Interview with Jim Gerwing winner of the 2019 Canadian Memory Championship


Interview with Jim Gerwing, 2019 Canadian Memory Champion.
Sept.8/2019
CMC Congratulations Jim on winning the 2019 Canadian Memory Championship.

Jim Thanks
CMC When you got to the event and noticed who was going to participate, did you realized you had a good chance of winning?

Jim
Yes. I had a talk with Justin and Devraj and so I knew where about they were with their memory skills… And then, you know I wanted to participate in the Senior 60+ section and we had to change this plan and I started getting nervous.

CMC
Last year, in our interview, you claimed that you had seriously underperformed in Words and Names. This year again your best memory disciplines were Cards and Numbers. Have you been training to try and do better at these memory disciplines?

Jim
Yes, I have 3 binders full of names and faces to help me train. I train mostly 3 memory disciplines on a daily basis. Discussing things with Livan on my way gave me some ideas as to what I need to do next to get better at it. Let’s say I get Debbie, before I would think, ho, my old girlfriend but now, I think The Bee and picture that image somewhere in the face. I also developed a 3 digits system since last year.

CMC You have a 3 digit system? Have you trained it to the point where you do better with it than with your 2 digit system?

Jim
Yes, although it didn’t show in the Numbers event because I got so nervous. There is a need for more than one event a year so that I can get used to competing and not feel so nervous anymore.

CMC
Well, there are also the Provincial Memory Championships. Jim Ho, I get so nervous there as well. The first attempt is often, like there is 6 or 7 cards that I have no idea where they go. Then, I take à 10-15 minute break to calm down before doing the second attempt. CMC You have expressed that you felt humbled at times when a beginner does better than you. Is that correct?

Jim
Yes CMC So now do you feel that young Canadians should feel humbled since a senior is the Canadian Memory Champion? Jim Ha! Ha! I think there is no doubt that I do not have the best memory in Canada. It’s just that I keep showing up for the event. The good thing about this event is that with these scores being this low, more people are going to say, I can do this and become the champion. Take Devraj for instance, he had 134 words at Words but he over-extended himself. I used to get in more words too but unlike Devraj, I knew how stringent the correction was and so I aimed for fewer words and reviewed more.

CMC
Speaking of words, you got stumped at 48. Bouillon. Jim I had the bouillon attached to the mud, the previous word. I kept thinking it was soup but I knew it wasn’t. I went over everything I could think of in the kitchen and could not find it. Had I put the bouillon in a bowl, I think that would have worked.

CMC
This is your 4th Canadian Memory Championship, so you are a leader in this field.

Jim
Yes, I talk to people about memory techniques; just coming back from the airport, I talked to a guy about the technique and after listening carefully to everything I said, he asked what the practical applications were, if any. Then, I told him about when I had to give a eulogy once and was able to remember every part of my eulogy clearly using the memory palace. Also once when I was with another guy and needed his phone number but had nothing to write it on…Memory techniques worked. I also have more time on my hands now that I am retired and made presentations about memory techniques to groups of 30 people a few times now.

CMC
It is always easier to attract people to a speaker speaking on the topic of memory than it is to attract participants to a memory competition.

Jim
Yes, and that’s because people don’t want you to see their scores whereas I don’t mind that. I feel that this sport is important and should attract more people.

CMC
Congratulations once again Jim for winning the 2019 Canadian Memory Championship title and best of luck to you in your future memory competitions.

Jim
Good talking to you

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