The Extreme Memory Tournament

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Zoomy's picture
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On April 26-27 2014, in San Diego, there's going to be a new memory competition, organised by Nelson Dellis and sponsored by the good people of Dart Neuroscience and Washington University in St Louis (the university that invited Nelson, me and a few others to go and take part in their memory experiments a while ago). Full details aren't finalised yet, but they've invited the world's top 16 (as per the current WMSC rankings) to take part. Nelson said I could share the information with the world, so here's the basic information we've got so far:

Extreme Memory Tournament
Basic Information
• Hosted at the Dart NeuroScience Facility in San Diego, CA USA (to be
completed end of 2013).
• Sponsored by Dart NeuroScience and Washington University in St. Louis.
• 16 competitors will be invited from all over the world to ensure that the
competition is at the highest level. We will be inviting the top ranked memory
athletes (according to the current WMC rankings).
• The competitors will be split up into 4 groups of 4. The groups will be
organized fairly based on world rankings.
• The competition will be run first in group stages (on day 1) and then single
elimination Quarterfinals, Semifinals, and Finals (on day 2).
• All matches will be head-to-head competitive style, with competitors facing
each other (1-on-1, like a tennis match).
• Competitors will input their answers in laptops or other digital devices.
• All 16 competitors will receive a $2000 bonus to help defray the costs of their
travel to the competition.

Prize Money Allocation
Total: $60,000
Day 1:
Winner of each of the four competitive events (overall best score): $4,000 each
Day 2:
1st place: $20,000
2nd place: $12,000
3rd place: $6,000
4th place: $2,000
5th place: $1,000
6th place: $1,000
7th place: $1,000
8th place: $1,000

Group Stage Day 1
• There will be 4 memory tests throughout the Group Stage matches:
o Speed Cards – memorize a deck of cards as fast as possible
o 1 Minute Speed Numbers – memorize as many digits as possible in 1
minute
o 1 Minute Names & Faces – memorize as many names as fast as
possible in 1 minute
o 1 Minute Random Words – memorize as many random words as
possible in 1 minute
• Each competitor will face all others in their respective groups, for each of
these memory tests. 6 different matches, with 4 events each = 24 different
head-to-head battles per group.
• Points will be earned if a match is won (2 points) or tied (1 point). 0 points for
a loss.
• The top two leaders by points in each group will advance to Day 2.
• All 4 memory tests versus an opponent will be split up over the course of the
day to keep things moving, light, and interesting. That way, the point
accumulation can be a close race till the very end.
Single Elimination Rounds Day 2
• All matches will be head-to-head, with the competitors facing each other (1-
on-1 style).
• Matches will be played out in one go on stage.
• Each match will be a best-of-5 series (first to 3 wins).
• The first match of each match will start with a surprise event. This will decide
who gets the first point. The loser chooses the next discipline. From there on
forward until the match is won, discipline choice alternates between the
competitors. The same discipline cannot be chosen twice in a row.
• Same rules apply for the 4 disciplines as in Day 1, except with a few slight
alterations to decide a winner in the event of a tie.
• The finals will be a best-of-7 series to make it as interesting as possible.

Some details we'll need clarification on - how will the scoring work? WMSC style with 40 digits in a row, or a different system where you score a point for every digit/word you recall correctly?

There really haven't been many other competitions like this in the past. It's great to break away from the usual competition format and do something a bit different. This is most like the Speed Cards Challenge, in 2006, which also had head-to-head competition. I assume that the laptops in the Extreme Tournament (let's call it the XMT, it looks cool with an X) will be arranged so that the competitors can't see when their opponent has stopped the clock, like in the SCC - otherwise if your opponent finishes before you, you might as well just take the whole five minutes, make sure you get it right, and hope they make a mistake.

