Plenty of hamburger-buns, but not hamburger-puns. I'll just have to use non-Hamburg-themed blog titles in future. Anyway, when I left off my last blog, we were just about to start the competition. Everybody had changed into their official competition T-shirts (really cool ones, too, with German-flag collars and sleeve-ends) and found their way to the competition room (spacious and quiet, whenever there wasn't a train coming in to the station next door) and sat down to kick off the event with 30-minute numbers.
The German championship is uniquely arduous in having the three 30-minute disciplines all in a row, from 2pm until 8pm at night. It's seriously draining. But the first one, at least, went okay. I had experimented with attempting seven journeys' worth of numbers, 1638 digits, but without much success. So I just went for six journeys, 1404 (plus an extra nine for good luck when I had a few seconds left at the end), and seemed to remember most of it okay.
Gaby Kappus, who I don't think I've mentioned yet, was sharing the master-of-ceremonies role with Klaus and also acting as 'ombudsman', checking competitors' scores if they didn't believe them. Actually, all the scoring seemed to be done extremely well, by a team of arbiters who clearly knew what they were doing. I should really have found out their names and/or thanked them, but I never remember to do that until it's too late. I get so wrapped up in memorising things, you see.
However, it takes time to mark all those papers, so we set off onto discipline two, 30-minute cards, without knowing how the first one had gone. I was attempting 18 packs here, more than anyone else, and I can normally do that many and get the recall more or less okay. But this time round, I really struggled with the recall, having to cross things out and start again on three different packs. I ran out of recall time and so I knew I'd got 15 at most, even if I hadn't made any silly mistakes along the way.
There were some problems with the cards, apparently some of them weren't shuffled properly. This kind of thing does happen occasionally, however careful the organisers are - I always bring my own pre-shuffled cards with me, ever since the same thing happened to me at the world championships in 2005. That way even if nobody remembers to shuffle the cards, I won't notice. I suppose I could also try memorising my cards in advance and just hoping someone forgets to shuffle them, but I think that sounds like more hassle than just winning fair and square.
Anyway, Tony then read out the results of the 30-minute cards (or the Zahlenmarathon, as they call it over there - all the events have cool German names) in reverse order. I'd got 1193, which would have been a new world record if not for the fact that Hannes got 1264. Drat it, he did the same thing to me in the historic dates at the world championship last year, too. Still, that was a pretty good start to the competition. One more marathon before the end of the day - binary digits, at which I'm generally better than anyone else. But what with the long day of long-distance memorising, I was never going to break any records there. Still, it all went fairly well, and I went back to the hotel pretty satisfied with the first day's competition.
As we found out the next day, I'd got 14 packs right in the cards and 3610 in the binary - not world record standard, but enough to give me about 700 points lead ahead of a closely-packed chasing group of Simon, Hannes and Cornelia.
You know, that account has practically put me to sleep, I don't know why I'm sharing it with the world as if you'd be interested. I'll continue tomorrow, if I can think of a way to make it more interesting...