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blindfold chess and mental images

Hi all!

My question is preferably for experienced blindfold chess players.

I can play blindfold chess, but I can't form a panoramic picture of the board and pieces. My mental image comes without peripheral vision and my awareness is focal.

To choose my move I need to inspect the mental board using something like a 'flashlight', focusing on each 'piece' and forming a whole. There is also a whole, but in the form of 'point to point logical connections'. eg. I know that the queen is attacking f7-pawn, and the knight can go to g5-square and I can play Bg6, forming a logical whole, but without the image of all these ideas and the paths between each move.

Well, I would like to know if this is a feature of the human mind, or if it is lacking in experience, and with practice I will be able to pan the whole board and inspect each square, each diagonal, without a focus.

It is true that this 'focus' seems to exist any situations. That is explained in the documentary 'mind tricks'. We just mask our panoramic view like preemptive mutitasking, simulating true multitask in computer like environment... Well, I dont know, just curious about my lack of panoramic view in blindfold chess... pretty interesting be forced to inspect each point instead see the whole like the real board...

even on real board you have focus to make analysis on what happen. Broadview is just for selecting the focus

Around 20% till 25% have no visual imaginery. They use other strategies. If you can read french try to get Binet's work about this. His master subject was clearly someone with at least reduced visual images while playing blind.

@willwss
Thank you for sharing this. I feel exactly the same way when I (try to) play blindfold. I also see the board only as I "focus" on each area, and I often use mathematics to let me know whether I can go to a certain square. I have the same question, "Will this change, and if so, how and when?"

It‘s pretty „normal“ that one doesn’t see a picture. It‘s the same as calculating lines, you don’t see real images. You see the functions like vectors, a bit hard to explain.

Blindfold is like calculating variations with a flying start.

"Blindfold is like calculating variations with a flying start." - Sarg0n, CM, 2019


@Sarg0n do you think play many blindfold games one can help in his calculation skills? If you was a trainer, would you indicate for students blindfold chess as a calculation training?

Any practice which one 'calculate' help in calculation skills, I mean if you think 'blindfold chess' is the potentially the more efficient method to improve calculation skill. I know, by solving problems and studies one can improve, but blindfold chess is more generic and maybe more fun, helping in the efficiency of the method

PS: blindfold chess vs solving problems

I used to play blindfold regularly, one game only and preferably with white. I did have a mental picture and I also had tunnel vision i.e. I had to think to get a picture on another part of the board than my previous focus. In regular over the board chess there is also eye movement to the area you focus on. If you look at your opponent's eyes you can see what move he is considering. Some players cover their eyes with their hands to avoid that. Playing blindfold is spectacular and fun. Many people cannot believe that it can be done and are amazed that the blindfold player wins.
Analysis and calculation and reading chess books without board helps in playing blindfold, not the other way around. I would not recommend playing blindfold as a training tool.

My personal opinion, independent, harsh, reckless and straight to the point as usual. ;)

It‘s a bit of hen and egg. If you get good at chess, you excel both in calculating and blindfold mode. So you cannot practice such things independently, because...

It is always the full chess-monty, short-cuts lead you nowhere. Or in other words: there are no short-cuts, expose your brain to as much chess content as possible and let it work/process/proceduralize the bunch.


I haven't played much blindfolded but I have realized that as I have gotten better at chess I see the chessboard more as a whole instead of singular attacks, defenses or tactics. I think this is really why good players are also good in blindfolded chess and also better at chess in general (edit grammar)

For me, I visualize ,,almost" the full board, i.e., 6x6. During the opening and early middle game I can see the whole board, but during the endgame stages it starts to fade away. I have some games on my YouTube channel where I play blindfolded. You may want to check that out (you don't have to if you don't want to): www.youtube.com/channel/UCc857kmuoHHPYNxH1J7nufw

Reconnecting