterplay. f4 f|e5 14. b3 Nc5 24. Bh5 g6 24. N|b4 Q|b4+ 20. Bd3 Nc6 9. Brody Hannover. Games 45–48 1. Qg3 Qe6 25. May 21. B|e6 R|d1+ 32. Nbd2 0–0 6. 1902. e3 e6 4. h4 Re8 20. April 28. Bd3 Bd6 5. h4 Qd8 32.) 48 H. Pillsbury. July 27. Bernstein Hannover. Pillsbury–O. Bb2 Ref8 26. c4 e5 3. page 19] 1. 1–0 [Philadelphia Public Ledger. Board 3 (of 21) Albin Counter-Gambit D08 1. Rg2!. Perhaps the organizers of this record-setting display did try to arrange boards alphabetically. Board 20 (of 20) Queen’s Pawn Game D05 H. Bg5 Be7 5. Black ought to be able to take advantage of his queenside pawn majority by playing b5. J. many writers consider this blindfold exhibition to be the greatest ever. Be2 Qa5 23. page 323] 47 45 H. e4 e6 2. [Pope. July 27. Qf4. Qg3 Rf7 19. d|e5 g5 15. Nb5 Nb6 8. 1902. 1900. Be2 Be7 14. Nd2 Rg1 31. Pope. Qe2 c6 14.N.N. Rf4 Re7 25. Nf3 f5 10. Nf3 g|f4 16. B|g6 Rg7 25. Pillsbury–O. At any rate.N. Qf3 f5 6. Qh7 Ke8 35.N. with one exception. Qd2 Nc6 11. Rdf1 Bd7 26. page 338] (There is some uncertainty about the actual board numbers at Hannover because opponents are listed alphabetically. Na3 c5 10. Pillsbury–D. Nd4 Ke7 25. B|e4 Nf6 10. b|c3 d4 8. c3 a6 9. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nf3 . . K|d1 Q|e6 33. Ne5 Bc8 19. 1902. Pillsbury–N. July 27. K|d2 h6 22. Q|f4 Bd7 17. page 338] Nfd7 5. Nb1 Qb6 27. Rae1 Nd7. g5 h5 33. despite Pillsbury’s poor score. Bc2 Rad8 17. e4 e5 2.N. B|c5 B|c5 17. 0–0 0–0 15. Rad1 Bd7 15. d|e5 d4 4. Re3 Bd8 21. Qh3 h6 11. Nc2 c|d4 12. N|e4 N|e4 9. Qf2 d|c3 11. f4 Qf5 20. Re1 Rd8 13. Qf3 Be8 27. and a gradual advance of those pawns—perhaps also better positioning his bishop on b6. J. Nf4 Qd7 13. g6 f5 34. B|c6 Q|c6 17. a3 Nd4 12. f4 c5 6. d4 d5 2. Qg4 0–0 8. Rh3 Rc8 28. Rae1 b6 18. Kh1 Qg5 29. N|d4 B|d4 13. but it has not been possible to confirm such an arrangement. e4 d|e4 8. Rf2 Bc7 24. Bc2 Bc6 26. ∂–∂ 46 H.N. J. Rhf1 Na4 23. a5. N|e6 Q|e6 22. Qg3 Kf8 19. Board 2 (of 21) Vienna Game C29 1. Be3 Rf7 15. Bg6 On this and the next move Pillsbury misses the even stronger 27. from Board 1 to Board 21 in our major source.N. B|f6 Q|f6 12. Bf3 Rad8 16. B|c3 Be6 12. Ne2 Bb6 14. Qd3 Be7 29. Be4 Rc7 30. Bb2 c5 9.. 1900.S. e5 Nfd7 6. Rg3 Qb6 34. e|f6. c|d4 f6 13. ∂–∂ [Pope. Rg4 Qd2 29. Nc3 Nf6 4. (1996). Qd2 Q|d2+ 21. Nc3 Be6 22. h4 Ke7 20. d4 d5 2. Qe3 Nb4 19. Qe2 Qf6 21. Ne2 Nc6 10. (1996). B|f5 Rg2 30. Rdd7 28. g4 B|e5 22. 1–0 [Pope. Qe4 Kf8 18. d4 d5 3. g4 Bd7 18. Bd3 Rf8 18. g|f5 e|f5 21. Rg8+ Kd7 36. c3 Re8 16.. f4 d5 4. B|e7 Q|e7 7. Qf4? Q|a2 23. d|c5 B|c5 7. 0–0–0 Nc5 16. Nc3 Nf6 3. 27.224 Part III. 0–0 Nbd7 7. Bg5 h6 11. because of the exceptional strength of the opposition. (1996). Rf1 b6 24. Board 1 (of 21) French Defense C14 cuuuuuuuuC {wDwDw4kD} {0wgwDr0p} {w0wDqDwD} {Dw0w)pDw} Final {wDwDw!w)} position {DwDP$wDw} {wGPDw$PD} {DwDwDwIw} vllllllllV Pillsbury was losing this game and his opponent should have kept on trying to win. Bleykmanns Hannover. See a discussion of this display in Part I. g5! Q|g5+ 28. f|e5 N|e4 5. Qf5+. Pillsbury. Pillsbury. h5 Kf8 26. Hesse Philadelphia. d3 N|c3 7. 1996. Qg3 Red7 31. f|e5 Qh4 23.

B|g2 26. Bc1 Kf6 35. 22. N|c6+ B|c6 14. Kf1 Bf3 22. Pillsbury. c3 Ne7 16. N|d4 c|d4 14. N|h7 f6 33. e4 e6 2. removing some of White’s attacking possibilities. Ne4 Bd3 29. Bf4. Nb3 Ke7 25.. retaining his passed d-pawn. 22.. 31. Bb5 a6 4.. . . but the game becomes wild anyway. h|g6 25. Nd1 Nd4 13. Qf3 B|d5 27.. Nb6 Qc7 25. 35. 23. B|g5 Kg7 30. R|g7 Nf3 18. 1902.. Rc1 B|e3 20. Nb3 Bc6 17. d|e5 K|e5 38. (1996). Rd1. f6 Nf7+ 54. Na5 Bh4+ 21. Bd5+ Be6 26. . Bc3 Nc5+ 48. Kg1 Be2 27. h3 Bd7 11. Nf3 Nc6 3.. Bd3 Nh4 13.. e5 Nh5 18. Ng5 Placing White’s queen on the c-file (21.. 1902. .. Be6 26. Qd3 Nc6 6.N. Nb3 Nf5 7. N|g2 would leave his f7 pawn unprotected if his attacked knight were to move. 24. a|b5 a|b5 14. Be3 Nc6 18. c|d4 Qc8 13. 7. Ke2 e5 36. Q|d8+ K|d8 9.. especially when playing 20 other opponents. Board 4 (of 21) French Defense C00 1. B|e6+ K|e6 28. Nd5 Nc6 20. Bb2 Nd6 52. N|d4 here (but not 28. Kf1 Nc4 34. Be5 Rd8 28. .Part III. Qc1 or Qc2) would have put more pressure on Black. page 338] 225 in good shape with the moves 29. f5 g|f5 45.g.. R|e6 N|e6 27.. Nf6+ Kg7 30. Ne7+) since after 29. d4! leaves Black in bad trouble because 25. Of course there are numerous other variations. d5 Q|f2+. Ke3 Ne4 49. Qf2 Qb6 19. .. Ba1 Nd6 50. Board 5 (of 21) Ruy Lopez C90 49 H. 29. Rf8? Black could have played 28. e4 e5 2. page 338] 50 H. Pillsbury–E.. There is no real way for White to make progress.N. This kind of complicated tactical game is one of the hardest for a blindfold player to handle. . d3 Bg7 12. J.. 0–0 d6 10. K|f7 24. Nd4 B|g2 15. Ng7 Black would have been better off playing 21. Q|d4 because of 29. Kf2 Be7 11. Bd2 This is an inferior move. July 27. Perhaps Pillsbury wanted to simplify the game by exchanging queens. Be3 Na5 33.. . . 0–0 Be7 6. Bg3 B|g3 30. B|b4 N|b3 47. Q|e6 Black must have been very happy to reach an ending where he has good chances for a draw. (1996). Nge7 6. or Qe3 would keep an advantage for White. Nf5 24. . c|d4 B|d4+ 17. f|g6 h|g6 26. Ne2+ or 29. f|e3 Bb4+ 10. Kd3 Na5 42. e4 or Nb3 were better. Kg5 Ke4 53. . say. . although White has been losing whatever advantage he had earlier. Q|d5 B|g5 28. Ba4 Nf6 5.. Rd1 he is 1. Could Pillsbury be expected to calculate all these. ∂–∂ [Pope. Rg1 c5 16. N|e3 0–0 21. Be4 Qc8 19. Kf4 Ke6. Q|b7 25.N. . g4 25. 22... B|h7 N|e5 20. Kf5 Nd6+ 56. d4 Nc6 27. 24. 21. Be3+ Kd5 43. He has been stoutly defending a bad position for a long time. e|d6 c|d6 23.N.. all of which seem to lead to a smashing White triumph. f4+ Kd5 39. g3 b5 8. B|b7? Pillsbury overlooked 24. R|d1 N|d1 35. (1996). h|g3 Rd4 31. d|e5.. 31. g|f5 Kd5 46.. Q|d6 Qe6 31. Bg2 Bb7 9.. . Q|d5+ Kf6 30. Bc3 Ng4 Now Black has strong attacking possibilities and has seized the advantage. a4 Bg4 9. e4 The moves a3 and Qd3 are better. Pillsbury. Cohn Hannover. Carls Hannover. R|a8 Q|a8 15. J. g4 The only way to save the trapped knight. Bd2 Kc5 44. Re1 Rd1 34. Nbd2 Today 5. Re1 b5 7. R|h7 R|h7 19. Qb3+ d5 29.. g5 f|g5 37. . .. f|e6 32. b6 23..N. Nd2 N|e3+ 26. b3 b4+ 41. R|e8+ Q|e8 29. f|g6 here and if then 24. N|b2 36. R|c8 R|c8 24. Kc3 Kc5 40.. with a winning position for White. Nc3 Na5 16.. Pillsbury–C. g3 is the preferred continuation. Kd3 Ke6 37. N|f7!. Games 49–50 Nc6 5.. e|f5 Ne5 23. July 27. 0–1 [Pope.. Bb3 d6 8. Qe2 was even stronger. White would have more winning opportunities by not exchanging queens directly by. f4 Rc8 15. Bb1 White could have secured a brilliant victory here by 23. even in a regular tournament game? 23. Bc2 g6 17. Nf3 Nd4 5. ... pages 338–339] . Qe2 c5 3.. Ng5 B|h7 32.. . J. B|f5 B|f5 25. Bh6 Re8 21. who is struggling to hold a disadvantageous position.. 5. Qf3+ Ke6 31. Nbd4 Bd7 12. ∂–∂ [Pope. e.. d|e3 8. Qe2 g6 11. Qb3+ winning. Nd5 Qa7 28. N|g5 Kf6 Black will emerge two pawns ahead with a easy win. Nc3 Nc6 4. c3 0–0 10. Kf4 Nf7 51. f5 e|f5 22. Rc1!. 28. d4 e|d4 12. a3 a6 7. Pillsbury.. Kg4 Kd5 55. h4? The moves Rc1. 25.

J. Rd2 f3+ 30. Board 6 (of 21) Vienna Game C29 capture on his next move.. Nf1 Be6 53 H. . 32. threatening 10. which White could answer with 24. in deciding whether a display sets a new world record? 1–0 [Pope. Nf6 11. winning a pawn.. 10. Kf8 is obviously better and then White’s best may be 26. Nf3 Nf6 3. (1996). . Qd2 d6 12. N|c6 b|c6 23. Re4! with continuations favorable to him.. Qf2 Nd7 11. N|g2. (1996)... B|h7+ Kh8 Of course if 15. Edelheim Hannover. Board 7 (of 21) Queen’s Pawn Game (Colle System) D05 1. . Nc4 and White will easily win the endgame. .. Bd5 After 21. d|c3 c6 8. Na5! A nice move. but marred by the fact that he scored only 40 percent in the exhibition. Q|d3 N|d4 19. . Nd5 Qd6 7. made possible by the {DwDwDPDw} fact that Black’s e-pawn is otherwise undefended.. Games 51–53 H.. Board 8 (of 21) King’s Gambit Declined C30 cuuuuuuuuC {rDwDrDwi} {0pDw1wDw} {wDnDbDwD} After {DwDw0pDw} cuuuuuuuuC 20. Bg5 Be7 14.N.. Nc6 6.. B|e7 Q|e7? Overlooking White’s next move. 15.226 Part III. f|e5 Qe7 5. B|f5 B|g2? The best try was 23. Pillsbury. K|h7 16. Rd1 Re5 28. 16. July 27. Should one’s actual score matter or merely the number of games played.. Dyckhoff Hannover. R|e7 R|e7 26. a4 would be especially strong here. Be5 leads to a very favorable position for White. Qe2 N|c3 7. and if Black prevents this with 10. . f|e5 N|e4 5. Rfe1 g4 19. a5 N|d5 12. N|a5 22.. f4 Bc5 3. c|d4 0–0 20. Be6 {wDwDwhpD} {rDbDqin4} {DN)w!wDw} {0p0wDp0p} {P)BDw)P)} {wgw0wDwD} {$wDw$NIw} {DwDNDwDw} After vllllllllV {wDw)PGwD} 12. . Q|f4! e|f4 25. Pillsbury. Nf3 Bg4 6. Qg6+ Kh8 26. ∂–∂ [Pope. Q|e5+ White will have a choice of which Black knight to {DwIRDB$w} vllllllllV 1. R|e5! However. Qh6+ Kg8 25... g|f3 Bb6 9. Qe2+ followed after a Black king move by 14. 10. Bb5. 25. page 339] 51 1. Qe8 21. Bd3 Bc5 13. Bd3 c5 5. f4 d5 4. Qe4+ wins Black’s knight. Pillsbury–E. Any other recapture of the bishop would avoid this. 1902. K|g2 Rg8 27.N. e3 e6 4. {P)P!wDw)} 21. Kg3 Rge8 31. . Ne3. . e|d5 Qf6 but 13. Qe3 g5 18. c3 Rae8 21. Bf5 Re1 If 31. but unfortunately he defeated only three opponents in this 21-board display against very strong opposition—a new world record for number of simultaneous blindfold games played. 22. . a6 then 11. . Nd4 Nc5 16. e4 e5 2. d4 N|f3+ 8. Pillsbury–A. Pillsbury–M. Bc2 Re2 29. e|d5 N|d5 12. 24. Black could try 10. Rg1 Kf8 11. J. e4 e5 2. Bc2 Nf4 17. Q|e3 Qb6 15. Nc3 Nf6 3. 5. Nbd2 0–0 8.. a5 would lead to disaster. N|d2 Re2 33. 0–0–0 Qe8 . Nfd2 f5 20. Bf4 Qc6 Pillsbury has already gained a big advantage in the opening.N.. Nb3 Bd6 13. page 339] 52 H. Qe2 Re8 9. 0–0 B|e3 14. Re3 Re6.. Rae1 B|d3 18. d4 d5 2. b4 Ne6 17.. A neat win by Pillsbury. c3 The Colle System.N. 1902. July 27. which subsequent blindfold champion George Koltanowski tried to use as often as possible in his own displays— besides writing a book about its general merits.. Nf3 N|e5 6.. 0–0 Bd6 7. Be3 Qa5 9. g4 Bg6 12. Eljaschoff Hannover.. d|c5 B|c5 10. 1902. Nc3 Nc6 4. July 27. e4 e5 11.N. White already has a material advantage and will soon pick up Black’s other kingside pawns. Qf5 Qc7 22. h3 Bh5 10.. R|d2 there would follow 32.

he would have some chance to win. Kd2 Qd4+ 33. B|c4 N|e5 8. B|b4 R|b2 17. 13.. Nd5 c6 30. B|f6 g|f6 White probably should have resigned a few moves earlier. K|g7 14. . Qf4 b5 Now Black’s threats are stronger than White’s. Bc4 Kg7 17. Bh6+ leads to checkmate. R|c3 15. Ne3 h5 31. N|b6 a|b6 18. Pillsbury–F. ∂–∂ [Pope. 16. page 340] 55 H. would leave Black with a material advantage.. 1902. Rc5 Without this rejoinder Black might have to be careful. N|e5 N|e4 7. R|a1 26. Ne4 Rad8 16.. Bd2 0–0–0 13. h|g4 h|g4 35. Pillsbury. Pillsbury–V. Be2 Bf5 9. d3 Nf6 10. R|R and the game is equal.. Many other moves would lead to an approximately equal position. b|c3 B|c3. July 27. R|f2+ 37.. Kb1 was needed now or very soon.. Ba4 Nf6 5. Bg3 Bd6 13. A great comeback by his opponent. f4 c5! 24. Bf4 Nd5 12. Ke2 Q|g1 34.N. Rac1 R|e3 28. Qg3 Be8 22. Qg5+ Kf8 16. July 27. Qe7 21.. c4 Nd4 22. from which Pillsbury has virtually no hope of recovering against such a strong opponent. f4 Rg4 19. e3 Nc6 4. Bb4 {DwHrDNDw} {P)wDw)P)} {$wGwDRIw} vllllllllV 14. . Be3 Qf8 19. Board 10 (of 21) Vienna Game C26 1. Bc3 b5 25. N|h6 15.. . b3 Qa7 31. 0–1 [Pope. (1996).Part III. .N. Nf6 21. . 0–1 [Pope.. Be3 Qd6 10.N. e4 Be6 11. Even if he merely exchanged both rooks... Qe2 Qe7 9. taking away Black’s counterattack on the queenside.N. Bb5 a6 4. R|a1 Rd3 Black’s superiority would be even clearer. d3 Nc6 6. R3f6. J. 1902. B|d4 R|d4 23.. Pillsbury. c3 Bc5 8. Exner Hannover. Qh4 Be6 16. 15. J. Nc3 Nf6 3. Bf4 he has a better chance than in the game. 19. Fleischmann Hannover. 0–0 Bc5 6. B|b4 R|e5 17.. c4 e5 3. Still. Re1+ Be6 14. N|f2! was stronger. d|e5 d|c4 5. . Be1 Qe7 27. b3 Ba6 21. 20. 0–0 B|c4 16. Board 9 (of 21) Ruy Lopez C78 1. page 339] cuuuuuuuuC {wDkDwDn4} {0p0wDp0p} {wDwDbDwD} {DwDwDwDw} After {wgwDPDwD} 13. f5 R|a2 Did Pillsbury forget about this possibility? 28. . e. Kg2 b6 . . Pillsbury. Kf2 R|c3 leaves Black with two pieces for a rook. 20.. R|f2 Rf6 or 36. Kh2 Rd3 22. Kb1 Ra8 29. R|g7!! If then 13. after 16. Be3 White has obviously lost most of his early advantage. Ne2 Be6 11. . 0–0 Bb4 54 H. B|g4 f|g4 18. e4 e5 2. July 27. Qc2 Ng4 12. Bf8. Games 54–56 13. Re2 Kc7 32. 15.. for example. 30. J. Qa4 Qd5 6. Nf3 Nd3+ 12. (1996). 26. f6 20. page 339] 227 33. d5 Bd7 19.. . Qg5 h6 15. Rc2 16. Bd4 20.. Bb3 h6.g. Pillsbury–L. h4 Qf7 23. Bd2 Of course if now 15. Q|d6 Qg4+ White resigned because after 35. h3 Rg3 20. Nf3 Nc6 3.. (1996).. Qg2 Pillsbury missed a beautiful move here. Bc3 Rg5 18. 15.. g3 Bc5 4... Nd2 0–0 15. (1996). d|c4 Qc5 The move 14. N|c6 d|c6 8.N. . Now White regains his pawn minus by playing 37. . Ne5?? A bad blunder. . Bd4 If 20... 14. 1902.. B|d3 R|d3 13. Board 11 (of 21) Albin Counter Gambit (Declined) D08 1. J. Nc1 c4 14. Bg2 d6 5. Ne2 Q|e3 By continuing 25.. Bh3 f5 17. Nf6 checkmate. Nc3 Rf3 29. f|e3 R1d3 27. although Black has seized the initiative early. d4 d5 2. Kc1 Qa1+ 32. h3 Bc8 34. Pillsbury. Qe2 Rhd8 24. Englund Hannover. ..N. Re1 Qf3 20. Bf1 b4 26. Q|h6+ Kg8 17. Kd2 Q|e4 he is a rook behind with nothing to show for it. forking White’s rook and knight.. Rf1 Rdf8 36. ∂–∂ [Pope. Q|c4 Q|c4 7. g6 14. Qe3 Rd1 25. Q|e7+ B|e7 11. page 340] 56 H. Ref2 R8f6? Black has outplayed Pillsbury and would retain good winning chances if he played 36. e4 e5 2. Nc3 0–0–0 10. N|c5 d|c5 9. Na4 Bb4+ 7.N. 13. 14.

Bd2 Q|b2 29. f4 e|f4 3. Qc2 Bf5 35. 1902. Ng3 Nb6 16. Ne5 c5 14. Be2 Be6 8. Kagan Hannover. Rf3 g4 24. Re3 h4 24. (1996).. B|g7+ K|g7 17. f|e4 f|e4 27.N. Be2 N|e2+ 21. Be2 Rb8 21. Re7 Qd4+ 31. (1996). Board 13 (of 21) Ruy Lopez C67 61 1. This was the last game of the 21 to be finished. Qe2 Qf6 26. Fahrni Hannover. Rf2 Bg5 25. d4 Be7 7. At any rate he resigned at this point. Rc1 B|f3 19. Bg5 . Pillsbury. Nf3 Nf6 4. R|e4 g5 28. Pillsbury. 1902. page 340] 57 1. Qd4 f6 7. Ba4 e4 7. Be3 Nf5 12. July 27. Ne2 f5 15. Qd2 c6 13. Nc3 d5 5. Pillsbury–W. with the strong threat of Qg7 and then Qe7. B|f3 Q|f3 24. . Nb5 N|b5 19. Pillsbury. J. c|d4 59 cuuuuuuuuC {wDwDwDwD} {0winDwDw} {w0wDpGw!} Final {DwDp)qDw} position {wDw)wDpD} {DPDwDw)w} {PDwDwDPI} {DwDwDwDw} vllllllllV White has a winning position. Re1 Be7 H. Nc3 Be7 5. Be3 Qf6 32. Rde1 Qd6 23. pages 340–341] H. R|f8 R|f8 31. Nc3 f6 16. b4. Bf4 h5 17. 0–0 N|e4 5. B|f4 g5 11. R|f8 N|f8 32. John Hannover. Nd5 c6 15. B|f5 Qe8 20. (1996). Nf3 Nc6 3... Nf3 Kc7 21. Pillsbury–H. Re1 Bf5 30. Be5 Qg6 14. B|e7 Q|e7 9. c4 f5 23. c4 e6 4. In some variations there is the small possibility of a perpetual check by Black. d5 c5 18.. Nf3 Nf6 3. (1996). Board 12 (of 21) King’s Gambit C34 8. 1902. Q|c5 Rd1+ 26. B|e6 f|e6 23. Ng4 Nef5 12. c|d5 N|d5 8. July 27. e4 c5 2. Then White would win Black’s g-pawn. N|d4 g6 5. Nf1 Qh5 26. Pillsbury–P. e4 e6 2. d4 c|d4 4. Kh1 Bg4 34. d4 Nd6 6. July 27. page 340] H. Be3 Nh6 8.N. 1902. Kg2 Qg4+. e5 Nh5 6. July 27.N. 1–0 [Pope. R|e7! followed by Qf2 or 36. Nd2 Rd8 22. Rc1 Rc8 13. Qd3 with a good position.N. Bf4 Ne7 11.. say. Bc4 Nf7 10. ∂–∂ [Pope. Qd4+ Kg8 19. and most likely Farhni. ∂–∂ [Pope. f3 d6 25. Rf7 and after 36. Nc3 Bf6 10. 0–0 g6 9. c3 h6 17. d4 d5 3. Raf1 Rdf8 30. e4 e5 2. ∂–∂ [Pope. N|c6 b|c6 6. Qd2 Nd7 33. Qh6 c|d4 39. Qc2 Kd7 18. Nf5 N|f5 19. Pillsbury–W. July 27. Board 16 (of 21) French Defense C13 1. Bb5 Nf6 4. Ne5 0–0 9.N. J.N. 0–0 Bb7 12. 1902. was ready to quit. by playing 35. Bc1 Qd4+ 33. B|b5 Nd4 20. Pillsbury–B. Qc5 Bg4 22. Kerwel Hannover. Nc3 Bg7 9. N|f6+ Q|f6 13. with the inferior position. Ne1 Ng7 10. .. e3 Bb7 7. Bf6 Nd7 38. Kh2 b6 36. b3 Rd8 25. R|c5 b|c5 16. Nf3 Nd7 18. Qc2 Qb7 22. g|f3 Ne5 20. Games 57–61 H. 0–0 Qe8 14. e4 e5 2. d|c5 R|c5 15. Qa4 f6 17.N. b3 Bh4 27. f4 Nf3+ 23. R|e2 b6 22. Bd4 f|e4 16. Bg5 b6 6. Fiebig Hannover. Qd3 Kh8 13.N. R|d1 Q|d1+ 27. B|h6 Qf5 34. J. Qe2 Black has held his own in this game and if Pillsbury tries to avoid a draw by repetition. d4 d5 2. f|e5 Q|e5 21. Qb3 then Black can reply 35. Bb2 can play either 36. page 341] 60 58 H. h|g3 Nd7 29. after about 11∂ hours of play. Bd3 0–0 11. Board 15 (of 21) Queen’s Gambit Declined D53 1. Pillsbury. Bg5 c5 35. . Board 14 (of 21) Sicilian Defense B34 1. Ng3 B|g3 28.228 Part III. Bd3 e5 20. Ne2 Nd7 15. N|d5 B|d5 10. Qf4 Nf8 37. Rd1 0–0 11. f4 d6 12. Q|e4 d5 18. Nf3 Nc6 3. But Black could hold out a while by returning his Q to e8 via Qh5+ when White’s queen eventually goes to g7. Bd3 Ng7 14.N. J. giving Pillsbury one of his three wins in this display. Nc3 Nf6 4.

c3 c5 16.. 1902. Nf3 h6 Unnecessary. July 27. Qe3 g6 5.. cuuuuuuuuC {rDwDwDri} {0w0wDwDp} {wDpgbDwD} After {DwDwDpDw} 20. Pillsbury–G. B|f6 B|f6 6. . N|d5 Be6 leaves White in serious trouble because of the threat mentioned after the last move. 13. also opening the d5–h1 diagonal for Black’s bishop on e6. Möller Hannover. 23. Bc4 Pillsbury’s opponent is not the “Max Lange” whose name is attached to a well-known opening that starts similarly. Games 62–64 Be7 5. Bd2 Bg7 6. Re1 c5 22. (1996).. B|c6 B|c6 13. .. d4.N. Pillsbury–M.. J. Board 18 (of 21) Center Game C22 1. Rad1 Rfd8 19.. White has little compensation for the pawn he now loses. g5 17. Qc5 Bf8 The move 11. Bc3 Nf6 7. Bb5 Bd7 8... N|f3 would have been better. . ∂–∂ [Pope. Be2 0–0 8. ... Qb3 0–0 10. . Qe1 e3! Not only winning a major piece but... h|g3 Q|g3+ followed by Rf6 Black would have a winning attack. Kh1 Rg8 20. 0–0 Rad8 12. 16.. 29. Kd2 g2 35. g|h6 Black could have answered with 24.N. e6+ because the knight would return to d4). 1902. Ngf3 Re8 10. N|e4 d|e4 13. e|f7+ K|f7 28. Black has the two bishops plus a strong attack. h|g5 Nd4 21. Re4 N|f3 25. B|f4. Q|d5 N|f2 13. . e5 Kh8 To avoid the possibility of White’s playing Ne4 and Nf6+. f3 Qh4 16. R|c4 Now Pillsbury finally surrendered. b|c6 12. Board 17 (of 21) Giuoco Piano (Italian Opening) C54 63 H. b3 then . Bb5 e|d4 8. winning anyway. (1996). R|d4 Q|d4 22. Bc4 Be6 14. Pillsbury–J. . Rf2 {wDw)p)w1} {DwDw!wDw} {P)wHw$w)} {$wGwDwDK} vllllllllV 1.. Pillsbury. page 341] 64 H. 24. 0–0–0?? Pillsbury had already allowed Black to obtain the much superior position but this move leads to a loss of major material.N. 1902. Nd2 Moving the knight to e5 would give White a much better chance of holding his inferior position.N. e5 d5 7. Ke2 Rf4 36. B|e6 R|e6 16. c4 g3 33. g|f3 h|g5 26. 10.N. . . which means that White will be checkmated shortly. and he would have the better game even if he were not also a (doubled) pawn ahead. Qe3 f5 Obviously White has gone astray with his opening strategy. Q|d8 Ra|d8 15. h4 B|g5 20. Be1 Rg8 34.. c3 Nf6 5. Better is the conventional 5... To stop the threatened checkmate at g1 the move 21. Qa4 R|d4 21.N. Bg4 11. The simpler move 23. 36. N|e4 6. But now after 24.. page 341] 229 62 20. Board 19 (of 21) Max Lange Attack (by transposition) C55 1. 10. f4 After 16. R|h1 Bh6 19. Kf1 Rd2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bd2 g4 32. Nf3 Nc6 7. Rfe1 g6 20.Re8+ followed by Rf1 was a simple way to win more material. Re2 would be ineffective because of 21. d4 was even more powerful. B|c6 If 11. Rdf1 N|h1 18. B|f6 or Nd4 offer more hope. 0–0 Bc5 6.. it is hard to suggest a better move... Nf3 Nc6 3. Q|d4 R|d4 23. Lange Hannover. e|f6 d|c4 . he died in 1899. Pillsbury. J. . Ng4 11. Bd2 If 36. 5. Q|d4 Nc6 4. winning easily. Bc5 4. d4 e|d4 3. d4 e|d4 4. Mayer Hannover. 3. Q|d5 because of Black’s reply B|h2+ winning White’s queen. Nd2 d5 9.. 0–1 [Pope.. N|d5 0–0 10. Qg4 White could resign after this move.. Bc4 Nf6 5. Ng5 Ree8 17. e6+ Kg8 27. Ne5 Rd6 14. N|c6 b|c6 15.. N|f3 followed by Kh7. Pillsbury. c|d4 c6 18. e4 e5 2. especially against one of the strong players Pillsbury knew were opposing him. Rg4 Re3 It is about time for Pillsbury to resign. 0–0 Not a good move. N|f6+ Q|f6 11. Be6 14. 12.. 21. (White cannot play 25... 11. However. 15. more important. page 341] H. e4 e5 2. Rg1 g5 31. . Rf2 Trying to move his knight to f1 to restrain Black’s attack. . July 27. Nc3 Of course not 10. c|d4 Bd6 9. e|d5 e|d5 9. (1996). . July 27. d4 d5! 7. g3 g|f4 18. J. e4 e5 2. R|g5 R|f3 30. g|f4 Kh8 19. Qc2 c|d4 17.Part III. g3 B|g3 17. Perhaps 10. 0–1 [Pope.

. 25.. the exchange of queens. d5 6. B|c7 R|f5+ 32. Kf4 and a quick invasion on the kingside. Now White obtains a clear advantage. Kf2 Bb6 24. B|g1 8. 37.N. The king and pawn ending with White’s advanced and protected passed f-pawn is lost for Black. 1–0 [Pope. h|g4 c5 27. Bf4 Kd7 12. . Rf3. e|f4 Now Black already threatens to win White’s queen with Re8 and White’s only reasonable attempt to save the game is a king or queen move. give White the better game. B|e5 Kc6 19.. 0–1 cuuuuuuuuC {rhb1wDkD} {0p0wDpDp} {wDwDwDwD} {DwDP4w0w} Final {wDwDw!nD} position {Dw)BDwDw} {P)w)wDP)} {$NGwDK$w} vllllllllV [Pope. e|d5? This move allows Black to exert overwhelming threats on the king’s file. Re5! The threat of Rf5 forces White’s next move but he is lost anyway. Ng4 10. Bd3 g5.. Qg4 Qd5 Some analysts have recommended 10. Pillsbury. and the tactics that follow. Kg4 R|e1 33.. Kf2 also wins for White in this variation. R|e1 K|c7 34. . Black is actually better developed than White and his next move opens up the game to his advantage. Qf3 then N|h2+ forks White’s king and queen. R|g1 Re8+ 9.. Neumann Hannover. . Rf3! Now it is all over. b4 would have given Black his last chance to possibly stave off White’s quick victory. c3 0–0 5. . Re8 29. f8Q d1Q 43. N|c4 Rhe8 16. This is one of the most crushing and shortest defeats we know of that was ever suffered by a champion at blindfold chess. Now White is definitely lost.. Kf4 Bc7 30. Qf3 are met by 12. Nowadays the best response is sometimes considered to be 10. Kc6 {wDw0w)wD} {DwDRDKDw} {P)PDwDwD} {DwDw$wDw} vllllllllV 28. but 11. 28.. Of course if this pawn is captured White continues with 29. His queenside pawns cannot move forward fast enough. 37... .. Bc4 Nf6 3. Kd1 or Be2 Black wins with Bg4. f4 Rd7 21. Qf1 is a better try. usually attributed to Rudolf Loman. Nd2 Qf5 The move 13.. 10.. f4? This is a bad mistake. 9. July 27. White should have played 5. f5! A typical breakthrough in this type of ending. 5. 1902. .. N|e6 f|e6 13.. White has no move other than to resign. Re1+ Be6 9. Kg3 Ke3 If 39.. Qe8+ followed by a queen check on the d-file. Qf3 7. There are not many cases where White has much the worse position after five moves! Pillsbury should not have tried such a “gambit” against a near-master opponent. Nf3 or d3. 6. 11. . Rdd1 Rd5 31. 41.230 Part III. . neither of which Pillsbury played. 11. after White’s move black’s bishop on c5 impedes the possibility of White’s bringing his king to safety by castling. 40. Rh3! Ke5 Playing 36. d3 then 40. Re7+ Kd6 35. and then g6. g4 f|g4+ The move 25. Pillsbury–A. Ke4 38. Ng5 g6 An old defense. leading to a poor position. Ne5+ N|e5 18. Bd6 is preferable to exchanging queens. Kf1 b5 17. Qf6+. f7 d2 42. Q|f5 e|f5 15. J. f8Q The third of Pillsbury’s three wins in this exhibition. h3 a5 23.. c|d3 c|d3 42. 7. R|e6!.. He has already castled and can make immediate use of his king’s rook. f7 d3 41. Q|f4 The only other try was Rh1 but then Black wins material with Qh4. R|f5 g|f5+ 39. 10.. c5 at once would cause White more trouble. .. Rad1 Rad8 20. pages 341–342] 1. Kf3 Kb7 Obviously to make c5 and a queenside pawn advance possible.. . 14. .N. but he is still lost after 37. but other moves also lead to a bad position for White. 7.. promoting the g-pawn to a queen. Rd3 Red8 22.. Qe2 Bc5 4. Besides. Nd2 or Qf3. Board 20 (of 21) Bishop’s Opening C24 cuuuuuuuuC {wDw4wDwD} {DwDrDwDp} {wgkDw)pD} After {0p0wGw)w} 27. . (1996). page 342] .. And if 12. (1996). . 0–0 as the best move here.. e4 e5 2. Pillsbury.. Game 65 8.. c|d3+ c|d3 41... “Safe” queen moves besides 12. g5 Kc6 65 H.N. Kf1 Of course after 9. R|h7 c4 36. J. 26.

N. e4 e5 2. 0–0 Bb6 8... Bc4 Bc5 4. Rc1 c3 31. which Black does not take advantage of. Bc7 at this point. Bb2 Na5 10. 1902. unless Pillsbury thought he could finish off this opponent quickly and not have to keep this game in mind for a long endgame. Pillsbury’s ninth move has been recommended by Sokolsky. (1996). e4 e5 2. h|g6 Kg8 41. b3 Qa5 27. Nh6 B|h6 25. N|d6 leaves White a clear pawn ahead. Qg4 and Qa7 cannot be easily met. Ne2 c5 14. as he would after 34. Pillsbury made no obvious mistakes. July 27. Qc1 a5 21. R|d7. f6 15. pages 350–351] 68 H. Q|b3 Qf2 The threats of Q|g2 1. Ng3 Bc7 17. f4 d6 4. page 351] . Pillsbury. A game very well handled by Piotrowski. Q|d4 Nb6 6. Rf7 Qe8 34. . but recommends that White play 9. Pillsbury–A. Nc3 Ng6 13.. Nce5 18. d4 e|d4 4. Anderssen played 14. d3 Kh8 14. Re7 Nd7 39. 17. December 14. 14. . 30. Rf3 Qd7 25. the main line in his analysis of this move ends with Black having a slight advantage. Nf3 Nf6 3.. R|b3 35. Rf|c3 B|c3 32. Rf3 Rg8 21. Bc3 a6 16. Qf2 f6 18.. Rg7+ Kh8 42. Pillsbury–L. Qe4 d5 9. . N|h4 f|e6 20.. e|f5 g|f5 32. Rf5 Nd7 16. 0–0 Nf6 8. Games 66–68 231 66 H. Qf5 R|f7 35. . Piotrowski Hannover. . R|f5 Re7 33. Qh4 0–0 15. .. Rad1 Nf6 14. e|d6 c|d6 10. Pillsbury. J. J. e5 Nd5 5. N|f3+ wins White’s queen. Pillsbury–O. c3 Ba5 6. g6 h|g6 40. g5 Qd8 30. Paulsen and A.N. 1902. b5 18. Be3 Qd6 15. B|e7 Q|e7 12. (1996). Qa7+ 34. There was no need to enter into complications. Board 21 (of 21) Evans Gambit C52 and Qe1 cannot both be met.N. N|e6?? A terrible blunder. Qd2 This position was reached in a game between W.. Rg3 Qf7 23. 1902. d4 e|d4 7. R|b3 33. Q|e7 N|e7 18.Part III. Nf3 Bg4 5... Ne4 Ng4 17. Kh1 0–0 13.. but was simply outplayed. J. Anderssen at Barmen in 1869 and is considered clearly advantageous for Black in several opening books.. Q|b2 a4 23. however. Bg5 Be6 11. 9... Q|h4?? 19. Qd4. N1g3 b3 28. Ng6 N|g6 22. f4 Ba6 24. Nc3 Be7 7. Nf1 c4 27. . Nc3 Nc6 3. e4 e5 2. Bb2 Nc4 20. b4 B|b4 5. 1–0 [Pope. December 14. R|f7 Rd8 37. Board 1 (of 22) Petroff’s Defense C43 cuuuuuuuuC {w4wDw4kD} {DwDqDw0p} {bDw0w0nD} After {gwDPDNDw} 29. Davydov Moscow. h5 Nb8 38. Popov Moscow. Bg5 Rf8 44. R|c3 N|f4 33. Maybe he felt kindly because he had realized he should have lost his queen and the game earlier. Rh3 Rae8 28.N. Nd2 N|b2 22. h3 B|f3 9. page 342] 1. 18. 0–1 [Pope. 17. c|d4 d6 In his book Practical Chess Openings (1948). B|g6 Why did Pillsbury accept a draw here? He wins either one of Black’s center pawns with excellent winning chances. but maybe it was best that Pillsbury did not have to suffer much more. Board 2 (of 22) Vienna Game C25 1. Reuben Fine calls this the “normal position” in the Evans Gambit. ∂–∂ [Pope. Ng3 c6 20. Ne2 c5 19. . Rf3 f5 31. f|e5 d|e5 11. Rfe1 h6 16. Rf7 Kg8 43. (1996). Pillsbury. Re1 Rab8 26. Bd3 0–0 12. . Nf5 Bf8 22. B|c6+ b|c6 7. Nc3! on his next move. a|b3 a|b3 29. Bb1 Ba5 67 H. The opening variation is unfavorable for White. Raf1 Qg6 17. Nf5 Unfortunately for Pillsbury White’s kingside attack proceeds much more slowly than Black’s queenside attack. h4 g6 24. Neg5 The simple 17. f3 Nf6 21.N.N. Nf3 Nc6 3. as Pillsbury does.. Bc2 b4 19. B|h6 Q|a2 26. Bd3 Nc6 8. Kh1 Losing immediately. Q|f3 Be7 10.. Bb5 a6 6. d5 Ne7 11. . The simple reply 18. 33. 0–0 Nd7 13. Ba5 {wDpDP)wD} {DpDwDRHw} {w!wDwDP)} {DBDw$wIw} vllllllllV White is definitely lost in this position and cannot stop the advance of Black’s passed pawns on the queenside without sacrificing the exchange. Qg3 Qd4+ 12.. 34. Nd4 was perhaps better but the two replies 33. g4 Re6 29. Q|f7 Q|f7 36..

