The history of Memory Sport

The title of Grand Master of Memory was first awarded in October 1995 at a Memory Awards Ceremony at Hanbury Manor near Cambridge. The event was a conscious homage to the very first award of Chess Grandmaster titles at St Petersburg in 1914 by Czar Nicholas 11 to the greats of the world's most widespread mind sport.

The award of the memory titles was jointly sanctioned by Prince Philip of Liechtenstein and were based on the international memory rankings developed by Tony Buzan.

To become a Grandmaster you will need to be able to memorise 1000 digits in an hour, ten randomly shuffled decks of cards (520cards) in one hour, and be able to memorise one deck of cards in two minutes. These are the three criteria and they can only be achieved in competitions that have been officially approved and arbited by the World Memory Sport Council. The picture is from the World Memory Championship in London in 2013. The very best athletes from 33 countries participated.

In 1958 the first 10,000 digits of Pi were calculated and this set the ground for a new discipline. The Pi Matrix Challenge has been known as one of the hardest discipline in memory sport. Many people have tried to perform the Pi Matrix Challenge but only few succeeded. Here is a list sorted by the date they did their performance.

1. Philip Bond (U.K) 18 May 1994. Time 53 minutes

2. Kevin Horsley (South Africa) 28 Aug 1999. Time 39 minutes

3. Philip Bond (U.K) 28 June 2004. Time 29 min 51 sec

4. Jan Harms (Germany) 27 July 2007. Time 20 min 30 sec

5. Mats Bergsten (Sweden) 12 Feb 2008. Time 17 min 39 sec

6. Kevin Horsley (South Africa) 14 March 2013. Time 16min 38sec

7. Nelson Dellis (United States) 14 March 2016. First 13 correct

8. Brad Zupp (United States) 1 September 2016. First 8 correct

9. Mark Aar√łe Nissen (Denmark) 23 March 2018. Time 20min 17sec.