Raymond Keen OBE

Article by Marek Kasperski RGCCWS

Records Tumble: 2016 World Memory Champiuonships - Singapore.


If you were to sift through a deck of cards and try to remember as many as you can before making an error, how many do you think you could remember?

Well, I tried it and remembered a disappointing five cards before making a mistake.

Now that I have successfully intimidated you with that scenario, let’s make it harder. Try to remember the sequence of cards, plus their correct suit (hearts, diamonds, clubs, and spades) in just five minutes. The time pressure alone would make this task so much more difficult.

Now, if you managed to remember every single card, as many competitors did successfully, the time limit becomes a deciding factor.
So, you remembered 52 cards in their order correctly, how quickly can you do this. You have a maximum of five minutes. Four minutes, three and a half, three minutes?

What would you say if I said the existing record is 20.44 seconds, and a new world record was achieved in Singapore 2016 by Yan Jiashuo from China, in the “Kids” category. Consider the achievement of this young competitor, who remembered an entire deck of cards correctly in 27.88 seconds. Kids competitors are 12 years old or under.

‘Amazing’ just seems to be such an inadequate word to describe this world record breaking feat. Such is the fascination of the Speed Cards even in Memory Sports.


Another twist on memorising playing cards is the discipline of memorising as many playing cards during a one hour period.

Once again, as with speed cards, competitors are presented with multiple decks of cards. The task is simple, remember as many cards as you can, in the correct order. You have one hour in which to employ which ever strategy you choose.

After a XX minute break, you must recite the cards, from memory. The photograph below shows competitors preparing for the ‘Hour Cards’ discipline. In the foreground is two times World Memory Champion, Alexander Mullen.

The record for Hour Cards was broken in the Jubilee World Memory Championship by Alexander Mullen. He correctly recited an astonishing 1,626 cards. That represents over 31 decks of cards. This is a new World Record.


If you are like me, you will find it hard to remember names of people you meet. Of course, there are ways of remembering names, such as repeating the name many times, or finding a trigger that associates the name with, say, a hobby or career. I like using a play on words, such as Dale for sales, or Albert from Alberton (Adelaide, South Australia). Another great tick is to associate the person’s name with someone famous. If I meet someone called Stephen, I might associate him with Stephen Fry, or someone famous who shares some characteristics, hair style, stature etc. These techniques work well for me, but can you imagine a conference room with 500 people in attendance, and you are required to remember the name of each person simply by looking at their name card pinned to their chest.

Welcome to the discipline called Names & Faces. Competitors are presented with sheets of paper with people’s faces and their names printed below. They are permitted 15 minutes to remember as many names associated with those people.

They are given the papers with the faces once again, but this time, minus the names. Their task is to write the names under each face, perfectly.

If that is not hard enough, the faces are people from all over the world, different cultures, and different regions. Both male and female.

Do you have what it takes to participate in the World Memory Championships?

Read the full article in Synapsia Volume 11 Issue 4