[July 17] LONDON--Ben Pridmore has broken the ‘30 Seconds Barrier’
- the Holy Grail of the Mind Sport of Memory - for memorising a
shuffled deck of 52 playing cards and then recalling them correctly,
and in order: 26.28 SECONDS!
30-year-old accountant BEN PRIDMORE from Derby performed this spectacular
feat at the UK Open Memory Championship*, on Saturday 14th July
– obliterating the current Speed Cards record of 31.16 seconds,
set by another Englishman, Andi Bell, at the World Championship
held in London in 2006.
Ben was hot favourite to win the 10 discipline
Championship and title of UK Memory Champion, prior to competing
at the World Memory Championship to be held in the Kingdom of Bahrain
at the end of August. However, he totally stunned assembled spectators,
memory arbiters and fellow competitors - by smashing one of the
longest standing barriers in the sport.
Since the founding of the annual World Memory
in 1991 by memory guru and leading international business consultant
and author Tony Buzan - inventor of Mind Maps® - the memorisation
of a single pack of playing cards in under 30 seconds has been regarded
as the ultimate challenge for competitors.
“Some have come close, but whenever a new
World Record is set it tends to be broken by a few tenths of a second”
says Tony. “The 30 second barrier in Speed Cards has been the ‘Holy
Grail’ for any memory athlete, for the entire duration of the history
of the Mind Sport of Memory.
Eat your heart out, Sir Roger… “In physical sports
terms, it is equivalent to the 4 Minute Mile. When Roger Bannister
finally broke that record in 1954, it was by the tiniest of margins
– 6 tenths of a second… a mere 0.25%. Ben Pridmore’s breaking of
the 30 Second Barrier by 3.72 seconds is an unprecedented demolition
of what seemed to be the ultimate barrier. It pushes back, to a
gigantic degree, the boundaries of human mental capacity. It is
the equivalent of Roger Bannister having broken the Four Minute
Mile by 29.76 seconds” states Tony.
“It was a privilege to watch such a virtuoso
performance” says Phil Chambers, Chief Arbiter of the World Memory
Championships and organiser of Saturday’s event. “Ben’s new record
of 26.28 seconds has now considerably raised the bar. He has claimed
similar times in practice but it is totally different to do it after
nine gruelling rounds of memorisation, with only two attempts and
huge peer and spectator pressure focusing on you. The new ultimate
goal is now 25 seconds, something that Pridmore confidently predicts
can be broken.”
“Memory Champions are made, not born” continues Tony
Buzan. “The thousands of hours of training which Ben and his fellow
memory wizards put in confirm the recently reported scientific fact
that genius can be learned. This feat is the result of training
the relevant part of brain to ultimate performance – by hard work,
and hard play! The brain can be trained, as Ben has amply demonstrated.”
A former Memory World Champion (2004), Ben is
certainly back on form - and all set to challenge the current holder
of the crown (2005/06), Clemens Mayer (Germany) at the World Memory
Championship – to be held in Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain, on 31st
August to 2nd September 2007. He is one of a handful of contestants
being followed by production company Special Editions Films, for
a C5 documentary on the Championships.