Thursday, July 25, 2013

Preview: 16th German Open Memory Championship


An All German Affair

According to Boris Konrad in our conversation over Twitter, it looks like it's going to be an all German affair at the 2013 Memo Masters  that will take place at Isny, South Germany this weekend. All the other Non-Germans at the top ten will most likely skip the 16th German Open Memory Championship, in what was anticipated to be a preview of some sorts to the mental battle that will happen in the World Memory Championship this November 30 to December 2 at London, England. But the lack of international competitors will not matter much as the international 10 discipline event will feature some of the very best memory athletes the world has to offer. 

2012 World Memory Championship Winners:
Front row from left: Top 3 - Jonas Von Essen,
New World Champ Johannes Mallow, Runner-up Simon Reinhard
Back row from left: 7th Nelson Dellis, 6th Ben Pridmore,
5th Christian Schaefer (Photo from Facebook)
The Germans, who have the most people in the top ten, will be headed by the current World Memory Champion and defending German Memory Champion Johannes Mallow Slovenian Open Champion, Christian Schafer; World Number 9 and last year's UK Open Memory Champion, Boris Konrad; and the juniors Annalena Fischer, 2013 South German Memory Champion; Anna Barwinski, 2012 North German Junior Memory Champion; and possibly Konstantin Skudler, multiple-time Kid Memory Champion and current World Junior Memory Champion.

Looking to dethrone the defending champion is his teammate two-time German Memory Champion Simon Reinhard, the second highest ranked memory athlete today, and current world record holder of a bevy of disciplines, such as the 15 minute names and faces (173 points), 15 Minute Random Words (300 Words), 30 Minute Random Numbers (1400), and the Speed Cards (21.19 secs). It was all established in this very same competition. Among the notable Germans who are also gunning for the top are World Number 6 and this year's

A Pool For World Memory Champions

This memory event is definitely one of the toughest championship out there. Looking at the previous German Memory Championships with my unscientifically trained eyes, we can see some pattern where the winner of this tournament will most likely be a top contender for the World Memory Championship or even end up being the World Memory Champion. As it was the case last year with Johannes Mallow and from 2005 to 2007, where Clemens Meyer won his back to back German Memory Championship and World Memory Championship in '05 and '06. Dr. Gunther Karsten did it as well on 2007. So, there is a lot riding on the outcome of the 2013 Memo Masters and many of the people in the Memory Sports Community are looking forward to it. 

And even though the other contenders for the World Championship like the hot streaking Swede, Jonas von Essen (4th), 5 Minute Binary Digits World Record holder, Ola Kare Risa of Norway, and of course the three-time World Memory Champion Ben Pridmore, aren't going to be there, we can still make a viable comparison, since they will most likely be competing in the 2013 UK Open International Memory Championships in less than a month from now. An international tournament that have the same format as this event and may very well be attended by the top German mnemonists.

I, for one, can't wait to see the results.

UPDATE: Full List of Competitors


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Monday, July 22, 2013

Philippine Memory Championships 2013 Results

Philippine Memory Championship Results

2013 Philippine Memory Champion Medal Haul

As much as I'd like to post the results from last weekend's events, I was not able to get a copy of the official results as it was not posted during the competition much like the previous one. But the good thing was, later in the day, it was announced over the PA system who the winners were and their corresponding scores. However, I only happen to have the attention to listen for my scores since taking a nap was main priority then (I only managed to sleep for just a couple of hours), thankfully it was announced alphabetically and I was mentioned early, so I doze off right after hearing mine. Unfortunately, that kept me from taking note of anyone else’s scores, plus there were over a hundred participants to keep tab as well.

But, here's what I do know. When monster memorizers like GMs Erwin Balines and Mark CastaƱeda are away, I get to take home all the golds for the day. Not exactly all of it since, only I won most of the events, except for the random words and spoken numbers event, I got bronze and silver for those. I also get to call myself the First Philippine Memory Champion as well! That has a nice ring to it, might I add. But if anyone asks if I'm truly the first Philippine Memory Champion since, you know GM Erwin just tore through the competition last May where I just came in third, I'd refer you to this bit on the rules about Titles. It says that “The overall winner of the Championships will be entitled to call themselves THE MEMORY CHAMPION (of the current competition year) regardless of the age category in which they have competed.” So, GM Erwin Balines was definitely the first to win a Philippine National Memory Championship, which makes him the First Philippine Memory Champion but technically, according to that bit about title nomenclature, I get to call myself the First Philippine Memory Champion too! But GM Erwin is surely more fitting to be called the First Philippine Friendly Memory Sports Champion, because he obviously looks friendlier than me.

