Derren Brown’s Impressive Memory Feat In A Chess Simultaneous Exhibition

This YouTube video shows an impressive memory trick by Derren Brown. The Amazing Kreskin has previously pulled off something similar, with a simultaneous match against Viktor Korchnoi and Robert Byrne; the trick there was that Kreskin was also blindfolded! But I believe that Kreskin used the same pairing trick that Brown used; so which is the more impressive, that Kreskin was blindfolded, or that Brown had to remember four pairs?

In viewing Brown’s impressive achievement, I couldn’t help but remember a humorous story of Tim Krabbe’s:

A grandmaster once played a 10-board blind simul somewhere. Knowing the ropes of blind simuls, he varied his games right from the start, maybe opening two with 1.e4, two with 1.d4, one with 1.b3, and so on. To his surprise, all of his opponents played 1…b6. On the second move, five of them played 2…Bb7, and the other five 2…Ba6. On the third, three of the five players who had played 2…Bb7 now played 3…Bc8 and the other two played 3…Ba6, while three of the five who had played 2…Ba6 now played 3…Bb7, and the other two 3…Bc8. On move 4, the grandmaster saw bishops everywhere. After move 5, he excused himself and went to the toilet where he was happy to find a window big enough to let him through.

Hilarious! This passage is from Krabbe’s A Love Story With A Diagram, which you can find at his very interesting (for chess enthusiasts) site Tim Krabbe’s Chess Curiosities. Some readers may know Krabbe as a novelist (The Vanishing, for example).


About Santo D'Agostino

I have taught mathematics and physics since the mid 1980s. I have also been a textbook writer/editor since then. Currently I am working independently on a number of writing and education projects while teaching physics at my local university. I love math and physics, and love teaching and writing about them. My blog also discusses education, science, environment, etc. Further resources, and online tutoring, can be found at my other site
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6 Responses to Derren Brown’s Impressive Memory Feat In A Chess Simultaneous Exhibition

  1. Narelle says:

    Hi Santo

    Haven’t heard from you in a while.

    Hope you are well, and enjoying your summer.

    • Hi hakea,

      Yes, thanks, all is well. I’ve just emerged from a very busy patch of work, and so have not given much attention to my blog for a while. I look forward to getting back to it, and also to reading yours, shortly.

      Summer in North America has been unusually hot and dry, although it hasn’t been disastrously dry here.

      I hope all is well with you and your family! And how is winter in Australia?

  2. Narelle says:

    Good to hear that all is well.

    We think it’s cold here, but it’s not compared to what you will be receiving a few months from now. The mornings are 4 to 10 degrees celsius. The days are 17 to 20.

    My main concern about winter here is house fires caused by electric heaters. Several families have lost their homes around here. Thankfully no-one has been injured.

    My boys had an electric heater in their room. Our homes and heating systems are not built for the cold, and it’s illegal to have gas heating in bedrooms. That electric heater was always a cause for concern to me. I’d say a little prayer every night. And I was always cautioning them to keep their stuff away from the heater and the power point, but they are not very mindful. Anyway, it happened, Monday night the heater blew up and melted the power point. It had obviously sparked, but thankfully I had cleared away their toys on the weekend. We were lucky this time I think.

    I’ll be glad for the warmer weather.

    • Sorry to hear about this, hakea. I’m glad to hear that none of your family members was hurt, but I’m sure it was frightening.

      I hope you’ll make it through the rest of the cold weather without further incident, and here’s hoping for a good spring soon.

      Take care,

  3. azhar quraishi says:

    site is good

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