Blindfold Simul Report

Jonathan O'Connor

This article part of the series: Alexander Baburin - 1, 2

I have wanted to organize a blindfold simul for at least four years. It is the one chess event that can get the ordinary members of the public to sit up and notice.

Many, many thanks to Alex Baburin for risking body and soul in attempting to beat Zukertort's record of 12 games set in 1879. Also many thanks to Arthur Cox Solicitors who provided sponsorship enabling us to hold it at Dublin Castle. Thanks also to Woods Wines who ensured that some of the players and most of the spectators were not left in an arid state.

FIDE Arbiter, Gerry Graham, controlled the event with his usual air of calm authority. He was first at the venue, and the last to leave. Without Gerry, we would have had no live broadcast, or indeed, some of the great photos.

Also thanks go to Mark Quinn who opened the show with a very witty speech about JZ (Johannes Zukertort). He also kept the spectators up to date with analysis of the games.

Stephen Brady, Gerry O'Connell and Tim Harding all helped to record the games and also ensured that the moves were properly transmitted to and from Alex.

Thanks also to Herbert Scarry for being available as a sub and also for operating the computer while Mark was rattling off variations.

Alex's wife, Elena, acted as fashion judge and awarded bottles of champagne to Vincent Bissett and Rosemary Quinn as the best dressed man and woman.

Due to a mistake on my part, I had accepted one too many players for the simul, and the junior Alex Byrne was at first denied a place. I asked for a volunteer to give up their place to Alex, and Mervyn Honner very graciously did so. Everybody in the room applauded him for his gentlemanly action.

Finally thanks go to Sam Collins, who gave us his take on how the games were going, and also spoke eloquently at the end of the night about Alex's amazing performance.

After 6½ hours of play, Alex became annoyed at what he perceived as players not resigning when they were clearly lost. With the strain of concentrating for so long, he decided he could not go on. The exhibition ended with a score of 6-3 to Alex and 7 games unfinished. The games are here.

I seriously underestimated the time that the event would take, and unfortunately, the building was closing at midnight. I would have been forced to stop the display anyway, and I was going to ask Sam to adjudicate the remaining games. This, of course, is not the way such a display should end.

Created 2014-07-19 ◦ Last updated 2014-09-23 ◦ Editor JOC

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