Yes, I can read some German at around A1-A2 level. But with some translators I understand almost all the vocabulary and the discussions here. So keep going and you can reply to me in German in you want. (or in English). But like I said in another post I will always write in English because it feels more natural to me and because I cannot yet write fluently in German. And if I write in German I'll make many grammar mistakes which you will find very funny, that's why I avoid it.
But what ultimately matters is the exchange of information and not the language. Personally, in order to improve in mental calculation (and because there was almost no such information in my native language) I had to read articles not only in English but also in German or French or Russian mainly from Mr. Stepanov' Mnemonic
(great site!). I don't focus much on the language, but on the information. And even if this forum is not very comfortable for me (from a language point of view), I think it has great information for learning that why I read your posts (or translate the topics)
Now to stay on topic, I did not know about the exact list of participants. My odds were kind of arbitrary and subject to change . But if what you said is true and those people are absent, then I will now pick the new best 12 favourites to win WMC-2015, with these odds:
(updated 16/Dec/2015 - (outright) Favourites to win WMC 2015):
1. MALLOW Germany Odds: 5/2
2. REINHARD Germany Odds: 3/1
3. WALLONIUS Sweden Odds: 6/1
4. B. N. KONRAD Germany Odds: 7/1
5. S. ULZIIKHUTAG Mongolia Odds: 7/1
6 ALTANSUH Sweden Odds: 10/1
7 O.K. RISA Norway Odds: 10/1
9 T.SAIKHANBAYAR Mongolia Odds: 13/1
10 TSCHIRHART USA Odds:13/1
11 MULLEN USA Odds: 20/1
12 S BINBIN China Odds 20/1 (due to lack of experience)
and "Any Other Competitor" at Odds: 15/1
(obviously with all those cancellations, all odds got a bit lower for everyone who still has winning chances. And these probabilities are only my estimations and predictions)
Also, what you guys mentioned earlier about Ben being the next Tony Buzan, I think we need not only 1, but 10 Tony Buzans. If Tony was 30 or 40 years old he would have more energy and would have done great work for Memory. Right now, I think the main problem on memory and mind sports, that is the lack of global recognition from the mass media. That's strange, because memory skills are very important in almost all jobs and white-collar workforce these days, so such memory champion activities should be higher on the agenda of the mass media. Honestly, I think that even if WMC takes place for 25 years already (since '91) , it still has not reached the recognition what it should be. Yes, in Germany it may be a bit famous, but in other countries (like UK or Spain or Italy or Japan) it is not very big the news or gets any sponsorship deals. But, anyway this big prize of about 150 Thousand Euros given by the Chinese this time, is a good kickstart. But comparing to other sports prizes, that's still not much money. Because Messi in Barca gets 150K Euros in 3 days and he does not even uses many brain cells for that. (and a smart brain is what ultimately makes us humans different than other animals, and not the ability of kicking a football to a net nor huge strength). So, let's hope that human mind sports will gain more recognition in the future.
Finally, about WMC cancellations and non-participations, I think we should not judge anyone for their choice to abstain from the WMC. Maybe they had other priorities this year. It's not
like every Top-Mnemonist in the world has an obligation to participate every year
. Many people want to have a break or improve in other areas. So, I understand Ben P., Jonas V.E. or Christian S. or Wang Feng. Maybe it's only a break.
That's what this competition is about, to find the best active
memory athlete for the year 2015, and not necessarily the best living
memory athlete; in the same way that Pele, Beckenbauer or Marodona are still arguably among the best living footballers but not the best active (like Messi). The same may apply for Dr Dr Gunther Karsten, Bell or O'Brien who have left a legacy in memory sports).
So, the winner of WMC 2015 will have the best memory than everyone on the planet this year, but not necessarily better than them in historical comparative terms. That will need consistency and more wins.
Good luck again !!