Monday, January 25, 2016
DOWN MEMORY LANE
I was noodling around on YouTube and came upon a short video of my son, Patrick, who is a chess Grandmaster, taking a little test in chess memory originally invented by Herbert Simon. Patrick is shown a picture of a chess position for five seconds and then is asked to reproduce it. He gets it almost exactly right [as would many other chess Grandmasters, I gather]. Then he is shown a random scatter of chess pieces on the board for five seconds, and he can hardly reproduce a fraction of it. The point, of course, is that the real chess position has a logic that Patrick grasps instantly. The fascinating thing is that the only mistakes Patrick makes are with regard to pieces whose precise position does not make any difference to the game being played. It took me back twenty years.