.. Be3 Re8 10. . for example. . ∂–∂ [Pope. e5 f6 14. Qh4+ then White would continue with 6. . Qd2 The conservative 10. Q|f3 Qf6 8. f4 B|g1 4. K|g6 29. N|g6 27.232 Part III. f5 Nd5 15. December 14. Nc3 Bc5 3. B|e7 R|e7 17. Ufimtsev. 11. The text move is rarely seen in tournament play. Pillsbury. 1902. December 14. Nf6 Black wins because White’s h-pawn will be captured. Bd3 f|e5 15. . The queen turns out to be misplaced on d2. Games 69–72 H.N. Qh8 20. .. Qd2... Rdf1 R|f1+ 17. Bg5 Be7 16.. Donde Moscow. g4 Ne7 12. 9.. e4 e5 2. Pillsbury. .. g3 f|g3 7.. page 351] cuuuuuuuuC {rDbDwDw$} {0pDwDw0w} {wDpDwDP)} {DwDpDwiw} Final {wDw)whwD} position {DwHwDwDw} {P)PDwDwD} {DwIwDwDw} vllllllllV Black resigned here! This is an amazing finish because after 28..N. g5 The move 22. K|h7 19. December 14. . is more in keeping with the themes of this opening. Ne5 Qd6 Black is a pawn ahead with a solid position and should have tried to win. R|c8 Qg5+ 25. 21. g6. Qf3 Rae8 16. Q|e3 0–0 11. d4 f4 13. 4. . 27.. Ne6 → g5. Rf8+! 20. B|f4 Nc6 7.. Pillsbury–A. The bishop is well posted on f4 and a H. 0–0 0–0 9. 1–0 [Pope. c4 R|e1 18.. Bd2 Re5 17. R|g1 e|f4 5. N|c6 Q|c6 10. Board 4 (of 22) Ruy Lopez C65 1. But the text move is much better. Nc3 Nbd7 After Black’s first two moves contemporary players usually play 3. or Yugoslav c Defense. N|e4 Q|e4+ 10. Qf4 Bd7 20. B|f4 Bh6 Now Black gets into serious trouble. Rae1 A speculative pawn sacrifice that yields White little or no compensation. page 351] 70 H. N|e4 12. Qf8 23. (1996). Be6 would provide a better defense. f4 e5 5. 6. in preparation for 0–0–0. Budberg Moscow. Board 3 (of 22) Pir´ Defense (Irregular) B07 c move such as 7. J.. h5 Nf4 26. J.N. R|f1 c6 18.N. 1–0 [Pope. Bf8 11. Qh5+ Pillsbury misses 19. R|e1 Bc8 19.. Board 5 (of 22) Vienna Game C25 72 1. Robatsch. Nc3 Bg5 12. Nc5 R|e1+ 18. B|c6 d|c6 7. Qg8+ Kh6 24. 1902.N. Kf2 d5 23. B|f4. J. Q|h4 23. (1996). Be3 A strange retreat. Re1 f5 11. 7. h4 d5 13. Q|f8 N|f8 24. Pillsbury was lucky in this game. page 351] 71 H. . Medvedkov Moscow. g6+ Kh6 Black could also “escape” by 26. Rf7 against which there is no good defense. Bb5 Nf6 4. B|h7+ White has a dominating position and this flashy sacrifice should win 18.. N|e4 R|e4 13. . N|e4 Qd5 9. d4 d6 If instead 5. Jamont Moscow. R|e1 Nf6 19. e4 e5 2.. 1902. Re1 White avoids the draw by perpetual check.. g4 c5 21... Be3 with good prospects. Q|e5 Rf6 16. 0–0 Be7 5. f4 e|f4 3. which has variously been called the Pir´. d3 c6 9. Nf6 8. .N.. e4 d6 2. and Bb7 to release his bishop.. Rh8+ Kg5 28. 22.. Bc4 g4 5. . Re8 loses after 22. h|g6+ K|g6 with Kf6. 10. Nc3 d6 6. Pillsbury–N.. h7 (what else?) Nh5 followed by 30. N|g5 Q|g5 21. e5 Ne4 9. his passed g-pawn should become quite strong ... Pillsbury–A. Nb3 or 10. (1996). a4 were more logical here. Kb1 Q|g4. Nf3 e|d4 6. Nc3 0–0 6.N. N|e5 N|e4 8. 0–0–0 N|e3 10. e4 e5 2. Re8 Ng6 25.. N|d4 Nb6 7. Nf3 g5 4. But he was satisfied (and Pillsbury probably quite happy) to agree to a draw here.. Nf3 Bc6 22. Pillsbury–V. Board 6 (of 22) King’s Gambit C37 1. Qf7+ Kh7 21. The same would be true after 29. 0–0 g|f3 7. which in retrospect may be the best continuation. Pillsbury. 19. Ne4 Bd7 15. Be2 Be7 8. Ng6 22... R|g3 Nf6 8. . h6 69 1. December 14. if necessary. d4 Nf6 3. b6. . Bd3 Re8 14. Re8+ Rf8 22. 1902. Ne6 Rf7 20. d5 Qh6 14. . Nf3 Nc6 3. . R|f8+ K|f8 23. Qf3 Ng4 9. Qh5+ Kg8 21.

Bb5 Bd7 13. pages 351–352] 233 30. Ne6 and force White’s queen to move back. Ba4 Be7 7. Cherniavsky Moscow. Rfe1 Be6 18. Nf5 Rh7 26. R|d7 N|d7 17. Qg4 g6 10. with few pieces left—obviously easier for an exhibitor. 1902. a5 White could simply reply 50. Permiakov Moscow. Qa6 or Qa7 because Black can now play 25. Nf4 Be7 17. This is not to say that endgames are necessarily easier than the other stages of a game. d3 Q|d5 5. Kf5 c5 38. d|e5 Nf5 9. B|b7 R|b7 23. Ba3+.N. Nf3 Nc6 3. B|h6 Q|h6 12. Kd5 Nf8 43. 1902. b4 e5 17. Nb6 he would keep the advantage.N. K|f7 K|a6 52. d4 Qh4+ 9. But Black is lost anyway. Q|b7+ Ke8 25. c4 Nb4 27. c5+ Kc7 42. Games 73–76 10. Kg7 A well-played endgame by Pillsbury. This move is an inexplicable blunder. with Pillsbury having a big material advantage and Black no real counterplay.. Ne2 0–0 . So Black is justified in surrendering here. . f4 d5 4. page 352] 75 73 H. b6+ Kd7 24.. f7+ Ke7 31. N|a6+ Kb5 51... Nc3 d6 6. 50. Nf3 Nc6 3. Pillsbury–B. Bf3 Ra7?? Black is doing all right and with 20. Pillsbury. December 14. b|c3 c6 8. Pillsbury–“J. .. Kd2 Re8 20.Qg6 or .N. N|e5 N|e5 8. Qe2 0–0 15. 1902. though White has good compensation for his piece sacrifice. The moves . Rf2 Nd7 20. K|c5 Nd7+ 45. He merely needs to play fairly accurately to win.. Ra1 Bb7 18. Qa8+ Kc7 20. Rarely in blindfold displays does a game last so many moves. e4 e5 2. B|d5 g5 22. B|f6 g|f6 9. h4 Nh7 34. Nd5 f4 24. B|d7+ R|d7 16. Nh3 Qe4 12. B|e6 Q|e6 23.. 0–0 N|e4 5. e|d6 N|d6 13. 28. B|e2 Nc6 12. a4 a6 16.Qg7 or . 0–0–0 0–0–0 14. Bb3 Bf8 19. Nd8 29. R|d8 R|d8 22. Q|e6 f|e6 24. Ke2 Kf6. Bb5 Nf6 4. (1996). 1–0 [Pope. Nc3 Nf6 3. e|d5 e4 4. 1902. d|e4 Q|e4+ 10. Qc7 Better moves were 25. Qa5+ Kc8 21. page 352] 74 H. J. Ke4 Ke6 35. Rd6 Rad8 21. ∂–∂ [Pope. Q|a7 Nf4 19. Qf2 Ne6 18. B|c3 Nf6 8. Qe3! Be6? This gives White a won position. f|e5 N|e4 5. Qd4! Nd7 13. Board 10 (of 22) Ruy Lopez C65 1. f4 d5 3. Rd3 Kc8 23. g|h5 Ne6 31. a3 Nc6 28. b5 Ne7 22. Re1 Kd8 18. N|e7 K|e7 26. d4 Nd7 7. Ke3 Kd7 32. Qd4 Nc5 16. Kf1 Ke7 25.N. e4 e5 2. 1–0 [Pope. R|f3 g6 14. g4 Now White transforms his early positional advantage (mainly Black’s weak pawn structure on the kingside) into a material superiority. Board 8 (of 22) Vienna Game C29 1. 0–0 Q|f3 13. Q|h8 0–0–0 14. Board 7 (of 22) Ruy Lopez C67 1. December 14. Nc3 c6 11. B|e6 f|e6 15.Part III. Nd4 b|c5 44. Nb3 c|b4 39. 21. (1996). Be2 Q|c2 11. Pillsbury–P. g3 h5 25. g|f4 g4 25. d5 h4 28. b3 Nd5 22. f6+ Ke8 29. Nb3 Nh7 47.. who does not have to fear making a bad oversight as when many major pieces remain.N. Nc3 Bb4 6. December 14. 11. Nf3 Nb8 15. h6 Nf8 33. a|b4 Kc6 40... Pillsbury. Kd5 Nf8 46. Ke7 K|b4 After 49. b4 b6 37. Bd2 B|c3 7. f5 h5 27. Qa8+ Kc7 23. 0–0 Be7 5. . Nd4 a6 19. Rh3 Rh8 24. g3 Qe4+ 10. a|b5 and win as in the actual game. J. Kd6 Kb5 49. d3 N|c3 7. Bb5 Nf6 4.” Moscow. Rb1 b5 15. Bh6 Re8 16.. Board 9 (of 22) Falkbeer Counter Gambit C31 1. B|f8 K|f8 20. e4 e5 2. (1996).A. a|b5 c|b5 19.N. Pillsbury. Pillsbury–F. e4 e5 2. (1996).. d4 Nd6 6. page 352] H.. That is why certain blindfold or regular chess experts have increased their skill by setting up practice positions with relatively few pieces early in their careers. Ke4 Kd6 41.. such games. . Rad1 Qf6 17. J. here Pillsbury does not have to analyze deeply in order to win. R|h5 R|h5 30. . here very early on? 29. Nc5 Kb6 48.N.. J. Ne4 d5 12. Pillsbury.N. 1–0 [Pope. e6 How often do you get to see such a mass of three passed pawns at any point in a game. Urusov Moscow. Qf3 f5 6. Re3 Nb6 21. Nd4+ Kd6 36.Nd7 would hold on. Qe2 Q|e2+ 11.. December 14. Rh7 76 H. N|d6+ Q|d6 14.

Re1 R|e1+ 18. e4 e5 2. N|e4 is preferable.N. Games 77–80 8. Nc4 Bf4 13. (1996). Be4 B|e4 19. 25. Ne7+ Kh8 20. B|f4 N|f4 14.N. Bf4 Rc8 22. Board 13 (of 22) Ponziani’s Opening C44 77 H. Rc1 c6 11. N|d6 c|d6 16. e5 N|e5 17. Qd5+ Kh8 24. . Kh1 Q|e5 11. Rae1 Rad8 18. Q|f7 Re7 15.N. N|c6 R|e4 15.234 Part III. 5. B|d6 c|d6 20. December 14. N|e5 Be6 5. 0–0 0–0 11. f4 g6 16. Nd4 Pillsbury could have captured the d-pawn without danger. Qd6 Qb5 22. (1996). B|d3 Bd6 8. d4 d5 2.. Q|f8+. e4 e5 2. Q|d6 Q|a2?? Of course Black has a lost position but it was better to resign than to have to suffer the embarrassment of actually playing such a terrible move. Pillsbury. Nc3 Nf6 6.N. . December 14. g|f3 Qb4+ 13. d3 Bd6 9. c4 f6 19. J. Not only has White gained a rook for nothing but after Black’s only available legal move (25.N. Q|b7 Pillsbury’s opponent put up very weak opposition. Ng3 Re8 10. Rhc1 Na6 19. N|c6 R|e1+ 20. e4 e5 2. Qd2 Rbd8 24. Q|c7 Nc6 17. Qf2 Nb4 25. d|e5 d|e5 11. Nf5 h6 21. N|e5 Be7 9.N. Board 14 (of 22) Falkbeer Counter Gambit Declined C31 1. Rae1 Qg6 21. Bb5 a6 4. page 353] 80 H. Re2 78 H. 1902. Matusevich Moscow. Qe2 0–0 13.. Nc3 Nf6 4. Board 11 (of 22) Ruy Lopez C77 1. Bd3 B|f3 12.N. c3 Nf6 This rare opening is best met by the text move or by the more adventurous 3. d4 Nd7 14. Rb8 25. c4 e6 3. Pillsbury–V. Be4 Rc8 17. N|d5 B|d5 10. as was true of many adversaries in this world record–setting exhibition.. 4. d4 d5 The move 4.. -1.. f4 d5 3. e|d5 N|d5 7. c3 Bd5 23. Rc3 a5 18. B|d6 a5 perhaps he thought the bishops-of-opposite-color ending would be harder to win than the one he chose instead. Nf3 Bg4 10. Nd2 Bd6 12. R|d1 Bd6 14. page 353] cuuuuuuuuC {wDw4w4kD} {0wDwDp0p} {qDwDwDwD} {DwDwDwDw} After {whwDwGwD} 25. B|c6 d|c6 7. December 14. c|d5 Qa4 22. h3 B|f3 11. Qb3 Qe8 16. but after 24. 1–0 [Pope. Qf3 Nd5 15. Nf3 Nc6 3.e|d4 leaves Black all right. R|e4 Qd5 20. c|d5 N|d5 8.4 percent (+17. 0–0 Kh8 13. Bg5 Be7 5. Bg2 Nb4?? 21. 6. Nf3 Bb7 7. Bf4 Qc5 12. . B|c6 B|c6 8. Pillsbury–V. 1902. d|e5 R|e5 18. Q|e4 Qh5 15. Nf3 Nc6 3. N|e5 0–0 8. B|c6 Rab8 20. R|e1 Q|c6 21.. Bb5 Bd7? Losing a pawn. Qg8) White forces checkmate with 26. Re2 {DPDwDwDw} {PDPDR!P)} {DwDwDRDK} vllllllllV . 0–0 B|e5 9.N. a3 Be6 24. d4 e|d3 7. Pillsbury. 24. Ree1 Rb8 21. Pillsbury. Ne5 Qd6 17. The present authors searched for interesting games from this exhibition that deserved annotations and diagrams. R|e1 Bb7 19. There were only a few. d6 c|d6 23. . =4) was the best he achieved in any of his record-setting displays. 1–0 [Pope. (1996). B|e7 Q|e7 9. Bg5 Ne8 17.. f|e5 Qd4+ 10. Rfe1 Qd7 16. 1–0 [Pope. R|e6 Nc7 27. N|d6 N|d6 25. J. Nc3 Be7 6. N|e5 Q|d1 13. His score of 86. J. Q|b7 Bd5 16. d|e4 or . Pillsbury–Filatov Moscow. Pillsbury. Pillsbury–Krohl Moscow. Board 12 (of 22) Queen’s Gambit Declined D53 1. e3 b6 6. 1902. December 14. Umanov Moscow. Nf5 Nf6 12. Ne4 N|e4 14. N|e6 f|e6 26.. Nf3 d|e4 4. B|c6 b|c6 9.. Rad1 Rae8 18. R|c8+ Another opponent who hardly put up a fight. Either 5. Bf4 Rh5 19. d5. 1902. Ba4 Nf6 5. J. . Re8. 1–0 [Pope. Re2.. page 352] 79 H.. Qd2 Q|d2+ 14. N|c6 b|c6 10. Q|f3 Re8 12. pages 352–353] 1.. b3 Qa6 23. K|d2 0–0 15. (1996).

. Kd3 Kf6 37. Q|a2). Rc4 Pillsbury would have won a piece with a probable draw eventually. if 25. This was Pillsbury’s only loss in the display. Rb8 Rd1+ 28. d4 Bf6 11. c4 Bd7 21.. R|f3 Rd1+ 38. Kb4 Nd6 39. 21. December 14. Kf2 White has a clear advantage with the two bishops. . d|e5 N|e5 13. Bc4 a6 10.. 0–0 0–0 11. Rc5 Kh8 The king is needed more toward the center than far away.N. Rc1 Nc8 26. c|d5 B|f3 5. Rc2 {wDPDPDwD} {DbHwDwDP} {wDrDw)PD} {DwDw$wIw} vllllllllV 25. 0–0 Be7 6. Nf3 Bg4 4. Rb1 Rd3 27. Re8+ followed by mate. Kf2 Ba6 37. c7 B|c7 34. Rd5 Nf1 . 1902.. After 25.. d|c6 B|c6 6. Pillsbury. Bd5 Rb8 19. Bd6! and if then 26.. Rb8 Ke8 35. a4 Bd7 12. (This combination could also have occurred earlier. Ra1 Ra8 24. . d4 d5 2. Black resigned because after playing the only move to save the trapped knight (42. and a centralized king. Rb3 Bb6+ 41. permitting Pillsbury to regain the piece he is behind— which he fails to notice. Be3 Nd6 17. Rb4 Bc2? A mistake. R|a6 R|b2 22. Rc6 Pillsbury would retain some winning chances. Ra8?? Pillsbury’s only really bad mistake in this exhibition.N.. b3 Nd2 41.N. Nc3 Bb3 24. c4 Qg6 28.. e|d5 Rd8. December 14. . J. B|b7 R|b7 35. Rdc1 Rf8 22. c5 Nd4 40. Bg3 Nc4 40. Nf3 Nc6 3. Board 16 (of 22) Queen’s Gambit Declined (Chigorin’s Defense) D07 cuuuuuuuuC {wDwgrDkD} {DwDwDp0p} {RDwDwDwD} After {DwDB0wDw} 24. 0–1 [Pope. Q|c3 b5 14. Pillsbury–Peter Seleznev Moscow. Rb3 Bc7 39. but he did have a lucky break on move 31 and failed to take advantage of it. Bc5 Re8 18. Pillsbury. Rac1 Rc8 16... if Black played 24.. page 353] 235 81 H. a|b5 B|b5 15. Bb5 a6 4.. Re7 is very strong. Bd3 33. But it takes a lot of “technique” and some errors by the opponent to win this position. Ke2 Nd6 29. . Rb7 Re7 34. R|c3 26. Nb5 Be7 26. Bb3 d6 8. 32.. Likely moves would be 32. Rd7 or Re3 was better. Rc1 g6 30. Kc2 B|c6. Nc3) then White has a variety of ways to win. B|d6 c|d6 20. Kd2 Ba5+ 42. h3 Ne8 10. 3. e|d5 c|d5 33. . (1996). Bb3 Bb7 15. e4 e5 2. N|e5 d|e5 14. page 353] 82 1. R|a8+ B|a8 25. Rc2 H. f3 Rc7 36. But Black seems to have the dubious plan of playing for . Rfd1 Qd6 17. . J. Ra3 Bb5 40. . e4 Bb4 8.. 26. Board 15 (of 22) Ruy Lopez C92 Black has enough power from his two bishops to have good expectations of a draw. Re3 would also have kept his small advantage. Ref2 f6 35. c3 0–0 9. Qb3 B|c3 13... Rb2? By playing 32. Q|f7+ R|f7 28. Nc3 e6 7. 25.. . a|b5 a|b5 23. There is a pretty finish after the former. Kh2 Ra1 39. Q|d6 R|d6 20. N|a2 now... c6 Kf8 31. Ra1 Bb7 27. Rf3 R|f3 37. Mikhail Chigorin. h3 Qc6 30... c6 Rc1 42. . Q|d8 B|d8 16. Kc3 Ke6 38. Be5 Q|g3 32.. Bf2 h5 36. R|d1 B|d1 29.. 27. . f3 Ne7 9. c7. Qb7 Black is losing anyway but he did not fall into the trap of taking the a2 pawn with either his queen or knight. Qc5 Red8 18. Re1 b5 7. although 1.. . Kf8 was better. 32. d5 e|d5 32. Rd7 28. B|d5 Nf5 34. Bb3 33. Pillsbury must have forgotten that his knight was attacked or thought it was defended by a rook on e3. Qg3 Qa6 27. R|d6 Ba4 23. a better pawn structure. .. Bd1 was necessary for Black to keep a winning position. Rc5 Kg7 31. b4 Rd3 36. And if Black were to play 25. Games 81–82 25. R|c7 B|d5 35. Q|a2 White would play 26. . Rd3 Nb5 41. B|g3 Rfd8 33. 1–0 [Pope. Pillsbury–Paul Seleznev Moscow. Bc7 Rd7 29.N.. 31.. (1996). Ra6 Either 24. c5 Ba4 30.. Be3 Re8 12. R|d6 27. but Black has played reasonably well. a4. among them the best probably being 43. then 26.. Re5+ Kf6 42. Therefore 20. a3 Nc6 34.f5. Ke3 Rc8 38. Bf4 Qg6 31..Part III. The move 25. . 24. Ba4 Nf6 5. 1902. a4 c6 19. c4 Nc6 An unorthodox defense developed by the Russian great.

.N. (1996). Ra5! with good {P)PDw)P)} chances of holding this position.. Bg5 Be7 5. cuuuuuuuuC {rDbDwDkD} {DpDwDr0p} {w1wDw)wD} {DwDw0wDw} After {pDwHw)QD} 21. 16. Bd7 also loses to 27. .. R|f1 K|f4 46. Nf3 Qb6 17. e|f6 e5 1.. b5 Rc8+ 58. 57. b6 f5 60. Ne4 a4 20. Now {DwHBDwDw} Black could have played 24. Qd8+ A game filled with some nice tactics and missed opportunities. f4 N|c5 12.. 9.. Nf6 followed by the fianchetto of the king’s bishop (. Kc4 Ke3 The king cannot help much on the queenside. J.Bf5.. 25. Qg4 0–0 8. Pillsbury. . N|f5 R|f5 28. Bd3 c6 7. Qe3 27. ... giving him the superior position. R|g6 The two Seleznevs (see the previous game) both gave Pillsbury a very hard fight and were obviously among the best opponents he played in this exhibition. .. 0–0 Nbd7 8.. say. .N. Qd5+ Bf7 28. December 14. 24. Q|g4 d4? Losing this pawn and opening the square for White’s queen’s knight to enter e4... 27. . h4 or . Nc3 Nf6 4. Kb6 Kf2 53. Bg6+ Winning Black’s queen. h4 with .. 0–0–0 a6 13. Rc1 Ke3 The idea of 46. Pillsbury–A.. Kb1 retains White’s advantage. Ka5 Rb8 49. B|f6 B|f6 6. e|d4 then 23. Re1 Nb6 9. Rc5 Ke2 51. Games 83–84 a trap may not be familiar to all readers and that the game itself was the only one of the 22 simultaneous games that lasted fewer than 20 moves. e5 {DwDRDwDw} {P)PDwDw)} cuuuuuuuuC {DwIwDw$w} {rDbDkgw4} vllllllllV {0pDwDp0p} {whpDphwD} 22.236 Part III. Kc5 Rc8+ 55.. Ne5 Q|d4? Simple development by. 1–0 [Pope.g6) or leaving the diagonal open for an eventual . More interesting losing variations are 26. Q|f4 because of 16. Now Black is definitely going to lose quickly. Bf4 Ke6 44.. Nf3 Nf6 6. Kd5 Rb8 56. 1902. e4 d5 2.. Q|d4 {wDw1wDwD} Qf4+ 24... . 56. . f|e5 After {DwDwHwDw} 9. Bg5 winning White’s queen..N.N.... page 354] 43. Black overlooked a strong move here. d4 e6 More in the general or modern spirit of this defense would be moves like 4.h3 in mind gives Black better chances for kingside counterplay on this and several subsequent moves. d|c5 Nd7 10. Rg5 Rb8+ 54.. 24. 23... Board 18 (of 22) French Defense C13 83 H.. 1–0 [Pope. 15. 1–0 [Pope. Q|f5! or 26. Qe8 checkmate. d4 d5 3. 11. Rg8 would at least enable him to continue the game.N. Be7 would leave Black with a playable game. The move cannot be answered by 16. . N|f7 K|f7?? Black would have the inferior position but 10. e7 The vllllllllV Bg6Qd5+. pages 353–354] 84 H. g6 27. b4 Kd3 50. alternative 26... December 14. Bf5? {$wGQ$wIw} 25. . Semenov Moscow.. Pillsbury–Reinwald Moscow.. Rd1 Kf5 45. But it was time for Peter to surrender. Qh5 Q|f6 If instead 22. 47. . g4 N|d3+ 14.. page 354] 10.Rc8+ offered the best opportunity to save the game. J. R|f4!. Rg1 Rf7 19. R|g7+ R|g7 24. Kb4 Kd4 59.. e6 Winning by force.. Nc3 Qd8 4. Board 17 (of 22) Scandinavian (Center Counter) Defense B01 1. . . e5 Be7 7. Rg3!. Rc2 Rb6 48. The only reason this game deserves recognition with a diagram is that such .. Bd3 c5 9. R|d3 f|g4 15. Rf6 26. (1996). . Qh3 f5 11. . 5. 1902. e4 e6 2.. Nf6+ B|f6 21. R|b5 Ra8+ 52. Pillsbury. J.. Rd2 A strange reply to the queen check. (1996). N|d4 a5 18.. . Pillsbury. e|d5 Q|d5 3..

e3 b6 6. December 14..N. . Bd3 0–0? Now the bishop is hard to save. Pillsbury– N. d4 d5 3. 28. N|e5 11. c3 Bf5 13. now tries to distract Aleksandrov from using it quickly. Qd2 Qf4 23. Bd3 Rc8 28. c3 B|f2+ Instead. Rf5 Nd7 29. Nd3+ followed by capturing the rook on e1. Nc5 a5 26.N. N|g7+ Kf8 17. 12.. 32. 0–0 c|d4 10. N|c6+ Kd6 Moving the king to f4 may look “riskier” but is far better than this “safe” retreat. Pillsbury–Kasparovich Moscow. c3 Kd6 24. d4 e|d4 5. 9. .. 11.. . but . Rc1 c6 Castling would be better because now his bishop is in danger of being trapped on d5. 12. Rae1 f6 21. f4 Qc7 14. Bb5 a6 8.. Nf3.. f4 followed by Bg4 Black would better utilize his advantage. Nf1 e4 31. b4 f5 Black’s pawn mass in the center is imposing so Pillsbury. Nc3 with the best rejoinder for Black being 11. b3 traps the bishop anyway. 14. A lucky escape for Pillsbury. Kd8 47.. Ke1 R|h2 Conceding a draw. Ra1 R|a1 29. 47. December 14. By 46. J. 17. e5 Nfd7 5. e|f6 d|c4 8. Bf5 Re7 22. Q|d8+ followed by checkmate via Re8+.. Rd6+ Kc8 43. 13. Re3 f5 20. Qa4 Bd5 The rest of the game is not worthy of comment. Qd2 Q|d2+ 14. K|f2 Bf5 Playing the bishop to e6 is somewhat better. Qe2 greatly favors White. Be6. Nb5 Rc1+ 40. . December 14.N. . threatening Nd4+ would probably still keep a winning position. b3 Rf8 23. Qf3 Bg6 15. Nc3 Black cannot capture the White knight because of 12. leaving White with a somewhat superior position. e5 but 13. e4 B|a2? After 12. N|d7 K|d7 39. Be3 Qe5. 1–0 [Pope.. N|d3 This is good. J. or (b) 16. 19.f5 or . Re3 Bf5. Re1+ Kf8 Of course the standard move is 8. Games 85–87 H. Nf3 Bb7 7.. Board 20 (of 22) Queen’s Gambit Declined D53 1.N. B|d4 The alternative 11. N|c6 Qd6 White would have to lose time bringing his knight on c6 back into the game. . Bd6 13. Q|f4 g|f4 24.. N|d4?! The “book move” is 11. Qe2 Rd8 15.. .. 0–0 Bc5 6. Pillsbury. B|c6 b|c6 9. Rf6 Ne5 44. (1996). but this move is considered playable and leading to a more or less equal game. 45. e|d5 e4 14. N|d4 also gives Black the advantage. Kg1 Nd3 19.. Pillsbury. Q|d8+ N|d8 14. Nf3 Nc6 3. Na4 Rb8 22. Board 19 (of 22) French Defense C11 1. Re7 Rd2+ 46. Nc3 Nf6 4.Part III. f4 Nc6 15.. . ∂–∂ [Pope. 1902. Aleksandrov Moscow. h5 g5 19. Bf8! Of course after 11. Ne4 Qe6 18. 12.. Bg5 g|f6 10. Nh5 Q|g3 18. e4 e6 2. The moves 11. Nc5 Qb6 21.. but this move allows White to gain the advantage. Nf3 Nc6 7.. . . Pillsbury–Baratinsky Moscow. for example. Ke2 Rd3 42.. 1902. B|f4 Q|f4 16. a3 a|b4 27. c5 or . Bf5. 12. 36.. Black could try 12.. . N|d5 B|d5 10. Re1 After 12. a|b4 Ra8 By advancing 27. Kf2 Rd1 41. Qg4 c5 6.. . c|d5 N|d5 8. N|d4 10. 14. 10. Nd2 Ne5 16... 1902... Pillsbury’s move is rarely mentioned in modern books on opening theory. 11. c|d4 Q|d4 14. R|d5 c5 30. Nc3 Nf6 4. Nf5 B|f4 15. . by maneuvering on the queenside.. e4 e5 2. page 354] 87 H. Q|d4 would keep the game equal. Rh5 Rf7 21. Na7+ Forcing a perpetual check via Na7+ and Nc6+ since Black can never move his king to a8 because of Ra7 checkmate. c4 d5 3. R|a1 f4 30. Qb4+ 13. page 354] 237 85 Be7 5. h6 Qc7 20. . Bg5 1. Ndb3 f3 33. N|d2 B|a2 15..B|f3 should have been played. e5 d5 7.. Rf1 Ke7 20. 25. Qg3 Qd6? Until now Black has defended fairly well. Bh6+ Kg8 11. g|f3 R|f3 34. Ra6+ Kc7 38. Qg3 Ng6 12. Re6 Nc4 Black is beginning to lose some of his advantage but 44. g3 Rf7 27. Board 21 (of 22) Max Lange Attack C55 86 H. Na7 Bd7 37. But Pillsbury embarks on an unsound pawn sacrifice. h4 a5 17. Qc2 g6 18. Nd2 Ke5 Playing his knight to e5 instead would help much more in aiding the advance of his central pawns. . Kf1 f6 16. 13. (1996). Black had at least two moves that keep him ahead: (a) 16. as will be noted. e|d5 e|d5+ 15.Be5 leaves Black in even better shape: 13. because Black has adequate defenses. R|f4 Re8 26. Rh4 Raa7 25.. Qd3.A.. d4 e6 2.. Bc4 Nf6 4. N|g3 e5 Obviously Black has played well and has an extra pawn plus the superior position... Nd4 R|c3 35. R|h7 e3 Black still has good winning chances. B|e7 Q|e7 9.N.

Qd6 28. Pillsbury–Bushe Moscow.. which wins his queen. . .N. Qg7 checkmate. that is. . e|d5 Q|d5 The correct follow-up in this gambit is 3. Nd7 is better. which leads to checkmate in a few moves. Pillsbury. 12. Nd5 h5 23. Board 1 (of 23) Falkbeer Counter Gambit C31 1. 9. Be7.. . . Bb5+ c6 Even if Black were to move his king to f8 or d8. Qf2 Qd7 9. Pillsbury. Re8 checkmate.) 1. e4. N|f3 d5 7. h3 B|f3 6. Ostrogsky–J. e4 e5 2.F. .I. Ostrogsky–J. B|d4 N|d4 13. Q|d4 f6 14.. 7. Now Black merely loses time moving his queen. Bg4+ Ke8 21. 1904. 1–0 [Pope. d4 f5 2. Qe7 Bf7 24. e4 f|e4 3. . Pillsbury’s gamble on move 11 paid off this time. N|b5 Black made two or three mistakes in the first seven moves. Kh1 To free the rook to move to g3. White’s next move would win his queen because moving it to a “safe” square leads to 10. Qe5 Leading to a forced win for White. Kf2 Bc5+? More loss of time. Qe3 N|d5 26.. Bg5 c6 5. Q|f3 Nc6 7.N. with an inferior position. Rymsa (First Game) Moscow. 23. B|d7+ K|d7 25.. Nc3 Nf6 4. page 355] 88 H. J. 24. Bd3 Bg4 . Instead 6. e5 Kd7 16. . page 5] 90 V. Best was 7.. Rymsa (Second Game) Moscow. 0–0–0 0–0–0 11. . d3 Nd4 8.. This game is probably the one from the 22-board record exhibition at Moscow most often selected for inclusion in chess books..I.. Qc6 then 27. Nc3 a6 5. f4 25. Rd7 24.238 Part III. Q|c7! is a pretty finishing move. . but was content to gain the material and positional advantage that ensures his victory. 4. f3 e|f3 6. J.. . R|e7+ K|e7 25. Rge1+ Ne7 22. February 15. 21. e|d6 c|d6 20. Black gave up now. 27. c|d3 89 After 21. c|d3 cuuuuuuuuC {rDwDwDk4} {0p0wDpDp} {w1wDwDbG} {DwDwDpDw} {wDwDwDwD} {Dw)p$w!w} {P)wDwDP)} {$wDwDwIw} vllllllllV 22. February 15. Bd6 {DwHwDNDw} {P)PDwIP)} {$wGQDBDR} vllllllllV 8. Nf3 Bg4 4. these opponents played two to four games simultaneously. (1996). B|f4 Rf8 26. Nf3 e|f4+ 6.... N|e7 B|e7 24. Bf5 Better was 23. R|d5 Pillsbury could have won more easily several times during the last few moves. 1993. f|e5 Q|g2 18. d4 e|d4 12. page 355] cuuuuuuuuC {rhbDkDn4} {0p0wDp0p} {wDwgqDwD} {DwDwDwDw} After {wDw)w0wD} 7..F.. Be2 f|e5 17. Bh6 Black will be checkmated shortly. Re1 c|b5 10..N. (1996). f4 d5 3. 22. R|e6+ B|e6 11... 1–0 [Pope. Rhg1 Qc6 19. Be3 Nc6 10. December 14. Qe6+ Kc7 27. Be7 would save Black from impending disaster. Qe3+.. Board 2 (of 23) Dutch Defense (Staunton Gambit) A83 (As noted in chapter 4 most of Ostrogsky’s opponents played more than one game with him. f4 d6 3. 1904.. Board 22 (of 22) King’s Gambit Declined C30 1. 1902. for example. Qa7 Qc6 15. with sight of their own boards. Rg3+ Bg6 27. 21. If Black replies 21.. e4 e5 2. f6 23. 1–0 [Tesko Slovenskï ˇ Sachovï Bulletin. Games 88–90 V. d4 Bd6?? In a vain attempt to protect his pawn on f4 Black overlooks White’s next move.. Nc3 Qe6 5.

22.. N|h4 Qg5 12. but with 14... . . e|d5.F. e|d4 13. R|b5 a6 If 23. Nf3+ but of course he can simply capture the knight with his queen.. Re7+ Kb8 29. Ostrogsky–Gennika (Second Game) Moscow. c|d4 N|d4 14. B|f4?? Now we see how Rymsa could ever win a game from Ostrogsky after bad defeats in the last two games: Ostrogsky has to fail to notice a simple attack on a rook! Ostrogsky has not played the opening too well. B|f5 B|d4+ 27. 1904. Be4 Winning another pawn. Now. g3 Qd5 14. Nd2? Overlooking the loss of an important central pawn. He has some chance to win if Black does not handle the endgame accurately. B|d5 Q|d5 11. only two pawns behind after 21.. . Bb5+ and Qe2 are stronger. an idea similar to the one he chose on his next move. pages 5–6] 239 91 V.. 13.F. R|f3 0–0–0 12. Board 4 (of 23) Evans Gambit C51 1. February 15. . Qe1+ Ne7 13. 0–1 [Tesko Slovenskï ˇ Sachovï Bulletin. Bg5 Rhd8 16.I. So. Qd3 Nc6 15. Bc4 Bc5 4. Nf3 Nb4 20. Qe4 or Rg1 and some other moves he would retain an equal position. e5 d|e5 10. Nc3 c|d5 8. B|e7 K|e7 18. Board 5 (of 23) Ruy Lopez C62 92 V. making likely the capture N|f4 on his next move. Games 91–93 8. 14. White will not hold the position against good play by Black but most great blindfold players would find a way to develop enough counterplay to continue fighting. Rymsa (Third Game) Moscow. Bb3 Be6 18.. 1–0 [Tesko Slovenskï ˇ Sachovï Bulletin. Bb5 d6 4. Nf3 Be7 4. 12. Or because he had the worse position maybe he decided that resigning this game would allow him to concentrate on other games and this would be just one less game to keep in mind.. after 21. Perhaps Ostrogsky had a hallucination and thought he was about to lose his queen after 21. Ostrogsky–J. page 6] 93 1. 0–0 Kf7 15. Q|e5+ Be7 11. Kf2 Nd5 31. Board 3 (of 23) King’s Gambit C35 8. c3 Bc5 6. Rc3 wins Black’s queen. d3 The moves 9. but his opposition was weak. Rc3 f5 26. R|c6 Rd1+ 30. Ne2 g5 19. 12. 12. d4 Bd7 5. e4 e5 2. Ra3 Kb7 20. e4 e5 2. 1993. c3 Nd5 After 20. Q|e6 f|e6 14. 1904. b4 B|b4 5. Nd5 B|d5 20. page 6] V. Qe1 Qc7 10. 9. Rad1 Nf6 12. because of his better pawn structure and Black’s isolated king’s pawn on an open file. N|d4 e|d4 7. 13. e4 e5 2. Rfe1 he can play on. Ne3 b5 19.. N|a3 a6 10. February 15. N|d5! Qd6 Not 14. . 1993. e|d5 c6 7. Ostrogsky–Gennika (First Game) Moscow. 1993. Q|d5 R|d5 22.. Nc3 N|d4 6. Ne2 Nd5 17. Be4+ Well played by Ostrogsky. Qe2 0–0 17. c|d5 because the reply 15. Rb3 Bg7 25. Qe4 Kc7 17.. February 15. Nd4 c5 19. 24. ∂–∂ [Tesko Slovenskï ˇ Sachovï Bulletin. c4 Nf4 33. Rb3 Qd5 21. 1904. Rf7 Rd8 32. Nc3 h5 16. But he agreed to a draw. N|d4 R|d4 28. 12. e|f6 14. Bf5. Re1 Nb6 18. ..F. It is quite surprising that he could ever win a game from Ostrogsky. 0–0 Nbd7 9. B|f6 White could have played 13. . N|d5 Be6 9... Ba3 B|a3 9. 1993.. . Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bh4+ 5. 0–0 h6 7. Qb3 Qe7 1. Kf1 d5 6. . Q|h1+. f4 e|f4 3. Rd1 Qe6 13. Nd3 Black would have had a slight advantage.Part III. Nf3 Nc6 3. but see the next game. 15. B|d5 N|d5 This is not yet the time to resign.. B|d5 10. Ostrogsky has not played this opening in the real spirit of the Evans Gambit and is basically just a pawn behind. hoping to take advantage of these features and the possibility of occupying the weak e5 square. 12. Bf4 c6 12. White has the somewhat superior position. B|d7+ Q|d7 8. Re6 then 24. Q|d4 Nf6 9. d4 d6 11. Rb6+ Ka8 34. 0–1 [Tesko Slovenskï ˇ Sachovï Bulletin... Qh4 B|f3 11. Rd6 23. Bf5 b5? Losing a pawn via a simple combination. N|b5 here. which certainly reduces the memory load in a world record–setting blindfold exhibition. Nc2 Ne5 16. But giving away a central pawn now puts him in a clearly inferior position. page 6] .

