On 2 March 2015, Marc Garneau CI hosted an invitational math tournament for 10 high schools from across the GTA. Some came from as far as Pickering. Some of the top math students in Ontario were challenged over three rounds of questions created and organized by members of Garneau’s own math club.

The tournament opened with a relay round, where each question depended on the solution to the previous one. This was followed by the team round, an hour-long 25-question test requiring the whole team’s efforts to solve. The tournament was wrapped up with the guts round, a series of questions of increasing difficulty which ultimately decided the winner. Between the rounds, snacks and pizza were provided to the contestants and volunteers.

Marc Garneau sent their own team, which consisted of six Grade 9 students and ultimately finished 5th. Woburn CI, Norman Bethune CI, and Stephen Leacock CI placed first, second, and third respectively. Woburn’s team received shirts as the winning school, while all competitors received pins. Mr. Chan, Woburn’s representative teacher, said that his team was “excited to compete” at a tournament different from what they had previously experienced.

Behind the scenes, preparation for the tournament had gone on for several months. Led by Ms. Tam and the MGCI math club executives, a team of eight students created over 70 problems for the tournament. They also organized and worked out the logistics of the event. They were aided by 20 volunteers on the day of the event, whose tasks included welcoming and registration, pizza distribution, and proctoring.

The general response to the tournament was positive. Aditya Kutty and Rishath Sarikiparthi, contestants from Earl Haig, said that the tournament was a fun and different experience from math events they had gone to in the past. They thought that the format of the rounds closely resembled contests such as the CIMC and Pascal, but also offered something new. When asked about if they would come again, they responded with an emphatic “definitely”.

Students worked as a team to solve math problems for the tournament. Photo: Lily Song

Students worked as a team to solve math problems for the tournament. Photo: Lily Song

MGCI volunteer Tianyu Lu also spoke positively of the tournament. “It’s a privilege to be involved in such an intense and competitive environment with mathematically gifted students.” He further suggested an expansion of the competition by making use of cafeteria space.

One somewhat unexpected issue was the difficulty of the problems, which took contestants and teachers by surprise. Mr. Chan, from Woburn CI, said that the tournament featured harder questions than the Waterloo contests. He also added that his students didn’t know how to prepare and would liked to have had sample questions. On the other hand, some of MGCI’s problem creators said that the questions for this tournament were already significantly easier than those of last year.

The tournament also marked the launch of one of MGCI Math Club’s own initiatives – the Mathematics Association of Toronto High Schools (MATHS), an organization to promote inter-school mathematics tournaments across the GTA. The website can be found at here.