Saturday, December 12, 2009

In 1994, scientists predicted...

I'm genuinely thinking about writing a huge long account of everything that's happened in the world of memory sports between 2000 and 2009. And calling it "Noughty Memories", but you can ignore the title if you think it's silly. The second decade of competitive memory has been crammed full of a whole book's worth of events, after all. And 2000 was sort of a starting point for lots of things, not least Gunther memorising 400 digits spoken at a rate of one every two seconds, confounding those scientists' predictions that nobody would ever memorise more than 30, and giving Tony something to talk about in every speech at every memory competition ever since. Usually twice.

Being in the mood for this, I found an entertaining discussion about the revised championship points standards issued in 2005 (back in the days when there wasn't even any kind of rule about when or how the standards would be updated, it just happened whenever the powers that be thought it was necessary and the standards were altered to whatever seemed sensible to Phil - nowadays, in these more enlightened times, there's a rule about when and how, although everyone ignores it), which included Boris's reaction to setting the historic dates standard to 100 dates: "The standard of dates is much too high. No-one will ever come close to it."

The world record, four and a half years later, now stands at 118.5, and frankly I think the championship points standard needs increasing beyond the 100 mark! It just goes to show how far we've come since those dark and distant days. Maybe we should all mention that in all our speeches at memory competitions from now on.

We also don't seem to argue about the rules as much as we used to. Maybe the 2010s will be the decade when the World Memory Championships has a consistent set of rules from one year to the next, and nobody complains!

1 comment:

Boris said...

Who was that fool "Boris"? Does anybody know him? Seems to be an pretty pesimistic guy.

Btw: If I had a blog I would write about a comparison to athletics results which I thought about while reading scientific papers on expert performance in the last days. For example at the first modern Olympic Games the winner of the 100m run did 12.0s. I guess there is someone in every town, who can run faster today.

And I assume, those guys did quite a lot of practise before the first olympic games.

Will there be an mental athlete in every town in 2100, who can memorize a deck of cards in 30s?