Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Review: The 1st National Open on Memory Sports (Philippine Friendly Memory Sports 2013)

1st National Open on Memory Sport
(Philippine Friendly Memory Sports 2013)

As I mentioned in my last post, I am going to write a review of what transpired during the First National Open on Memory Sports or also known as The Philippine Friendly Memory Sports 2013. And here it is. As you all know, the event happened last May 25, 2013, being that I lacked the foresight of writing a review of the said event, I didn't have any notes during the day of the competition. That is why I’ll be going through this from what I can recall from my memory of the event, something that may or may not be entirely accurate. So, without further ado, here is my not so precise account of what transpired in the First National Open on Memory Sports (Or as the Official Stat Site would have it, The Philippine Friendly Memory Sports.)  

To join or not to join?
This way.
Photo by: Carlito Galamgam Jr.

It was quite a surprise to me when they announced this event with almost less than a month ahead of the said date. Being that I like to fancy myself preparing a bit longer than a month before heading into any tournament and that I've also been focusing my attention to my memory workshops leading into the  event, I had initially brushed off the idea of participating in it. I was even doubtful that it will push through given the time frame and what not. So I went along doing my thing until I came across an old colleague at the Gateway Mall in Cubao, who was apparently on his way to do an ocular inspection at venue hall. He confirmed to me that indeed, there will be a local memory tournament, and that it will be televised. He also said that there’ll be cash prizes and a possible trip to the First Hong Kong Open Memory Championship for the top three winners! That last bit caught my attention but I had to curb my enthusiasm at that moment. Knowing him, he has the proclivity to hype things up a bit.

But several sources told me about the same thing. That it will be an opportunity to determine the country’s best Memory Athletes and will determine which athlete will receive possible support in coming international events. Hoping that it will be more than just empty promises, I end up joining.

Start of a long day.

Opening ceremonies. Photo by: CGJr.
On the day of the tournament, competitors were supposed to fill up registration forms and hand in their playing cards before 8 am. So I woke up quite early that Saturday morning, only to get stuck at the MRT for about an hour. When I got to the venue, they were surprisingly just starting out the whole registration process, which was a relief since I was already thinking that I’ll just end up being a spectator because I arriving fashionably late, again. As I came into the venue hall, I’m glad to see quite a few familiar faces again that I haven’t seen for quite some time.

Events for the day... Hour cards, Hour Number,
and 30 Minute Binary. Yay! Photo by: CGJr.
As I settled down to my table, I was eagerly awaiting for the first event of the day. I realized that I have to wait a bit more since it was the very first ever memory event held here in the Philippines, there had to be quite a few explanations of the day’s proceedings to the uninitiated spectators. As I sat there impatiently observing, I made a comment to my seat mate, Grand Master in the making, Axel, that I felt bad about those in the audience who are going to be watching a whole day of people staring at papers. But they didn’t mind it at all even if it turned out to continue well into the night, as almost every after event there’ll be an explanation of the rules and regulations and shout outs to sponsors. They’re mostly eager supporters after all, parents, friends, and relatives of the participants.

Mr. Axelyancy Tabernilla enjoying some DVD collection.
Photo by: CGJr 
While we were listening to the order of events being announced, there was a sudden burst of ramblings coming from the competitors. It turns out that the announcer, some guy from the organizers, I’m going to be pulling a Ben here, as I am not as good in names as well, have announced that there will be an hour numbers and hour cards scheduled within the day! But the uproar from the worried mnemonists was quickly quelled when he corrected his announcement, which was a relief, especially to the kids. I think he was reading it from the event rules and regulations pdf file that was downloaded from the WMSC website.

Anytime anyone asks why I messed up memorizing,
I'd say "I got distracted!"        Photo by: CGJr 
As I look around the competition area, I saw quite a number of participants, mostly kids, and quite a lot of spectators as well. I’m glad that there were a lot more kids and juniors than adults, not because my chances of getting into the top three is higher, but that there are more and more younger people that are interested in the sport. And having more, younger mnemonists participate means there'll be greater chances of having more break out stars of our own, ala Jonas Von Essen, in the near future.

And so it begins…

The National Open Memory Sports followed the national standards events by the WMSC, it is just too bad that they weren't able to get an official arbiter to oversee the whole thing. It would have been nice if the results were reflected at the World Rankings, and as you’ll see later, a couple of titles were lost because of this. Anyways...

Your one minute of mental preparation, starts now!
Photo by: CGJr.
We started with Binary digits. Although I knew I’d get a respectable number here, I’m quite wary of this event because the last time I was competing, this was also the first event and I messed it up, giving me a difficult time with the rest of the events. But I knew I’d do well. So, I’m getting myself ready, prepared my location and cleared my watch, and then I hear the arbiter say… “Your one minute of mental preparation starts now.” So, I closed my eyes to have me prepared and then I hear the phrase that is quite unique in the Memory Sports world, “Neurons on the ready… ” Upon hearing that, I opened my eyes immediately to get my memory sheet and turn it over, but my paper is not there! I was staring at my desk looking for a sheet of paper that was obviously not there, and at that half second of surprise, a hand came into my view holding the sheets and placed it on the table just in time for the arbiter to say “Go!” And so, I immediately grabbed it and turned it over but to my surprise again, I was thinking, “Why is my binary sheet missing half of its rows?! Where’s the rest of it? Oh shit! I better start memorizing.” And so I did. After blasting through the memory sheets, there was still more or less a half a minute left, without anything else to memorize, I decided to just review them and run through the sheets again. Only to realize that what I was holding was already the second page! The damn thing wasn't stapled together and the first one was just right there on my desk. By the time it all came to me, the time expired and we had to start the recall stage. Good thing I managed to get most of it correct and had 330 digits which was good enough to get me third behind Mark and Erwin, something that will turn out to be a trend for the rest of the day.  

Ms. AB Bonita doing a live demo of her
names and faces prowess for Matanglawin.
But not so much for the next event, the Names and Faces, which was topped by Ms. Anne Bernadette Bonita with a score of 42. She was followed by Mark and his student Kevin Carl Aquino, with 38 and 37 points respectively. I generally suck at this event, and but I think it is just a matter of lack of practice. I barely train for it and I hardly use a reliable system for it as well.

The next event is the 15 minute numbers, which was won by Mark with  540 digits. It was his personal best and it landed him at 13th in the world at this event. Like with many of my competition, I manage to mess things up by attempting to memorize more than I could even handle in practice, which ultimately costs me some valuable points. I think I tried for 600 in this one and my recall was good enough for only 370 digits that landed me on to third place, behind Erwin.

The Abstract Kid.  Photo by: CGJr.
In a break of pace, I narrowly managed to win the most anticipated event of the day, the Abstract Images. It is very much anticipated by the juniors and kids most of all. I don't know what's up with them, as every time this event was mentioned by the announcer, they keep on yelling and jeering at this particular kid. I guess he's quite good at it. And that made me think we might have another person gunning for the Gold. And having hardly any practice with it, I tried to do a safe attempt here. But the lack of practice caused some major trouble as I got a bit lost from my usual journey and made the recall a challenge. What I thought should have been an easy win for me, had me scared a bit since, I got ahead of Erwin with only just two points separating us. AB rounded up the third.

Finishing the first half of the competition is the Historic Dates. Here is another event that I thought I should do well but my effort wasn't enough as Erwin did way more than Mark and me. At this point, if I'm not mistaken, it was around 4 pm already. And the whole program was scheduled to end at 5:30 pm.


To be continued..

In the mean time, you can follow me here, as per usual:

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