Rush Recall Speed Cards

Since the 2020 Canadian Memory Championship is going to feature this new format of memory discipline,

I just thought to start a thread to discuss training and preparing for this new challenge.
Posting your personal bests at this is also welcome here.
To start training with it, you just need to build a stand, or display for the 4 rows of cards to hang on a wall. With a bit of cardboard and some tape, this is quite easy.
Then you just divide the deck in 4 piles of 13 cards, face down. And then the trick is to insert the cards in the stand without looking at them. It can be done without too much difficulty if you just put yourself at a sharp angle as you insert the cards. You can space them slightly easily without looking at them so that every card will be visible when you lift the paper flap above the set that keeps the cards hidden.

So far, I haven’t lost my focus on the regular Speed Cards and I may not have the time to train Rush Recall Speed Cards much but I hope to train it a couple of times a week, especially during the weekends, and report my progress here. So far, I’ve done it completely only twice. On both occasions, I got 50 correct cards out of 52 and my speed memorizing cards 3 at a time (using only my working memory) was slightly better (by about 1 minute, 7 minutes instead of 8) than memorizing 13 cards at a time with the use of my memory castles.
I do plan on building a stand for the recall cards so as to save time during the card re-arrangement workout and so my next set of scores here should definitely be better.


So here is my newly built stand for the recall of Rush Recall Speed Cards. I found it quite usefull and I think I will be using it even when I train the regular Speed Cards Memory Discipline from now on.

My new pb using this Rush Recall Speed Cards stand is 5 min. 22 seconds. This was accomplished going 3 cards at a time, sometimes 4 cards if the suit was all or mostly the same.
To my surprise, this turned out to be a real aerobic exercise: lifting the flap quickly 15-20 times, going back and forth… Heck who knew you could do cardiovascular exercise while participating in a memory competition? I know someone who isn’t going to like this memory discipline.

In my second attempt, I tried using imagery (with small groups of 6 card images or so) but that turned out a bit of a disaster and I have no score to report but some lessons were definitely learned. Maybe next time I will try it with two reads of the 6 card images.

Why don’t you just memorize the whole deck rather than going back and forth 15-20 times?

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It would appear that carrying out something on my working memory will provide much quicker recall than if I memorize the whole deck and then dig it back out from the burried places where I put them in my memory castles.

Because of this, I am starting to think that putting a limit on the number of back and forth trips may be a good idea but perhaps not for Rush Recall Speed Cards.

Obviously, someone with prompt recall will have the advantage at this over the guy that uses only his working memory but given the skill level of memory athletes in my area, I think a guy who moves back and forth all the time would still have chance of finishing first.

Having to stand and hold the flap up is also distracting and it may even be more of an issue when you use your long term memory with images as opposed to just using your working memory.

With Rush Recall Words RR Faces, RR Numbers it might be a good idea that at the halfway point, the arbiter gives the signal and you can head back if you want for as long as you want. And then unlimited back and forth for the last minute would also make sense. It would help prevent someone who hasn’t trained his/her memory from being overly successful at a competition.

This week, my results were sort of the same: 5 min 29 secondes but with 2 errors. This is while going 3 to 4 cards at a time. I am starting to think that there may be a way to get 6 cards on to my working memory and I will test that next week.

My other attempt took 9:52 and was perfect (except that I hit the timer before picking my cards back up once I was finished) I had tried 13 cards at a time with a new recall display board to help me know more quickly which cards were missing at the end. That board did not appear overly useful. Next time, I will try the whole deck of 52 cards in one shot again, and then fill in the blanks one or two cards at a time.

Finding out which cards jump back at me quickly and which one take just too long makes this an interesting exercise.

If you are musical, one fairly easy way to put 6 (or more) cards into working memory is to sing the values to yourself, with a different pitch for each suit. I sing Clubs on the tonic, Diamonds on the second, Hearts the major third, and Spades on the fourth.


Thanks for the suggestion, S.O… I do believe in rhythm in memorization and singing sure can help with that but I have definitely other ideas at the moment that I prefer to play with.

The idea I had last week was to divide the suit and ranks, put the ranks on the memory table, 6 at a time and then use a way to encode the suits on a simple imaginary road. I tried this approach this week and it showed potential but it definitely needs training.

I did it again as I had said I would with the 52 cards in one shot and then filling the blanks and the results were just beyond the 10 minute mark.
Next week, I will try going over it twice in just under 5 minutes and we’ll see what hapens.

