Spelling Deck by Jozsef Kovacs

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Tom Frame
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Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
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Spelling Deck by Jozsef Kovacs

Postby Tom Frame » March 9th, 2014, 1:20 pm

Spelling Deck (Ebook) by Jozsef Kovacs £9.99 / $16.65
17 pages, 9 photographs
Available at: http://the-magic-of-jozsef-kovacs.webnode.com/


My research suggests that the effect of spelling to a card was first published in Professor Hoffman’s Tricks with Cards in 1889. I was not shocked to discover that the effect was called “The Spelling Trick.” Its creator was listed as “unknown”, so I must assume that he was buried in an unmarked grave. Hopefully, he was dead at the time.

Since then, many of magic’s major movers and shakers have been seized by this orthographic obsession and published a vast variety of variations. Hell, even I have published two renditions.

Inspired and undaunted by his prestigious predecessors, Jozsef Kovacs presents Spelling Deck. In the shell of a nut, Mr. Kovacs’ proffers a forcing deck that ensures that the participant will select a card that spells with a certain number of letters.

In all of the effects, sometimes the target card appears on the final letter of the card, and sometimes the target card is the next card, the top card of the remainder of the deck. Just so you know.

The author’s writing is adequate, as is his level of instruction. It’s apparent that he wrote each of the effects separately, providing all of the details. He then combined them into this ebook, without editing his instructions. The resultant instructional redundancy annoyed me.

Mr. Kovacs cites recent inspirational sources for only two of the effects. I wish that he would have dug deeper.

The photographs are fuzzy and unnecessary.

Mr. Kovacs includes links to performance videos of two of the effects. I commend him for including this helpful feature, but I’m puzzled why he didn’t include a video performance of all of the effects.

The layout of the ebook leaves something to be desired. Many of the paragraphs are overly long, including a whopper of 30 lines. The paragraphs should have been broken up into smaller, tastier nuggets.


Spelling Deck: Mr. Kovacs describes how to create the deck. While nothing is added to the deck, you must, uh, modify it. The modification procedure isn’t difficult, but you will want to exercise care. The amount of time it takes to modify the deck depends upon the tools that you have at your disposal.

The deck can be freely displayed front and back and handled by the participant. It can be judiciously used to perform other effects.

While I applaud Mr. Kovacs’ creativity, there are many strong versions of the spelling effect that don’t require a gimmicked deck. Seasoned card magicians simply don’t need this deck. I dislike it not because it’s bad, but because it’s unnecessary.

Thus, I won’t bother to write “I don’t like it” beneath my obsessively detailed descriptions of the following effects. Those remarks would also be unnecessary.


Guilty Intent: The participant freely selects a card and the performer loses it in the deck. He tables the deck.

The performer introduces a second deck. He displays it, cuts it and tables it. The participant cuts a portion off the top of the deck. She turns the top card of the bottom portion of the deck face up. Let’s say it’s the Five of Hearts.

The participant picks up the first deck and holds it face down. She deals cards from the top of the deck onto the table, one card for each letter of her card. She turns the last card face up and it is the Five of Hearts.


On the Spot: The performer shuffles the deck and the participant cuts it and completes the cut. The performer writes a prediction on a piece of paper, folds it and tables it.

The performer introduces a second deck, from which the participant selects a card. The deck is set aside.

The participant picks up the first deck and holds it face down. She deals cards from the top of the deck onto the table, one card for each letter of her card. She turns the last card face up and it is her selection. The participant unfolds the prediction and discovers that the performer correctly predicted her selection.


The first deck is prearranged in a familiar stack.


Facts: The performer introduces a red-backed deck and a blue-backed deck. He removes the blue-backed deck from its case, displays it, shuffles it, cuts it and tables it face down.

He removes the red-backed deck from its case and displays the faces of the cards. He turns the deck face down and spreads it on the table, revealing that each card has a different number from one to fifty-two written on its back. He squares the deck, shuffles it, cuts it and tables it near his participant.

The participant cuts the red-backed deck and completes the cut. She turns the top card of the deck, her first selection, face up and tables it.

She picks up the red-backed deck and holds it face down. She deals cards from the top of the deck into a face-up pile on the table, one card for each letter of her card. She places the final card, her second selection, face up beside her first selection.

The performer says that he will use the number on the back of one of the cards and the face of the other card. The participant freely turns either of the cards face down. Let’s say that the card has “15” written on its back.

