Wednesday, December 24, 2014

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The Berkshires

Local man headed to London to compete in World Memory Championship

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Albany/HV: Local man headed to London to compete in World Memory Championship
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In about two weeks, 100 people from around the world will travel to London to compete in the World Memory Championship. Our Beth Croughan spoke with a local man and mental athlete who is putting his brain to the test.

GANSEVOORT, N.Y. -- "Five years ago, I couldn't remember a phone number. And now, I'm memorizing, 200 to 240 digits of a really long phone number in five-minutes," said Brad Zupp, the President of Simply Sensible Entertainment, Inc.

At his desk in his office inside his home in Saratoga County, Brad Zupp sorted through a stack of cards. With each number and suit, he sees something else.

"Translating things I need to remember into creative, slightly zany mental images," Zupp explained.

That's how he's trained his brain to remember better. So much so, he's competing in the World Memory Championship this month.

"It's basically a three day event. It's a decathlon, so there's 10 distinct events on who can remember the most stuff the fastest," he described of the event.

He spends as little as one to as many as six hours a day teaching himself techniques to tackle the toughest of memory challenges.

"We're given several pages of numbers, 40 digits per line. And the clock starts and go. One of the events is see how many you can memorize in five minutes," he said.

Last year, the professional entertainer and memory coach placed fifth in the U.S. version of the event. In London, Zupp's hoping to earn the title Grand Master of Memory.

"The first day I need to memorize at least 1,000 digits of a random number in an hour, perfectly. The second day, I need to memorize a deck of cards, which is pretty easy for me to do. But it has to be done in under two minutes, perfectly. And the third day is a little bit more challenging. I have to memorize at least 10 decks of shuffled playing cards, perfectly in an hour," he said of what he needs to do to secure the title.

So as the countdown to the mid-December competition continues, Zupp continues to study creatively.

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