Four Indian students made the country proud by winning in various categories of the KenKen International Championship, the world's biggest mathematical puzzle championship, held in the US.
KenKen is a grid-based numerical puzzle that uses basic math operations while challenging the logic and problem-solving skills of participants. It is recognised by NCTM (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, USA), an independent authority, as a powerful tool to build reasoning skills in kids.
Held at New York's Pace University on May 31 this year, it involved 4 gruelling elimination rounds - school, state, national and international. A total 35,000 Indian students from 200 schools and 16 states participated in the elimination rounds.
The championship was held for three categories - Delta for students of grade 3 to 5, Kappa for students of grade 6 to 9 and Sigma for grade 10 onwards.
The winners from India represented in Delta and Kappa categories. Three champions were selected from each category, so in top 9, Indian participants secured 4 positions. Five national winners from India made it to the international round, and four emerged victorious.
In Delta category, all the winners came from India with Gaurav Pandey securing first position followed by Dhani Bhangani and Shristi Chakraborty.
Devika Pillai, from India, secured first position in the Kappa category, followed by Dorovitsine Peter from Europe and Hankewycz Zachar of Japan.
In the Sigma category, Grueskin Eleanor of United States, came first followed by Meller Mack from USA as first runner-up and Stricker Michael of Japan coming third.
Finally, for the World KenKen Champion title (across all categories), the winner from three categories competed in the final knock-off round where they all were provided the same puzzle which they solved in front of the audience.
Pandey, a class 5 student of Ryan International School, Noida, Uttar Pradesh, did India proud by being declared the KenKen International Champion. In the final, Pandey took less than half the time taken by any other participants to complete the puzzle.
Devika Pillai of the OP Jindal School in Keonjhar, Odisha, was the first runner-up, while Eleanor of the Winchester County School, United States, was second runner-up.
Robert Furher, organiser of KenKen international championship in New York admitted, "Everyone is super impressed with the Indian team, and especially Gaurav, who has defeated Mack Meller, the defending USA national champion from our annual December tournament."
The other national winner, Mohammad Ali Basha of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation School in Mumbai, surmounted the initial rejection of his visa application by the American authorities to make a mark in the international event, by securing 8th position in the Delta category.
The Indian leg of the championship was organised by Grey Sim Limited, an edutainment sector company, which organises experiential learning programmes, including 3D printing and works, with many a major schools in Mumbai and elsewhere.
Vishal JC, CEO of Grey Sim Limited said, "It is a matter of great pride that our students excelled amongst the champions from around the World. It is like winning the Puzzle Olympics."
On KenKen 2015 he said, "We have got an overwhelming response and are expecting more than 2,000 schools to participate this year. The best part about KenKen is that it is language and socio-economic status agnostic so students from any state or any economic strata can participate in it."