World-beating QE team celebrate competition success

World-beating QE team celebrate competition success

A Year 12 team have been presented with their trophy after seeing off competition from 1,200 teams from Slovenia to Singapore to triumph in the international Ritangle Mathematics competition.

The five-strong team submitted the best answer to the final question, thus winning them the title in the competition run by education charity MEI (Mathematics, Education, Innovation).

Competition organiser Bernard Murphy, a Maths Education Support Specialist for MEI, visited the School to present the trophy and a hamper in a special assembly.

Headmaster Neil Enright said: “My congratulations go to the five on a splendid victory in a competition that is designed to stretch young people’s Mathematics knowledge to the limit.”

Ritangle is a free competition for teams of students aged 16-18 studying either A-level Mathematics or equivalent qualifications. Fifteen QE teams took part in the competition.

Harik Sodhi, captain of the winning team, said: “My favourite part of Ritangle was collaborating with friends on solving an interesting Maths problem. I definitely enjoyed the final question the most as it was a very open question and required lots of steps and a combination of Python and Maths and Excel programming, which made it very fun.”

His fellow team members were Anshul Nema, Koustuv Bhowmick, Shreyas Mone, Joel Swedensky.

For the first four weeks, one question was released every Monday. For the following five weeks, three questions were released, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Every correct answer revealed a piece of information that helped solve the final task.

Shreyas said he particularly enjoyed the period in which the number of questions started to increase each week.

The final problem, involving the pairings for a ‘jamboree’-format chess tournament, was released on a Tuesday evening, with even those who set it not knowing what the best answer would be.

Mathematics teacher and Head of Academic Administration Wendy Fung said: “It essentially involved finding the smallest possible number that met a set of criteria. The question setters came up with an answer of 56, which they expected to be beaten by someone, but not by a great deal.

“The first correct answers submitted were above 100. On the Thursday afternoon, the winning QE team submitted the figure of 0.16. MEI initially assumed it must be wrong, but it proved to be correct once checked, and was never beaten – though some other teams got quite close. It was a remarkable performance by the boys, who have vowed to try and win again in 2024!”

The winning team, The Flex Angles, worked independently to solve the questions and needed to get to grips with using various forms of technology, from spreadsheets to graphing software.

Joel particularly enjoyed the early stages of Ritangle, when large numbers of boys at QE were taking part. “Racing to complete each question first after it was released was its own mini-competition.”

Anshul added: “Beside the final question, which will always be special to me, I really enjoyed all the prior questions in which I could use my technical expertise in plotting advance or interactive graphs to optimise functions. I’d have to say that my favourite part was at the very end, coming back to my computer after taking a break from the frustration to see my code announcing that a solution had been found, and rushing to tell Harik and the team.”

Of all the teams who entered, only 153 submitted correct answers to the final question. A second Year 12 QE team – The Left Angles, captained by Uday Dash – was among these and was therefore listed among the “commendable” teams by MEI. Uday’s fellow team members were: Saim Khan; Kovid Gothi; Adyan Shahid; Vijay Lehto and Dinuk Dissanayake.