I've been going through master games lately, and I was wondering if people had different ways to go about it? - at first, I went through the games without a board, but that proved much too awkward with my feeble visualisation skills. then I started using a board, but it's still way too much effort deciphering the notation, energy which could be better used on focusing on the inner workings of that particular game. you decipher a line onto the board, but forget another, and when you try comparing some aspects of the two, you'll have to decipher the first one again, but then you're not sure about the second one anymore... you're just doing the same thing again and again, using short term memory, and getting frustrated and exhausted with all the repetition.
then I started thinking, maybe I could actually do something to help the visualisation? so, I started doing some visualisation exercises. with time, that'll probably do the trick. but then I got and idea of combining master games & visualisation exercises: first I teach myself the game move by move on a board, and only after that start studying it. that way, I can focus completely on the annotation, and still visualize the board with practically no effort. it's also helping with the variations, even if you don't learn them by rote. it's just easier when you have the 'backbone' of the game in visual memory, so the variations have a solid visual context.
memorizing the game fully seems to be surprisingly easy, taking up 3-10 minutes depending on the game. not much, if you're going to take 30-60 minutes to study the actual game. I wonder how many games you can store this way, but it's probably quite a lot. -as you can as well easily memorize hundreds of song-lyrics pretty much perfectly. of course lyrics have repetition and melody, but chess has a lot of re-occurring structures as well.
I also like the fact that I'm storing the game visually and even procedurally, rather than as little snippets of 2-5 move lines in short term memory which I'll forget within seconds. if you like, you can further strengthen the memory by reading the moves aloud as you go, combining visual, procedural and auditory memory. - and as an added bonus for memorization, I can play the games in my head as a visualisation exercise, if I feel like it.
"what are you daydreaming of?"
"- oh, colle vs delvaux, grand-terneuzen 1929..."
so, what do you think? how do you do it?