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Timur Gareev, Blindfold in Hawaii Print E-mail
By GM Timur Gareev   
January 4, 2013
GM Timur Gareev, Photo Tom Zhang
Hello from Vegas and Happy New Year! I just finished the most incredible tournament of my life. Jamaal Abdul-Alim conveyed the details of the tournament in the article about the 2012 North American Open. I will be sharing an exciting blindfold exhibition I co-produced in Hawaii the week before Christmas. My vision is to reach a 64-board blindfold exhibition world record by the end of 2013.
I was excited to visit the island of Oahu for the 2nd time. I stayed in Waikiki which has an amazing balance of beautiful beaches and active social scene. We met with the Hawaii Chess Federation Scholastic Director Guy Ontai and our instructors Cornelius Rubsamen and Chet Gionson. The students demonstrated genuine interest and commitment. We all played a blitz tourney, competed in a talent show, and of course experienced the amazing 27 board blindfold simul at the Hawaii Washington Middle School.

Photo Keahi Renaud
The simul lasted 9 hours! Initially we got 10 people to start. 10 more people joined after one hour and a half. The last group joined in another hour. That served to create a smoother, faster-pace game flow. My previous experience of blindfold exhibition matches had included 4, 12, and 18 board simuls organized in Austin and Houston, Texas.

Here is a video from my first four board session in Austin. 

As was starting out playing my first simul, I tried to hold on to every position in my mind. I would recreate it over and over in attempt to solidify the image. As I found out later, I don’t need to do that. I can experience the position once. When I “come back” to the board, the position pops up automatically. My quickest session was the 18 board simul in Austin. The event took about 3 hours including many take backs I suggested for instructional purpose.

I felt a little rusty as I started my Hawaiian simul. I certainly felt the lack of consistent preparation which had previously included weekly blindfolded 3-hour matches. Though it is never easy, the mission had to be completed. I took a few moments to enter the meditative space. When my breath started feeling more harmonious I initiated the blindfold journey.

Photo Keahi Renaud
Players announce his or her name and the move in the first couple rounds. Some helpfully announce names throughout the event. Voice acts as an immediate trigger to reawaken the position. Some players may speak softly which can be resolved using a microphone. The player can not announce the move, until I announce the board number. Garyk Ontai was helping me lead the simul. We had a few players who had a hard time shouting out the moves. Garyk was announcing for a girl named Young. The first few times he did that, I was thrown off trying to recollect the player and the position.
Several beginners took advantage of my “fast” decisions and were able to seize big material advantage. None of them managed to convert or hold up in the end. The “2000 club” guys defended their honor with two draws and one win. As part of the fun we assigned a prize of $200 which was divided between the successful participants. 24 warriors were outplayed, outricked, or simply gave away all of their stuff.

Here's one game, which included a funny incident:

Timur Gareev-Dylan Marn

1. d4 g6 2. Bg5 Bg7 3. Nc3 d6 4. e4 c6 5. f4


A little "adventurous"
5...Qb6 6.Nge2 Qxb2 7. Rb1 Qa3 8. g3 b5 9. Bg2 Bg4 10. O-O Bxe2 11. Nxe2 Nd7 12. e5 Rc8 13. c4 a6 14. Rb3 Qxa2 15. Nc3 Qa5 16. f5 dxe5 17. Ne4 Qb6 18. c5 Qa7 19. fxg6 hxg6 20. Bxe7 Kxe7 21. Rxf7+

Here the kid took a pass and after I got back to the board once again, he announced his resignation. To that I replied that heis actually winning and should continue.
21...Kxf7 22. Nd6+ Kf8 23. Nxc8 Qc7 24.Nd6 exd4 25. Rf3+ Ngf6 26. Qe2

Setting up Queen penetration
26...Nxc5?? 27. Qe8#
27. Qe6+ Kh7 28. Qh3+
28. Rf4!
28... Bh6 29. Nf7 Ng8??

29... Kg7 30. Nxh8 Be3+ 31. Kh1 Ne5 -+
30. Ng5+ Kg7 31. Rf7#

The organization of a blindfold event requires careful consideration of every little detail. I am a big supporter of Bollywood dancing, drums, and karaoke during classical chess tournaments; however, when it comes to blindfold chess, even a pin drop takes away from the focus. The focus must be maintained close to 100% of the time to maintain the pace and retention. Water and snacks must be arranged in a convenient way to keep the energy flow. I was drinking lots of water, eating clementines, and snacking on some Japanese vegetables at the end.

The event inspired a future goal of completing a 64-board blindfold simul. The event will be hosted on Oahu on December 21, 2013. I am preparing to play 33 and 50 board events before that. I will be happy to receive feedback at chessharmony.com/Contact_Us.html

SurfingtimurOahu.jpgI am aiming for 1000 hours of preparation for the ultimate record: 500 hours of blindfold analysis and play plus 500 hours of body, mind, spirit meditation and conditioning. Nutrition will include lots of raw foods. A quick nap right before the blindfold session or even during a short break makes all the difference in the world.

Powerful vision and emotional association with the goal is the fuel for success. My original inspiration for realizing my chess talent in blindfold chess comes from watching the documentary “Man on Wire.” It feels awesome to enlighten people, opening a new perspective on what is possible.

As part of the chess camp events we had an incredible talent show. The participants danced hula, performed improv ukulele rap, comedy, piano, guitar, and of course sang California Girls… It was inspiring to discover all the beautiful talents. Another cool part was a charity day for which we collected $1200 and ended up donating $1750 in food supplies to the homeless and families in need in at Waikoloa Village.
Find out more about Timur's win in Las Vegas on CLO and look for an upcoming article about the North American Open by US Women's Champ Irina Krush in Chess Life Magazine.