Anyway, here's more info about the tournament that I can safely dish out to you, Ms. Sharmaine D. Dianquinay turned out to be THE runner-up of the championship after some bit of confusion during the awarding ceremonies. They announced her as the fifth place finisher despite having several silver medal finishes and won the gold at spoken numbers. Apparently, with all the hubbub of trying to keep the awarding ceremony at pace to keep the respected guest from bailing out before the overall standings were awarded, some mix up with the scores were made that resulted to the said confusion.

Among the juniors and kids division, the Landicho brothers kicked ass as they both placed at the top of their respective divisions. Miguel Iseah, fresh from winning this year’s Thailand Junior Open Memory Championship just a couple of weeks ago, topped the junior division while his younger brother, Rommel, took the kids division crown. Much like the competitors from the National Open on Memory Sports last May, these kids had just months of training heading into the Philippine Memory Championships as well.

Philippine National Memory Records Broken?

A new record: an intermission number by the Kalokalikes
at a memory championship event.

I think there were quite a number of National Memory Records broken last Saturday and Sunday. But we need to see the final official results posted first before we can make sure of it because I’m just going by what I remember hearing from the announcements and that is not quite reliable. Having last May’s championship ending with superb results muddies up the record as well. So, I’m now confused which national records to consider. For one, the NOMS had no official arbiter, deeming it ineligible for the official rankings. But on the other hand, those results did happen and I was even there to witness it.     

Having said all that, here are the possible records being broken.

Kevin Tenoso and some other person, made a rousing start last Saturday when they score over 400 championship points in the 5 Minute Random Words event where they also got Gold and Silver. And if you are not familiar with how many words you need to memorize to get that score, it’s 50+ words. And the current official record is held by Ms. Sharmaine Dianquinay with 50 words memorized in 5 minutes (The unofficial record is held by GM Erwin with 60 words.)

In the 5 Minute Binary Digits, I was able to break the official national record held by Eon Lee of 345 binary digits by tying GM Erwin’s unofficial binary record of 510 digits.

With Names and Faces, it gets a bit tricky. I was able to beat the official record of 36 points by Ms. AB Bonita with 39 points but that wasn’t enough to beat her unofficial record of 42 points.

The current official record in the 10 Minute Cards is just several days old. It was set by the Beauty Queen, Ms AbbygaleMonderin at the Thailand Open Memory Championship this month with 156 cards (2+ decks). The unofficial record, on the other hand, was set by GM Erwin last May with exactly 208 cards or 4 decks. I managed to beat both records as I cheekily memorized a little bit more than 4 decks of cards just to get past the record, a mere 12 cards more to be exact.

New Speed Cards National Record: 36.25 seconds
And finally, I was able to clear my nerves when it came to speed cards. I’ve been trying to hit below one minute ever since I started competing but I managed to let my nerves get in the way. I thought I was going to break into the one minute barrier last May but I stopped the time at exactly 60 seconds. My heart was racing at that time, especially when I failed to put the cards in order for my ‘safe’ first attempt. But I don’t know why I was unexpectedly calm during the whole two days for this event, maybe it was the lack of sleep or the thought of not having the top two memory guys to compete with, but I felt good on those two days. On my first attempt, I went through the cards deliberately and stopped the time at a little over 50 seconds. That was good enough to tie or beat GM Mark’s official record of 50.86 seconds by just hundredths of a second. I happen to recall the deck perfectly that made it official. Now, I had to weigh in if I’d go balls to the wall and break THE actual World Record of 21.19 seconds of or just go little bit faster than my previous attempt. I didn’t let my hubris get in the way this time, as I opted to go with my second option. And it ended up perfectly again as I managed to hit 36.25 seconds, enough to blast through my personal record barrier and the official record. With that result, I also get to land exactly at the top 10 of the fastest speed cards time in the world and possibly break into the 5000 championship point barrier as well.          

