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two reasons

Posted By: phil simborg
Date: Monday, 21 April 2014, at 3:30 a.m.

In Response To: two reasons (Stick)

I don't even make an effort to remember every card played in a bring hand or gin hand...it just comes automatically. My brother, at the end of a hand, can tell you every card that was played in a gin hand, in the order it was played.

This skill comes easily and naturally with concentration. I am sure any good checss player can recreate every move made in a chess game, as most top backgammon players could probably recreate an entire backgammon game from start to finish (I've seen MCG do it.)

If you have ever played hearts, every good player knows how many of each suit has been played, and who has shown out of a suit, and even knows key cards that might be remaining in each suit....I certainly know this or I would not sit down to a money game, and I am no memory genius...just someone who has practiced this skill.

So, take a leap of faith for a second, and believe that it is not that hard to remember every card. Can you now see how much more interesting it would be to change your plays based on the new probabilities presented with each roll?

I am not surprised that some people would not find this fun, but I am surprised that it would not be particularly appealing to you...someone who could probably calculate the new odds of being hit or rolling doubles or winning a race etc. better than 99 percent of the people who play backgammon.

Remembering strings of items, particularly when they have a meaningful reference, is not at all hard for the average person.

I remember reading about a study done of top chess players. Of course they can remember every move of a chess game they played weeks ago. Set up a chess board with an interesting position that came up in another match, they can look at it and have an excellent memory of the position later. But put random pieces around the chess board in a manner not likely to occur in a match, and their memory of that position is hardly better than the average non-chess player.

In 1982 I played in the Bridge Nationals at the Palmer House. At the last minute I teamed up with a man I knew from my country club that I knew was a good player (I was a life master). We won a major side event, largely because on the last hand I took a major chance to make 5 spades, risking the contract, when almost the entire room only made 4 spades.

I ran into that man and his wife at a restaurant about 12 years later. I hadn't seen him since, as he moved out of chicago. We greeted each other and he asked me how I knew to play East for the queen of spades and take that big finesse. I told him that West had already shown the Ace of Hearts and the King of diamonds, and there was no way in hell he would also have the queen and not have bid.

We said goodbye, and my wife asked me why I didn't introduce her, and I told her, "I can't remember his name."

(By the way, I'm not sure which wife that was, either.)

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