herald

Sunday 17 December 2017

Who's winning? It's hard to check, mate

IRELAND'S highest ranking chess player Alexander Barburin yesterday attempted to break a 135-year-old record by taking on 16 players at once - blindfolded.

The Dublin-based grandmaster was asked by the former chairman of the Irish Chess Union to break the record set by Johannes 
Zukertort in 1879, when he played 12 opponents blind on a visit to Dublin.

In the historic game, Zukertort was pitted against a range of players including Winston Churchill's father.

Speaking to the Herald, Mr Barburin likened his impressive memory skills to that of a musician who can play music without having to see the notes.

He said: "To me, that's absolutely amazing and borderline black magic. But for musicians it's very natural.

"If you're a chess player, playing one or two games blindfolded isn't particularly challenging. But playing more than that is difficult."

Mr Barburin was not allowed to take any notes and he played the first move in all games but one.

scoring

In order to break the record he needs to complete all games and win 75pc of the points available through a special scoring system.

He was allowed just two short breaks of around 10 minutes as he performed the gruelling mental challenge, which continued late last night.

hnews@herald.ie

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