Is blindfold training useful?

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Re: Is blindfold training useful?

Post by chesstiger on July 1st 2009, 7:37 am

Blue Devil Knight wrote:

I think this is an underdiscussed, and perhaps underappreciated aspect of visualization. The board looks quite different from black and white's view, and getting a different perspective on a position can only help your game.

In analyse one must get the same, best, move sequence no matter which side of the board you sit at. With other words, if the move sequence differs lots depending which side of the board you are sitting/looking then something in your thoughtproces is rotten.

One evaluates a position according the colour one is playing and it may not be totally different if one takes a peek from the side of your opponent. So for analysing or evaluation means i dont see any benefit looking at the position from both sides since if they differ depending the side you look then you are playing two games and your ability to analyse and evaluate is totally of the road.

The only thing positive i can think of is that one can look to the position with a fresh eye, but that is the only bonus i can think of for doing this.
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Re: Is blindfold training useful?

Post by Blue Devil Knight on July 1st 2009, 8:11 am

chesstiger wrote:The only thing positive i can think of is that one can look to the position with a fresh eye, but that is the only bonus i can think of for doing this.

Yes, that is one obvious and great benefit. Another, of course, is that we are not computers, that we don't have omniscient board vision but are subject to illusions and mistakes, and seeing the board from a different perspective can make certain features stand out that might not otherwise. Of course if I were programming a chess computer I wouldn't have it do analysis two different ways Smile But pattern recognition is visual (for sighted players), and literally seeing the board from a different angle can make different patterns stick out.

One fun exercise is to do a set of tactics problems until I can do them easily, then see how much longer it takes to solve them when I have the computer reverse colors so the problem is "upside down."

It is well-established that the sin qua non of pattern recognition, facial recognition, is disrupted when you view a face that is upside down! If I learned a pattern in one canonical position there is the danger that I will not recognize it upside down.

Does this point to a limitation of my pattern recognition machinery? Yes. Can that ever be fully eliminated? No. Remember the Kramnik blunder? I wonder if he had looked at it from the computer's side (literally) he would have allowed that mate in one.

Give it a shot. Maybe it won't help. Maybe it will. I find it a perfect way also to get myself into my opponent's head, to get into his plans. Sure, it's psychological, but so is much of this game!

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Re: Is blindfold training useful?

Post by HangingKing on July 29th 2009, 11:14 am

I played yesterday on ICC (game 15 30) against a blind guy.
His name is 'blind-warrior' there.

As said in his finger, he plays with an external DGT board which can speak (tell him the moves), he use his touch also to figure out where the pieces are when he forgets.

First thing i can say is he was indeed very slow, so i added several time some delay to his clock (8, 9 min in total i think) to avoid the flag.

Then i was surprised by the fact, there was absolutely no blunder in his play. It was accumulation of small positionnal mistakes, but he covered easily hanging pieces even with discovery moves.
I played a lot of non-blind people and the play here was different, no insane attack or tactical blow, just good positional play with very few mistakes, maybe a little too defensive.

Finally, the position was drawish, and i lost it, because i retained myself to go into more complicated way. I should have, but you know, i was impressed by his play, and did not want to profit about his condition too easily (ok, let the social aspect apart...).

So, in conclusion, this faculty to get solid play may comes from blindfold pratice.


Here is the game :
1. e4 c5 2. d4 cxd4 3. Nf3 e6 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Bb4 6. Bd3 O-O 7. O-O e5 8.
Nb3 Nc6 9. Bg5 Be7 10. a4 a6 11. Qd2 d5 12. Bxf6 Bxf6 13. Nxd5 Bg5 14. f4
exf4 15. Nxf4 Ne5 16. Rad1 Qb6+ 17. Kh1 Be6 18. Qc3 Bf6 19. Nd5 Bxd5 20.
exd5 Ng4 21. Qc5 Qd8 22. d6 g6 23. Rde1 Rc8 24. Qd5 Rc6 25. d7 Qc7 26. g3
Rd6 27. Qf3 Ne5 28. Qe4 Nxd3 29. cxd3 Qxd7 30. Nc5 Qc6 31. Nxb7 Qxe4+ 32.
dxe4 Rb6 33. Nc5 Rd8 34. a5 Rc6 35. b4 Bc3 36. Rc1 Bxb4 37. Nb7 Rxc1 38.
Rxc1 Re8 39. Rc4 Bf8 40. Kg2 Re5 41. Kf3 Rb5 42. Rc7 Bb4 43. h4 Bxa5 44. Rc5
Rb3+ 45. Kf4 Bd2+ 46. Ke5 Rxb7 47. Kf6 Rb6+ 48. Ke5 Rb5 49. Rxb5 axb5 50.
Kd4 b4 51. Kc4 Bc3 52. g4 Kf8 53. h5 g5 54. Kb3 Ke7 {White resigns} 0-1

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Re: Is blindfold training useful?

