Honorary Memory Challenges – The Results

In 2019 we started putting all our competition documents online and we encouraged people who are unwilling or unable to take part in our regular in-person events to try to simulate “competing” at home in a completely self-regulated and honorary way. Below we’re posting the results and comments of those few brave souls who have chosen to do so so far.

Check out this link (ou celui-ci en français) if you want to do the same thing!

Some important notes: 

  • So far everyone who has participated in an honorary way happens to have a lot of experience with memory sports. Many of those scores, while not quite among the very best in the world, are still way, way above average. So please don’t feel bad if your own personal scores seem poor in comparison. Your scores may be lower than those, but it certainly doesn’t mean that they are “bad”. In the future we’re hoping to convince many more beginners and people of all levels to participate in memory competitions, including people who happen to struggle with their memory. Whoever you are, if you have the guts to submit yourself to those challenges, you’re already way ahead of 99% of the rest of the population.
  • Just to be clear, although we suppose that everyone honestly reported everything, this is all done for fun and practice and none of the results below are official. Only in-person championship results are considered official.

Honorary Memory Challenge – Round 1 Results

  • Thanks to everyone who participated and congratulations for what you managed to achieve!
  • Thanks to Landmark Group in Vancouver and in China and congratulations to all their students. I’m quite jealous of many of the results you managed to achieve, particularly those of Mandy Wang, Zixuan Xian and Ziling Wu.
  • Braden Adams performances were of course just as impressive as always and he got the best results overall. His continuous improvements over the last few years remain amazing to witness.
  • Congrats to 11 years old Théodore Beaumont in Montréal for his amazing performance.
  • Congrats to our 2 participants in their 60s who both did very well. James Ward from North Yorkshire the UK did better than I did at the Exam. Jim Gerwing from Sherwood Park in Alberta memorized more than 200 digits in 10 minutes. That’s also better than I did. I don’t know this for a fact, but it seems likely that Jim is currently the only Canadian citizen aged 60 years or more who’s capable of such a feat.

Here are two nice pictures of Shuhan Cao, Kingston Stone, Winston Stone and Mandy Wang while taking part in our challenge. They are all students of Landmark Group in Vancouver.

2020 is the first year where we aren’t doing any in-person official memory championship and where everyone who wants to participate has to do so in an “honorary” way. We don’t usually make a scoreboard for honorary results, but we’re making an exception for this year.

( Explanations about this scoreboard are added below)

About this scoreboard:

  • This is an “honorary” challenge and there is no official “ranking” here. But just to satisfy our curiosity, we calculated an overall number of “championship points” for every participant to see who did best. The “Open section” is for everyone who isn’t a citizen. Organizer Francis Blondin is also taking part in that section to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest. In the last column on the right, we point out who did best among Canadians and who did best in the Open section. We also point out who did best overall, no matter the section.
  • Most participants in our in-person championships usually choose to compete in the Regular section, with less strict scoring rules and with numbers and cards being optional. Here it turns out that everyone chose to take part in the Advanced section.
  • The first number in each box shows the raw official result. The second number after a slash sometimes shows the attempted score. The attempted score has no effect on the final ranking and we only note this to satisfy our curiosity. In the Advanced section, penalties for errors can sometimes be severe, especially for numbers and words. Therefore, do not assume that a score of 200/300 necessarily means that the participant made 100 mistakes.
  • The final column indicates the total number of championship points (CP) and bonus points that have been earned by a particular participant. For each event, a mathematical formula is used to convert the raw result into a number of championship points. In the advanced section, at the end only the 5 best results out of 6 are taken into consideration. Bonus points can be earned either by obtaining a top 3 result among your peers in a particular discipline or by memorizing at least 60, 100 or 150 digits; 20, 40 or 52 cards.
  • The participants are listed in first name alphabetical order.
  • Click here if you would like to see a more detailed version of this scoreboard that includes the specific number of championship points and bonus points earned for each event.
  • Click here if you’re curious about all the details concerning Championship Points (CP) and bonus points calculation.
  • Click here to read all the rules for all the different events.

Some additional commentaries:

From James Ward from the United Kingdom:

James left this much-appreciated post on the Art of Memory forum about this event and his participation. You can click here to read it.

From Francis Blondin from Montreal, Canada:

First please note that any participant who wants to add his or her own commentaries here is welcome to do so! Just contact me and I will gladly add them. Second let me apologize again for taking so long to compile and post the results. Been dealing with some issues that made it difficult for me to work and focus. The process also ended up taking much longer than I thought it would.

