Daniel Tämmet


World-class mentathlete, memory sport pioneer, personal empowerment coach, spiritual development teacher and speaker and a leading authority on Mindpower and Human Potential


"What’s the most popular sport on the planet? Football? Cricket? Basketball? What then of snooker, pool or darts? It might surprise you to know that the most popular, and fastest-growing breed of sport is ‘mind sports’, chess, draughts and backgammon, even poker. One of the most fascinating, and intriguing of these, however, has to be ‘memory sport’ with competitors battling it out not over yards of turf, pitch or baize but thousands of decimal and binary digits and dozens of decks of playing cards, whole poems, random words, even the names and faces of complete strangers."

The concept of Memory as sport started 10 years ago with the inception of the first ‘Memoriad’ or World Memory Championships. Every year since then, ‘mentathletes’ from around the globe, places as diverse as Malaysia, South Africa and Korea, have been battling it out for the coveted title of World Memory Champion.

The International Federation of Memory Sports was founded last year to oversee the burgeoning number of national tournaments around the globe, with the world’s greatest ‘brain stars’ putting their reputations on the line in one of the world’s greatest literal battle of wits.

My own interest in memory and conversely Memory sport was sparked by my casual acquaintance with a children’s book on broad memory concepts for better exam performance at the age of 15. The following year I passed my GCSEs with some of the year’s best results and subsequently performed well at A-level, mastering French and German along the way with the help of these tried-and-tested techniques.

Following teaching stints in Scandinavia and as a volunteer lecturer of English in Eastern Europe, I competed for the first time at the World Memory Championships in London in 1999, managing 12th place overall.

Thereafter, my obsession with the sport grew, and following months of strenuous training and hard work I climbed into the World’s Top-5 rated Memory sportsmen. My performance at the 2000 World Memory Championships earned me a discipline gold medal and two more event medals, the highlight of one performance being where I bested the World Champion’s time by a fraction of a second, with the successful memorisation and subsequent perfect recall of an entire shuffled deck of cards in a time of 1 minute 11.69 seconds. In another round, I achieved a new personal best memorising 1,460 digits backwards and forwards in 1 hour, one of the largest amounts of digits ever memorised within that time frame in the Championship’s history.

In the weeks following my success, I have been interviewed for various TV programmes and received an invitation to give a talk on my ideas for the future of Memory sport in New York on behalf of the US National Memory Organisation.

Increasingly, I take time out of my teaching and training schedule to give interviews and talks on the subjects of Memory sport, Genius and the Soul, Mindpower, Human Potential and Personal Development. Besides devising my website, I have plans to give talks at Universities and other organisations and to establish ‘Mnemon’ memory skills clubs, based on the chess club concept currently popular in schools.