New Honorary International Memory Competition coming up May 4 and 5, 2019

The Canadian Memory Championships will be running a new Honorary International Memory Competition this coming May 4 and 5. The details can be found here:

With the introduction of this new memory competition, the Canadian Memory Championships will honor a memory athlete somewhere in the world with the title of Honorary World Memory Champion.

We decided to start this competition because we felt it would be great to have a world wide competition that is fair to all and allow just about anybody to participate and have his or her score put on the scoreboard along with other top memory athletes.

Now we felt that the best and perhaps only way to achieve this is to have competitors test themselves with a common memory test. We chose Numbers because it needs no translation and is very easy to produce.

Given that there is no way to prevent cheating, we may not give the person with the top results the title. Instead, we will look at a number of factors and we may even select a number of worthy competitors and draw the name of the winner at random.

This is meant to be fun and give a common goal to memory athletes and encourage others who might not otherwise participate in memory competitions. Given that we want to make this a yearly competition, it will provide an incentive to people who like memory techniques to train for this event and perhaps even try and help organize local events with other memory athletes for this Numbers Discipline. So, the whole idea of this competition is about helping to create an interest in the sport more than it is about factually recognizing the person with the best memory skills.

I hope you will try it and participate!

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Are you sure you got the date right?

Sounds more like something that should take place on April 1.

Yes, certainly but April 1 this year falls on a Monday. We will definitely consider April 1 in the future when it falls on a weekend day. Thanks for the suggestion.

It is great to try not to be overly serious sometimes.

In the first link the title is referred to as “2019 Honorary International Memory Champion of the Canadian Memory Championships”.
In the second link the title is referred to as “Canada’s International Memory Champion”.
Here you refer to the title as “Honorary World Memory Champion”. (troll much?)

Which one is it?

Also, regarding the criteria for how someone is selected for this (quote from the second link):

The winner of this competition will be selected by the Board of the Canadian Memory Championships and a number of criteria and even randomness or partial randomness may be used to select the winner. If a competitor organize a local competition and gets others to participate in the event, we could be more likely to select him or her over the contestant who reports the greatest score. Or a competitor with an established reputation in the memory community may be similarly favored over someone no one knows about and who reports a winning score. What we are looking for is to promote memory testing and memory competing and so if you have great photos of your event and if you involve more people, we are more likely to include you in the draw for the honorary title of Canada’s International Memory Champion, if we decide to draw randomly a name to select the winner.

Some food for thought: If the decision on who wins is so arbitrary and/or subjective (and not necessarily tied to ones performance in the memory task), why call it memory champion? Why not just make it into an award which you hand out to someone who you deem deserve the recognition? You could easily split it and make one “Honorary Canadian Memory Award 2019” and one challenge where the winner is objectively decided by score, and called “Canadian (Open) Memory Challenge Champion/Winner”.


You think he is serious about this? I thought it was an early April fool’s joke… just based on his previous post here:

What is your question exactly Florian? There can be many ways to name a single thing.
You see, when I started in 2012 to run the Canadian Memory Championships, nothing had ever been done about memory competitions as far as I know, even if it all started in the early 1990s and the late 1990s in the USA, our neighbor. I was looking for an opportunity to participate and couldn’t find anything happening here.

Now, there are at least 3 other organizations besides mine that tries to do what I set out to do in 2012 and they call “it” by different names: “Canada’s best memory” or the “National Memory Champion” or whatever. I personally don’t care how it is called. If you’d like, I could rename it the next time as the Earth’s Honorary Memory Champion. What I do care about is giving everybody an opportunity to compete and trying to make the sport that I love more popular.

Thanks Florian for chipping in into what you think might be the best thing to do here. I do like to discuss ideas as to what might work best in the field of memory sports.

I don’t think there would be much of a future in a competition or “challenge” such as the "Canadian (Open) Memory Challenge Champion/Winner” that you suggest because of the possible element of cheating. How would you deal with that? The 3 pages of numbers contain 2016 numbers. What if 5 Memory Athletes report having memorized them all correctly in 15 minutes? Now, if something like this happens, we would look at their profiles in memory sports and unless they are otherwise rated among the best in the world already in numbers, there is no way we would recognize their performance as the winning one.

