Difficulty: Beginner   Keywords: Theory
This article is not about computer storage media

A good memory is valuable in many aspects of go. This article refers mainly, but not exclusively, to human memory.

Table of contents

In English memory may also refer to muscle memory; that appears less relevant here, but maybe someone disagrees.

Areas requiring memory

Short-term (during a turn)

Medium-term (during a game)

  • For counting, it is desirable to keep track of the score of each group separately
  • The previously read status of groups on the board, with the relevant sequences
  • After a game, the entire game, for review
  • Some variants such as blind go, phantom go and one colour go require one to remember the entire board or significant portions of it
  • etc?

Long-term (during one’s go development)

Improving one’s memory

Any suggestions?

Coping with a poor memory

One’s memory can let one down by returning information:

  • wrongly,
  • slowly, or
  • not at all.

Any suggestions?

Anonymous: Exercising simple problems for four years, over and over again made me good at reading (yomi).
PJT: To what extent is that a coping strategy? I suppose you could argue that improving other aspects of reading, especially move selection, can compensate for memory problems.

Coping with wrong memory

Any suggestions?

Coping with slow memory

Any suggestions?

Coping with gaps in memory

Any suggestions?

In reading, if you cannot remember which variations you have read, it can help to run through all possible moves systematically, moving point by point along a line, starting at one edge of the problem, then shifting to the next line. This means you only have to remember the moves up to the position you are considering: the rest come automatically. It may still be better to start with what seems to be the vital point, then switch to systematic reading if that fails.

Pitfalls of memory

In automatic play one may be misled by the memory of a similar situation into an unconsidered move. As related there, this happened to Yoda Norimoto, in the 52nd Oza (see [ext] this Japanese site).

Learning joseki by rote is said to be bad for your game. Perhaps it helps here to bear in mind [ext] Robert Graves’ poem, A Plea to Boys and Girls:

You learned Lear's Nonsense Rhymes by heart, not rote;
You learned Pope's Iliad by rote, not heart;
These terms should be distinguished if you quote
My verses, children — keep them poles apart —
And call a man a liar who says I wrote
All that I wrote in love, for love of art.

Computer memory

Most of the areas mentioned above also require computer memory in a go programme.

In computer science, the amount of memory needed to solve a problem is known as its [ext] space complexity.

See also

To Do

  • Could search in articles for words like remember, rote, memorise (ation, ing) to link them (both directions!) and extract relevant ideas.
  • Age and alcohol?

Memory last edited by PJTraill on November 9, 2023 - 15:10
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