Rad1 Rb2 25. Rdg1 R|a2 27. Bb5 Bd7 10.. 0–0 0–0 12. 43. Bf4 0–0 9. 32. f4 Bc5 3. d8Q a1Q 52. d5 should win.. 0–0 d6 8. Kh1 g6 20.. February 15. e4 e5 2. Rg1 Qe5 23. d5 c|d5 15. B|e3 18. K|b6 a4 47. Storozenko (Second Game) Moscow. Nf3 Be7 6. … Kd6 46. Board 8 (of 23) Evans Gambit C51 1. Q|c6+. Ne2 N|f4 11. N|d4 Qe7 6. 1993. a4 Rfe8 Neither side tried to win in this game. h3 In the king-and-pawn ending that has ensued both players seem to have little idea of how to handle it.. d4 e|d4 7. 1904. b|c4 g5 34. c|d5 c|d5 18.. R|d3 Rc8 28. 29. Ostrogsky– A. Bc2 Q|b3 23..N. Q|d4 Nc6 9. Kf2 Qb2+ 32. 1904.F. Ka4 f4 40. Bd3 h6 8. White would have a definite advantage after 20.. f|e3 Qd7 19. page 6] 96 V. Qh4 Rfb8 24. a|b3 Bb5 24.a5 so as to follow with . Of course White can win a piece by 17. Now Black is lost. Kf3 Rf1+ 33. . B|c6+ b|c6 13. Kc3 a5 38. Re3 Bb5 26. Rg3 Rab8 26.b5. R|g5 35. f4 Rc8 19. b4 B|b4 5. constricting White and creating the possibility for Black to obtain an outside passed pawn by . Qb3 Qb5 22. Kg5 Rg1+ ... Qh5?? Black’s and White’s last moves are incomprehensible.a5. Anyone might have trouble reaching definite conclusions.N. 36. ∂–∂ [Tesko Slovenskï ˇ Sachovï Bulletin. It was like a game between best friends. Now the game is definitely a draw. B|c6 B|c6 11. R|d4 Rac8 17. c3 Ba5 6. . Kg4 Qe2+ 34. Bd3 B|d3 27.. Qg8+. f5 R|g1+ 30. e6+?? If White had played 45. e4 e5 2. Kc6 37. Kd7 {DwDwDwDP} {wDwDwDPD} {DwDwDwDw} vllllllllV 95 V. Rf3 Be2 25. 45.F. Rfd1 Nb6 18. Qd3 B|d4 8. 12. 34. Kb3 b6 Instead. he will queen a pawn long before Black can. e5 d|e5 13. 39.a4 at the appropriate time. K|g1 Rb1+ 31. . Ostrogsky– A. Bb1 f5 17.. Ke2 Ke7 30. d5 e|d5 42. Nf3 Nc6 3. Kd2 Kd7 31. Bf4 Qc5 15.N. with likely wins shifting back and forth from one side to the other.b5 now or two moves later might win for Black. f|e5 Bd7 16. Games 94–96 V. Ne5 N|e5 15.. c|d4 Bb6 9. Kc7 a3 49. Kb5 Kd7 (see diagram) 45. d4 d5 2.F. f|g5 The move 34.. Nc3 Bg4 10. The game still requires deep and extensive analysis.. Bc4 Bc5 4. 17. . . Be3 Ne7 14. ∂–∂ [Tesko Slovenskï ˇ Sachovï Bulletin. 0–0 Nh5 10. N|f4 Bd6 12. c4 Instead.. 1993. g|f3 a6 12. . Nc3 Nf6 4. Ostrogsky– A. Ka4 Kc7 44. f|e5 Nd7 14. 12.. Rh3 Qg7 28. f4 Ra1 29. R|g5 h|g5 36. d6 he would have won easily. Rg3 Rg8 32. Rad1 Q|d4+ 16. Both sides keep floundering until the very end of the game. b3 h6 19. d6+ Ke6 50. 1904. 42. Qh4 Qe7 21. d|c4 33. Storozenko (Third Game) Moscow. Bb5 B|f3 11. Bg5 Nbd7 5. Ka3 Kc7 41. b5 leads to a probable draw. c|d5 Kd7 Instead.. Rc3 R|c3 20. d7 a2 51.. Using his king as a helper. c4 e6 3. Storozenko (First Game) Moscow. . e|f4 Re8 14. But does he lose? No. Both sides would have to confront connected passed pawns. Black either has to allow White a strong protected passed pawn after d6 or to exchange pawns. February 15. giving White two connected passed pawns in the center. N|d5 N|d5 16.240 Part III. Perhaps there is a typographical error in the only score of the game available or the order of the game’s moves was incorrectly recorded in some way. Qg3 0–0 22. February 15. e3 c6 7. Q|d5 c6?? 17. b|c3 Qa5 21. Kf1 Kf7 Around this point in the game Black should try . d4 e|d4 5. Rc1 B|f4 13. Board 6 (of 23) Queen’s Gambit Declined D51 1. e7 K|e7 48. Board 7 (of 23) King’s Gambit Declined C30 1. h4 would give White excellent winning chances.. Nc3 Nf6 7. 32. Nf3 d6 4.. page 6] 94 wuuuuuuuuC {wDwDwDwD} {DwDkDwDw} {w0wDwDwD} {0KDP)w0w} After {wDwDw0wD} 44.

Qf6 and White will emerge a piece behind without real compensation. Rc3 Winning the exchange unless Black chooses to suffer more dire consequences. which is likely a winning one for him. Q|e5 Bg7 7. B|d5 Qh4+ 5. 0–0 d6 7. d5 Ne5 12. 1–0 [Tesko Slovenskï ˇ Sachovï Bulletin. B|g3 Rg8 17. Kd4 Kd6. N|e1 N|e5 19. page 6] 241 1. Black could have answered with either (a) 12. 1–0 [Tesko Slovenskï ˇ Sachovï Bulletin.F. 1904. Ne2 g3 14. Kg1 g4 10. Q|h6 Bd4 and White does not have much compensation for his sacrificed piece.. N|e4 d|e4 14. Veler (Third Game) Moscow. .. Bb3 d5 8. B|f7+ K|f7 5. e4 e5 2. Rc7 on his last move. Nc3 Nc6 3. Ostrogsky took advantage of all of them. Ostrogsky–Krauze (First Game) Moscow.. Q|e6+ Qe7 17. 28. e4 e5 2. . Bc2 Be7 12. Kf1 g5 6. Nd3 0–0–0 24. f|e6 13. Nf3 Nc6 3. Q|h5+ Qh6 46. Kh2 b5 19. Ne5 f5 27. B|e6 13.. Bb5 a6 4.. a|b3 Be6 23. Nh4 h5 19. Nf3 g5 17. No one tried very hard to win in this game. B|h6 g|h6 14. ... d|e6 Bc6 15. R|e4 Rd1+ 17. February 15. f|e4 {DPDwDRDw} {w)PDwDPI} {DwDwDwDR} vllllllllV 28. g|h5 g|h5 45. Bc4 Na5? 4. February 15. Ostrogsky–V. Ng5+ Ke8 12. d4 e|d4 8. Ng5 Nh6 11. Rf3 N|b3 22. Bc4 Bc5 4. Ke2 Kf7 26. Nc3 Ne7 7. Bb3 Bg7 12. e4 e5 2. Q|d8 Ra|d8 15. Ostrogsky–V. Q|e7+ K|e7 14. 12. page 6] 98 V. Ng6 Black made at least three very serious errors in the short span of this game. Rg3 R|g3 39. Q|e6+ Qe7 13.F. 1904. B|e5 B|e5 21. K|d6 Q|e3 44. The pawn ahead is relatively meaningless. b4 B|b4 5. Qd5+ Be6? 11. 1993. Rd3 Rf6 Black should not have agreed to a draw here. Kf1 f6 25. 12. Board 11 (of 23) King’s Gambit C33 1. h5 Ne7 25.. Nf3 Ne7 9. Board 12 (of 23) Evans Gambit C51 1. 0–0 h6 16. R|d8+ B|d8 24.F. Q|f7+ Ostrogsky was completely lost throughout the latter stages of this game and somehow reached the final position. Games 97–100 35. c3 Bc5 6. February 15. Qd3 Q|d3 20. Kd8 h5 38. B|e4 B|e4 16. d4 b5 7. but White will have difficulty covering . Rad1 Rhf8 20. d4 Ng6 13.G. c|d4 Bb6 9. Qa4+ c6 15. Q|a5 d6 8. 12. Rd1 Nd7 18. Nf3 Qh5 8. f4 Raf8? 20. Q|c4 f|e6 16. Board 10 (of 23) Vienna Game C25 100 V. Bc4 d5 4. 1904. 1904.Part III. Ostrogsky–V.G. . Qh5+ g6 6. Nf3 Nc6 3.F. N|c6 Reg7 30. . February 15. Ne6?! Flashy but unsound. 12. f6+ Kh7 43. Kd7 c5 41. Nbd2 Ng6 11. d3 Nc6 10... Veler (First Game) Moscow. R|d3 Nc5 21. Was Storozenko deliberately not playing his best? And why a draw now? ∂–∂ [Tesko Slovenskï ˇ Sachovï Bulletin. B|h6 g|h6 19. Bh4 Rde8 26. Kf6 Qb2+ 36. Veler (Second Game) Moscow. Nc3 Bd7 10. Q|e7+ K|e7 18. 1993. d|e6 N|c4 14. Ba4 Nf6 5. Nd5+ Kd7 15. Kd3 Ke6 27. Ke7 Qe5+ 37.. Rd1 Rd8 23. c3 Bb7 10.G. f4 e|f4 3. Board 9 (of 23) Ruy Lopez C80 1. Q|d4 Q|e2 16. Qh5+ Ng6 (perhaps the move Ostrogsky overlooked) 16. Re1 0–0 13. Nf3 Bf6 22. Bf4 Bd6 20. d|e5 Ne7 9. B|e7 f|e4 97 V. B|f4 B|d4+ 15. or more simply (b) 12. . 1993. R|e7 29. c3 g4 18. page 6] cuuuuuuuuC {wDkDrDrD} {0wDwGwDw} {wDpDbDw0} {DpDwHwDP} After {wDwDpDwD} 27. ∂–∂ [Tesko Slovenskï ˇ Sachovï Bulletin.. Ne7+ Of course this move would work even if Black had played 29. Ne1 c6 11. Re1 R|e1+ 18. h4 h6 9. 0–0 N|e4 6. h|g3 Kg7 40. e4 e5 2. 12. g4 Q|e4 42. 1993. page 6] 99 V.

f4 e|f4 3.. better development. provides a better chance of restraining White’s attack.. Kg1 Rhe8 23. Nf3 Nc6 3. 21. Nc3..F. . R|e2 B|e2 20.d|e4 would be better. 15.. c|d5 e|d5 13. Bd6 21. Nf6 or .. typical of this opening variation. 1904. but Ostrogsky probably wanted to ensure that Black could not continue 21. 12. weakens the square g5 which White soon takes advantage of. . Qf1 A nice idea.. ∂–∂ [Tesko Slovenskï ˇ Sachovï Bulletin.. h4 g4 5... B|f3. Bc5+ 24. K|f7 7. B|e4 f|e4 10. .. R|f4+ Kg7 12.Rh6.. Rhg1 Bg4 18. Board 14 (of 23) Queen’s Gambit Declined D53 1. 12. 1904. R|e5 B|g4 17. R|f5+ 20. g4 A serious misjudgment by Ostrogsky. Qd3 would leave White with an adequate position. Ne5 Qd6 cuuuuuuuuC {rDbDkDw4} {Dw0wgp0p} {pDp1wDwD} After {DwDwHnDw} 11. Bg5 Be7 5. e|d6 N|d6 9.F. February 15. Bd2 or Kf2 were about the only ways to justify playing on for a few more moves. 1993. e4 e5 2. Nf3 g5 4. Raf8 Black would maintain a clear advantage as White can free himself from his inability to move his major pieces only by weakening his kingside with h3 → g4. 0–0 B|f4 11. Qe2 Nf5 11. page 7] 101 V. d4 a6 6. f3? Might cost Ostrogsky another pawn but. . The move 13. Kh1 Re1 checkmate. 9. first analyzed extensively by Johann Allgaier of Vienna in the early nineteenth century. White threatens Rf7+ and prepares to “triple” his heavy pieces on the f-file. Re5 Kf7 20. . among them 12... 1904... and Qe4. Bh3+ 22. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bb5 Nf6 4. Nc3 c6 13.F. Ra4? Allowing a quick checkmate or serious loss of material. B|e7 Q|e7 8. The move played. whereas Black’s 3-to-1 queenside pawn majority should be easy to mobilize. B|f3 21. more important. . Ng5 h6 6. Kf1 N|e5 16. Bf4.. But Black chooses to trade off major pieces and is satisfied with a draw. 10. d|e5 N|e4 8. c4 e6 3. N|f7 The Allgaier Gambit. Qe4?? Now a real blunder. Q|e5 Nf3+ 15. Ostrogsky–Krauze (Second Game) Moscow. Games 101–103 games played by someone who was attempting to set a new world blindfold record. Ra5 The rook is misplaced here.. ∂–∂ [Tesko Slovenskï ˇ Sachovï Bulletin. Qf3. . further weakens his king’s safety. f|e5 Qb4+ 15. 8. Ostrogsky–Krauze (Fourth Game) Moscow.. page 7] 102 1.. Ne2 N|e5 14... Board 13 (of 23) Ruy Lopez C73 V.. e4 e5 2. followed by Black’s next one. Qd6 {wDwDwDwD} {DwDwDwDw} {P)PDQ)P)} {$NGw$wIw} vllllllllV 12. 12. 13. 14. Re1+ Be7 10.. f4 Nd7 12. . 0–1 [Tesko Slovenskï ˇ Sachovï Bulletin. Q|e5 14. Ostrogsky–Krauze (Third Game) Moscow. February 15. K|e2. f3 is considered by many opening theorists to be the best move here. Ne5 0–0 11. White sacrifices a knight to gain rapid development and expose Black’s king to an early attack.. Rf1 Nc6? Black . . 23. . He has a virtually hopeless position regardless.. 1993.. B|c6+ b|c6 7. Bd3 f5 9.. Nf3 Ne4 7. d4 d5 7. 0–0 d6 5. Several other moves would be fine. page 7] his f2 square and beginning a kingside pawn advance. Re4 f5 19. Rae1 R|e2+ By playing 18. Qd2 Q|d2+ 16.242 Part III. 23. . and his own weakened kingside as serious disadvantages. Nd4 13. 6. 12. Nc3 f6 18. . e3 c6 6. d4 d5 2. e|d5 c|d5 14. B|f4 h5 A more standard move is d|e4. February 15. It seems improbable that Black would fall for the cheap trap 20. There are other similar variations in the King’s Gambit... 1993. One of the worst 103 V. . K|d2 Rf2 17. preparing to play Rf6. Bd3 Bh6 The moves 9. Qf2 Be6 16. with Black’s two bishops. Board 15 (of 23) King’s Gambit C39 1.. Nh6 The move . 19.

R|f5 N|f5 19. 12. Rfh4 Rh7 31. g|f6 then 11. B|f6 g|f6 12.. page 7] 106 V. B|f6 K|f6 23. 1–0 [Tesko Slovenskï ˇ Sachovï Bulletin. c3 Ngf6 7. It has no relevance to trying to defend against White’s overwhelming attack.F. . g|f3 6. Bd3 forces mate.. . 1993. . 12. 1904. 18. Bf4 f5? 15. d3 Both 7.. Rf8 19. h6 Bf6 22. Q|g8 R|g8 19. Bg5 c6 9. page 7] 1. Nf3 Nd7 6.. f4 e|f4 3. e4 e5 2. Judging by his two games with Ostrogsky. b3 Be6 39. 5. 1993. Kf1 0–0 8. h5 Kf7 21.. Q|f5 Black cannot handle all of White’s threats. Board 18 (of 23) French Defense C10 104 V. Qh5 d5 13. e4 e5 2. . f4+ Kf6 32. which allows White to threaten checkmate and attack Black’s undefended knight on e4.. R|f2 N|e5 7. Bc4 0–0? 10. 1904. h4 Ke8 20. .F. Nd7. c|d5 Rc8 43. 1–0 [Tesko Slovenskï ˇ Sachovï Bulletin. 1–0 [Tesko Slovenskï ˇ Sachovï Bulletin. 20. R4h3 R|h3 35.. d4 e6 2. 1–0 [Tesko Slovenskï ˇ Sachovï Bulletin. The best reply would be 17. . 11. Rh4 Rh8 24. thus winning a piece.Part III. Bb5 Nf6 4. e4 d5 3. It is generally rare to exchange 107 105 V. Qd5 B|f2+ 7. d4 Ng6? 8. 1904. e5 followed after 8. Qg5 without loss of additional material and a quick win for White.. 0–0 The Muzio Gambit. Ostrogsky–Smirnov (Second Game) Moscow. Kf1 Kg5 30. 12. Perhaps the best move is to resign. 17. Q|h7 Qg8 18. Bc2 c6 14. Nf3 Nf6 3. Qf4. Q|f4 The move 8. 0–0 Bc5 5. 1993. Ne5 N|e4 9. 7. 16. Bd2 would have been more in keeping with the spirit of this gambit opening. Q|h6+ Kg8 16. Games 104–107 should instead play 16. d4 N|e4 5.. Rf6 {wDw)wDp)} {DwHBDwDw} {P)PDw!PD} {DwDwDRIw} vllllllllV 17. February 15. page 7] 1. g3 Rg6 17. 18. Nc3 Ne7 9. d5 c|d5 42. Rah1 Be8 26. . Board 19 (of 23) King’s Gambit C37 1. Bf6 d5 If instead 10. Kf2 Rhe7 33. B|e4 f6? 10. Rf6! Black is now defenseless against White’s various threats. e|d6 Q|d6? 14.. N|e4 Be7 5. Ostrogsky–Smirnov (First Game) Moscow. Qf4 Now Black cannot prevent 21. February 15. Kh8 17. Q|f3 Qf6 7.. Qe3 or Ne2 to continue building up his attack. Nf3 Nc6 3. Ostrogsky–Pazuchin (Second Game) Moscow. but no matter. Rf6 a6 Maybe played as a joke. N|e5 B|f2+? 6.. 6. Be5 Rg8 16. Board 16 (of 23) Two Knights’ Defense C55 1. Qg5. After . e5 and c3 are generally favored over this move. B|f7. Smirnov must have been a very inexperienced chessplayer. B|g6+ Kd7 13. Q|e4 Bb6 9. 12. Ostrogsky–Pazuchin (First Game) Moscow. Bc4 B|c4 40... Q|e5 by 11. Bc4 Nc6 4. Bg5 Qe8 10. Nc3 d|e4 4. N|g6 N|g6 12.. . d|e5 Bc5? A well-known mistake. Qg6+ 16. Bd3 Nf8 8. Bd3 Re3 34. 1993.. Kf3 Bh7 37.. Ke2 Bd7 25. .F. Q|g6+ Kh8 15. e5 h6 11.. Ne7 Black decides to return a piece to stop the threat of Rg6+. ..Nd7 Black has defended most of his weak squares and White would probably play 17. Qh5+ g6 11. Kd4 Black lost two pawns in the opening and Ostrogsky cruised to victory. g|f5 e|f5 28. R|h3 Rh8 36. R|e6 An equally strong move is 18. Bc4 g4 5. Rf4 Rae8+ 29. almost never seen in serious play today.. preventing White’s powerful next move. B|f4 B|f4 10. February 15. Bf5 but after 18.F. Bd3 leads to a quicker win. page 7] V. e4 e5 2. b|c4 Kg6 41. Bh6 8. Qh4 d|c4 12. 1904. 243 Board 17 (of 23) Ruy Lopez C65 cuuuuuuuuC {rDw1wDw4} {0pDwDwiw} {wDnDb$wh} After {DwDpDwDp} 17. February 15. Ke3 Bg8 38. Nf3 g5 4. g4 Bg6 27.

B|e8 c6 White will emerge hopelessly behind in material after 19. His best chance here was 17... . Ba6 winning the pinned queen. N|f8 18. B|f7+ Kd8 13. R|b2 24.. 12. page 7] cuuuuuuuuC {rDwDkDwD} {DbgpDp0w} {wDwDpDwD} {DwDn)wDw} Final {w)PDwDw0} position {)wDQDPDw} {wDwDwDw4} {DwDR$KDw} vllllllllV In this exciting and complex position Pantusov apparently had to leave.. b5 B|c5! A chess computer. Nf3 Nc6 3. c3 d6 4.. . Kh1 is safer and then Black would probably have to play 23. . . N|d4 a6 6. Bh5 Be8 15. Board 20 (of 23) Sicilian Defense B46 1. Board 21 (of 23) Ruy Lopez (by transposition) C44 1. Raf1 Bd7 14. and this game and the following one of his with Ostrogsky were eventually scored as draws. Re1 Ne5 12. Nc3 Nc6 3.. ∂–∂ [Tesko Slovenskï ˇ Sachovï Bulletin.. Bb7 11. K|e8 when he could then play 19. 1993. R|f4 d6 12. 0–1 [Tesko Slovenskï ˇ Sachovï Bulletin.. . Be2 Be7 8.. Another possibility was 17. Bg5 Be7 7. N|c7+ B|c7 Materially the position is approximately equal but Black’s three V. Ostrogsky–Pantusov (First Game) Moscow. Nbd2 a6 8. 1993. page 7] 108 V.. K|g2 Nf4+ forks White’s king and queen. Rg8 hoping to play Rg7 next and eventually gain a third pawn for his piece... But 23. Ba6 26.. e|d6 B|f3+ 109 . . B|c6 B|c6 9. c5 can be met by either 25. Black seems to have excellent winning chances here after 24. b4 White cannot capture the knight on d5 because of the reply 24. Bb6! since 25. e4 c5 2. N|e4 B|e4 12. Games 108–109 minor pieces for a queen give him good chances.. . a3 Nf6 7.. would likely supply many beautiful variations and most likely rate Black as winning. . 12. Q|f4 11. Nd|b5 White could have played this “combination” on the previous move and basically the same position would have arisen as occurred in the actual game. c|d5 B|d5 25. d4 Nf6 5.. N|b5 N|f3+ 16. Re4 would be a better move and serve useful functions offensively and defensively. e4 e5 2. ... R|f8 Ng6 uuuuuuuuC {rhwib$wD} {0p0wDwDp} {wDw0wDnD} After {DwDwDwDB} 16. February 15. Ng6 {wDwDPDwD} {DwHPDwDw} {P)PDwDP)} {DwDwDwIw} llllllllV 17. his knight would be trapped on a8 after taking the rook and Black would end up two knights ahead with a winning position. which would be a good move instead. f3 h4 21. a|b5 15. Rad1 Rh6 19.. February 15. 1904. analyzing this final position. 22.F. Qc3 Rb7 with a rather unclear position. N|c7+ forking king and rook. Still.. ... 0–0 Qc7 9. Qd3 Rg6 20. B|c5! or 25. Bb5 Bd7 6.. R|g2+! 23. 10. . 17. Q|f3 B|g3 17. By playing b4 White could now capture the knight because Ba6 would be answered by b5. B|e7 Q|e7 11. Nb6 or even 24. Nd5 with fair chances. except for their defensive function. . B|g6 h|g6 18. . Nf6 Ke7. Rf8 R|f8 16.. Ostrogsky–Pantusov (Second Game) Moscow. d|e5 N|e4 10.. Kf1 Of course if 23. Bf3 This bishop move is unnatural and prevents White from playing the natural f4. queens so early when one is striving for strong attacking chances in a gambit. . Be3 b5 10. R|h2 24.244 Part III. d4 c|d4 5. Bg3 h5 14. e5 Nd5 22. 10. 18. 14. Nf3 e6 4. Nd5?? It is unclear whether Ostrogsky merely overlooked the threat to his rook or thought that later Black would have to recapture 18. Bf4 Bd6 13... 23. 1904.. despite White’s three passed pawns on the queenside—which have little bearing on game right now.F. c4 22.

... Nf3 The nice move 8. Rh2 or Kf1 or Ne1 all leave White a clear piece ahead.. Nc3 g6 This move serves no valuable purpose and weakens Black’s control of the dark squares around his king. Qc3 did occur and both of the last two moves were typographical errors in the published score.. h|g4 c|d5 16. h3 is more powerful) 11.Rf8 are all better. f5 The move 6.. One could spend days annotating this game. 14. Qg7 is indicated and it is hard to understand why White did not play it. h3 followed after 11. Qc3 f6 14.. f5. . Rad1 R|b2). by the move 23. 19. Nd5. d|e7 B|d1 14. . . Games 110–112 13. Rh5 Bg4 19. Nf3 Bg7 5. 22.. Board ? (of 24) French Defense C10 1. But then White would be saved.. .. . Nd5 Kd7 14.. they are given as 24. f4?! Ng4 6. there is no way for Black to prevent this . except for the obviously poor move 14. an impossible move and presumably a typographical error. d4 d5 3... Nf5 makes good sense as a substitute but then White’s next move does not. .. R|d1 K|e7 15. e4 e5 2. 10. Bc4 Bc5 4.. but it does not seem worth it. R|d5 Be6 18. .. But the text move is even worse.. . Qh4+. 0–0 0–0 9.. d4? e|d4 23. The simple 19. August 6. Rh4 B|f3 20. 9. 1993. Kd3 f5 24. Qd8 (not 11. c4 h5 27. B|d5+ N|d5 17. 20. R|d7 K|d7 23. Bb3 a5 15. 8. ∂–∂ [Tesko Slovenskï ˇ Sachovï Bulletin.. 1–0 [Tesko Slovenskï ˇ Sachovï Bulletin. . Nc3 Nc6 7. most likely the correct decision here. Qh5 g6 22. Rf1 wins at least two pieces for a rook. If then 10. of which Réti soon takes advantage.. Ke2 c5 19... Qh6 Ng4 If Black plays now 9.. f5 and 23. Ke7. Q|f3 Qd7 21. Even 20.. e5 c6 7. g|f5 h6 18. White did resign after Black’s 1. Rg2+ 21... from the lost game he has had for almost the entire contest. Nc3 Nf6 3. Nf2 by White’s Nd5 would win for him.. Ne3 12.g6. Qh5 Qd7? The moves . d3 d6 5. Rd1 Nd6 13. February 15. 1904. This game is really a comedy of errors. The move 22. Qg5 Now 10. and . Q|h6 Nf5 12. 12. Qf3 f5 23. h3 White now establishes a winning position. . .. Rfe1+ Kf8 17. R|h6 is good 20.. 1993.. 1919. Be6! still wins—although we have doubts that either player saw this move. Board 22 (of 23) Vienna Game C26 1. Ostrogsky–Rudnev Moscow. g4? Incomprehensible..F.. Rh2 or Kf1 and White is all right. . g6 Why not capture the rook? After 8. . R|d8+ R|d8 20.. . Rd3 Rd7 22. e|f5 (11. Qc6 because of 12.Part III. 0–0 Rhd8 16. B|e3 B|e3 or 11.. page 8] 111 V. 10. h4 Nb6 9. Q|f5 12. Nd5 is very strong for White.. 12. Qe7 White plays 9. Rf8 11. e4 e6 2. 1904. 12.. Be6! is a winner .. If then 8. Ke2 Rag8 19.. N|h1 10. 0–1 [Tesko Slovenskï ˇ Sachovï Bulletin. c3 d|c3 4. . Bc4 c|b2 5. Qg7 Rf8 11. Réti–J. Nd5 N|e4 10. Bd3 Bd7 10.. Bg5 Ne7 6. 1993. Bb5!) White’s 12... . R|g4 20. Nf2 7. But there remains uncertainty about those two moves even though Ostrogsky was awarded the win when Samossky departed. d4 e|d4 3. 8. a3 g5 26. Qc3 instead of Qd3. This game was dull and uneventful. N|h1 9. Q|f5 B|f5 13. So perhaps 22. Bb5+ Nc6 17.. g|f5 11. Ke1 Be3 Winning back his piece and leaving White with a lost game. b4 Kd6 25.. c6 What else? The only available square for the knight is f2 and then 15. This move would create threats that Black cannot handle. Board 23 (of 23) Danish Gambit C21 110 V. page 8] 112 R. Rd1 Ke8 21. Qg7 Rf8 14. Qd3 The score the source provides states that Black played 22. .. Bh6 B|h6 11. Kortman Haarlem. pages 7–8] 245 24th move. Bg5 will win. Qd2 Nd7 8. . So it may cautiously be inferred that the move actually played was 22.0–0. B|h6? Again. Ostrogsky–Samossky Moscow. Nf3 Bb4 8.F. Samossky apparently left after White’s 23rd move and a win was recorded for Ostrogsky.. 15. if then 11. B|b2 Nf6 6. Kd1 B|h6 (White’s and Black’s 24th moves are garbled in the game score from the source. . f3 As noted for the previous game Pantusov had to leave at this point and both games were scored as draws. a3 a4 16.. Nh3 would leave White in poor condition after 6.. Qe1 d5 12. N|b4 N|b4 11. February 15. . . Ng5 Now. B|f5 e|f5 13. 6. especially compared to the exciting last one... e4 e5 2. Kf1 b5 18. 4. Rf5 here.

Rd8 113 R.Qc3. B. Qf8 Nc4 {wDQDPDwD} 16. . 1919. Rb1 Q|c3+ 23. This game was very exciting. Be7 5. but filled with clear missed chances on both sides. or (b) 23. . Qc8+ Kd6 28. R|h7+ forces checkmate or (c) 23. 25.246 Part III. g6. would have produced a fairly equal position. 26... cuuuuuuuuC {wDk4wDwD} {0pDbDw!R} {whpDwDpD} After {DwDp)pDw} 19.. Rfd1 Ba5 Besides being a pawn behind Black has no active counterplay. Kg1 Qd2 26. up to 28. 1–0 [Lopez. h3 Be6 7. e4 e5 2. Be3 a6 13. Qe2 f6 There is no good reason to create a weakness a1ong the c4–g8 diagonal. a3 wins immediately. h6. 12. R|d7 Qc8 20. 4. . Qd6 he could still fight on. Qe5+ Rd6 {DwDN0wDw} After 24. (1989). Bc5 Rg8 22. . after which 24.. Kf1! Still.. Qe8 followed by Qf7. complicated. g5 when 24. 18. Kg5 Qc1+ 32.. Ne7 is one crushing way to force Black to resign.. with White retaining the advantage. the exchange of queens would have led to a fairly equal position. 21. Nc3 d6 6. and risky struggle 4.. K|g6 This is usually the game that is chosen for publication from the only three games available from this world record–setting display.” Better was 16. . Qc4+ Kh8 16.. Now the game becomes incredibly tricky. a|b3 d5 10. Ng5 leads to a well-analyzed. Qe7+ Rd7 25. as the Black queen cannot go to a square that protects the rook on f8. Qf2+.. Qg4 Now Black can prevent the threatened Ng6+ followed by Qh4 (checkmate) by playing only (a) 23. h|g6 f|g6 19. g3 Q|f2+?? Too bad for Black. 1919. page 172] 17. 14. Games 113–114 knight from either moving to or capturing on h7. Ajedrez. which will win the exchange for White. Ne7 27. . Réti–“N. Réti sees that he will be able to escape perpetual check by the Black queen and then Black cannot meet all the threats against his own king. . Kf1 vllllllllV Q|c2 24. Kh3 Qf1+ 30... Qe5!. Nb5+ Q|b5 26.. . but one certainly not easy for a blindfold player to “see. August 6. August 6.. .. after which Black {DwDRDRIw} is definitely lost. Bc4 Nf6 4. B.A. h5 Qb4 18. 22.. after which 24. 0–0 B|b3 9.N. 24. e6!? Q|b2 Did Réti overlook 20. N|c7! B|c7 18. Ajedrez. Re8!! A nice move. Nc6 19. e|d7+ N|d7 Capturing with {Dp0nhw0p} the rook might have been better. Rad1 Bd6 15.. 29. d3 A very “quiet” way of meeting the Two Knights’ Defense.. Be7 wins quickly. it is doubtful whether even a non-blindfolded player {DPDwGNDP} could calculate all the possible variations that {w)PDw)PD} arise here. Kh2 Qf4+ 28. One possible {pDwgw0wD} continuation is 22.. 19... Qe6 White regains the sacrificed piece after gain of a pawn. d|e4 Nd7 Instead. 14.. Qb8+ Ke6 29.. . (1989). Nd5 Ne7? This move loses a pawn to a pretty combination. Bd6 immediately was better... With 28.. . Qf5 with checkmate shortly. Réti–J. Nh4 Nd8 23. . 1–0 [Lopez. Re8? However.. Q|a2 or . he can answer it strongly with {rDw1w4wi} 21. Kh4 Qh1+ 31. Bb3 0–0 8. Playing 13.” Haarlem. pages 172–173] 114 R. Qc1+ 27. Muurlink Haarlem. N|h7 0–0–0 16. Re1 Qd3+ Either of two moves. Board ? (of 24) Scandinavian Defense B01 .. Board ? (of 24) Two Knights’ Defense C55 1. But that is not the only possibility.. . . Nf3 Nc6 3. Bg5 d|e4 11. many of which have apparently never been pointed out before. Ng6+ Kh7 25.. 21. Rh8+ Kc7 23.. Even better would be 25. Qe7 15. . .. Rd8 {w1w)wDwD} {DwHwDwDw} {P)PDw)PD} {$wDwIwDw} vllllllllV wuuuuuuuuC 20. N|f8 R|f8 17. Rh7?? The move 19...

Q|e1 Re8 20. and Qe2. 7. Ne2 Bg4 10. d4 Nf6 5. J. Lopez’ Ajedrez and Kalendovskï ’s communication. e|d5 e4 4. c|d3 Nd5 23. 247 record–setting display. Bd2. January 30. Rd5 White ought to be all right after 20. ∂–∂ [Lopez. Be3 d6 7. .. . Black will not only win White’s queen but checkmate White two moves later. Rg5+ White cannot play 33. But after 19.. Qd4 Allowing Black’s other knight to enter the game with gain of time because of the attack on White’s queen. Bh6 B|h6 11. B|f4 Re3+ 26. Better was 12. 0–0–0 Ngf6 9. 2001. Qf2? Of White’s first 12 moves five have been with his queen. It is rare that an unknown player has outplayed an exhibitor so convincingly in a world 116 G. Nc3 Preferred moves today are Nd2.. Bc4 Be7 9. Qf1 Five of White’s last 11 moves have involved his queen’s shuttling along the first rank! Now Black plays a crushing move. Kh8 34. Qc1 Be2 21. Qh4+ is also very strong. N|e4 Threatening not only N|c3 but also Qh4+. B.. Bd3 was better but Black is obviously gaining a dominant position. Qf2 Rh1+. . Re1 R|e1 19. Ajedrez. h3 Bh5 11.. September 21.. 0–0 14. J. f4 d5 3. Rc1 Re2+ 30. 1921. January 30. f5 12.. Nge2. Re1 f3+ 28. 23. . Nc6 12. 0–1 [Game provided by Kalendovskï. 13. Qe3. Bh4 15. e5 d|e5 13. d4 e6 3. f4 Weakening the black squares on White’s kingside.. . Board 1 (of 25) Double Fianchetto Defense B06 1.]* uuuuuuuuC {wDwDrDkD} {0p1wDpDp} {wDpDwDwD} After {DwDnDp0w} 24. Games 115–116 1. Bd3 B|d3 22. Nf3 b6 4. h4 {wDw)w)w)} {DwDPDwIw} {P)wGwDPD} {$wDwDQDw} llllllllV 24. B|g3+ 17. . and Kalendovskï. N|f6+ e|f6 8.. 5.. 0–0 8. 14. . Nf3 is the most common move. Kh3 Qe6 31. N|f4 25. among other moves. . Q|h6 Qe7 12. g3 Qe7 29. for the Breyer games (115–139). Be2 N|d5 11.. d|e4. so 13.... Usually such loss of time and development is fatal. pages 167–171.. Ne4. .. e|d5 Q|d5 3. 8. Qb3 was better but Black retains the superior position. The bishop on d2 gets in the way of White’s placing his queen on the better squares d2 or d3. 6. g5! 24. personal communication.. but Black would still have a winning position. Bd3 Bg7 6. Black played very well indeed. 7. 11. h3 a6 10. a3 A little early for a draw. Ne1 0–0–0 17. Nc3 Qa5 4. And. Qe2? Probably best was 7. after Black’s next move White is definitely lost.. Nc3 Bb7 5. Breyer–Votruba Kashau. . K|g3 Rfe8 18. Qf4 b5 19. 11. f3 Bc4 18. Qd2 Nd7 8. e4 g6 2. Ng3 Probably overlooking Black’s reply. Breyer–Baroch Kaschau. especially in view of Black’s ability to take quick control of the e-file. d3 Nf6 5. 16. Qd1 or Qc5. Black might have a slight edge because White’s pieces are tied down somewhat due to the pin of his bishop on the d-file. Kh2 g|f4 27. Q|b4 N|c3+ 10. Re8 The move 8. Kb1 Nc5 16. Qc1 To prevent the threat of 16. c6 6. 5. 9... Rc5 f4+ 32.. Better was 6. . Kh2 Nf6 16... . . *The authors have tried as best they could to resolve discrepancies between these two general sources. g4 Re1 33. N|d5 B|d5 15.. September 21. . . Be3 was far preferable followed by one of those queen moves. 1921. e4 d5 2.. Bb4 6. h4 Better was retreating the king to h2 and h1. d|e5 Nd5 14. It seems too early to decide on the best square for this bishop. 5. 2001] 115 G. Q|f3 because of the reply Re3 winning White’s queen. d|e4 After this move White is already in trouble.. 16. Ne4 Qc7 7. The threat of g4 followed by f5 trapping black’s bishop is easily met. personal communication. Board 2 (of 25) Falkbeer Counter Gambit C32 1.Part III. Qc4 Obviously the knight on e4 cannot be taken because of Re8.. 0–0 Nd7 13. Bd2 Rather passive. (1989). e4 e5 2. Qe1 White’s queen is misplaced here....

