Thursday, April 23, 2009

Math Battle

If you've been reading along, you know I'm interested in finding a spectator friendly math competition. Kate left a provocative comment about the historical precedence of math battles on that post. I didn't run into any historical info, but when I googled 'math battle', I wound up with a Canadian group that has been running an interesting type of math competition it calls a math battle. What makes this more interesting than the usual paper and pencil test taken individually or in a group is that it is not graded. The answers are debated in front of a panel of judges and an audience. It starts in the normal manner with a problem set that each team works. Then the teams challenge each other's answers in a debate-style back and forth between the speakers. So not only can you score points by correctly solving the original problems, but you can also earn points by finding gaps or errors in your opponent's solution. I'm not sure this would work for us. I think John and Steve are thinking of something more immediate, physical, and faster moving, but I would love to see one of these competitions. It seems like an excellent idea. BTW, they also post their old problem sets so it is a great site to go to for a little mathematical recreation. I liked this one.
Two persons play a game on a board divided into 3 × 100 squares. They move in turn: the first places tiles of size 1 × 2 lengthwise (along the long axis of the board), the second, in the perpendicular direction. The loser is the one who cannot make a move. Which of the players can always win (no matter how his opponent plays), and what is the winning strategy?

pic by Bre!

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