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Strong chess players will often play a "simul," walking from board to board and making a move on each, taking virtually no time to select their moves, and forcing themselves to keep track of many games at once, while giving their opponents plenty of time while the strong player is moving on other boards. Strong players will also sometimes play "blindfold" games in which they are told where their opponent has moved but cannot look at a board to see where all the pieces are should they forget. Blindfold simuls are not unheard of.

Do analogous exhibitions ever happen in Go?

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3 Answers 3

Professional Go players will often play simultaneous games with amateurs at events. I know a 6-dan amateur who enjoyed bragging that he once beat a 6-p in an even game--but then he would qualify that the pro had been playing between 9 and 12 other games at the same time.

I haven't really heard of blind go. I think the much bigger board would make this very difficult as compared to chess. However, a variant that's similar in spirit is one-color Go, where both players will use the same stones and must remember whose stones are whose.

Sensei's Library has a list of other common variants.

(Note: I've linked to Sensei's library, but it seems the site is currently down for maintenance, expected to be back up tomorrow.)

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I'm pretty sure that blind go is a thing. In fact, I've watched my amateur friends play it, although they used a pretty small board. –  Ilmari Karonen Aug 6 at 1:09

While it existed, the New York City Go club would sponsor simultaneous games for its players with travelling pros from Japan. When playing six or eight boards, the pros would typically give the amateurs one fewer stone of handicap than they would playing the same amateurs one on one. The pros would always play solidly and professionally, taking advantage of amateur mistakes, but they had less time to devise "special tactics" to beat an amateur that was doing well than they might have in a one-one situation.

As far as I know, none of these games ever had the pro blindfolded. It's much harder to keep track of 361 points on the board than of 64 squares.

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As Gregor explained, simultaneous games (sometimes abbreviated "simuls") are quite common at Go tournaments or exhibitions at which pros (or very strong amateurs) are present (example). The teacher is often booked specifically for lessons and simuls, with prices typically ranging (very roughly) in the lower 3 digits (this is often one of the main cash sources for strong players living in the West).

The rules specific to simuls are, as far as I know, very similar to chess: Pro walks from board to board, players have to move when (or possibly before) he arrives.

Blind Go in the sense of "no board in use" is virtually never practiced. It is tough in chess, and almost impossible in Go: Even the strongest players cannot precisely remember the large (19x19) board, a notable exception being one Asian 6 dan amateur whose name I sadly forgot, who is said to compete almost as well in blind Go as with full vision.

There are many variations of "blind", though, for instance "Go for the visually impaired", which has eyes closed, but players are allowed to touch the board and feel the stones (special boards and stones are used for this purpose, black and white have a different surface). This is at times used in exhibitions (for instance I've seen it between a Japanese pro and a visually impaired Western amateur during the EGC 2011 in France, of which I sadly could not find the video), but very rare and not in conjunction with simuls.

More well known, however, is one color Go, in which both players use only stones of one color to play; they have to remember which stone belongs to which player. This is incomparably easier than fully blind Go, most dan players should be able to do it at least on small boards. If you're used to it, it's not difficult even in full-length 19x19 (I, as a low dan amateur, often play this for fun). Still, in simultaneous games, even one color Go is practically unheard of.

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