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Pi Memory World Record on Pi Day – First Time in South Africa

Pi Day is celebrated by math enthusiasts all around the world, and on this day – March the 14th (3.14) 2013 Grandmaster Kevin Horsley broke The Matrix Memorisation of Pi World Record. The event was kindly hosted by North-West University Vaal Campus.

The new record time is 16min 38sec! Kevin Horsley is one of only four people in the world who has ever been able to perform such a feat.

The following five people judged and witnessed the event:
Prof. L.A. du Plessis 
Prof. H.J. van der Merwe
Prof. B.J.J. Lombard
Mrs. M.E. Steyn
Miss. D. Gerber

Explanation of the record:
Pi is the number that expresses the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. Pi is an irrational number, so unlike rationals, the decimals run on forever, never forming a repeating pattern. Pi has passed every test of randomness.


The Pi Matrix Memorization record requires the memorizer not only to know the actual order of the first 10,000 digits of pi, but also to know the digits in the correct order from anywhere in the sequence. It is a bit like learning a book, and then being given a sequence of just a couple of words from it, and asked to remember the words that appear on either side.

It has been called The Everest Of Memory Tests – recalling 100 randomly chosen 5 digit components of pi. The first 10,000 digits of pi – an infinite non-repeating number- are divided into 2000 5-digit blocks. The testers (three to five independent people of standing in the community) call out one of these 5-digit sequences, and the candidate must reply with the 5-digits on either side of the number chosen. This happens 50 times.
 The tester calls out 250 digits in total (fifty groups of five), and 500 digits must be recalled (five before and five after).
The record is for the time taken to recall the event, with no errors.


The record is recognised by the World Memory Sports Council and by Buzan’s Book of Mental World Records. It was first featured in Buzan’s book of Genius.

History of the record:

Philip Bond (U.K) 18 May 1994. Time 53 minutes

Kevin Horsley (South Africa) 28 Aug 1999. Time 39 minutes

Philip Bond (U.K) 28 June 2004. Time 29 min 51 sec

Jan Harms (Germany) 27 July 2007. Time 20 min 30 sec

Mats Bergsten (Sweden) 12 Feb 2008. Time 17 min 39 sec

Kevin Horsley (South Africa) 14 March 2013. Time 16min 38sec 

Martin Nilsson (Sweden) 05 October 2019. Time 14 min 34 sec

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