This weekend 2 other guys and I had a memory workshop in Toronto and we practiced it. It was definitely fun, much more spectacular. We had only one board and put it on a chair and moved back and forth from it to the table where we re-arranged our decks. It felt more like a sport.

The rush recall samples for the new memory disciplines of the CMC should be up within days.

This week, I improved my prototype cards stand:

And here is my new recall mat, which is useful enough that I do want to keep using it.

This week my scores have improved, a little.
Using a short term memory technique that I trained very briefly every day this week, I was able to get a time of 5 min 11 sec. However, two cards were wrong and I may not have picked up my cards before hiting the timer.

Still, given how little practice I have had, this feels like a very satisfactory time. I went up to the board every 4 cards in a disciplined way. It might not be too demanding for me to put 5 cards in my short term memory. I may try to train for that this week, a little. With 5 cards, it would mean 11 trips to the board for a deck, which isn’t too much.

The next day (today) I tried doing it in a single trip, reading the deck twice before starting the recall. The double read took me less than 5 minutes. At the end of my recall, I still was unsure about a couple of cards so I promptly had a few more trips to the cards stand.

This time I didn’t forget to pick up my cards and put them face down in a pile before hiting the timer. 9min 50 sec with no mistake. I guess this approach with 2 reads works best for me for now. We’ll see what next week brings.
Thanks for reading.


Ok, so for this weekend, my scores for rush recall speed cards are 9:00 min even for the deck using my short term working memory 5 cards at a time and 9:44 for the double run through using a journey and images. The 9:00 min had two cards switched but the 9:44 deck was perfect.

This past week, I had rehearsed dilligently once a day with the 5 cards at a time method on the working memory and I am a bit disappointed by the 9:00 min result.

Including the back and forth movement in my daily training might help as I am starting to suspect that this movement does appear to be taking some space on my working memory table and I need to get used to that.

The 9:44 time beats my earlier pb of 9:50. :slight_smile: This time, I read the deck twice in abouy 4 min and , at the end, there were still half a dozen missing cards or so and so I just did the back and forth trips to complete the deck. I will be considering giving it a triple read next week.

However, it is becoming clear that the short term memory method could end up the winning method at the upcoming 2020 CMC. I think this isn’t ideal because nothing is kept memorized any longer than a few seconds with this method.

Right now, we are thinking of adding a round to every Rush Recall event. This extra round for bonus points would be offered only to those who complete their decks (or whatever memory discipline) within the 10 minute limit or maximum time allowed.

We are planning this one minute extra round where the contestants would have to recall 3 cards randomly, from the first, middle and last part of the deck (or whatever set of data). If you get all 3 cards right, your time gets to be divided by 3. If you get 2 cards right, your time is divided in 2. If you only get 1 card right, your time does not change but if you get zero card correct, your time goes back down to 10 minutes. This way, contestants who used only their short term memory to recreate the deck will simply opt out of the bonus round to keep their times under 10 minutes intact.

This bonus round has certainly the potential to be quite dramatic and spectacular without taking too much time.

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This weekend, my scores for rush recall speed cards are 6:57 min. for the deck using my short term working memory 5 cards at a time and 9:18 for the triple run through using a journey and images. Both the 6:57 min. and 9:18 min. decks were perfectly re-arranged.

This is my best weekend so far with this. I think I would get better scores with the short term memory approach if I used it 4 cards at a time but, given the 2 minutes improvement over last week, I think I can stick with this 5 cards at a time approach for now as it is improving fast. Furthermore, I really enjoy the challenge and I am finding new table memory tricks to go faster, such as saying two, thirty one, seven, eight, four, when the 3 and 1 are of the same suit.

My method is very much directional: If I see a car going North on my street that would indicate a heart and if it turns left in a garage, the next card is a diamond, etc.

With the regular journey method, I gave it 3 reads and promptly checked the timer which indicated 5 min. and about 5 seconds. I was able to recall all of the cards without returning to the memo display. So, given the slight improvement of a few seconds over last week, I think 3 reads maybe the right approach for me, at least for now.

I also attempted the bonus round that will be featured at the 2020 Canadian Memory Championships. I gave myself 3 random cards to recall, 7, 20 and 41. in the one minute time limit. Here I got only 2 correct cards but still, given that the bonus cuts your time in half for two correct cards, this is fun. The one that I had wrong wasn’t really a memory mistake as I just picked up the right card from the wrong locus.

Although I do intend to keep up with this weekend training, I will stop for now adding more to it here as this sample surely gives everyone a good idea of how you can prepare for the upcoming 2020 Canadian Memory Championship.