The current top 16 are as follows:

1 Johannes Mallow
2 Simon Reinhard
3 Wang Feng
4 Jonas von Essen
5 Ben Pridmore
6 Boris Nikolai Konrad
7 Christian Schäfer
8 Ola Kåre Risa
9 Gunther Karsten Dr.
10 Clemens Mayer
11 Liu Su
12 Astrid Plessl
13 Cornelia Beddies
14 Andi Bell
15 Joachim Thaler
16 Dominic O'Brien

(I assume Nelson's going to use the World Memory Statistics rankings - the Memocamp ones are slightly different because Memocamp considers certain events to have used 'international' names. The top 16 are the same in both cases.)

Who will come and who won't? Some of those names haven't been seen in competitions for a long time, but they might just be tempted out of retirement by the prize money. If not, we've got people ranked just below that who might get a chance...

17 Su Ruiqiao
18 Zheng Caiqian
19 Jan Formann
20 Li Wei
21 Nelson Dellis
22 Annalena Fischer
23 Anna Barwinski
24 Guo Chuanwei
25 Yuan Wenkui
26 Jiang Zhuo Lang
27 Johann Randall P. Abrina
28 Wang Xiaolu
29 Fu Jianjin
30 Hu Xiaoling
31 Alisa Kellner
32 Dorothea Seitz

I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts about anything and everything to do with the competition! Especially if you can think of a potential problem that might come up - it'd be good to get those sorted out before the event happens, so we have as few teething troubles as possible!

Boris's picture
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Re: The Extreme Memory Tournament

This all sounds great and I am looking forwad to it very much!

Nelson told me Numbers will be in rows of 40, so this might be simillar to what we are used to while other details have yet to come.

Zoomy's picture
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Re: The Extreme Memory Tournament

The problem I can see with the "single elimination" rounds is what happens if you get someone who's good with cards and numbers against someone who's good with words and faces (which is the kind of thing that's likely to happen).

With the alternating choices of discipline, the winner would basically be determined by random chance - whoever gets one of their favourites in the first discipline will win the match...

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Re: The Extreme Memory Tournament

Well the idea is that the first event is always a surprise, something that each competitor will get a fixed amount of time to strategize before it happens. Whoever wins obviously gets the first point. The loser gets to choose the discipline for the next point (The idea being he is at a disadvantage and might be able to choose something he/she feels is a stronger suit). I don't think it's assumed that the person who chooses that first non-surprise event will win the whole thing because if he wins that point, they would be tied 1-1 and now the other person can choose his/her event, etc.

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Re: The Extreme Memory Tournament

Hi Nelson,

I think what Ben meant is rather the opposite. Who wins the surprise, wins the game.

For example I have to go against Ben.

If I win the surprise event the standings are 1-0. Ben will pick numbers, because he will most likely beat me in numbers. 1-1. I pick names. 2-1. Cards 2-2. Words 3-2. I win.

If Ben won the surprise event its 0-1. I pick names 1-1. He numbers 1-2... until 2-3.

Of course that is only true, if the difference between two competitors is really clear. Having less formal rules as we do have now might benefit the excitement. So instead of rows of 40, only have rows of 10. Then the expected to be poorer digit memorize can go more risky.

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Re: The Extreme Memory Tournament

Yes, I phrased it pretty badly, but that's what I was trying to say - if someone like me goes up against someone like Boris, it all comes down to the surprise task that starts things off. If that favours the kind of things that I'm good at, I win, and if it doesn't, I lose.

I'm not sure how we could mess with the rules to change that, though, unless you can come up with a surprise event that equally tests the different skill sets...

It's still gonna be an amazing competition, anyway! Smile

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Re: The Extreme Memory Tournament

Great feedback. Once Simon Orton get's the first prototypes for the software working, we will be testing the s*** out of this format and making adjustments where needed. I will definitely keep this in mind.

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Re: The Extreme Memory Tournament

Hey there!

