Reviews and press Eliot Hearst and John Knott

Click the blue links to read most of the commentaries in their entirety:

New in Chess, the most widely read chess magazine in the world, called it “a truly magnificent and beautiful book on blindfold chess.”

In its June 2009 issue, Chess Life praised the book in an extensive review. Here’s an excerpt:

“A book of this importance to its subject is rare in any discipline… thorough, thoughtful, and scholarly—and, at the same time, very enjoyable to read…. Since I believe that true excellence must be rewarded, I hope plenty of readers will ... get the definitive work on blindfold chess—along with some wonderful chess reading.”
» Download a PDF of the full Chess Life review

On July 27, 2009, the London Evening Standard wrote that Blindfold Chess is “a brilliantly authoritative work ... a fascinating and enjoyable book.”

Dr. Robert Goldstone, the Chancellor’s Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Indiana University and the director of the school’s cognitive science program, had this to say about the book:

“This is a tour de force scholarly achievement that will be of substantial interest not only to chess aficionados, but also to those who enjoy thinking about thinking itself. Hearst and Knott shed light on an extraordinary human cognitive ability through careful historical analysis and a compelling review of psychological studies and theories. This book not only documents, but goes a long way toward explaining, the amazing intellectual achievement of simultaneously playing 10, 20, or even 40 games of chess without being able to see any of them.”

International Master Elmer Sangalang, a journalist for many international-circulation chess periodicals and editor of the Second Edition of The Ratings of Chessplayers, Past and Present (1986), wrote the following on the Philippine Chess Portal:

Chess has been my lifetime hobby…but the subject I find most intriguing is simultaneous blindfold chess… In their most wonderful book about the most enigmatic facet of chess, Blindfold Chess, Eliot Hearst and John Knott spared nothing—time, resources, effort—at researching all available material on the subject to make their scholarly output the definitive book on blindfold chess.
» Read all of Sangalang’s remarks

In an extensive review in the November 2010 issue of The Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, Francis Mechner wrote that the book is “the definitive compendium on blindfold chess for chess players, chess historians, and students of games. Many topics ... also have provocative implications for conceptual and research issues in behavior analysis, psychology, neuroscience, performance learning, training, and education.” A PDF of the entire review can be downloaded here.

In an extensive May 2009 review on chesscafe.com entitled “The Magnum Opus of Blindfold Play,” Steve Goldberg wrote the following:

It’s not often that a chess book comes along that doesn’t more or less cover the same ground as countless books before it, but this is such a book. The authors combine intellectual curiosity, scientific investigation, and a love of chess to produce what truly can be called the magnum opus of blindfold chess
» Read Goldberg’s full review

On March 1, 2010, International Master Jeremy Silman wrote:

“What a wonderful book! ... one of the best chess books I’ve ever seen, and it justifiably won the Cramer Award for best chess book in 2009. In my view, this is something that should be in every player’s library ... Easy to read, compelling and fun, it’s so rich in fascinating information that it literally blows one’s mind. Both Eliot Hearst and John Knott deserve my deepest congratulations for this magnificent achievement.”
» Read Silman’s full review

In its Autumn 2009 issue, Kingpin Chess wrote, “A superb piece of work ... written with enthusiasm ... definitive ... a landmark book.”

On January 8, 2009, ChessBase News wrote that the book was “of widepread interest throughout all parts of the chess world. Blindfold Chess ... is by far the most detailed study ever made of this fascinating subject.”

Grandmaster Lubomir Kavalek wrote in The Washington Post on December 22, 2008, that “Blindfold Chess is the most comprehensive and unique work on the subject.”

On February 7, 2009, Grandmaster Raymond Keene stated in The Times of London that “in chess the most extreme manifestation of memory power is the blindfold simultaneous display ... [This] new book… will be of great value to those interested in extreme mental performance in general.”

On May 2, 2009, the Financial Times wrote:

Blindfold chess is the game’s dark art. ... Until now this has been a poorly documented field, but Blindfold Chess by Eliot Hearst and John Knott is a fine work of authoritative and detailed scholarship, which is also a splendid and fascinating read.

On March 27, 2009, the Guardian columnist Leonard Barden wrote:

A recently published book which is sure to become the authoritative work on chess without sight of the board. Hearst is a fine writer and player who once beat Bobby Fischer, and this is a fascinatingly readable account of blindfold from Philidor through the record-breakers who took on 30+ opponents at once up to the current Amber events.
» Read Barden’s column

Hans Jung, a blindfold expert and the former editor of Chess Canada, posted a review of the book on the Canadian site Chess Talk (Parlons Echecs):

The authors have created the most complete book of Blindfold Chess that exists and of equal importance a book that will be well received by a world wide readership…. Lots of entertaining reading and lots of interesting knowledge between the covers.
» Read all of Jung’s comments (scroll down to post No. 9)

In a book roundup in its February 2009 issue, British Chess Magazine included a capsule review of Blindfold Chess:

We are dealing with no ordinary book. This is a ... deeply researched, lovingly produced and definitive enquiry into an area of chess with a view to being the last word on the subject. The book goes into every area of blindfold chess, its history, the philosophy and mind techniques involved, the statistics, and 444 annotated games.
» See the review (it’s the sixth one on the page)

On June 20, 2009, the Winnipeg Free Press published a review of Blindfold Chess that included the following passage:

This fascinating field (blindfold chess) is exhaustively chronicled in a wonderful new book from McFarland and Company publishers… It would be hard to imagine a more thorough and authoritative text on this subject. Authors Eliot Hearst and John Knott know their stuff… If you like chess books, it will be very hard not to love this one… (In the section on the psychology of blindfold chess) it is interesting to learn about the strategies players use to keep so many boards and positions in their head at once. Pattern recognition, memory, sophisticated mental imagery and other concepts are analyzed to discover exactly how the process works.

On his blog, Marsh Towers, Sean Marsh wrote that the book is

a goldmine of fascinating historical information…. Extremely impressive…. There’s so much to enjoy in this marvellous book. Expertly written and beautifully bound, it is already pencilled in on my list of the best books of 2009.
» Read Sean Marsh’s entire review

On jeremysilman.com, International Master John Donaldson wrote that the book is

“Highly recommended ... beautifully produced with crisp photographs and other illustrations ... covers pretty much everything you might want to know about playing sans voir.”
» Read all of Donaldson’s comments

On the website Chess Mail, John Elburg wrote that Blindfold Chess is “certainly one of the most interesting chess books of the last 50 years!”

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