Tuesday, June 4, 2013

2013 Memory Championships: Mid-Season Roundup, Results, and New World Records

It's been a while since my last post. I've been quite pre-occupied by the Memory Workshops that I've been conducting these couple of months and while I'm away, there have been a lot of things that happened in the Memory Sports World.  First off, Memory Championship Updates! 

2013 Japanese Memory Champion
Yoshihiro Ikeda receiving his award.
I did a rundown of upcoming memory championships in the early part of 2013 and most of them have concluded already. We'll start first with the Japanese Memory Championship; as I said before, Takeru Aoki, the 2012 Japanese National champion wasn't able to defend his title and was defeated by someone. After doing some snooping around at the Japanese Memory Sports TeamFacebook Page, I found out through Tomoyuki Nakata's blog that that someone is Yoshihiro Ikeda pictured at the right.

Back at the states, the USA MemoryChampionship was regained by Ram Kolli, he dethroned the back to back Champion Nelson Dellis. It is to be noted that the US Memory Championship has quite a different format from the WMSC sanctioned events with only 3 events that are similar, 5 minute numbers, 15 minute Names and Faces, and the Speed Card event. It is also the only Memory Championship that is regularly televised live. Imagine how it would be telecast for the hour long events, 3 hours of people looking down at papers!

On the same day as the happenngs in the USA Memory Championship, the Slovenian Memory Championship crowned its fifth champion in Petra Vogrinec, her second time to win the title. 

Jonas Von Essen (Green Jacket) with fellow
Swede Florian Minges at the Welsh Open.
The Welsh Open was won by Swedish Memory King Jonas Von Essen, his first of many events to win in his 2013 Memory Tour, while John Burrows regained his title as Welsh Champion. 

We've also seen the coronation of the inaugural Italian Open Memory Champion in Johannes Mallow, the 2012 World Memory Champion, where he fought a tightly contested battle with Simon Reinhard. At the same time, Mara Brescianini became the first Italian National Champion. There were also four world records broken here, 3 by the current World Champion and the other one was by Boris Konrad. 

Another debuting memory event, the First Mongolian Memory Championship was surprisingly won by a Junior competitor, Namuuntuul Bat-Erdene, and a rookie none the less! She made a spectacular splash when she broke two world records in the junior division, the 5 minute binary (525 digits) and 15 minute numbers (580 digits).

One of the primary ways to find talent in any sport is through grass roots development. And in Memory Sports, Germany and China, are the only two countries that I know of that has established such programs. And last April we’ve seen new talent emerge from Germany’s Regional (North/South) Championships. The South German Open on the other hand was wrested by the Swede Jonas, his second championship for the year.
Winners of the 1st Italian Open Memory Championship:
(L-R) Boris Konrad, 3rd place , Italian organizer Matteo Salvo,
Simon Reinhard, 2nd, Johannes Mallow, Inaugural Champion (Seated). 

The latest international event to wrap up this year was the Friendly (Cambridge) Championships organized by the former three time World Champion, Ben Pridmore. This friendly event was dominated by the Scandinavian duo, Jonas Von Essen and Ola Kåre Risa, where they both broke world records on their way to top 1 and 2, respectively. The Norwegian Ola broke Johannes Mallow’s very young five minute binary digit record (975 digits) at the Italian Open with an astounding 1016 binary digits. He’s the first to break into the 1000 digits barrier in that category. The 300 digit spoken numbers world record set by the Chinese phenom Wang Feng in his last World Championship (2011) appearance was broken by Jonas with 318 digits. It made me wonder how far Wang Feng could have risen the bar during his 400 digit spoken numbers attempt last 2011 if the computer projecting the numbers did not skip because of a glitch.

Scandinavian record breakers with their world record recall papers,
Norwegian Ola Kare Risa (left) and Swedish Jonas Von Essen (right).    
Coming into the 9th event, Ola was firmly ahead of Jonas with almost 200 points. But with his phenomenal performance at the Spoken Numbers event, Von Essen pulled away emphatically and lead ahead of the Norsk with 393 championship points going into the final event, the speed cards. Having posted almost an identical 45+ seconds, the Swedish Mnemostar took home his 3rd championship for the year. His performance also shot him up the rankings into fourth behind Wang Feng, breaking the seven thousand point barrier with 7358. Being that the Chinese permanently retired from active competition, Jonas Von Essen firmly established himself as the third best active Memory Sports Athlete today. And with his current Memory Sports tour, where he seems to go and compete in every possible memory competition available to him, he is definitely setting himself up to be the 2013 World Memory Championship’s dark horse.

1st National Open on
Memory Sports Champion Erwin Balines
Last but definitely not the least, my country had its first ever memory competition with the National Open on Memory Sports. It was successfully held last May 25 at the Alphaland Southgate Mall in Makati. There were quite a number of people who turned up to compete in the event but the Philippines’ highest ranked memory athlete and its second ever Grand Master of Memory, Erwin Balines of Mandaluyong city, won the event comfortably. I only manage to land third, behind the other Grand Master of the Philippines, Mark Anthony Castañeda. I’ll be posting a more in depth write up about the event in another article.

This is just the first half of 2013 Memory Season and it is just heating up! There are more and more competitions popping up everywhere and for this coming July alone, there will be several memory events lined up, the Algerian Memory Championships, Thailand Open Memory Championships, the German Open Memory Championships, and another Philippine memory event!

This is gearing up to be an exciting memory season that will culminate with the 2013 World Memory Championship at the all familiar TBA.

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