I'm gonna quickly go over my results from each of the events just like I did for the UK competition. Just some basic info: the competition was held in Heilbronn, Germany (near Stuttgart) in a sort of children's science museum called "Experimenta". It was a pretty sweet venue, I've gotta say....with free lunch and all. Fancy. Anyways, here goes:
- Day 1
Abstract Images - So last time I had been trying a technique where I just make up images for the blobs as they came up and linked each row into small stories. I tried 200 last time and made a ton of errors, only getting 145 points or so. The problem with doing it that way is that each "abstract" image is a random shape with a random pattern laid on it. The people who designed the damn thing say there are over a million different possible images. Yeah....and using my method, you get a lot of the same images creeping up. It's like that Rorschach Test, only it gets super confusing because you keep thinking you're seeing shapes that look like rabbits, aliens, space ships, or profiles of old men/women....nothing else. So, that being said, I worked on coming up with a system where I have a preset image for each pattern, instead of shape, and then do person/action/object along a journey. I had never practiced it, but did pretty awesome. I managed up to 180 images and made only 1 mistake, getting a score of 174. Not bad for a first try. The new method is perfect, now all I need is to practice speed. I'm pretty sure I can get it to 300 by December.
Binary Marathon - 30 minutes for memorizing binary digits? I have a Masters in Computer Science, yet this is my worst discipline, haha. Last time I totally bombed this, so coming back with a bit more practice I had my eyes set on getting 1500 digits at least. I managed this pretty comfortably. It still doesn't compare to what the best in the world can do, as they can easily score 3000-4000 digits. I'll be happy if I can train myself up to around 2500. Some people have complex systems for this, but mine is plain and easy....I have no plans for revamping this. Good ol practice should do the trick.
Numbers Marathon - 30 minutes for numbers. Last time I went for 880 digits or so and barring a few mistakes, ended up with a score of 750. This time I went for 1000 digits and although I had a few tiny gaps here and there, ended up with 840 digits. I know I can do more than 1000, I just don't think I pushed myself that hard here. Either way, 840 is very good despite Johannes, Simon, and Christian all getting over 1200 digits. The world championships will have this event, but 60 minutes instead of 30. My goal is 2200 digits, which would be close to the world record, but I know others will probably break that with 2400 or something totally ridiculous.
Cards Marathon - How many decks of cards can you memorize in 30 minutes? Last time I did 8 decks smack on the nose, no mistakes. I tried to push myself a bit more with 9 decks and did it solidly perfect (9 decks and 1 card to be precise). 9 decks turns out to be 468 cards + 1 = 469. Pretty sweet. Ben Pridmore did 16 decks....that son of a bitch! He's always amazing at that. The world championships will have 60 minutes for this discipline so I think a good goal is to try 20 decks...and maybe 2 cards instead of the extra 1.
That was the end of Day 1, where I had improved on ALL of my scores from the previous competition. Sweet!
- Day 2
Spoken Numbers - 3 trials of spoken numbers. Usually in English, the Germans do theirs in German. Even though I had spent a lot of time learning the 10 numbers 0-9 in German, there was still a fraction of a millisecond lag when translating in my mind. This turns out to be detrimental because I eventually can't keep up with the 1 digit per second pace, always trying to translate. Frustrating. I ended up with a best of 38 digits. I tried for at least 50 but confused some "Noins" and "Nuls"....silly German words.
Historic Dates - Another event where I had practiced a lot, getting 55-60 dates in practice, which is pretty good. But somehow I froze and only got 44, yuck. Worse than my UK competition score. Don't know what happened here but I'm still aiming for 100 by the WMCs.
Names & Faces - I was excited for this one because I've become very good at names. But these names were tough and for some reason things weren't sticking in my brain as they usually do. I'm sure I made a ton of spelling mistakes because I only ended up with 87 points. Another sub-par score. Last competition I managed 114, so a big discrepancy there.
Speed Numbers 1 - I don't know what it is but I somehow always suck at numbers in competition. Ugh, it makes me sick. I practice this everyday and always bomb in competition. WHY? This day was nothing different. I tried for 250 or so digits and made a few mistakes to end up with 160 (barf). For some reason I can't match the speed that I get in practice. I get in the 320-340 range in practice. I think I just need to start practicing on paper only, no computer screens.
Random Words - Tried 203 words, which I felt superbly solid about. But soon figured out that I flipped one pair of words, "ladder" and "pressure", and had messed up "pond lily" which was actually "water lily" duhhhh. What the hell is a "pond lily" anyways? That word doesn't even exist. So my score was 163, which isn't bad but so not close to what I'm capable of. I always practice speed words and manage 90 or so in 5 minutes. So I know I have a lot more room to grow because technically I should be getting scores in the mid to late 200s. Expect that at the WMC. Boom.
Speed Numbers 2 - On the second trial I vowed to rock it. I did, relatively speaking. I scored a perfect 264, which was good enough to beat Ben Pridmore....woahhhhh. That made me feel good. But not that good because I know he can score over 400, lol. Either way, this was more indicative of how good I am at numbers and finally gave me a good international score for numbers. It also beats the USA record that I set back in march (248 digits). Predictions: 360 at the WMCs. 400 at the USA competition in March. Holler.
Speed Cards 1 - I looked at the score board and realized that I needed only 343 points to steal the 20th position in the world rankings. Doing a VERY safe 1m30s speed cards would have given me about 350 points. So my plan was to go very safe the first round and nail it. I did. In 1m14s. It was a piece of cake. I've started to realize that I can go through the deck twice pretty fast and that going through it twice almost ENSURES that I'll nail it. That's comforting to know. So I easily slipped into the #20 slot with that cards round. Now to hit the turbo boost...
Speed Cards 2 - I wanted to get into the 40-50 second range, which is what I get pretty consistently and comfortably in practice. I went smoothly and quickly and slammed the timer down with it reading 48 seconds. Nice! Now to review it in my head. Everything was clear except for a few jumbles on the very first 2 images. I started to organize the deck during recall and although I thought I had figured out that mess at the beginning, it turned out to be kinda wrong. I thought it was "a pirate spinning a sniper rifle" and then "Tiger Woods setting fire to a white board" but in fact it was "a pirate spinning a white board" and "Tiger Woods sniping a fire"....FOREHEAD SLAP....Oh Tiger Woods how you mess up my memory. Everything else in the deck was perfect though. Oh well, such is life. Simon Reinhard broke his old world record with 21.19 seconds. Nice. I have a plan for the future though. I know I vowed that I would never change my system, but I have nothing to do now but train, so I'm switching my system. I need to get into the 20-30 range. My new system is pretty sexy I have to admit, and I'm not just saying that because it's mine.
So there it is. Another international competition under my belt. Some good practice and some good confidence boosters. I have 2 months now to perfect all that and to try and smoke some Chinese ass at the WMCs in Beijing!