Proposal for a different kind of Memory Championships


MarkJoseph029, your points are admirable. The good news is that in a competition like the one I propose, the random order of knowledge presented would be in effect. That way competitors would never know what ideas exactly would be presented and in what order, they would just have a general idea of what subjects they would be competing in, and they would be encouraged to develop their creativity as much as possible for memorizing general knowledge.

It is just as fair a competition as the current competitions. It could be argued that people who practice memorizing thousands of numbers, abstract images and words, names and faces, and playing cards before the event are making it “not fair” by preparing so thoroughly for what they will be competing on. It would be the same for the event I propose. I admire your defense on that matter, and totally agree with you that it wouldn’t be fair if the competitors knew what order the knowledge would be presented in. If, for example, one of the events was on memorizing chemistry, we would present the elements in random order, so even if they had the entire periodic table of elements memorized already, they would have to still memorize them in random order. Sure, they might prepare beforehand, but that is exactly what current memory competitors do now with playing cards, numbers, names and faces. I hope that irons out any misunderstandings. Your thoughts and suggestions are much appreciated :wink:

(Lynne Kelly) #22

I really like this idea, Mnemon. I can see that making it fair would be difficult but not impossible. As an Australian, my knowledge of American History is limited, but probably not as limited as American knowledge of Australian History. But all our knowledge of world events has so many obscure but interesting events that it could be made to work. The first coloring book, the first painter to use oils, the name of the person who hybridised the most roses, the date porridge was first marketed commercially …

You would not need to set the topics. Instead, you could set the information type. Numerical, textual, 5 minute, 15 minute, speed, accuracy - first mistake knocked out … The topics would only be given at the competition. Just playing with ideas here.

I do think that it could be made a great spectator sport, much like spelling bees. And prior study makes it more like a quiz - and they are really popular. But by adding obscure facts about familiar topics - with no clue given as to the topics until the time - main street in cities, bridges around the world, TV shows from around the world (everyone might know one their local ones, but not the rest), local who is usually associated with some other place but was born in the city …

Animals - obscure facts like fastest speed for each animal such as a caterpillar, cockroach, fly, snake … this can be interesting information as well as unlikely to be known given how many obscure but interesting facts you could come up with. Plants. Rocks. Astronomy. … the list is endless and obscure but interesting facts numerous. Setting the actual topics in advance reduces the fairness.

The audience could also be given access to the information at the same time via tablets or cell phones so they could try memorizing or just check and have access to the novel information.

I really think this could be fantastic!


(Lynne Kelly) #23

The more I think about this the more fun it gets. You could make it impossible to study for other than in general terms just by using obscurity. Fun for the audience to guess.

Event 1: number facts.

eg. The float size range of the bluebottle jellyfish. 2 - 15 cm.

  Volume of Lake Burley-Griffin in Canberra: 33,000,000 m3 (1.2×109 cu ft)	

Event 2: word facts.

eg. Word for fungus in Icelandic: sveppur

Event 3: telephone numbers randomised:

George: +62 8 5967 4382

(different formats for different countries?)

Event 4: Plant / Animal facts (numeric and words mixed).

Event 5: Statistics: weird and wonderful

Event 6 Images:
match image with cities or artists or … won’t know until the day. Or even a mix of image types. Be fun for the audience to see if any are familiar and how many they can memorize.

Shows the skills but also allows for audience participation. Must go and practice for the memory championships and stop being distracted by your interesting suggestion.




Yes, you’ve got it! The categories of things you could memorize are endless. One benefit would be that it would give credibility to the use of mnemomics to people who have never heard of it. It would show that you can use mnemonics to quickly memorize everyday information that everybody needs to know but don’t know how to. If they can see that rote memorization isn’t the only way to memorize things for their job, or a test, or for their own personal knowledge, then I think they would be interested.



Hahaha. I distracted you from training? Lol. Well, You offer some tantalizing tidbits as well there. Yes, all of these are excellent suggestions Lynne. Tomorrow night I have my first meetup for a new society I formed, called Memory Masters Society. I already have 20 people in my city who signed up for the group. We will be practicing memorizing useful knowledge like that, and hopefully turn it into a local competition.


The hard part I think, is coming up with neutral categories that are both narrow enough to allow one to know what is to be expected and wide enough to eliminate any specialized knowledge. Lynne already came up with some great concepts, and I think there definitly are “useful” things you can use to test. But there is also the wideness of the subject that you need to take into account.

I believe there is a competition discipline where you were presented with a person and details about him/her. Age, interests, career, stuff like that, and you had to memorize all that for dozens of people. That is an example of how to make things wide, because the personas were made up for the competition. Would you narrow that down and for example use celebrities whose ages place of birth, etc, you have to remember, you are handing an advantage to people interested in celebreties who already know that information.

Say I am a doctor, and you would give me a chart where I have to fill in the names of a lot of tendons, I would be able to do that, because I know that information. I don’t have to memorize it on the spot. You then present me with things I have memorized in advance, instead of presenting me with information that I have to memorize there and then using techniques I have practiced. It is like organizing a running match and handing one person a bike. The same with history, you hand an advantage to people who have done the work before, instead of testing their skills. Just like the previous example, you could make things up. You could have people memorize the history of the United Imagi-Nations, which is 100% made up and thus giving no advantage to people who can have memorize stuff beforehand. It has to stay a memory competition, not a trivia competition.

the moment you start using actual facts, you might keep the memory, but you take away the remembering. No matter if it has order or no order, as orders are the easiest thing to memorize. My 6-yo daughter does that every time we go grocery shopping.

By using fictive information, you can both test ones ability to remember and show what memory techniques can be used for in everyday situations, and you can add dragons to world history. who doesnt want dragons in world history?

(Lynne Kelly) #27

I want dragons in world history!

Yes, you distracted me from training, mnemon, but I got back to it. I competed in the Australian Memory Championships just over a week ago and won the Senior division. It was so stressful. I think that I shall revert to memorising all my domains of practical information from now on. I really admire those who can compete and do so well.

So distract away! Mind you - the sort of competition you are suggesting here sounds like far more fun.


Then dragons you shall have!

Once again, congratulations at having competed in the Australian Memory Championships and winning the Senior Division level. I have been checking around my city to get prices for trophies, medals, and information on filing for a charity and incorporated business to start the first memory championship of my own unique making here in Portland, Oregon. It should be fun and profitable.

(Lynne Kelly) #29

Please let me know how you go. I am intrigued!


Congratulations, Lynne, on competing in a memory contest and doing so well!

(Lynne Kelly) #31

Thank you hugely, tracym.