That’s all the info that I have for now. I’ll post more about the changes in the Philippine Memory records when the official stat comes out. Meanwhile, here is some bit of trivia that I found out while doing this, did you know that Jamyla Lambunao has the unofficial world record at Spoken Numbers with 70 digits? Yep, that’s right, the official world record stand at 60 digits set by the young German Konstantin Skudler at the 2011 World Memory Championship.

UPDATES: Official results are in!

Random Words: Kevin Tenoso tied GM Erwin's the unofficial record of 60 words last May. The "some other person" who had 400+ points was Miguel Iseah Landicho with 53 words.

Overall Champion: Abrina, Johann Randall
2nd Place: Dianquinay, Sharmaine
3rd Place: Miguel Iseah Landicho

Division Champions

Adult 1. Abrina, Johann Randall
         2. Dianquinay, Mary Sharmaine
         3. Azarcon, Laila

Junior 1. Landicho, Miguel Iseah
          2. Tenoso, Khevin
          3. Cruz, Laura Sofia

Kids 1. Landicho, Rommel
        2. Nanzan, Jamillah
        3. Jagua, Ro Linus

The Top 10 Finishers

Memory Athlete
Championship Points
 Abrina, Johann Randall
 Dianquinay, Mary Sharmaine
 Landicho, Miguel Iseah
 Tenoso, Khevin 
 Azarcon, Laila
 Ocray, Robbie Shem 
 Carandang, Christopher E.
 Cunanan, Argie
 Landicho, Rommel 
 DesingaƱo, Rachelle

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Friday, July 19, 2013

Philippine Memory Championships 2013

An athlete needs constant training to gain improvements. But it is not only limited to the practice room or the gym. They also need to train in live competition to test whatever they were practicing in an actual game and be able to tweak their performance.

Ever since I started competing in Memory Sports, I’ve always wanted to join as many tournaments as I can to test myself in an actual championship setting. But given the circumstances at the time, most of the memory championships available for mnemonists are at the other side of the world. We would have to jump through so many hoops just to compete in one international event. But not this year. Memory sports is sort of boomingthis year. I guess the sport is having a new wave of popularity as there are new memory championships popping up in different places. Here in the Philippines alone, there are two memory tournaments slated this year.  The first one was just a couple of months ago and tomorrow, we’ll be having another memory championship, the Philippine Memory Championships. It will be another opportunity for Filipino mnemonists to pit each other’s memory against one another. And according to Quinito Henson’sarticle, it looks like we’ll be having World Championship Standards cramped into two days. That’s two one hour events (Cards and Numbers) and a 30 minute Binary event. This could get interesting. Stay tune here as I’ll be updating this post about this weekend’s happenings, if I can get some internet access at the venue.

Other news

I have mentioned before that there are quite a numberof memory championships this July and I somehow overlook the other events that have happened or will happen in this month. Such as the Algerian Championships lastJuly 4-5 that was won by Meryem Yezza and the 17th German OpenMemory Championships this coming July 26-27. We’ll be taking a close look at the German Open as it may be a preview of things to come at this year’s WorldMemory Championships.

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Friday, July 5, 2013

Philippines Sends Two Teams at the 2013 Thailand Open Memory Championships UPDATE: Raj Jain Won TOMC

July will be a busy month for eastern mnemonists as it will host two Memory Championships. Today, we’ll see the Thailand Open Memory Championships be held at Bangkok and this post will largely focus on its happenings and how it will turn out. But for those people who are interested to participate in a local memory tournament, this month’s second memory event, the Philippine Memory Championships will be held on the 20th and 21st of July at Makati Medical Center Auditorium. Please go to their Facebook Events page to register.

Now, the sport where people, both young and old, and of various backgrounds, try to memorize as many random information as they can, is slowly growing its popularity every year in the Philippines. We started on 2010 with just two people that ballooned the following year into six guys. Last year saw kids, juniors, and women compete for the first time. And now it is grown so much that we are now sending not one but two teams to today’s 2013 Thailand Open Memory Championships. Yep, that's right; there'll be more than 20 individuals that will represent the Philippines at the 2013 TOMC. I guess we’re just eager to defend the TOMC title from lastyear that was won by Mark Anthony Castaneda, especially now that it will truly be an international open tournament where another country other than the Philippines will be competing. As of the moment, I’ve only confirmed that RajJain, 183rd ranked Memory Athlete from India, will be competing and the press releases have also said that the Japanese and Mongolian Teams will also be throwing their hats in the game as well. But without any of the Philippine’s (relatively) veteran mnemonists on deck, the Philippine delegation will have their hands, or should I say heads full when they head into today’s memory championship.

