It all adds up to success for Perse pupil in international maths competition
18 Jan 2021
Daniel Chen (Year 11) displayed his problem-solving prowess to enjoy success in an international maths Olympiad.
He came third in the London round of the Tournament of Towns, a biannual maths competition in which youngsters aged 13 to 18 from across the world sit two five-hour papers at basic (GCSE level) and advanced (A level) standard. Both tests feature six problems, with participants’ best three solutions overall counting towards their final mark.
Daniel was delighted with his achievement, especially as one of only two contestants to solve a problem in the A level paper, but was surprised he had done so well.
He said: “The questions were all deep mathematical proofs (ways to show a maths theorem is true), so each one was worth a lot of marks. Even if you think you’ve solved it, such as by spotting a pattern, it’s your ability to phrase it rigorously that counts.
“The questions were extremely general, but that also made the proofs for them very interesting. The marking also took solution elegance (simplicity, insight and efficacy) into account.”
Daniel now hopes to compete in the next Tournament of Towns later this year after relishing the chance to test his numerical knowledge in such a way.
He said: “I enjoyed the problem solving that the questions presented. You would spend hours on a few questions or, in my case, five hours on one question! I found it very tough, but I like the feeling of spotting the insight that leads you to solve a problem.”