Other than that, I already thanked and congratulated everyone, so now I’ll talk a little bit about my own performances. Feel free to skip, because it will be quite boring! I think what I managed was quite good, but not nearly as good as what I’ve done in the past. That shouldn’t be a surprise since it’s been so long since I’ve last been practicing regularly. I was hoping to prepare semi-seriously for this, but unfortunately it didn’t work out that way. I was busy with some other concerns and all my preparation time was absorbed by me making some last-minute changes to my new system for numbers and cards. Been working on that ridiculous (and awesome) system for an absurdly long time. So far instead of really using and practicing it, I seem to just keep finding new time-consuming ways to make it 0.01% “better” or more fun. Hopefully it will pay off in the long run!

Because I’m an organizer, I’m only allowed to sign up for the open section and to use the somewhat more difficult words and names from the IAM training website and standardmemory.com. Ended up writing down a lot of synonyms for words. A lot of small typos for names. A lot of correct names associated with the wrong faces. ARRRGH! I did the exam just to see how it would go, but my result can’t possibly be considered valid because, well, I wrote it all down in the first place about a month ago. Didn’t do that great despite that advantage. Did all right with cards thanks to the fact that I used my old PAO. None of this really matters of course! I still enjoyed this challenge and hopefully I’ll be better prepared for Round 2.

Some honorary results we received after the 2019 National Memory Championship

Results of Guillaume Petit-Jean from Courbevoie, France

Guillaume told me he enjoyed the format but he hasn’t been training a lot recently and he isn’t too satisfied with his scores. I happen to think that those results are amazing, but I guess we all have different standards ( :

  • 296 images
  • 65 names
  • 105% at the advanced exam (yep, that’s possible)
  • 100 words
  • 252 digits out of 300
  • 1 min and 46 seconds for cards

Results of Jean Béland from Granby, Canada.

Jean did some challenges in person at the competition, but he was sick and unable to focus so he decided to leave. He later sent me those honorary results for those 2 disciplines he had missed:

  • 80.5% for the advanced exam.
  • 2 minutes and 30 seconds for cards.

Results of Francis Blondin from Montreal, Canada.

This is the second time that I’m organizing a competition and then later “competing” in it in an honorary way. First time was 8 months ago after the 2019 Quebec Memory Championship. I’m in more or less the same situation now than I was then, not on top of my game but still doing my best. Most of I wrote then (see my other entry down below) is still valid today. This time I was quite out of practice and I was tempted to skip this one, but I’m glad that I didn’t. Although I didn’t prepare as much and I didn’t do quite as well as last time, I’m still happy with my results and I still enjoyed the experience.

  • Got 133 images. All right score but less than some of the beginner and intermediate level competitors in the Regular section.
  • Happy with 86% result at the exam. Most of my mistakes were due to misremembering the correct locations of many elements. I once again had the huge advantage of knowing exactly what to expect with the format. Without that advantage, I’m hoping I would still have managed maybe 75% or a little more. I’m extremely biased but I think this is a very cool event and although I wouldn’t want it to be included at the next IAM World Memory Championship, I think that many more people should attempt it.
  • Names is the other discipline where I had some advantage because although many names had been changed, I had seen all the faces before. I was still pleasantly surprised by my score of 55 names. For a more fair challenge, I then made another 5 minutes attempt on standard-memory.com and got 39. Would have been 40 if it wasn’t for a small bug with the software, and nearly 50 if it wasn’t for all those names that I misspelled. 
  • 110 words out of 110.
  • 258 out of 294 for numbers.
  • Quite happy with my 1:02 cards score on my first try. Second try I did 53 seconds but I made a bunch of mistakes during recall.

Official in-person results for 2019 National Memory Championship are posted on this page.