The participant picks up the blue-backed deck and holds it face down. She deals fourteen cards into a face-up pile on the table. She tables the fifteenth card face down beside the remaining face-up red card. She turns the blue-backed card face up and it matches the face-up red card.


This effect was inspired by Cameron Francis’ “Convergence” and by Raphael Czaja’s “Revolution.” The blue-backed deck is stacked. The red-backed deck is an enhanced Spelling Deck.


Kovax Diary: The performer displays a dairy that has the name of a card written beside every date. He tables it. He writes a prediction on a piece of paper, folds it and tables it.

The performer displays the faces of a deck of cards. He turns the deck face down and spreads it on the table, revealing that each card has a different number from one to fifty-two written on its back.

The performer says that the numbers on the backs of two freely chosen cards will be used to generate a month and a day. The smaller number will determine the month and the higher number will determine the day. If the number is too high, the participant will add the two digits of the number together to get a smaller number.

The performer shuffles the deck, cuts it and tables it near the participant.

The participant cuts the deck and completes the cut. She turns the top card of the deck face up and tables it. Let’s say it’s the Three of Spades.

The participant picks up the deck and holds it face down. She deals cards from the top of the deck into a face-up pile on the table, one card for each letter of her card. She places the final card, her second selection, face up beside her first selection.

The participant turns the two cards face down. She opens the diary to the date determined by the numbers on the backs of the cards. She announces that the card written next to the date is, say, the Five of Hearts. She opens the prediction and discovers that the performer correctly predicted the Five of Hearts.


Diary tricks just don’t cause my rope to rise. The notion of having the names of playing cards written beside dates in a dairy has always seemed weird and contrived to me. In addition, Mr. Kovacs’ method is indirect and protracted.


Spelling Book Test: The performer introduces three books. He displays the faces of a deck of cards. He turns the deck face down and spreads it on the table, revealing that each card has a different number from one to fifty-two written on its back. The performer shuffles the deck, cuts it and tables it near the participant.

The participant cuts the deck and completes the cut. The performer turns his back.

The participant turns the top card of the deck face up and tables it. Let’s say it’s the Seven of Hearts.

The participant picks up the deck and holds it face down. She deals cards from the top of the deck into a face-up pile on the table, one card for each letter of her card. She places the final card, her second selection, face up beside her first selection.

The participant turns the two cards face down. She adds the two numbers on the backs of the cards and remembers the sum. Let’s say that the sum is 53. She conceals the two cards so that the performer isn’t aware of the sum when he turns around.

The performer turns around and faces the participant. The participant freely selects one of the books. The performer turns his back to the participant again.

The participant opens the book to page 53, reads and remembers the first line on the page, and closes the book.

The performer turns around and asks the participant to concentrate on what she read. He accurately describes the passage.


Again, the author’s method is indirect and protracted. A number of more direct, superior methods exist.


Spelling Deck Version B: Mr. Kovacs describes how to construct an alternate deck that allows the participant to spell cards that contain fewer letters.


Countdown: The performer introduces two decks. He gives one deck to a participant, who shuffles it. The performer retrieves the face-down deck, cuts it, returns it to the participant and turns his back.

The participant thinks of a number between 10 and 20, but she doesn’t name it. She deals her secret number of cards from the top of the deck into a pile on the table. She tables the remainder of the deck beside the dealt pile. She mentally adds the two digits of her secret number.

The participant picks up the dealt pile and deals the new number of cards onto the balance of the deck. She turns the last card face up and remembers it as her selection. She turns the card face down onto the deck and drops the cards in her hand on top of it. She cuts the deck several times.

The performer turns around and faces the participant. He retrieves the deck, shuffles it and cuts it. He tables it face up.

The performer introduces another deck. He spreads it face up on the table to display the faces. He squares the deck, turns it face down, shuffles it, cuts it and tables it.

The participant cuts any number of cards off the top of the deck. She places the cut-off portion beside the balance of the deck.

The performer turns the top card of the balance of the deck face up. He hands her the first deck face up and instructs her to spell the name of the face-up card. The last card dealt is her selection.


This effect was inspired by Harry Riser’s “Count.” I detest the method of choosing a number between 10 and 20, dealing that number of cards, adding the two digits together and re-dealing the new number. The procedure is contrived and indirect.


Not Recommended
"There is more to consciousness than meets the mind's eye." - Frame

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