Saturday, January 28, 2012

Hooray for Sheffield!

Earlier in the year than usual, it was the Sheffield Regional today. It was at the Megacentre, a strange church-cum-children's-play-area-cum-conference-centre near the city centre, and a very nice (although expensive) room for an othello tournament.

I got up more or less in time to catch the train down to Sheffield, remembering to bring my board and clock in case we needed extra (we didn't) but somehow forgetting the most important part of any othello player's equipment, my hat. I got there to find people standing outside because the person who was supposed to let us in hadn't turned up - this seems to happen at every othello tournament everywhere, it'd be hugely disconcerting if it didn't.

Anyway, the competitors included Garry Edmead, who hasn't been seen for many years, and Iain Forsyth, who hasn't been seen for even longer (or by me at all before today). And the organiser Roy Arnold, plus Iain Barrass (two Iains and no Ians) and Andrew Burgess. I realised halfway through the first round that everyone else had been coming to othello competitions for much, much longer than I had - and since my othello heritage goes back to the late nineties, that's pretty rare. But then Marie Lightman turned up in time for round two, so she was able to take over as the new bug and relegate me to the position of old-timer.

In the first round, I beat Roy, while Andrew beat Iain and Garry beat Other Iain. I should call them Young Iain and Old Iain to avoid confusion, but that would probably cause offence, so I won't. In the second round, with Garry having the bye, all the first-round losers won their games, giving us the extremely groovy situation of everybody being on one point after two rounds, except Garry on two. It would be even groovier if everybody had been on the same score, but with seven players that just isn't statistically possible. Iain Forsyth completely thrashed me in this round, incidentally.

After another beating for me at the hands of Garry, we all went to lunch - the place downstairs at the Megacentre isn't exactly haute cuisine, but it's okay for a snack. Then we had four more rounds of othello where I did rather better, ending up playing off against Iain B for second place and losing. Still, third out of seven isn't bad, and it was a great scoreboard at the end, with everybody managing at least 2½ points and no chance at all of working out the results of individual games just by looking at the final scores (except that Garry beat everyone with no real difficulty).

Garry Edmead 7
Iain Barrass 5
Ben Pridmore 4
Roy Arnold 3½
Andrew Burgess 3
Marie Lightman 3
Iain Forsyth 2½

That was fun - I haven't played othello for aaaaaages for one reason or another, and it's nice to get back into the swing of things. Cambridge International in February! Be there or be a non-othello-player!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

How memory works

"Drat," I thought to myself, "I was going to do something but then I got distracted and now I can't remember what it was. Maybe I'll write about it in my blog... oh, wait, writing in my blog was the thing I was going to do!"

What I was going to write about was the demand from an anonymouse: "plaese put some light on the loci or place method and movement that we need to associate with the words"

I get asked this question quite a lot (usually by the same person every time) and it always worries me a little. Because that's definitely venturing into the wrong territory for advice on memory. The amount of movement or the detail of the images you use varies wildly from one memoriser to another - everyone's brain is very different, and it really is very important to do your own thing and find your own way of memorising. Trying to imitate everything I do in exact detail is never going to work, believe me.

But when I say that, people assume I'm keeping secrets from them because I don't want them to be successful memory people, so I really can't win.