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  1. #1
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    Dec 2009


    Default Mastering memory: 500-yr calendar, 100 faces

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    Thirteen-year-old Saswat Satapathy remembers the calendar of last 500 years. He can memorize and recite nearly 750 binary numbers. Present him with the names and faces of 100 personalities and he will recall them in the same sequence within minutes. Saswat, a student of class VIII in DPS Patna, was part of the six-member contingent from India which participated in the World Memory Championship (WMC) held at Guangzhou in China from December 2 to 5.

    WMC was founded by Tony Buzon and Raymond Keene OBE in 1991 in the UK. Contestants with the best memories take part in the championship held annually in different countries. About 28 contestants from 20 countries participated in various disciplines of WMC this year after winning the national rounds.

    The world championship held at Guangzhou tested the capacity of the contestants to memorise binary numbers, abstract images, names and faces, historic and future dates, random words and spoken number. The championship had different categories for kids, junior students and adults. Three of the six Indian contestants won medals in different categories. Chinese contestant Wang Feng became the best memorizer at the championship this year.

    Saswat won a silver medal in the names and faces discipline and a bronze medal in the spoken number discipline in the kids' category. He also ranked third in the second edition of Indian Memory Challenge held in Hyderabad on October 31. ''I want to go back next year and perform better. I will practise better for it,'' Saswat said as he fiddled with a computer mouse. He sat up as soon as his trainer, Venkat Kasibhatla, asked him to memorize and recall a string of numbers put in a random order. He took less than 15 seconds to oblige. And in no time, he recited the numbers in reverse order too. At the championship, Saswat was given thousands of digits to be memorised. He then had to jot down the entire list of digits in the same order.

    ''I rely on a technique which I call COMBS. I convert a set of numbers into colourful, moving, strange and big images and weave a story around them. That helps me memorize,'' Saswat said. Also give him your birth date, and he will tell you the day you were born, however long back it may be. ''I use pure mathematics for that,'' he said.

    The wonder boy has been training in memory techniques for the last five years. His exceptional memory has not only given him fame but has helped him in academics and his mother a PhD-holder in nuclear chemistry from IIT Delhi in shopping! ''Whenever we go out shopping, we don't have to carry a shopping list. I remember everything,'' Saswat jokes. His father, Debasis Satapathy, says, ''As long as he keeps getting 90%-95%, we are fine with his performance.'' However, Kasibhatla is quick to add, ''When it's time to take the Board exams, he will be trained enough to achieve even 100%.''

    Saswat, who is now based in Patna, keeps in touch with his Kasibhatla in Delhi through video-chat. ''I want to see him as a grandmaster which he should become in next two years.,'' Kasibhatla said. The boy himself wants to grow up and use his skills to study medicine. ''I want to become a cardio-surgeon,'' he said. Meanwhile, his father, an MBA professional, is happy to be known through his son. ''I am working like his secretary these days and I am happy that so many people know me now as Saswat's father,'' he said.
    ...being a human...

  2. #2
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2010



    Nice sharing



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