Memorable victory: Chilliwack man wins Canadian Mind Sports Organization's National Memory Championship

According to the Canadian Mind Sports Organization, Braden Adams of Chilliwack memorized 263 images in five minutes, 258 digits in five minutes and 155 words in 15 minutes — each a Canadian record.

'I’m far from where I want to be. I have high aspirations in the memory world'

Braden Adams is the recently crowned winner of the Canadian Mind Sports Organization's National Memory Championship. (Braden Adams)

Braden Adams recently had an unforgettable experience.

The Chilliwack man is the Canadian Mind Sports Organization's newly minted national memory champion after winning the title in Vancouver last week.

According to the organization, he memorized 263 images in five minutes, 258 digits in five minutes and 155 words in 15 minutes — each a Canadian record.

Braden Adams says anyone can learn techniques to become better at memorizing things. (Braden Adams)

Adams also had to remember and recall things like playing cards, faces and names.

"I'm far from where I want to be. I have high aspirations in the memory world," Adams told On The Coast host Gloria Macarenko.

Adams says there are some tricks that he uses to succeed that anyone can use in their daily lives to improve memory.

One is to associate things with other things you know and create a "memory palace."

To do this, Adams creates associations — for example, to remember the ace of spades, he associates it with a guitar, or, for the queens of hearts, a teapot.

Then, you imagine yourself walking through a place that's familiar to you, like your home and then try to place the imagined items in various rooms. Then, when you imagine yourself walking through the rooms of your memory palace, you remember what is in each room.

"It sounds kinda weird, right? But it works," he said.

"It works even if you're just trying to remember your shopping list. You need to get some bananas, you throw those in the driveway. You need, to get some apples, you throw those through your front window."

What about the common — and embarrassing — situation of being introduced to someone and immediately forgetting their name?

Adams says his approach is to say their name out loud to start; then, hone in on a distinguishing facial feature they have; finally, try a word association technique.

"So … if they got big ears and their name is John, I might imagine there's a toilet sitting on their ears," he offered.

"That might sound a little extreme, but you don't forget names when you make funny little associations like that. It just sticks."

Being a memory champ doesn't come naturally, Adams says. It takes lots of practice.

While he believes he has a naturally good memory, he thinks anyone can become competitive at his sport with less than an hour a day of practice.

With files from CBC Radio One's On The Coast

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Corrections

  • The headline of this story has been updated to include the name of the championship.
    Oct 03, 2018 2:38 PM PT