It can be surprising how effective this kind of technique can be. I suppose it can be overdone, but in general the wisdom of modern computing seems to be that trading lower cpu usage for increased memory usage is often a good idea. I was just playing around with a minimax algorithm for tic-tac-toe, and it was a similar story. I hadn't really thought things through and just dove into the implementation. My (admittedly naive) python code took 1.5 minutes to play a game, which I did not expect. Simply adding caching for positions in a dict took that number down to 0.3 seconds though!
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