I’ve delved into writing a prediction about memory championship winners last year when I sat out that year’s World Memory Championship. Being that I’m not participating in today’s events as well, I’ve decided to make some prognostication again on how the tournament will end up later today. To do this, we’ll have to rely from the previous performances of the participants and base our predictions from that. It is a fairly straightforward process of looking for the highest rated participants and then throwing your dart towards the best ranked player and voila! We now have the tournament favorite that will most likely win this year’s Thailand Open Memory Championship.

Now, to begin, we need to have a list of participants and their respecting rankings, official or otherwise. Being that there are two teams from the Philippines, as there are two different memory councils that operate here, we’ll have them in separate groups. It will be Team Milo versus Team Antipolo. I think this will make this exercise a bit more exciting. And here it goes;

Thailand Open Memory Championship 2013 PHL Team
Team Milo Photo by Philippine Mind Sports Association

Kevin Carl Aquino (Team Milo, A) 1804
Abbygale Monderin (Team Milo, A) 1773
Ydda Graceille Mae Habab (Team Milo, J) 1696
Mikhaila Paraiso (Team Milo, J) 2079
Rhojani Joy Nasiad (Team Milo, J) 1412
Kian Christopher Aquino (Team Milo, K) 1650
Miguel Landicho (Team Antipolo) 1192      
Rommel Landicho (Team Antipolo) 574
Ro Linus Jagua (Team Antipolo) 692
Khevin Christian Tenoso (Team Antipolo) 619
Juliana Beatrice Tunay (Team Antipolo) 395
Thailand Open Memory Championship 2013 PHL Team
Winners from Rizal Memory Championships
Photo by Marlon Bernardino
Ana Franceska Guillermo (Team Antipolo) 536
Maria Esteliza Beran (Team Antipolo) 616
Jan Ricci Munoz (Team Antipolo) 899
Hanz Christian Natividad (Team Antipolo) 583
Jamillah Nanzan (Team Antipolo) 454
Stephanie Fernando (Team Antipolo) 302
Denise Asuncion (Team Antipolo)
Pauline Asuncion (Team Antipolo)
Robin Simon de Jesus (Team Antipolo)
Yeisha Paculan (Team Antipolo)
Joi Ranz Munoz (Team Antipolo)
Daniel Inigo Soriano (Team Antipolo)


Rajendra Jain (A) 2725

So, by just looking at their past performances, it looks like we’ll have a strong favorite from India, Raj Jain (A), with a 2725 ranking from last year’s World Memory Championship. His closest rival is, surprisingly, a junior from Team Milo, Mikhaila Paraiso, with 2079 points. She may also be a lock to win the junior’s division when the next best junior is probably her team mate Ydda Graceille Mae Habab with her 1696 points.

Having said all that, let’s now look at the intangibles, those competitors that I don’t have much information on. As reported, there might be competitors coming from Japan and Mongolia, and of course, the local Thais that will participate in their Memory Tournament. Now, if the Mongolian Team will field in any of their top ten highest ranked players, they may have a strong chance of snatching the championship away from Raj, being that their top ten has a 2007 point ranking. Japan may challenge as well, but their highest ranked athlete is just above 2300 points. The Thais, on the other hand, have barely breached the 2000 point barrier and most likely out of the running for the Open class (I’m just not exactly sure if a local competitor can also claim a win at the open tournament.) There aren’t much information on the kids and juniors as well, so, it will be much harder to predict who may pull out a victory there. But of course, I’ll be cheering for my countrymen none the less.

So there you have it! I'm looking forward to see the results later. Good luck everyone!

UPDATE: Results!

As per Raj Jain's Facebook, he just won the 2013 Thailand Open Memory Championship! Congratulations!


And according to John Burrows in the Welsh Memory Records Facebook Group, Abbygale Monderrin won three golds for the Philippines.
UPDATE 2: Stats!

