Recall memory for visually presented chess positions


A series of three experiments replicated and extended earlier research reported by Chase and Simon (1973), de Groot (1965), and Charness (Note 1). The first experiment demonstrated that the relationship between memory for chess positions and chess skill varies directly with the amount of chess-specific information in the stimulus display. The second experiment employed tachistoscopic displays to incrementally “build” tournament chess positions by meaningful or nonmeaningful chunks and demonstrated that meaningful piece groupings during presentation markedly enhance subsequent recall performance. The third experiment tested memory for one of two positions presented in immediate sequence and demonstrated that explanations based on a limited-capacity short-term memory (Chase & Simon, 1973) are not adequate for explaining performance on this memory task.

Reference Notes

  1. 1.

    Charness, N. H.Memory for chess positions. The effects of interference and input modality. Unpublished PhD dissertation. Carnegie-Mellon University, 1974.


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Author information

Correspondence to Peter W. Frey.

Additional information

The design and interpretation of these experiments benefited greatly from discussions with Neil Charness, Eliot Hearst, Henry Helff, Michael Humphreys, and Benton J. Underwood.

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Frey, P.W., Adesman, P. Recall memory for visually presented chess positions. Memory & Cognition 4, 541–547 (1976) doi:10.3758/BF03213216

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  • Proactive Interference
  • Recall Performance
  • Presentation Mode
  • Skilled Player
  • Intrusion Error