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Blindfold play and sleepless nights

In Edward Winter’s Chess Explorations there is the following delightful quote from the memoirs of chess player William Winter:

Blindfold play I have never attempted seriously. I once played six, but spent so many sleepless nights trying to drive the positions out of my head that I gave it up.

I love that. We think of the difficulty as being in the remembering, but maybe it is the forgetting that is the challenge. I’m reminded of a lecture I saw by Richard Feynman at Bell Labs: He was talking about the theoretical challenges of quantum computing, and he identified the crucial entropy-producing step as that of zeroing the machine, i.e. forgetting.

12 Comments

  1. Carlos Ungil says:

    > We think of the difficulty as being in the remembering, but maybe it is the forgetting that is the challenge.

    That was the problem of Ireneo Funes, as you probably know.

    “I suspect, however, that he was not very capable of thought. To think is to forget differences, generalize, make abstractions. In the teeming world of Funes, there were only details, almost immediate in their presence.”

  2. Adede says:

    The text of the post was a lot less “fifty shades” than the title led me to believe.

    • Andrew says:

      Adede:

      Hey, if you really want 50 shades of gray, see here. Or here.

    • David J. Littleboy says:

      Ah, that reminds me. I played chess in high school (around 1971) and accumulated chess books. Two had almost identical titles, something along the lines of “The Psychology of Chess”. One was a translation of a book by the main trainer for the Russian national chess team at the time, the other by Reuben Fine, one of the strongest US players of his time and a psychiatrist. One was about chess, the other about sex.

  3. Anonymous says:

    “In Edward Winter’s Chess Explorations there is the following delightful quote from the memoirs of chess player William Winter:”

    I liked something about this sentence, and after some pondering i think it’s the name “William Winter”. I think i like alliteration of first and last names, altough it might be important to mention that i myself have a first and last (even a middle) name that begins with the same letter. I also think it might also be because i like the name “William” and the word “Winter” seperately.

    Names be funny that way to me.

    I also find it interesting that some young folks (or is it just “celebrities”) these days seem to give themselves new names. I think there’s something “beautiful” in that in a certain way, but i also think it’s something i would never do. I think names are “special” in a way. Maybe because of that feeling i like to call people by their full given names, and not like to use abbreviations or something like that (i.c. calling “William” “Bill” as i think happens a lot in some countries).

  4. David A Eubanks says:

    On the topic of creating entropy = forgetting, look up Fredkin gates, a type of logic that allows computers to run backwards as well as forwards. I think that heat is only produced when a bit is “dumped” to the environment.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Quote from the blogpost: “We think of the difficulty as being in the remembering, but maybe it is the forgetting that is the challenge.”

    I have heard, and/or interpreted what i heard, that certain pathological stuff can be interpreted to be like someone not able to forget something. I think this can be due to humans evolving so much that they can think about the future, and can project things, and can learn from things. I think some pathology might be some sort of “side effect” of humans becoming too smart

    Perhaps pathology is a result of these things humans can do with their brain, and can be likened to something in the brain that “gets stuck”. Perhaps the brain sort of consciously or unconsiously repeats something because it still does not know how to handle it in the future hould such a thing happen again. The brain somehow tries to find “solutions” for future (similar) situations over and over and over again.

    In light of this, i find certain findings interesting. For example that several mental disorders may be correlated with higher intelligence. And that things like “mindfulness” and related things that “get you out of your head” and “in touch with your body” may help with some mental disorders.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ow, there might be an offical name for this, or something that resembles it. I just came across this: “Analytical rumination hypothesis” https: //en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolutionary_approaches_to_depression

      “This hypothesis suggests that depression is an adaptation that causes the affected individual to concentrate his or her attention and focus on a complex problem in order to analyze and solve it.[25]. One way depression increases the individual’s focus on a problem is by inducing rumination”

      • Anonymous says:

        “This hypothesis suggests that depression is an adaptation that causes the affected individual to concentrate his or her attention and focus on a complex problem in order to analyze and solve it.[25]

        Perhaps this is also in line with depressed people wonderning about things like the meaning of life, and wondering what’s the point of it all.

        This can be seen as “hard” questions, and problems, to solve as well.

        In my native country there is a saying: “Geluk is met de dommen”, which roughly translates as “Happiness is with the foolish”. I think this saying fits nicely with the gist of the above.

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