Over the next few blog posts I am going to uncover some of the myths about memory, identify some of the card play memory mistakes you may be making, and suggest some useful tips that may enable you to have that wonderful ability to recall card play sequences with the kind of agility that you thought was the preserve only of the more “highly intelligent” Bridge geeks:First though some background – I want to tell you the story of a 7 year old boy:
He was having trouble at school.
After 1 year and 1 term he only knew 4 letters of the alphabet and could not read simple words.
So he went for a psychological assessment:
Curiously, he could recall long sequences of digits, outperforming the average for his age – he had a high IQ. However, when he was asked to repeat two digits in reverse order he was struck with stammering hesitation.
“Repeat after me but in reverse order: 2,9”
“umm 9…. 9 ummm!”
And therein lies the memory problem that is at the heart of the dyslexic – an inability to convert short term memory (memory that lasts for 1 or 2 seconds) into medium term memory (memory that lasts for an hour). This capability is important whilst reading:
When a dyslexic reads the first syllable in a word and then moves onto the second, he/she may then then forget the first that was just read. So they go back to the first… but then forget the second so they might decide to look at the third syllable for a clue… and then the first again, but forget the third etc – One can see the eyes of the dyslexic darting back and forth… and then to observe ‘reading panic’ to set in.
It is easy to appreciate how this memory difficulty is so disadvantageous. However, the immense advantages of a mind, free of cluttering boundaries, are less easy to identify and measure.
Like reading, playing Bridge requires a lot of memory work – more specifically, short term to medium term memory work.
I observe some Bridge players with awe because they seem to remember every card played and recount card play in such detail. More often than not, very good players take their memory capabilities for granted – They just remember.
I have come across raw talent as a professional violinist too. Very talented players will sometimes make bad teachers because they have no idea why they are good… They don’t understand the core principles or appreciate how these principles need to be applied because they have never had to THINK about them.
I have a fairly unique memory perspective.
As a youngster I had to learn French at school. I recall one occasion when I was taking a French dictation test:
For every error, we were asked to score ourselves by taking half a mark off the top score of 20. After I had taken off my errors, I had minus 8 or something like that and other people in the class were getting plus 15s!
Not surprisingly, throughout school I always thought I was rubbish at learning languages.
A few years ago, during a dull period in my life when not much was happening, I decided I would learn one new language each year using language CDs.
Having first learnt Russian really quickly and easily, I realised that I was actually not bad at learning languages after all.
Why this apparent dramatic change in ability?
As an older learner, I understood the principle that in order to create a language memory, I had to go through the processes of converting short term memory into medium term and then long term. Furthermore, I understood how I could implement processes that would enable me to do this to maximum efficiency.
What same principles can be applied to Bridge that enabled me as a language learner to suddenly find learning Russian fairly easy whereas once language was my Achilles heel?
To find out you will have to read next week’s blog post.
If you like this post click the facebook ‘like’ button below… give it a go.. it’s like popping bubble wrap!! – Now there’s an idea for someone in IT programming.
I am fascinated by memory, so leave your comments and memory experiences in the section below.
P.S. Thanks for recommending my site to your friends using the cut out section on the blog post from two weeks ago… I had a healthy influx of viewers and subscribers and that’s cool because it makes me feel appreciated.
P.S.S. Tomorrow at 11pm GMT I am playing Bridge on the BBO site so feel free to join the table as a player or ‘Kibitzer’. If you don’t know how to use BBO look at my two video blogs about it. Bridge BBO video blog part 1 and Bridge BBO video blog part 2