The World Memory Championship is happening in Jakarta, Indonesia! I'm not there, I'm currently on my way back from Lancaster, where I've also been doing very interesting things related to memory competitions that I will tell you about once I think people have stopped paying attention to Indonesia and might want to look at me again.
But the first day gave us the usual bumper haul of mind-bogglingly enormous scores! Well, is mind-boggling really the word now? After all these years, we positively expect people to do better than the years before, and can maybe even predict the degree to which the previous records will be beaten... but that still doesn't make us blasé about the whole thing. If nothing else, it proves what people have always been saying, that we haven't yet reached the limit of memory sport potential, and it all hinges on knowing what previous record-breakers have achieved.
In any case, binary digits gave us a mind-boggling (if not quite a world record) 5730 from Munkhshur and 5325 from Enkhshur - they really do call themselves the Wonder Twins, so I'm entirely justified in thinking of Zan and Jayna every time I mention them. Reigning champion Alex was just behind with 5235, and Lkhagvadulam and Marwin also did what used to be my exclusive thing, with scores over 4000.
Names and faces did give us a world record, with Yanjaa Wintersoul (as she's officially credited nowadays) beating her own score and racking up 212 points. Simon's 186 was second, and Sri (as usual) made the top three with 147. Enkhshur and Alex weren't far behind that.
Then in hour numbers, Alex flexed his mental muscles with a new world record 3238! Munkhshur also topped the 3000 mark (which in my day, ten years or so ago, seemed a long way off ever being done) and Enkhshur was third with 2770, just ahead of Marwin's 2740. Yanjaa had a very strong 2420 for fifth place too, and since the website's listing her as Mongolian this year, they have a good lead in the team competition!
Top ten after the first day:
1 Alex Mullen 2674
2 Munkhshur Narmandakh 2622
3 Enkhshur Narmandakh 2577
4 Yanjaa Wintersoul 2217
5 Marwin Wallonius 2148
6 Lkhagvadulam Enkhtuya 1990
7 Simon Reinhard 1912
8 Johannes Mallow 1893
9 Uyanga Munkhbayar 1683
10 Zou Lujian 1580
Alex narrowly leads, on course to what would be an almost-unprecedented third consecutive win (a "post-Dominic era" first? I can't think of a good way to describe it). Winning three in a row takes a certain kind of mental dedication; doing the same thing three years in a row gives you (or at least gave me) a real challenge of overcoming the been-there-done-that effect. Perhaps the new exciting novelty of this being the first IAM WMC makes a difference? Or perhaps Alex is just awesome.
But he hasn't won yet! The Mongolian team are closely behind him, as are the Swedish team in the form of Marwin and maybe partly Yanjaa, and the entirely German team of Simon and Johannes, and the Chinese team in the person of Zou Lujian in contention too. Everything to play for! Results can be seen here.
There really needs to be a British team giving all these foreigners a run for their money, but I still think there's a good chance I'll be there next year (albeit possibly not in the top ten unless I really get a lot better), and we're gradually building up a strong army of memorisers on these shores, after years in the wilderness...