In my first competition, I was delighted to win the 2017 Senior division (over 60) of the Australian Memory Championships as run by the IAM (International Association of Memory).
There were 10 events in a total of 12 trials involving memorising shuffled decks of cards, lists of words, names for faces, the order of images and strings of numbers in both normal digits and binary.
In the image below, we are memorising the order of a shuffled deck of cards. From left in this row of competitors, or memory athletes, as we are known: Anastasia Woolmer (AUS), Chris Griffin (New Zealand), me (AUS) and Takeru Aoki( Japan). The International event was won by Liu Renjie of China closely followed by Kwon Soon-Moon Orissam of South Korea.
The Australian National title was won by Anastasia Woolmer for the second year in a row.
I competed in the Australian Memory Championships for a second time in November 2018, despite my writing in The Memory Code that I could never do it. Yet again, I found the pressure difficult to handle. By the end of the second day of competition, my brain was mush and my nerves frayed.
The competition was again run by the IAM and organised by Tansel Ali. There were ten events, including memorising shuffled decks of cards and long lists of numbers, both integers and binary. We memorised pages of names to match faces, dates of imagined events, images in order and lists of words. And all under strict time limits. It is really high pressure and I don’t handle pressure well at all.
We had international guests, competitors from Japan, China and Indonesia. The entire competition was won by Motoro Ohno from Japan. The Japanese team was led by Takeru Aoki (at right in the picture below). Also part of the team was Hiroshi Abe (on the left).
Hiroshi is a Senior (over 60) and came with the express purpose of competing with me. He is higher in the IAM rankings, and rightly so. But these competitions have a harsh side with the scoring. A mistake in a row of numbers of the suit of a card and you can end up with a score of zero for the row or the card trial. You need to make a decision. Do you go for speed and risk accuracy or take the careful way out and go slower, hoping to be more accurate?
Knowing I don’t handle pressure well, I went far slower than I did in training, but was mostly accurate. Hiroshi was faster but had some accuracy slips and ended up scoring a few zeros. But the end of the competition, I had beaten him comfortably. I would not have managed it had he been on form!
I won the Senior section and retained my Australian Senior Memory Champion title. As there have been no Australian competitions since, I am still the reigning Senior champion.
The Australian Memory Champion for the last two years, Anastasia Woolmer, was unable to compete due to illness. I was really disappointed to miss spending time with her again. She would have had tough competition from Zeshaan Khokhar who took the 2018 Australian Memory Champion title.
I now do most of my training on Memory League, a really fun way for anyone who wants to start playing around with memory competitions.
You can compete against others at your level, but I just compete with myself. Click on the images to try it out. You need to register but the first levels are free.
All help for getting started is available through the super-friendly associated forum at Art Of Memory https://forum.artofmemory.com.