Recall of briefly presented chess positions and its relation to chess skill
Individual differences in memory performance in a domain of expertise have traditionally been accounted for by previously acquired chunks of knowledge and patterns. These accounts have been examined experimentally mainly in chess. The role of chunks (clusters of chess pieces recalled in rapid succession during recall of chess positions) and their relations to chess skill are, however, under debate. By introducing an independent chunk-identification technique, namely repeated-recall technique, this study identified individual chunks for particular chess players. The study not only tested chess players with increasing chess expertise, but also tested non-chess players who should not have previously acquired any chess related chunks in memory. For recall of game positions significant differences between players and non-players were found in virtually all the characteristics of chunks recalled. Size of the largest chunks also correlates with chess skill within the group of rated chess players. Further research will help us understand how these memory encodings can explain large differences in chess skill.