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GM Timur Gareyev in Nairobi

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GM Timur Gareyev in Nairobi

GM Timur Gareyev aka “Blindfold King” paid an impromptu visit to Nairobi last week.

LGM Brian Kidula and I managed to meet up with him at his Nairobi hotel for a chat.   Meeting the ebullient Timur was fascinating for both of us.

Blindfold King Gareyev with LGM Brian Kidula.
Blindfold King Gareyev with LGM Brian Kidula.

His demonstration of playing on chess.com without sight of the board left us astounded.  He played with a blank board and the moves recorded on the side which is enough for him to play his game!

Standing from left Doris Cherono, GM Gareyev, LGM Brian Kidula and Kim Bhari.
Standing from left Doris Cherono, GM Gareyev, LGM Brian Kidula and Kim Bhari.
GM Gareyev at the famous Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Centre. Photo credit Doris Cherono of Mau Safaris.
GM Gareyev at the famous Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Centre. Photo credit Doris Cherono of Mau Safaris.

GM Gareyev at Kenya Motor Sports Club

GM Gareyev then spent time at Kenya Motor Sports Club in South C demonstrating his blindfold skills.  You can find the videos here to enjoy.  Video by Githinji Hinga GM Gareyev at Kenya Motor Sports Club.

Chess Diving

His trip lasted only two days before he was off again.  The next thing that I see on Instagram?  GM Gareyev jumping off a plane with a chess set!!

GM Gareyev flying at 120 mph with a chess board. The position is from a game in 1760 between Jean-Jacques Rousseau and the prince de Conti, played in Montmorency, France.
GM Gareyev flying at 120 mph with a chess board. The position is from a game in 1760 between Jean-Jacques Rousseau and the prince de Conti, played in Montmorency, France.
Hurtling at 120 mph towards earth is not my kind of fun!
Hurtling at 120 mph towards earth is not my kind of fun!

You can find the video of his jump here – Chess Diving with Grandmaster Gareyev.

World blindfold record

There is no way that one can write about GM Gareyev without mentioning his herculean blindfold record.

It is important to learn a bit more about the history of blindfold chess.

GM Miguel Najdorf played for Poland in the 8th Chess Olympiad held in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  He was unable to return home due to the start of World War II and decided to settle in Argentina.

GM Najdorf played a 40 board blindfold match in 1943.  His hope was that this feat would travel the world to assure his family that he was still alive.  Unfortunately his wife, daughter, parents and four brothers all died in the Holocaust.

He then improved his record to 45 boards in 1947 while visiting São Paulo, Brazil.  This incredible feat stood unbroken until 2011 when German Master Mark Lang improved it to 46 boards.

GM Gareyev on 4th December 2016 set a new record of 48 boards.  The event held at University of Nevada, Las Vegas lasted just over 19 hours!  His final score was 35 wins, 7 draws and 6 losses.

Chess training with GM Timur Gareyev

If you are interested in training with GM Gareyev then link up with him on his website – GM Gareyev Website.

Story on GM Timur Gareyev

To really understand who GM Gareyev is then it is important to read the article done by Sagar Shah which can be found here – Chessbase India story on GM Gareyev.  This covers his recent trip to India.