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Blindfold Chess is Book of the Year Print E-mail
August 27, 2009
topalovpolgarsmall.jpg
Topalov and Polgar playing blindfold in Spain, Photo courtesy New In Chess
Blindfold Chess by Eliot Hearst and John Knott is the winner of the Fred Cramer Award for the Best Chess Book of 2009, sponsored by the U.S. Chess Federation, the Chess Journalists of America, and the U.S. Chess Trust.

"We are pleased that the award committee thought our book qualified despite its rather unusual subject matter." Hearst said.

Eliot Hearst and John Knott independently began researching Blindfold Chess in the 70s and then decided to collaborate on the book in the 90s, making for 75 years of total combined work on the book! Eliot is a professor at the University of Arizona and John Knott is an expert on maritime law who got into blindfold chess by studying Morphy's games.
 
Eliot Hearst told CLO how he got into blindfold chess, and what interests him about it:

As a serious player I have always been interested in blindfold chess, but when experimental psychology started to overshadow my interest in chess I taught courses and did research in human and animal memory, learning, imagery, expertise, etc. Eventually connections between my interests in psych and chess became more and more obvious and BFC, a relatively unexplored field, took on special meaning (a great but somewhat naive book on BFC was written by Alfred Binet in the 1890s). So something really seemed missing from the chess literature, the only major book on the subject being more than a century old. John got into BFC through studying Morphy's games and trying to play blindfold himself. John and I wanted to fill that gap, coming at it from different professions.  

 I was also interested in the fact that many great players have said that BFC really improved their regular chess.... Lots of players have said that the pieces actually get in the way of analyzing and calculating and you must recall photos of Kasparov or Svidler or Ivanchuk staring at the ceiling or covering their eyes while playing regular games.
 

You can purchase the book on USCF Sales and read more about it on the Blindfold Chess website which includes an excerpt from the book and a blog.

 
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