2001. January 30. b4 d|c3 . N|c2 14. Nf3 d6 7. 0–0 Was White hoping to catch Black in the cheap trap 5. Rb1 N6d4 15. Board 3 (of 25) King’s Gambit C39 1. Ng5 d5 6. 16. . 0–0–0 White does have some compensation for the lost pawn in controlling the two open files facing Black’s king. but without serious material loss White cannot stop Black’s main threat of 15. 0–0–0 Na6 15. Qf2 Be6 26. Nf3 d6 4. January 30. 1921. Bd3 Playing 20. 11. Jónap Kaschau.Nb4 or . 2001. Kg1 Qd1+. e|d5 N|d3+ 17. h3 was better.. d3 Nc6 7. c3 Nf6 118 119 G. Nd2 Bg5 15. September 21. e4 e5 2. N|h2 Qh4+ not only regains the piece but forces White’s king to move.. 1921. . Rdg1 Qf6 18. . Ajedrez. Q|f3 0–0–0 10. 0–1 [Lopez..248 Part III. N|h2 Of course if now 11. B|g5 Q|g5 16. Breyer–Spielberger Kaschau. 2001. Rh8+ Ke7 28. . September 21.] G. Was Black scared of “ghosts” or satisfied with a draw after the many hours of play? ∂–∂ cuuuuuuuuC {wDw4wDwD} {Dw0wDpDw} {pDn1kDpD} {DwDN0wDw} Final {wDwDPDwD} position {DwDwDPDw} {P0wDw!wD} {DKDwDw$w} vllllllllV [Lopez. B. Nh5 Qd6 22. as occurs in the game. 10. . Bc4 b|c3 23. Rdh1 Nb4 16. Qa4+ winning a piece? 6. d4 f6 7. J. Kf1 There is no way to defend White’s c-pawn. 0–0 Bg4 8. 30. . Nf1 b4 19. January 30.. 5. the former that the game ended here. h|g5 Be6 11. Qe2 Nc6 6. B|g5 Be7 9. Rh1 N|f3+ 12. More in keeping with its themes would be 5. Ajedrez.. Rf1 Losing or sacrificing a pawn? 9.. Breyer was unrecognizable in this game. c3 Qe7 4.. f|g6 c|b2+ 24. pages 167–171. (1989). But at this point the players agreed to a draw. N|e2.Nd4.. B|e6 K|e6 30. and Kalendovskï. and Kalendovskï.. 13. N|e2 Bh3+ It is checkmate in two more moves after 17.. Nf3 g5 4.... c|d3 One of the two sources gives Black’s 12th move as Bd7 instead of Kd7.. Rd8 21.. Ne7 or . Be3 a6 14. Ajedrez. e4 e5 2... pages 167–171. Bd3 Nf6 5. Qd2 B|g5 10. . . J. pages 167–171. d4 e|d4 3. f5 d5 8. d|e4 Ng4 10. being a piece ahead and in no immediate danger—regardless of which twelfth move was played. Ng3 g6 20. Breyer–Z.. f4 e|f4 3. . for example. Breyer–Toufar Kaschau.. Bd3 Kd7 13. b5 17.] 5.. h4 g4 5. 1921. Qc2 d|e4 9. e4 e5 2. N|e4 6. Rh6 c6 14. N|e2 16. personal communication. Board 5 (of 25) Danish Gambit C21 1. (1989).. Bf4 B|f3 9.] 117 G. .. Qf2 {wDwDw)wD} {DwDwDwDw} {P)PDB!P)} {$wGwIwHR} vllllllllV 12. Be2? A very strange move for this opening. d4. personal communication.. It is hard to understand why either move would be played and why Black would have resigned here. September 21. (1989). B. and Kalendovskï.. J. Nf6+ Kf8 27.. personal communication.. g|f3 Be7 13.. B|f4 f|g5 8. B. Kb1 h|g6 25. f4 Bc5 3. g3? Loses immediately. Nc3 Ne7 12. with the rest of the game the same! The latter source states that the rest of the game is unknown. 1–0 [Lopez. R|d8 R|d8 29. 15. Bc4 would benefit White’s attack more. 20. Ndb4 13. Nd5 White is two or three pawns behind and would have virtually no compensation for them if Black had now played. Board 4 (of 25) King’s Gambit Declined C30 1. Games 117–119 uuuuuuuuC {rDb1rDkD} {0p0wDp0p} {wDnDwDwD} After {DwDnDwDw} 12.

Breyer–Klein Kaschau. September 21. f4 g6 17. a5 c|b3 12.. 2001. Board 6 (of 25) Center Game C22 1. Bc4 Bb4+ 6. Nf3 B|f3 10. d4 e|d4 3. The final position is picturesque. personal communication. Bg5 Ne7 8. Q|d3 e6 8. e4 d5 2. Ne4 Qh6 12. One source gives . e5 Nd5 5. Be2 Be7 6..] 249 120 G. B|g4 B|g4 9.. but the game is not worth a diagram. .. September 21. J. 13. 13. Qe4 Qd7 12. Games 120–123 11. Kh1 Qd8 17. B. . Ne5 would be much stronger. Nb6 Bd7 23. Q|g4+ Kd8 25. f4 f5 18.Rhd8 as Black’s 19th move instead of . Re1 Rf8 11. f3 Nd7 18. personal communication. g|f3 d4 11. d4 e|d4 3. N|c3 B|c3+ 6. b3 Rd8 16. Kb1 f5 18. Bg5 is even better. e4 e5 2. Rf1 Qd7 18. 9.. . Nc6 8. Rg8 or . 0–0–0 Qe6 15. e5 14. Gömöri Kaschau. 1921. d4 Bf5 6.. e|f5 Finally! 9. ∂–∂ [Lopez. 1–0 [Lopez. e5 Ng4 8... d5 After this move Black will be able to set up a pawn storm on the kingside. White could simply have played 8. pages 167–171. 1921. a|b6 Q|b6 13. R|f5 Q|f5 23.Part III..Rd7 as Black’s 17th move... But 8. Bd2 B|d2+ 7. another . in our opinion. pages 167–171. Bd2 d5 7. Ajedrez. R|f5 12. Nc4 Rde8 14. Qe2 11. Black has damaged his kingside terribly and it is hard to believe he survived and eventually obtained a defensible position. Qf3 Rd5 19. Q|d2 Nb6 8. 0–0 c5 10. R|f5 Q|f5 19. Bc1 Kb8 20. a4 c4 11. January 30. (1989).. Rd3 One source gives . a draw is a fairly logical outcome here—unlike on Boards 3. Be3 d6 14.Nd7.. Nb5? (Either 18. Na3 0–0–0 13. Bf7+ Kd7 21. .. 1–0 [Lopez.. Nd4 Bc8 19. Black is two pawns ahead. Q|d3 c6 14. personal communication. Nge7 10. Bb3 d5 9. f5 B|f5 16. Nd5 or Rfd1 give White good play)..g6 or . 22.. e|d5 Q|d5 3. N|c3 N|b4 12. where Black either resigned or took a draw in a very favorable position. Nd2 f5 15. and Kalendovskï. (1989). September 21. January 30. Rf1 Qe4 20. 2001. N|d4 b|c2 14. Bd3 B|d3 7. In either case it is hard to see why Black resigned after White’s last move. Ajedrez. N|c2 0–0 16. B. Qh8+. Nf3 Bb4+ 4.. Nf3 Nf6 5.d5 now. Nh4 Re5 13. 2001. Perhaps better for White would have been to establish his own pawn attack on the queenside by b4 …a4 …c4. d4 e|d4 3. Qd4 Kb8 15.... N|d6 c|d6 White’s last moves have simplified the game and left him with no significant advantage. Qa4 b6 17. e4 e5 2. Be3 c5 16. 11. even though there is a lot of play left in this game. and Kalendovskï. c3 d|c3 5. Ajedrez.. and 5. January 30. 1921. B. for which White has little definite compensation. (1989). 1–0 [Lopez. f4 Ra5 15. Na3 B|a3 22. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 4. January 30..Kb8. Board 7 (of 25) Danish Gambit C21 1. 4. Bg4 Q|g4 24. pages 167–171.. N|d5 Rf7 22. as he could on the previous move. 0–0 Since Black cannot easily manage to play . Board 9 (of 25) Center Counter (Scandinavian) Defense B01 1. The move played leads to a simple combination and loss.Ne5 Black has good hopes for survival and even victory.. Q|d5+ Q|d5 21. and Kalendovskï. e|f5 leaving Black to face the threat of Ng5. Q|g7 Ne7 26. Nh4 was much 123 G. . Ndb5 a6 20.. 8. b|c3 f5?! Adventurous. h6? Weakening his kingside even further. 2001. 0–0 Bd6 9. Bh5 Nf5?? With 21.] 121 G. Nc3 Qd8 4. Bg5 0–0 10. 7. The rest of the game score is the same for both sources Either way.] 122 G. with the threat of Qh5+. Breyer–Weinreb Kaschau.. N|f5 R|f5 17. Nd6 Original and interesting play by Breyer. Qe3 Nf6 5. Bb2 a5 24. Q|d4 Nc6 4. Rab1 N|d3 13. personal communication.. f4 e4 . Breyer–Bacle Kaschau. 1921. Bb2 b5 21. Nc3 Be6 15. Bc4 7.. J.. Ajedrez. (1989). etc. B|f6 Q|f6 11. B|a3 b4 23.] stronger. but Black now will have great difficulty castling on the kingside. . J. 7. Breyer–Z. J. pages 167–171. B. Board 8 (of 25) Center Gambit C21 1. and Kalendovskï. September 21.

g4 Bg6 12. Qh3+ Kg7 30. Rd7. g|f3 d|e5 6. 28. J. ∂–∂ [Lopez. Kh3 Qh5+ 33. d4 Nh6? 5. September 21. Ajedrez. 26. B. personal communication.. 25. greatly weakened Black’s kingside attack. Ajedrez. 0–0 Nd6 24. and obtained some winning chances.. 18. c3 Nf6 5.. h4 h5 13. b4 b5 20.. 1–0 [Lopez. R|f8+ K|f8 the game is approximately equal. . b4+ or c4 would have ended the game more quickly. Q|d4 Rhg8 21. J. January 30. N|b4 N|b4 12. f|g5 Be6 23... September 21. which ends up only a draw by perpetual check anyway. . September 21. Nf3 Nc6 3. B|d3 27. 1921. There could follow 16. Certainly not a boring draw. Qe2 c5 14. 16.. N|a6. 1–0 [Lopez. 2001. Bb5 Bc5 4. personal communication. Games 124–127 (1989). Q|d8+ K|d8 7. Nf3 Bf6 9. Bc5+ Ne7 13. d|e5 B|f3 5.. ∂–∂ [Lopez.. 1921. Breyer–R. Be3 Bb4? 9. g5 f|g5 22.. Nf5 Qd8 20. B|b4 Ke8 14. B. h3 Ne8 8. d3 0–0 6. N|f5 Qf8 24..] 126 G. Nh6+ Kg7 28. Ng3 Na5 11. 22. . and Kalendovskï. January 30.] 124 G.. Bb3 N|b3 12. g3 g|f4 22. 2001. e4 e5 2. Nc4 Nd7 18. h4 b6 16. Nd4 B|d4 20. Nf3 d6 3. h5 a5 17. Nc5+ Kc8 25. and Kalendovskï. f4 b5 21. Nf3 Nc6 3.. . September 21. 0–0–0+ Ke7? 10. d4 Bg4 4.. Q|e5 Moving the queen to a4. Board 12 (of 25) Irregular King’s Pawn Game C46 1.] 1.. a|b3 f6 13. R|f6 Instead. Nf1 a6 10. Nbd2 d6 7. Q|e5 After 26. Q|f6 29. Nc3 Nc6 8. Nd5+ Kf8 11. and Kalendovskï. Ajedrez. personal communication. B.. . 2001. d5 Nb8 6. . pages 167–171. Q|c8 Qd4+ 31. pages 167–171. Board 11 (of 25) Hungarian Defense C50 cuuuuuuuuC {wDrDw1kD} {0wDwDwDp} {wDw0w4wD} After {DpDPDNDw} 26. the latter to help in his kingside defense. personal communication. B|a6 b|a6 18. Binder Kaschau.. and Kalendovskï. Q|f3 Rc8 By sacrificing the exchange White has gained two pawns. . Rhe1 0–0–0 17. B|h6 g|h6 8. c4 a5 but then Black’s bishop would be “out of the game.” 15.. Bc4 Be7 4. e|f5 B|f5 26. R|f4 Capturing with the pawn would open White to an even stronger attack on the g-file. Qd7+.. Re8 would have prevented White’s upcoming combination. Bd7+ Kf8 16. (1989). Ajedrez. e4 e5 2. J. Qg4+ K|h6 30. Board 10 (of 25) Philidor’s Defense C41 1. 1921. d|e4 15. Qd2 Na6 15. Bd3 Bg4 10. Raf1 Nf3+ 25. Nf5 d5 14. b6 17. d|e4 B|b3 would win a relatively unimportant pawn. e4 e5 2. B. d|e4 is much stronger. Nf3 Nc6 3.] 16. (1989). 1921.250 Part III. 16. d|e5 23. Kg2 Q|d5+ 32. White could try to win by 28. pages 167–171. Qb5 or Qe3 would therefore be preferred. Breyer–Sipos Kaschau. c3 . . Ne5 23.. 127 G.... Qh2 N|f5 Instead the move 24. Bc6 Rb8 17. January 30. Qg4+ K|h6 29. Na4 Rde8 24. N3h4 Bf7 18. Ne3 g5 21. 22. N|e7+ Q|e7 19. Nc3 Be7 4. Rc8 {w)wDw$wD} {DwDwDQ)w} {PDPDwDw)} {DwDwDwIw} vllllllllV 27. 0–0–0 Qe7 16.. Breyer–Kolin Kaschau. (1989). . pages 167–171. Re3 Qe5 22. e4 e5 2. January 30. R1|f3 e|f3 26. Bh3 b6 15. Qb3 This is the square that is best left open for the White knight to occupy so as to place it on d4 and thence possibly to e6 or c6. h3 Bh5 11. 2001. if Black had not surrendered shortly anyway. J. . g4 Be6 9. Rf6 19. Qa3 This move really aids only Black by misplacing White’s queen and impeding the movement of his pawns on the queenside. so a draw was agreed to here. Board 13 (of 25) Ruy Lopez C64 1. 125 G. Kg2 Qe2+. g5 Bg7 14. Qd3 Kb7 19. Breyer–Blumenkranz Kaschau. N|e5 d6 7.

c3 Be7 10. Re1+ or f6. A game Black deserved to win. September 21. Re1 0–0 13. Bb5 a6 4. January 30. Qf4 Bd6 22.. Ke2 b4 37. d5. J. B|d6 c|d6 27. Rg1+ Kf7 27. 24. 17. 33.] 251 cuuuuuuuuC {rDwDwDkD} {DwDwDwDp} {pDw0PhpD} {DpDpDB)w} After {wDwDwDwD} 29. Ajedrez. Qc3. d|e6 f|e6 6. (1989). 1–0 [Lopez. by c5. Qe1 c|d4 18. f4 N moves 16. . e|d5 Bb4? 5. B.. Ajedrez. Ajedrez. and Kalendovskï. 29. and Kalendovskï. B. e|f6 This move opens up the position to Black’s further advantage.... September 21. Bd4+ Kg8 24. Perhaps he was annoyed that he had thrown away some of his great advantage. Bb2 or Be3 are superior moves. according to Lopez’s (1989) book. He should not have done so.Part III. January 30. (1989). if possible.. Breyer was truly lucky in this game. Bg5 B|c3+ 8. 25. Qe2 Nc5 12.. Nc3 Qg6 14. f5? Either a gross miscalculation on Breyer’s part or he felt he had no other way to keep the initiative. g4 g6 29. e4 e6 2. N|e6 f|e6 15. Ba4 Nf6 5. . and Kalendovskï. Q|f1 Nf6 21. Nf4 Bd7 20. But Black can now play to take White’s b-pawn with impunity. personal communication. and Ke7 would leave White with little chance to avoid loss. Rg7+ Ke8 Black apparently resigned without waiting for White to play any one of several strong moves.. Of course if Black now captures the e5-pawn with either knight White can continue with 14. g|f5 g|f4 23. for example. . Bd6 followed. Ba4 Nge7 7. Q|f6 17. Breyer–Havlicek Kaschau.. practically his only chance to save the game. . Qf5 Qe5 23. Nf3 d3 32. N|d4 Qe5 11. J. 28. c|d4 B|b4 15.] 128 G. And even 29. Ne8 would win easily. pages 167–171. e7+ Ke8 35. Ne5 Bb7 12. d4 b5 7. g|f5? There is no reason to give White two connected passed pawns in the center.. Be3 Kh8 18. g5 129 G. d4 d5 3. Bg5 Qe6? 9. Breyer–Benes Kaschau. There are many other ways for Black to build an impregnable and won position. Nf3 Nc6 3. Either 13. planning Nf4 would leave White with little to play for. 13.. pages 167–171. However. 1–0 [Lopez. Q|e6 with a good game.. 16. B|c5 d6 17. 1921. 30. e4 e5 2. . Board 14 (of 25) Ruy Lopez C83 1. b|c3 Qd5 9. 0–0 N|e4 6. objectively..”) Black gave up either here or shortly. Be4 Qd6 15. . g4 g5 22. 2001. Rd8+. B|b7 Ra7 16. c|d4 N|d4 Black gives up a piece now rather than losing it on the next move to the pawn fork 10. White actually played a somewhat weaker move than those just mentioned. Board 16 (of 25) Ruy Lopez C68 . N|f5 N|f5 16. f4 f5 16. h4 a5 38. . Bc2 f5 15. N|d4 14. f|e6 R|f1+ 20. Qd3 Bc6 21.. Most moves hold the position and still win for Black. Be3 Q|a1 19. g5 {DwDwDwDw} {PDwHwDw)} {DwDwDwIw} vllllllllV 29. Bc5 Bd6 26. Kh1 Qh5 26. Be4 Rc7 17. Ng5 “and White won. J. Kf2 Rc8 33. personal communication. Qh4 h6 22. Kd3 a4 (or f3). Board 15 (of 25) French Defense C11 1. Bc2 0–0 11. Bd3 0–0 7. 10. B.. f3 c5?? 13. Bf5 Nf6 28. d|e5 Be6 9. 17.. . Games 128–130 Qf6 5. and Black gave up anyway. Bb3 d5 8. Q|e5 B|e5 Black has played well and achieved a completely winning position. Q|d4+ 18. Nc3 Nf6 4.. Rd1 Qa7 21.. Bb3 d5 25. Nf3 Kf8 32.] 130 G. Nf3 b5 10. b4 Nd7 13. (1989). 0–0 a6 6. g|f6 d4 31. 2001. d4 e|d4 8. Kf2 Kf8 33. 1921. Nh5. 28. Ne6 f4 36. Re1 or Bf4 were more logical. h6 34. Nd4 A questionable pawn sacrifice. Nd5 Qf7 19. Kh1 b4 20. B|f6 R|f6 14. 1921. 2001. pages 167–171. January 30.. 0–0 a5 11. Breyer–Herz Kaschau. Nd2 Ng4 24. Ng5 (Kalendovskï gives the last moves of the game as 31. Be3 Q|e4 12. Kf8. For example. personal communication. September 21. c|d4 Q|d4+ 19. 1–0 [Lopez.

Board 18 (of 25) Queen’s Pawn Game D00 1.. Qe3 0–0–0 14. Nd7 {Gw)BDQDw} {PDPDw)w)} {$wDwIwDR} wllllllllV and so he made the best move by resigning. to gain a pawn—at the cost of giving White some open files and rapid development of his pieces. f4 followed by f5 trapping the bishop. Q|f3 Qd7 10. January 30. Q|e3 16. 17.. there are really no variations to calculate—unless you are not a good blindfold player! 13. Qf6+! An obvious queen sacrifice that leads to large material gain.. .. h5 18. September 21. Ng3 e6 An unnecessary weakening of Black’s pawn structure. . Nh4 g6 11. a passed pawn behind but with a good chance for his rooks and king to gain play on the kingside. 10. 25. all with his queen. Ba5 g6 19. d5 Ne5 5... 2001. Bd2 c5 13... Bb5 a6 4. Board 17 (of 25) Caro-Kann Defense B15 1. Namer Kaschau. . (see diagram) 13.. But White apparently wanted to keep his two bishops and gain other advantages. g3 Ne7 21. Nf3 Nc6 3.. Ng5. The alternatives .. g|f4 Nd5 23. 16. Rb5) but could still play on. . d4 d5 2. e5 Bb4 5. Ba3 Kg7 Black should instead have tried 11. Black is two major pieces behind with no counterplay wuuuuuuuuC {wDkDrDwD} {Dp0whwgw} {pDw4R0wD} {DwDPDpDp} After {wDPGwDpD} 20. (1989). Nd4 Bh6 20. B.. Bd4 g4? Now the pawn at f5 cannot be saved. . Breyer–F. Black had to play 12. Now White has a very strong attack against Black’s kingside. . pages 167– 171. . Rfc1 Qe4?? 15... 9. Re8 followed soon by Nf5. d|e4. b4?? White would win valuable material by 15. 1921. . . Bg7 was better. Bd7 would be all right. 1–0 [Lopez. .Rhe8 would retain at least an equal game for Black.. f|e7 Q|e7 16... N|e4 Bf5 6. 3. 0–0 0–0–0 12. Bc5 would force the win of the f5 pawn. and Kalendovskï. but White still dominates the position. . Bf6 Bd7 18. B|c6 b|c6 5. Though the move is pretty. 131 G. But he decided to resign here. B. Qe3 Rhe8 19. 4.] wuuuuuuuuC {rDb1w4wD} {0pDnhpiw} {wDpDpDpD} {DwDp)w)p} After {wDw)wDwH} 12. e4 Reaching the standard opening position in the Caro-Kann Defense.. Breyer–Oppenheimer Kaschau. September 21. B|e3 c|b4 17. g6. . (1989). personal communication. e4 e5 2. g4 0–0 Black would be better off delaying castling until he can castle on the queenside. Games 131–132 1.. The “simpler” 6. 1921. Nc3 Nc6 3. Bg6 would lose to 7. Re8. 15. N|f6 14. 15. . 7. g5 h5 10. e6 The usual reply here is 3. but 6. and Kalendovskï. The text move leads to formations resembling those in the French Defense. Bg5 f6 14. January 30. it is not clear whether these gains are worth a pawn.Kd7 or . personal communication. c4 a6 13. J.... a5 27. B|e7 Re8 17. Rab1 B|f4 22. Ajedrez. R|b4 Black will lose his a-pawn (26. g|f6+ Kh7 15. . 1–0 [Lopez. Qf3 Nd7 Losing by force. Be3 g5 The pawn at f5 could use permanent protection now by 14. R|c6 Rd7 Too “defensive” a move. N|c6 d|c6 24. Ajedrez.. Bd3 Ne7 11. 12.. Qe6 Q|e6 20. Still... Ne2 Bb7 11... B|b4 N|b4 26.. N|f5 e|f5 8. Nf4 Qc2 12. 2001. Bd3 Ne7 8. J.. Nf3.. pages 167–171. which is quite premature. Nc3 Qg6 Black has obviously spent his last four moves. Rfe1 17. Nf3 B|c3+ 6. Rd6 {DwDBDwDw} {P)wDw)P)} {$wDwDwIw} vllllllllV .. d4 d5 2.] 132 G. e4 d|e4 4. 15. Q|d4 Qf6 7.252 Part III. R|e6 Rd6 Black is lost no matter what he does but this move allows the immediate win of his f5-pawn. 0–0 Q|c2 9. The final position reveals that he was smart to keep the two bishops. b|c3 h6 7. e5 Qg6 8.. Bb6 Bc6 18. Q|e4 B|e4 16. Nc3 c6 3. d4 e|d4 6.. Qf4 Bg7 17. Nf3 N|f3+ 9.

personal communication.. 5. . R|d5 Kf8 This position is very likely a winning one for Breyer. c|d5 e|d5 9. ∂–∂ [Lopez. If he tried to hold on by sacrificing the exchange via 21. Nf3 Nc6 11. e4 (see diagram) 11. f4 Df7 18. ∂–∂ cuuuuuuuuC {wDwDwiwD} {DwDwDp0p} {pDwDwDwD} {DwDRDwDw} Final {w)wDwDwD} position {4wDw)wDw} {wDwDw)P)} {DwDwDKDw} vllllllllV [Lopez. Bb6 checkmate. Rc|c4 Rc7 25. Na4 c4 19. Regardless of which score is accepted as correct. Ajedrez. Re3 Rg8 19. e3 c5 5. e5 Nfd7 6. N|d5 Be6 7. B. Nc3 Nc6 4. 0–0–0 Bd7 13. 6. Qg4 f6 8. White’s next move does nothing to prevent this. Rhe1 0–0–0 16. Rd4 Rcd7? 23. J. Rg8. Rde1 Rg8 18. Therefore it is difficult to understand why he would agree to a draw here. A picturesque final position. J.. A diagram of the final position is supplied for endgame analysts to study. (1989). with a pawn ahead and a mobile 4–3 pawn majority on the kingside. R|d6+ c|d6 23. h5 Qf7 16.. Bd2?? If 13. September 21. c|d5 e|d5 6. e|f6 B|f6 10. gaining control of the center and preventing Black’s next move. it is hard to understand why the players agreed to a draw at this point. Rae1 or 23. e3 To be preferred would have been 8.] 14. Board 21 (of 25) Queen’s Gambit Declined D31 1. and Kalendovskï. The position is simple. 2001.] 253 133 G. and Kalendovskï. but a poor game by Black. pages 167–171. Games 133–135 21. h4 at least seven years before this game and the variation was especially popular in the early 1920s. Breyer–Sladek Kaschau. (1989). B. Rc3 Rdc8 26.. B. . Qh3 This is the game score from Lopez’s book (1989). allowing Black to weaken White’s kingside and gain a strong attack. Bb5 Bb7 10. Best was 11. Nf6 9... and Kalendovskï. September 21. pages 167–171. Kf1 R|a3 30. R|e8+ Kd7. Board 20 (of 25) Queen’s Gambit Declined D40 1. January 30. N|e4 R|c3 28.Part III. B|c6+ B|c6 .. d4 d5 2. d4 d5 2. . January 30. Alekhine played 6. c4 e6 3. . e4 Be7 5. B|f3 12. Best was 21.. 1921. N|c3 R|c3 29. Board 19 (of 25) French Defense (by transposition) C13 1. he would fall victim to either the pretty 23. R|e6 22. g|f3 Qd7 Of course intending Qh3. pages 167–171... b4 Ne4 27. Ne5 Qe7 12. B|f6 g|f6 15. Nc3 Nf6 3. e4. Nc3 Nce7 8. Bd3 c6 10. 13. B|e6+ but Black would lose eventually.. 2001. 1921. The set of scores for this display sent us by Jan Kalendovskï ends with 15. Ajedrez. Nf3 Bd6? Losing a pawn for nothing. d4 d5 2. Dh3. 22. d|c5 b|c5 8. 1–0 [Lopez. There are many pieces left on the board and a fairly wide open position. so it would not add any special complications to the amount of material he had to recall in the remaining unfinished games. N|f5 22. January 30. for which White has been shown to obtain reasonable compensation. 7.] G. 0–0 Bg4 11. Breyer–Radesinsky Kaschau. N|c6 Q|c6 15. personal communication. Qa4 Qb6 11. Bg5 e6 4.. N|d7 Q|d7 14. a3 b6 7. f4 Kd8 17. B|f5 Kd8?? The only virtue of this move is that it ends Black’s suffering immediately. Bd3 Nf8 9. h3 Bh5 12. . 6. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bd2 a6 13. h5 Kb8 17. Nc5 Ra7 24. 2001. September 21. Ne5 Rc8 12. Q|c6+ R|c6 16. Qb3? A mistake. Kg2 then 135 134 G. 0–0 Bd6 17. Rac1 0–0 18.. with several dire threats against the White king. h4 This potential pawn sacrifice is usually labeled the Alekhine-Chatard Attack. Ba5 Bc7 21. J. 1921. c4 e6 3. B|c7 R|c7 22. (1989). personal communication. Rfd1 Rd8 20. Ajedrez. which would lose a piece to the fork e5. Nf3 Nc6 6. Breyer–Sindler Kaschau. a6 Black does not accept the proffered pawn.

. . Qh6 26.] 137 the reply 13. Bf6 g4 35.254 Part III. a4 Rd6 20.. Kf8 would leave Black a piece ahead with White having some compensation after 9. a5 Rhd8 21. Rc1 Ka6 33. . f5 in this variation. Nb5 B|b5 18. g6 White has an attack that is very hard to meet but 22. Qc3 Q|c3 30. although Lopez’s book (1989) says that Black surrendered at this point. Qb6+ 23. After the text move Black can restrain White for a few moves by 25. and Kalendovskï. Qh3 h5 14. Qh5 11. Kh1 Qh6 offers a better chance of holding off White for a while.. Ne4 Nf6 16. 1921. If 25. If he wanted a draw Black could play 14. Ajedrez.. Nf3 Na5 8. B. . and Kalendovskï.. pages 167–171... B. .. 1–0 [Lopez. d4 e6 2. Nf3 Qf6 8. 1921. . Qg3 Ng4 20. Ne5 or . personal communication. B. and Kalendovskï.. Qe4? Breyer misses an easy win. Q|b4 Nc6 10. Rc2 Re8 34.. 1921. Qf3 Bd6 13. . d6? which allows 10. 2001. e3 e5 4. Q|b5 Nh6 19. 2001. Games 136–138 After 11. a|b6 Rd1+ 23. B|c4 Bb4+ 5. e5 N|e3 21. In any event Black resigned here because he felt White’s attack was too strong for him to hold off for very long.. c4 a6 4. B|c3 g5 31. Kalendovskï reports that White eventually won. The move 22. Board 23 (of 25) Queen’s Pawn Game (Irregular) A40 136 G. 10. White has another powerful piece contributing to his attack and if then 25. in answer White cannot play 14.. .. K|h2 Qd6+ 17. Be1 c|b6 24.] G. Qf3 or Qh3 Black can reply with 26. Be5+ Kb7 32.. J.... Qc2 K or Q|f7 10.Qe7 were all right. personal communication.. N|e4 14. Qh3 14. Rg5! Or if 25. pages 167–171. N|e5. 2001. 9. N|e5?? 12.. R|f5. Breyer–Birnbaum Kaschau. Board 22 (of 25) Queen’s Gambit Accepted D20 1.. f4 Qh6+ with a draw by perpetual check. Qb3 Typically. Kf1?! Nc6 6. September 21. September 21. Kh1 g|f5 25. January 30. .. Qb3 uuuuuuuuC {rDw1kDw4} {0pDwhp0p} {wDpgwhwD} {DwDwDwDw} {wDw)wDbD} {DQHB)NDw} {P)wDw)P)} {$wGwDRIw} llllllllV Black could fight on longer. Bc3 Ba6+ 15. Ng6 with the threat of Nh4+ is powerful. September 21. when he had the chance in this display. 13. of course indicating that the game continued for a while and the rest of the game score is unavailable. which is even better.. e3 Nc6 3. Qh4. Bd3 B|h2+ 16. f4 enabling the White bishop to go back to g2.. Qa4+ winning the bishop. Bh7+. Qb3 Qe7 7. But 1. 0–1 [Lopez.. Na3 0–0–0 17. 8. Be3 Q|b2 19. 22. g3 Qc2 27. with a pawn ahead and a 4–2 pawn majority on the kingside. 9. f5 Qb6+ 24. Qg6. R|f5 was the move actually played. Ajedrez.. B|e4 Qh3 15. d4 d5 2. (1989).. A terrible game by Breyer.. Breyer tried to exchange queens to simplify the position. (1989). (1989). Rd2. Kg2 Nf5 28. Q|e5 13. Bd2 Be7 Black is wasting time for no good reason. .. There would follow 15. Then if 26. d|e5 N|e5? 12. c|d5 Nce7 6. f4 Ng4 White cannot prevent checkmate. January 30. Board 24 (of 25) Queen’s Pawn Game (Irregular) D00 . Qa6+ Kb8 22. c4 d|c4 3. Qb5+ would win a piece. Bd3 Bb4 9.] 138 G.. Breyer–Szücs Kaschau. Q|f5 Kalendovskï gives White’s actual last move as 25. White has a winning position. pages 167–171. Ajedrez. As a matter of fact. . January 30. B|f7+ Q|f7 Instead. Qg4. Ne4 If then 13. Rfb1 would gain Black’s queen because its only safe retreat squares are a3 and c3 whereupon White would play 23. Breyer–Molnar Kaschau. d5 e|d5 5. Rg5+ Kh8 27. Nc3 Ng6 7. B|g6 because the recapture h|g6 opens the h-file for the Black rook on h8. Qa3 h5 29. . but not 9. 0–0 Ne5 11.. h3 R|a1 25. 12. h|g4 h|g4 36. . Best for White was 13. J. Kg1 Qe7 16. … Qg6 26. N|d6+ Q|d6 17.. N|e5 Q|e5 12. e4 Qb6+ 18. Bd2 b6 14. J. 1–0 [Lopez. f4 Qe7 15. 23. Q|a1 Qc7 26. . Q|e3 0–0 22. personal communication.

Lopez’ Ajedrez and Kalendovskï ’s communication... B|a7. protecting the b2 pawn. For example. and Kalendovskï. 0–1 [Lopez. Rf5 Rd6 30. Kd4 Black has a lost endgame and fought it out further. But perhaps Breyer thought he could trap Black’s queen long enough to obtain a winning attack on the queenside. for the Breyer games (115–139). Alekhine–M. d|e5 N|e5 6. 2001. Ng3 Nc6 17. 14. September 21. Bd2 B|f3+ Rather than grabbing another rook Black should have played 13. 8. 0–0 Be7 10. B|d6 N|a1 21.Part III. e4 c5 Milton Pinkus. Now a difficult ending ensues. N|d4 Nf6 5. Kf1 Kb7 26. Bd3 Nc6 4. Bf3 Re8 12. b5 Black would have been better ab1e to restrain White’s attacking chances. was Alekhine’s opponent in this game.. Qe2 was to be preferred. Qb3 Na5 6. Ndf3 Q|h1 10. Qf4 Ke8 20. Nc2 22.. pages 167–171.. Na5!.. Nd2 Nc6 4. B|g4 B|g4 14. R|c2 b|c5 24. c4 Bf5 5. Q|c6+ Nd7 16. Qb7. d4 d5 2. Qf3 would also give Black a few things to think about. J. g4 Kb6 28. f4 Rc8 11. Pinkus. N|d6+ R|d6 19. pages 167–171. Bc4 Apparently an outright blunder.. e3 Nf6 3. 1921. Nf3 Nc6 3. Qa4+ Nc6 7.. 1940s. B|g7 K|g7 17. Bg3 or Rc1. d5 Be4 11. B. Rc1 b6 23.. B. g|f5 15. . f|g5 h|g5 33. Ajedrez. Albert (1903–1984) won his game from Alekhine in this 1924 blindfold display. . Bc5 Breyer failed to play some other. . Ng4? A mistake since it permits 14. personal communication. 15. April 27. . Ngf3 Bg4 7. . a4 he A.. one of only five losses the latter suffered against the very strong opposition. After 12. and 1950s. 17.. . Bh6 e6 16. Ke2 e6 13. 16. He has a better position than he did at some points earlier in the game. Board ? (of 26) Sicilian Defense B74 1. N|e2 0–0–0? See note to the next move. Nd4 B|e2 14. and threatening Bb4+ would have given White better chances. 12. d4 c|d4 4. the main reason being that Black can now reply with 12. h3 Bh5 18. R|c5 a6 25.. b4 g5 29. . Rhe8 or f5 were both better. c|d5 Q|d5 8. f5 and the consequent weakening of Black’s kingside. 14. f4 h6 32. Ke2 Rd8 27. 12. The score of that game could not be located. 15. (1989). Q|b2 18. Pinkus New York. e3 Nf6 3. September 21. Nd2 e5 5. Milton was a strong player who rarely participated in organized tournaments. e4 Re6 34. Q|d6 B|d6 13. Bb2? f6? Losing his e-pawn. f5! Threatening to win the B on g4 by h3 followed by g4. Be2 Qd6 9. Be3 0–0 9. not Albert S. losing at least a rook for a bishop. N|e4 Nb4 18. Q|c7 Qb6 19. January 30. Qe2 this move would not have been any good because of 13. . Ajedrez. N|f3 Q|a1 15. 1924. 0–0 Bg7 8. 21.] 255 wuuuuuuuuC {wDwDkgw4} {DwDwDp0p} {w1wDphwD} {DwDwDwHw} Final {wDBDw!wD} position {DwDw)wDw} {PDwGK)w)} {DwDwDwDw} vllllllllV could have advanced his a-pawn quite far before Black was able to develop the rest of his pieces. Be2 g6 7. and Kalendovskï. a4 Kc6 31. d|c6 b|c6 By 11. keeping Black’s queen trapped. much superior moves. 21. Nb3 Bd7 10. b3 Ne4 11. Ba3 N|c2 20. personal communication. Nc3 d6 6.. And 21. Games 139–140 1. Ng5 Nf6 (see diagram) Why Breyer resigned at this point is quite unclear. Board 25 (of 25) Queen’s Pawn Game D00 1. . They were brothers and Albert was one of America’s best players in the 1920s. N|e4 d|e4 12. 2. Q|a7 The move 17. Q|g2 9.]* 140 139 G. . With 21.. Ke3 Kd7 35. 13. 2001.. The remaining moves are unavailable but Black eventually resigned on move 47.. e|f5 e|f5 19. J. d4 d5 2.. (1989). h3 Bh5 8. 1–0 [Lopez. Bd6 or Nd7. Qd2 Alekhine stated that this move was “inexact” and that 12.. Q|a8+ Ke7 17.. Nd5! Alekhine con- *The authors have tried as best they could to resolve discrepancies between these two general sources. Breyer–Jindra Kaschau..

