Memory- the basis for success in all Mind Sports

Ratings and Titles for the World Memory Championships

By Ray Keene OBE: International Chess Grandmaster 

Ratings , rankings and titles are the foundation of the authority for any governing body in the arena of Mind Sports. Ever since I founded the World Memory Championships with Tony Buzan at The Athenaeum Club in London in 1991, a Championship has been staged every year, even during the Covid years. The 32nd World Memory Championship will be held in China , near Macau , during the second week of December this year. All World Championships are run under the authority of the World Memory Championships International Ltd. 

The rules are administered by the WMSC, the World Memory Sports Council with, amongst others, myself as President and Chris Day as Secretary General. 

It has been my ambition from year one to establish a Ratings, Rankings and Titles system for the Mind Sport of Memory, based on a similar model for Chess, with which I am of course most familiar. Such systems exist in all the great international Mind Sports (including Chess, Go, Shogi, Xiangqi, Bridge) 

A rating system is a system used to estimate the strength of a player, based on their performance versus other players. Most of the systems are used to recalculate ratings after a tournament or match but some are used to recalculate ratings after individual games. Popular online chess sites such as chess.comLichess, and Internet Chess Club also implement rating systems. In almost all systems, a higher number indicates a stronger player. In general, players’ ratings go up if they perform better than expected and down if they perform worse than expected. The magnitude of the change depends on the rating of their opponents. The Elo rating system is currently the most widely used. The Chess ratings are now issued on a monthly basis.

The current Chess rating table is shown below and we will shortly be announcing our plans for a complete upgrade of the World Memory Statistics Website . 

Rating range



World Championship candidate 


most Grandmasters (GM)


most International Masters (IM)


most FIDE Masters (FM)


FIDE Candidate Masters (CM), most national masters (NM)


Candidate masters (CM)


Class A, category 1


Class B, category 2


Class C, category 3


Class D, category 4


Class E, category 5

Below 1000