Blindfold King Breaks World Record

GM Timur Gareyev, Photo Lennart Ootes GM Timur Gareyev, Photo Lennart Ootes

That point had been reached. The point where a chessplayer is so tired that he can't think clearly and just wants it to be over. Andrew McGregor, aka, "The Chess Boxer" had reached that point, and he was amazed that GM Timur Gareyev was still on his stationary bike, pedaling away and calling out moves. "After 19 hours, I was almost delirious and had many thoughts, some of which were actually about chess!" McGregor said. He continued "I was a pawn up in the endgame, but instead of focusing on the game, I was having a wide range of thoughts like 'Maybe I should just resign,' and the counter 'Timur took a day of my life, I'm going to beat him for that!' "

[pgn] [Event "Blindfold World Record"] [Date "2016.12.03"] [White "McGregor, Andrew"] [Black "Gareyev, Timur"] [Result "0-1"] [WhiteElo "1850"] [BlackElo "2618"] [PlyCount "82"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"] [WhiteTeam "United States"] [BlackTeam "United States"] [WhiteTeamCountry "USA"] [BlackTeamCountry "USA"] [WhiteClock "0:02:03"] [BlackClock "1:42:34"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nd4 4. Nf3 Nxb5 5. Nxb5 a6 6. Nc3 b5 7. O-O Bb7 8. d3 e6 9. Bg5 Nf6 10. Re1 Qc7 11. Ne2 d6 12. Ng3 Be7 13. Qd2 h6 14. Be3 g5 15. Qc3 Rg8 16. b4 g4 17. Nd2 h5 18. a4 h4 19. Ne2 g3 20. fxg3 hxg3 21. Nxg3 Ng4 22. Nf3 Nxe3 23. Rxe3 Qb6 24. bxc5 dxc5 25. axb5 axb5 26. Rxa8+ Bxa8 27. Re1 c4+ 28. d4 Bd6 29. e5 Be7 30. Ra1 Bxf3 31. gxf3 Bb4 32. Qe3 Kd7 33. c3 Be7 34. Qe4 b4 35. cxb4 c3 36. Qd3 Rc8 37. Ne4 Bxb4 38. Ra6 c2 39. Nc5+ Ke7 40. Rxb6 c1=Q+ 41. Kf2 Qe1+ 0-1[/pgn]

_dsc9162Simone Sobel, Photo Lennart Ootes

Simone Sobel, a near-Expert from L.A. commented "What he did was truly remarkable. Everyone was just in awe and so excited that he achieved a fantastic goal! I'm just happy that I was able to play such an interesting game against the Blindfold King!" Sobel drew her game in the 18th hour. Sobel's tone was echoed all throughout the event, from the first move at 8:20am to the final resignation, over 19 hours later. Timur actually played (or took 5-minute breaks) for only 18 1/2 hours if you don't count the 30-minute delay caused by a fire alarm (triggered by Timur's personal chef, who was cooking up creative mini-meals for Timur all day long!).

[pgn] [Event "Blindfold World Record"] [Date "2016.12.03"] [White "Sobel, Simone"] [Black "Gareyev, Timur"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [WhiteElo "1933"] [BlackElo "2618"] [PlyCount "85"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"] [WhiteTeam "United States"] [BlackTeam "United States"] [WhiteTeamCountry "USA"] [BlackTeamCountry "USA"] [WhiteClock "0:00:36"] [BlackClock "1:43:52"] 1. d4 f5 2. c4 e6 3. g3 Nf6 4. Bg2 Bb4+ 5. Bd2 Qe7 6. Nf3 O-O 7. O-O Bxd2 8. Nbxd2 d6 9. Qc2 Nc6 10. e4 f4 11. d5 Ne5 12. Nxe5 dxe5 13. Qc3 exd5 14. cxd5 Bg4 15. Rfe1 fxg3 16. hxg3 Nd7 17. Rac1 Rac8 18. Qe3 Nb6 19. Rc2 c6 20. Rec1 Bd7 21. Nc4 Nxc4 22. Rxc4 Ra8 23. Qb3 Qf6 24. R4c2 cxd5 25. Qxb7 Rad8 26. exd5 a5 27. Qa7 h5 28. Rc4 Bb5 29. Rc7 h4 30. gxh4 e4 31. Qc5 Bd3 32. h5 Kh8 33. Qe3 Rxd5 34. R1c6 Rd6 35. Rxd6 Qxd6 36. Qc5 Qf6 37. Rc8 Rxc8 38. Qxc8+ Kh7 39. Qe8 Qf5 40. b3 Qg5 41. Kh2 Qh4+ 42. Kg1 Qg4 43. Qe5 1/2-1/2[/pgn]

