How anyone, anywhere, can take part in a CMSA Honorary Memory Challenge

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Would you like to motivate yourself, improve your memorization skills and see what you can manage to achieve? Would you like to experience participating in a memory championship without having to travel, without spending a dime and without (for the most part) having to be stressed?

You can do all that and more. You can show everyone what you can do. Or you can participate anonymously while keeping your name and/or your results private. You can choose to train a lot, or you can try everything without any previous preparation. This page will explain how.

Prepare for the 2023 Honorary Memory Challenge!

  • Location: Anywhere in this Universe
  • Date: Anytime you want from December 15 2022 until February 28 2023.
  • Cost: Nothing
  • Rewards: Nothing (except eternal admiration by all current and future generations)
  • Skills requirement: You need to be the legitimate owner of a human brain.

Here’s the promotional poster we did for this honorary challenge and for all our other upcoming events:

Whoever you are, wherever you are and no matter what your skill level is, if you would like to participate, you should.

All the answers to all the questions you might have about our next honorary challenge:

Question: How will it work?

Answer: We’ve tried to make it extremely easy to participate even if you’re new to memory techniques, stuck in Antarctica and/or you’re dealing with a busy schedule. Any day of your choice from December 15 2022 until February 28, you will simply come to this page, click the link on the bottom of this page, download all the challenges and test yourself wherever and whenever will be most convenient for you. You will then send us your results. Soon after the deadline, we’ll publish a pretty scoreboard with all the results we’ve received. If you want, you can also send us some comments (“I messed up random words because the dog kept bothering me…”) for us to publish along with all the results.

Just like our Honorary Mental Math Challenge, the Honorary Memory Challenge will be unofficial and self-regulated. You will need to manage yourself everything related to timing and scoring. Overall it will be mostly just a game and a way for some of us to motivate ourselves to start training more regularly again.

Question: How will you know that people didn’t cheat?

Answer: We won’t. It’s an honorary and unofficial challenge and there are no titles or rewards at stake. If we have very good reasons to think some results aren’t legit, we might refuse to publish them or add a small cautionary note next to their scores. Somehow we don’t think that this will be necessary.

Question: How much of a time commitment should I expect?

Answer: Can be a lot if you want to train seriously for everything and try to improve as much as possible. Can be very little if you only want to skip some of the challenges and not worry too much about your scores.

Question: Isn’t the whole thing just like practicing by myself?

Answer: Not quite. If you pretend that it’s a real competition, it will feel real. Just having a deadline and knowing that your results will be published and compared with others can serve as a powerful form of motivation. Also the overall format isn’t quite the same as what you might have seen elsewhere before. And you’ll get to try out a unique event that we call “the Exam”.

Question: What if I’m not good enough or not well prepared enough?

Answer: Some forms of brain damage are possible, but rest assured that it doesn’t happen very often. More seriously, in theory we all know that we shouldn’t care too much about that, but in real life the sentiment expressed in the question happens to be extremely common. We can’t magically make it disappear, but we can at least remind everyone that they should see this as a game and that taking on this kind of challenge by itself is an excellent way to improve their skills. We’ve done our best to try to design a format that works well for people of all skill levels, including experts and complete beginners and everyone in between. For the first 4 disciplines, a very basic understanding of memory techniques is all you need. If you’re new to the world of memory training, this page will explain how you can quickly become ready for your first challenges (click the link for “basic competition strategies”). You can also choose to skip any discipline that for some reason you’re not interested in. And if you’re still worried about how you might look compared to all the other experts, you can choose to use a pseudonym instead of your real name. You can also choose to keep some or all of your results private.

Bottom line is that no matter who or where you are, if you have a little bit of time and energy and you’re somewhat interested in the idea of training for that kind of mental challenge, we’re very sorry but it won’t be easy to find a good excuse for not participating.

Question: What if I’m used to the classic international format and I would rather not have to adapt to something new?

Answer: For most disciplines, if you want to you can choose to use the classic international format on the IAM training website or instead. Only a few adjustments will still have to be made regarding some time constraints and the way you count your scores. You can also choose to skip our weird exam if you prefer.

Question: Will taking part in a CMSA Honorary Challenge solve all of the problems in my life?

Answer: Yes. Probably.


Question: Ok you’ve managed to persuade me. How can I prepare adequately?

Answer: First of all congratulations for the infinitely wise and infinitely brave decision you just took. There’s nothing that you absolutely need to do before attempting everything. But if you want to prepare in advance, there’s a lot that you can do:

  • If you’re unfamiliar with them, first make sure to learn about the different rules and events here. No need to bother with the last section about championship points calculations. Also know that as we’ve said before, in this case it’s ok if you want to skip some disciplines for some reason.
  • Click here if you want to learn more about memory techniques and/or basic competition strategies.
  • If you want to practice with the CMSA format, you can use some of the sample disciplines on this page. You can also choose to attempt all the disciplines from the last Honorary Memory Challenge that we did.

A suggestion:

If you want to be a little more hardcore about the whole thing, as soon as your decision to participate is taken, you’re encouraged to either leave a Facebook comment next to a relevant post or e-mail us directly at and declare your intention to go through all the events on day or week X. This is a commitment device to make sure you don’t procrastinate everything indefinitely.

Some last friendly reminders:

  • We hope you will come back here at any time between December 15 2022 and February 28 2023 to download the new disciplines.
  • Soon after the deadline, we’ll publish every results and comments we’ve received along with a pretty scoreboard. Again, an “honorary challenge” isn’t an official championship. Our job here is to provide the tests and the instructions and to organize and publish the self-reported results that we receive. It is the responsibility of participants – or in some cases of whoever is supervising them – to read the rules, download the different challenges, try them out and accurately calculate and report the results.
  • At any time including now, you can check out the disciplines and instructions from the last Honorary Memory Challenge we did. It might help you know what to expect. You can also choose to attempt those now-outdated disciplines and tell us how you did in a comment on the honorary results page.
  • Check out the answer to the question about preparation if you want to start training or preparing.
  • Check out the Learn and train section of this website if you think you don’t currently know enough about memory techniques.

As usual, we’re hoping to see plenty of complete beginners, newcomers, casual hobbyists and experts participating and showing us what they can do!