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 Post subject: Replaying Games From Memory
Post #1 Posted: Sun Oct 02, 2016 8:33 pm 
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I've often heard that strong Go players can replay complete games from memory, without having to refer to printed game records. How does one cultivate this ability? I imagine that one would have to be playing Go frequently on a long-term basis. Then again, there must be something else responsible for said phenomenon. Much obliged in advance for your input.

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 Post subject: Re: Replaying Games From Memory
Post #2 Posted: Mon Oct 03, 2016 1:49 am 
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I've often heard that strong Go players can replay complete games from memory, without having to refer to printed game records. How does one cultivate this ability? I imagine that one would have to be playing Go frequently on a long-term basis. Then again, there must be something else responsible for said phenomenon. Much obliged in advance for your input.


Caution 1: Strong players can maybe replay games from memory, but that does not means people who can replay games from memory are strong players.

Strong players memorise games incidentally, not deliberately. They focus on a game so intently it is seared into their brains. This is made easier by the fact they have such a good understanding of the flow of the game, and moves that surprise us don't surprise them. In some cases they will also know another player's style.

Caution 2: Strong can't always replay games from memory. In the days when both players were required to submit a post-game record of their games to the Nihon Ki-in, there were very many instances of the records being different, or the final moves were omitted - and some players couldn't provide a record at all. But at least they were often able to confer. In the days of the Japan-China Go Exchanges, both sides came up with records that were startlingly different, often even with different scores (nothing to do with different rule sets).

You will also see cases where the collected games of Player X contains a game against Player Y, but the collected games of Player Y has the same game with different moves.

The GoGoD database has lots of examples of this. Usually we just put a note in the game comments, but sometimes the differences are so great we have entered both games separately.


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 Post subject: Re: Replaying Games From Memory
Post #3 Posted: Mon Oct 03, 2016 1:59 am 
Tengen

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Do you mean replaying one's own games, or pro (or other) games you have studied? I can replay my own games, but didn't do anything to actively cultivate this ability. Just thinking about the moves is what makes me remember them: I couldn't replay the crappy blitz I played on KGS last night, but I could replay my 7 games from the Gold Cup tournament a few weeks ago, and maybe my British championship game almost a year ago. Likewise I could probably replay the Lee Sedol vs AlphaGo games because I've studied/watched lectures on them a lot. I would also point out that it's harder for me to remember a game of mine versus a 15 kyu (though I can do it immediately after for a review), because they play so many weird and bad moves. Once you get stronger and make moves for better and reproducible reasons it should be easier to remember them.

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 Post subject: Re: Replaying Games From Memory
Post #4 Posted: Mon Oct 03, 2016 2:33 am 
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Uberdude wrote:
and maybe my British championship game almost a year ago


Really? That's impressive. I can usually remember a game of mine that I reviewed, or a pro game I studied, for a couple of weeks and then it fades away. When I get back to it later, I am familiar with the game but cannot remember half of the moves.

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 Post subject: Re: Replaying Games From Memory
Post #5 Posted: Mon Oct 03, 2016 3:03 am 
Tengen

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Knotwilg wrote:
Really? That's impressive. I can usually remember a game of mine that I reviewed, or a pro game I studied, for a couple of weeks and then it fades away. When I get back to it later, I am familiar with the game but cannot remember half of the moves.


Not all the game (which had several long ko fights in byo yomi), but probably the vast majority of the first 100-200 moves I guess. I did spend several nights afterwards tossing and turning replaying and regretting all my mistakes which seared the shapes into my brain, plus I did a lecture on it more recently. But as that game went on for almost 360 moves iirc maybe that would only be half the moves :). Maybe I'll try to reconstruct it on my lunch break (I say reconstruct rather than replay as I can picture various terminal shapes and would then figure out the moves to get there).

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 Post subject: Re: Replaying Games From Memory
Post #6 Posted: Mon Oct 03, 2016 7:41 am 
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I think it is something that comes naturally to many strong players. After I have just played a game, I can replay most of it, with confusions in order, or forgetting a 2 move exchange, but after about 3 goes through, I can replay it at nearly 100% a few hours later. Sometimes I can remember other people's games too, even replaying much of it from a look at the board.

I think it is a skill that comes so gradually it's hard to notice, from playing lots of games, often because you think a lot about the moves, or you are used to the flow of certain patterns, or you remember special moments. You can try replaying the openings in your games, or trying to work out how a certain position comes about, if you want to practise.

Similarly, you will find strong players may be able to perform at blind go. I haven't tried it for many months, but though it was slow and took a lot of concentration, I did play around 200 moves blind 2 years ago (at Durham) - there was only one mistake, and that was my opponent misplacing a move in a 4-4 joseki (or maybe I mis-spake - we only found out 100 moves later when I tried to play there).

Regarding more long term memory. I've only played in 4 tournaments, and the London open last Christmas was by far the most important. I estimate I can remember at least 80% of the moves now, but I find it goes to tatters with long ko fights in two of the games. But in one game, where it was 200 move battle over the life and death of a huge dragon against LB, I think I can remember almost 100%.

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