World Memory Championships

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The World Memory Championships are competitions of mental sports in which competitors memorize as much information as possible within a given period of time. The Championships have taken place annually since 1991 (except 1992) and have been staged by various organizations. The first winner was Dominic O’Brien.


The World Memory Championship was founded by Tony Buzan and Ray Keene. In 2016, due to the dispute between some players and World Memory Sports Council (WMSC), the International Association of Memory (IAM) was launched. Since 2017, both the WMSC and IAM have hosted separate world championships. (There is also a Memory League World Championship, which has a different format.)

The 2018 IAM world champion is Johannes Mallow of Germany. The 2018 WMSC world champion is Wei Qinru of China.


The World Championships consist of ten different disciplines, where the competitors have to memorize as much as they can in a period of time:

  1. One Hours Numbers (71365167…)
  2. 5 Minute Numbers
  3. Spoken Numbers, read out one per second
  4. 30 Minutes Binary Digits (01101001011011010010111…)
  5. One Hour Playing Cards (as many decks of cards as possible)
  6. Random Lists of Words (House, playing, Orphan, Enyclopedia…)
  7. Names and Faces (15 minutes, world record: 195 names)
  8. 5 Minute Historic Dates (fictional events and historic years)
  9. Abstract Images (WMSC) or Images (IAM)
  10. Speed Cards - Always the last discipline. Memorize the order of one shuffled deck of 52 playing cards as fast as possible.

See also