# Pi Matrix New World Record

Hi,

this last Saturday I set a new world record in the Pi Matrix discipline. The Pi Matrix is usually referred to as the “Everest challenge” of memory. The first 10,000 digits of Pi are divided into 2000 different blocks. The judges picks a random block and the competitor has to recall the 5 digit before and after. This is repeated 50 times. No errors are allowed. When all 50 blocks are recalled correctly the clock stops. The previous record was set by Kevin Horsley in 2013, 16 min 38 seconds. My new record is 14 min 33 seconds.

On the day of the test the judges are gathered with me in a room at the public library in Gothenburg (Thank you to Idriz Zogaj, Sylvain Arvideu, Jonas Von Essen and Florian Minges). Before we start I decided to warm up with Florian who read some random blocks out loud. The first one he read… I felt like I had never heard before. After a quick reminder I was back on track. On the first real attempt I had another problem. Everything was running smoothly and I felt really strong. The clock was about 15 minutes into tha challenge, 1,5 minutes below the world record, when it was time for the last block - which I failed. At that point I thought that I would have to go home being incredibly close to beating the world record. The next attempt was better. I completed all 50 blocks. But the time was 16.51. A tie with Mark Aaroe Nissen for 3rd best of all time (behind Kevin Horsely and Lars Christiansen). The final attempt started. And this time I just felt confident and decided to push for it but also to be certain before I called out “next”. On the 49th block I hit a stumble and asked 3 times to hear the block again. Then I realized that it was the same block that I had made a mistake during training eralier that week - my only mistake that week! And I could push through. After all 50 blocks were done I set a new world record, 14 minutes and 33 seconds.

Here’s a video of the event (it’s in swedish but it’s subtitles so you can follow along). Also, you basically need to learn 14 swedish words to keep up:
innan = before
efter = after
Korrekt = correct
Nästa = next
and the numbers
noll ett två tre fyra fem sex sju åtta nio

That’s it.

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On the first succesful attempt, the 49th block happened to be a collision, that is a case where the 5-digit block that’s called out corresponds to two different places and for which Martin needed to tell us about both places, meaning 20 digits instead of 10. Would it not have been collision in this particular random set, he would probably have broken the WR already then … but then he might not have ended the session with his 14-minute stunner!

It was a pleasure to be there and witness this feat!

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I’ve aways wondered about that… do the judges (who know what’ll be called out) adjust the blocks down to just 49 in this case, because there is already 50 answer?

Or is it simply bad luck for the competitor if they end up with one or, even though statistically unlikely, even two or three collisions?

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It’s just bad luck, so no adjustment is done. In total there are 24 possible collisions (ie 48 number blocks out of 2000), so the chances of not getting a duplicate is actually only around 30% ((1952 / 2000) ^ 50).

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Sorry, I worded that badly… just meant that more and more collisions become less and less likely… be really weird if you had all 24 collisions in your 50 blocks.

So just like getting and OLL or PLL skip in speed cubing (or rather the opposite.) Well, fair enough… I was just curious, because unlike cubing the judges know the questions in advance. And to make it even playing grounds, the case could be made that the number of answers rather than the number of questions should be the determinant.

Anyways, not trying to change the format or anything… was just a question that I was always wondering about. Thanks for clarifying.

@mrburt congrats and thanks for the nice write up of how this record came to be. I first heard about the matrix on Nelson’s podcast, when he and Brad were prepping for it.

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Thanks! It’s tricky with the collisions. For me they take longer to solve than a normal block due to two different factors: I know the will take longer to solve so I get stressed because I need to be faster than normal to compensate, and on top of that I need to double check that I actually said the right things when jumping around between blocks. So all in all I think I spend more than twice the time to solve a collision. That also translates to strss after the collision since I need to make up for lost time. I was very happy that there were no collisions in my last attempt

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