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?

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.