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
• 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
Winner of each of the four competitive events (overall best score): $4,000 each
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
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
• 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-
• 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!