Well, it's nearly the end of 2008, so let's look ahead to the memory competitions we'll all be enjoying in 2009. The memorysports.info website seems not to be working right now, so I'll be doing this from memory and occasional guesswork, but I think the calendar looks something like this:
March 7 - US Memory Championship, New York, 1-day TV-friendly format, only open to US residents but still fun to go along and spectate. I'm still thinking that I might go, but then I'm also thinking about jetting off to Las Vegas for Christmas because I got an email today recommending the Christmas Day menu in the buffet. I always get this kind of impulse at this time of year, it'll pass.
March 28 - Welsh Memory Championship, Cardiff?, 1-day National Standard format. Should be fun, run by Dai, whose enthusiasm is at times scary and who is sure to put in a huge effort into making it a great event. I'm hoping to see a big turnout to start the 'real' memory championship season! A great way to find out whether you're still in form after the winter break!
April... 9? I really need that website. - French Memory Championship, Maisons-Laffitte, 1-day National Standard format. After putting in such a terrible format at the first championship (which, for publicity-related technical reasons, doesn't count as a real French Memory Championship, to the organisers at least. This one in April is officially the First French Memory Championship, last I heard), I really have to go along to this and try to do something special. It'd be good to see it give memory competitions a real kick-start in France, too. Hoping for lots of new French and international competitors!
May? Maybe. - Cambridge Memory Championship? Cambridge? 1-day National Standard format? Okay, latest buzz is that the Cambridge MSO, on which I've piggybacked a memory competition for the last three years, probably won't happen in 2009. That leaves me without a cheap and available venue to host a competition. I might try to get a Beeston Memory Championship going, maybe seeing what my kind and generous employers can offer me by way of borrowing a room or chipping in with a bit of prize money. We'll just have to see.
May or June or never - North German and South German Memory Championships, somewhere in the north/south of Germany, half-day Regional Standard format. One or both of these events might well happen next year, and I must go along to one of them, one of these days. It's the only opportunity to try the 'poem' discipline these days!
July, probably - German Memory Championship, somewhere in Germany, hopefully Tuttlingen again because I know how to get there and it's a nice venue, 2-day International Standard format. I'm still annoyed that I had to miss this year's, and I'm definitely going to the one in 2009. It's the biggest non-world-championship event of the year, and will quite possibly get a bigger turnout of the best competitors than the WMC itself. It's very good preparation for the WMC, even if there's a four-month gap this time.
August 15-16 - UK Memory Championship, Simpson's-in-the-Strand, London, 1-day National Standard format (split over two mornings because they're sharing a venue with that big chess championship again). This year's was a big success, hopefully next year's will be even better! Yes, they're still having the prizegiving dinner at an expensive restaurant more than 24 hours after the competition finishes, which I would have thought would deter a big international turnout, but judging by this year's event I don't know anything, so I'll stop whining. I've just realised that I've now won the UK Championship two years in a row, and it would be cool to win it more consecutive times than Gunther won the German Championship, just for the sake of the history books, so that's my aim now.
November 11-14, World Memory Championship, somewhere in Bahrain, 3-day World Standard format. The big one, and still a long, long way away from where any of the competitors live (although I've been emailing a new guy in Oman who's all in favour of the location), but I think the memory world is getting used to it by now. And to be fair, it's a long journey for the European and Chinese contingents alike, so that's probably a good thing. And this year's did go very well, so I think we can hope for another great event with hopefully a big turnout again. I'll be there, about 80% probably. 95% if I win another free trip. :)
I've started using emoticons lately. I don't like it, but I find it's necessary to stop people taking me too seriously. ^.^
That's my favourite: ^.^
According to the official World Championship website, by the way, "Registrations are now being accepted. However this year to assist the the smooth organisation of the evenr, and to ensure the number of competitors expected is accurate, no registration will be deemed to have been confirmed until the registration fee of UK£50 has been received by the WMSC"
I did get the impression that people weren't happy with my entirely accurate prediction that the actual number of competitors would be roughly half the list of registered competitors, and that the boasts that this year's championship would have the most competitors ever would turn out to be wrong. I'll refrain from saying anything like that this time round. My new year's resolution is going to be to stop jeering at these people who annually give me money and plaudits for no good reason.
So that's 2009! There will be championships in places like Australia, Poland, Norway, China, Japan and such like too, but I don't know where or when and I very probably won't be able to go to them. Having a job is great because it gives me the money to travel the world, but bad because it doesn't give me enough time off to spend the whole year travelling. It's a catch-22 kind of thing.
Another new year's resolution is to read Catch 22 and start applying that expression in more informed ways.
And another one is to start memory training again. I haven't really done any to speak of since the world championship, and that's probably bad.