Well, it's a week until the World Memory Championship 2009 kicks off, I've just spent the evening experimenting with a new approach to memorising binary digits (which is, of course, a ridiculous thing to do a week before a world championship, when you might argue that it's a bit too late to be trying new things, but hey, I'm a ridiculous kind of person), the WMSC have just made an announcement about prizes, interestingly not mentioning the prizes that Memory XL have promised to provide on top, and I'm feeling like this would be a good time to do that run-down of the top competitors in this year's event, so all my faithful blog-followers know who to look out for. Well, it's that or go out and watch the fireworks, and I'm doing that tomorrow. I've written part of it already, the finished article will be with you at some point over the next seven days.
(Incidentally, you probably also want to know where to look out for them - up to the minute coverage will hopefully be available on the ever-awesome memory-sports.com. Sorry, everyone who keeps asking me this question, it's not going to be on telly. Not even on some obscure cable channel.)
But let's talk about those prizes before we start - in the absence of a sponsor for this year, the coolest prizes are the promise of free trips to next year's championship, in China. Free hotel rooms for places four to ten, free flights and hotel suites for the top three (hotel SUITES? Okay, not all the competitors are working class heroes like me, but I'm sure all the potential top-three would be happy to take a normal room, and have the spare cash go back into the prize fund for everyone. The entire German team this year are crowding into about three rooms, last I heard, we're used to non-luxurious accommodation!). Still, these prizes are extremely groovy, and I hope they do come about. It's generally a good idea to be sceptical about plans for future world memory championships at this stage, but the Chinese organisers seem very keen to put on a good show.
There's also a promise of lots of prize money for 2010, but I'm not going to be making plans for that money just yet. A lot of things could happen in the next twelve months.
Anyway, the point of memory competitions really isn't the prizes - it's the fun of the competition. Prizes are a nice bonus, but we'd all compete if there never were any, and we'd still have a good time doing it. (Well, unless there was a wealthy sponsor spending lots of money, but the organisers were pocketing it all. Then we might complain a bit.) But I'm completely in the mood for an exciting World Memory Championship now. Roll on next Thursday!