In 2011, FM Marc Lang of Germany broke GM Miguel Najdorf's 64 year-old record, by playing 46 games simultaneously over 21 hours and 9 minutes. Timur's mark of 48 (35 wins, 6 losses, and 7 draws) eclipsed that mark in every respect (amount of games, time needed, strength of opposition, and win percentage). Of his 48 opponents, a remarkable 20 players were rated 1800 or higher and Timur hit the percentage goal that he had hoped for (80%).

[pgn] [Event "Blindfold World Record"] [Date "2016.12.03"] [White "Gareyev, Timur"] [Black "White, Scott"] [Result "1-0"] [WhiteElo "2618"] [PlyCount "57"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"] [WhiteTeam "United States"] [BlackTeam "United States"] [WhiteTeamCountry "USA"] [BlackTeamCountry "USA"] [WhiteClock "1:12:25"] [BlackClock "0:03:11"] 1. e4 c5 2. d4 cxd4 3. c3 dxc3 4. Bc4 Nc6 5. Nf3 e6 6. Nxc3 a6 7. Bf4 Nge7 8. O-O Ng6 9. Bg3 b5 10. Bb3 Be7 11. Nd5 exd5 12. exd5 O-O 13. dxc6 dxc6 14. Qc2 Qb6 15. h4 c5 16. Bd5 Bb7 17. Bxb7 Qxb7 18. h5 Nh8 19. Rfe1 Rad8 20. a4 c4 21. axb5 axb5 22. Qf5 Bf6 23. Be5 Qd5 24. Rad1 Qe6 25. Rxd8 Qxf5 26. Rxf8+ Kxf8 27. Bd6+ Be7 28. Rxe7 Qd3 29. Re6+ 1-0 [/pgn]
[pgn] [Event "Blindfold World Record"] [Date "2016.12.03"] [White "Brownscombe, Thomas"] [Black "Gareyev, Timur"] [Result "0-1"] [WhiteElo "2200"] [BlackElo "2618"] [PlyCount "36"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"] [WhiteTeam "United States"] [BlackTeam "United States"] [WhiteTeamCountry "USA"] [BlackTeamCountry "USA"] [WhiteClock "0:04:04"] [BlackClock "1:52:29"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Bc5 6. Re1 Ng4 7. Re2 O-O 8. c3 d5 9. exd5 e4 10. dxc6 exf3 11. gxf3 Nxh2 12. Re5 Qf6 13. Rxc5 Nxf3+ 14. Kg2 Bh3+ 15. Kxh3 Qh4+ 16. Kg2 Qg4+ 17. Kf1 Nh2+ 18. Ke1 Rfe8+ 0-1 [/pgn]
[pgn] [Event "Blindfold World Record"] [Date "2016.12.03"] [White "Gareyev, Timur"] [Black "Merwin, Steven"] [Result "0-1"] [WhiteElo "2618"] [BlackElo "1917"] [PlyCount "46"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"] [WhiteTeam "United States"] [BlackTeam "United States"] [WhiteTeamCountry "USA"] [BlackTeamCountry "USA"] [WhiteClock "1:24:50"] [BlackClock "0:03:11"] 1. d4 d5 2. c4 Nc6 3. Nc3 dxc4 4. d5 Ne5 5. f4 Ng4 6. h3 N4f6 7. e4 e6 8. Nf3 exd5 9. e5 c6 10. exf6 Nxf6 11. Ne5 Bc5 12. Bxc4 Bf5 13. Bd3 Ne4 14. Nf3 O-O 15. Bxe4 Re8 16. g4 Bxe4 17. Kf1 Bxf3 18. Qxf3 d4 19. Ne4 Qd5 20. Nd2 Qd7 21. Nb3 Bb6 22. a4 Qe6 23. a5 Qe1+ 0-1 [/pgn]
Find all the games here on chess24. The Accusation After about five hours, one of Timur’s opponents, apparently in disbelief that he could really be doing this, approached NTD Tom Brownscombe and told him that he should check a device that was wired to Timur's back. While the organizers all knew that it was his transmitter (not receiver) for the Twitch TV broadcast, we realized that others would surely be wondering the same thing in light of this unbelievable feat. After several discussions with the organizer, Jennifer Vallens and myself, we had Marc Cobb, Timur’s close friend and travel companion, approach Timur. Surprised by the interruption, Timur graciously allowed himself to be walked out of the room, where they then removed the device for inspection. I showed my transmitter (I was doing the commentary on Twitch TV) and it was exactly the same as Timur’s.

