From what I understand, all of the best players in the world display some form of extreme photographic memory capability. Even Fischer had this ability as recounted by anecdotes I read from those who witnessed it in action. I also read in one of my books that GMs memorize on average about 100,000 middlegame positional concepts to the point of them being able to play by intuition built from that memory. This is why they can play bullet/blitz games so well.
Another important aspect is age at when you being chess study. It's been known that the brain will actually adapt itself to chess thinking many times faster in a child than it will an adult. So what takes a child two years of study to gain in skill may take an adult ten years to accomplish.
All that aside, it also takes an extreme obsession with lots of hard work. I believe the formula for general accomplishment is something like:
Hard work/dedication + starting as adult over 20 = Expert or possibly FM many years later
Hard work/dedication + starting as a child about 6 or 7 = FM to IM (sometimes even GM)
Hard work/dedication + starting as a child about 6 or 7 + pre-displayed photographic memory = GM to Top GM
Carlsen displayed photographic memory well before he even started playing chess. His father recalls Magnus being able to name off every country and capital in the world and scarcely being older than a toddler at the time. It's my opinion that this is the root of the 'talant' tag given to the better chess players of the world.
Aw, you're no fun anymore...
Recalling countries and capitals is not photographic memory unless it is being "read" on a picture memory.
The way I understand photographic memory is that the person records the memory the same way as taking a picture whitout caring for datails. When the recall is needed the person will bring back the picture and then get the information needed.
In the example of the countries and capitals, If Carlsen saw a list of the same and when he recite them he recall the picture of the list and then read it, then this is photographic memory, but if he learned it in a different way then is something else.
Regardless of how he learned it, he was pre-school level in age. That in and of itself showed his memory learning was far more advanced than the average child.
Besides, there have been other examples like Fischer, where he could recall a complex position having only looked at it for a couple seconds. Then hours later, he was able to set up the board to the same position, rattle off the best moves from the complex position, all entirely from memory of having merely walked by the game during that position when it was played. That's photographic memory in a nutshell right there.
I give up. It is a waste of time to discuss this issue here. The confusion regarding terminology is no mere issue of semantics. It is fundamental failure to be attentive to the science of how memory works.
More than a century ago, Alfred Binet tested the hypothesis that photographic memory served strong chess players. Professional psychologists have been engaged in more productive discussions ever since. But, when this concept comes up among chess players, we are back in 1890 with no idea what we are talking about.
http://chessskill.blogspot.com/2008/10/familiar-positions.html mentions a few relevant studies and assesses two positions separated by many years. The two positions have many common elements, but as photographs would hardly be recognizable as siblings.
"Duh...I think he's saying we're stupid, George..."
I think that's an exaggeration. Both that the science of how memory works is an integral part of this discussion, and that because of it we have no idea what we're talking about. We all quite understand that pattern recognition is important, and that top players have superior memories.
Despite your opening comment I have to think that the only reason you commented on his post was his use of the term photographic memory.
And despite his opening comment I doubt very seriously that he's gonna give up...
Would I have received 160 comments if it were titled "How many rating points is an eidetic memory worth?" Which brings up another possible topic: "How many comments is being semantically correct costing you?"
It's called the bicycle shed problem because everybody knows how to design a bicycle shed.
NM Andy, you can resume your frivolousness.
Ah thanks very much, ozzie! And I would just like to point out that the following is known as "the 2-sheds problem":
Bear in mind that there are two components to that: the comments you didn't lose because you elected not to use esoteric, albeit accurate terminology, plus the comments from the pedants who will belabor your failure to do so.
One of my fondest eidetic memories:
Belabor sounds like Beloved.. but with more work.
... ornithology... autobahn...
damn it andy I barely got the glu-coma comment I'm totally lost here
No Andy, not stupid, ignorant.
what's this ? a cross between a duck and a magpie ?
It's an eider, a sea duck.
I should have known that, except I was too busy memorizing how to set up the queen and king at the start of the game
definitely need a sarcasitic emoticon here on this one
Not to be confused with: