Play Chess With Your Eyes Closed

Impossible? Think again.- This thoughtful design extends the strategic game of chess to users with visual impairments that would otherwise be unable to enjoy the fun, interactive experience. Textured magnets hold the pieces in place and indicate the direction of play. White pieces are composed of matte steel while black pieces are hardwood, making them identifiable by heat and texture. Even the magnet strength has been adjusted so the amount of “stick” will indicate what color square a piece is on.

Designer: Duncan McKean


  • How is the opposite player supposed to know what move the current player has made?
    Is he supposed to feel the whole board? If yes wont he accidently move something..?
    Also how are players supposed to remember the position of every piece on the board?

  • Drasticshift says:

    Good questions. I will try to imagine possible solutions.
    1- Using memory to remember moves and places… we use visual cues, they find other means.
    2-Yes. Like a teenager looking in the fridge over and over to find something to eat…even after they just looked. Helps when memory doesn’t always work.
    3-they might possibly move something accidentally… if they didn’t know they were playing chess. Magnets and a light touch helps this from happening.
    4-how do people with sight remember the position of every piece? visually impaired see with there hands.

  • Drasticshift says:

    My concern is with the statement …
    “Impossible? Not anymore. – This thoughtful design extends the strategic game of chess to users with visual impairments that would otherwise be unable to enjoy the fun.”

  • For me chess is a very visual game. You imagine your strategy by seeing what is there on the board, and then you in your mind move the pieces to see if the strategy you thought is working or not. But here the player is feeling all the pieces on the board at time, he has to distinguish between which one is his and which one are of the opponent, at the same time he as to remember all the pieces that have been eliminated and also judge what was the last move that the opponent just make.. i think it is too much of an information to store and calculate at a certain moment of time.. i mean i wont be able to play chess like this if i were blind..

  • I can’t imagine what it would be like playing blind. Most people aren’t that good when they can see the board.

  • Kev DJ Riley says:

    I think this is a great idea and it looks quite good too. Blind people must have different memory techniques to people with full vision and Im sure they could quite easily adapt them to this game. Well done!

  • svedash says:

    You may want to check on the Bauhaus chess set by Josef Hartwig (1924).

  • Jimmy C says:

    Very nice. Not so sure if it would work though. It would take a long time for a blind person to figure out where to move, it’s easy to slip up. But I love that this takes the disabled into consideration.

  • Rawwhale says:

    (64 squares) + (32 pieces x 6 sides ) = 256 MAGNETS!! That’s insane!!

    This is going to cost serious $$$. I don’t think you need magnets at all, chess is already translated into a number/letter format for non-visual play. This problem was solved over a hundred years ago.

  • 1206549 says:

    probably not because the magnets hold the pieces in their respective squares.

  • 1206549 says:

    the pieces are held in their respective squares by magnet so the chances of accidentally moving something are low. the memory thing is a bit hard though but blind people are probably used to stuff we’re not.

  • Mallie says:

    That’s silly… I know loads of blind chess players…They are a damn sight better at it than me (pardon the pun)

  • CLG says:

    The player announces his/her move. Don’t judge the abilities of someone who cannot see by your own inability to imagine how something would be done. As with anything, it takes practice

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