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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Shuffled not Stirred » » Speed Math for Asi’s AACAAN? Tips for getting fast (5 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Profile of Magic1
Does anyone have any tips/resources/apps/courses/drills for getting comfortable with speed arithmetic?
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Profile of Gennovense
You can only get good in math with practice, however, Asi Wind teaches an arithmetic "trick" to make the math easier for that effect, besides that I doubt there is much to do.
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Profile of Nikodemus
Practice is essential -
Whenever you go shopping, work out prices, and change in your head.

"short cuts" for mental arithmetic are to make adjustments to simplify the calculations.
EG. suppose you want to convert a position-from-top to a position-from-bottom. You need to subtract from 53. This is harder with some numbers - especially if you feel under pressure.
What is 28 from 53?
You know 13 minus 8 = 5. But under pressure you might get a bit tied up over whether the final answer is 15, 25, 35?
So instead add 2 to each side of the equation.
53 minus 28 is the same as 55 minus 30. Which is 25.
Adjusting both sides up/down together is generally much easier than "borrowing" and "carrying" in the way you probably got taught subtraction at school.
Thomas Henry
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Profile of Thomas Henry
Hello Magic1,

Learning to be quick with mental arithmetic has long been a passion with me; my shelf holds some dozen books on the subject, some from fifty years ago and some quite recent.

My suggestion is to find a course/book which is orderly, systematic and complete, rather than being a collection of disjointed techniques. It really is quite fun once you start to see the main pattern running throughout.

One of the recent superstars in this area is Professor Arthur B. Benjamin. I have his very first course (three or four VHS tapes, a half-dozen audio cassettes for listening while commuting, and a couple workbooks). It's a great course designed for everyone. More recently, he seems to have updated it (but haven't seen it) for a DVD course (with printed guide) in the Great Courses series:

But avoid that exhorbitant price! This goes on sale all the time for $35 on DVDs, and $25 for download. In fact, I think it's on sale right now, according to the printed catalog I got from the company a couple weeks ago. Get on their mailing list and wait for the sale price!

Next up is an excellent book (written in a friendly fashion, and complete) that I can recommend:

The next one was also a video course hawked on television for an inflated price, but then released as an inexpensive book. It too is more modern and well written:

Finally, don't neglect the granddaddy of them all:

While an older book, this is really the one that collects all the great secrets of mental arithmetic in one place, and is probably the source from which all later authors drew. I think my German friend, HCS here on the Magic Café will also speak to the value of the Trachtenberg system.

Try the links out, but also be aware that most of these are available second-hand on the Web for peanuts.

So, there are many resources out there that will help you become quicker and more accurate when doing mental computations required not only for memorized deck work, but for some areas of mental magic as well (not to mention, everyday life).

Hope that's of some benefit,

Thomas Henry
Omne ignotum pro magnifico.
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Profile of Nikodemus
An update to my previous post -
I picked 28 as a random example. And the short cut I suggested works just fine.
But there are others.
For example, the 26th card from the top is the 27th from the bottom, and vice versa.
28 is just 1 more than 27, therefore 28 from one end of the deck must be 25 from the other because that is 1 LESS than 26.

Here a couple more tips - it helps to have a visual picture of what the numbers mean. This will vary depending on the calculation. In my example, we are talking about the distance from either end of the
deck. So a low number corresponds to a high number. Whereas numbers near the middle of the correspond to other numbers near the middle.

Another technique is the "sanity check". This is a rough calculation to put you in the right ball park.
What is 2.7 x 5.3 x 6.2?
I don't know exactly, but it is roughly 3 x 5 x 6 which is 90.
So if I get an answer that is around 9 or 900 I know I have the decimal point in the wrong place.
(Not relevant to cards, but useful anyway)

Here is a magic example that does use a rough calculation.
1-2 days ago fore the first time I performed an ACAAN I have been working on. The audience was only a couple of friends but I was surprised how nervous I was.
I ask for a card to be named. It is 7H, 14th in my stack.
I ask for a number, they choose 47.
For a moment my brain froze. I couldn't work out 53-14 (39). But I didn't need to. I knew it was around 40, nowhere near 47. This immediately ruled out a couple of options, so I went down the path of a different "out". In this method I didn't need the exact calculation, just a rough idea.

(If it was close, I would have bought more time to work it out exactly, by asking both to mentally "project" for a few seconds. You might want to use this with Asi's ACAAN)

Incidentally to calculate 3 x 5 x 6, I automatically did it in the easiest order (for me)
5 x 6 = 30
3 x 30 = 90.

It would be marginally slower (for me) to go down the route of 15 x 6.
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Germany, Magdeburg
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Profile of hcs
Dear Magic 1,
Google for "Trachtenberg +Speed" AND for "Vedic +math."
You will get for example

Search also via youtube, Wikipedia. Understand the rules, practice, and practice!
Continue searching further and more profound.
Good luck!
Melencolia I - Magic Squares for the Mental Entertainer * Smart Methods for 4x4, 5x5 and 6x6 Magic Squares * 172 A4-pages * version 3.40
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Los Angeles
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Profile of Magic1
Thank you everyone! This was so bloody helpful!!
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