A simultaneous exhibition Chess game in which one player (the host or exhibitor) plays multiple games at a time with a number of other players. Such an exhibition is often referred to simply as a "Simul".

The boards are usually arranged in a large circle or square and the exhibitor walks from board to board in a fixed order. Each individual participant is expected to make a move when the exhibitor arrives at their board.

The exhibitor may pause briefly before playing their move, but will typically attempt to avoid lengthy pauses. As games are finished off, they are usually not replaced and only a few games will remain in progress at the end of the exhibition.

ATAB presents some of our favourite Simul chess moments

Mikhail Tal
A legendary chess grandmaster walks into a Siberian school gym with a cigarette in his right hand and proceeds to demolish the stronger players in the city with his left

The Monitor's sports editor and 29 other brave souls recently went eyeball to eyeball with a legend of the chess world in a simultaneous competition. There were some surprises... Tal's overall score was 26 wins, 2 draws, and 2 losses - but the big one, of course, was the game with young Seltzer.

"To tell you the truth, I was concentrating so hard on the position that I forgot I was playing a grandmaster. No wonder I lost - I did it the other way around!

I was so aware I was playing the great Mikhail Tal that I forgot to pay attention to my position. I have a feeling, though, that in my case it wouldn't have made much difference!"

Boris Spassky
Spassky takes the first of three 10-minute breaks. His opponents (left to right): Nigel Short, Julian Hodgson, Glenn Flear, David Cummings and William Watson.

He described the seven-hour ordeal as his toughest ever simultaneous. "Until today I’ve never lost more than four games in an exhibition in my life. Many of these youngsters would be candidate masters in Russia. I wouldn’t take them on again for double the money."

Nona Gaprindashvili
Even more impressively, at one exhibition game in Georgia, she took on no fewer than 38 people.
“I see 38 young guys all sat at chessboards, and think to myself: ‘Hell, I’m going to have to walk miles!’ But I couldn’t refuse any of them. In the end, it wasn’t difficult. I quickly starting beating them and reducing the number of boards.”


Mikhail Tal
a cigarette in his right hand and easy simul victory with his left (1960)


Mikhail Tal
Matching minds with a grandmaster (1988)


Mikhail Tal vs Bob Seltzer
Matching minds with a grandmaster (1988)


Boris Spassky’s
toughest Simul - England's juniors shine again (1979)


Bobby Fisher
The forgotten simul (1970)


Bobby Fisher
playing 50 opponents simultaneously (1964)


Nona Gaprindashvili
The Queen of Chess plays against 28 opponents, all men (1965)


The combinations of patterns using these six shapes is endless.

"He was too good. There was no use in playing him. It wasn’t interesting. I was getting beaten, and it wasn’t clear to me why. It wasn’t like I made this mistake or that mistake. It was like I was being gradually outplayed, from the start. He wasn’t taking any time to think. The most depressing thing about it is that I wasn’t even getting out of the middle game to an endgame. I don’t ever remember an endgame. He honestly believes there is no one for him to play, no one worthy of him. I played him, and I can attest to that. It’s not interesting." - Peter Biyiasas on the great Bobby Fisher