Q|e7 12. . In his book On the Road to the World Championship 1923–1927 Alekhine gives the next few moves as 22. Qb4+ here (or on the previous move) to exchange queens after White’s answer Qd2. N|e7+ would lead to material gain on Alekhine’s part. Ne6! Now mate or loss of Black’s queen cannot be stopped. Rc1 c6 8. 22.. .. Nf3 0–0 7.. Rh4 Alekhine thought this a hasty move on his part and made it because he was sure he had a won game that did not require much thinking.. Rad1 Rd8 26. .Re8. h5 Nh8 27. 11. . f6 23... Nf5 Qf6 24. Kf7 31.. e3 Nbd7 6.. B|g2+ 43. he chooses to keep the bishop “imprisoned” on the kingside and to make the square f4 more available for his own pieces.... B|c4 Nd5 11. Bd3 h6 9.... . .256 Part III. 31. Nf5 follows with a very strong attack.. Bh4 d|c4 10. . . 42. h5? Rh4. Black is considered to have an even game after that.. . Qc5+ 32.. Kh1 Bh5 33. Ne7+ Kg7 31. .. . 19. Board ? (of 26) Queen’s Gambit Declined D66 1. . B|e7 Alekhine comments that in a serious regular game he would certainly have played 11. Re2 20. Kh2 Black resigned here.. Qh6 would have been met by the move 35. 38. Qc3 Kg8 39. N|h6+ White is now a pawn 141 .. Re1 Qd6 17. Kg8 then 38. Monsky New York. Re6 would win anyway.” Besides.. h3! B|f3 19. Qf2 Be4 41.. Nf4 An ideal square for the knight and threatening Ne6+. Rf1 Re4 29. 20.. b3 b6 25. . as well as Skinner & Verhoeven (1998). 0–0 e|d4 15. The same position is reached by the 27th move in either case. as is 21. . Qh6 is overwhelming.. Nf4 Qb7 Allowing a quick win but after 41. Ne4 N5f6 13. Rfe1 f6 At this point the two variants of the game score are back on the same track. . h4 Playing 31. Qf4 Bg6 After 20.. f|g6 31.. Nd4 is very powerful. b3 Qf8 25.. d5 or . Rc2 Qa3 22.. N|e7 28... c4 Qf8 24. Alekhine does not mention the alternatives 41. Qb7 {DPDwDwDw} {PDwDw!PD} {DwDwDRDK} vllllllllV A. Re5 After the immediate 20. Rfe1 Re5 but the New York chess editor Hermann Helms. . Kh8 44. . Re7 or Re4 is to White’s advantage. c4 e6 3. Kg8 29. Nf5 Black has Qf4.. Game 141 sidered this his best move in the game. Rd|f5 Bg6 37.. e5 14. e|d4 Nb6 16. h5 The alternative 35.. . (see diagram) 42. Q|f4 N|f4 23. Rce1 Kh7 25. which may hold the game for Black. . page 229] cuuuuuuuuC {wDw4wDkD} {0qDwDwDp} {w0w0w$wD} {DwDwDwDw} After {wDPDbHrD} 41. Rg4 g5 30. Bb3 Bg4 18.. Q|d4+ There is a problem with the game score from here until the twenty-seventh move. Bg6 35. he wanted to try out a new idea of his.. Qe7 28.. A likely finish is 43.. since he is believed to have annotated various games blindfolded. Re7 was better. Qc3 Qe5 30. Qe4. 1924. d4 d5 2. R|f5 and regaining his sacrificed pawn. If then Black plays 28. Q|d4 20. Instead of playing 19. Bc2 Nd5 28. 30. Rd5 Qc8 34.. Re5 23.. 13. Alekhine’s chess games.. Qa8 42.. Re2 Nf4 But if now 21. R|f6+ Kg7 If instead 37. h4 Nb6 26. 27.. Nd7 21. However. Qd2 is better) 21.. 21. Q|f8+ Rg8 46. Ng3 Many masters would now play 13.. 34. without an actual score or board in front of him. . introduced on his next move.. Bg3 but in blindfold play “it is worth seeking to simplify the position. . Qf4 then 22. .. If then 20.. . 22. April 27.. 1–0 [Skinner & Verhoeven (1998).. On later thought he became convinced that 28. Qg3 Rg4 40. Ne3.. R|c2 21... B|h5 36. give the game’s score as shown below.. Q|b2 (20. B|f7+ wins Black’s queen. and later used by him in the world championship match he won from Capablanca in 1927. Alekhine–M. . Rad1 Rd8 26. Re4 Ng6 23. It is possible that Alekhine recalled the game from memory and mixed up the order of moves. Qe2 Rg5 43. h|g6 Even stronger would have been 30. . 28.. 35. Kg8 36. . c4 b6 24. Qc1 Alekhine states that Black’s last few moves may seem “aggressive” but they have “achieved nothing” because he still possesses crippled pawns and an incarcerated bishop. Nd4 N|d4 22. Rf8+ R|f8 45. Q|f3 Nbd5 After 19. . Bg5 Be7 5. Nc3 Nf6 4. 30.. Nh3 Preparing for the queen to travel to h6. Rd5 just before this move would have been more efficient in ending the game quickly. 20. Q|g8+ followed by mate. 27..

page 229] 257 cuuuuuuuuC {wDwDwDw4} {0rhwiw0w} {wDw0B1wD} {!p0w0PDp} After {wDPDwDwD} 29. . Be6 Rb7 28. e4 e5 2. ... Bc4 b5 27. Nf3 Nc6 4. R|d6! Na8 Of course if 30. Nf5+ Kh7 33. Kh6 54. Qf7+ Kg5 53. Alekhine’s chess games. Qh6 Rf7 35. Studying the game afterwards he could not explain to himself why he did not make this move. but. 19. Nc7 {DwDwDwDP} {P)wDwDPD} {DwDRDRDK} vllllllllV 40. Bd3 Qf6+ 10. 1–0 [Skinner & Verhoeven (1998). . Q|c5+ Ke8 38. 40. R|d7+ R|d7 35. 0–0 B|c3 So far Black has made the right moves. page 229] 142 A. . especially against Alekhine! 16.... especially in a very complicated blindfold contest and facing 25 other opponents. Rd7+ N|d7 34. Qg5 41. e|f5 Qf6 26. Q|b5 Rc7 33. Kg1 Q|d4+ 11. Kf4 55. Kh2 Qf4+ 44. Alekhine–A. Rf1 Be6 9. 1924. Nf6 is even better. Qc8+ Ke7 37... c|d4 Bb4+ 6. Board ? (of 26) Danish Gambit C21 (Notes by Alekhine.. Qa5 Nc7 (see diagram) 30. Games 142–143 ahead and his attack remains undiminished. d4 Ng6 7. d4 e|d4 3. 1924. Be4 Alekhine says any experienced player in a regular game would play 37. Alekhine–A. 54... .. h3 h5 14. Qe1 Really a nice move. is not good. Q|e4+ followed by c6 would win soon. Q|h8 Alekhine had hesitated playing to win this rook because Black’s next move seems to give him excellent chances for a draw by perpetual check—with White’s queen so far from the main battleground. . Kg3 Qc3+ 47. Qf8+ Kg6 50.. Ne6 The move 38. h4+ Kg4? If Black played 53. Good also would have been 31. from My Best Games of Chess.. 41. Nh5 would cause White more problems.. e4 e5 2. Q|f6 After 41. Q|e6 Despite Alekhine’s self-critical remarks. 54. Rd1+ Ke7 32. . April 27.Kf6 or Kh6 would keep the game a better fight. e|d5. Nc7 38. 42. 0–0 was probably superior to posting the king in the center. . but this exchange is wrong as it strengthens White’s center.. Qg5 checkmate. Qd2 Rf8 37.. Qe8+ Kf6 49.. Nb6 32. B|e5 d|e5 22. .. 10.. Kh1 c6 12... pages 250–251) 1. Q|h5 Qf1+ 43. 52. Qf4+ Kh7 55. Bf5! Rhf7 42. 31. 20. permitting Black to obtain an even game 4. N|e5 B|f2+ 5. b|c3 b6 This. Re5 Rh7 36. 38. Berman New York.. Black fought hard..Part III.. Qc4 Re8 40. Qd2+ 31. Qb4 Rd7 23. e|d5 Q|d5 But here 4. . 1924–1937. Qe2 Nf6 13. . Nd6 Ree7 41. Bh2 Qg5 17. B|e5 f|e5 24. Qc8+ Ke7 143 A. Nf3 Nf6 8.. Nd4 Rd8 22. Qg6+ Finally White has a forced win. Kg1 Qc1+ 45. 31.” 37. 39. f6 21.. because the . . 15.. Kh2 K|e6 48.. K|e6 42. Qc2 Finally realizing the importance of the a2–g8 diagonal and preparing his queen to go there. 5. Alekhine’s chess games. Qg3 with a probably winning endgame. Frieman New York. K|f2 N|e5 6. f6+ A flashy move but either 41.. Ne2 Perhaps Alekhine did not realize the strength of 20. a very fine game on his part. Bg1 Ke7 15. Board ? (of 26) Vienna Game (Irregular) C46 1. Bb3.. Qh3+ Kg8 34. Nd5+ c|d5 21. Bc4 d6 8. Nf5+ B|f5 25. Qe8+ Kf5 The moves . N|f7 R|f7 43. April 27.. also. Correct was Qa5. .. Nc3 Bc5 3.. c4 c5 29. Nc3 Nc6 7. On 41. Qa8 or Bd5 are simpler and would allow White to escape perpetual check by enabling the queen or bishop to return to g2 after White eventually plays g3. Re8 was the best chance to defend his position for a while.. c3 d5 Doubtless the best defense. Rd7+ would give White an excellent game. He declared that “apparently blindfold play is a law unto itself. Kh2 Qf4+ 44. Ne8 20. Q|d7+ Kf8 36. Be2 0–0 9. Qc6+ Kf8 39.. Be3 Qe5 14. Rad1 Ne5 18. Rfd1 Obviously White now has a winning position. 1–0 [Skinner & Verhoeven (1998). Q|g7 Qc1+ 43. Bd5 would be the appropriate answer.. Kg7 32. Bf4 Qg6 19. g|f6 42. pinning the knight. .. . K|d6 31... allowing the knight to return to e2 and thence to f4 or d4 and also permitting White’s queen to enter on the queenside.. c5 e4 51. . Kf2 Q|b2+ 46. . .

. N|e1+ 36. In his book Alekhine apparently substituted a prettier finish than actually occurred. Re8 so as to be able to answer Bh6 with Bh8. In a regular game he believes he would have certainly strengthened his central position first by 12. . Board ? (of 26) Sicilian Defense B38 1. Ng6 19. Qe3 Qd6 25. c4 The so-called “Maróczy Bind. Nf5 38.. Nb5 B|b5 22... Re5 or . Qd4 Q|d4 32. Kf2 Nc2 37.. 36.. . c4 Qd8 12.. 13. Bh6 B|h6 19. 33. 23. 14. After 37. and in Alekhine’s opinion 23. 33. Black now has the worst of it. Qg5 Threatening 19. . .. Qd8 mate. Nf3 g6 3. 0–0 a6 12... b4 a|b4 27. Re8 and mate follows. N|d5 13. Bd3 Alekhine considers the position drawish.. g3 Qb6+ 30. Be2 Bd7 9. 16. f4? Alekhine labels this move a blunder due to his planning a flawed combination. . Qd2 a5 15. a|b4 Nd7 28.. R|h2+ 34.” to prevent this bishop from hindering the action of his other pieces in the center. Nc3 Nf6 8. Bf1 was more “logical. but notes that Black could play 37. Rb2. .. 17. B|f6 or Ne7+. pages 229–230] indicate that the game ended as given above. b6 Nc6 Hoping for 38. 1–0 144 A. Qc3 Rh5 29.Rh5). Bb2 Simpler was 14..S.. Ne6! 18. f3 0–0 10. .. c6 15. 19. B|b7 R|b7 22. Better was 10. Rfe1 Na6 16.. . He had counted on 35.. Qd7 17. He recommends 33... Rcd1 Qc7 Alekhine thinks Steiner could have taken advantage of his dawdling by now playing 17.. 16. Now he has the White pawns will now advance with a win of both time and space. N|d4 Bg7 5... 2. f4 and Rcd1 are also good moves. Rc8! in this variation. . .. c|d5.. . Alekhine states that this move is “quite alien to my usual style” and represents his general tendency to simplify games in blindfold play. . e|d5 Of course not 13. Qh6 Qf8 24... Kg1 Nf3 checkmate.. Nf5 After this the attack can hardly be parried. d|e6 f|e6 21. Nf3+ 35. 21. In this game his opponent was Herman Steiner (1905–1955) who played on four U.... Game 144 Teams starting in 1928 and was U.. a3 Re8 26. R|f8+ K|f8 26. d4 c|d4 4. Nh6+ Q|h6 25.258 Part III. Re1 Re8 Instead 16. 14.. Rc1 Rf7 37.Kf7 are better moves.. Still. Re8+ Nf8 24. e4 c5 Alekhine later said that the opposition in this blindfold display was the strongest he ever had to encounter in such an event. Rd2 N|b4 38. threatening both 22. B|f6 uuuuuuuuC {wDw1wDkD} {0rDwDp0p} {w0wDwGnD} After {DwDwDN!w} 22. exchanging all the pieces on d4 would have led to a fairly equal position. not uncommon for him!) 23. Be2 as ensuring a won endgame. . . 1924. . Nc6 6. avoiding the exchange of an important defensive piece. Qd2 followed by Rfd1.. Nd5 In his comments on this game (from his book On the Road to the World Championship 1923–1927). h6 then 21. B|f6 {wDpDwDwD} {DwDwDwDw} {PDwDw)P)} {DwDw$wIw} llllllllV 22. Olympic .S. Qd2 Rb8 18. Bf3! c|d5 16. R|e1+ 20. Nb8 Instead.. which he also had not foreseen. White’s next threat is the simple 20. 11.. whereupon he announced mate in four moves: 23. 18. the threat is obvious (. and that Alekhine gave an unimportant but different move sequence on moves 8–10. Bg5.. g|f6 (Authors’ note: According to Alekhine. Qf4 would likely have led to a draw. . Kg2 N|d4 This is basically what Alekhine overlooked or misjudged.. Champion in 1948. d5 Ne7 13. the idea of sacrificing the central pawn in order to increase the advantage in development was rather tempting.. 13.. R|e1 d|c4 If 20. Kg2 Rf8 31.. Nc5 17.. April 27. Qg3... . Black now played Q|f6. However. Be3 d6 7. but Alekhine falters now. . N|d4. b5 to reduce the power of White’s bishop. . 12. Bf3 or 14. reliable sources [see Skinner & Verhoeven (1998). .. c|b5 d5 23. R|d4 Ne5 Probably 32. 24.. K|h2 (There is a pretty mate after 34. c|d5 when Black emerges a piece ahead after 13. Q|h6 e5 20. Alekhine–H. etc. Nb5! was certainly not better. Nd4 Preventing an effective development of the Black bishop on the diagonal h3– c8. Bf1 “At last!” Alekhine remarks. 5. Bb7 14. Rc1 Rc8 11. Steiner New York.) 34. .. Bg4. b3 Alekhine criticizes his own move and thinks 16. Rf5 This rook is not well posted. .” not feared very much today.

Part III. Games 145–147
chance for a nice series of moves that will be well known to admirers of Alekhine’s regular and blindfold play.


uuuuuuuuC {wDwDwDkD} {DpDwDrDp} {w)nDpDpD} After {DwDpDwDw} 37. ... Nc6 {w)wDw)wD} {DwDwDw)w} {wDwDwDKD} {Dw$wDBDw} llllllllV
38. Ba6!! The two exclamation marks are Alekhine’s, probably because the move is stronger than it appears at first. We would assign it only one exclamation mark; is that being stingy? 38. ... N|b4? Most other knight moves also clearly lose. The moves ...Nb8 or Nd4 are answered by the same move as White played next and after ...Nd8 39. Rc8 Rf8 40. b5!! (two more exclamation marks from Alekhine) White still wins, according to Alekhine. But in this variation 40. ... Kf7 or Kg7 may save Black. At any rate Steiner should have played 38. ... Nd8 and the move he played definitely loses. 39. B|b7 Re7 And not 39. ... R|b7 whereupon 40. Rc8+ followed by 41. Rc7+ wins immediately. 40. Bc8 Kf7 41. b7 Na6 42. Ra1 Nb8 43. Ra8 Nc6 44. b8Q N|b8 45. R|b8 In the hands (“vision”?) of a grandmaster and fine blindfold player the rest of this game, in such a simple position, is a cakewalk. 45. ... Kf6 46. Kf3 h6 47. Rb6 g5 48. f|g5+ h|g5 49. Kg4 Re8 50. Bb7 Re7 51. Bc6 d4 52. Be4 Ke5 53. Bd3 Rc7 54. Rb5+ Kf6 55. Kf3 Rc1 56. Rb1 Rc3 57. Rd1 Ke5 58. Kg4 Kd5 59. K|g5 e5 60. Kf5 R|d3 61. R|d3 e4 62. Rd1 d3 63. Kf4 Kd4 64. Ra1 d2 65. Ra8 A game to remember, despite its (relatively minor) flaws. 1–0 [Skinner & Verhoeven (1998), Alekhine’s chess games, page 230]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 d6 4. d4 e|d4 5. N|d4 Bd7 6. Nc3 Nf6 6. ... g6 is a possible alternative. 7. B|c6 b|c6 8. Qf3 Be7 8. ... Rb8 is advisable here so that Black can later play 11. ... Qd7. 9. e5! Black is already in some trouble. 9. ... d|e5 9. ... Nd5 looks strange but gives Black better chances. 10. N|c6 B|c6 11. Q|c6+ Nd7 Unfortunately, Black ought to play the ugly move 11. ... Kf8 instead. 12. 0–0 0–0 Losing a vital center pawn, but Black is cramped and has the inferior position. 13. Rd1 Bd6 14. Nb5 Qe7 15. N|d6 c|d6 16. Q|d6 Q|d6 17. R|d6 Nf6 18. Be3 Rfc8 19. c3 Rcb8 20. Rd2 Rb7 21. Rad1 h6 22. Rd8+ R|d8 23. R|d8+ Kh7 24. b3 Ne4 25. c4 Nc3 26. Rd2 f5 27. Rc2 Rd7? 28. g4 Rd3 29. g|f5 Black resigned here, probably the best move since Alekhine is two pawns ahead and Black has no counterplay. 1–0 [Skinner & Verhoeven (1998), Alekhine’s chess games, page 231]


A. Alekhine–Les Échecs du Palais Royal (II) Paris, February 1, 1925, Board 2 (of 28) Ruy Lopez C64

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Bc5 4. c3 Nge7 5. d4 e|d4 6. c|d4 Bb4+ 7. Bd2 B|d2+ 8. Q|d2 d5 9. e|d5 N|d5 10. B|c6+ b|c6 11. 0–0 0–0 12. Nc3 Be6 13. Ne4 f6 14. Rac1 Ne7 15. Nc5 B|a2 Falling into one of the most elementary traps that all serious players should be aware of. 15. ... Bd5 would leave Black with a reasonable but still inferior game. 16. b3 Now the bishop is of course lost by force. 16. ... B|b3 17. N|b3 Qd5 18. Nc5 Rfd8 19. Rfe1 Nf5 20. Ne6 Not only does White threaten N|c7 and N|d8 but also Rc5. Time for Black to surrender. 1–0 [Skinner & Verhoeven (1998), Alekhine’s chess games, page 231]



A. Alekhine–Les Échecs du Palais Royal (I) Paris, February 1, 1925, Board 1 (of 28) Ruy Lopez C62

A. Alekhine–Les Échecs du Palais Royal (III) Paris, February 1, 1925, Board 3 (of 28) Alekhine’s Defense B02

(Notes by Alekhine, from My Best Games of Chess, 1924–1937, pages 251–252; there Alekhine


Part III. Games 148–149
21. Q|d6+ K|d6 22. Ne4+ with a win of a pawn and a long endgame to follow. 20. ... Qd8 Also after 20. ... Qd7 the answer 21. Re|e6+ would have won easily: for instance, 21. ... f|e6 22. R|e6+ Kd8 23. Re7 Qd6 24. Qd2 a5 25. R|g7 h6 26. Rg6! Qd7 27. Qf4, etc. 21. Re|e6+ f|e6 22. R|e6+ Kf7 23. Re7+ Q|e7 Or 23. ... Kg8 24. Qg4 winning immediately. 24. N|e7 K|e7 25. Qe2+ Kf7 26. Qh5+ A little finesse: White not only wins a pawn but also forces the king to remain in the center. 26. ... Kf6 27. Q|c5 Rhd8 (Authors’ note: Skinner and Verhoeven give Rhe8 as the move played here; it does not matter as White wins anyway.) 28. g4 Threatening Qf5+ and thus winning a third pawn. 1–0

gives his opponent’s name as P. Potemkin, but the Skinner & Verhoeven (1998) collection of Alekhine’s games states that he was mostly facing teams of opponents from chess groups in Paris. It is possible that Potemkin, a well-known player, led the Palais Royal team or represented them as an individual.) 1. e4 Nf6 2. Nc3 d5 3. e|d5 N|d5 4. Bc4 Nb6 White’s treatment of the opening was by no means a refutation of the defense adopted by Black. Besides the move in text the second player could also answer simply 4. ... N|c3 with excellent prospects; if in that case 5. Qf3 then 5. ... e6 6. Q|c3 Nc6 7. Nf3 Qf6! 8. Q|f6 g|f6 9. d4 Rg8, followed by Bd7 and 0–0–0 etc. 5. Bb3 c5 6. d3 Nc6 7. Nf3 Na5 Black overestimates the value of his pair of bishops. Indicated was 7. ... e6 followed by Be7 and 0–0 with a fairly good game. 8. Ne5! N|b3 If 8. ... e6 then 9. Qf3 with advantage. 9. a|b3 Nd7 Slightly better was 9. ... Be6 followed by g6, etc. 10. Nc4! Nb6 Equally unsatisfactory would be 10. ... e6 11. Nb5 (threatening 12. Bf4) or 10. ... e5 11. Qe2!. But by playing 10. ... g6 11. Qe2 (threatening mate) Bg7 12. Bf4 a6 13. Nd5 Kf8 Black would still keep some chances of consolidating his position. 11. Bf4 Nd5 Instead 11. ... a6 12. 0–0 e6 would parry immediate threats, but the position would still remain compromised. After the move made there will be practically no salvation for Black. 12. N|d5 Q|d5 13. 0–0 Threatening now 14. Nb6. 13. ... b5 14. Ne3 Qc6 15. d4! e6 If instead 15. ... Bb7 then simply 16. Re1 16. d5 e|d5 17. N|d5 Also 17. Q|d5 was extremely effective. 17. ... Bd6 18. Re1+ And not Nf6+, Ke7. 18. ... Be6 19. B|d6 Simpler than the perhaps even more precise moves 19. Qf3 Rc8 20. R|a7, etc. 19. ... Q|d6

A. Alekhine–Versaillais & La Stratégie Paris, February 1, 1925, Board 4 (of 28) Vienna Game (Irregular) C25
1. e4 e5 2. Nc3 Bc5 3. Nf3 d6 4. d4 e|d4 5. N|d4 Nf6 6. Be2 0–0 7. 0–0 Be6 8. Be3 B|d4 9. B|d4 Nc6 10. Be3 Qe7 11. f4? Rad8 Black could now have played 11. ... N|e4 12. N|e4 Bf5, regaining his piece with the better game. Apparently Black saw the idea only on his next move. 12. Qe1 N|e4 13. f5 Bc8 14. Nd5 Qe5 15. N|c7 B|f5 16. Bf4 Qc5+ 17. Kh1 Bg6 Either 17. ... Nb4 or Q|c2 is much stronger. 18. Nb5 Alekhine must have been pleased that Black agreed to a draw here. After either of the alternative moves mentioned after Black’s last move, Alekhine would have had much the worst of the position. He rarely accepted a draw in blindfold displays unless he was clearly losing or the game had reached a position where neither side had any realistic chance to win. ∂–∂ [Skinner & Verhoeven (1998), Alekhine’s chess games, pages 231– 232]


uuuuuuuuC {rDwDkDw4} {0wDwDp0p} {wDw1bDwD} After {Dp0NDwDw} 19. ... Q|d6 {wDwDwDwD} {DPDwDwDw} {w)PDw)P)} {$wDQ$wIw} llllllllV
20. Ra6! The combination initiated by this move wins more quickly than the prosaic 20. Nf6+ Ke7


A. Alekhine–Cercle de Montmartre (I) Paris, February 1, 1925, Board 5 (of 28) King’s Gambit C37

1. e4 e5 2. f4 e|f4 3. Nf3 g5 4. d4 Bg7 5. Bc4 h6 6. c3 Ne7 7. g3 g4 8. B|f4 g|f3 9. Q|f3 Typical of many variations occurring

Part III. Games 150–151
in the 3. ... g5 lines of the King’s Gambit. White sacrifices a piece for a pawn or two, quick development, the weakening of Black’s pawn structure, an open f-file, and strong attacking possibilities against his opponent’s kingside. 9. ... d5 10. e|d5 Nf5 Black needs to bring some other pieces into the game instead of moving this one again. 10. ... Bf5 or ...0–0 was better. 11. 0–0 0–0 12. Nd2 a6 13. Bd3 Nd6 14. Qh5 f5 14. ... Qd7 followed if possible by Qh3 or Qg4 was preferable. 15. B|h6 B|h6 16. Q|h6 Already three pawns for the sacrificed piece. 16. ... Qf6 17. Qh5 Rf7 18. Nc4 Rh7 19. Qf3 N|c4 20. B|c4 Kg7 21. Rae1 Rh8 22. Qf4 Qd6 22. ... Qd8 offered weak but some chances to hold the game. Now White wins by force. 23. Qg5+


forces put up very weak opposition and were fighting for a lost cause after the first dozen moves. Alekhine handled the mopping-up operation efficiently and unerringly, although he had many different ways to win. 1–0 [Skinner & Verhoeven (1998), Alekhine’s chess games, page 232]


A. Alekhine–Cercle de Montmartre (III) Paris, February 1, 1925, Board 7 (of 28) Sicilian Defense B62

cuuuuuuuuC {rhbDwDw4} cuuuuuuuuC {Dp0wDwiw} {wDr4nDkD} {pDw1wDwD} {DwDwhp0p} After {DwDPDp!w} {p1bDpDwD} 23. Qg5+ {wDB)wDwD} {DpDw)wDw} After {Dw)wDw)w} {wDwHwDwD} 19. ... Qb6 {P)wDwDw)} {)wHwDBDw} {DwDw$RIw} {w)PDQDP)} vllllllllV {DwDRDRIw} 23. ... Kf7 After 23. ... Kf8 White can win in several ways, for example, by 24. R|f5+ or vllllllllV
Bd3 or even Re6. 24. Re7+ Now Black must resign or succumb to 24. ... Kf8 25. Qg7 checkmate or to the prettier 24. ... Q|e7 25. d6+. 1–0 [Skinner & Verhoeven (1998), Alekhine’s chess games, page 232]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 c|d4 4. N|d4 Nf6 5. Nc3 d6 6. Bg5 e6 7. Bb5 Bd7 8. 0–0 Be7 9. Nb3 a6 10. Be2 Qc7 11. f4 0–0 12. Bf3 Rac8 13. Qe2 Rfd8 14. Rad1 b5 15. a3 Ne8 16. B|e7 N|e7 17. e5 Bc6 18. Nd4 d|e5 19. f|e5 Qb6

A. Alekhine–Cercle de Montmartre (II) Paris, February 1, 1925, Board 6 (of 28) Irregular King’s Pawn Game C00
1. e4 e6 2. d4 d6 3. Nf3 g6 4. Nc3 Ne7 5. Bg5 Nd7 6. Qd2 Bg7 7. Bh6 0–0 8. h4 b6 9. h5 Nf6 10. h|g6 f|g6 11. B|g7 K|g7 12. Qh6+ Kf7 13. e5 Nf5 14. Qh2 Nd5 15. Q|h7+ Ke8 16. Q|g6+ Kd7 17. Rh7+ Nde7 18. d5 e|d5 19. N|d5 Kc6 20. N|e7+ N|e7 21. Qg5 Re8 22. 0–0–0 Kb7 23. e|d6 c|d6 24. Re1 The Black


20. Kh1?? This game was one of only three losses that Alekhine suffered in his 1925 Paris blindfold display. On Board 11 he simply forgot that Black’s queen had moved from its original square to d6 and he made a capture that cost him his queen for only a pawn, after which he had to resign immediately; on Board 13 he had actually been outplayed and was in an inferior position when he overlooked that his rook was attacked by a knight, probably because he forgot where he had moved the rook a couple of moves before. He played on for another seven moves before abandoning his lost endgame; and here he apparently forgot that Black’s bishop had moved from d7 to c6 and that there was now a double threat on his d4 knight. By playing 20. Qe3 or Qf2 he could have maintained a playable game, although Black may possess a slightly superior position. (An interesting, complex possibility was 20. Bh5!? Nf5 21. Qf2 or


Part III. Games 152–154
Q|f6? 8. N|d5 Qd6 9. e4 b5 10. a4 Bb7 11. a|b5 B|d5 12. e|d5 Q|d5 13. Qa4 Qe4+ 14. Be2 Be7 15. b6+ Nc6 16. Ne5 Bb4+ 17. Kf1 0–0 18. N|c6 Alekhine’s last move is not the best but his opponent resigned anyway. Various 18th moves of White such as Bf3, f3, or Q|c6 all leave Black with a completely hopeless game. Now Black is still lost but can resist a while by playing either 18. ... Rfe8 or ...a|b6. In the latter case after 19. Q|a8 R|a8 20. R|a8+ Bf8 21. Bf3 Qd3+ 22. Ke1 White escapes perpetual check and wins. This would also happen after 21. ... Qb1+ 22. Ke2; of course Black cannot play 22. ... Q|h1 because of 23. Ne7+ followed by mate. One wonders whether Alekhine analyzed all this out and, in any event, why he did not choose one of the simpler ways to win. 1–0 [Skinner & Verhoeven (1998), Alekhine’s chess games, page 232]

20. ... g6. 21. Qf2.) Here, only a minor piece behind after his blunder, he also did not resign but fought on, to no avail. So we conclude that his losses were primarily due to serious memory errors and not to poor play on his part. He stated that “even the most talented expert will have lapses of memory when tackling a large number of blindfold games.” But, unlike other such champions, Alekhine was seldom simply outplayed. 20. ... R|d4 21. R|d4 Q|d4 22. B|c6 N|c6 23. Ne4 Q|e5 24. Qf3 Qf5 25. Qe2 Qg6 26. c3 Ne5 27. h3 f5 28. Nd2 Qf6 29. a4 Nd6 30. a|b5 a|b5 31. Re1 Ndc4 32. N|c4 N|c4 33. b3 Na5 34. Q|b5 Q|c3 35. R|e6 Qc1+ 36. Kh2 Qf4+ 37. Kh1 Rc1+ Probably embarrassing for Alekhine, especially in the sense that he should have resigned before he was about to be checkmated. 0–1 [Skinner & Verhoeven (1998), Alekhine’s chess games, page 232]

A. Alekhine– Échiquier Elbeuvien Paris, February 1, 1925, Board 8 (of 28) Queen’s Gambit Declined D52
1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 Nbd7 5. e3 c6 6. Nf3 Qa5 The Cambridge Springs Defense. 7. c|d5 e|d5 7. ... N|d5 is the standard move here. 8. Bd3 Ne4 9. 0–0 h6 10. Bf4 N|c3 11. b|c3 Q|c3 12. e4 Qa5? Wasting time. Better was 12. ... d|e4 or ...Nf6. 13. e|d5 c|d5 14. Re1+ Ne5 Black might as well resign if this move has to be played. Of course 14. ... Be7 would lose to 15. Bd6. 14. ... Kd8 was the only try but after White’s 15. Rc1 his attack becomes irresistible. 15. N|e5 Be6 16. N|f7 Unnecessary but playful and sound. 16. ... K|f7 17. Qf3 17. Qh5+ was even stronger. 17. ... Qd8? 18. Bg5+. Very poor play by Black. 1–0 [Skinner & Verhoeven (1998), Alekhine’s chess games, page 232]



A. Alekhine–Section Italienne Comité Militaire Interalliée Paris, February 1, 1925, Board 10 (of 28) French Defense C01


A. Alekhine–Cercle des Échecs de Rouen Paris, February 1, 1925, Board 9 (of 28) Queen’s Gambit Declined (Tarrasch Defense) D32

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 c5 4. c|d5 e|d5 5. Nf3 Nf6 6. Bg5 c4 7. B|f6

1. d4 e6 2. e4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e|d5 e|d5 5. Bg5 Be7 6. Bd3 Nc6 7. Nge2 Be6 8. f4 Ng4 9. B|e7 N|e7 10. Qd2 f5 11. Ng3 Nf6 12. 0–0–0 Ne4 13. B|e4 f|e4 14. h3 c6 15. Rdf1 g6 16. Nd1 Qc7 17. Ne2 0–0–0 18. Ne3 Rhf8 19. Kb1 Kb8 20. Rc1 Qd7 21. Rhf1 c5 The position is fairly equal and, by playing safe with “maneuvers” on his own side of the board, Black ought to be able to achieve a draw. But this move proposes to open up the position and the play becomes riskier for both players and more exciting for the reader. 22. d|c5 If White wanted to play safely he would have answered with 22. c3. Then Black could close the position if he wanted to by 22. ... c4 and a draw would probably be the game’s outcome. 22. ... d4 Black’s hope was that his two powerful advanced pawns and good posts for his pieces would be to his advantage. 23. Ng4 Qa4? Black hoped to weaken the dark squares around the White king by forcing b3, since 24. a3 would be answered by 24. ... Qc4, regaining the pawn on c5 immediately with a strong position. But Black should have played 23. ... Qd5, also forcing the answer 24. b3, followed by 24. ... e3 with a

Part III. Games 155–157
good position. Alekhine’s next few moves reveal that now it is he who has the better chances. 24. b3 Qd7 25. Ne5 Qd5 26. Rfd1 Q|c5 27. N|d4 Nd5? A bad tactical error. Black had to play either 27. ... Bg8 or ...Bc8 and accept the worse position. Alekhine now shows the depth of his tactical foresight. The remaining moves of the game are pretty well forced. 28. N|e6 Nc3+ 29. Ka1 R|d2 30. N|c5 R|d1 31. R|d1 N|d1 32. Ncd7+ The key move, which White must have anticipated at least five moves ago. Alekhine emerges a knight ahead and can easily stop Black’s passed king’s pawn. A good fight, where Black was not afraid to open up a closed and drawish position. 1–0 [Skinner & Verhoeven (1998), Alekhine’s chess games, page 232]


23. Q|d5?? Probably the biggest one-move blunder ever made in a world record–setting blindfold display. As noted, Alekhine must simply have forgotten that Black had moved his queen to d6 on his 13th move. If Black’s queen were still at d8,White would have obtained the superior position by this capture. 23. ... Q|d5 Alekhine’s blunder is the kind you would expect to see in players who are just beginning to try blindfold chess and perhaps facing only one or two opponents at once, not 28! 0–1 [Skinner & Verhoeven (1998), Alekhine’s chess games, page 232]


A. Alekhine–École Polytechnique Paris Paris, February 1, 1925, Board 11 (of 28) Queen’s Pawn Game D05
1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. e3 e6 4. Nc3 c5 5. d|c5 B|c5 6. a3 0–0 7. b4 Be7 8. Bb2 a6 9. h3 Nc6 10. Be2 b5 11. 0–0 Bb7 12. Nb1 Not really a “retreat” but a way of placing the knight soon on a more effective square, b3. By opening the bishop’s diagonal, the move also helps stop Black from playing e5. 12. ... Rc8 13. Nbd2 Qd6 14. Nb3 Nd7 15. Nfd4 Nce5 16. Na5 Ba8 17. a4 Nc4 18. N|c4 b|c4 19. b5 Rfe8 20. Bc3 e5 21. Nc6? Throwing away a pawn for nothing. At this point Alekhine must have falsely believed Black’s queen had never moved and still remained on d8. This becomes obvious in his choice of a 23rd move, but probably also influenced his selection of some previous moves. 21. ... B|c6 22. b|c6 R|c6


A. Alekhine–Groupe de Joueurs Isolés (I) Paris, February 1, 1925, Board 12 (of 28) Queen’s Pawn Game D02

1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 g6 3. c4 e6 4. Nc3 Nc6 5. h3 b6 6. c|d5 e|d5 7. e3 Nce7 8. Bd2 c6 9. Qc2 Bf5 10. Bd3 Nf6 11. B|f5 N|f5 12. 0–0 Bd6 13. Rae1 0–0 14. e4 N|e4 15. N|e4 d|e4 16. R|e4 Qd7 17. Rfe1 Rfe8 18. R|e8+ R|e8 19. R|e8+ Q|e8 This is one of the very few short draws that Alekhine ever agreed to in a blindfold display, but there is nothing much for either side to play for in the final position. ∂–∂ [Skinner & Verhoeven (1998), Alekhine’s chess games, page 232]


A. Alekhine–Échiquier Notre-Dame (I) Paris, February 1, 1925, Board 13 (of 28) Queen’s Pawn Game D00

uuuuuuuuC {wDwDrDkD} {DwDngp0p} {pDr1wDwD} After{DwDp0wDw} 22. ... R|c6{PDpDwDwD} {DwGw)wDP} {wDPDB)PD} {$wDQDRIw} llllllllV

1. d4 d5 2. e3 Nf6 3. Bd3 e6 4. f4 c5 5. c3 Bd7 6. Nd2 Nc6 7. Qf3 Rc8 8. Nh3 Qb6 9. Nf2 h5 10. 0–0 Be7 11. Kh1 Qc7 12. d|c5 B|c5 13. e4 B|f2 14. R|f2 Ng4 15. Re2 d4 16. Nb3 d|c3 17. b|c3 Ne7 18. Bd2 Not such a good square for this bishop. 18. c4, allowing the bishop to move to b2 or a3, was probably better. 18. ... Ng6 19. Nd4 19. e5 or c4 were preferable. Now Black begins to gain a small initiative. 19. ... e5 20. Nf5 Kf8 21. g3 Qc6 22. Rf1 Re8 23. c4 Kg8 24. Bb4 There is little point to this move; 24. Bc3 was better. e|f4 25. g|f4 B|f5 26. e|f5 Q|f3+ 27. R|f3 R|e2 28. B|e2


Part III. Games 158–159
is a good alternative. 14. a|b4 Sacrificing a pawn needlessly. 14. N|b4 or Rd1 seem preferable. 14. ... N|d5 15. c|d5 B|d5 16. Rd1 B|f3 17. e|f3 A surprise!—doubling pawns and blocking the g2 bishop. But it opens up the e-file and f4 will soon reassert the bishop’s power. 17. ... Qb6 Black begins to go wrong, here wasting time with queen moves. 17. ... a6 or simply ...Qd7 are more logical. 18. Be3 Qb5 19. f4 Nd8 20. Rd5 Qd7 21. b5 Rc8 22. Qd3 b6 23. Ra1 Rc7 24. f5 f6 There was no good reason to weaken the light squares surrounding Black’s king. 24. ... Re8 was better but Black has a passive position. 25. Rd4 Re8 26. Bd5+ Kh7? Permitting Alekhine a forced win, which he misses. 26. ... Kh8 was necessary but White still has a powerful attack. 27. Qe2? Instead, 27. Be6! wins immediately. Black loses his queen unless he sacrifices his rook by 27. ... Rc1+ to give the queen an escape square. Of course if Black were to play 27. ... N|e6 28. f|e6 with a winning discovered check. 27. … Rf8 28. Rg4 White’s attack remains virtually impossible to defend against. 28. ... Qe8 29. Rg6 Rh8 30. Qh5 Bf8 31. R|h6+ Winning Black’s queen on e8. Black had a satisfactory game until around move 17 when he started to drift into a very passive position. 1–0 [Skinner & Verhoeven (1998), Alekhine’s chess games, pages 232–233]