Some honorary results we received after the 2019 Quebec Memory Championship

Sent by Konstantin Skudler, a German citizen living in Sweden

I managed to go through all the disciplines according to the timetable and here are my results and a few comments on them:

  • Images: I tried 240 but did 5 mistakes, all in rows where I was unsure, but I decided to try to guess them and they turned out to be wrong. So 210 as final result.
  • Exam: I think my score of 94 is quite good. I am a bit unhappy though because I lost 2 points with writing 2003 to the wrong event of Dracula and I didn’t know that there will be several events beginning with the same words. Furthermore, I remembered the anatomy names with the shapes of the locations which then were replaced by numbers, so I failed to assign the correct number to Tayos and Samso. Additionally: only 2 spelling errors with Tiblir and Pirori instead of Tribis and Piroro and the equation correct. So:
  • Dates: 18/20, vocabulary: 20/20, geography: 18/20, astronomy: 18/20, anatomy: 16/20, Bonus: 4
  • Names: 49/51
  • Words: 150, all correct. I struggled a lot with the foreign language, i.e. I was much slower than I could have gone with german words, but that’s part of the challenge.
  • Numbers: I tried 572, again slower than I wanted due to distraction during memorisation since many loud cars drove outside my window. But, I did only 7 mistakes, so 488.
  • Cards: First trial memo time 1:12:22 minutes, recall easily in 1:45, all 52 cards correct. Second trial memo time 48:28 seconds, but 46th and 47th card swapped, so 50 score.

I haven’t taken a look on the results, so I’ll be surprised when you publish all of the honorary competitors’ ones!

Best regards,

Sent by Braden Adams from Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada.

  • Images – 232/250
  • Exam – 60%
  • Words – 115/115
  • Digits – 300/348
  • Names – 49
  • Cards – 58.42 secs

Sent by Francis Blondin from Montreal, Canada.

I’m of course completely biased but I really enjoyed “competing” with those disciplines and this format. Although I’ve never stopped completely practising memorization (mostly long-term memorizations and reviews), it’s been a year since I last did my best to be as fast as I could. But I did do a lot during the last few weeks to prepare for this “honorary championship” and I think it paid off. Full disclosure: I was the main organizer of this competition and I had previous exposure to all the disciplines. It’s been 3 weeks since I last looked at them and I did my best to avoid memorizing anything earlier on. I asked some friends to change some names and some parts of “the exam”, but I still undoubtedly had an important advantage at least with the exam and, to a lesser extent, with names. I don’t think I had any kind of advantage with all the rest, but who knows maybe I’m wrong. All that being said, here’s how it went for me.

I took all this ridiculously seriously and during the preceding 48 hours I did everything I could to be well-rested and to be in the best physical and mental shape possible. Did some fun and relaxing things. Reviewed my PAO as fast as I could about 7 or 8 times. Prepared and reviewed my journeys. Did just the right amount of physical exercise. Ate just the right amount of food. Did some meditation. Had just enough coffee and yerba mate tea (and also a little bit of some weird “nootropic powder” that I bought at the supplement store and that taste like candy) to be fully awake and sharp without being jittery. Made a schedule that I followed strictly and started memorizing.

  • Images were going really well during the first 3.5 minutes. Then I looked at the timer and realized I had accidentally entered 10 minutes instead of 5. Damn it, now I have to periodically keep looking at the timer to make sure I don’t go overtime. Made me lose most of my focus. The last 3 lines I remember thinking something along the lines of “I don’t think I’ll remember this”. So I reviewed those last 3 lines twice and I still got them all wrong! Amazing how your state of mind when you’re memorizing makes all the difference in the world. I’m still happy with my 161 out of 215 images result.
  • I enjoyed the exam. One mistake was due to a weird brain failure where I memorized something correctly but wrote down an incorrect answer for some weird reason. I didn’t get to the last 2 bonus questions and I managed to forget the “+” sign in the equation. Other than that most of my mistakes were due to misremembering the correct locations of many elements. Happy with my 84% result. While Livan didn’t realize that he had to remember the spelling of those made-up words and Braden was also surprised by a few things, I had the huge advantage of knowing exactly what to expect with the format. Without that advantage, I’m hoping I would still have managed maybe 70%, about as the same as Jean Béland.
  • Names is the other discipline where I had some advantage because although many names had been changed, I had seen all the faces before. Score of 47 names. Would have been more than 50 if not for 2 names I accidentally wrote twice and some typos. I’m hoping I would have managed about 40 or a little more without the initial advantage.
  • Of course I wish I had avoided those 3 blanks, that one misremembered word and that one swapping mistake, but I’m still very happy with my 103 out of 135 words score.
  • Very, very happy with my 312 out 324 numbers score. I was only mistaken with one of the last 6 digits that I grabbed at the end.
  • Also very happy with my 1:03 cards score on my first try. Second try I went all in and did 49 seconds, which is almost my pb. Only 2 cards were swapped during that second try, which is better than I expected considering how blurry everything felt during recall. So I did much better than I expected overall.

Official in-person results for 2019 Quebec Memory Championship are posted on this page.