Planning thread: Public Monthly Memory Competition (+May 2014 NYC)

Friends, Neighbors, Colleagues,

Greetings and good day. I tried to register on Feb 2 for the USA Memory Championships, but the registration was closed due to too many applicants. But some say that supply will increase until it matches demand. Let’s prove that true.

I have encountered some interest in having an “Friendly” memory contest in May 2014. I am unlikely to try to get it certified for achieving records unless someone else knows how to do so. Are you still interested?

Let’s start the discussion with a contest modeled on the Friendly Memory Championship:

How does Saturday, May 22, ~11am-5pm sound? If this date recieves modest support, we can hold the event in my 700sf apartment near the L train, Dekalb stop. If it receives stronger support, I will call around the NYPL and the Parks to find out about reserving a space. If an alternate date receives stronger support, then we can go with that.

For convenience for the first event, I propose letting go of the names/faces, abstract images, and historic dates as they may be harder to prepare randomized data for. If someone knows how or is willing to do this, welcome.

So, in closing, please contribute to this thread if you are interested, and let’s make ourselves an excuse to spend more time and energy on memory training!

-Steven Bhardwaj, Novice Mnemonist

Lance, are you a writer as well as mnemonist? While your fantastic style reminds me of extravagant composite memory-images, it’s also pretty compelling. “…snowed in this tiny cabin with a broken heater and a nun who keeps whacking your left hand with a ruler…” I am transported!

Great point about MC training in the USA. I should admit that I am still working through the surely-incomplete, but still-considerable constellation of memory websites and other online resources.

For competition-like items to supplement the USA Memory Champs in the USA, (aside from spectating the XMT) I find:

It seems to me that there may be demand for a middle ground between these, perhaps it would just be a more public version of the OMC. Perhaps every month, a website could automatically post a a few different-sized sets of numbers and card-sequences, etc, and participants could self-report their scores/times onto a public board via email, so that each email address can report one set of scores. The complete list of results could be public and messy, open to all manner of fakers or scammers, but sub-sets of the lists could be accessible, like a search function to just display results from participants from a particular team or region.

The person who hosts the website then doesn’t have to even be responsible for verifying identities or honesty, they can just post the email address that sent in the submission, and the name they claim. Then they can host a web utility that allows a row-lookup search so that if someone copy-pastes in a list of emails of participants from their region, they will get out a report of scores for only those participants. People worried about posting their email address publicly online can set up an extra email address specially for this purpose, with 33mail for instance.

Does this seem like a reasonable architecture?


After reading the above thoughts posted by Lance on the USA MC thread, I changed the title of the planning thread, from its previous NYC-focused title.

I was thinking, at the same instant as the informal competition starts in NYC, we can post-online the same number-lists and card-sequences being memorized by the contestants. Then anyone anywhere can compete at the same time and their results can be automatically posted, as well as shared at the physical event. So while the somewhat-carefully organized in-person NYC event will certainly have its own leaderboard, we can have a parallel public leaderboard accessible to anyone to self-report their scores on the same numbers. I expect this will encourage all concerned!

Thank you, that’s nice :slight_smile: Part of me does yearn to be a writer, but I don’t know the first thing about writing. So fiction’s out of the question, and I don’t have nearly enough knowledge to write something informative that would honestly be better than the sources I would draw from. I hope one day to know enough about something to justifiably share it in writing, but who knows?

So I’ll just post here for a while xD

And maybe it’s just because I’m tired, but the details of your post elude me. I think I have to learn about those links you posted first. What do you mean by “middle ground?”

Hm, yeah, sorry that was unclear. I meant “middle ground” between the weekly memory challenges that are super-informal, and the formalized WMC and similar country-based competitions.

So a well-structured somewhat-informal online competition as I described.

You have piqued my interest and it is a good idea. Do you have any experience organizing any type of large competition or facilitating a venue? These are both worth thinking about and it may help if some of the European organizers have any advice. You will also have to make certain that you choose the right events so the competition runs smoothly and that you leave extra time on the schedule after the events so people will not miss their transportation. You will also need to find arbiters and organize a small volunteer staff.

