We didn’t want yet another blindfold exhibition for the side-event…but an activity  which can have players involved as a training exercise and yet have fun. So we came up with this concept of having NM Olimpiu Urcan to play a 2 game rapid match  (20 min + 10 sec increment) against a blindfolded Timur Gareyev. The 12 participants have to guess Timur’s moves (from move 11 onwards) and the top 3 predictors will walk away with a copy of Blindfold Chess.k

The participants were truly impressed by Timur’s technique in Game 1 (when he slowly but surely repelled Olimpiu’s queenside breakthrough) and his attacking flair in Game 2.  For the full score, I guess you have to wait till Olimpiu puts stuff on his sgchess.net page or if you subscribe to his Patreon page. But here’s few soundbites for you.

After Timur doubled Urcan’s c-pawns (Nimzo Indian of course), the latter struck the first blow to create problems.

The Romanian-Italian unleashed c4-c5! here and the whole queenside was on flames.

One pertinent decision that Timur made was from this position.

Timur replied with 22…gxf6!, the idea being that after 22….Bxf6, Black is compelled to give up the bishop pair after 23 Ne4!. Didn’t Gong Qianyun remind us not to give Timur the two bishops? Well, he kept them wisely and grinded out a win in good time.

 

After the first game, FM Andrey Terekhov led with 20 out of 30 correct predictions. Andrey, who is our first alternate for the QCD-Prof Lim Kok Ann GMs Invitational (if a master participant cannot play) was seen pumping his fists whenever he got a particularly tough move right.

In the 2nd game, Timur wanted to spice things up. He told the participants, if they can guess his 2nd move, they will get a bonus point. So after 1. e4 Nc6 (last seen in M.Carlsen-O.Urcan, Singapore (simul) 2017 as the latter reminded Timur), what did the blindfold bad-ass play?

I doubt any of the contestants figured this one out. It’s 2.b4?!? In a complicated dog-fight, Urcan went down in flames. The beginning of the end was at this point…

…when Timur unleashed e5-e6! and the bishop pair (not again…) were used to rake at the Black king till Olimpiu had to bail out by giving a piece to stem the attack. So 2-0 to Timur. But what of the prediction contest? As mentioned, Jarred had top scote and Andrey, Junwei won the book as well.  Zihan and Sheng Feng too were awarded for their accuracy by Timur with ‘Blindfold Champ’ mementos.

The final score (11 contestants)

1st FM Jarred Neubronner 38/54, Equal 2nd = FM Andrey Terekhov and CM Lee Junwei 36/54, 4th CM Goh Zihan 34/54, 5th Ng Sheng Feng 32/54, 6th Denis Molofej 31/54.