On July 4, four United States teams from the Bay Area took home eight individual awards in the Bulgaria International Mathematics Competition (BIMC) against 577 other contestants. This year’s competition accepted and hosted contestants for one week in the beautiful seaside city of Burgas.
Contestants from over 30 countries including Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Cyprus, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Korea, Macau, Malaysia, Mexico, Mongolia, Netherlands, Nigeria, Philippines, Russia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, U.S., Ukraine, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe competed in either the Elementary Mathematics International Competition (EMIC) for elementary students or Invitational World Youth Mathematics Intercity Competition (IWYMIC) for middle school students.
Students representing the U.S. were invited to BIMC after being selected through a tryout in early February administered and held by MathEdge, a local math competition training and learning center that focuses on teaching logical reasoning and problem solving. After twelve weeks of training, a final selection test was administered in late April to select the 16 students for whom all expenses for the six-day trip (except airfare) were covered by BIMC.
In the EMIC, an impressive five out of eight MathEdge students scored individual awards. In the IWYMIC, three more claimed awards, including Vinayak Kumar, an eighth grader from Windemere Ranch Middle School in San Ramon. Shopnavo Biswas, a seventh grader from Challenger Middle School in Palo Alto, also participated.
Kumar said he felt just a bit nervous ahead of the competition but also well-prepared. In addition to training at MathEdge for three months, Kumar spent all day before the trip doing problems in his math book and consulting his coach, Norman Tsai.
The eighth grader’s genuine passion for math is apparent as he has competed in multiple competitions including Mathcounts, AMC 8, and AIME “for fun” and hopes to pursue a career in mathematics. When personally presented a merit award by Burgas’ mayor, Kumar said he felt “very proud and very happy onstage when (he) and (his) coach held the American flag.”
The goal of this annual math competition is not only to recognize outstanding skill in mathematical logic in younger students but also to encourage the improvement of mathematics and higher-order thinking skills in academic curriculum internationally. As seventh grader Biswas said, “It was a great opportunity (for students) to show their prowess in math” as well as “go international and meet kids from other countries.”