Is Chess anything more than memorization?

pellsworth

Hey everybody. Im new to serious chess and i am seriously bothered by something in chess. I am good at memorization, and in fact I compete quite competitively in Quiz Bowl, which is nothing more than memorization. However, I am wondering. Is chess anything more than memorization? It seems to me that a computer could just memorize all the possible moves and know which ones are the best and yet I also know that computers are not unbeatable by humans at chess. So this leads to believe that there is something more to chess. What is that?  Where is the creative aspect to chess?

goldendog

Ah but it is the wise man who realizes that his knowledge is useless, grasshoppers.

Conflagration_Planet

Computers can indeed beat humans at chess, but it's rapid calculation instead of memorization.

DrSpudnik

Since I have a terrible memory, I hope there is more to chess than memory.

Fortunately, chess is a game and not a science or math problem.  

yoshtodd

Throughout the course of the game you should be constantly calculating tactics. Even if you have memorized the motifs, you still need to step through the logic of "if this, then this". Your psychological state, stamina and concetration also factor in to how well you play. Of course there is creativity and intuition as well. So no, chess is not only memorization, but a good memory certainly helps because there's a lot to learn, remember, and apply.

BlunderMeister

There are too many possible chess moves for any computer to "memorize", let alone a human.  That's why it's not a memorization problem.

Some memorization can improve your game however.  Memorizing certain openings, memorizing certain traps of certain openings, can definitely improve your game.  But even then, there are way too many openings for a human to memorize all of them and remember them.  A computer however can "memorize" just about every known opening.

As others have said, understanding is the real key to being a good chess player.  It's much better to understand opening principles than to try and memorize every possible opening there is.  You also need to understand tactics.  You need to understand positions.  Planning and strategy.  End games.  And with all of these, understanding, not memorization, is the key.

vicohart

pellsworth -

for any given move, either side might have approximately 20 choices

therefore, after 20 moves (20 for each side, so that's 20+20 = 40), you would have something like 20^40 (20 raised to the 40th power) permutations.

try calculating that number! we're talking something like

1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000

possibilities (i think you get the point).

no computer imaginable could "memorize" that many possibilities. and that would be a very short game. when you get to a 60 or 80 move game, we're talking something akin to the number of atoms in the universe.

so the answer is *yes*, even for computers, and certainly for humans, chess is about MUCH more than memorization. Actually, memorization per se only really helps marginally for openings (first 5-15 moves) and basic endgame patterns.

dec_lan

I think the real question is...

 

 

"Are chess.com threads anything more than grandiose statements meant to inflame?"

yoshtodd
dec_lan wrote:

I think the real question is...

 

 

"Are chess.com threads anything more than grandiose statements meant to inflame?"


I think you're on to something.

TheGrobe

Chess is not just memorization...

...it is also memory retrieval.

orangehonda

Why are there still computer tournaments year after year if computers can "memorize" all the good moves Undecided

Chess is too complex to either memorize your way to good moves or to calculate your way to strong play (although both are very important abilities of course).  What makes a strong player is understanding.  The stronger the player, the more bad moves they can ignore.  Meaning moves that you or me may spend a long time on, a master wouldn't both looking at on principal alone.

"Psychological research has found that excellent chess players neither calculate markedly deeper than amateurs, nor do they calculate a larger number of moves.  However, they make the more relevant calculations."

So yeah, the "something more" is understanding of the game.

Crazychessplaya

Nonetheless, there is an upside to having a good memory...

TetsuoShima
Crazychessplaya wrote:

Nonetheless, there is an upside to having a good memory...

 

i really enjoyed it.

TetsuoShima

ofc its more then memorization, so many different possible positions no1 can remember.

TetsuoShima
TheGrobe wrote:

Chess is not just memorization...

...it is also memory retrieval.

lol

ThrillerFan

Mastering chess is NOT about memorization.  It's about understanding what you're doing.

Let's take the following opening:  1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Bb4 5.e5 h6 6.Bd2 Bxc3 7.bxc3 Ne4 8.Qg4 g6

Now let's simulate 2 players:

White - I play 1.e4 because it controls a central square (d5) and tends to lead to a more open game than 1.d4.

Black - I play 1...e6 because that's the first move in the French

White - I play 2.d4 because Black hasn't made a move to contest the other central square, so I might as well take it.  I now control c5, d5, e5, and f5 with my pawns.

Black - I play 2...d5 because that's the second move of the French

White - I play 3.Nc3 because the e4 pawn was under attack.  Therefore, I have 3 ways to defend it.  Advance it.  Exchange it.  Or protect it.  I'll protect it because it develops a piece, and the Knight on c3 is more centralized (attacks e4 and d5) than putting it on d2.

Black - I play 3...Nf6 because that's the 3rd move of the French

White - I play 4.Bg5 because the Knight added another attacker to e4.  I'm just not ready to advance yet.  I can avoid that by not protecting e4 again, but instead, pinning an attacker.  My d4-pawn is stuck where it is, in a dark square, so if I am forced to trade away my dark-squared bishop, I don't mind, it's my bad one anyway.

