Thursday, February 7, 2008

Sticky Chess

I'm reading a book called Making Things Stick. Or maybe its Ideas That Stick. I forget. Its, shocker!, about ideas that are simple enough and profound enough that they, shocker again!, stick.

"A bird in hand is worth two in the bush" has parallels in like 50 different languages and cultures. The razor blades in apples parent's check for at Halloween never happened.

The ideas have similar traits that make them stick, and since my wife took the book back (its her's, really) I can't recall them concretely enough to make it sensible. I do recommend strongly that anyone interested in learning, teaching or in a position that needs to convey information to check out the book. (I'll get the right title tonight).

Reading it, I see so many lessons for a teacher to use when teaching someone chess. Concepts and methods.

Somewhere, yesterday, I heard, read or saw a report on scientists teaching toddlers words by showing them two pictures side by side and saying the name of one of the objects (like a picture of an apple and a pumpkin and saying apple). They think the kids' brains acted like computers processing the info and after a short while repeating the testes with a variety of images, the kids did something cool.

I can't recall if it was say the word when shown the picture, or pick the picture out of a larger set when the word was spoken.

My prowess at recalling variations over the board must be stunning you right now, huh?

Some people watch chess games movie style, and over time the positions get processed and they can use what they saw- chunking I often see it called. Perhaps there's a way to make a Baby Einstein-like DVD that teaches chess not by here's this and this is what it does, but the way Kasparov (iirc) says he learned it- watching and then just knowing.

If the game could be taught "indirectly" that way, then so could openings, endgames, tactics- the whole shebang. Maybe that's the mechanic behind the circles working, and maybe there's a better way.

UPDATE: Here's the authors website-


  1. Because I LOL'd, I'm leaving the anatomical error intact.

  2. Building on some other research in human information processing, maybe high speed movies of games or play from learning positions--the brain can recognize a word in a fraction of a second, perhaps the positions could flash by at some scientifically determined ideal speed.

  3. I wrote a little bit about "Why Chess Sticks" last year when I read the book.