Yet Again Still More Quick Snippets

Published on Sunday, July 26, 2009 in , , , , , , , , ,

LinksReady to take your memory and mental math feats to the next level? I'll show you some excellent resources on how to do just this in this month's edition of snippets:

GAMES Magazine's September 2009 issue is a must-buy for Grey Matters readers! First, it features a reprint of the late Mel Stover's Beadless Abacus routine (more on Mel Stover here), which is a great mental calculation feat! You display the diagram (included in the article) of a diamond-shaped arrangement of hexagons, in which each hexagon contains a simple arithmetic equation (6 + 4, 8 ÷ 2, etc.).

First, you ask your spectator to choose any 3 hexagons in a straight line, and you can perform and sum all 3 equations faster than they can with a calculator. Next, you ask them to choose any 4 hexagons in a straight line, and you sum up all 4 faster than their calculator. For a finish, you ask them to choose a group of 7 hexagons – any hexagon not on an edge, and the 6 hexagons surrounding it – and you can sum all 7 just as fast! If you somehow miss this issue (it's available until August 18, 2009), you can still find this routine at your local bookstore, in Games Magazine Big Book of Games II, as well (the amazon.com preview even shows part of the Beadless Abacus on the books back cover).

In this same issue, there's also an excellent article on Henry Dudeney's game Kayles. This seems to be a fair game, but can be played perfectly so that you win when you chose and lose when you chose. It's kind of like Nim taken to the next level. The September 2009 cover itself, in fact, is a Kayles puzzle themed with clowns (See the link above before August 18, 2009 to see the cover and the puzzle).

The last page of the issue is a Knight's Tour-base puzzle, where you have to discover the secret message using only legal knight moves.

Ken Development has several iPhone and iPod Touch native apps available that are of interest to you. The first one I'd like to mention is Peg Solver (iTunes Link), which is available for free. If you've ever been frustrated by that Triangular Peg Solitaire game (Cracker Barrel customers know this game well), this app will finally teach you how to solve it (only how to solve it, as there's no instruction-free mode).

They also offer Math Tricks (iTunes Link), where you can learn a wide variety of fast multiplication-based and division-based mental math feats. The full version goes for 99¢, and there's also a lite version (iTunes Link) available that focuses on just 2 of the feats, so you can get the basic feel of the program.

Remarkable Marbles is a memory techniques site that I hadn't run across before, which apparently began last year. They offer an excellent tool on their site called The Major Memory System Trainer, which helps you learn the peg/major system, including the phonetic alphabet. To use the trainer, you do have to log in, but registration is free, and gives you access to their forums, as well. It's highly customizable, and will help you quickly learn these systems.

• Ulrich Voigt has a manuscript in German available called Das Jahr im Kopf: Kalender und Mnemotechnik (in English: The Year in the Head: Calendars and Mnemonics), which is currently available for €35. Interestingly, it's available in English on the publisher's site as a PDF, absolutely free! Go to the Likanas site, click the Das Jahr im Kopf link on the left-hand side, and then click the How to compute Key Calendar Dates link (direct link to PDF here), which you can then save to your hard drive and view at your leisure.

For those who've learned and practiced the Day of the Week For Any Date feat, this manuscript goes to the next level. The method I teach is limited to the Gregorian calendar. Not only does Mr. Voigt teach how to handle dates in the Julian calendar, but much, MUCH more!

The How to compute Key Calendar Dates manuscript covers more abstract date requests, such as “Mondays in October 1948” or “Years in which June 14 fell on a Sunday”. From there, the author goes on to discuss how to mentally work out things like full moon dates, Easter dates in a given year, and even how to handle the Jewish calendar!

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2 Response to Yet Again Still More Quick Snippets

3:21 PM

Wow, thank you so much, especially for the link to the PDF, I can't get enough of mental calculations, and calendar calculations in general. I use your mental gym to train everyday, and if I may be so bold as to make a small suggestion for people performing the feats? If you memorize the key numbers for the years you can almost tripple your speed in teh calculation as well as simplify it. For a practiced mnemonist the memorization can take a few minutes

7:06 PM

You're welcome.

To anyone reading this - Jay's advice memorizing the key numbers for the years 1900 through 1999 is truly the way to go if you wish to perform this regularly, as well as quickly and effectively.

I've been doing it this way for about the past 4-5 years now, and the speed (and the reactions) it makes possible is worth the extra effort.