Timur Gareyev is the ‘blindfold king’ of the chess world. Not only can he play games of chess when blindfolded, but can even play up to 33 games at the same time. During a ten-hour chess marathon in 2015, Gareyev played 33 games of chess simultaneously, and won all of them. Next month, he will attempt to take on 50 games at once. The challenging part, claims Gareyev is not being blindfolded, since once you are experienced you can memorise different moves and their results. It is playing multiple games simultaneously that is the real challenge and is the part that has intrigued scientists.
First tested on his ability to hold numbers, pictures and words in the mind, it was found that he was not exceptionally good at any of these. When his brain was scanned, however, there was greater than usual communication between areas of the brain, especially in the part that handles complex tasks, helps you to allocate attention, keep rules in mind and work out if you should be responding or not.
So what can we do to improve communication between different parts of the brain?
It may seem obvious, but exercise has been proven to help. Our favourite tip? Being engrossed in a novel can also improve brain connectivity and function by expanding the ability to relate to other people.