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How much theory should a player know? The most severe answer to this has to be “everything", the softest “as much as you like" and the profoundest “nothing". All three are correct.

GM Paul Van Der Sterren

Memory for the long term with spaced repetition

After some practice you will be able to build and memorise a memory palace quite quickly. This palace will serve you well for the next week or two, and your best images will remain with you effortlessly for a decade. But unless you review, most of the palace will gradually fade. This is okay if you wanted to learn a repertoire for a single game. But it is a problem if you wanted to retain the repertoire for the long term. After all, it’s no fun to be halfway through a Najdorf and then discover you can’t remember the image in your attic.

The good news is, your memories fade more slowly each time you review. So when you memorise a new image, at first you should review it frequently, but then you can wait for longer and longer intervals. (See Figure 7.1 if you like graphs.) You could review after an hour, then a day, then a week, then a month, then half a year…the precise best time intervals depend on the person, but the principle is the same for everyone. This is called spaced repetition.

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Chapter 7 covers:

  1. Memory for the long term with spaced repetition
  2. Why memorise theory?
  3. Blindfold simultaneous exhibitions
  4. Other board games
  5. Picture notation in other languages
  6. Four complete games in picture notation
  7. Summary of The Chess Memory Palace method