Chinese Girl Sets New Record Memorizing a Shuffled Deck of Cards in 28 Seconds

September 15, 2007 Updated: September 15, 2007

A Chinese girl, Chen Yujuan, recently won the women's world championship and set a new world record for female memorization of a shuffled deck of cards in 28.15 seconds at the 16th World Memory Championship.

According to the Guangzhou Daily News, this year's World Memory Championship was held in Bahrain from August 31 to September 3, 2007. China sent a delegation to participate in the championship for the first time and garnered two gold medals, four silver medals and one bronze medal, which helped China claim the Team Silver Medal. Chen Yujuan from Guangdong's Chaozhou City clinched her title when she broke the world record of 31.18 seconds for memorization of a shuffled deck of cards by a female, which was set by a German competitor last year. Chen is the first female to memorize an entire deck of cards within 30 seconds.

At the 16th World Memory Championship, every competitor was required to participate in ten different disciplines including speed memorization of a deck of cards, speed memorization of names and faces, speed memorization of random digits, etc.

Chen said that it was a surprise for her to break the world record participating for the first time.

Chen started to receive memory improvement training when she was a sophomore in college. She said the main approach for the training is to teach students the method of imagination and creation. For instance, if the number 1 is imagined as a candle or a stick, it might be easier to memorize. As to individual words, we can make a sentence according to their meanings or composition so as to deepen our memory.

After attending a training course for a week, Chen passed the entrance examination with the highest score and was admitted to an elite class of a memory improvement training school in Guangzhou where she worked as a teaching assistant while studying.

Chen pointed out that there are several approaches to enhancing memory. The first one is linkage, which is to link the meaning of one word to that of the following word to form a string of meanings. The second approach is to use the numbers or phrases that need to be memorized to make up a story. The third is the space location method by which we imagine that there is a shelf in our brain. We first place the objects we saw on the shelf. When we need them, we retrieve them according to the sequence we store them. By doing so, they can be more easily memorized. The last approach is to link objects to something familiar to us in our daily lives. For instance, we can relate them to our friends, and then it may be easier to remember.

Chen also said that words may be correlated with other words directly, but numbers need to be transformed into something else first, so they are rather difficult. As to voices, they can be transformed into images in order to position them.

Chen further suggested that people can link things to something important to help them enhance memory. In our daily lives, we may remember a lot of things, but we can't readily recall them, so we need someone to remind us. Employing memorization approaches is just like having someone remind us.