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USA National Memory Championships 215

bigtallmofo writes "Could you memorize 1,000 digits in under an hour? How about remember the exact order of 10 shuffled decks of playing cards in under an hour as well as one shuffled deck in less than two minutes? If so, you could be counted among 36 grand masters of memory worldwide. Slate is reporting that other spectacular memory feats were performed at the 2005 USA National Memory Championship. Congratulations to Ram Kolli, a graduate student in computer science at Virginia Tech, and this year's champ."
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USA National Memory Championships

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  • ...try it some time. The next time you're out of the office, try this:

    - Imagine you're going to send an email to everyone in your department.
    - Imagine, now, that email lists are somehow unavailable.

    - Starting with yourself, identify all the people in your row.

    - Go one row over, and identify all those people.

    Do the same for the rest of the rows.

    For those of you who sit in circles in the office, just work your way around from right to left (or left to right). ;)

    You'll be surprised at how many people you can remember!

    It works with restaurants, too, but since you're not likely to know those people, faces and habits will most likely stick out, rather than names.

  • Many local students? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Rightcoast ( 807751 ) on Saturday March 19, 2005 @08:02PM (#11987518) Homepage
    What are the odds that out the 24 contestants one hailed from a local high school. Now, what are the odds that the contest had "many local high school students"?
  • by Zsinj ( 864251 ) on Saturday March 19, 2005 @08:03PM (#11987521)
    Here's an interesting memory game to try [2 more more people]

    Take a deck of cards, shuffled. Remove 1 card randomly and place it face down on the side of the table. All of the players sit in a semi-circle in front of the dealer.

    The dealer than plays 1 card face up in the center of the table. ~1 second later, he plays another on top of the card. Repeat 51 times, showing the players 1 card in the deck at a time. When the last card is played, cover the deck up in the middle of the table.

    The players (and dealer if he didnt cheat) has seen all cards - save one. The pur-chance-guessing-game ensues: what is that card that is face-down on the side of the table?
  • by Fiz Ocelot ( 642698 ) <baelzharon.gmail@com> on Saturday March 19, 2005 @08:10PM (#11987558)
    when Cooke sees a three of clubs, a nine of hearts, and a nine of spades, he immediately conjures up an image of Brazilian lingerie model Adriana Lima in a Biggles biplane shooting at his old public-school headmaster in a suit of armor.

    It's that much easier to remember something like that than just three cards? I guess it's like they actually translate the entire deck into a sort of language. Then they just translate it using the same language every time.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 19, 2005 @08:35PM (#11987689)
    That's quite easy though isn't it?

    Just assign all the cards a numerical value from 1 to 13. Now, assign the suits a letter, eg. S=Spades, C=Clubs, H=Hearts, D=Diamonds.

    Now as long as you can add, you only have 4 numbers to keep track of :)

    At the end of the dealing, you should have three numbers that are equal to 91 (the sum of 1 through to 13), and one number that is less,
    eg. S91, C91, H91, D80.

    This tells you that the initial card was the Jack of Diamonds (11 count for D). Simple :)

    I'm sure there is an easier way, but this was the first thing that immediately popped into my head when I read you post.
    Have fun the next time you play!
  • When it fails (Score:3, Interesting)

    by wk633 ( 442820 ) on Saturday March 19, 2005 @08:54PM (#11987822)
    I once heard an interview with one of these types who did his act as a show. He said the only time he forgot an object somone in the audience asked him to remember, it was an egg. He foolishly placed it next to a white wall in his imaginary home town. When he walked back through town, he didn't see it against the wall.
  • Ed Cooke (Score:5, Interesting)

    by chri1753 ( 854560 ) on Saturday March 19, 2005 @09:37PM (#11988054)
    Ed Cooke, who "would have destroyed the American competition", is a dear friend of mine. He learnt early on that it's polite, when swapping phone numbers, to pretend to write down the number given to you.
  • Casinos! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Dark Coder ( 66759 ) on Saturday March 19, 2005 @09:40PM (#11988077)
    Why bother attending the championship?

    The private "agency", that Casinos use to scope these potential card counters, probably compile a dossier of these mentats.

    Don't bother, just rip the casino off while you can.
  • memorized zip codes (Score:5, Interesting)

    by marksilverman ( 539239 ) <mark AT marksilverman DOT com> on Saturday March 19, 2005 @10:56PM (#11988458) Homepage
    probably the best street performer I ever saw pulled 10 or 15 people out of the audience, asking each one for their home zip code. Then he took each of them in turn, told them exactly where they live, and even mentioned restaurants and bars that they probably frequent. I was living in Manchester, England at the time (and we were in Nevada) so I thought I could stump him, but he nailed it. He got people from all over the US, Canada, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. He produced the specific city or town, not just the country. Now that's a good memory!

    As I recall, he calls himself "the zip code guy".
  • Re:Casinos! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by friedo ( 112163 ) * on Sunday March 20, 2005 @12:32AM (#11988865) Homepage
    Even the best card counters don't win that big at casinos. The slight edge it gives you at Blackjack, for example, is largely eliminated by frequent shuffles and large shoes.

    If you want to make money at a casino, don't try to beat the casino at their own game. Play against chumps who are bad at poker.

"Wish not to seem, but to be, the best." -- Aeschylus