Post by AoxomoxoA on July 29th 2009, 12:06 pm

.


Last edited by AoxomoxoA on July 29th 2009, 12:12 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Is blindfold training useful?

Post by AoxomoxoA on July 29th 2009, 12:12 pm

HangingKing wrote:I played yesterday on ICC (game 15 30) against a blind guy.
His name is 'blind-warrior' there.

Blind people dont play chess blindfold. Blind people use their fingers as eyes:
http://www.schach64.de/focus/dieter02.jpg

They use a board like this:
http://de.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Datei:Blindenschachbrett.jpg&filetimestamp=20070619111924

Black pieces have a "nail" on top, white pieces are without "nail". The black fields are higher then the white ones:
http://www.marland.de/Brettspiele.776.0.html?&cHash=821683ddde&detail=1231

The ususal way to play chess by internet would be, to listen to the move by a Screenreader like Jaws, then make the move on a tactilechessboard (what takes long because you have to stick the pieces in the hole of the field, and that you have to hit without seeing it ) , grab along the high and low fields and grab for the figures and so on. make a move on the tactilechessboard ( again: where is the hole ) and type the move in the computer. that takes for ever. so 15 min is extrem quick.

Depending wether the blind chessplayer know what sight may be or not ( some never have seen anything ), he is not able to visualise, he has to tactialise.
The question for a blind player woud not be "is a1 black?" but "is a1 high?"; not "is the knight at b8 black?" but "has the knight at b8 a Nail" and so on.
So a blind Chessplayer ( usually ) don play chess blindfold
( i am the son of blind parents )

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Re: Is blindfold training useful?

Post by HangingKing on July 29th 2009, 12:41 pm

Very interesting!

But at some point, what they sense by touching, they have mental representation of it, which could be considered blindfold play, no ?

Anyway i didn't choose the time 15 30, i just joined a seeked game from him. But it was obvious this was too difficult, this is the reason why i added some time to his clock.

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Re: Is blindfold training useful?

Post by AoxomoxoA on July 29th 2009, 1:04 pm

HangingKing wrote:Very interesting!
But at some point, what they sense by touching, they have mental representation of it, which could be considered blindfold play, no ?
.
At some point what you sense by seeing you have mental representation of it to. There is no principal difference. Blindfull game is without memoryaid, there is no outsourcing; no aid with the question : where is the knight?, can it go to f4? can it be taken by the bishop or our other visualisation questions.
All these questions we may "easily" answer by looking and blind people by touching the board.

The handling of one move at ICC takes us 1 sec but a blind player may need 1 min or even more to handle one move. To look if the e file is open takes us 1 sec and a blind player 5 sec ( if he dont want to gain bleeding fingers then 10 sec ). A good blindfold player dont need all that extra time, he can move a piece in (almost) 0 time an "see" the e file as good as we.

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Re: Is blindfold training useful?

Post by HangingKing on July 29th 2009, 1:27 pm

Ok, i understand the difference now :

In fact true blindfold play, is almost as difficult for blind and non-blind, and recquires specific mental training and ability.

I was thinking blind people playing chess where all playing blindfold and use only the board as a convenience to refresh the position in their mind.

But as you describe me, i takes efforts to manipulate this board and a true blindfold player just won't use it.
On the contrary it is indispensable for a blind guy, and it is as if i was seeing the board through a sheet of paper with a small hole, letting me see only 4 squares or so at a time.

By moving the hole, i can see the whole board, but i still have no mental ability to play blindfold.

Thanks for the explanation.

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Re: Is blindfold training useful?

Post by HangingKing on July 24th 2011, 5:47 pm

Well after almost 2 years studying (with alot of holes in the schedule i must admit...) chess a bit seriously, visualizing lines by reading them on paper or pdf it's still rather difficult.

4 or 5 moves is the upper limit i manage to reach, and it's even more difficult when it deals with is some simplification of a center with a big bunch of pieces.

Clearly i do not see how to progess in that area, despite the fact i read more and more games on non interactive support, it seems to have no effect.

What about you guys ? Progress or no progress in mental visualization ?

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Re: Is blindfold training useful?

Post by Blue Devil Knight on July 25th 2011, 12:53 pm

Not much, but then again I haven't been studying chess.

In my pet lines I can see much further. It is very context-dependent.

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Re: Is blindfold training useful?

Post by BorgQueen on July 25th 2011, 8:58 pm

Yeah, not much progress for me either with visualisation. I can visualise the board ok, it's when pieces are placed that I start struggling ^_^

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Re: Is blindfold training useful?

Post by PawnCustodian on July 26th 2011, 8:21 am

Can't say. It is the one and only area that I didn't put full effort into. I can say that not completing the training hurts performance.

Most of my calculation errors are the result of not having a complete mental picture of terminal positions.

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