Here’s some more to chew on…check out this excerpt.
(original Ted talk is linked a couple of posts ago.)
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In terms of numbers, this isn’t really surprising. Foer says in the talk that the people at the competitions memorize the positions of cards (52) in shuffled decks in about 30 minutes. When you study a chess board, analyzing the possibilities, you often get perhaps 20 minutes (in a timed game) to observe the board while contemplating a single move. On a chess board, memorization means knowing the positions of 32 pieces, and I suppose the empty spaces (32) as well. Being someone who has played chess on some occasions, the ratio of information to memorize to time to memorize it in seems better in a game of chess than in the memory competition, trying to memorize the cards.
It seems that when one thinks about making a move in chess, they tend to personify the pieces in their mind in order to consider their possible moves. One might consider what about their position makes them different strategically than others on the board (I do). This ties into the key point of the TED talk. Chess is a great example of the best way of analyzing things and subsequently (intentionally or not) memorizing them because noting the differences is how to effectively play the game and gain an advantage. The best moves can be risky, and you have to count upon your opponent not noticing a particular move you could make until it’s too late.
I apologize for my verbosity. I just think this is an awesome subject that most anyone can relate to.
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