Use memory techniques to become better at games

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spenen's picture
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Joined: Feb 24 2011
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I found an article about scrabble (http://lifehacker.com/5868095/hacking-scrabble-part-one) and started wondering what games you could benefit from having a good memory. Maybe this should be several threads (one per game) but could we discuss some possible usages of memory to become better at games? This is a great way to practice your memory while having fun.

So one obvious game is chess. Even though you don't have much advantage memorizing chess openings when you are a beginner (or so I've been told) I would like to see a tree with the most common opening moves, and their responses. Once you have memorized a part of the tree you could add branches and increase the tree depth. If people could memorize 80,000 decimals of PI it should be possible to memorize at least 1000 opening states with responses. I've read that the GMS method has something to say about how to get better at chess, but I can't find in what way.

Scrabble: you could, as the article above describes, memorize all 2-letter words, and words that contain high-value letters (in Swedish there are very few words that contain W,X,Y,Z so you could memorize them all).

Black jack: memorize the black-jack strategy for when to hit and when to hold.

Cards in general: if the game in some stage contains open cards you could memorize what player has what cards.

Trivia games: Find out what categories that are common (US presidents, capitals of the world) and memorize just as much as you have to.

Could you fill in with more games and methods?

Josh Cohen's picture
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Re: Use memory techniques to become better at games

Good Lifehacker article. I didn't know that Wolfram Alpha could do that.

I'd be most interested in trivia games. Smile

By the way, a former World Scrabble Champion is a member on the site, if any one has any questions about Scrabble.

spenen's picture
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Re: Use memory techniques to become better at games

Yeah I agree, I'm also mostly interested in trivia games.
On that subject, maybe it would be interesting to find an optimized list of facts that you need to know in order to rock at trivia games. For example you could learn ALL Nobel laureates, but the best thing would be to collect the most important ones (in other words, those who often are asked for in trivia games) and memorize those. So I would like a list with the x most famous movies, x most famous artists etc...

Maybe that could be a cool project? A fixed collection of facts that everybody should know. That could be a cool new dicipline in memory championships. I have a big, big book at home called "What everybody should know in order to survive the 21th century" which includes much of that information.

Josh Cohen's picture
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Re: Use memory techniques to become better at games

spenen wrote:
Maybe that could be a cool project? A fixed collection of facts that everybody should know.

Maybe some of those lists could be compiled on this page:
http://mnemotechnics.org/wiki/Standard_Memorization_Goals

Mindscape's picture
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Joined: Oct 19 2011
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Re: Use memory techniques to become better at games

Memorising a chess opening book is possible. Would it help? Yes, but only if you are already good. Unless you are able to calculate well and beat the average club player without any difficulty, one would better place their time on tactics.

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