If someone mentions to me any date from the last couple of centuries I can tell them which day of the week that date fell on, and in a matter of seconds. For example, if someone says they were married on February 13th 1953, I am able to instantly tell them that day was a Friday. How am I able to do this?

The year, month and day are equal to a set of co-ordinates which lead me to a “place” that reveals the day of the week. As usual I am employing the recurrent theme of the three keys of memory, association, location and imagination – to guide me. It is beyond the scope of this article to explain the mathematics behind these codes, but trust me – they work!

I break a date into its component parts – year, month and day – and I give each part a single-digit code number, between 0 and 6. I then use these numbers to calculate the day of the week for the particular date I am seeking.

There is an alternative method to this that you can try. For a general set of memory techniques you read some awesome tips here

memory feat

The Year Codes

I have devised a coding system for all the years from 1800 to 2099. We shall start with the years 1900 to 1999. First, I choose six rooms in my house. I allocate to each room a number between 0 and 6. As the garden is not a room, I call it zero. Then I place each year in a particular room (see box). To memorize these Year Codes you will be combining location with the Dominic System to imagine each year as a person in a particular room at a big party.

1901, 1907, 1912, 1918, 1929, 1935, 1940, 1946, 1957, 1963, 1968, 1974, 1985, 1991, 1996

1902, 1913, 1919, 1924, 1930, 1941, 1947, 1952, 1958, 1969, 1975, 1980, 1986, 1997

1903, 1908, 1914, 1925, 1931, 1936, 1942, 1953, 1959, 1964, 1970, 1981, 1987, 1992, 1998

1909, 1915, 1920, 1926, 1937, 1943, 1948, 1954, 1965, 1971, 1976, 1982, 1993, 1999

1904, 1910, 1921, 1927, 1932, 1938, 1949, 1955, 1960, 1966, 1977, 1983, 1988, 1994

1905, 1911, 1916, 1922, 1933, 1939, 1944, 1950, 1961, 1967, 1972, 1978, 1989, 1995

1900, 1906, 1917, 1923, 1928, 1934, 1945, 1951, 1956, 1962, 1973, 1979, 1984, 1990

The setting for your party should consist of the six rooms and a garden. It doesn’t have to be your own house, but each area must be distinct and have familiar associations, furniture, pictures, windows, and so on.

Use the Number-Shape System to remember the numbers of each room. So, imagine a golf club leaning against some book shelves in your study to help you remember the study is code 6.

The next stage is to convert each year into a person and work out where each person has been placed. If you have invested time in learning the Dominic System for the numbers 00 to 99, then you will have a list of 100 characters, and so you are already halfway there. As all the years are from the twentieth century, you need only convert the last two digits into a person, then imagine that person performing his or her action in their designated area of your home.

This will give you the code number (between 0 and 6) for the year you have been asked about. So, if someone says they were born in 1968, you imagine Stephen Hawking (68 = SH) looking through his telescope from the Bedroom, which gives you code 1.

The credit for this goes to Dominic O’Brien. I am hopeful that with a little practice you will be able to perform this memory stunt.