Master of blindfold chess, Gareev’s incredible memory makes him a formidable opponent in this year’s field. Gareev began learning chess from his grandfather when he was four, and after he moved to the US, his career took off. He attended the University of Texas, Brownsville where he lead the team to its first ever national championship. Gareev was then awarded the Samford Chess Fellowship in 2012.
Gareev holds the world record for blindfold chess having conducted a simul with 48 opponents in 2016. His memory gives him the advantage of many opponents in deeply analyzed lines. He believes that his experience with blindfold chess has improved his focus across all chess play.