Ice Man almost moonwalked with second championship
In 2008, Chester Santos, the International Man of Memory, hoisted the trophy as the champion. But what people don't know about the 7-time finalist is that he very nearly won the 2006 crown as well. Instead that went to Joshua Foer, who later wrote the book "Moonwalking With Einstein," which became a New York Times Bestseller. "Literally, if he and I were seated in different seats, I would have won," Chester said. "Instead he did and ended up getting the big book deal. It was the luck of the draw." Chester was eliminated in a challenge called "Three Strike and You're Out," where contestants had to memorize random facts about a person such as name, birthplace, pets names, and hobbies. The hardest fact to remember is a 10-digit phone number. Nobody knew the numbers, but Chester had the dumb luck of sitting on this "time bomb" twice. Sure, one might think Chester is just dishing sour grapes, but Foer himself confirmed exactly that.
On page 254:
If I'd been sitting in Chester's chair, I wouldn't have known it either. It was dumb luck that Chester had ended up in that seat and not me, dumb luck that he got his third strike before me, and dumb luck that I was now on my way to the finals of the USA Memory Championship.
While Foer went on to win, and write the book, Chester was talked about numerous times in the book. Including the reveal of his nickname.
The lineup included a compact thirty-year-old software engineer from San Francisco named Chester Santos, who goes by the nom de guerre "Ice Man," which hardly befits his soft-spoken, aw-shucks manner. He'd finished in third place the previous year.
At his one-day workshop, Chester spends an entire segment just on how to remember peoples names. At his seminars, starts each workshop out by naming the first names of hundreds of participants. If you have a company or group of people, Chester is also available for speaking engagements.