Thailand Open Junior Champion:
Miguel Iseah Landicho
Thanks to Ms. Goddard, the official results of the Thailand Open Memory Championship 2013 are now available. I've also included the picture of the Junior Champion, Miguel Iseah Landicho at the right. Also, the 2013 Thailand Memory Champion was Tawan Sunadwanichkul.

World Memory Statistics

       Junior Open
       Adult Open 
       Thailand Championships 

And here are some news reports from the Philippine Media:

Pinoys rule memory

Aquino, Monderin 2nd at 3rd sa Thailand Memory Championship
Pinoy memory athletes nab medals in Thailand

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Thursday, July 4, 2013

Part 2 of the 1st National Open on Memory Sports Review

OK. I'm back. And if you are wondering why we're here, well, this is the second part of the review that I'm doing of last month's 1st National Memory Sports Open or the Philippine Friendly Memory Championships 2013. At this point of the competition, Erwin Balines, the Philippine's second ever Grand Master of Memory was leading the pack with 2,509 championship points. He was followed by Mark with 2,293 championship points and trailing at third is myself with 2140 championship points. There was not much changing of hands in the leader board except when Mark took the lead after the third event where he was ahead of Erwin by around 100 championship points and on the following event, the 10 minute cards, where I briefly took the second spot ahead of Mark. I think Mark made some awful recall errors where he was only credited with just 15 cards. I, on the other hand, just managed to get one and a half deck right out the five that I tried to memorize. This is one of those events where, due to lack of restraint, overzealousness, or hubris, I overextended myself and was left grasping at a number of hazy images that I thought was manageable. Unlike Erwin, who coolly settled for four out of four decks and went on to win this round handily.

All eyes on Mark! He might have felt the pressure from the
video cams as it didn't turn out well for him.
One thing I realized during the awarding for this event, was that there was such a thing as tie-breaker to determine the proper athlete's proper placing in the standings. That even if I were able to get a tie with Erwin with four decks, he would still be getting the Gold, since I declared more decks than him. So, here's a tip that I think is very much valuable, especially in marathon card events, go for a number of decks that you know you will get perfectly or that is very much manageable.

By the way, Axel Tabernilla came away with the silver medal here with three decks and I got the bronze for the adults but overall, Jamyla Lambunao and a host of other youngins had way more cards memorized than me.

Next up would be the five minute numbers. I think we only had one trial for this one because of time constraints. And that made a significant difference in the way a memory athlete would approach things. Normally, we have two trials for this event and most would either get a safe attempt at first trial and if they get perfectly, they'll go for broke and memorize as many as they can on the second trial. Buuut only a bunch of us minded the situation since most of them are just raring to go and enjoying the events of the day. With the event contracted, Mark would need to make up for his 41 point blunder in the previous event but he settled for a dominant 220 digits, which were followed by our safe 178 and 162 attempts, me and Erwin respectively.

The next event would be five minute random words where we saw Erwin Balines smashed the Philippine record with 60 words and Ms. AB Bonita tied it with her 50 words. Rounding up the third is Jamyla with just two short of tying it with 48. I'd rather forget how I did with this one, I landed smack dab in the middle (14th) with 16 words. I think I made a bunch of silly mistakes here, like remembering the image but not the proper word that it represented. I didn't know if it was supposed to be a missile, a cannon, or a rocket. Or if those were even the words. I just knew some projectile was shot... or was the word projectile? Hmm..

National Open on Memory Sports Spoken Number Mark PB
Mark's personal best with the spoken number Source
Anyways, heading into into the spoken numbers event, Erwin had a comfortable 782 point lead over Mark, which he would cut down to 577 with his 100 digit spoken number performance. He would have needed to replicate his personal best of 316 digits (2 points shy of the current world record) in this event to get an even chance going into the final event, the speed cards.

Going into the last event of the day, it was already a foregone conclusion that Erwin will be the inaugural champion of the first ever National Open on Memory Sports, at least if any of the results from the previous events were announced or posted. But we had to wait for the awarding ceremonies to get an idea of our performances for the day.

Intense focus at the final event, speed cards.
It was already around 8 pm when we started with the speed cards. And it was about to be done like the speed numbers that was limited to a single trial. We were seeking clarification from different arbiters if it was really be just a single attempt but the answers we get were varied as well. So we went on with the first attempt without knowing if we'll get a second one, which made me decide to go for a safe one minute and forty plus seconds. Buuut since I usually start my memorization after two minutes the chief arbiter says go, my arbiter insisted that I'd only be credited with the full five minutes. An unnecessary distraction that I had to iron out before the start of the recall phase. They eventually agreed to credit my original attempt just in time for the recall but all that trouble was for naught when I failed to get all the cards in proper order.