As far as your idea for an “Honorary Canadian Memory Award 2019” well, I think it would make sense to have something like that to issue to a worth person, as they have the golden Gavel in Toastmasters. This could be an item on our next meeting of the Board of the Canadian Memory Championships. I mean some people do deserve recognition for their efforts in the sport even if they do not participate too much in it such as sponsors and leaders.

The concept we propose allow for any memory athlete in the world with a connection to the internet to set for themselves a public benchmark of where they are at in memorizing numbers, immediately. We also have a championship that redefines somewhat what it means to be a champion, and I think this is equally important. It is a bit like saying that a memory champion has to be a show off element and that this element is being evaluated. If you want an analogy, take synchronized swimming or artistic skating, or event speech competitions. You have knowledgeable judges that decide who wins. Well, what we are doing here is pushing this concept to the extreme. Depending on the results, we may select a few outstanding performances and then randomly select a winner. So, this competition could be more about trying to get a ticket to possibly winning the title. Some people might complain about this random element of the competition but if you look at the US Memory Championship, the title is given away over one single final memory discipline, Speed Cards, and does not take into account the memory skills involved in other memory disciplines. It is almost like a random selection if you ask me, and so there is a precedent for doing something like this.

Another way to view this honorary memory competition is to compare it to a world bird count day. I don’t know if you are a birder but once a year, every birder is asked to volunteer to monitor bird populations in their area and the results are made public giving everyone a precise picture of how birds are doing and getting every birder a chance to participate in an International or World or Earth or whatever you want to call “it” bird count.
These kinds of “once a year” event also go a long way to sponsor the activity. Now instead of birds, we are simply looking for brain power everywhere. The key is to have fun at it and raise the profile of this activity. If you are good at that, we will definitely be looking at you as a possible champion. Even your participation here in this thread, which helps me make my case for the competition, is something that I feel could make you more likely to be awarded the title than another person.

Thank you!

No, it isn’t a joke bjoern.gumboldt. But thanks for bringing up this quote of mine as I now realize there are a few more things that need to be said here for the sake of clarity.

First, I certainly don’t mean for this championship to become just mine or even Canada’s own International Memory Championship. If any one else wants to run it next year, from another country, he or she would definitely be welcomed to run it, provided that the instructions are in English. This kind of memory championship does not even require the organizer to own a website to run it, so just about anybody run it. It doesn’t matters much who runs it as far as I am concerned. If anyone in the future wants to run this competition, then we just create a thread in artofmemory and those who want to run it put up their name and their plan for the competition and then the whole world can vote in an open and inclusive manner.

When thinking about it, maybe that is the way we should start it, even for this year. We, the Canadian Memory Championships, are just grabbing this opportunity due to the fact that no one is working on this competition concept at the moment. But if others claim that they think it would be best if they ran it then let them speak up now, and we will see what we can do about it. But you know, since it is my idea, I definitely think I deserve to run at least the first competition to try and demonstrate the concept. What do you think?

Second, even if we (Canadian Memory Championships) don’t get to run this competition, it will still remain Canada’s Honorary World Championship because we will continue to participate in it, publicize it and encourage others from around the world to take part in it as well.

Right now, if a reporter calls and asks me whom it is that we CMC recognize as the World Champion of Memory, I don’t think I would have an answer for that question. I don’t want to take sides anymore. As you surely have heard, I have experienced a split of the Canadian Memory Championship and as a result, competitors were put on the spot and some people (not wanting to hurt anyone’s feelings) backed off from participating as a result. Similarly, I am now following this approach as well in the sense that I will stand back from cheering up a single world memory champion above another. And that is the reason I came up with this alternative concept of an Honorary World Memory Champion. This title is not likely going to be divided and so I feel that the concept could work very well in bringing unity to the sport and may even prove to be a more popular concept.