UKMT Team Maths Challenge National Final 18th June 2018

On June 18th, having achieved a first place victory in the regional heat, a team consisting of Peter Kippax, Hemal Aggarwal, Raunaq Foridi and Farhan Awais set out to take on the UKMT National Finals. This was a contest between the 88 winning teams from each of the regional finals. We arrived in London in high spirits as the train journey to Euston wasn’t as bad as anyone expected, only one and a half hours. Then we took the tube to Victoria, followed by a short 10 minute walk to the Royal Horticultural Halls, where the finals were being held.


Before we got into the main competition we were tasked with creating a poster which, for the first time, would also count towards the competition. This year, the poster was to be on Leonhard Euler and his mathematical works, including the 36 officer problem, the 4 colour theorem and planar graphs. There were also a set of 3 questions which we had to answer. These included a scaled down version of the 36 officer problem, and rearranging a graph into a planar graph, so that no lines would cross.


Then into the main contest. The first round was the group circus. We had a series of eight hands-on problems to tackle, with five minutes to complete each of them. Questions included rearranging number-cards into a certain order, or finding the number of paths from A to B, with given restrictions. Overall we did quite well in this round, gaining 36 points out of a possible 48.


The next round was the crossnumber, which had been great success for us in the regional heat. The team was split into pairs, and one side handled the ‘across’ clues while the other took the ‘down’ clues, with each correct digit in the final grid being worth one point. Unsurprisingly, the questions were harder than in the regional heat, requiring more logical thought. By the end of the round we had only lost a single mark, after overlooking a possible answer.


Next was the shuttle round. This was split into 4 parts of increasing difficulty, each of which had 4 questions. Other than the first question, the answers could only be worked out with the answer to the previous question. However, some simplifying could be done beforehand, and there were also bonus points for doing each part quickly. We did reasonably well on this round getting 45 out of 60.


Last was the relay round. Again, we were in pairs and each pair took turns to answer a question. There were a maximum of 15 questions per pair, each worth 2 marks. We got to question 26, and had only got two wrong so we earned a respectable 48 out of 60.


Overall we were happy with our performance, but expected nothing special. We expected to finish somewhere around 35th place. When our scorecard came round, we were elated. We had come in 5th place. This meant our team was 5th out of around 1700 teams that had entered nationally, including the likes of Eton (who we beat). Well done to the team who should all be immensely proud of themselves.


Many thanks to Mr Thompson for providing some inspiration on the poster, and a massive thank you to Mrs Crockford for organising the team, running lunchtime practice sessions, organising and working out the logistics of the day and of course most importantly for the cookies afterwards. Without her none of this would’ve been possible.


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