Nh4 29. Rb3 29. Ra3 was superior, leaving White with a satisfactory game. 29. ... N|f5 30. Be1 By playing 30. Bc5 White would be better positioned to defend against Black’s potential threats and should still be able to hold the position for a draw. But Alekhine seems to have been floundering the past few moves, as if he were losing track of the game—very rare for him. 30. ... Nd4

cuuuuuuuuC {wDwDwDk4} {0pDwDp0w} {wDwDwDwD} After {DwDwDwDp} 30. ... Nd4 {wDPhw)nD} {DRDwDwDw} {PDwDBDw)} {DwDwGwDK} vllllllllV
31. Bd3?? It is hard to explain why Alekhine forgot that his rook could now be captured. With 31. Rb2 he retains drawing chances. Now he is lost. 31. ... N|b3 32. a|b3 Rh6 33. Kg2 Rd6 34. Be4? Another blunder, losing a piece. Alekhine did not like to resign and continues to play on too long. 34. ... Re6 35. B|b7 Of course if 35. Kf3 then the answers ...Nf6 or ...N|h2+ win a bishop. 35. ... R|e1 36. c5 a5 37. c6 Re7 38. Kf3 N|h2+ A rook behind with no counterplay, Alekhine finally surrendered. This is one of the few Alekhine blindfold games in which he completely lost control at a crucial stage. 0–1 [Skinner & Verhoeven (1998), Alekhine’s chess games, page 232]


A. Alekhine–Cercle de la Rive Gauche (II) Paris, February 1, 1925, Board 15 (of 28) Caro-Kann Defense B13


A. Alekhine–Cercle de la Rive Gauche (I) Paris, February 1, 1925, Board 14 (of 28) English Opening A21

1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 c5 3. g3 Nc6 4. Bg2 Nf6 5. d3 h6 6. Nf3 Be7 7. 0–0 d6 8. a3 0–0 9. Rb1 Be6 10. b4 e4 11. d|e4 c|b4 If 11. ... B|c4 then 12. b|c5 would open threats on Black’s pawn on b7. 12. Nd5 N|e4 13. Qc2 Instead, 13. a|b4 is superior and maintains White’s advantage. 13. ... Nf6 13. ... Bf5

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e|d5 c|d5 4. c4 Today called the Panov-Botvinnk Attack. 4. ... Nc6 5. Nc3 Nf6 6. Bf4 Bf5 7. Nf3 e6 8. c5 Be7 9. Bd3 B|d3 10. Q|d3 0–0 11. 0–0 Nh5 12. Bd2 g6 Unnecessarily but not seriously weakening the dark squares around Black’s king. Better were ...Rc8, b6, or Qc7. 13. a3 a6 14. b4 Bf6 15. Rfe1 Re8 16. Rab1 Ng7 17. h3 Nf5 18. Ne2 b5 19. Rbc1 Qd7 20. Bc3 Reb8 21. Ng3 N|g3 22. f|g3 Qc7 23. g4 a5 24. g5 Bg7 25. Nh2 a|b4 26. a|b4 Ra3 Obviously threatening R|c3 followed by B|d4+. Alekhine does not prevent this because Black’s tactic will lead to the opportunity for White to invade

Part III. Games 160–161
Black’s dark squares—after his bishop on g7 is gone. But Alekhine seems to have overlooked the other threats mentioned in our next note. 27. Ng4 R|c3 Actually, Black would be better off playing ...N|b4 or B|d4+ than continuing with his planned “combination.” Both these moves, plus ...Qf4, would give Black the clearly superior game. 28. R|c3 B|d4+ 29. Kh1 B|c3 30. Q|c3 d4 31. Qf3 N|b4 32. Nh6+ Kf8 Black would be mated shortly after 32. ... Kg7 33. Qf6+ Kf8 34. R|e6. 33. R|e6 Re8 34. R|e8+ K|e8 35. Qe4+ Qe7 36. Q|d4 Q|g5 Instead, 36. ... Nc6 would give Black a good chance to advance his b-pawn soon. The course he chooses to follow gives him a difficult game to play against a grandmaster. But both players go astray as the game continues. 37. Q|b4 Q|h6 38. Q|b5+ Kd8 39. Qb6+ Kc8 40. Qc6+ Kd8 41. Qd6+ Kc8 42. Kh2 Qg5 43. c6 Qd8 44. Qf4 Alekhine would have been better off playing Qc5 or Qb4 and going for a draw. Black can now force the exchange of queens and a probable winning endgame. But these K and P endings are very hard to calculate when one has to move quickly (or even annotate slowly!). 44. ... Qc7 45. Kg3 Q|f4+?? Throwing away a likely win. 45. ... f6 would save a move for Black and should lead to victory. Now Alekhine turns the tables and has all the winning chances. 46. K|f4 f6 47. Ke4 Kc7 48. Kd5 f5 49. h4 h6?? Weakens the kingside pawns and loses for Black; 49. ... f4 would probably lead to a draw. 50. Ke6 f4 51. Kf6 g5 52. h|g5 h|g5 53. K|g5 K|c6 54. K|f4 Anyone familiar with K and P vs. K endgames knows how to win this position. So Black resigned. The game reveals how precisely one must play endings with only kings and pawns remaining. And how difficult it is. 1–0 [Skinner & Verhoeven (1998), Alekhine’s chess games, page 233]


11. Qd2 Ne7 12. Qg5 f6 13. Q|g6+ N|g6 14. d|c6 b|c6 15. Be3 White has emerged from the opening with a slight advantage but Black ought to be able to draw this bishops-ofopposite-color endgame. 15. ... 0–0 16. Rd1 Re8 17. Kd2 Bg4 18. Rde1 Ne5 19. Kc1 Nc4 20. Bc5 Re6 21. Rhf1 Rae8 22. b3 Nd6 23. B|d6 c|d6 No more bishops of opposite color, but still an equal game. 24. Kd2 Bh5 25. Rf5 Re5 26. R|e5 R|e5 27. b4 Bg6 28. a4 Kf7 29. Re3 Ke6 30. Kd3 f5 31. Kd4 f|e4 Alekhine has been taking risks to win and Black misses a great opportunity here. 31. ... c5+ 32. b|c5 d|c5+ 33. Kd3 f|e4+ 34. N|e4 Rg5! would have given Black winning chances because if White continues 35. g3 Ke5 is very strong. White would probably try 35. Kc3 R|g2 36. N|c5+ Kd6 37. N|a6 R|c2+ 38. Kb3 R|h2 39. a5 but then Black ought to win. 32. N|e4 h6 33. c4 B|e4? Black overlooks his last chance to win, by 33. ... a5! Now Alekhine can hold the game and soon achieves the better position as well. 34. R|e4 R|e4+ 35. K|e4 Kd7 36. b5 Kc7 37. b|a6 g6 38. Kd4 Kb6? After 38. ... Kb8 Black ought to be able to draw. 39. c5+ White should win after 39. ... d|c5+ 40. Kc4 but it would take exhaustive analysis to prove it. It is worth noting how a great player, even blindfolded, can score a point even in an unfavorable ending against a reasonably good opponent. Alekhine often simplified blindfold games because he was confident he could outplay his adversaries most easily in the endgame. 1–0 [Skinner & Verhoeven (1998), Alekhine’s chess games, page 233]


A. Alekhine–Groupe de Joueurs Isolés (II) Paris, February 1, 1925, Board 17 (of 28) Sicilian Defense B20


A. Alekhine–Cercle de l’Union Artistique Paris, February 1, 1925, Board 16 (of 28) Ruy Lopez C68

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. B|c6 d|c6 5. Nc3 Bc5 6. N|e5 B|f2+ 7. K|f2 Qd4+ 8. Ke1 Q|e5 9. d4 Qe6 10. d5 Qg6

1. e4 c5 2. b4 e6 3. b|c5 B|c5 4. d4 Bb4+ 5. c3 Be7 6. Bd3 Nc6 7. Ne2 d5 8. Nd2 d|e4 9. N|e4 f5? 10. N4g3 Nf6 11. 0–0 0–0 12. Nf4 Qc7 13. Re1 Nd5 14. N|d5 e|d5 15. Qf3 Qd7 16. Bf4 g5? 17. Be5 g4 18. Qf4 Qd8 19. B|f5. 1–0 [Skinner & Verhoeven (1998), Alekhine’s chess games, page 233]


Part III. Games 162–164
A. Alekhine– Journal Excelsior Paris, February 1, 1925, Board 18 (of 28) French Defense C00


1. e4 e6 2. Qe2 c5 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. c3 d5 5. d3 d4 6. e5 f6 7. Bf4 b5 8. Nbd2 Be7 9. Ne4 f|e5 10. N|e5 N|e5 11. B|e5 Nf6 12. N|f6+ B|f6 13. Qh5+ g6 14. B|f6 Q|f6 Instead, the move 14. ... g|h5 would not lose a pawn and would leave Black with a decent game after 15. B|d8 K|d8. 15. Q|c5 d|c3 16. Q|c3? Alekhine plays it too safely. 16. Qc6+ would simply win a rook. 16. ... Q|c3+ 17. b|c3 Rb8 18. Be2 Bd7 19. Bf3 Ke7 20. Kd2 Rb6 21. Rhe1 Rf8 22. Re5 Rf4 23. d4 b4 24. Ke3 Rf5 25. R|f5 e|f5 26. c4 White now nurses his two connected passed central pawns to a virtually certain victory. 26. ... Ra6 27. Bd1 Ra3+ 28. Kd2 Ba4 29. B|a4 R|a4 30. Kc2 Ra3 31. Re1+ Kd7 32. Kb2 Rd3 33. d5 Rd2+ 34. Kb3 a5 White will eventually win by advancing his central pawns but Black now helps White by a series of moves that bring White’s king to the aid of these pawns. Black’s only chance was to start grabbing pawns on White’s second rank. 35. Re6 Rd3+ 36. Ka4 Ra3+ 37. Kb5 R|a2 38. c5 Rd2 39. c6+ Kd8 40. d6 b3 41. c7+ Kd7 42. Re7+ Reader take note! It is interesting that after 42. ... K|d6 43. c8N+ is superior to queening. After 43. ... Kd5 44. Rd7+ wins a rook, leading to an easier win then 43. c8Q K|e7. Perhaps both Alekhine and his opponent realized this when Black resigned at this point. 1–0 [Skinner & Verhoeven (1998), Alekhine’s chess games, page 233]

Qf6 23. Qg3 h6 24. Qd3 Kf8 25. Qh7 Ke7 26. Bb3 White obviously has a somewhat superior position here, with the two bishops and Black’s king impeding his pieces in the center. However, best now appears to be have been 26. a4, to try for a breakthrough on the queenside. 26. ... Qg6 27. Q|g6 f|g6 28. b5? 28. Bc3 was a strong possibility instead. After, say, 28. ... Kf7 29. Rd3 (or Be5) White maintains a distinct advantage. 28. a4 also keeps White’s edge. Rare for him, Alekhine showed impatience here and after the move played Black ends up with at least an equal position. 28. ... a|b5 29. B|d5 c|d5 30. Bb4 Kd7 31. Rd4 The game is a likely draw, with a bishops-of-opposite-color endgame and Black’s possession of two sets of doubled pawns. Black could try to win by ...Rc6 and attempts to double rooks on the a-file. But after being at a disadvantage during most of the game Black was satisfied to agree to a draw here. ∂–∂ [Skinner & Verhoeven (1998), Alekhine’s chess games, page 233]


A. Alekhine–Groupe du Café Terminus Paris, February 1, 1925, Board 20 (of 28) King’s Gambit Declined (by transposition) C30

163 A. Alekhine– Échiquier Notre-Dame (II) Paris, February 1, 1925, Board 19 (of 28) French Defense C01
1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. e|d5 e|d5 4. c4 c6 5. Nc3 Nf6 6. Nf3 Be7 7. Be2 0–0 8. 0–0 Nbd7 9. h3 d|c4 10. B|c4 Nb6 11. Bb3 Bf5 12. Ne5 Nfd5 13. Qf3 Be6 14. Bd2 Rc8 15. Rad1 a6 16. Ne4 Nd7 17. N|d7 Q|d7 18. Nc5 B|c5 19. d|c5 Qc7 20. Bc2 Qe5 21. b4 Rfe8 22. Rfe1

1. e4 e5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. f4 Now really a King’s Gambit variation and no longer what appeared to be a Vienna Game. 5. ... d6 6. Nf3 Bg4 7. Na4 Qe7 8. N|c5 d|c5 9. 0–0 Nd7 10. c3 a6 11. h3 B|f3 12. Q|f3 0–0–0 13. Bd5 Na7 14. Be3 Kb8 15. b4 Nb5 16. b|c5 N|c5 17. d4

cuuuuuuuuC {wiw4wDw4} {Dp0w1p0p} {pDwDwDwD} {DnhB0wDw} After {wDw)P)wD} 17. d4 {Dw)wGQDP} {PDwDwDPD} {$wDwDRIw} vllllllllV

.. d4 d5 2.. e3 b5 5. f4 d5 4. Nd2 R|f1+ 16. Nc4 Nge7 17. He gave up without having to meet it. Kc4 Kb8 30. R|d5 Why did Black play this desperation move here? White on the surface has much the superior game but after 17. 1–0 [Skinner & Verhoeven (1998). Ne4 Kg7 28. Ne6. N|c6 N|c6 24. Nc3 Nf6 3. Bf4 Sacrificing an unimportant pawn.. Also. Bc1 g6 27. Q|e3 R|e3 22. e|f6 R|f6 14. 1925. Nd7. Qb2 Black cannot really stop the extremely powerful next move. Alekhine–Groupe de Joueurs Isolés (III) Paris. Bd2 Qd6 7. N|f7 Rhf8 19. e|d4 18. 7. pages 233–234] A. but giving exceptional power to the attacking possibilities of White’s center pawns. Rb1 h6 23. possibility of creating a central passed pawn (say. . R|b7+ R|b7 27.. winning his queen. c6). . f|e5 N|e4 5. Kf2 b6 30. 10. e4 Nf6 5. R|a7 Rc6+ 38. c3 Na5 25. or Na4 with a playable but rather inferior position.. e|d5 e4 19. and resigned at this point.. 1925. N|e4! he could have played 18. February 1. Nd6+ Kd7 18. N|d4 7. N|d4 Q|d4 because of 8. c6 {DwDwDPDw} {P)wDw)w)} {$NGQIwDR} vllllllllV 10. Alekhine’s chess games. ... Nf3 Bg4 An annotator should occasionally pause to inform inexperienced players that Black cannot play 6. R|a4 Nc6 16. 35. B|c4+ Kh8 19. 1925. Nf3 e6 4. a|b5 B|b5 13. Nd2 Nb4 28. c|d4 N|e4! 19. c7+ Kc8 37. Now he has both a materially and positionally lost game. Ne4 Nc7 34. 18.. Bb5+ c6 cuuuuuuuuC {rDw1kgw4} {0pDw0p0p} {wDpDwhwD} {DBDPhwDw} After {wDwDPDwD} 9. N|f1 Nd8 17. a|b3 Nd6 32. Q|f3 c|b5 12. . c5 Qa6 10. c4 Bf5 33. Kc3 Rb7 25. Kd2 Rab8 22. N|f3+ 11. Ra4 Nd5+ 29. Ra6 b3 21. Rfc1 g6 21. . Black thought so. Nbd2 Qb7 12. Qg4 Nd7 20. Bb5+. Qa4 Q|a4 15. perhaps a little prematurely.. Bd3 Nc6 6. K|d3 Nf5 35. . .. d4 Nf6 2. B|e1 Nc6 24. on an open board bishops generally function better than knights. R|b3 Rfb8 26. Board 23 (of 28) Queen’s Gambit Declined (by transposition) D06 1.. g|f3 Ne5 9. a4 Bd7 11. Kd5. Alekhine–Groupe de Joueurs Isolés (IV) Paris. Nc3 a6 The moves . d6 Ne6 35. Bd3 f5 13. Alekhine’s chess games. Board 21 (of 28) Vienna Game C29 167 1. Qe2 Na7 23. February 1. b3 Bb4+ 6.. R|e1 R|e1+ 23. Bd2 B|c3 9. February 1. Bf2 Q|e1+ 22.. page 234] 166 165 A. B|e4 Rhe8 20. B|b5+ Q|b5 14. c4 d|c4 18. d5 e|d5+ 32. d4 Bb4 8... Alekhine’s chess games. with White now having a clear advantage because of his better king position. N7e5+ Kc7 20. c|d5 N|d5 4. e4 e5 2. Ke3 B|d3 34. Ng3 Nd6 20. b|c3 0–0 10. e4 Nc7 31. Nb3 N|b3 31. Bb5 Bc5 7. d5 B|f3 8. c4 f5 22. Alekhine–Échiquier du Nord. without massive material loss. B|b4 c|b4 9. after the logical Black move 35. B|c7 Black’s overlooking the c7 pawn’s capture certainly supplies White with a winning game. Lille Paris. Nf3 Nc6 6. Games 165–167 17. Rab1 Nb6 24. and the fact that Black’s queenside pawns are on the same color as White’s bishop. Bf4 The game has remained fairly equal throughout. . B|a6 N|d4 Black is doing well. b|c4 c5 8. Kf6? 36. Even if Black did not see the neat move 18. c4 d|c4 3. too. Qe1 Qe7 12. but maybe he was disgusted that he had failed to move up his c-pawn on the last move and lost it without any compensation. Board 22 (of 28) Queen’s Gambit Accepted D21 1. Bd3 Re8 21. Be3 Raf8 15. e|d5 Nb5 33. 1–0 [Skinner & Verhoeven (1998). page 233] 267 A. B|b7 Q|e3+ 21. 1–0 [Skinner & Verhoeven (1998). 0–0 Bg4 11. Bd2 Ndc4 26.Part III. Nc5 Bc8 29.. c5. c6 Rb6 36. . c4 d5 3.

15. 16... Qd7 or . avoiding the pawn weakness Black now has and preventing White’s occupation of the queen file. [Skinner & Verhoeven (1998). R|h7 1–0 (see diagram) Why did Black resign here? For example. e|f3 A combined pair of very rare pawn structures on the kingside. 17. for example. 16. a3 Rather than retreat his rook Alekhine plays a speculative exchange sacrifice. Be4 Rd8 20... N|e4 d|e4 To be preferred was 10.. B|c4 c5 20. 13.. e|d6 b|c4 Black does not want to allow White’s c5 but this move brings White’s other bishop into play. and the rest of the game does not refute this possibility... Rad1 c6 23. Nc7+ Kd7 20. c4 Bb4+ 15. Games 168–169 12.Qb8 offer more in the way of a defense.Nd7 are more logical moves. h3 Bh5 6. 16.Bc5 seems to remove White’s counter chances. There does not seem a need to play such a defensive move. . 22.. N|g6 f|g6 9... h3 Be7 6. d|e5 Ne4 10. . A computer rates the final position as a definite win for Black. It seems almost a mental error by Alekhine. what 168 169 A.. d6 e|d6 17. 15. . Alexander Alekhine’s chess games. Alekhine’s chess games.268 Part III. Bg5! 16. Qa5+ 18. It is difficult to think of a truly adequate defense for Black. . ... Q|d8 B|d8 12. Ne5 N|e5 9.. Rdh1 Rdd7 Instead. 14. c5 and . 11. . Now he begins to achieve a little obvious counterplay... Rd8 or Qc6. Nd5 Now Black is very clearly lost. A very bizarre game and finish.. Kd1 Again. e5 The central advance begins. 7. R|h5 g6 24. page 234] cuuuuuuuuC {wDwDwDkD} {0wDrDrDR} {w0pDwDpD} {DqDwhw)w} Final {wgwGpDwD} position {DQDwDPDw} {P)wDw)KD} {DwDwDwDR} vllllllllV does White have after 27. 11. Rh8+ Ke7? Black apparently wins.. page 234] A. hoping to maintain a strong passed pawn on d6 and the two bishops. c|d5 Ne5 19. Bf4 Ba5+ 13.. 25. but this position has a bizarre character.. h5 g|h5 17. Bf4 Bg4 4. . N|d4 8. Board 25 (of 28) Queen’s Pawn Game (Torre Attack) D03 1. Q|b7 With numerous deadly threats. Ne5 Certainly a surprising and unusual pawn sacrifice. . Board 24 (of 28) Queen’s Pawn Game D02 1. Kf1 b6 Black has many ways to maintain his edge. Alekhine–Cercle de Colombes-sur-Seine Paris. Bg5. B|d6 18. Kg2 e|d5 22. c4 0–0 7. defensive move. 15. 26. Nf3 Nf6 3... 1925. Bg5 Nbd7 4. d4 d5 2. February 1. Qb3 Qb5+ 21.. Bd3 0–0 13. . g5 Nd7 18. g4 Bg6 7. Kc2 Rab8 21. 7.. Ke2 Rd8 14. Rd6 Alekhine would do better by 15. Nc3 c6 8. 17. Nbd2 Nf6 5. Kg1 (or Kg3) Kf8 29.. b4 or Qa5 would provide Black with better chances to hold the game than this passive. Rd1 g6 14. e5 and Qd7 also appear to give Black a distinct advantage. Kc3 Bb5 Black now rids himself of the bishop on c4 at the cost of bringing White’s king into the heat of the battle.. It is time to resign. 18. h4 Qe8 13. . . 1925. The move played does not fit the “character” of the position. ... b3 B|c4 23. .. February 1. . 19. e|f3+ 28.. b5 16. B|g5: A better course of action. Bd6 11. e3 e6 5. 14. but White presumably wants to play f4. 1–0 [Skinner & Verhoeven (1998).. Rh3 Rf7 The moves .. K|c4 Rbc8 Despite some inferior moves Black has . b4 Q|a2 19. c3 (preventing . and Qe2 all present more dangers for Alekhine. e6 11... 12.Nb4) would be the “automatic” move played by most experts. Nf3 N|f3+ 10. . The position on the board is very complex but there is no good reason why Black should not win in a variety of ways.Nc4. Nf3 Nc6 3.. d4 d5 2. . Bb4 17. 10. f6 was superior. .. Nh5 15... Be3 Another strange move. Bg5 Qc7 “Provoking” d6 is not a good idea. Bd4 d|e4 27.. Alekhine– Journal l’Action Française Paris.. Qc4. Rd1 Bd7 15. well worth analyzing from the 10th move on by anyone interested in complicated tactics..

1–0 [Skinner & Verhoeven (1998). R|c2 26. N|c4 Qd7 12. N|f5 N|f5 18. Nd4 a6 24. page 234] 269 could not last 25 moves. Nf3 f6 No need to create weaknesses. 29. . Nbd2 Nc6 10. ... b5 a5 36. Nfe7 was best under the circumstances. . 30. Moves such as 6. . Games 170–171 Alekhine on the ropes and 23.. Nb5 Qe7 16. B|c5 For the first time since the opening White has gained the edge and his superiority increases with every subsequent move. Qb3 b6 6. Kg1 Qd1+?? Black would leave White in a lost position after 37. Bd3 g6 19. 0–0 Bd6 8. e|d7+ K|d7 42. 7.. 1–0 [Skinner & Verhoeven (1998). e4 Ne7 21. The moves . 1925. f3 f6 25. Instead White gives Black a chance for a clear win.N|e3+.. g|f3 Kf7 The move 27.... twice! 14... . 28. Rf6 R|f6 . c4 e6 4. Nf3 Nd7 28. d4 d5 2. Qb5 Qd5? 15. Instead. f|g4 f3 43. Either Ne5+. February 1. Kd5 h5 39. Board 27 (of 28) Queen’s Pawn Game D00 A.. Rc1 g5 Black begins to go astray and to play aimlessly. 22.. B|d6 Q|d6 9..Rb6 and is stronger. h3 Nh6 17. a4 b4 24. Rc6 f|e5 33. Q|c6 Rd7?? Black would have suffered only the loss of a pawn after 16. Bg3 e5 26. 16. Alekhine’s chess games. Qd3 f6 32... Ne5 Nd6 30. c|d5 c|d5 15.. f6 would allow him to play e5 soon and drive away the bishop on f4. Board 26 (of 28) Queen’s Pawn Game D00 1. Bb5 Nb6 29. Something of this sort happens shortly. Kd5 e|f3 27. Nc3 Qd6 21.. Rf7. Q|c6 17.. b6 f5 37. e6+ Ke8 41. Nh4 Ng4 13. N|c7 Black should have resigned after White’s 17th. Qe5+ Kh6 41. Now Black manages to emerge a whole rook behind. . N|d7 K|d7 20. Nf3 Bd6 8. Rb1 Rbb7 35. Q|e6 so that Black can use his queen and rook in combination on the f-file for a strong kingside attack. Bf1 Rf7 39. this move immediately makes a strong player of the White pieces imagine forking king and queen with Ne5+. . Ng1 The position is still fairly equal but now Alekhine begins maneuvering to gain more control of the queenside and central squares. which if the current position were maintained could be answered by . allowing Black to capture the rook on c2 with check after f|e3). B|f5 N|f5 6. . which maintains his positional advantage. Q|e6?? White ought to play 36. R|b6 e4 34. Bd3 Ne7 5. as well as providing an entry for his king on f7 and thence to e6. Alekhine’s chess games. 36. 25.. Qg4 Kg7 Hoping for White to play 36. Rfd1 Rad8 15. e5 g4 40.. d5 e|d5 22...Bd6 leave the game equal. 31. This is not where the action is. Qe2 Ra7 35. White now wins. g3 Ndf6 14. 38. . R|d6 Qf3 40.. Bf4 Bf5 3. 1925. Nce5+ Ke7? 19. Ba6 Ra8 31. 0–0 Nbd7 11. Black’s position is totally lost within a few more moves. c4 d|c4 11.. 24. Now there was no reason to continue the game. page 234] 171 A. Bg2 Qd1+ 42. Bf2 Red8 31.. e4 Re8 Now Black is really making fairly pointless moves.. N|d5 (and in some variations N|b5. February 1. Kh2 R|f2 43. Rb8 threatens White’s b-pawn as well as . e3 e6 4.. K|e5 f4 38. Rc2 a6 20. Kg7 {DwDw)w)P} {w)wDw)KD} {DwDwDwDw} vllllllllV 36. c5 or . Alekhine–Échiquier Naval de Brest Paris. .Rd7 are preferable.. Q|d7+ Q|d7 18. wuuuuuuuuC {wDwDw1wD} {4wDwDwip} {B$whpDpD} {0wDpDwDw} After {P0w)pDQD} 35. Qf4.. Qf8 23. Be2 0–0 10. Ne6 Re8 25. b4 a6 33. e|d5 Kd6 23. Ne2 a5 25. Kg2 b5 22. Bf4 Bf5 3.Rb8 or . Qb3 b6 13. d4 d5 2. Alekhine–Cercle de la Saint-Germain Paris. Rfc1 With the threat of 23. Nc3 Nf6 5.. e3 c6 7. ... Rac1 Kf7? Besides the fact that Black can no longer castle. Rac1 Rfc8 12. a4 Rb8 34. Qf3+ 37. Maybe there had been a pre-game bet with friends that Black 170 1..Part III. B|d6 Q|d6 9. 17. R|c2 Rc8 27. g5 After obtaining a winning position Black played too defensively and allowed Alekhine just about everything he wanted. Rd7 32..

1–0 [Skinner & Verhoeven (1998). .. A pretty. 1–0. Nf5+ Kf6 23. Nc3 Nc6 3. Nf5 Now White will force mate shortly.. Nge2 d6 6. 29. . . N|b5 Qb8 15. N|d4 a6 A very popular variation of the Sicilian that Louis Paulsen of blindfold-chess fame is often credited with pioneering in the nineteenth century. Be2 Qc7 6.. Alekhine’s chess games. 30. 0–0 0–0 7... Be5 (hoping to capture the trapped white knight later) 17. Rb7 is White’s strongest rejoinder. Bb3 B|b3 9. Re1 Now there is no effective way to prevent White’s rook from occupying the seventh rank. .. Alekhine’s chess games.. Board 28 (of 28) Bird’s Opening (French Defense. R|b6 a|b6 27. which is decisive. Be2 Bf4 20. but after 16. February 1. allowing White to break through on the e-file. . e|f6+ N|f6 White has a variety of ways to retain his two-pawn advantage and the better position. Then White could not continue with the following knight sacrifice because Black’s pawn on d6 would be protected by his bishop on move 15. Ne2 B|d2+ 8. 0–0 0–0 14. Re7 Kf8? Not the best but if 29. Qe2 White is not placing his pieces in a way that would be common today. Q|f6 Q|a4 45. e4 e5 2. and then after 18. Qf4+ Kh5 47. Nc3 Bb7 8. N|d3 35. to avoid the simple loss of the exchange (a rook for a bishop) Black must play Qa6. Nd5 follows with many threats. Black probably did not see that he could avoid losing the exchange and resigned. f4 Be6 8. g4 Qa5 18. .. page 234] 172 A. e|f5 f6 22. Ne6 Re8 32. 13. 1925. Rc8 instead. . Qh6 checkmate. Bg2 Rb8 13. Qe7+ Kg6 24. 26. (1989). Kh1 Ne5 19. h4 h6 16. Bc4 Nf6 4... Board ? (of 29) Sicilian Defense B41 1. by transposition) A02 1. 45. Kh8 30. Re6 Nb4 If 28. Nc6 28.270 Part III. Nd6 Qc7 21. 34. Réti–P. h3 Nh5 A relatively point- . h5 Nge7 17. Rab1 Ba6 15. N|d4 e|d4 11. page 234] cuuuuuuuuC {rDwDkDw4} {Db1ngp0p} {pDw0pGwD} {DpDwDwDw} After {wDwHPDwD} 12.. g4+ Kh4 48. N|b7 Q|b7 A thoughtless recapture. 27. g3 Nc6 12. Games 172–174 9. Nf3 Ng6 5. Ng6 N|g6 23. White would retain an advantage but 25. 1925. Board ? (of 29) Vienna Game C28 1. . B|f6 44. Kg5 46. f|g6 Bb7 24. d4 c|d4 4. Qh4+ Kg6 26. e4 d5 3.. . Q|d2 c5 9. Black gave Alekhine a strong fight but missed his big chance at move 37... Kf1 R|c2 34. Rf7+ Kg8 31. K|g2 Rb6? A major positional error. N|g7 Re2+ 33. Now. page 174] 173 R. 5.. b4 b6 10. d3 Bb4 6. 174 R. B. Q|a5 N|a5 19. N|h6+ Kh8 36. Qf8+ Actually White announced mate in four moves here and the remaining moves given were probably not played on the board. Bh5+ K|h5 25. February 7. b|c5 b|c5 11. Rh7 checkmate. Réti–F. [Lopez. 0–0 b5 7. Nf4 B|g2 25.. Ne5 Rfd8 20.. Godoy São Paulo.. Ferreira São Paulo. N|d6+ Ke7 16. B|f6? This is a mistake that allows White to use a knight sacrifice to gain the superior position. Nd|b5 a|b5 14. Black would have a satisfactory position after recapturing the bishop with either his knight or pawn. Nf3 e6 3. .. Bf3 d6 9. Nc3 Ne7 4. f4 e6 2. B|f6 {DwHwDBDw} {P)PDQ)P)} {$wDRDwIw} vllllllllV 12. Ne2 c5 12. there would follow the doublecheck 22. d3 Be7 5. f5 e|f5 21. a|b3 Nd4 10. Rfd1 Be7 12. Alekhine– Cercle de la Rive Gauche (III) Paris. Qb5 B|h2+ 18. 1–0 [Skinner & Verhoeven (1998). Nf6 10. 17. forced checkmate would follow if Black were foolish enough to play here the move 21. Bg5 Nbd7 11. February 7. 1925. 29. Q|c2. Bd2 d4 7. Ajedrez.. e5 Opening up Black’s queen to attack by the White bishop. Qb4 Black would still have the inferior position. e4 c5 2. Ne7 checkmate. Re8 or Rdc8 were better.

attacking the Black knight on h5. Board 2 (of 30) Caro-Kann Defense B12 1. e5 Bf5 4. g4. e4 e5 2. Kg6 or . .. a4 Bb8 14.. . . Black probably would have played 12. Ne4+ Kh7 23. pages 174–175] 176 175 G. as Kolty demonstrates quickly.. Nce4 Bf8 A defense to the Max Lange usually attributed to Akiba Rubinstein.. (1989). Ne2 Nd7 7... e|f6 Ng|f6 10. Koltanowski–Perquin Antwerp. 12. losing time and giving White the chance to freely advance his kingside pawns without more preparation. Nd5 Ne5 17.. .. Re1+ Be6 9. The most common move here is 11. h|g5 then 25. f4 Ne7 The only other move to hinder After {Dw0wDR0w} the powerful f5 threat is 19. 1931. Ng5+ Kg6 16. Q|d3 e6 6. .. h5 White could play. Board 1 (of 30) Max Lange Attack C55 G.. f7 Be7 17. (1990). Rhe8 13. 23. 0–0 Nf6 5. 22. f5+ Kh6 21. pages 4–5] 23. B. Nf6 14. d4 e|d4 6. . Rc8 {wDw0PDPD} to 20. The move played leads to a losing position for Black.. R|g5! Of course if now the capture 24. g3 h5 Kolty accepted his opponent’s offer of a draw here and later stated that of course he had the advantage. N|d4. Bd3 B|d3 5. the crushing 21. which loses 22. d4 d5 3. Q|g5 and White’s threat of Qh6 cannot be met without massive material loss. Re6+ Bf6 18. . h4! A simple winning breakthrough. Qd5 {DwDwDwDw} cuuuuuuuuC {P)PDw)w)} {wDr1w4wi} {$wGQDwIw} {0pDwDpDw} vllllllllV {wDw0wHn0} 19. so maybe Kolty’s motto was appropriate here. N|f7 K|f7 13. among {DwDwDRIw} other winning lines. e4 c6 2. Ng5+ Ke8? This opening has been exhaustively analyzed over many. g|h5+ R|h5 Re8 R|h4 24. Qd2! with checkmate shortly.... 20.. Games 175–176 less move. e5 The Max Lange Attack. many years and it is thought that here either 1. f5+ N|f5 . . d5 7.. Nf6+ Kh8 Placing the king on g7 offers Black better defensive resources. R|f6+ g|f6 22. quite a pretty finish. f8N+ Kh6 25..Kg8 leads to a fairly unclear position.. . B|f4 c|d4 White could now move his queen to f3. . Ng5 Qd5 10. 1–0 [Lopez. G.. b4 White could simply have captured Black’s backward e-pawn. Bc4 Bc5 4.. .. Raf1 Rc8 271 13. or h5 with advantage. If he had captured the pawn. g4 White could also play 13. N|e6 Kf7 15.. 12. h4 Now {w)P!wDwD} in answer to 20. g5) 22... f5 Nd7 15... Koltanowski–Trachtenberg Antwerp. After 13. Black resigned here. Qd2 h6 21.Part III. May 10. 0–0 Qb6 8. vllllllllV (or 21. 20. 6. with chances for both sides. g4 Qd5 cuuuuuuuuC {rDwDwDw4} {0p0wDP0p} {wDnDRgkD} {DwDqDwHw} After {wDp0wDPD} 18. 13. N|f4 14. 0–0–0. May 10. After 13.. Qe3 0–0–0 11. e|f6 d|c4 8. . Blindfold. Nd7 or Kg7 are superior to this move and do not seem to leave Black with a serious disadvantage. 13. . a5 Qc7 15. B|g5 f|g5 19. .. 1–0 [Koltanowski. 1931. f4 f6 9. Nf7 checkmate. 23. which along with the Colle System in a Queen’s Pawn Game. Nf3 Nc6 3. Rf5 Ng6 The moves 21. . Q|d6 R|e2 Black would have had some compensation for the pawn. f6 g|f6 18. But Kolty has a positional advantage and comments that his motto is “Safety First”—quite different from Alekhine’s and most previous blindfold champions’ approach.. Nc3 Qf5 11.Kh6 22. c3 Bd6 12. N|h4 24. h5. Nf4 Bg5 16. Ajedrez. were two openings that Koltanowski favored in his regular and blindfold simultaneous displays. 14.. Rhe8.. Ne6+ Kh7 {DPDPDwDP} 23..

