Saturday, January 10, 2015

Propelling Pencil Problems Prevent Procrastination

I've got the latest issue of Super Hanjie, and I was intending to sit down and do puzzles this morning, but both my propelling pencils have run out of lead, so I had to do something productive instead.

What I did, in fact, was my final two qualification attempts for images in the XMT - here's a video of the one that was successful:

I'm very happy with that, because those last two images I placed I was very unsure about - I couldn't remember seeing the one that ended up in position 20 at all, and 24 I was pretty dubious about, so it was sort of half guesswork. But it was right, and that's what counts!

Images is really a great leveller - it's new to everyone, obviously, so nobody's had much time to prepare systems and techniques to improve their times. And even if they had, it's memory sports on the most basic level - you're given pictures, and just have to picture them in the right sequence as quickly as possible. And having managed a good time myself, it does wonders for my self-confidence; I do now feel more like I have a right to be at the XMT this year and I'm not just qualified for it on the strength of my past performance.

So now I can turn my fretting from 'should I be there at all?' to 'how are they going to work out the seedings for the group stage draw?' - See, if they go on WMSC rankings, and Wang Feng or Sengesamdan Ulzhiikhutag don't leap into the qualifying at the last minute and come to the XMT after all, I'll be the sixth seed and thus end up in the all-important pot 1 for the draw. But if they base it on something like 'the top four from last year's XMT and the best two quarter-finalists based on their group-stage points', I have a sinking feeling I could end up as seventh seed and thus end up in a group with Simon Reinhard and a couple of names-and-faces experts again.

No, actually, what I need to do is get over the mental block that I'm not as good as Simon Reinhard! That's entirely the wrong attitude, and I hereby slap myself on the wrist for it. I don't have this kind of inferiority complex with Jonas von Essen, and he's the world freaking champion, why am I automatically assuming that I won't have a chance if I'm paired up with Simon? Think positive, Zoomy - imagine you're the best in the world and maybe one day you will be; that's what the motivational speakers say, and who am I to argue?

Monday, January 05, 2015

The race is on

To qualify for the XMT, that is. With week one, cards, out of the way, we've had 35 people record a result in the qualification competition (not counting me, Boris, Nelson and Simon - who blew everyone away with a time of 19.79 seconds, the big show-off). Exactly 16 of those did a full pack of cards in 60 seconds or less, and two (Johann Randall Abrina and Enkhmunkh Erdenebatkhaan, who I'm pretty sure is a teenage Mongolian who I met in China and will hopefully wear some kind of name badge until I've met him another time or two - this applies to everyone else who I've only met once and can't remember the face of, naturally) did better than 30 seconds. Everyone's doing it nowadays!

But now we're on to week two - Images! Thirty random photos from a pretty big databank of interesting snapshots, and the idea is to memorise them as quickly as possible and then put them into the right order in the recall, a la speed cards. I suspect I'm at a little bit of a disadvantage here - in speed cards I'm in the habit of memorising 26 images in 30 seconds or so, meaning that the Images discipline involves a little bit more than that. People who still use a primitive one-card-to-an-image system, on the other hand, see 52 images in, say, 45 seconds, and so this is like only three-fifths of a pack of cards for them.

We'll have to see how it turns out. It'll be fun to see who's topping the leaderboard at the end of the week!

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Stupid addictive internet

I feel quite accomplished for having done two practices each day of the XMT disciplines, plus a five-minute binary, this weekend, despite the quite excessive temptation to play compelling games on the internet instead that's been thrown in my path. I really might manage to do a bit more next weekend, in my continuing quest to get back into memory-man mental fitness, but here's what's been keeping me away from memorising...

The World's Biggest Pac-Man - play thousands of differently-shaped levels of Pac-Man, or design your own!

Hectoc - make 100 from any random selection of six numbers, as in 85+1/1+7+7=100

2048 - match numbers together, slidey-puzzle style, until they add up to 2048

There, now you can all spend your time playing these things too! Nyah!