Wednesday, June 09, 2010

German Gehirn

Okay, lots of exciting adventures to describe, not much time (I've got a busy schedule of doing nothing planned), I'll just summarise things tonight. Firstly, it was the South German Memory Championship in Stuttgart, and I did more or less reasonably well. Only got a fairly lousy sub-300 score in speed numbers, and then a not-quite-my-best 870 in speed binary, something tolerable but not as good as I should be getting in abstract images, and perfectly reasonable scores in the German-language versions of names, words and dates.

Just as an aside, memorising words in a language you don't understand is an interesting process - I tend to make up meanings for all the words I don't recognise, which in some ways is more conducive to creating a memorable mental story than a list of randome words I do understand. It takes longer, though. And I would have got a better score if not for the internet, too. While recalling, I wrote down the word 'abbrechen', and thought to myself "Is that right? Doesn't feel right, but if it's not, where would I have got the word 'abbrechen' from? I have no idea what that means. It must be right!" Actually, it wasn't - the word was 'abschlagen'. So how did 'abbrechen' get into my head? From the internet cafe I popped into on my way to the competition, of course. When German computers ask you to confirm something, they don't say 'OK' or 'Cancel', they say 'OK' or 'Abbrechen', of course. Stupid internet.

Still, I got to have fun with other weird words - three in a row were 'Laborantin', 'Entwurf' and 'Mäuler'. I guessed (rightly, as it turns out), that the first is a female lab technician, but had no idea about the next two. However, I did happen to know that 'Ente' means 'duck', and 'Maulwurf' means 'mole', so obviously this mad Laborantin has created two unholy mixtures of mole and duck, which can both swim and burrow and so might possibly be the most advanced species on Earth.

Anyway, I was talking about the competition in general, wasn't I? I finished off with a fairly good 29.71 seconds in speed cards, which would have been just about enough to (unofficially, since I'm not South-German) "win" the championship if Simon hadn't managed to record a time. So I wandered over to see how he'd done, just in time to see him successfully recalling his pack, and revealing a staggering time of 21.90 seconds! For crying out loud! That was my favourite world record! And it's going to be really hard to get back, too! I have beaten that time in practice, but only by basically running super-fast through the cards, naming the 26 images and hoping they stuck in my brain. It works maybe one time in ten, so I can't really do it in a competition...

Anyway, apart from that, it was a great championship! The number of great German memorisers involved in organising or just hanging around was quite staggering - MemoryXL is an awesome organisation and we really need to get together and create a British equivalent. If only I wasn't so lazy.

Still, I didn't have time to stick around, I had to scurry up north to Magdeburg for the Mental Calculation World Cup, but I'll tell you about that tomorrow - this 'summarise' thing has turned into a bit of an essay. I didn't win that one either, if you were wondering.


Anonymous said...

If you can do it around one time in ten then, it is conceivable that you can do it during competition Ben.

If, over the next two years, you do a safe deck on every occasion at the first attempt during the speed cards event then, it's a matter of time that you do take Simon's record.

Dai Griffiths

Sorry if calling it simon's record make you feel bad Ben. I am very pleased that he set the new target of twenty one.

For people teaching memory or seeking to gain someone's interest in the sport for some other reason such as gaining sponsorship then, twenty one seems perfect.

Dominic O'Brien describes Blackjack as the Golden Fleece of Memory.

Speed Cards is the Golden Fleece of Memory Sports from the view we give to the spectators and uninitiated.

People's attention is easily gained when the subject of money comes up. It makes it all the more interesting if it is described an investment.

In sales it is called a unique Selling Point. Money is more interesting to people than the subject of learning fast.

I'll be happy to help you create something like Memory XL. I'm sure Boris and others would be happy to help us too Ben. I'm sure I can find a few people from other nations that could help via the internet too as, some internet work could be done and as far as I can think they would't have to be German or English to help Ben.

Sorry that you lost your record by the way.

Florian said...

Hey Ben,

I am glad to read your point of view. Since I was helping out in the competition we haven't got the chance to really talk and I didn't even recognized your amazing "under 30 seconds" time in Speed Cards - for obvious reasons. Sorry for that.

Speaking of an English memory club: Please wait a little bit longer because we will finally become more European like we always wanted. There will be a new website in English and we will spread the word. Pluralism is a good thing in democracy but having a big sports club is worth a lot. Isn't it?


Anonymous said...

That's great Florian. Memory XL is, for some reason, the only memory website that I can't seem to join. It is a translation thing that I misunderstand probably. I'm looking forward to it. Perhaps you could tell us more about it, when it is time, on the memory sports site :-)


Zoomy said...

Thanks, guys! Ah, I fondly remember the days when any time under 30 seconds was 'amazing'... But still, Simon was completely awesome!

And I'm all in favour of MemoryXL taking over the whole of Europe! Anything I can do to help out, please let me know!