CMSA Board members (and occasional competitors)
The first four names appearing below are the original CMSA founders and Board members. Those are the people you should complain to if anything needs to be improved. You might notice that some of the organizers also happen to be competitors. That’s true, we encourage that. We think helping out and competing shouldn’t be two mutually exclusive options. Don’t worry, we take all the necessary steps to make sure nobody starts out with any kind of unfair advantage. And although we’ll be giving away more than $600 in prize money at our next championships, none of the Board members are eligible to receive a single dime.
Francis likes to learn and he likes to teach. He also likes to eat large quantities of peanut butter right out of the jar. He maintains a not completely healthy obsession with juggling and with everything related to memory and to the human brain. He unexpectedly won the Canadian Memory Championship in 2016 and in 2017 and now he’s busy organizing a more ambitious event. He teaches memory techniques on the website artdelamemoire.org and in person through occasional workshops, conferences and media appearances. In his spare time he’s working on the development of an online course about everything related to the art of memory and learning in general. He’ll be organizing the Montreal section of the memory championship and competing for fun in some of the mental math and cubing events.
If I ask you to imagine someone who likes to listen to heavy metal music, likes to watch baseball, likes to workout and who goes to church on Sundays, would you think that sounds like the prototypical memory champion? Well you’d be wrong, cause that’s exactly what he is. Braden was the Canadian winner at the IAM Open Memory Championship last April in Alberta and this year he will be on everyone’s radar as one of the most serious contenders for the title. Rest assured however that he’ll be facing some very capable opponents and that his victory is far, far from a certain. He’ll be helping out with the organization of the Vancouver section of the cubing and mental math championships the day before the all-important memory championship. He might also end up presenting a free workshop a few days before the event. Did I mention he’s going to be a father in November?
Valérie Grenon discovered memory techniques in 2016 and shortly thereafter managed to earn the second place at the Canadian Memory Championship. But although she loves using memory techniques, she’s even more passionate about everything related to cubing. She shares her passion for this subject on the Cubing Montreal Facebook group. She’ll be organizing the cubing championship and competing in the memory one.
Jean Béland AKA le King des Math has always been very skilled at mental calculations. That’s not thanks to some sort of innate talent, but mostly because of his sincere interest in the subject and his hard work and practice. He regularly shares his passion with high school kids whenever he’s invited to give a workshop. In 2014 he won a sweet 26,000$ in a televised contest where he faced off against other mental math maniacs. After discovering memory techniques in 2016, his mental math scores went from already amazing to even more amazing. Ask him what day of the week was March 28 1459 or who was the pope in 1353 (and when exactly did his reign started and stopped) and he’ll tell you in about 2 seconds. He’ll be competing in both the memory and mental math championships, facing off against people who are just as impressive as he is.
Other organizers, supporters and competitors
Below is an incomplete list of the impressive individuals who will be helping out with various aspects of the organization and/or possibly amazing us with their courage and their competition performances. We of course won’t automatically be listing every single competitor, but we’ll be happy to add your name if you want. Please just contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Darren has more than a decade of experience using memory techniques to help his young students learn math, music and all kinds of other subjects. He’s the author of a great book called Brain Magic: the Memory Code and he’s currently developing an innovative app to help young kids learn the times tables in hours instead of months, using memorable stories. He was also the organizer of the first IAM memory competition in Canada. He was planning to fly to Vancouver with his awesome daughter to compete and help out and give a free workshop, but unfortunately they had to cancel those plans. Darren will still be helping out from afar in all kinds of ways.
Sami is one of the most impressive 16 years old you will ever meet. He discovered memory techniques a few weeks before the 2017 Canadian Memory Championship, started practicing intensely and ran away with the junior title. He’s already busy teaching memory techniques to younger kids, getting involved in a research project and starting a business. He’ll be our organizer for the Toronto section and we trust him 100%
Drewe Is a savvy businessman who’s helping Darren Michalczuk bring his math stories to children around the world. He will be our organizer for the Vancouver section. And if next year we decide to start exploring more realistic memory challenges, he will be one of the driving forces behind this change.
Hua Wei Chan
Hua Wei was second place at the 2012 Mental Calculation World Cup. That’s not quite as cool as first place, but still pretty impressive! He was one of the main organizers of the 2017 edition of the Canadian Memory Championship. Although he won’t be competing or organizing this year, we’ll rely on his expertise for the design of the mental math challenges that competitors will have to face.
Francis Blondin’s longtime archenemy when it comes to speed cards and cubing. He won the Quebec memory championships in 2015 and probably should also have won again in 2016. He can break the speed of sound whenever he’s solving a Rubik’s cube and he has recently learned to solve the damn thing with his eyes closed. He won’t be competing this year because he’s way too scared of Francis (currently being overseas might also play a role), but he’ll be helping out with some technical and non-technical aspects of the website.
Can you name anyone in Canada who can memorize a deck of cards in 34 seconds? As far as we know currently there is only one and that’s him. He’s only 17 and although he could choose to go for the Junior champion title, that’s just not challenging enough for him. Braden should watch his back because Ezequiel won’t settle for anything else than first place. That’s just the very first step in his extremely ambitious long-term life plans. Remember his name cause this isn’t the last time you’ll hear about him!
Eric Yukong Li
At last year’s Canadian Memory Championship Eric got very, very close to earning the first place. He’ll be competing in Toronto and we’re all very eager to see how well he’ll be able to perform this year.
Micael once memorized the layouts of no less than 30 Rubik cubes before putting on a headscarf and solving them all in one go, without looking even once. 30 cubes blind yes you read that well and that wasn’t a typo. He also got second place at the 2015 edition of the Canadian Memory Championship. He’ll be competing in both the memory and cubing championships.
Among confirmed mental math competitors, Marc is currently one of the most likely to make Jean Beland bite the dust. Their practice scores are almost equal.
Rodrigue is another mental math maniac who’s teaming up with Marc Larocque to bring down the tyranny of evil Jean Béland.
Patrick very quickly managed to memorize a deck of cards in just 2 minutes, but this will be his very first time testing his skills in competition. He recently found out that reciting more than a thousand digits of pi can be a very efficient way to get his 18-month-old fall asleep.
Matt is a really curious person. He discovered the memory palace tricks by accident in a book in his parents’ library. Since then, he started using the techniques in his everyday life. Today, Matt is a mechanical engineer who dreams of owning a company and saving the world.
Philippe’s very young age won’t stop him from participating in ALL 3 CHAMPIONSHIPS! Way to go Philippe! If Superman was competing at the CMSA, that’s exactly what he would do. He’ll even attempt the completely optional date calculation challenge. Look up the word bravery in the dictionary and you’ll surely see his name mentioned as an example.
Raphaël Simard, 11 years old, has already participated in an official Speedcubing competition where he broke his personal best! Stress is therefore an engine for him and not an obstacle! This time he will participate in 2×2, 3×3 and Pyraminx.
As we said we won’t systematically be listing every single competitor, but we’ll be happy to add your name here if you want. Just contact us at email@example.com.