. . Koltanowski–Ots Antwerp. Q|f6 N|f6 Kolty remarks that Black’s avoidance of complications is in Kolty’s favor and makes Board 5 immediately distinctive for the blindfold player. g3 Rhe8 14. b4 Kolty says that he chose the Wing Gambit “to give the game a special character. Koltanowski–Maan Kid Antwerp.... N|e5 B|e5 1. May 10.. ∂–∂ [Koltanowski.. Blindfold. 0–0–0 Bh6 13..272 Part III.N|e4. Rdf2 c6 At no time in this game did either side really have any advantage. page 6] 177 G. . e3 Nc6 3. If White answers 11... f4 0–0–0 11. this move is a waste of time and 12. N|e6 f|e6 11.. (1990). Ng5 Q|f6?? A trap well-known to all who are familiar with this opening. 11. Board 4 (of 30) Sicilian Defense (Wing Gambit) B20 G. Board 3 (of 30) Max Lange Attack C55 cuuuuuuuuC {rDw1wDkD} {0wDn0rgw} {w0w0wDp0} {DwDwDwDw} After {w)PDPDwD} 15. Nf3 Nc6 3.. N|e4 Black regains his piece by . d4 e|d4 5.. B|e6 f|e6 10. Rb1 To stop the threatened . 0–0 Nf6 5. G. N|d4 N|d4 6. Nf3 Nc6 3. as he does. if Black plays well enough. 17. (1990).. This is also contrary to the fight-to-the finish attitude of most other world simultaneous blindfold champions. However.. Q|g6+ Bg7 19. Qd3 Nd7 (see diagram) 16. Rb3 Qd7 Playing 20. 8. b|a3 4. . (1990).. Re1+ Be6 9. R|c4 would of course lose to 21. Nd7 {DwDQDNDw} {wDwDw)P)} {DRGwDRIw} vllllllllV 18. Black decided not to fight on. . Q|d4 Qf6 7..” Virtually all simultaneous blindfold players use this opening strategy. Nf3 f5 Unnecessarily leaves a gaping hole on e5 for White to . B|f4 but White would still possess a won endgame. . 1931. May 10.. but 3. but “in view of the circumstances” he wanted to decrease the number of remaining adversaries as quickly as possible. Bd2 g6 12. G. Rf7 R8e7 20. e4 c5 2. 10. Qd5 is the correct move. Nc3 Be6 9. h6 or . 23. Qe6+. e4 e5 2. .e5 was better.. 21. 1–0 [Koltanowski. Rg3 e5 22. winning the rook on c4. Q|c5 A piece behind. 14. 2. d5! is best. pages 6–7] 1. The players agreed to a draw right now. Blindfold. Also. 4. f5 Since the threat of f6 cannot be met. 1931. e4 e5 2. Rhe1 Nh5 15. ∂–∂ [Koltanowski. a|b4 Nf6 5. Black surrendered at this point. 13. e5 Another Max Lange Attack (see Game 175). .. e|f6 d|c4 8. Bc4 b6 9.. d3 N|e4 A nice idea by Black.. If 3. Koltanowski–Dattner Antwerp. f4 Rcf8 Much superior was 22.. . Koltanowski–Peeters Antwerp. c|b4 3. .Ba2. 16. Blindfold. page 8] 180 G. B|g7 R|g7 22. Nf3 Bg7 7.. 0–0 8. d4 e|d4 6.. e5 A standard way to break through in such positions. 6. .. c4 B|e4 It would be better to keep this bishop on the board and retreat it to b7.. B|h6 Rc8 20. Blindfold.d5. Board 5 (of 30) Irregular King’s Pawn Game (Hungarian Defense-Giuoco Pianissima) C50 1. R|f4 R|f4 24. (1990). Qh5+ g6 12. 9. May 10. a quick draw would subtract another board from those to hold in memory. Bc4 Bc5 4. f|e5 B|d2+ 17. R|d2 R|e5 18.. N|e5 16. 1931. winning the exchange. Games 177–180 with Black cramped and with little opportunity for counterplay.. d|e4 h6 15.. making it easy to remember. Nf8 would put up a stronger defense. May 10. . page 6] 179 178 G. a3 e5 16. Nc3 g6 6. . N|e4 Bd5 Hoping to play . f4 d5 2. G. 1–0 [Koltanowski. G. 0–0 Bb7 10. d5 7. 1931. 7.. N|a3 gives White a lead in development of the pieces and many open lines to work with. a3 d6 Declining the gambit.. B|f7+ R|f7 12.. Board 6 (of 30) Bird’s Opening A03 1. Bc4 d6 4. Rf1 Rde8 19. e|f4 23.

e6 3.. . G. c|d5 e|d5 8. including 7. Nf3 0–0 6. e4 d6 5. May 10.. Qd3 a6 16. Ne4 Ng6?? Losing a piece. d5 Nb4 There is little point to this move...Kf7 and . e3 Nowadays 6. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 c5 9. Blindfold. d4 d5 2..Kf7 (and then Ke6 as soon as possible and feasible). h3 Nc6 7. Qd4 Q|d4 25. 3.. c4 g6 3. N|c6+ Kb7 18..Part III. g3 and development of the bishop to g2 is considered the best way for White to proceed against Black’s relatively weak d-pawn. . 11. Games 181–183 try to occupy and exploit. 1–0 [Koltanowski. 0–0 or a6.. 13.. 29. (1990). 0–0 e5 10. Nb5 0–0–0??? A terrible blunder resulting in the loss of Black’s queen. 8. B|d5 White would do better to keep the two bishops by Qa5 or Qa7. 1–0 [Koltanowski.. Board 7 (of 30) Queen’s Gambit Declined (Tarrasch Defense) D32 to the center by . b4 Be6 Again. Nf5. Rc1 c|d4 12.. Ne5 Bb7 12. Be2 Qe8 The queen is now misplaced.. May 10. e5 Kf8 35. after which Black’s position is not so bad. 1931. e4 f|e4 28. f|e4 G. d|c6 Q|c6? 14. 6.” that is. Nf6 or . d|c5 B|c5 10.. 1–0 [Koltanowski. K|h6 B|g4 39.. Board 9 (of 30) French Defense C16 28. Kg6 B|e6 51. Kd8 is 50. Bf8 Ke8 43. 16. Bg5 Nc6 14. Nc3 Kolty says he played this move “for purposes of identification. B|g6 f|g6 12. Nac6+ B|c6 17. . (1990). h4 h5 7. Ke5 Bd7 34. 36. Blindfold.. 45. Kg6 Bf3 38. This is a bishops-of-opposite-color endgame that Black probably ought to draw by playing g6 and h5 after first bringing his king 1. Kf6 Kd7 41. Bg4 46. e6 One way for White to win after 49. K|g5 Bh3 40... N|d5 R|c1 17... Nf3 Nc6 6.. Various moves are better. Q|g6 Qf8 13. Bb5 Bd7 9. 0–0 0–0 9. Nc3 c5 4. 2. B|d5 21.. Be2 Be7 8. Black played weakly but was good enough to realize that he might as well resign right now. Kf2 Bb5 27. 1931. Bb2 h6 11. N|d4 N|d4 13. . Koltanowski–J. Bh6 Kd7 44.. a6 14. . a3 Ba2 31. b4 c6? 13. Mees Antwerp.. Q|g7 Rg8. Bg7 Be6 45. 32. 17. Bh6 Bh3 47. 15. e5 Ne7 5. pages 9–10] 1. b5 Of course winning a piece by this obvious pawn fork. R|d7 Q|d7 24. Nc3 Bg7 4. 4. .. So Black gave up. Be3 b6 9. . d4 d5 2. .. b3 Bf5 10... Ne7 11.. c4 e6 3. page 11] 182 After 28. Nf6 7. White would still have had the advantage after. Board 8 (of 30) King’s Indian Defense E90 1. G. Q|d4 After Black’s recent moves White is positioned well to win the isolated pawn on d5 and he does so shortly. N|c5+ Q|c5 . 20. G. N|e7+ Q|e7 18. b3 e6 5. a3 Na6 12.. c|d5 e|d5 5. .. Bd3 Kd7? Black would not be too badly off after 10. c4 b6 7. Bf3 Be6 15. May 10. 0–0 Bc5 11. Koltanowski–Climan Antwerp. Kf6 Bc6 35. page 8] 273 181 G. e5.. Qg4 Ng6 6. Qb6 Nd5 20. g4 Ke8 37. R|c1 Rd8 19. Ke3 Bb1 30. 1931. 11.Bg4 were quite all right. Blindfold. However. Nc3 Qe7 14. .. f|e4 cuuuuuuuuC {wDwDwDkD} {DpDwDw0w} {pDwDwDw0} {DbDwDwDw} {wDwGPDwD} {DPDwDwDw} {PDwDwIP)} {DwDwDwDw} vllllllllV 183 G. compared to retreats of the threatened knight. Rfd1 Rc8 16. B|d4 f5 26.. N|e7 This opponent provided weak opposition for Kolty. N|a7+ Kb8 16. Bd3 Black is wasting time and helping White. Rd1 Rd7 22. . B|c6 B|c6 10. . 0–0 Ne7 15. Good alternative moves were 14. h4 Black could not really maneuver to prevent this move and the second passed pawn is decisive. say. Be3 Bg4 48. ..g6 still seem to hold the draw. Kf4 g5+ 33. Bb2 Nf6 6. Bc5 b5 42.L. f3 Bc6 23. (1990). h5. B|g2 was Black’s last chance for a possible draw. to make Board 9 distinctive from the others. Qg3 Be7 8. e4 Bb4 4. Koltanowski– Mattheeussen Antwerp. d4 Bd6 13. . Bc5 Ke8 49.

.” is the same “de Groot” as the person discussed above in chapter 8. h6. e4 Nb6 Frank Marshall often tried the Black side of this opening. it is very unlikely that he would have achieved his doctoral degree by that age! Perhaps Kolty added the “Dr. B|g5 f6 Losing. There are many contemporary variations of the popular Sicilian Defense that reach this position and none involves this early an exchange of knights. Nf3 Bd6 5.. 0–0 e6 11. 1931. Q|f6+ K|f6 20. . h3 B|f3 7. Qe4 White has several winning queen moves to choose from.274 Part III. May 10.. the game has just begun and it would be somewhat “risky” for White to play 17. N|d6 Q|d6 11. but here he would play 4.. 2. h3 0–0 11. de Groot Antwerp. after Black’s knight moves.. (1990). d4 d5 2.. e5 followed possibly. 12.Nbd7 are superior.. May 10. f4 b5 12.. Q|g6 Kolty’s opponent here did not provide strong opposition. Games 184–187 15. c4 0–0–0 13. rather than playing at least a little longer. .. 1931. G. Ne4 g6? Weakening the dark squares around Black’s king. ∂–∂ [Koltanowski. Board 13 (of 30) Sicilian Defense B32 185 G.. 5.. . A better defensive move here would certainly have been 11. 15. Board 12 (of 30) Bird’s Opening A03 1. However. 14. e|f6 N|f6 16. G. Qe3 Nf6 8. Blindfold.. Q|g6 f|g6 16. f4 d5 2. Nfg5 Na6 13. B|a6 b|a6 14. . Really. (1990). Blindfold. N|e4 Ng4 Besides losing a pawn to a standard “combination. e3 c5 3. page 13] 187 G.. 1931. G.” title many years later when he wrote a book on his own blindfold chess achievements and included this game. 13. Bd3 Bd7 8. Qf3 It is hard to understand the basis for .” this move seems pointless. 5. Nc3 e5!? with counter chances. . 10. e4 c5 It is not certain whether Kolty’s opponent. Either 9. Qg4 White disdains the mere win of a pawn by 13. Bd3 Nf6 4. 0–0 0–0 6. Koltanowski–Dr. Qg6 1. It is noteworthy that in this display many opponents resigned to Kolty as soon as they had a losing position. 13. d|e5 Two pawns behind already. c4 Nf6 3. Koltanowski–Piller Antwerp. He resigned at this point. page 11] 184 G. . h5 was a better try at a defense. d4 c|d4 4. Nf3 Nc6 4. Re1 b6 8. Q|f3 d|e3 8.. 12. Koltanowski–Lodewyckx Antwerp. but moving the attacked queen would allow Nf6+ with an unstoppable mating attack. . b|a6 Black would be the exchange behind with a shattered pawn structure. B|h7 or Ne4 or Be4. Bb3 Kolty believes that 12. 10. 0–0 0–0 9.. Nc6. d|e3 a6 9. Qh4 Kg7 18. . Nc3 e5 7.Be7 were preferable. Kh1 Rd7 15. . Rd1 Qb6 12. But both sides were satisfied with a draw here and it was so agreed.. Bc4 a6 9. . Bd3 Nf6 10.. e5 Nd5 11. B|f6+ Q|f6 19. c5 or .. Nf3 Be7 7. Blindfold. Board 10 (of 30) Queen’s Gambit Declined D06 186 1. “Dr. G. the correct decision. by 18. 1931. 1–0 [Koltanowski. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 e6 6. e4 d|e4 9... B|a6 After 20.. N|d4 N|d4 There was no need to exchange knights at this point. Qf2 Rhd8 The position is equal but not drawish. N|f6+ R|f6 17. page 12] 18. page 12] G. Black resigned. B|g5 This capture permits White’s dark squared-bishop to enter directly the attack on Black’s king. Blindfold. This pawn move makes it difficult for Black to coordinate his pieces. Bb7 13. He preferred to surrender. Q|a6 and instead continues his powerful kingside attack. which centralizes White’s queen. N|e4 or . d4 d5 2. (1990). Bb2 d4 6. Q|d4 d6 6. e3 e6 3. Nf6 and after 5. Bd5 was best here. 0–0 Be7 10. Qe2 c6 More active would be 9. Koltanowski–Andries Antwerp. Ng5+ Kg8 13. 1–0 [Koltanowski. who has been labeled “The Father of Chess Psychology.. Q|g4 e5 14. May 10. e4 Nd4 16. B|h7+ K|h7 12. 14. de Groot. b3 Bg4 5. 7. Nc3 Be7 14. The alternatives 6.. Nbd2 c6 A rather passive move. Board 11 (of 30) Queen’s Pawn Game (Colle System) D05 1.” That chessmaster-psychologist was born in Holland in 1914 and would have been 16 at the time of this game in Belgium.. 1–0 [Koltanowski. (1990). c|d5 N|d5 4. May 10.

. 1931. Be3 Rac8 275 since most of the king-and-pawn endings after an exchange of bishops seem to produce drawn positions if Black rushes his king to the queenside now.Qh6 or . 24. Not too surprising for a possible 16-year-old with relatively little experience playing strong opponents. This is not so clear to us 1.. .. f6 24... .. Rb8 seems to lead to a draw even now... . f5 Bc8 12. g|f6 13.. Either 22. Rf1 Na6 Black’s defense has been good so far but even better would have been . either. Either 13. 0–0 c6 8. ..Qe2 also seem strong. 1–0 [Koltanowski. ... And Qb3 seems even better than these two alternatives. {P)PDwDPD} R|c1 The exchange of all the rooks is a mistake. vllllllllV had Black played 24. The moves 20.Part III. B|g7 B|d4+ 16. However. Qd3 and .. but de Groot did resign here. g4 h5 28. Rg3 Now Black does not have an adequate defense. .. Nd5 N|d5 15. 26. figuring on a draw after that. . . 17... Kf3 Bb6 30. 22. 25... Bc5 Both this move and . But 18. Black’s passed e-pawn remains a threat when White tries to penetrate.. 18.Qc7 or . Bh6 Ng7 To be seriously considered was 13.. h3 Be6 9. Qh5 pawns on the same color as his bishop (restricting its scope) and White being easily able to cre. Bd3 The move 14. It seems that Black is aiming for an exchange of queens. The final position is left for analysts and computers to dissect.. Game 188 this move. 17. Qh5 17. Q|c4 R|c4 23.. h|g4 g|f5 32. Kh1 Qc5 Kolty believes that this is a turning point in the game and that Black would have kept the advantage by instead playing 20. Ne2 Be3 21.. Board 14 (of 30) Philidor’s Defense C41 cuuuuuuuuC {wDrDwDkD} {DwDwgw0p} {pDw0w0wD} After {DwDP0PDw} 23. page 13] 188 G.. N|d4 Nf6 5. . Koltanowski–Laforce Antwerp...... Qc5+ appears even better and the text move is not that bad. . but White will not gain enough compensation for his sacrificed material. Rac8 {wDrDwDwD} {DwDwGwDP} cuuuuuuuuC {P)wDwDPD} {rhb1w4wD} {$wDwDRDK} {0pDwDpip} vllllllllV {wDpDw0wD} 24.. 15. Rc2 and brought his king to the center quickly he probably could draw the game. .Rc8.. G. 21. Qc8 18... e|f6+ . f6 Aggressive.. Qg4 Kolty criticizes this move of his. 24. which certainly seems premature. e5 Ne8 11. Qe4 Qc4 22. . g|f5 Kg7 33. {$wDwDRDK} giving White the winning chances.. R|c1 R|c1+ Playing 25. e4 e5 2. Q|b4 Rfc8 20. say. 14. 23. with Black having all his {wDwgwDwD} 17. 23. Bg4 actually gives White better chances than placing the bishop on d3... Kolty claimed that in combination with Be3 his eventual passed queenside pawn would win. May 10. 12. a3 or Qd3 are more logical. B|c1 g6 27. . f|e5 14. . Rac1 Kolty now rates the position as {DwDp)wDQ} After winning for White.Kh8. b4 14.. . Rab8. Nf3 d6 3. Be2 0–0 7. 19. B|f5 19. f5 18. Better were 16. a5 would have given Black a definite edge.. Kh1 K|g7 17... B|d5 B|d5 16. e|d5 f6 Restricting the scope of his bishop. (1990). Kg2 Bd8 29. f5 Q|c2 In his notes to this game Kolty states that 18.. Nc3 Be7 6. But he plays the obvious (and also good) move.{DwHBDwDP} ate a passed pawn on the queenside.. 13. B|f8 B|f8.. recommending either Be3 or c3. Q|f5 Qh4 20. d4 e|d4 4.f|e5 give Black the superior position.. . . . a5 first. Bd2 or .d4 would leave White without a way to carry out a successful attack. f4 d5 10.. R|f5! The best chance. Black would have a powerful pawn center and two pawns for the sacrificed exchange. f5.. Bd8 also seems likely to lead to a draw. 14. Blindfold. ... b4 h|g4+ 31.. but unsound in the long run. . a4 By advancing his queenside pawns appropriately.. Rf3 Bg5?? Finally Black falters..

Rh4 Nf3 42. . B|f5 20. R|f4 R|c5 30. 1931. . Blindfold. d4 d5 3. 46. Nd2 Bd7 9. 1–0 [Koltanowski. Ne1 threatening a forced mate by Nf3. e6 R|f6 If 24.. Nc1 or Nc5 preserve opportunities for a win... h3 Qf4 28.. White could only defend by 41. Rdg1 d|e4 26. R|f5 would lead to a fairly equal position and was a better choice. 1931. May 10. 28. Ra7 Now White has some drawing chances. (1990). Nf3 Ne4 11. However. Rc7! or . Qf2 B|e5 191 G. Now Black could win by 40. B|e4. May 10. Rg2 d5 25..N|e1 34. In that case. Q|f4 N|f4 29.. Rad1 c5 16. . ∂–∂ [Koltanowski. 41. d4 B|d4 6.. Bh4 Kh7 12... e4 e6 2. Re2 Qg4 25. 47. . pages 16–17] 190 G. Kf7 26. g|f6 N|f6 23. but that would certainly have been premature. 29. a3 c4 18. We presume it was Kolty because Black has a somewhat superior position and Kolty usually accepted draws in such positions. Nf3 N|e4 5. f5 0–0 10.. Nf3 Nf6 3. B|e4 f|e4 14. d4 Nf6? 6.. May 10. c3 Nc6 6. 22.. page 15] 189 G. page 16] wuuuuuuuuC {wDrDkDrD} {DpDwDwDp} {wDwDPDwD} {DRDwDwDw} After {pDpDw0wD} 33... Rg1 Rg8 24. Qd2 a5 16. R|g5 and the threat of Rg7 will win for White. Ne5 Bd6 15. Rb4 Nd3 45. Rf3 Rc7 37. f3 It is not best to win a piece and surrender two connected passed pawns. R|g5+ Now if 25. Rd2 26.. Qf3 Na5 13. Rf7 R|f7 38. Kolty must have realized after his 13th move that he had to take risks to have a chance to save the game and his tactics succeeded nicely. 0–0 Bc5 5. h4 to escape with the king to h2. e4 e5 2. Qc2 f5 12. R|b3 Black cannot win this position and so a draw was agreed here. Kh2 Kd5 44.. Black has played well throughout and is a pawn ahead in a good position. 26. Koltanowski–Axelrod Antwerp. h|g4 Ne5 and Black wins. G. . Blindfold. Rb5+ Kc6 46. he does not say whether he or his opponent proposed the draw. G.. . Ne2 Nf6 7. .. . f4 d6 8. e6 {)w)w0wDP} {w)wDwDnD} {DwDwGRDK} wllllllllV 33. Kh1 e3 32. N|h3 42. Board 15 (of 30) Max Lange Attack C55 1. g4 Nbd7 21. Be3 c4 13. Bd4 Rg8 24. c3 Nc6 9. 0–0 Be7 8. Bc4 Nf6 4. Bc5 Rc8 26.. Kh8 25. B|e7 K|e7 27. 34. Nf3 Nc6 3.. f4 Qb6 10. Rae1 g6 18. Rg6 26. f5 Kolty remarks that a draw was offered in this position and refused. b3 c|b3 48. R|f3 N|e1 35. Rg4 R|g4 43. Nf4 41. Blindfold. Bg5 h6 11. Kolty’s attempt to complicate the game with a speculative attack rather than playing it safe with 19. 31. Koltanowski–Verdyck Antwerp. Qd7+ Kf8 27. Board 17 (of 30) Petroff’s Defense C42 1. e|f7+ K|f7 39. 0–0 0–0 . 25. Qb6! ought to give White at least a draw. R|b7+ Ke6 40. Bc2 Bb7 19. Rb5 N|g2 Kolty says he probably should have resigned here. It eventually leads to a losing position for him. d|e5 Qg6 23. . (1990). Nf4 30. Ng6 27. Kh1 Nb8 20.. e4 e5 2.... 19. Bd3 a6 14. Bd3 c5 5.. R|h7 Best was 40. R|e1 Rg3 should win fairly easily for Black. . N|e5 d6 4. . R|e3 Ng2 36. N|d4 N|d4 7.. a3 a4 17. N|f5 g|f5 21. 40. N|d7 or Rf2 or Kh1 is indeed hard to understand. a4 Ra8 Allowing a drawn position. Be1 f4 33. g5 Kh8?? An incomprehensible blunder. B|f2 Capturing with the rook was much better here. b4 Nc6 17. Board 16 (of 30) French Defense C01 1. (1990). . G. Ng3 Ne7 19... Qe5+ is the clearest way for White to win. R|d5 Instead. 1–0 [Koltanowski.276 Part III. Black’s 22nd move was his only real mistake and Kolty had managed to complicate the position enough so that his earlier sacrifices worked out well. . Q|f2+ 29. Games 189–191 22. e|d5 e|d5 4. If instead 25. Either the move 33. Bd3 Be7 7. Koltanowski–de Backer Antwerp. Nd2 b5 15. 28. R|a4 Nf2+ 43. Qg7+ is the killer. 1931.

Qe5 Nf6? 10.. Qa5 Nb6 White could now gain a small advantage by 19. May 10. Rb1 Rf8 25. ∂–∂ [Koltanowski.. Be2 Bc6 16. Koltanowski–Reinhold Antwerp. (1990). Better moves were d|c5. (1990). 18.. N|e5. c4 c6 9. c5 or even Q|a7 but agreed to a draw instead.. . G. G. 0–0 0–0 11. May 10.Qc7 were good moves. f|e5 Nd7 14. d|c5 b|c5 17. Nfd7 is the more conventional move. ∂–∂ [Koltanowski. Koltanowski–de Ley Antwerp. e5 Ne4 Of course 5. f4 Re8 13. Rb7 Ba4?? Unless Kolty published an inaccurate game score. Be2 N|e5 15. Board 19 (of 30) French Defense (by transposition) C13 1. Qe2? Again. 20. White is a piece ahead in a winning position. R|g7+ Kh8 27. ∂–∂ [Koltanowski. and either rook to d1. . Ne5? A serious blunder. page 18] 1. . e4 Be7 By an unusual order of moves the game has reached a standard position in the French Defense. Ng3 g6 11. May 10. 0–0–0 Nd7 17. 1931. Ne5 Be6 12. c4 h5 Black misses 17. Either .. If then 22. Board 18 (of 30) Bird’s Opening A02 1. Bd3 N|e5 21. B|f1 Be6 15. 20. Kolty says this was “a game abounding in weak moves. G. The finish was by far the wisest move!” Yes. . Ne8! is a pretty way to win more material. 1931. d|e5 N|e5 8. Rhf1 Be6 16. that is. h3 e5 7.. Blindfold. page 18] 193 G. Nc3 d5 11. e3 f5 3. (1990). h3 B|f3 7.. d4 d5 2. Kf7 11. B|a3? Instead. f4 f5 2. by 23. Nc3 Nf6 5. Nf3 Bb4 6. Nc3 Bg7 4. page 19] 195 G. c4 e6 4. B|e5 Qb6 22. Nf3 Nc6 6. Bf2? g4 would win a piece. 26. Koltanowski–de Coninck Antwerp. Q|d8+ K|d8 10. c|d5 e|d5 10. 5. Nd2 13. G. N|e5 d|e5 9. N|e4 Bg4 6.. Games 192–195 8. But it is worth pointing out that after 10. Blindfold. Rh6 19. May 10. b|a3 R|c3! 22. Q|f3 d5? 8. f4 Nd7 20. c3 Nd7 9.. Re1 Re8 10. b|c3 b6 9. Ne2 f5 10. g4 would win a piece. a3 B|b1 18. Koltanowski–Strybol Antwerp. 1931.N|a3 is all right. Bg5 e6 4. c4 g6 3. Q|c2 Ne4 23.. 24. Ra|b1 Nc2 19. which would give him the advantage after various complicated continuations. Qb3 B|c3+ 8. Ba3 c5 12. Blindfold. losing the exchange.Part III. f4 Nc6 14. f3 e|f3 14. Bf4. . Qf3 Nb4 16. page 18] 277 194 G. c4. but why was a draw wise? Perhaps because Kolty thought he did not deserve to win such a game. d4 Nf6 2. . c|d5 c|d5 13. Qd2 Nb6 12. he now missed a mate in three by 26. Qb2 {Dw)B)wDP} {P!wDwDPD} {DwDwDwIw} vllllllllV . B|c5 Qc7 18. 23. e4 f|e4 5. Be3 Qc8 15. Nc3 d5 3. 12. Blindfold.. B|e7 Q|e7 7. Be5. B|f6 checkmate... Rec1 Qf5? 19. N|f6+ Black is completely lost and resigned here. . (1990). e4 d6 5. Bb1 Bf5 17. Board 21 (of 30) Queen’s Pawn Game D00 192 G.. there were several inferior moves or blunders on both sides. Nf3 d6 4. Qb2? cuuuuuuuuC {wDwDw4kD} {0RDwDw0p} {wDwDwDw4} {1wDpDpDw} After {bDwGw)wD} 26. Qc2 N|f1 14. Rg6+ Rf6 28. N|e4 d|e4 8. 6. d4 Nf6 2. . Bd4 White has gained sufficient compensation for the exchange and the game is now approximately equal. 0–0–0+ Kc7 12. Bg5 c6 11. Nc3 c6 3. h4 Bd7 13.. g|f3 0–0–0 15.. Bd4 Qa5 White may have been willing to take a draw by repetition if Black’s queen returned to c7. N|e3 would maintain an even game. Rec8 21. 18. h3 Bd7 Hoping to win another exchange by Ba4. Rd1 Rf6? Costs an important pawn (also true for Black’s previous move). Be2 Ne4 7. Board 20 (of 30) King’s Indian Defense E90 1..... 1931. 1–0 [Koltanowski. 16. Qd3 The game was agreed drawn at this point. Qh5+ g6 9.Qf6 or .

Nc5 Nd8 30. Nd6+ Kf8 31. Koltanowski–Pauwels Antwerp.. Kh1 Rc8 23. Rad1 Qe7 23. the moves Bf4. (1990). page 21] 199 G. Qa4+? Losing a piece. Nf3 Nh6 14. as indicated in the last note. Q|e6 Qc7 22. Bf3 B|f3 26. Nf3 d5 2. 21. d3 0–0 . Now Black can obtain some counterplay.. a6?? 27. . K|g5 g6 34. h4 Nf7 24.. Qc2 Ng6 13. R|f1 Ng5 23.Ke6 would avoid mate but after 30. although White still maintains the advantage.. b4 Ke7 27. 26. Bb2 Qc7 9. Bg2 Nf6 4.278 Part III.. 1931. Kolty played accurately to wrap up the point. Bb2 Bg7 7. N|e2+ 20. Moves like the “safe” 24. b|c3 Bd7 11. N|d2 R|f1+ 22. N|f5 N|f5 13. 8. . Blindfold. This game was a comedy of errors unless there are some mistakes in Kolty’s game records and the published one is incorrect. Q|d5+ Rf7 20. Nd6 Kolty gave Black some unnecessary positive opportunities in this game but Black failed to take advantage of them. page 21] 198 1.. R|a5 b|a5 29. Qb7+ Kg6? Both . but White still has a powerful attack. d4 c|d4 13. e3 Bf5 4. . Nc3 Nf6 3. Nc3 e6 5.. Nd2 Qh5 25. Qb3 b5 16. Qb3 Qb6 6. a bishop well posted on a long diagonal. Rb8?? Kolty pointed out that it is too bad he missed the win of Black’s queen by 27. Ng3 N|g3+ 16. Ne4 h5 29. Ne4 b6 25. 0–0 a5 19. . Instead. . 0–0 d5 7. page 19] 197 G. Kh6 After missing his chance at move 25. Ba3 Nce7 12. Koltanowski–Janssens Antwerp. Ra1 Kf8? Instead.. e5 The moves c4 or Qc2 are much better. May 10. Board 25 (of 30) Réti Opening A07 1. Bf3 Nc6 11. c6 is the winner. f3 Ng6 15. G. c4 c6 3. Q|e7 R|e7 It is surprising that Kolty would agree to a draw in a relatively simple position where he possesses a small but definite advantage: a pawn ahead. . . Also. a|b3 Bb4 8. Ne4 B|d2 21. Rf2 or the more aggressive 24. Kf2 h5 31. Bc4 c6 15. May 10. 1931. g3 c6 3. . 1–0 [Koltanowski. R|f8+ K|f8 29. May 10.. Koltanowski–Gussin Antwerp.. e5 Nh7 18. Be2 0–0 6. B|g6 f|g6 20. 0–0 Nf4 18. f|e4 h6 17. Games 196–199 26. 1–0 [Koltanowski. Black could save the queen by 27. Blindfold. Nc3 e6 4. G. Qh5. Bd3 Ne7 14. The answer 27. N|d5 Be6 7. He states that after his actual 27th move Black could then hold the game by 27. 1–0 [Koltanowski. b|a5 R|a5 28. e6 B|e6 21. (1990).Ke8 or .. h|g3 B|e5 17. Be2 Ne7 9. Blindfold. Board 23 (of 30) Slav Defense D10 196 G.. Rc1 0–0 11. Q|f3 Ng4 27. c4 Bf5 3. Bc1 Rg8 22. Re2 Rg6 30. . d4 d5 2.. Nc6? The move . 1931. f4 f5 2. 25. or Qf3 are all good. 1931. e|d4 Qb6 14.. Q|b8+ Kf7 29. (1990). d|e5 Bd7 18. 20. Q|b5+ or Qb3. Board 24 (of 30) Bird’s Opening A02 1. 30... 19. Blindfold. g|f3 Qh3 provides better chances. B|d5! e|d5 19. Qe3. Bb5 but after 28. Kh1 Ne4 15. Nc3 Bb4 9. Ne5 a6 10. Q|g7 White will win. Rd8 turns the advantage to Black. Ke3 Kf7 32. Black drifted into a position where he had little or no active play.b5 would gain a piece. (1990). Nh4 Nf6 12. May 10. G. e4 B|c3+ 10.. 7. and 3–2 pawn majority on the queenside. Rd5 retain his winning chances. Rfe1 Bg4 19. Bd7 would be better. Be2 a5 17. page 20] G.. Ne2 Bd6 12. c|d5 e|d5 6.. R|e2 B|f3 21. B|f4 g|f4 24. Nf3 Be7 5. Q|g7+ Kh5 31. Board 22 (of 30) Queen’s Gambit Declined (Irregular) D06 1.. Nf3 Q|b3 7. Kf4 g5+ 33. Qf5 This move is all right but 19. b3 g6 6. Qb3 Qc8? 5. R|b6... 27. 0–0 Bg4 5. N|c8 Qd8 32. e3 e6 4. c4! would be very strong. . h3 Qh4 28.. e4 d|e4 16. R|b8? 28... Qd1 g5 Black would have more of a chance after 20.. ∂–∂ [Koltanowski. G. Koltanowski–Vercauteren Antwerp. After 8. Bd2 Nd7 10. Bb6 but of course he would do better by mating Black. d4 d5 2. b3 c5 8. Qg5 checkmate.

.. Q|d8+ K|d8 5.. Blindfold. Bd4 There is no longer any chance for Black to win. N|f5 g|f5 18. Bb2 Nf6 6. Qf5 Bc8?? 26. Bg2 b6 1.. . 0–0 Bb7 9. f4 e4 Preferable was . .. f5 Re4 32. Qd4 Qb6 25.f6. Kolty considered this game his best of the Antwerp display. Rad1 Rfe8 19. Ne2 Nd7 11. Qg4 by Bc6 would leave White with only a small advantage. Games 200–201 8. B|f5 Kg7 22. N|d4 N|d4 17. b|a5 R|a5 40. Ng3 or Rhe1 would have given White a large advantage. . e|d5 N|d5 13.. ∂–∂ [Koltanowski. cuuuuuuuuC {wDb4wDkD} {DwDrDq0p} {p0wDw0wD} {DwDnDQDw} After {PDwDwDw)} 26. e4 e5 12. Kf2 Re8 30. 23. .. 0–0–0+ Ke8 10.. but Kolty was . N|e4! 11. Qc4 The moves Qe4 and Qg4 seem more menacing. b4 Ra1 36. Board 27 (of 30) Irregular Opening A00 200 G. Bc5 Rd7 43. Nc3 Bb4 7. .Qd1+ followed by . B|d4 c|d5 27. B|f7+ and 30. 15. 279 cuuuuuuuuC {rhw1rDkD} {0pDb0pgp} {wDpDwhpD} After {DwDpDwDw} 10.. a4 Rc8 By playing .. Qf3 would win also. Board 26 (of 30) English Opening (by transposition) A11 1. Be6 14. keeping the a1–h8 diagonal blocked. Qe4 Qf7 26.. d|e4 d|e4 16. (1990).. The text move loses by force. Q|f1 e5 14. 27. Nbd2 0–0 11. 29. a Flemish master. b5 28.. c4 c6 3. Black resigned. g6 followed after. .Qf7 Black would help solidify his position. c3 Black still has all the winning chances but it is very difficult for him to break through White’s solid defensive setup now. B|c5 B|c4 15. 24. R|d5 R|d5 28.. R|d8. Re1 Nc7 21. N|d6 Q|d6 15. say. Blindfold. Bc8 {DPDwDw)w} {wGw$w)BD} {DwDRDwIw} vllllllllV 27. Qd4 White could gain a different kind of advantage by 24. e4 followed by . b3 e6 5.. Ke5 Rd8 42. B|c3 c6 9. 16. 21. Qb6+ followed by Qe3 would much better hinder White’s intentions to line up his queen and bishop on the long diagonal. 1–0 [Koltanowski. d4 d6 3. . Bc4 f6 6.. B|e4 Nd5 24. Qc4 Bf5 16. 13. Q|c8 The quickest way to score the point.. B|d5 Q|d4+ 26. Rcd8 25. Rfd1 Red8 21.. Nh4 Bd7 10. Qe6 22.. May 10. Bh3 Na6 20. 17.. Bb4 Either 13. 24. page 24] 201 G. e|f4 Nc5 13. 1931.. B|f5 then 29. g5 f|g5+ 38. Bd2 B|c3 8. . 15.. quickly takes advantage of what is really a mistake.. Koltanowski–D’Hont Antwerp. G. Rhe1+.. Nc4 f6 14... . B|d5 Kh8 If 28. f4 e|f4 12. . Q|d2 K|g7) 12... g4 Kf7 31.. Now Black has some trouble escaping from pins on the d-file. G. c|d5 c|d5 4. Qc3 f6 19. (1990). g3 Nc6 7. R|e4 R|e4 Instead. Qe8 30. Koltanowski–Polarski Antwerp. Kf4 Ra8 41. h|g4 Re1 35. a3 a6 29. d3 Bd6 10. Kf4 R|a3 37. Of course 29. .f5 was superior and perhaps gives Black a slight edge. e3 e5 2. d|e5 d|e5 4. Nf3 d5 2.. e4? A natural move. 1931. Q|c8+ B|c8 25. d4 e|d4 Instead. N|f1 13. Nc3 b6 White still has a clear advantage after 16.. h3 h5 33. K|g5 a5 39.Nd5 would better retain Black’s advantage. 27. .. Nbd2 Re8 9.. Qg4 Two pieces behind. May 10. 29. Bb2 Kolty decides that he has a better chance to save the game by sacrificing the exchange and keeping his two bishops than by playing on simply a pawn behind (12.. Kf3 h|g4+ 34.Part III. B|g7 N|d2 12. e4 {wDwDPDwH} {DPDPDw)w} {PGPHw)B)} {$wDQDRIw} vllllllllV 10. but Kolty’s opponent. h4 a6 23. Q|d4 Rad8 18.. Rd2 Rd7 20. pages 22–23] 8. B|d5.

Moore Chicago. Be5 B|e5 18. ∂–∂ [Koltanowski. e3 d5 2.280 Part III. May 10.. 1–0 [Koltanowski.. G. If he recaptures the pawn. Bc4 Be7 5. R|e5 Rae8 19. Nd2 f6 15. B|f4 g|f4 26. h3 B|f3 6.e5 would rid Black of his backward e-pawn. (1990). Games 202–205 apparently satisfied to have one less game to handle and agreed to a draw here. 25.. 22. Rh6+ Kf5 If instead 26. N|e5. 1931. R|h1 Ne7 23. e4 d|e4 11. 0–0 0–0 8. d4 B|f3 10... G.. Qe2 Q|d5 5. Bb3 Na6 15. . Q|f3 Bg7 7.. 27. Bf4 or 9. c3 7. N|d6+ c|d6 18. Ke7 then 27. c3 h6 13. . .. The move 6.. g5 Inferior. Koltanowski–E. 21. Ne4 Bd6 17.. h|g5+ h|g5 20. Bf4 Nd5 17. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Bg4 5. Kf2 a5 21. c3 c6 10. f4 or h4 were perhaps somewhat better. 1–0 [Koltanowski. c3 d6 5. Blindfold... d|e5 {DwDwDNDw} {P)PDw)P)} {$NGQIwDR} vllllllllV 204 G. d4 Nd7 4. . . N|e4 N|e4 12. Re1 Nc7 16. N|e5+ White wins easily after 8. Rae1 Rf6 20. . f|e5 Qh4+ leaves White in serious trouble. Blindfold. Kg6? . Q|e5+ Q|e5+ 6. g4 Creating a weakness of his own.. 14. d5 c|d5 24... Koltanowski–Weissmann Antwerp. two pawns ahead with a definite win.Rh8.. Rh5 Nf4 The only way to save his g-pawn.. d|e5 winning a pawn? If in reply 6. Board ? (of 32) Giuoco Piano (Italian Opening) C53 1. Kd6 9. e4 e5 2.. Board 28 (of 30) Queen’s Pawn Game D00 1. page 26] 205 A. Re5+ Kf6 In reply to other king moves White can merely play Rb5.. d4 Nf6 3. Bd3 g6 4. if White does not grab this bait he simply emerges a pawn ahead with a clearly winning position—what happens here.. Board 30 (of 30) Falkbeer Counter Gambit (Irregular) C31 203 G.. . page 26] 1. d4 Bb6 6.. Re2 Among various other winning moves. May 10. Nh6. Nf3 Bg4 8. Be3 g5 14. d|e5 d|e5?? A very well-known opening trap. Bb4+ also costs a piece after 7.. R|e8 N|e8 26. f|g4. May 10. or if . Black would gain counterplay by 22. Q|g7. (1990). 22.. Nd7 was all right. Blindfold. which Black does not take advantage of.Kf7 or . Bc4 Bc5 4. Nf3 Nc6 3. page 25] cuuuuuuuuC {rDb1kDn4} {0p0ngp0p} {wDwDwDwD} {DwDw0wDw} After {wDBDPDwD} 5. Nd2 e6 9. G.. page 25] 202 G. Q|e8+ Black surrendered. f|e5 Nc6 7. g|f3 a6 11. which loses to 7. Board 29 (of 30) Philidor’s Defense C41 1. d|e5 7. Rag1 R|h1 22. c4 Nc7 21.. 4. 1931. ..Kf8 was necessary to avoid immediate loss. but it loses a different pawn. h4 K|f6 19. Alekhine–Miss J. (1990). Rd5+ Ke6 29. Qe3 This move is good but 26. 0–0 Why did Alekhine miss the obvious 6. B|h6. Q|d8+ N|d8 8. 26. July 16. (1990). Black must play 5. f4 e6 2. R|d6 Rh8 28. 13. 30. 1933.... Blindfold. b5 was better. Rh6+ Ng6 24. Now we merely await White’s breakthrough by d5. Qd5 Ndf6 Of course the only way to protect f7 right now is to play 6. h|g4 Rf4 23. e4 d5 3. 1–0 [Koltanowski. . Bc2 Qd7 Playing . Bb5 Nge7 9. B|e4 f5 Weakens his e-pawn for no satisfactory reason. Koltanowski–Vervoort Antwerp. Q|f7+ Kd7 8. Nf3 d6 3. .. Denhaene Antwerp. 27. . N|e5 (see diagram) 6. c|d5 e|d5 25. Rh7+ wins the b-pawn and protects White’s own b-pawn should Black gain entry to White’s second rank after .. 23. . Qc3 Kg7 Placing his king on the same long diagonal as White’s queen is dubious.. The position is diagrammed for the inexperienced player who is not but should become familiar with it. 12. B|c6+ N|c6 12. 1931.. However. G. e|d5 e5 Setting an unusual but obvious trap. e|f6 Kf7 16. If 4. even though White maintains his lead in development and his possession of the two bishops.