Andrew McGregor, Photo Lennart Ootes Andrew McGregor, Photo Lennart Ootes

After his game, I interviewed him on Twitch and he said that he was just wondering because he saw the wire, but that he did not believe that Timur was getting any help “because sometimes he would make really bad moves against bad players.” There were numerous interviews throughout the day, including Andrew McGregor (“The Chess Boxer”) and Ibn Cason (brother of former heavy weight boxing champ Hasim Rahman), FM Elliott Liu (Nevada State Champion), Timur’s mother, and 20 or so others!

jayandelliottCoach Jay Stallings and Elliot Liu

In one of the most popular interviews, FM Ron Gross, an 80-year old friend of the late Bobby Fischer, excitedly compared Timur to George Koltanowski. "He (Timur) loves to play, and enjoys sharing his talent, just as Kolty did all those years ago." The event was flawless, which is amazing considering that Jennifer Vallens (of OffDaRook Entertainment) threw it together in two months once the date and venue were confirmed. Timur himself arranged for the Twitch production (thanks to Ryan and Keith Ray of Killer Dutch Agency – no relation to the opening), game broadcasting on multiple chess websites (thanks to Lennart Ootes), ten DGT boards (half from Al and Janelle Losoff of National Open fame and half from the Las Vegas Chess Center), fantastic healthy foods (by Joe Bullock of Joe’s Magic Foods), equipment rentals from LightForce and SSP in Las Vegas. Thanks to Juan and Sabrian Jauregui of the Las Vegas Chess Center for all their help in promoting the event and holding practice events for Timur leading up to this big challenge. Very special thanks to Joe Sly of the UNLV Foundation Building, which served as nothing less than the perfect venue for the event.

andrewBehind the scenes of Blindfold Chess, Photo Jay Stallings

All participants received tea and coffee all day, and a visit by a popular food truck, plus  a swag bag that included complimentary blindfolds (the same model that Timur used) donated by Mindfold. Speaking of blindfolds, there will be an auction soon for the autographed blindfold that Timur used during the event.

_dsc9222Timur Gareyev on his bike, Photo Lennart Ootes

After the event, Timur said that he wanted to go back to Uzbekistan to bring his blindfold ability to his home country. He planned to visit Russia and Europe as well. While he was a little wobbly after the event, I think it was mostly due to the approximately 50 miles he rode on the stationary bicycle over the 18.5 hours! FM Marc Lang sent a note to Timur after the conclusion of the event: “Congratulations on beating my World Record – or better, blowing it up :) . Great job and fantastic performance. I’m pretty sure that this time it (the record) will last much longer. Best, Marc“ Congratulations to GM Timur Gareyev – World Record for Simultaneous Blindfold Chess Games (48)! Jay Stallings is a US Chess Expert and FIDE Trainer. He has an app for players rated under 1000 (Coach Jay’s Chess Academy), a podcast (“Chess Chat with Coach Jay”) and his curriculum is used by chess coaches worldwide. Follow Timur's adventures on his website, facebook and twitter. Find full game list on chess 24.

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