Here we go again. My second World Memory Championships. The competition is being held in "London" (Croydon) this weekend (30th, 1st, 2nd). I had initially told myself after last year"s that that would be enough, but something keeps drawing me in. I guess the pull of seeing where I stand in comparison to the world"s greatest is too much for me to ignore. A few months ago, I found myself quite out of mental shape. Cards I had kept up religiously as usual, but my training for numbers and all the other disciplines had kind of fallen to the wayside. It bugged me, but for some reason I couldn"t really get in a groove (I keep blaming my post-Everest recovery, but there was only so long I could ride that train). Anyways, somewhere between then and now, I started getting back into things. And as of late, it"s been non-stop, spending tons of hours practicing. My numbers are back to where they used to be (super happy to see that) and I"ve actually improved in some of the more obscure disciplines that show up at the WMC (namely historic dates, abstract images, and spoken numbers).

I"m excited for this competition because I feel absolutely zero pressure. Last year it was my first true international competition and I wanted to set a precedent. That, and I was set on gaining the Grandmaster of Memory title (which I did). This year, my main goal is to out-perform the 2012 Nelson. If I can do that, I"ll place higher and well....that would be pretty cool. Ha.

A few quick predictions for myself (I do this to better hold myself accountable, but please don"t hold me to them :D):

Day 1

Names & Faces - Ok so this year I trained a ton with the international names. You may be thinking, "Oh, I can memorize names...pshhh" but nope, not these names. The WMC folks tend to take the most complicated Asian first name and the longest, nearly unpronounceable Indian last name. And then they stick it on a picture of Brad Pitt. Not easy. But I"ve been practicing with super tricky names and gotten a lot better. Projected: 100-110 ; Hopeful: 120 .

30-minute Binary - I hate this event. Always have. I never have the patience for it. Last year I botched it pretty bad scoring a measly 1300 digits or so. That sounds like a lot, but it"s not. With binary digits, you can compress them so that a lot of binary digits group together to make just one image. People do like 4000...yeah, WHAT?. My issue in the past has been that I lose track of where I am in the never-ending sea of 1s and 0s. With so many of them, the whole page starts to look like a Magic Eye picture. Yikes. The plan for this year is to use a ruler to go line by line and a transparency to help line up groups of numbers better. Projected: 1500-2000; Hopeful: 2000 .

One-hour Numbers: Regular decimal numbers, for one hour. Last year I went for 1700 digits or so and ended up with a score of 1350. I wasn"t happy. I know I can do a lot better. Projected: 1700-2000; Hopeful: 2000.

Day 2

Abstract Images: Haven"t gotten a whole lot better at this, only slightly. Last year I did pretty much as expected. This year, I"m hoping to break the 200 point mark. Projected: 220-250; Hopeful: 250

Speed Numbers (2 trials): Ahhh, my favorite. Yet one of the international disciplines I have for some reason sucked at in competition. Not sure why. I practiced a ton on paper with exact replicas of the competition papers. I think that will help. Projected: 300-340 digits; Hopeful: 340-360.

Historic Dates: How many fictional events tied with a year between 1600-2100 can you memorize in 5 minutes. This event is surprisingly tough. But I"ve gotten a lot faster and confident. Projected: 50-70 dates; Hopeful: 70 .

One-hour Cards: Exactly what it sounds like, 1 hour to memorize cards. How many decks, actually. Last year I went for 20, but only made it through 17, and made mistakes leaving me with 12.5. Yuck. I need to get a solid 18 or I"m going home. Projected: 18 decks; Hopeful: 19 decks.

Day 3

Random Words: My favorite and best event I"d say. I"ve been making tiny stupid errors more often though and I don"t know why. Hopefully I"m more on point come competition day. Projected: 200-240 words; Hopeful: 240 .

Spoken Numbers (200/300/400): There are three trials here. First is 200 digits spoken 1-per-second, then 300, then 400. My goal is to hit 100 perfect on that first try and then go all out on the next two attempts. Projected: 150-200; Hopeful:200 .

Speed Cards (2 trials): How fast can you memorize a deck of cards? I"ll see how I feel at this point and how many points I need to win out over the people around me. I"d love to break the 40 second barrier in competition. Projected: 45 seconds; Hopeful: 35 seconds.

So there you have it. I"ll keep you posted!

In the mean time you can follow the results right here: