Learning Technologies Newsletter

ISSUE 39 - September 2008 - by Phil Chambers



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Welcome to the September issue of the Learning Technologies Newsletter, Please continue to forward it to friends and colleagues who you think would find it useful.

This month: News from the UK Open Memory Championships, details of upcoming courses plus our regular quote and Mind Mapping tip of the month.

Mind Mapping Tip of the Month

To get ideas for symbols and codes to use in your Mind Maps look at special fonts on your computer. Dingbats, Wingdings and Webdings are fairly common ones. These are a great source of potential codes.

For more tips see '101 Top Tips for Better Mind Maps'


September's Quote of the Month

"look into top achievers, not up to them!"

• David Hyner

Note – See details of David’s Massive Goals Workshop, below










As the Olympic Games entered its final week and a the British medal tally surpassed all expectations, the country was on a ‘high’ of national pride. However, in the grand though secluded surroundings of an upstairs room in London’s Simpsons-in-the-Strand, an equally fantastic performance from British athletes was about to take place.

This was a decathlon for the mind rather then the body - The second UK Open Memory Championships. Following on from last year’s modest beginnings, the UK Championships has had an explosion of interest. This year saw 22 entrants from 10 countries with question papers translated into 6 languages. It also attracted greater media attention with a double page preview in The Times, three film crews at the event, including the BBC, and even an intelligent piece in the Sun newspaper, a British tabloid not usually associated with cerebral pursuits.

The tournament was the most international event, outside the World Memory Championships, that will be taking place in the Kingdom of Bahrain in October (more news of this next month). In addition it saw some of the highest performance standards ever.

The competition got off to a spectacular start with Boris Konrad, form Germany, smashing the World Record for memorization of a set of random words in 5 minutes. The previous record of 84 was held by fellow countryman, Johannes Mallow, but Boris achieved 106. In common with the physical decathlon, points are allocated for each discipline by comparison with a Millennium Standard. This is an ‘ultimate’ level set above the current World Record seen as a pinnacle of achievement that will not be reached for some time. Any competitor that achieves this scores 1000 points with other scores given points on a pro-rata basis. Boris not only broke the word Record but also surpassed the Millennium Standard to achieve 1060 points.

Not to be outdone Ben Bridmore, British Champion and an accountant from Derby, hit back in the second event with a World Record and Millennium Standard beating 930 binary digits (10110111100, etc) in 5 minutes. Especially impressive was the fact that his recall was perfect. Not a single mistake in 31 rows of 30 digits each.

The third round was the memorization of Names and Faces. This won by the current World Record holder, and top ranked UK Woman, Katie Kermode. Despite her excellent score of 65 correctly recalled names (two per photograph) this felt like an anticlimax as she came significantly with her best of 82, set in Cambridge earlier this year.

The fourth round was set to be impressive. This was the 10 minute card memorization event. Ben had nonchalantly said that he was ‘only’ going to attempt 8 packs of cards, whereas most other competitors requested 3 of 4. Although Ben was the Record holder in this discipline with 6 decks, competitors have been known to request far more decks than they need. This is either to ‘psych-out’ other competitors, to look impressive for the media or simply in case they fly through the first few decks and have time to attempt extra.

Ben did indeed fly through, attempting 7 of his 8 decks. The event is harshly marked with two errors in a deck scoring zero, so there was a possibility he had overstretched himself and could dash his hopes of victory. Something that Andi Bell, former World Champion did on several occasions. Any such fears were unwarranted as Ben put in another perfect performance breaking the third Millennium Standard of the weekend.

The 10 minute cards was the final event of the first day with the competition room being used to in the afternoon to stage an equally high standard mental battle in the form of the Howard Staunton Memorial Chess Tournament.

On the Sunday morning the competitors assembled once again for the first of the remaining 5 rounds with Ben, unsurprisingly, leading by over 1400 points. Boris Konrad was in second place, looking to comfortably retain his title of Best International Competitor. However, the battle for third place was much more intense with Welshman, James Patterson having a lead of 42 points over Katie Kermode in fourth place.

The first event of the day was the 5 minute number memorization this was won by Ben with 299 digits beating Boris who achieved 220. The more interesting fact was Katie’s performance of 186 taking her into third place with an overall margin of only 14 points over James Patterson.

Event 7 was Abstract Images where competitors have to remember the sequence of randomly textured amoeboid shapes. This is regarded as one of the hardest disciplines with World Champion, Gunther Karsten as the only person who has come close to the Millennium Standard of 250. Ben was trying a new system that he has devised based on the textures. This still needs some work as he was soundly beaten by Boris with a score of 205.

The next discipline was a welcome chance for Ben to shine. This is the memorisation of fictional historic dates, an area that Ben dominated for some time but has recently been beaten by Johannes Mallow. Ben did indeed with this event with a score of 91. This was not a World Record but beat the Millennium Standard by the tiniest of margins to score 1001 points.

The penultimate event of the Championships was the spoken number event where a computer speaks a series of random digits at a rate of one per second. Competitors have to memorise this without writing anything down with ‘sudden death’ marking where they score up to their first mistake. Eight times World Champion, Dominic O’Brien who was an arbiter and observer at the tournament sat at the front of the room, head in hands, listening intently. At the end of the recording I handed him a spare recall paper. He scored a perfect 100 proving that despite having retired from competition he still had the magic! His unofficial performance was matched by Boris Konrad who beat Ben by a single digit! Unfortunately for James Patterson, he made an error, coming 13th in this event and falling to sixth place overall. This meant that Gaby Kappus, the top German woman in the competition, moved into fourth place behind of Ben, Boris and Katie.

The final discipline was Speed Cards. This is Ben’s specialist area. In last year’s UK Open he smashed the World Record by memorising 52 cards in 26.28 seconds a feat he recently surpassed on the ITV television show ‘Superhuman Genius’ with a time on 24.68 seconds. However, the stakes were much higher this year as he was within striking distance of Gunther Karsten’s number one spot in the World Rankings. If he made a mistake in the cards this could cost him too many points and leave him in his current number two spot.

The Speed cards is the best of two trials. In the first trial Ben made an error on the 41st card scoring a mere 77 points. If he didn’t get 52 correct in his second trial he would miss out on the top World Ranking. This time he made certain, going through the back twice in 56.41 seconds and getting his 52 cards correct. Just enough to take his place as the World’s highest ever scoring competitor.

Ben’s time was third best in the event with Boris perfectly memorising 52 cards in 54.41 seconds and Gaby Kappus finishing in 9 hundredths of a second later with 54.50 seconds. This accuracy of timing is made possible by the use of ‘Speed Stacks’ timers that have pressure sensitive pads that automatically stop the timer the moment the competitor puts down their cards. Gaby was very nervous that she had made a mistake in her recall and as we checked the cards one by one the tension mounted, until, turning over the last card revealed that she had 52 correct and she was overcome with delight at a new personal best.

The competitors once again dispersed with Ben having to rush off to play in at Othello Tournament.

Awards, checks and certificates were presented at a Gala dinner on the Monday evening together with the chess players, officials, sponsors and special guests.

The Tournament was certainly a resounding success and paves the way to the possibility of even greater things at the World Championships. Ben is certainly on his best form ever. His prize for winning is an expenses paid trip to Bahrain to enter so Gunther had better watch out if he is to retain his title of World Champion. Dominic has threatened to return to competing in 2009 as Boris’s performance had knocked him out the top 10 in the World Rankings.

The top final Positions were:

Ben Pridmore – Winner

Katie Kermode – Silver Medalist (UK)

James Ponder – Bonze Medalist (UK)

Boris Konrad – Best International Competitor (second overall)

Gaby Kappus – Third overall but no prize as she is an international entrant and was beaten by Boris.

James Patterson for team Wales come in sixth place, missing out on a prize by 305 points.

Katie Kermode

Dominic O'Brien with Katie Kermode at the Awards Ceremony.



You may be interested in my Weekend Public course covering Mind Mapping, Memory, Speed Reading and Study Skills on 13th - 14th September. Spaces are still available but you need to book soon to reserve your place.

If you would rather have a shorter session, just covering Mind Mapping, from a mainly educational viewpoint, fellow Buzan Instructor, Caroline Clark is running a one day programme in London on 5th October.

Finally, David Hyner will be running a day on his Massive Goals Principle on 27th September. I have attended this in the past and can personally recommend it. David has studied hundreds of top achievers to see what makes them so successful. One common thread is that they never set ‘realistic and attainable’ goals. They set Massive, unrealistic goals – These are split down into steps and achieved. David is passionate about helping everyone set and achieve success in a massive way.

Details of all the courses are below…



Dates: 13-14 September 2008
Numbers: Maximum of 10 delegates
Location: Imperial College, South Kensington, London
Timing: 9:30am - 5:00pm both days

Pricing: £300 + VAT including comprehensive full colour manual, top quality Mind Mapping pens, Mind Map pad and course follow up.

Instructor: Phil Chambers (World Mind Mapping Champion, Senior Buzan Licensed Instructor)

At the end of the course you will be able to:
Improve your effectiveness at problem solving.
Plan a well-structured presentation in a fraction of the usual time.
Better organise your thoughts.
Get a clear picture of an entire book in under 30 minutes.
Make best use of your time for optimum recall.
Read at up to double your current speed.
Recall Names and Faces, Numbers and Lists with ease.

Techniques covered include:
Mind Mapping®. Speed Reading. a wide range of Memory Techniques and Study skills based on Nobel Prizewinning research. More Details Here.

Post Course Follow-Up:
In the three months following the course we will contact you to remind you to review the material covered in the course and provide some additional exercises to help facilitate this. We will also be available to answer any questions that you may have during this period.

"I think this is a course I should have done a long time ago - Excellent, I recommend it"
Ibrahim Sibal (Company Director)



Do you or someone you know find studying and thinking creatively a challenge?

On Sunday 5th October, Caroline Clark, a fellow Buzan instructor will be running a one day open training session in central London.
This is particularly aimed at those in education.

The course will run from 10.00am until 3.00pm

If you are interested please contact Caroline HERE.
mobile 07946 549880.


The MASSIVE Goals Principle! – With David Hyner

Learn goal setting secrets to help you achieve your goals by getting inside the minds of top achievers.

All people have one thing in common…they want to achieve things that they feel passionately about.

However, have you noticed how "achieving goals" can become as challenging as the most difficult expeditions sometimes?

However, this need not be the case any longer.

Want to achieve bigger goals but don’t know where to start?

Would you like to learn about proven strategies that can turn your goals and ambitions into reality?

Need to understand YOUR PURPOSE?

If your answer is a resounding ‘YES’ to any of these questions, then you’ll definitely want to read about the MASSIVE Goal Principle Training Day…

After 11 years of research into the thinking and behaviour of top achievers, David Hyner will reveals the powerful secrets of why and how world-class entrepreneurs, sports stars, explorers and scientists are able to create such global transformation AND their own wealth.

At the Massive Goals Training Day. You’ll discover:

How TOP Achievers Set AND Achieve goals.
How YOU can use the Massive Goal Principle to transform your life and the world.
The simple goal-setting secrets that are NEVER taught at business school.
Why we NEVER take action and how to raise your game.
How you are just one step away from a goldmine.
How to build a mastermind group to hold you to account.
What’s the single BIGGEST factor that will GUARANTEE your success.
How to align the universal laws of creation to your MASSIVE goal.

David Hyner is a professional speaker, researcher, trainer and author. He hosted shows for BBC radio. Spending 11+ years interviewing top achievers to understand how they achieve their goals, David has used their goal setting process to raise nearly £400k for charities in his spare time.

When you book on this one-day program in London, you’ll also receive bonus personal development e-book, audio downloads and more….worth over £150!!!

Venue: Central London
Date: Saturday 27th September 2008
Delegate price: £397

How to Book: Click HERE.

Type in MGL0010 as your VIP Code

That's all for this month. If you have any comments or requests for future articles please feel free to contact me.

Best Wishes