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

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If you already know everything you need to know about how this “honorary challenge” is supposed to work, you can choose to skip the rest of this page and click here to directly start or prepare for the 2023 Honorary Mental Math Challenge.

About this page: Would you like to motivate yourself, improve your skills and see what you can manage to achieve? Would you like to experience participating in a mental math 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 choose to try everything (or just some disciplines) without any previous preparation.  This page will explain how.

Prepare for the 2023 Honorary Mental Math Challenge!

  • Location: Anywhere in this Universe
  • Date: Any day you want (or any combination of days) until November 5. (final update to the deadlines)
  • 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.

As always, our events are open to people of all ages and all skill levels. No matter how good or how bad you are at mental calculations, we have something to offer that should be well-adapted to your skill level. And we can help you become better.

* If you’ve sent your results a while ago: Thank you! Your results will be published along with others after the November 5 deadline. My apologies if that’s much later than previously promised. If you’re inclined to do so, you’re welcome to try some challenges one more time and try to improve your scores. Instructions on how to do so are provided on the main page of the challenge.

All the answers to all the questions you might have:

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. Wherever and whenever will be most convenient, you simply need to come back here, click the link on the bottom of this page, download all the challenges and test yourself and then send us your results.

Just like our Honorary Memory Challengethe 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.

Preliminary results will be published in mid October. Final results will be organized in a pretty scoreboard and published soon after the October 30 final deadline.

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.

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

Answer: We won’t. This isn’t a championship, it’s an honorary and unofficial challenge. There are no titles or rewards or anything real 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’re not too worried about your scores. Or if you only want to attempt a few disciplines while skipping others.

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. Also just having a deadline and knowing that your results will be published and compared with others can serve as a powerful form of motivation.

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

Answer:  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. We also provided links to plenty of free or cheap resources to learn to spectacularly improve your skills at mental calculations. But even without any further training, you should know that almost everyone can deal with the problems from the Beginner section. Most high school students and adults are fully capable of solving the problems presented in the Regular section. The most challenging aspect will be to try to solve as many problems as possible while remaining fast and accurate enough.

And what will be most difficult or impossible will be to try to be more efficient than some of the other experts who will be participating. Should you care about whether or not you will look “bad” compared to them? In theory we all know that we shouldn’t, but in real life that kind of sentiment 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. All that being said, if you don’t want your name to be published, it’s completely ok to just use a pseudonym instead of your real name.

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: 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
  • If you want to practice in advance, you can use some of the sample disciplines on this page.
  • You can click here if you want to learn more about how it’s possible to become much, much faster with mental calculations.

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:

  • Please make sure to send us your results before the end of February. 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.
  • Check out the answer to the question about preparation if you want to start training or preparing.
  • Even if you’re not yet ready to start, you don’t have to wait before clicking on the link below, reading the instructions and/or downloading or printing the documents. As long as you’re not planning to cheat or anything.

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

Click here to start (or prepare for) the 2023 Honorary Mental Math Challenge!

**** (Once again) If you’ve sent your results a while ago:  Thank you! Your results will be published along with others after the November 5 deadline. My apologies if that’s much later than previously promised. If you’re inclined to do so, you’re welcome to try some challenges one more time and try to improve your scores. Instructions on how to do so will be provided once you click the link above.