I’m also looking forward to this new kind of competition! I’m sure it will be a lot of fun! Smile

To the “winner by random chance”-problem: I think by having rigorous rules (like the 40 digits/row-rule or even the spoken numbers-rule in common competitions) the winner of a “set”/match (and the whole competition) is much less predictable. If the favorite has one or two gaps, the underdog has a good chance of winning by recalling less information perfectly. If we have 10 digits/row or 1 point for 1 correct digit, the favorite will win more likely, because he is much faster and scores better, even if he has one or two gaps and loses only 10 or 20 points.
With those rigorous rules the favorite is still in advantage (of course, because he’s stronger), but surprises are more likely to happen.

Also very interesting: With rigorous rules also the “surprise probability” on the first day will increase a lot because some strong competitors will try to get a high score for the 4.000$-bonus so that weaker opponents have a better chance to get into the second round. With more generous rules the favorite can go for a high score and even when he “fails” and has some gaps he will probably still have more points than the weaker opponent so that surprises are very unlikely.

That’s what I think about it.

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Re: The Extreme Memory Tournament

Welcome to the forum, Christian!

I like the idea of spoken numbers-style scoring for all the disciplines, even names & faces and words - that's something that hasn't really been done before, except in the US championship. And it would make surprise results more likely!

Not that I have any chance of winning a names and faces competition whatever the rules are... Smile

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Re: The Extreme Memory Tournament

I wonder what type of scores would be possible for the 1 minute numbers since it will be much more like a speed event. A similar event that I can think of is a row of 40 which takes about 15 seconds for me and I know someone else who can do that in about 8 seconds. What kind of score do you think people would get for 1 min now? Also, since it is so short, I would also guess that the difference between winning and losing between good competition may come down to who could hold and does not forget an afterimage of the last bit of numbers without mnemonics.

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Re: The Extreme Memory Tournament

That's a very good point. In the speed cards, I normally just 'read' the last five images - looking at the cards and saying the name of the images ("bro-staff-shard-Destro-cake"), then after I stop the timer I create the picture in my head. I'll need to experiment with doing that with the numbers, too. New disciplines need new skills! Smile

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Re: The Extreme Memory Tournament

Yup, actually for numbers we were playing with the idea of scoring +1 for correct digits, and -1 for wrong ones (this is to discourage guessing). And we had decided on 40 digits per row just because since it's only a minute, having a continuous line of digits allows for smooth memorization. I think if it's just rows of 10 or even 20, there's a lot of shifting from line to line. I think you guys can maximize your scores with more digits per line (although anymore than 40 really and we'll be cramping up the space on the page....so).

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Re: The Extreme Memory Tournament

I agree it would be great to experiment with some forms of scoring.

Being the critical grumpler again, I suggest to also think about the aspect of scoring for the first day. When later in the day some athlete might have reached a secure place in the second day, the 4000$ bonus might motivate to risk alot and go for records. This will lead to some great results (good Smile) but also increases the luck component, as those still fighting for the second spot for day 2 might be affected (less good).

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Re: The Extreme Memory Tournament

I'm eager to see this happen. Love that you guys are considering options for scoring.

I'm not going to weigh in much except that determining the overall why of the competition will help guide your choices for various scoring mechanisms.

Cheers,
Erik van Mechelen

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Re: The Extreme Memory Tournament

Hey guys,

I have made an interview with Nelson Dellis about his upcoming XMT. It sounds awesome what he has planned. If this is even half as good as it sounds it will change the sport for ever. It will give it a complete new perspective of public awareness and a much cooler reputation. Together with the traditional championships it will grow into a wide and entertaining sport. On hand we would have fun, quick and fierce competitions and on the other we would have long and demanding championships. The less entertaining traditional ones would become the ultimate test, like a marathon. Or since there are already two marathons at the World Memory Championships and many tough shorter ones, it would be an IRON MIND. It already is but we have never seen it from this perspective.

But read it for yourself and be ready to follow the XMT 2014 life online. Where ever you are in the world!

http://www.memory-sports.com/extreme-memory-tournament-2014-preview/

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Re: The Extreme Memory Tournament

Flauwy wrote:
It will give it a complete new perspective of public awareness and a much cooler reputation.

How could memory sports' reputation possibly be cooler??

