Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Preview: World Memory Championship 2012

Alright, since I'm definitely will not be competing, I've decided to take break from training and do a short preview of the 2012 World Memory Championship instead.

As some of you know, this coming weekend, December 14-16, 2012, the world's best mnemonists will converge in London to pit their memory skills with one another to find out who has the World's Best Memory.

Who will be the 2012 World Champion of Memory?

I think this year's championship will be quite predictable. With the current World Champion, the Chinese Wang Feng opting for retirement, and the Top ranked Johannes Mallow and World No. 3 Simon Reinhard breaking the 2000 digit barrier (Random Numbers), the only Non-Chinese to do so, it would seem that the Germans will be battling amongst themselves for the title. It would also be entirely possible that there will be a full on sweep in the Individual Championship, as three out of the Top 5 in the world rankings comes from the Deutschlands.

But of course, we can't discount the former Three-time World Champion in Ben Pridmore, if he sorted out his motivation issues and got his Eye of the Tiger back again, and World No 10 Boris Konrad, another German. Other possible mentathletes to break into the Top 3 are Swedish break out star Jonas Von Essen currently ranked at no 13 and American Climber Nelson Dellis (Rank No. 24).

Having said all that, my money is on Johannes Mallow. Aside from being the World No. 1, he made this cool training video for the 2012 World Memory Championship: 

Team Championships: Country vs. Country

As I've mentioned above, it seems that it is a lock for Germany in Team Championship as well. For those of you who don't know, Team Championships are based on the cumulative scores of the top three performers of each country. That is how they edged out Team China in the 2010 WMC, even when Wang Feng did his monster performance, the Deutsche Team had more athletes with better scores. And now that the team sent by China lacks the usual top performers from the previous year's team, we'll try to figure out which team will possibly contest for the top spot. Or in other words, which teams are fighting for second. 

The easiest way of predicting which team may reach the podium is to get the average of the top three athletes of each country according to the World Ranking. Of course, it will not take into account how each athlete/team prepared for this year's WMC. We may (or may not) have some break out performance by some of newer memory athletes. 

So, basing on their current ranking scores, the German team has an average of 7, 967.3 points between their top three athletes. Followed by Sweden with 6,703, and rounding up the Top 3 would be China, with 4,971 The Chinese score was based on their recent performances on Chinese Memory Championship 2012, since some of them aren't ranked yet. It should be noted that their National Championship is in the same format as the WMC's. Coming in at fourth would likely be the UK (4,139.67), followed by the Philippines (3,358.7) or the US (3,346*), depending on how the other two American athletes perform in support of Dellis'.

There you have it, I would guess that China and Sweden will battle it out for Second, and the UK, the Philippines, and the US of A will duke it out for fourth. And of course, the Black, Red, and yellow flag will be flying in for the Gold.

Record Breakers

Almost every year, there are a couple of World Records being smashed in the World Championships. I bet it would be the same this year. The events rife for breaking would likely be the Binary digits, Abstract Images, and Spoken Numbers.

We've already seen Johannes Mallow getting reaaally close with Ben's long time record in Binary with a 4,095 in this year's Memoriad, just 2 rows short in breaking it. We'll see if doing it with Pen and Paper will make a difference this time.

The Abstract Images was recently broken by Simon Reinhard at the S. German Championship 2012 and it was almost rewritten by Jonas Von Essen at the Friendly Championships last October. I have no doubt it will be surpassed again this time.

The World Record in Spoken Numbers currently stands at 300 digits. If wasn't for a computer glitch that caused a disruption during the memorization phase for the 400 digit trial, it would have been an even crazier number. Although the German Superstars are close enough with a personal records around 250 digits, my personal bet to break the 300 mark would be my compatriot Mark Anthony CastaƱeda. Unless he is bitten by a jitter bug or actually frost bitten in -5 degree weather in London, my money is on him.

Other possibilities, Hour Cards can be broken by... Ben again. The Speed Cards event is a tricky thing to break in the World Championship. Unless you are not concerned with how you will end up in the World Championship Leaderboard, like Wang Feng who had captured the Gold by the time the event was ran, or someone who had no other intention but to break the record, you'd go all out and zip through the cards as fast as possible. Otherwise, you'll have to play it safe. With only three people that can do a deck in under 30 secs and most of them will probably vying for the World Championship title, it will unlikely be broken this year. But the exciting thing is that the Speed Cards event will most likely decide this year's World Champion.

There you have it. I know I may not be going out on limb with my predictions here but I think this is how it will go down. As a Memory Athlete sitting out in this year's competition, I'm definitely looking forward to how this event unfolds.

My predictions: 2012 World Champion: Johannes Mallow
                         Dark Horse: Jonas Von Essen  

                         2012 Team Champions: Germany 

That's it for now, I hope you enjoyed this, feel free to leave your comments below!

*If Dellis' fellow Americans added up to 5,000 points.


Unknown said...

It is amazing how incrdibly high the standard has got over the last few years. And still newcomers like Jonas von Essen are shooting up from zero to hero like it was nothing.

My prediction for 2012 is Johannes becuase I would love to see him getting the title. But it might be very close.

Zoomy said...

Great preview! I don't think I'm in with a chance this year, but hopefully everyone else will be so amazing, it will motivate me to practice a lot more in 2013!

No predictions from me, but I hope to be surprised!


Johann Randall Abrina said...

I agree. I think there'll be more athletes like Jonas, especially when kids starts at a very young age. I think it's about time for Johannes to win, unless it comes down to speed cards again.

Johann Randall Abrina said...

Thanks Ben! You are too modest, you are a perennial contender in these Memory Competitions. I'm also looking forward to 2013, and excited to read your take on this weekend's happenings as well. Good luck!