Timur Gareyev's World Record
The Blindfold King in Las Vegas
One of my all-time highlights is Timur Gareyev's Blindfold World Record attempt in Las Vegas. I have never been this impressed by a human body ever in my life, especially taking Timur's energized and free spiritual, chaotic personality into account. The simul contained 48 boards, with Timur blindfolded, slowly peddling on his spinning bike.
Timur rented an apartment for a bunch of people, including his divorced parents (his dad came over from Uzbekistan; his mom lives in the States), raw food master Joe, his spiritual coach, some random friends he picked up in Colorado, and myself. His manager and friend, Jennifer Vallens, was the organizer and also his good friend Mark was part of the team.
My 5-day stay in Vegas started with a bang when Timur picked me up from the airport and brought me to the sensual dance performance Afro Sexy in a small off-strip theater, where he knew some girl.
In the car to the playing hall, there was a weird, silent tension, after which Timur wanted to hear the song "Take Me To Church" by Hozier, which has become a dear song to me ever since, especially after seeing Sergei Polunin's dance.
A way for Timur to store each board in his brain is by remembering the voice of each participant. So he asked each participant to introduce themselves before the start, to which one replied: "My name is John. I am an alcoholic!"
Three hours into the simul it was raw food master Joe (from Joe's Magic Food) who caused a smoking alarm in the playing hall when he casually baked some sausages for his own needs and the whole building had to evacuate, including Timur himself who killed time with some yoga and meditation.
The simul lasted about 19 hours. A player who was rated over 2000 had to resign in the 16th hour because the pieces were dancing in front of his eyes: he couldn't take it anymore. Can you imagine what determination Timur showed off here?
After only 5 hours of sleep, Timur was hyperactive the next morning and was playing with some football in the garden. All of a sudden he ran into a closed glass door. BANG! Timur survived, and so did the glass. But hey, this is not your average chess grandmaster.