First blindfolded chess match held in South-east Asia with American grandmaster

SINGAPORE - The first blindfolded simultaneous chess match held in South-east Asia took place on Saturday (Jan 27) at Hotel Royal.

It was a battle between grandmaster Timur Gareyev and 16 opponents aged between 10 and 24. The American used a Braille chess-board with Mr Edwin Tan who represented Singapore at the 2015 Asean Para Games.

The other 15 opponents were among the best of the Singapore Chess Federation High Performance Squad.

Blindfold chess demands strict concentration and the ability to remember positions in addition to calculating one's moves, without having sight of a board.

The grandmaster would have to play all his opponents at the same time, without a chess-board and only with coordinates from his opponents.

He cannot receive any verbal hints or anything else that can help him recall previous moves he made, adding to the complexity of the feat.

Mr Gareyev, who needed special training to expand his memory powers, also had to sit on an electric bicycle for the match on Saturday.

The visiting grandmaster holds the current world record of playing 48 boards and securing an 80 per cent winning result in Las Vegas in 2016.

Previous records were held by grandmaster Miguel Najdorf who played 45 boards in 1947 and German master Marc Lang who played 46 boards in 2011.