He is the youngest star among the memory elite. With only nine years old he won the World Memory Championship Children’s Competition in 2008. Although the rivalry in this age section isn’t too strong, he got brilliant scores in Bahrain. In 30 minutes he memorized 513 binary digits – moderate for a grown-up athlete but outstanding for his age. Memory-Sports journalist Florian Dellé spoke with his former student from Berlin.
I would let the shoe bounce up and down on the chair and let it jump from one armrest to another. Your stories has to be as crazy as possible.
Memory-Sports: When did you start your memory training?
Konstantin: I watched the North German Championship in 2004 as a spectator. After that I joined a memory class in a club for highly advanced children.
Memory-Sports: How did you come up with that subject?
Konstantin: We’ve got mail from the club, that a new memory class is starting soon. So we went to the competition to get an impression. I learned that memory training is related to numbers. And since I always liked numbers a lot, I wanted to learn the techniques.
Memory-Sports: What do you remember about your first steps?
Konstantin: I remember clearly my first personal best with 24 digits.
Memory-Sports: What techniques did you learn for starters?
Konstantin: We learned the Master-System with 100 images and created a journey with 26 stations – for half a deck of cards. Today I have 227 stations.
Memory-Sports: What have been your first competition?
Konstantin: That was the North German Championship in 2005. I placed sixth and it was a lot of fun.
Memory-Sports: Have you been very ambitious from the beginning?
Konstantin: Actually I first started to train at home, when I placed only seventh in 2006. So I trained for the next championship in 2007.
Memory-Sports: The World Memory Championship is on a whole new level than the North German Championship. What did you like most about that event?
Konstantin: That it has been over several days. So we got the opportunity to see a little bit of the small country Bahrain. Did you know that it only takes half an hour from north to south on the main island? There are 23 islands all together and only three are settled. On the second largest is the airport, in the north of the largest one are most of the markets and in the south is the Formula 1 racing track.
Memory-Sports: No I didn’t know that! – What is the best thing about a memory championship?
Konstantin: You can get in competition with your rivals and find new friends. I met Timo Sprekeler for example. He became North German Champion in 2008, where I wasn’t competing. I bet him then at the following German Championship. Recently I met him again at this years North German Championship, but we weren’t competing against each other. He already joined the juniors and I compete still in the children’s group.
It isn’t fair that there are no rankings for children. Otherwise I would definitely be among the the best.
Memory-Sports: What is your favourite discipline?
Konstantin: Numbers, because I am good at it. Also you have to be less creative than with Names & Faces for example. It is just easier. On the other hand I wasn’t so bad with the names either.
Memory-Sports: Do you train a lot?
Konstantin: Only for competitions. For the World Memory Championship I started training two months and for the North German Championship about three weeks before the event.
Memory-Sports: Do you recognize your improvements?
Konstantin: Yes – I got 96 binary numbers last year and this year I already got 192.
Memory-Sports: What is your best training result?
Konstantin: Only 180. So it was my personal best, too. But I was lucky: The last row was an unbroken sequence of zero and one. When I saw that pattern it was easy to memorize.
Memory-Sports: What do you think could help, to make the sport more popular?
Konstantin: It would help to beam all the numbers for example on a big screen. That way the spectators could try it themselves. Another interesting thing would be, to see what the competitor is just writing down.
Memory-Sports: Can you please give us a few hints how to make a good story? How would you associate a shoe and a chair for example?
Konstantin: I would let the shoe bounce up and down on the chair and let it jump from one armrest to another. Your stories has to be as crazy as possible.
Memory-Sports: Are you quick with your images?
Konstantin: Yes, I can recall my Master-System in 95 seconds – that’s less than one second for each image.
Memory-Sports: Do you have any particular goals?
Konstantin: I want to get under the top 100 in the world ranking list. For that I have to get about 2800 points. At the German Championship I already got 1800, but it doesn’t count, since it was a children’s competition. It isn’t fair that there are no rankings for us. Otherwise I would definitely be among the the best.
Memory-Sports: Who is your role model?
Konstantin: Boris Konrad, because he’s got the world record in Random Words – and I am good with words, too.
Memory-Sports: When will you compete again?
Konstantin: This year at the German Memory Championship and then in November at the World Memory Championship again.
Memory-Sports: Thank you for the interview.