So for the past two days, Brian and his 11 schoolmates from AAS were competing in the CEESA (Central and Eastern European Schools Association) Mathcounts competition. Other schools participating were the International School of Cyprus, International School of Helsinki, Pechersk School International, International School of Prague, American International School of Vilnius, American International School of Budapest and Kiev International School.
The nationalities of the children were diverse, from the US, UK, India, China, Japanese, Russia, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Finland, Bulgaria, Japan, Poland, Austria, Greece, but the majority of kids were Koreans (40%).
This is what I got from googling. Mathcounts consists of three separate tests. The Sprint Round is a 40 minute individual test containing 30 questions. These questions stress accuracy and time management. The Target Round contains four sets of two questions. Six minutes is allotted to each pair of questions, which are intended to be more difficult and time-consuming than the Sprint Round. During the Team Round, groups of four students work on a set of 10 questions. Collaboration is encouraged on this 20 minute test.
Brian was in Team 1 of AAS which won the Team Round.
Now, the drama starts in the final Countdown Round which determines the Individual winner of Mathcounts. The top 10 students with the highest scores from the Sprint and Target Rounds compete in a fast-paced, oral head-to-head competition.
A problem is posted on a projector, and the two contestants race to finish the problem (with pencil and paper). Upon finishing the problem, a contestant is expected to press his/her buzzer. The first person to buzz in with the correct answer gains a point. 45 seconds are allocated per question. If you buzz with the wrong answer, the opponent has the rest of the time to work on the problem.
So No 10 competes with No 9, and the winner is the one who gets best of 3 questions right...he goes on to play No 8. And so on. From No 5 onwards, the format changes, the winner is the one who is first to get 3 questions right.
The top 10 contestants were announced. All 10 were Koreans except Brian :) He came in at No2, behind his Team Captain, who's also the Middle School Student Council President and an 8th grader. I wasn't there to watch this...but apparently, Team Captain's parents were. I'm glad I wasn't there. Too exciting, and the thing about me is, every time I watch a match on TV, the team/player I support always loses! I would probably have jinxed everything.
So, Countdown starts. Questions are projected on a projector for all to see. Emcee announces the question and the players face off. After the 8 players had played, it was time for the winner to play Brian who was No2. Brian wins. So he goes against No1, his team-mate JT (Captain's name). The emcee announces the question over the microphone and both scribble furiously (this one I'm imagining lah, I wasn't there!). At one point, JT buzzes and got the answer wrong, then Brian answers and also got it wrong! Aiyohhh...
Soon, the emcee asks the scorekeeper, "Could you tell us the score?" Scorekeeper says, "Brian, 2 points, JT, 2 points." This is what soccer players call Sudden Death.
Yikes, so darn gancheong. The emcee announces the last question, scribble scribble, and BUZZZ....the buzz is from Brian, who states his answer out loud. Emcee says,... It's CORRECT! Brian's the winner! Yayyyyy!!
And here are his medals, the bigger medal is for his Individual win and the smaller one for team. JT collected the trophy for the team win and kudos to him, cos he did get No 1 based on the Sprint and Target rounds...but the Individual Medal gets decided at the Countdown Round. Brian was really super lucky...I told him it's cos we prayed every morning before he went for the competition :)
Why wasn't I there to support Brian? Well, I didn't even know parents were allowed to go...and I didn't ask either lah. I asked him if it would have made a difference whether we were there or not (Eddie thinks it would have made it more stressful for him)...he said it didn't really matter to him...he was okay either way.
The kids went to Museum of Cosmonautics after the prize-giving ceremony and we only picked them up at 730pm. Went for dinner and after we reached home, the boys played xbox/computer games till 1am. Eddie drove them to school this morning at 9am and took this goodbye picture.
It's been a great experience for Brian, learning to keep a cool head under pressure. He said it was both stressful and fun. We're really happy for him, a 6th grader winning CEESA Mathcounts and on his debut appearance. Such a great way to leave the school :)