Ne4 Qd7 19. K|f1 Alekhine “mopped up” efficiently after his 21st move.. e|d5 e|f4 Of course the main theme of the Falkbeer Counter Gambit involves playing 3. Re8+ 17. However. 0–0 17. ... . Alekhine– Miss V. B|e6+ is the simplest way to win. e5 Qe6 Four of Black’s last five opening moves have been with his queen.. Games 206–207 Black played 7. d4 0–0 9. h3 h6 9. 23. g6 Qa1+ 21.. Alekhine–A. The main line is 24. 17. Qe5 Nf6 29.. N|g6 h|g6 13. Qf4 Nh5 27. Rae1 Nd5 17. Ne6! Winning important material. Bc4 Be7 7.. Re8 then 21. Nc3 Nf4 19. c|d4 N|e4 11. N|f8 R|f8 22. Be3 c5 15. Nab5 Ng5 21. e4 e5 2. Rhg1 c5 cuuuuuuuuC {rDwDw4wi} {0wDpDpDP} cuuuuuuuuC {b0wHwDwD} {rhwDw4kD} {Dw0w)pDP} Final {DwDwhp0w} {wDwDw!wD} position {wDp1wDpD} {DwDwDwDw} After {0pHwDwDw} {w1PIw)wD} 19. . e|f6 N|f1 32. 20. Alekhine’s chess games.. Bg5 Alekhine overlooked 11. Anderson Chicago.. . page 466] 281 Nd7 21. but it will not work here. 1–0 [Skinner & Verhoeven (1998). B|e7 This move is good but perhaps better here was 17.. g4 Q|e5 30.. B|f7+! 6. Rg8+ R|g8 25. Ng5. . Qf6+ Ke8 28. f4 d5 3. Nf3 Nc6 3. Board ? (of 32) Scotch Game C45 A. If 20. Qd6 {wDw)wDwD} {DwDRDw$w} {)BDQDwDw} vllllllllV {w)PDwDP)} {DwDw$RIw} This is the “final position” because Alekhine to that he would checkvllllllllV announced by the audience moves and called off mate Black force in five several variations. . Bf1 Qf6 20. B|f7+ R|f7 19. emerging an exchange ahead because of the R|f5 follow-up. Kd2 Q|b2 22. N|d4 Bc5 5. c3 Nf6 24. h3 Re8 26. Nc2 Re8 11. 12. Qf4 g6 16. July 16.. Be3 N|d4 6. B|d4 B|d4 7. d5 Ne7 12. 1933. Ne5 Bf5 11.. Nc5 Qd6 206 1. e|d4 10. Na3 Bd7 16. 1–0 [Skinner & 20.. . .. Q|d4 Qg5 8. but Alekhine rarely agreed to early draws. B|f7.. Nc3 c6 9. Ndb1 Nh7 18. Nd2 Ng6 17. This is very unlikely to lead to a good position. N|e7 18. h5 Ba6 20.. h4 Qh6 10.. July 16. Qe4 Nf5 23. But it is hard to criticize this move. Bb3 a5 15. d|e5 Ng3 31. 0–0–0 Nh6 13.Part III. 1933.. Nf6 7. h|g8Q checkmate. B|d5 B|g5 18. If in reply 20.. Q|a2 18. Sheffield Chicago. B|f7+ K|f7 13. . Qh6+ K|f7 27. f6 and d6. . d4 e|d4 4. Alekhine’s chess games. Qd3 b5 14. R|e8+ Q|e8 28. Bd3 c6 13. Kh1 Qg6 The game is certainly approximately equal. Bh3 b6 14. a3 Qd6 16. 11. g|h7+ Kh8 Trying to “hide” one’s king behind an advanced pawn of the opponent is a common defensive theme. with all the original pieces still on the board. R|e4 d5 with a good game. followed by h5. there is no clear way to make progress and he must have decided he would do better to concentrate on all the other games. B|f5 g|f5 19... g4 Qg6 11. so a draw was agreed upon.. moving the knight to f6 with check seems more powerful. 0–0 Nf6 8. Re1 0–0 8. . Na3 a6 Black could have tried 9. . White has an overwhelming position. N|f7 R|f7 12. . Which one will his knight move to? 16. Ne4 Now Alekhine is of course ready to occupy one of Black’s two major weaknesses on his dark squares. Board ? (of 32) Falkbeer Counter Gambit C31 1. ∂–∂ [Skinner & Verhoeven (1998). e4 e5 2. Nf3 Q|d5 5. N|e5 7. Nc3 Qd8 6. 10. g5 Nf5 15. B|b8. K|d8 8. Qe5 Qd7 25. N|f7+ Kg7 26.. c4 a5 14. Bg6 12. B|f4 c6 10. 4. f|e6 21.. Nd6 Instead.. N|e5 d|e5 8. If 6. . page 466] 207 A. e4 here.

Kh2 R8c3 34. Bc5 would maintain Black’s small advantage. July 16... Note that if Black now moved 36. But only a courageous or foolhardy player would be willing to enter the ensuing complications against Alekhine. 0–0 Nc6 9. Ne5 Nbd7 10. Bb4 or . Rad1 N|e4? A serious error. Nf3 Nf6 5. 31..” but played to provide an eventual escape square for his {DwDBDwDw} king (see move 33). Ra8+ would win for White. c3 Nf6 8. Nd2 Rb2 36. B|c4 Nbd7 8. Hawley Chicago. Alekhine–G. c4 e6 3... . page 467] 209 A. . 1933. 33. 26. Wagner Chicago. Games 208–210 18. 1933.. Alekhine–E. 1933. Bb4 {Dw4wDNDw} {wDwDw)P)} {$wDQDwIw} cuuuuuuuuC vllllllllV {rDb1whwi} 27. e5 Nfd5 13. Bb1 Rc8 12. Qb3 Bb5 15. say.. Bc3 Bg6 22. But he probably did not appreciate Alekhine’s upcoming counterchances. Q|a4 c|d4 10.. 14. Nc3 Qa5 4. Black decided not to prolong the contest. d4 e6 2. Qb5 Black cannot be permitted to play {DwDR$wIw} . pages 466–467] A. Nf3 b5 3.. . B|d3 B|d3 21. Bg5 0–0 9. Ng6 was probably best here. B|e7 R|e7 Black may have thought that White now has to move his queen and Black would come out a piece ahead. Q|c6 d|c6 38. 11. blindfolded or not. 28.Be7 were better than this relatively “wasted” move. Board ? (of 32) Queen’s Pawn Game A40 A.. . d4 d5 2. R|b4! Q|b4 Of course after 27. Qb6. Re1 h6 16. 0–0 b6 9. Alekhine’s chess games. a4 b|a4 6.. b|c3 R|c3 Black is now a pawn ahead with a good position... Ne4 B|e4 25. Ng3 N|c3 23. . Rc1+ 33... Qf3 Nf8 Too passive-defensive. 29.. White has an obvious advantage but playing 13. . Qf3 White remains a pawn ahead with a powerful attack. e4 Re8 The move . d6 35. 208 cuuuuuuuuC {wDwDkDw4} {DwDpDp0w} {w1wDpDw0} {0wDP)wDw} After {wgwDRDwD} 26. 1–0 [Skinner & Verhoeven (1998). if now 16.282 Part III. . Qd1 Qb6 19. d5 Bb4 Surprisingly. . Bd2 Bc4 . page 467] 16. 1–0 [Skinner & Verhoeven (1998). Alekhine’s chess games. Rfc8 31. N|f7+ would eventually leave White a rook ahead. Black could survive for a while with 16. Bd3 Nf6 7. Nc3 d|c4 4.... Qe8 but after 17. e3 0–0 7. R|b4 a|b4 After {DwDwHwDw} 15. R|e4 a5 25. 24.. Bd3 c5 7. Nf3 e6 5. d4 c6 6. {0pDw4Q0p} a|b4 28. has no vllllllllV Rb1 defense against White’sNe4 Blackthe subgood Q|d7 and sequent advance of his d-pawn. Rc6 White could continue with 37. July 16.N|e4 was a good possibility that Black may have considered on this or his next move. Board ? (of 32) Center-Counter (Scandinavian) Defense B01 1.b2.. Alekhine–Kohler Chicago. Rfd1 210 1. Alekhine’s chess games.. R|f7 17. . was better.. It was time to resign. 12. c|d4 Nb4 11. R|e7 {wDw)nDwD} 30.. e4 Bb7 4.. .. R|e4! Naturally.. d7.. Re1 Re8 11. July 16. e4 d5 2.. Board ? (of 32) Queen’s Gambit Accepted D24 1. Verhoeven (1998). h4 Not a sign of “aggression. Ng3 Rc6 17. Q|f7+ Kh8 15. Ne4 Qd8 13. 26. Nh5 Nd3 20. Bg5 Be7 6. Qa4 b3 {P)PDw)P)} 32. . Nbd2 a6 5. Rb1 {wDpDpDwD} 0–0 Black must surrender his queen or suffer even more dire consequences. 11.. Qe2 Bb7 10. 0–0 Be7 8. Ne4 Bc6 14. e|d5 Q|d5 3. . a losing move.

N|h7+ Kg8 24. d|e5 N|e5 8.. R|c7 N|e4 33. but after the alternative 16. Alekhine almost surely did not foresee all the upcoming variations and he did miss a better 16th move. Bg2 Nc6 4. . Alekhine’s chess games.. but Black’s kingside remains quite shattered. Bisno Chicago. Rd4 Qc7 23. c5 The move 26. . but his position would remain inferior.. Ng5 32. d|e6 d|e6 21. Ng|h7 with a forced mate. R|e2 winning. K|d7 17.. 29. Nf6+ Forcing resignation. 27.. Rd4! Qc6 17. July 16. 13. 17. g4 Beginning the decisive breakthrough. g3 Nf6 3. R|f4 e6 20. Naturally. ∂–∂ [Skinner & Verhoeven (1998). 26. d4 f5 2. . B|g5 14. Alekhine’s chess games. The pretty 18. Q|d4 Nd6 16. Q|e4 Kh8 31. . Be3 e5 7.. .. So the best move is to resign. f4 Ned7 13. g4 or . 15. Re1 Nd5 20. massing forces on the g-file. Here Black had a somewhat better chance to defend against White’s kingside attack by 17. . But there is no need to play the best move all the time when you see a clear win from another move. Rg8 was the last chance. B|d4 Q|e2 22. 30. Now Black is defenseless. Nd6+ was also powerful.. R|g4+ Kh8 26.. N|f7 K|f7 16.Part III. A more exciting game than many of the non-draws in this book.... R|d5 B|c3 21. f|g4 25. Games 211–212 c6 Passive and blocking the b7 bishop’s role in the game. 28. Alekhine’s chess games. Be2 Qc7 9. Re1 Bd7 24. Q|e2 g6 11. e|f6 threatens Qh6 and mate on g7. Board ? (of 32) PirW Defense (by transposition) B07 1.. Qe3 c6 22. Bf4 Nf7 7.. Bc5+ White would win. would not give White sufficient compensation for the sacrificed piece. e4 B|d4 15. e5 Nd5 13. Qh5 15. 0–0 h6 10. 23. . g|f6 18.... Alekhine–A. Nf3 Nh5 11. 1–0 [Skinner & Verhoeven (1998). N|e4 Black is a piece behind with no conceivable counterplay. Q|f7?! is not quite sound in all variations.. Bc1 g5 13. B|d4 21. 1933. Bc4 Nbd7 6.. N|d6+.. R|d6! The more obvious followup. 16. 15. .. Nf3 Bg7 8. 1933. N|e8+. Be3 Nc4 12. . Rg7 Playing Qh4 would decide the outcome even more quickly. Nd4 B|e2 10. Re7 16. N|d5 White’s last chance to try to win was by 20... . d5 Ne5 5. R|d7 Startling. This discovered check would be followed by 24.. 0–0? Black should play 16. B|f4 N|f4 19. Nc3 d6 4. Board ? (of 32) Dutch Defense A81 1. Nd4 0–0 14. Ng5 30. Nf6+ Kf8 Black cannot more his king to g7 or h8 because of 23. 20. 1–0 [Skinner & Verhoeven (1998). Nc3 g6 6. the simplest being 18. Red1 but after complications the final position is probably also a draw.. Rg6 Bc6 28. 31. Mesirow Chicago.e6. but to allow White’s other rook to move to g1. Ne4 How often this move occurs in Alekhine’s games! 13. Nc3 Rfe8 19. Rd1+ Nd5 and White has insufficient compensation for the sacrificed rook. . . . Kh1 Not so much to prevent a possible exchange of queens after Black’s . e4 c6 2. .. N|b5 Qc6 211 A. d4 Nf6 3. . page 467] cuuuuuuuuC {rDwDkDw4} {0pDnDpgp} {wDq0whpD} {DNDwDwDw} After {wDwDP)wD} 14. Qc6 {DwDwGwDw} {P)PDQDP)} {DwIRDwDR} vllllllllV 15.. 18. Ndb5!!? An intuitive sacrifice.Qb6. The reader may enjoy examining some of the subvariations here.. July 16. Ng5 Nd6 9. Nf3 Bg4 5.. Rc4! Q|b5 18. Rd4 Qe6 18.. e5 Nf7 17. page 467] . Rg8 was necessary to prevent White’s Rg6. 24. Kh8. 0–0–0 Bg7 12.. Rg1 Kh7? The final mistake.. Be4 B|e4+ If 29. f4 g|f4 White has held a clear spatial advantage since the opening. Nf6+ Perpetual check.. 12.. Nf|g5 Nf8 15. B|d5 c|d5 17. c|b5 14. if 17. Alekhine–A. . . R|h6+ leads to a quick checkmate. page 467] 283 212 A. Q|e4 16..... White can win in a variety of ways after 17.

Baker Edinburgh. . Q|h5+ Kf8 39. Allan Edinburgh.. Re1 N|e5 13. 36. a4 Be7 52. Koltanowski spells the name of his opponent “Allan” and on the page with the game score he spells it “Allen. e4 c5 2. d|c3 e6 7. Blindfold. almost 50 percent of them finished in fewer than 16 moves (see the table in the Appendix). Q|a7 because of Bh2+ followed by B|g2+ winning his queen. e5 Nc6 5. c4 Nb6 4. Qd5 or Qg5.. White could not capture 21. . Qg4 would present Black with more problems. h7 decides. The move played is somewhat strange.. . Still. h6+ Kh8 56.. leaving Black with the superior endgame. Qe4+ Kf7 50. September 20. Qc4 g4 24. d4 d5 4. Qf4 Qe7 34. Bd3 Qc7 11.Ba4 forces the exchange of queens. Bd6+ 40.. Alekhine’s chess games. b4 c|b4 3.. Nf3 d6 3..” a standard guideline that is usually wise to follow. e5 Nd5 3. the Glasgow Herald. c5 The most common move here is d4. Bb2 Qc7 6. h3 Kf7? Castling queenside would be far better. Engholm Chicago. Kh1 Bc6 23. Thus one could argue that not very long after play began Kolty was playing many fewer than 34 opponents.a|b6). He did not believe in fighting all games to a clear finish. 1937.” Of the game scores of all the nine drawn games Kolty supplied in this report.” A more important point is that in his report of this display Koltanowski presents the games and their board numbers. B|e3 Qh5 49. Qc8+ Re8 45.. a draw was agreed to at this point.284 Part III. July 16. Kg2 Qa5 51. . b4 d5 Instead. Alekhine–N. Qh6 Rc1+ 37. protecting g2 from mate threats but having few advantages. (1990). Be3 R|e6 43. September 20.. after he popularized it in the early 1920s. c|d5 B|e1 After 29. 214 G. Qg4 h5 16. . Koltanowski–G. Nc3 N|c3 6. 0–0 Obviously this position is not “drawn. 0–0 Nc6 12. Nc3 . c|b6 c|b6 “Capture toward the center.. with too many boards yet unfinished. Board 1 (of 34) Sicilian Defense (Wing Gambit) B20 (In the summary of this display in his book Blindfold Chess Genius [1990]. . Qd3 Be5 27. threatening mate. B|d5 Alekhine probably would have played 30. Bb3 Rhc8? . . Bh6+ Ke7 47. 1933.. Alekhine tries a more aggressive. page 45] 215 G. Kh2 Bb4 38. G. 9. ∂–∂ [Koltanowski. after which he is no longer losing and soon is winning.” The contest is just beginning. second six Queen’s Pawn. B|c1 Re4 44. Rd3 R|c6 35. Qe4 Rd8 32. all of them ended after 8 to 16 moves. with three exceptions. Of all 34 games he played. Be3 g5 19... pages 467–468] 213 1. Koltanowski–W. c4!? Intending to sacrifice the exchange to gain counterplay in the center. d4 Nf6 2. Rd6 33.Bb4 provides the best defense. one always has cause for some optimism. 14. 26. c4 Bf5 4. Qa4 Bd6 20. Board ? (of 32) Alekhine’s Defense B02 1–0 [Skinner & Verhoeven (1998). Qc4 Re4 46. Bc4 White is losing but with two bishops directed toward the opponent’s king. Qc4+ Kg7 53.. riskier line of play. 4. d|c6 Ba5 31. h5 Qd6 55.. states that the players were actually seated alphabetically. Be3 b6 8. unlike most of the world record–setting blindfold champions whose games are included in this book. Qf7 After 56.. Qc7 15. 32. Bd4 Bd6 28. e4 Nf6 Playing the defense named for Alekhine.. B|e6 Re8 42. A great comeback by Alekhine.. This means that Koltanowski did not use the exact opening system he described before the exhibition to enable him to separate the different boards [“first six boards King’s Pawn. September 25. and so on”]. N|e5 Q|e5 14. Nd5 5.. should have been obeyed here (.. 39. Q|g4 White rejects the perpetual check likely after Qh8+. 1937.. Rad1 Bh2+ 22. White should not be permitted to play Qh6. 14. . 21. Bf8 57. Bd3 e6 7. Re3 R|e3 48. Board 2 (of 34) Old Indian Defense (Irregular) A53 1. Qe6 Qb4 54. g3 Qh7 41. 1937. Kolty stated elsewhere (page 55) in the report of this exhibition in his book that “a draw was as good as a win. Bf1 B|b6? would lose to either 14. in the alphabetical order of his opponents’ names. Qh4 Be7 17.) 1. 28. with just a couple of exceptions. 2. Games 213–215 A. Bg5 f6 18. Alekhine does not play in a conventional way against it. Ne2 Nge7 8. B|f6! 30. Nf3 Bb7 10. h4 Rae8 25. with five ending in 10 moves or fewer.. . B|b4 29.

17. d|c5 Instead.. 16.. Rb1 N|c4 14. He had actually been champion in 1931. Ne2 0–0 9. Nc3 d5 4. Qb3 Rd8 Playing 11. 18. Nce4 Bf8 12.. Koltanowski–Mrs.. which are both quite strong.G. Qh6 Bf8 21..) 1. Qf5+ Kolty announced his next five moves to the audience as he played this one— a stunt that always impresses audiences and players at a blindfold display. .. White cannot capture the b7 pawn because of . Black has a poor game in any event. and he agreed to a draw here. Ng5 Qd5 10. Koltanowski comments that “as Teichmann used to say. Bc4 Ne5 13. e5 d5 7. (1990). Blindfold. N|e6 So far this variation had been analyzed years and years before this game was played.. Be7 {DwDwDQDw} {P)PGw)w)} {$wDw$wIw} vllllllllV 18.. c|d5 Q|b3 13... page 45] G.. R|c5 or g|f5! wins material. b6. 9. Kolty says he chose the knight capture because he “wanted to bring my opponent out into the open. 22. 16.. Blindfold. The moves . 10.. e4 N|c3 6.0–0 retain an approximately equal game for Black. . 1937.c6. 1937.B|c3+ 12. N|d5 c|d5 15.. Qa5 11. Q|f6 Ne7 Other moves also lose quickly. d4 Nf6 2. page 46] 217 cuuuuuuuuC {wDrDkhw4} {0pDw0pgw} {wDwDwDw0} After {DwHpDb0w} 16. e4 e5 2. f|g7 and R|e6. Nc3 Qf5 11. Bc4 Bc5 4. but the move played leaves him with a lost one. Na6 and Bb5+ are hard to meet.Kd8 because of the pretty mate N|b7. Rc1 c6 10. Board 3 (of 34) Grünfeld Defense D85 1.. .. B|c5 puts White in the driver’s seat. Board 4 (of 34) Max Lange Attack C55 (Koltanowski states that his opponent was the youth champion of Scotland. h3 g5 7.. . e|f6 d|c4 8. may have been his best chance. Black resigned. R|b4 B|a2 The game is approximately equal. 1–0 [Koltanowski. Ng5+ Kg6 14.Part III. Other strong 18th moves were 18. b|c3 c5 7. (1990). Games 216–217 Nbd7 5. Facing material loss. Ng6?? 16.. Kd2 {wDw)wDwD} {DwDw)wDP} {P)wIw)PG} {Dw$wDBDR} vllllllllV 16. 0–0 Nf6 5.. Koltanowski–A. N|b3 N|d5 14. Re1+ Be6 9. but there is much play left for both sides.. G. g4! The strongest of several powerful moves for White. R|c5 either 19. Qf3 Be7 216 G. . Qb4 Q|b4 16. Nd2 d5 11... 1933. page 47] . Kd2 285 is likely that Kolty wanted to clear another game from his mind so that he could concentrate on fewer games. Q|c4 Be6 15. Bd7. g4 Qa5 The only square on a relatively open board to which the queen can move without immediate material loss. Bb5+ Kf8 Of course not . c|d5 N|d5 5. Bd2 Qb6 Both . both 16. Qg7+. 17. 10. The usual moves here are 14. Kf7 after which White wins both of Black’s rooks by 24. Kf7 19. . . . Blindfold. d5 followed after a Black knight move by 11. 18. surrendering his b7 pawn... Brockett Edinburgh.. G.. . (1990)...c5. September 20. Nc5 Rc8 If instead 15.. Bf4 h6 6. and 1934.” 14... G. N|f7 K|f7 13.Bb4 are considered better. Qh5+ Kg8 20. . Bd3 and Bd7. Be6 is better. Now Black is in very serious trouble. Bh2 Bg7 8. Be3 Nc6 10. a draw is better than a loss anytime!” However. Bh6 B|h6 23..c3 and . ∂–∂ [Koltanowski. Burnett Edinburgh. g|f6 15.. . d4 e|d4 6. Nf3 Nc6 3. September 20. or . e3 Nf8? Virtually pointless. c4 g6 3. 1–0 [Koltanowski. it cuuuuuuuuC {rDwDwDw4} {0p0wgwDp} {w1nDN0kD} {DwDwDwDw} After {wDp0wDPD} 17.. Bd3 Bg7 8. If now 18. Qb3 Qb6 12. Q|h6 The only way to continue for Black is 23.

d|c5 B|c5 7. N|f6+? A blunder by Kolty in a winning position. d3 Rc2 and d4 would also have refuted Black’s plan to regain his pawn with a good position. Rc2 Rc7 28. e3 Bg4 4. Nc3 Nf6 4.. R|f7 R|d4? 24. Koltanowski– Miss M’D Clark Edinburgh. 1937. Blindfold. 22. . e5 Ne4 5. etc. N|c6+ b|c6 11. e|f6 g|f6 9. R|f3 0–0 13. f3 Bh3?? 10. Rff1 Rfd8 18. Board 7 (of 34) Queen’s Gambit Declined (Tarrasch Variation. G. e6? Missing . f4 d5 2. in different ways. B|h6 Qf6 10. Ra1 traps the queen.Nc5 was superior. Nc5 Qa3 Note that Black’s queen has very few safe squares left.. 0–0 Rf6 18. (1990). Bb3 Bd7 17. d4 or Ne4 to maintain it.. page 51] 219 222 G. Be5 g6 There is no good reason to weaken the dark squares around his king. . e4 e5 2. pages 48–49] 218 G. G... Bb2 Be7 6. Koltanowski–J. e4 c6 2. Ng3 f6 8. pages 50–51] 220 221 G. September 20. 1937. 11. 0–0 Nc5 10. 7.Qa5+ winning the bishop on f5. But he does control all the central squares on his side of the board. Rc1 Qa5 15. Q|e3 B|d4 36. Bb4 is White’s best way of winning. c|d5 e|d5 6. (1990). September 20. Black will emerge two pieces behind after 34. Bd3 Blocking the advance of his d-pawn is not such a good idea. Qh5+ was also strong. The potential trapping of Black’s queen arises several times during the rest of this game. 1937. Q|e3+ 35. Ng3 c5 14... 1937. Board 8 (of 34) King’s Pawn Opening (Irregular) C50 1. G. Q|g3 Qf7 22. 0–0 Q|e6 15.D. 11. (1990).. by transposition) D32 1. Qd3 0–0–0 17. 6. . . d4 d5 3. Ba1 Bf6 26. . Re1 Ne4 16. Board 5 (of 34) Bird’s Opening A03 1. Re8+ Black will now finish up a rook behind. d4 Qa6 27. Black still has the superior position and could play either 19. c4 e6 4. Board 9 (of 34) Queen’s Pawn Game (Colle System) D05 . B|f3 12.Bf5 was Black’s best chance of saving the weak pawn on e4. Games 218–222 1. 9.. Ne2 Qc7? . Ewart Edinburgh. R|c5.286 Part III. if . b|c4 Qa5 22. Nf4 Rg5? 22...Q|a2 32. Board 6 (of 34) Caro-Kann Defense B15 G. 9.. g4 Nb6 30. B|f5 12. 20. Geddes Edinburgh. Bg3 Bd6 20. Blindfold. 0–0 Qg6 6.Nd7 or Ne8 is preferable... Cairns Edinburgh. G. Bc3 Qb5 Of course Black’s queen would be trapped after . h3 Bh5 8. Nf3 c5 3... N|f6 12. September 20.. Rb1 The threatened trap of the queen by Rb3 can be met only by 33. Q|d4. . . Ne5 Nh6? 9.. Nf4 Qf6 12.. Nc3 a6 5. (1990). b3 e6 5. Rae1 B|g3 21. Nf2 Qd6 25. e4 0–0 15.. Bb4 White ends up trapping Black’s queen with his bishop. d4 d5 2. Maneuvering with . Nc3 a6? 5. Qe4+ Qe6 13.. pages 49–50] G.. Bf5 10. R|f6 R|f6 20. 1937. September 20. Bc3 Qa3 33.. Rf1 Rg6 21. Bc4 Ne5 16. N|f2 Q|h6 12. Be2 was a better move. Bc4 Qf6 4. Qe2 Rac8 17. R|e4 Qg6 18.. as well as losing one of his own pawns with no compensation. Blindfold. Nh3 Raf8 19. N|h3 1–0 [Koltanowski. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nf3 Nc6 3. . d|c4 d|c4 21. B|e6 Qe7 14. N|d4 d6 8. 19. Ne2 N|d3 11.. Playing . d4 e|d4 7.. Bb2 Qa5 Again. 13.. Ra1.. 32. Bf4 Rg8 19.Q|a2 16. c|d3 An unusual pawn structure in the center has developed for White. N|e4 Of course 9.. Blindfold. Koltanowski–Miss Crum Edinburgh. 31. . Bd3 Nd7 11. Kolty played 22 good moves and one bad two-move combination. Nbd7 7. Nh1 c4? A serious mistake. 33. but his opponent did not take advantage of that one mistake. Black overlooked White’s defenses on his 22nd move and allows White to greatly improve his pawn structure. Na4? 34. 16. Nd7 23. Q|e6+ f|e6 14. Nd3 B|f2+ 11. Ne4 Bg7 29. Nd5 Kd8 9. 6. Re7 R|g3 23. Bc3 Qc7 24. N|e4 d|e4 6. Nc3 c6 Passive.. 1–0 [Koltanowski. Koltanowski–W.. 1–0 [Koltanowski. Koltanowski–R. September 20. Q|d5 Nd7 8. after which 34. . N|e6 1–0 [Koltanowski..

but he forgets about Nb5. Bc4 Rf8 24. 1937. Qd7 or . Gemmell Edinburgh. giving him a final score of 24 wins and 10 draws— breaking the world blindfold record of 32 simultaneous games set by Alekhine in 1933 by two additional games. Nf3 Nf6 3. Koltanowski– H. 22. the game score below. Qg5 Of course threatening f6. Bd3 c5 5. Rad1 b6 223 G. c3 Nc6 8. Qe2 b6 12. d|c5 B|c5 9.) 1. examination of all the game scores in the 1990 book would give him a final record of 25 wins and 9 draws. September 20. e6 Black is justifiably afraid of permitting White’s Nd5. Bh6 Bb7 15. In summary. the latter to the prettier 26. Koltanowski– Miss M. The former loses to 26. f4 Nc6 14. Be4 Qc7 20. Rfe1 Bg7 19... 0–0 Bd6 7. e4 c5 2. N|e4 Be7 11. d4 e6 6. e3 e6 4. Board 10 (of 34) Sicilian Defense (by transposition) B36 1. Board 11 (of 34) Sicilian Defense (Wing Gambit) B20 (In his writings Koltanowski provides a quick.. The moves 15. N|f6+ B|f6 13. Blindfold. Be3 Nd7 9. What is provided here is the (presumably incorrect) score furnished by Kolty. Adventures of a Chess Master (1955). N|g5+ followed by B|f8. they all report +24. 24. f5 g|f5 21. B|b7 N|b7 25. Nbd2 0–0 8. 14-move win over Miss Gilchrist. (1990).. =10.Part III.. is given here. and the score from the Glasgow Herald of September 25. B|f8 Q|f8 16. his game on Board 9 with Geddes ended in a draw. Rad1 Qe7 17. included only in Kolty’s 1990 book. c5 e5 20. 1937. Be3 Qc7 15. Qe4 g6 14. page 52] 287 13.. Qd8 cuuuuuuuuC {rDb1w4kD} {0wDwDpgp} {wDnHwDwD} {DwGw0P!w} After {wDBDwDwD} 24. G. research leads the authors to conclude that the game with Geddes was actually the tenth draw and somehow the wrong game was published as occurring on Board 9. and that she had been Scottish and British Ladies Champion. If that is true. Bd3 224 . Nc3 c5 3.. without further comment.. 1–0 [Koltanowski. . b5 Na5 23. Nf7+. However. Rfd1 Rd8 18. Q|c7 R|c7 24. His game score was incorrect. N|d6 Qe7 19. 0–0 0–0 10. Qd8 {DwDwDwDw} {P)wDwDP)} {Dw$RdwIw} vllllllllV 25.. a|b4 N|b4 7. Nb5 Qd7 17. c3 Nc6 6. G. page 53] G. b4 c|b4 3. d4 c|d4 5. and George Koltanowski: Blindfold Chess Genius (1990). Black’s only reasonable moves are 25.. N|d4 g6 6. Qd7 23. Because of the double threat on his queen from White’s rook and knight.Bb7 were better. N|f7 White can win material in various ways. Nc6 Ne6 28. e4 d|e4 10. 6. So Black resigned this hopeless position. a3 d5 4.. 1937. Gilchrist Edinburgh.) 1. Rc1 Both the immediate Nd5 or f5 look more forceful.D. N|e5+ Kh8 27.. e4 What started out as an English Opening has transposed into a standard variation of the Sicilian Defense. (1990).. Qd2 N|d4 11. which will win his now unprotected d-pawn. d6 7. September 20. 16. Be2 Bg7 8.Qf6. N|e5 Nc5 26. b4 Re7 22. 1–0 [Koltanowski. Games 223–224 (This is a “mystery game”: According to Koltanowski’s three books. e5 Nc6 5. No other game score in the 1990 book finishes in a position that could be the “real” tenth draw. . B|f8 Q|g5 28.. Qc4 Re8 21. Ra8. 15. . The game score shown below is thus likely not to represent the actual contest with Geddes and resulted from some error by Kolty. Blindfold. shows a win by him in this game.D. B|c5 White is a pawn ahead with a dominating position and the game’s outcome is no longer in much doubt. . this newspaper stated that Gilchrist’s game was one of the last two to finish. e|f5 b|c5 22. c4 Nf6 2. B|d4 Ne5 12. In the Dark (1986). . .. d4 d5 2.. which he did not claim in any of his books and is never listed as his actual performance in any other chess book the present authors could find. Qe2 e5 18.. Nf3 Nc6 4.. Q|g5 and . Rd8+ Bf8 27. .

Nc3 Be7 6.. f4 0–0 12. 8. e|f5 B|f5 12... Qh5+ Kg8 26. or by 9. Q|h7+ Kf7 21.. Rh3 Nf8 18. .. Bg5 Bg4 11. Qa4 Qb7 11. . .. b3 Ne8 10. to his disadvantage. Granger Edinburgh. 14. f3 f5 Black only makes it simpler for White to win by advancing his kingside pawns and opening them to easier attack.Nd7 Black would still have had an approximately equal game. e4 e5 8. Blindfold. Now White obtains a clearly winning endgame after the ensuing long series of exchanges. Koltanowski–F. Kc2 {wDw)wDwD} {Dw)wDwDb} {wDKDwDP)} {$NDwDqDw} vllllllllV 30. .. f5 e|f5 14. G. 28. 19. acquiesces to White’s plan. d4 d5 2. K|e1 Re8+ 21. (1990). 1937. September 20. Ka2 Re6. B|d8 B|d1 13. 10.. 1937. September 20. e3 e6 4. d4 d5 2. Q|c6 d4 16. . Qb3 Nc6 6. .. . 0–0 Be7 11. Kc2 226 cuuuuuuuuC {wDwDrDkD} {0pDwDwDw} {wDwDwDwD} After {DwDpDwGQ} 30.Rf7 prevents the White queen’s check at c4 and would leave Black with only a small disadvantage. Nbd2 Nbd7 7. 32. N|f5 Be6 15.. Ke8 10. Re3 Re7 Or Black could play .Bf5+ should have won for Black. N|d6 N|d3 14. Re8+ 29.. Bd3 0–0 7. Bg5 Re1+ 27. .. f|e7 R|e7 24. Kf1 Re7 White would now like to exchange off both rooks because the king-andpawn ending would be the easiest to win (and to avoid complications for the blindfolded player).. Ne5 his position would be poor. A comedy of errors near the end. Now White is in real trouble. Black.N|e4 10.. 0–0 Nc6 8.. Board 13 (of 34) Philidor’s Defense C41 1. Ra|d1 c|d6 15. leaving him a pawn ahead. c5 Qc8 7.. 1937] G. say..Bf8 provided a better defense. Blindfold. R|d4 Rfe8 17. B|h3 22. September 25. Board 14 (of 34) Colle System D05 1. K|e1 and Black cannot safely play . 11. R|d3 Ra|d8 16. 1–0 [Glasgow Herald. Q|e2. If then 28. Nd2 Bf5+ Of course if . However. 227 225 G. with too many boards yet unfinished. Qe6+ Rf7 17.. B|h7+ N|h7 20. Graham Edinburgh. 31. Rf3 f6? . Kb3 R|d2 34.. .288 Part III. Bf6.. Nf3 d6 3. B|d2 Black will emerge a rook behind..P. c4 e6 5. e|f6 The move Rh6 would have been better. B|c6 Black gave up because after 8. Ne4 Ne5 . Q|g7+ Ke6 23. Ne2 Ng6 10. Bd3 Bd6 5.Qe8 would have led to a fairly equal ending.. Rfd1 h5 18. Bb2 f5 Better was. . (1990).. page 54] . September 20. But he states that he “felt a draw was as good as a win. Gould Edinburgh.. For example. Kf2 Qf8+? Instead. Nf3 Nf6 3. B|f5 R|f5 13. Nc3.. Koltanowski– W.. Nd5 c5. Kb3 Qb5+ 32. K|e1? The nice move Bf6! would have kept White’s advantage. 1–0 [Koltanowski. Qg4 g6 The retreat . e|d5 e|d4 9. he could resist for a while by playing 9. Re1 R|e1+ 20.W. e4 e5 2. 28. Ng3 Bd7 13. N|e7+ N|e7 19. He confessed that he knew he had the advantage and could continue 15. Nf3 Nf6 3. Games 225–227 G.. G. e3 Bf5 4. Re2+? Instead. b|c6 9. Q|f6+ 29. N|c6 b|c6 9.. pages 54–55] Nge7 9.Q|a1 then 32. d4 e|d4 4. 1937. Kb2 Q|g2 33. 0–0 0–0 6. Kd2 Kf8 22. Qh5 Re8 16. 10.. Bd3 Nb6 is one way for Black to achieve an equal position. threatening R|f6+ 21. This move opens the position to White’s advantage. B|f6 B|f3 12.” ∂–∂ [Koltanowski. Koltanowski– G. N|d4 Nf6 5.Rd8 25. 31... B|e4 f5 11.. 17. Bb5 Kd8?? By playing . Re6 Kf7 and wait for his inevitable execution as White advances his pawns on the queenside (of course there are other ways to win).Re8+. Board 12 (of 34) Queen’s Pawn Game D04 1. Nc3 Ne4. N|c6+ Ke8 11. Kd1 Qf1+ 30. Qh6+ Kf7 25. Bg6 10. Rd3 g5 (see diagram) 24. Qc4+ d5 Koltanowski agreed to a draw here... 23. N|c6 Bd3 12.

Koltanowski–D. d4 e6 4. Kd4 Ke7 28. Qh8+ Ke7 23. page 56] 228 G. c4 b6 29. September 20. 16.. B|e7. Blindfold.. Q|g7+ Ke8 24. 1–0 [Koltanowski. with neither side having a After {DwDPDp0p} definite advantage.. Board 15 (of 34) Two Knights’ Defense C55 1. . (1990). g5 {wDwDwDwD} draw here. pages 57–58] 230 G. e4 e5 2. Bg5 Black is still defenseless. R|e7 K|e7 26.. Hood Edinburgh. Blindfold..N|d4 would leave Black with a better defense. Nf3 Nb6 13. B|e5 {DwDBDwHw} {PDPDwDw)} {$wGQDRDK} vllllllllV 1. e5 Ng8 7. h4 Other moves win. . Bg5 Nge7 8. 1. 0–0 d5 7. (1990). f4 g3 34. {DwDRDPDw} ∂–∂ [Koltanowski. Nf7 On second thought.Part III. but now White forces the entry of his king into Black’s weakened kingside or even queenside. (1990). 1937.. presumably to reduce fairly quickly the number of games he had to keep in mind. Laing Edinburgh. Qh5+ Kg8 19. maybe this is the worst game in the collection (see Game 228).. d4 d5 2. Games 228–232 289 cuuuuuuuuC Nf3 Nf6 3. G. G. . page 56] 229 cuuuuuuuuC {rDb1w4kD} {DpDwDw0p} {whnDpDwD} {0wDpgw)w} After {w0w)w)wD} 16. Ne5 B|e5? This move allows a very promising sacrifice by Kolty. Qh5+ g6 9. b4 c|b4 3. White’s reply to 22. (1990). If 32. 0–0 Nf6 5