I was about to accept that my day would end with a sour note until the chief arbiter Rafi Delica, seemingly awed from witnessing kids memorizing decks of cards, suddenly announced that a second attempt will be squeezed into an already overdue event. Huge props to the wonderful venue at Alphaland that they allowed the event to push through way into the night. This second chance gave me an opportunity to redeem myself. I made sure this time that I had it all perfectly in my head that I ran through it for several times before I stopped the clock at exactly one minute and 15/100 of a second.  It was just enough to get another silver at this event as Mark did his cards a little over seven seconds faster than mine. And if I'm not mistaken, Erwin was not able to improve his time in his second attempt and settled for third. 

Division Winners: Jamyla Lambunao (Kids),
Princess Grace Mendoza (Juniors),
and Erwin Balines (Adults)
While we were about  to start the recall, I noticed that the arbiter misread my time as 1 min. and 15 seconds, which prompted me to correct him swiftly. But as he left after correcting the error, I did a double take at it because he corrected my attempt by removing a whole minute and credited me with just 15 seconds! If had I not notice it, I would have been just 54 points short of winning the championship and end up being a runner up. I wouldn't have known if I'd be happy for landing second or be very regretful for being just a few points shy of being the champion. Good thing that it ended the way it did though, it just showed me how much I needed to improve.

It is in this event, aside from the overall results not being included in the official world ranking, that an official arbiter would have been handy as there were two other people that managed to get under two minutes. Axel's one minute and forty seconds and Jamyla's quick one minute and seventeen seconds would have qualified them for a Grand Master Norm.      

Young up and comers

Much of what I have written were about the adult's division since I am in that category. The younger categories in the tournament ended with not much of a surprise either. The Kid's division was largely owned by  the 11 year old Jamyla Lambunao of St. Scholastica, where she won gold in every event except in speed numbers, she was just five digits short of winning that event. It was a very dominant performance by Jamyla that she almost doubled the score of her nearest competitor. Her scores were good enough to beat the older mnemonists at the tournament. But it was all to be expected from her. She was three years ahead of her division peers in training in memory sports and is a veteran of several international events including the World Memory Championships.  
AB and her students enjoying each others company
at the National Open on Memory Sports 

However, the performance from her competitors are nothing to sneeze at either. They were impressive for someone who had just a summer's worth of training. Much props must be given to their coach, Ms. AB Bonita, as well. She did a wonderful job at getting her students into competition mode. 

Much like in the Kid's category, the Junior's division was expectedly won by Princess Grace Mendoza, also a veteran of the 2012 Thailand Open and The WMC 2012. But she almost lost the championship to Robert Bryan Yee, one of AB's rookie players from summer, by just a mere four points. Robert Bryan was way ahead from the get go with a 269 point lead as they get into the random words event. But disaster struck for Mr. Yee when he only managed to get a single word correct in his recall for a measly 8 points. This blunder allowed Princess to slash the lead into just 21 points and eventually overtook him 408 point performance at the following event, the spoken numbers. 

Robert Bryan might be thinking about what happened
to his random words while Princess is  in deep concentration.
Being that the scores and results of the events weren't posted at the venue as soon it was available (as I said before, results were only announced during the awarding ceremony, and for the top three competitors only), I wonder how would that have affected the performance of the athletes, knowing that you were behind for such a margin or that coasting through the rest of the events would have clinched the championship? The results could have been very much different but we'll never know. I guess we'll just have to wait and see when they would meet each other again in another memory tournament. Speaking of which, there'll be another national memory championship (Philippine Memory Championship 2013) to be held at Makati Medical Center this coming July 20-21, 2013. I hope these kids might find it in them to join the said event and I'll have more details about it in my next post, maybe do a liveblog about it too!

That's about it!!!

If you want to take a better look, or reminisce, at the goings on at the 1st National Open on Memory Sports, take a gander at the event with Carlito Galamgam Jr's excellent video here:

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Photo and video credits: Carlito Galamgam Jr. at National Open on Memory Sport Facebook Page