Saturday, January 3, 2015

I'm Back Again (for the Nth time)





Finally got it!
Alright! I don't know how many times I've already said I'll be doing this more frequently and more consistently, so just add this to that number. 2014 has passed without a single post from me, I think over a year lay off would be a nice time to come back. If you are wondering what kept me from doing this, you'll have to wonder some more because I don't exactly sure why. Let's just say I was pre-occupied with other stuff, primarily with memory training and competitions. Since my last post, I finally gained my Grand Master of Memory title went I went to the World Memory Championships in London, UK last December 2013. That's pretty much all that was notable in my performance then other than my personal bests in Names and Faces and Hour Numbers. If I do not care much about competing I'd rest my laurels with that and be content to walk around telling people I'm a GM. But I'm not into that. I'd love to compete as much as possible if the opportunity is there.


WMC 2013 Awarding Ceremonies
And speaking about opportunity, the great mind behind Extreme Memory Tournament has opened the event to the public. Anyone now has a chance to compete in this year's XMT. If any of you are interested in taking this opportunity to travel to San Diego to compete against the World's Extreme Mnemonists, head on over to the XMT training site and register to get your chance to qualify. If you are reading this, as of this writing, there is still time to qualify bu there are only two days left before the first qualifying event wraps up.


Big Ben at Night
Speaking of XMT, I was able to qualify in the inaugural tournament last year by the strength of my performance in the Philippine Memory Championship 2013. My score at that time pushed me high enough in the rankings to be considered among the Top 16 qualifiers. But I ultimately failed to advance to the next round as my performance was utterly horrendous. I can't stop shaking and shivering even though it wasn't really that particularly cold. I was so nervous that I got called out for distracting my competitor. My heart was racing every time I step on to the stage for the head to head match ups. I need to find a way to minimize that so I can perform better. Interestingly enough, I was in the same exact state when I'm doing my qualifying attempts for this year's XMT. I had 14 straight perfect scores with decent times before I made my first attempt and till managed to fail my first attempt and added 10 seconds to my average time. After getting a perfect score on my second one, I was able to do almost 50% on my practice runs while hitting my personal best with the XMT Software. But still failed the following two attempts. With my final attempt, I decided to just go all in and do as fast as I can, thinking that I already had an ok score and botched the previous two so bad that made me just go and throw caution to the wind. Good thing I have been running for a couple months now because my heart is just pounding so hard from the tension that I felt I might just double over. Then boom! I got it. It wasn't going to break the world record or anything but I'm so glad I had it. There was a sudden relief that I felt after finishing. I felt so tired as well. I started around midnight and didn't even realized it was almost 6 in the morning.


Screen cap from my grainy video of XMT card attempts
But there are still four events more to go. And I don't even know how many are trying to qualify since up to now, none of us are submitting their scores. Out of the five that is currently listed, only 2 are legitimate qualifiers. The other three are either already in the top 8 or is the organizer. It seems like people are waiting for each other to show their cards. So, I guess I'll wait till Saturday afternoon to submit mine though. Haha! I don't want to wait till the last hour to submit mine in the off chance that we may lose our internet connection again and risk forfeiting my scores. I won't forgive myself if that happens. Again, if anyone of you reading this wants to get in on XMT, now is your chance. With only just two people qualifying plus me and my namesake, sort of, Johannes Zhou from Germany who are submitting, that leaves us with plenty of room to spare for qualifiers.

XMT leaderboard as of January 3, 2015. Still lots of room for qualifiers.

So, what else have I been doing? I've listening to most of Joe Rogan's podcasts. It's a terrific way to while away your time. It gets you to learn a variety of stuff as well. I liked it so much that I even had to stop in the middle of this post for 45 minutes just listen to his year in review. And speaking of Rogan, UFC 182 is on this Saturday night already. The build for the main event fight between Jon 'Bones' Jones and Daniel Cormier has been ridonkulous! Many will be tuning in for MMA's Ali-Frazier fight.


Anyway, the year is very young and there'll be many more days to post stuff. So I'll just leave it here for now and save some topics for later.

If you got through here, good job! You don't have the attention of a badly trained pitbull. But they're adorable though.


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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Preview: 16th German Open Memory Championship




16-German-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
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

2013-German-Open-Memory-Championship-Competitor-List
Source: Memocamp.de



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Monday, July 22, 2013

Philippine Memory Championships 2013 Results




Philippine Memory Championship Results

Philippine-Memory-Champion-2013
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?

Philippine-Memory-Championship-Intermission
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.

Philippine-Speed-cards-record
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

Rank
Memory Athlete
Championship Points
1
 Abrina, Johann Randall
5,021
2
 Dianquinay, Mary Sharmaine
2,987
3
 Landicho, Miguel Iseah
2,442
4
 Tenoso, Khevin 
2,144
5
 Azarcon, Laila
1,818
6
 Ocray, Robbie Shem 
1,773
7
 Carandang, Christopher E.
1,596
8
 Cunanan, Argie
1,568
9
 Landicho, Rommel 
1,401
10
 DesingaƱo, Rachelle
1,370

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Friday, July 19, 2013

Philippine Memory Championships 2013





Philippine-Memory-Championship-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;

Philippines
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)

India

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!

Raj-Jain-2013-Thailand-Open-Memory-Championship-Winner

And according to John Burrows in the Welsh Memory Records Facebook Group, Abbygale Monderrin won three golds for the Philippines.
Abbygale-Monderin-three-golds-2013-Thailand-Open-Memory-Championship
UPDATE 2: Stats!

2013-Thailand-Open-Junior-Champion-Miguel-Iseah-Landicho
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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