Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Expert Mistakes

World Chess champion Kramnik just lost a game to checkmate. This never happens to players anywhere near as good as he is. So what happens when experts make mistakes that are this glaring? This is not just a chess issue, these sorts of mistakes are made by programmers, pilots, doctors and other people who can end up killing you.
This article describes how Kramnik probably missed the move because of a phenonomen called chunking. This is where experts in a particular area pick up patterns that reduce the complexity of a situation based on their previous experiences.
"Simon and Chase came to the conclusion that higher-ranked players use a form of chunking, or pattern-matching, that allows them to rapidly encode macro features of the positions."

So next time you hear car crash statistics somewhere after drink and tiredness there should be a section for "things that were so weird the drivers brain ignored it". But you are not going to see police checks for that.

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