That’s about all that I can think of at the moment. I don’t think that organizing competitions should be so difficult that there is only one in the United states per year. It will be more difficult for you because you will be breaking new ground. Eventually, It would be great to see memory sport evolve into a weekend sport with active participation across the country and an efficient system for organizing competitions. I frankly have almost no understanding of the politics involved in sanctioning such competitions or how delegates are selected, but that may be a large obstacle to overcome.

It would be great to hear anyone’s insights into possible solutions for the issues above.
I wish you the best of luck.

Interesting! Love the comments about timing and picking the right events. For a >20 participant large in-person event, I’m afraid it would already surpass my threshold for volunteerism! I think if its <7p, then my apartment would work, 7-20 then I could organize something at a local community center, >20 and I would be so ecstatic that I’d have to move into a supporting role on that volunteer staff!

However, I would be very interested in a cookbook of suggestions for solving the issues you raise so that
1: materials would be directly printable and other competition technical issues including time scheduling easily solved
2: ~10-person strong same-time events in different locations might be able to compare or even pool scores
3: Anyone online can participate by testing themselves against the same number lists and card sequences etc that the local competitors are using that day. These results could be posted on a secondary open unverified leaderboard, showing just the email address and claimed-name, and reported scores of the online particiants. Or maybe identity could be verified via Skype / hangout combined with something else.

I like the secondary leaderboard idea!

Hi all,

Amazing! thanks for your responses! I’m sorry I haven’t gotten back to anyone after the USMC, busy planning for my (current) Taiwan trip. But let’s continue ahead with the Saturday May 24 date, 11am-5pm. (I erroneously wrote Sat May 22 above). My apartment is a couple blocks from the Wyckoff Heights hospital, link here, I will send out my precise address to confirmed participants later.

It would be great if for this time around, some additional volunteers could help with finding software to make and PDF for printing any fancy lists of random words, names/faces etc. No peeking at the final lists if you’re that volunteer! Anyone up for it? I feel like I should focus on cleaning my apartment, cooking some food, coordinating with participants on-site and off-site, and of course practicing my disciplines! :o


  • Black/white printouts of faces should be pretty cheap, but if we want color we may need to take up a collection. Does anyone know of a comprehensive software solution?
  • I think I will buy this Arbiters’ Manual and maybe start reading it in May, but have it on hand anyways. Any other suggestions?
  • I think we can do the dual leaderboard by hand on google forms and google spreadsheets this time around, I can do that, unless someone else wants to take that on.
  • Let’s keep using this website to coordinate if possible, yea? Or email me at stevenbhardwaj AT if you prefer.


Go go go! Best of luck!

Steven, what was the name of the lady we met from the UN? Thanks!

I love the idea. Let me know if I can be of any help. I am an official level two arbiter of the WMSC and can make official championships. There is a legal issue in the states though but I am working on that.

In fact I am about to create a lot of official championships in North America myself: I want to help making Simon Luisi’s Canadian Open Championship official from 2015 on. I will also create an open championship in Costa Rica and Mexico. And last but not least I am planning one, maybe even two official friendly championships in the US - in 2014! I will keep you posted but for the next two weeks I will be in the deepest jungle of Peru. After that we will do big things together. :slight_smile:

Seconded! Do it Florian! Let me know if you need any help :slight_smile:

Friendly Championships in the US! Yess! And geographically varied, great idea! Yahhh! I can’t wait to hear more about this, and what the events will be!

  • If someone planning to attend really wants to have some longer events, like a 30min cards or a 1hr cards, I would be open to that also!

Sent you an email.

What about memocamp? I believe they used that for a real competition once, not sure where though.

You might need to pay for it, but it’s probably worth it if you are into memory competitions. It’s only 5€ for a person per month if you go for a yearly subscription.

Why bother doing that, when you can get the official software that is used in the competition for free? :slight_smile:

Just a note Steven, and this may really be beside the point, but 15 minute binary is not an event in any competition. There are 15 minute words, N&F, Digits, Cards, Abstract, everything except for binary, historic dates, and of course spoken digits.

Doesn’t mean you can’t do it, but it’s an event people would not tend to train for, since the championships only use 5 minute and 30 minute binary. All of the other events you posted are valid, so I just thought you may not know this and might prefer to keep it orthodox that way.

No matter what, I’ll be competing with you guys. Even if that just means doing the events at home, comparing my scores to you guys’ privately and thus being made happy for a day.