We're just a week away from a whole lot of Extremeness in San Diego! I've been annoyingly busy at work and haven't been able to spend nearly enough time spying on my opponents to find out their training scores (people have been keeping things uncharacteristically close to their chests for this one) or planning devious underhand strategies, but I have been practicing downright religiously, doing each discipline once in the morning and once in the evening. Tuesday will bring up exactly 100 of these practice sessions (not counting other practices like devoting a lot of time to the numbers one weekend), and that will be a perfect time to stop and let my brain cool down a bit before the competition itself. I don't really want to do all that much extreme-memorising this weekend, for fear of over-training. Which is a real thing, I'm sure.
As a follow-up to my last post, I did indeed end up in the Group of Death - Bat-Erdene instead of Andi, but he was a close second in that pot. So I'll be relying on a great deal of luck if I want to get through to the second day's fun. Boris does take the view that his group (Jonas, Andi, Annalena and him) is technically more difficult if you look at the rankings, but I'm pretty convinced that mine is the deathiest of them all. Groups can be seen here.
Group A will be an interesting clash between Germany and the Phillipines - Johannes and Gunther will face a very interesting challenge from Mark Anthony and Johann Randall. I think Hannes should coast through, but I wouldn't like to guess who'll take the second place.
Group B is the kids' group - young-looking Ola goes up against Baby-Face Schäfer, Teenage Tearaway Marwin and Little Erwin. I think this will be a very evenly-matched one, with very little to separate the four of them.
Group C I'm thinking will see Jonas and Boris go through to the second day without too much trouble, but who knows? You really can't write off either Andi or Annalena.
And D for Death (Nelson and Simon Orton have both said sorry for it!) leaves me trying to formulate a strategy of rattling Simon somehow and making him make crucial mistakes in the cards and numbers, while simultaneously hoping James gets his words mixed up and trying to summon all my remaining neurons to keep pace with someone significantly less than half my age in a test of speed. It'll be tough...
The really good thing about this competition is that there are only sixteen of us taking part. This makes the whole thing more friendly, lets us all pose for some cool pictures together and allows anyone writing about the tournament to really get a grip on each competitor's individual personality and make the whole XMT sound genuinely groovy!
I should stop calling the tournament "the XMT". The Extreme Memory Tasks are called XMTs, so it's confusing.
Anyway, I think we ought to start thinking about world rankings - assuming that this is the start of a whole wave of new extreme-style competitions around the world, we can't really use the current ranking system for it. And since it's head-to-head, it would make sense to me to do a chess/othello-style thing based on the rating of the person you've won or lost against, maybe combined with a tennis/snooker-style system based on what round you get to before you're knocked out. It just sounds like an opportunity for some complicated maths, and as we all know, there are plenty of memory people who just love things like that.
Some sort of universal formula, maybe involving differential equations and imaginary numbers, to consolidate Extreme, Memoriad, US and WMSC format competitions into one big definitive list? I'm sure it's possible. But how to calculate it so that it says I'm the best, when everyone else is demonstrably much better than me?