Black - I play 4...Bb4 because that's move 4 of the French MacCutcheon

White - I play 5.e5 because Black is just continuing to build up on my e4 pawn.  Playing f3 is just going to make it difficult to develop my g1-Knight.

Black - I play 5...h6 because that's move 5 of the French MacCutcheon

White - I play 6.Bd2 because my Bishop was attacked, and I am unpinning the Knight.  This way, Black can't make his Knight active with 6...Ne4 as I just take it, and his Bishop is now under attack, which if he takes mine on d2, I can take back with the Knight and I've won a piece.  So he will either have to surrender the Bishop, or play the Knight to a super-passive square.

Black - I play 6...Bxc3 because that's move 6 of the French MacCutcheon

White - I play 7.bxc3 because the Bishop is out of play on c3, and putting a pawn on c3 solidifies my sore spot on d4.

Black - I play 7...Ne4 becuase that's move 7 of the French MacCutcheon

White - I play 8.Qg4 because with no Dark-Squared Bishop for White, g7 is a sore spot.  Let's attack it now!  Make him lose his castling rights (8...Kf8) or make him advance a pawn on the side in which he is weak (8...g6).

Black - I play 8...g6 because it's move 8 of the French MacCutcheon.

 

I think you get the gyst by now.  Under these circumstances, White should always win.  Even if White didn't memorize the moves, he has reasoned out what is going on.  Black just merely memorized, never bothered to understand what he's doing, and once his 13 memorized moves of prep are gone, he'll have no clue what he's doing, and will ultimately lose!

xxvalakixx

Chess is positional understanding+calculating. You only need memory as long as you do not understand the things.

hicetnunc

Memorization is important, but you must know what to do with what you've memorized... Smile

EricFleet

It is all memorization. The trick is simply remembering all of the 

1, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000 positions. Once you have done this, you will be at least a National Master.

TetsuoShima
ThrillerFan wrote:

Mastering chess is NOT about memorization.  It's about understanding what you're doing.

Let's take the following opening:  1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Bb4 5.e5 h6 6.Bd2 Bxc3 7.bxc3 Ne4 8.Qg4 g6

Now let's simulate 2 players:

White - I play 1.e4 because it controls a central square (d5) and tends to lead to a more open game than 1.d4.

Black - I play 1...e6 because that's the first move in the French

White - I play 2.d4 because Black hasn't made a move to contest the other central square, so I might as well take it.  I now control c5, d5, e5, and f5 with my pawns.

Black - I play 2...d5 because that's the second move of the French

White - I play 3.Nc3 because the e4 pawn was under attack.  Therefore, I have 3 ways to defend it.  Advance it.  Exchange it.  Or protect it.  I'll protect it because it develops a piece, and the Knight on c3 is more centralized (attacks e4 and d5) than putting it on d2.

Black - I play 3...Nf6 because that's the 3rd move of the French

White - I play 4.Bg5 because the Knight added another attacker to e4.  I'm just not ready to advance yet.  I can avoid that by not protecting e4 again, but instead, pinning an attacker.  My d4-pawn is stuck where it is, in a dark square, so if I am forced to trade away my dark-squared bishop, I don't mind, it's my bad one anyway.

Black - I play 4...Bb4 because that's move 4 of the French MacCutcheon

White - I play 5.e5 because Black is just continuing to build up on my e4 pawn.  Playing f3 is just going to make it difficult to develop my g1-Knight.

Black - I play 5...h6 because that's move 5 of the French MacCutcheon

White - I play 6.Bd2 because my Bishop was attacked, and I am unpinning the Knight.  This way, Black can't make his Knight active with 6...Ne4 as I just take it, and his Bishop is now under attack, which if he takes mine on d2, I can take back with the Knight and I've won a piece.  So he will either have to surrender the Bishop, or play the Knight to a super-passive square.

Black - I play 6...Bxc3 because that's move 6 of the French MacCutcheon

White - I play 7.bxc3 because the Bishop is out of play on c3, and putting a pawn on c3 solidifies my sore spot on d4.

Black - I play 7...Ne4 becuase that's move 7 of the French MacCutcheon

White - I play 8.Qg4 because with no Dark-Squared Bishop for White, g7 is a sore spot.  Let's attack it now!  Make him lose his castling rights (8...Kf8) or make him advance a pawn on the side in which he is weak (8...g6).

Black - I play 8...g6 because it's move 8 of the French MacCutcheon.

 

I think you get the gyst by now.  Under these circumstances, White should always win.  Even if White didn't memorize the moves, he has reasoned out what is going on.  Black just merely memorized, never bothered to understand what he's doing, and once his 13 memorized moves of prep are gone, he'll have no clue what he's doing, and will ultimately lose!

Thriller Fan we all know that but they are not more then just vague concepts unless you know what you are doing in the great sheme of things, otherwise its also not better or worse then just memorization.