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Re: The Extreme Memory Tournament

LociInTheSky wrote:
Flauwy wrote:
It will give it a complete new perspective of public awareness and a much cooler reputation.

How could memory sports' reputation possibly be cooler??

More Mountains and Drowning!

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Re: The Extreme Memory Tournament

Its only two weeks!
Don't miss the draw on Tuesday.

So - what is everyones guesses, whole will rank Top4? Who benefits most from the format and disciplines?

And what kind of strategy do you expect to be best?
I guess tactics will play the biggest role in digits, where most or all of the competitors can do 60 in a minute. So if you see your opponent hit the timer you can take the whole minute to make sure you got all of them. Which again means, if you press the button, you better be sure you get them all right. So repeat everything? Or just go a little slower?

At the memoriad 2012 everyone was expecting amazing times in Speed Cards, since all the Worlds best were there. But despite two attempts only Ben managed to score a time under 30s while the 2nd and 3rd place surprisingly went to Mongolia and Austria and not to one of the top Speed Cards competitors, who all made mistakes.

Edit: Should have set "under 40s" regarding Memoriad times.

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Re: The Extreme Memory Tournament

I think my time at the Memoriad was more like 35 seconds - I was extremely surprised that it won! But I do expect to see more successful times than failures at the XMT. I predict that there'll be more than one time under 30 seconds!

I'm very curious to see how everyone does with the numbers. It's easier to make mistakes in the recall there, so perhaps more people will be careful instead of going as fast as possible?

Here's my thoughts on the draw for the group stage: http://zoomy.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/they-are-x-mem.html
Obviously that's a personal view from me rather than anything objective! Who would you want to be in a group with, and who would you want to avoid?

I still favour Simon to win the tournament, but who knows what might happen? Top four depends on who plays who in the quarter-finals, but my prediction would be Simon, Johannes, Jonas and Boris. Smile

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Re: The Extreme Memory Tournament

Getting more and more excited for this.

What type of Extreme Memory Tasks (the random events) are you all expecting?

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Re: The Extreme Memory Tournament

You can also see brief thoughts from Johannes, Simon, Jonas, and Ben (who were kind enough to respond to my questions) at: http://www.extremememorytournament.com/news

If you are competing and I didn't email you, don't sweat it! You can still send me your thoughts on the tournament, predictions, or how you're preparing for the Extreme Memory Tasks at: [email protected]. I'll make sure you're quoted in an upcoming post!

Cheers -Erik

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Re: The Extreme Memory Tournament

decision_ wrote:
Getting more and more excited for this.

What type of Extreme Memory Tasks (the random events) are you all expecting?

Well, that's the thing I'm really wondering about! I suppose it depends what kind of things pop out of Nelson's mind...

If I was choosing them, I'd like to throw in some kind of 'photographic memory' task. For example, you get to look at a big screen with, say, 20 coloured dots on it, and then for the recall you get a blank screen and have to place dots at exactly the position that you saw them in the memorisation stage. You score, say, 10 points for each one exactly correct, 9 points for everything up to 5 pixels away, 8 points for up to 10 pixels, and so on.

I reserve the right to change this scoring system if and when I learn exactly how big a 'pixel' is, but you get the idea. Smile

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Re: The Extreme Memory Tournament

Zoomy wrote:
decision_ wrote:
Getting more and more excited for this.

What type of Extreme Memory Tasks (the random events) are you all expecting?

Well, that's the thing I'm really wondering about! I suppose it depends what kind of things pop out of Nelson's mind...

If I was choosing them, I'd like to throw in some kind of 'photographic memory' task. For example, you get to look at a big screen with, say, 20 coloured dots on it, and then for the recall you get a blank screen and have to place dots at exactly the position that you saw them in the memorisation stage. You score, say, 10 points for each one exactly correct, 9 points for everything up to 5 pixels away, 8 points for up to 10 pixels, and so on.

