Playing blindfolded: Local players learn from chess grandmaster

HARLINGEN — William McNutt and Carlos De Leon were moving their chess pieces in their mind.

Who would win the five-minute match in front of the Chess Grandmaster Timur Gareyev, known as the “Blindfold King.”

The two nationally ranked chess players from Harlingen, one 12 years old and the other 11, were playing blindfolded, relying on others to move their pieces on the chess board.

“Just trust your senses, and you will begin to start playing clearly,” said Gareyev, as the two players made their moves.

Gareyev, 28, stopped by Harlingen this week to host a chess workshop and promote blindfold chess to some of the area’s top chess players.

About 15 chess players from around the Valley showed up at the Blindfold King’s workshop to learn tips about the game from one of the best chess players in America.

“It was a great opportunity to be with a grandmaster,” said De Leon, 12. “He taught me some things here.”

The chess workshop took place at Stefano’s Brooklyn Pizza Monday afternoon.

De Leon moved his king to the corner using the castle move.

McNutt, 11, moved in toward the center with his knight to advance toward De Leon’s king.

The two were sitting across from each other resting their heads in their hands and rattling their legs before making their next move.

Gareyev is originally from the Uzbekistan. He moved to Texas when he was 17.

While a student at the University of Texas at Brownsville, Gareyev helped the school chess team win its first national championship. He graduated in 2012 with a marketing degree. He now lives in California.

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