Students participate in Harvard-MIT Math Tournament


Courtesy of Joanna Lin

The Harker team poses in front of the John Harvard statue after participating in the Harvard-MIT Math Tournament. The team did not place in the tournament.

by Neil Bai, Reporter

Math Club members participated in the Harvard-MIT Math Tournament at Harvard University on Feb. 20.

The tournament was founded in 1998 and is run by students at Harvard, MIT and other nearby schools. It is held twice every year in February and November and nearly 1,000 high school students from around the world participate. The event consists of individual tests, a team round and a Guts Round. Team coaches or individual students submitted an required application to register for the tournament.

David Zhu (11) and Swapnil Garg (10) participated in the tournament as part of the A-Star team, which consists of students from the A-Star summer math program. Their team placed sixth in the Guts Round event and seventh overall. The Guts round is a 80 minute team event with 36 problems and requires teams to finish them in set of 4 problems each.

“It was pretty bad because last year we got second. We were pretty disappointed,” Swapnil said. “Next year, we plan to practice team round a lot because we failed that round.”

Juniors Misha Ivkov and Winnie Li and sophomores Jimmy Lin, Joanna Lin, Michael Kwan, Randy Zhao, Rajiv Movva and Shaya Zarkesh also teamed up together for the competition.

“We tried to meet during long lunches to practice team rounds, the block schedule made this easier, and individual rounds by ourselves” Joanna said. “Since we were all really busy, we didn’t practice Guts round at all, which I think was pretty bad.”

Harker students decided to participate in the tournament because it is well-known for its difficult math problems.

“I wanted to participate in higher level math competitions that I could learn from and HMMT is considered one of the harder competitions,” Joanna said.

Misha enjoyed the tournament not only because of the math competitions but also because of the free time that allowed him and his teammates to do other activities. His team explored the Harvard and MIT campuses, ate at local restaurants and watched Deadpool at a movie theatre.

“It was also a good way to relax from the monotony of schoolwork,” he said. “The most memorable moment was the Friday Formal, where high school and college students gathered together and relaxed the day before the competition.”

Despite his team not placing, Misha has high hopes for next year’s tournament

“Hopefully we will be able to prepare more and improve on our weaknesses,” he said. “Hopefully, we will be able to break top 30 or 20 next year.”

Math club members will participate in the Berkeley Math Tournament on March 12.