I reserve the right to change this scoring system if and when I learn exactly how big a 'pixel' is, but you get the idea. Smile

This is brilliant and definitely fits with the short burst challenge approach to the rest of the competition. Thanks for the thoughts on this. I'm curious to see if there is a mix between auditory and visual tasks. I'm also curious about the 10-minute window for preparing a strategy. This makes me think that the tasks will be somewhat involved or complex Smile.

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Re: The Extreme Memory Tournament

I´d like to have blindfold rubies cube - or cube memorization. Learned that for a TV show recently and would not mind having to use it again Wink

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Re: The Extreme Memory Tournament

Boris wrote:
I´d like to have blindfold rubies cube - or cube memorization. Learned that for a TV show recently and would not mind having to use it again Wink

Did my first USA MC this year and learned about cube-memorization. Pretty neat stuff!

New post on http://www.extremememorytournament.com/news about the Extreme Memory Tasks !

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Re: The Extreme Memory Tournament

In the 50-digit sprint on memocamp, Hannes and Simon have these scores, respectively:

H - 8.26s
S - 7.77s

And in 100-digit sprint:

H - 23.97s
S - 25.19s

In 1:00 words, Katie is the outlier with the almost unbelievable score of 44. Simon's is 34 and this "memostacker" guy, who has very high scores all over the site and is surely in the top 16, has 31.

In Group A, we have Hannes with the guys ranked 8, 12, and 15. I pick him to win every event. It'll be a slaughter. Maybe not so much for names, though.

In Group B, I think Christian's going to take numbers and Ola cards.

Group C and D are more interesting to me.

Andi Bell's in Group C. It would be great if he had some new tricks up his sleeve, but I wouldn't count on it.

Jonas is in Group C also. He's not going to set records, but he's not going to make mistakes either. I pick him for digits.

The way Boris does cards is good with a second deck to reconstruct, but I would guess it's riskier for "perfect" memorization. If he can cycle through the images in his head very quickly it might help him here, since he uses 52 objects in 52 loci. So I think we should deduct a little from Boris' skill on that account and say that there's no clear favorite for cards. But he's always been very good at words and names, and having both of those strengths, he's my favorite for group C, but not by much.

Simon for group D. I am forced to pick Simon and Hannes for their groups no matter who else is with them. I would like it more to see them in the same group for that reason. Extremely curious to see the numbers Zoomy puts up, but unfortunately, the long events are where he really shines. Fast with cards also, but not as fast as Simon.

And Simon is my pick for victor.

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Re: The Extreme Memory Tournament

Memostacker is Boris, BTW.

As the organizer of this event, I probably shouldn't be naming favorites, but Simon seems like a good guess (or Johannes, or Jonas, or Ben Laughing out loud). BUT, I would also watch out for Bat-Erdene. Just saying. He is lighting the f*** out of s*** right now (excuse my French).

Also, it'll be interesting to see how strategies play a part here. There might be some serious upsets here and there. Even I can't predict the outcomes, having spent a lot of time testing and playing with the software. We will just have to wait and see.

I think consistency will be the key to win here. Who can hit consistently "decent" scores (not the top risky scores, but also not slow/safe scores either) in all the disciplines. There are competitors who have obvious weaknesses. Ben doesn't like names, but is great at cards and numbers. James who is great at words and names, but not so fast at cards and numbers. Who feels strong at all the events? And who feels confident they can always nail a deck of cards sub-50 seconds, 60 digits in under 30 seconds, 30-40 words, and 20-30 names. I feel like hitting those scores throughout might take you really really far.

I could be totally wrong though. HA.

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Re: The Extreme Memory Tournament

YES --> "Just saying. He is lighting the f*** out of s*** right now (excuse my French)."

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Re: The Extreme Memory Tournament

It will be possible to watch the XMT online? I can't wait for it! Laughing out loud

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Re: The Extreme Memory Tournament

Not sure exactly if and how that works. Nelson, is it possible to stream online?

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Re: The Extreme Memory Tournament

Lance, you'll see I cite this response in my latest post on extremememorytournament.com/news/ !

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