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?

4 Answers 4


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 the Asian 6 dan amateur Bao Yun, 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.

  • The amateur player was Pierre Audouard 4dan from France. He plays using a special board with raised lines, on which the stones (with their hollow cross underneath) tightly fit on intersections (the black stones have a additional tiny "dot" to differentiate them from the white ones). Nov 11, 2014 at 14:50
  • @OlivierDulac If you were referring to the Asian 6 dan, I just found that athos' answer contains his name (Bao Yun). He actually plays without any stones.
    – mafu
    Nov 12, 2014 at 17:07
  • no, I was giving out infos about the visually impaired western amateur who was playing the main tournament at that egc (and at most of them). Nov 12, 2014 at 17:10
  • @OlivierDulac Ah okay, sorry. The amateur I was talking about was someone else, I think around 1 kyu, but I don't remember the name and failed to find the video either. When I heard of the game, at first I thought the player would be Pierre though, too, as he is quite famous. I've seen him play using this special board. He even devised a special coordinate system to make it easier to talk about the moves, if I recall correctly.
    – mafu
    Nov 12, 2014 at 17:17

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.)

  • 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. Aug 6, 2014 at 1:09
  • @IlmariKaronen you watched it? Is it actually possible to see blind go? :-)
    – Tomas
    Nov 11, 2014 at 13:56
  • @Tomas: Certainly. The players are blindfolded, but there's no requirement that the audience is. (In fact, at least in an amateur game, it's pretty useful to have at least one person present who can see the board and make sure all moves are legal.) Nov 11, 2014 at 14:53
  • @IlmariKaronen, I've seen it different way in chess. Two players were just walking around and talking like "Knight f3xe5", "Bishop bxe5" :-)
    – Tomas
    Nov 11, 2014 at 15:38

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.


Blindfolded go games are rare as the board is much bigger than chess, but some do try it for fun: http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMjA2MzkxNTI=.html it's performed by Bao Yun, a Chinese amateur player.

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