The X Chess Championships

Chess is a fun game, whether casual or formal. Yet, there are some people out there who do not think chess is fun enough. They want to put restrictions, limits, or tweak the rules a little bit. One of these people was the famous Bobby Fischer. Known as one of the greatest chess players of all time, one shouldn’t be surprised if he found regular chess boring. I mean, perhaps the game of chess was not worth it for his genius mind. So what did Fischer do? Well, for one thing, he invented Chess960, otherwise know as Fischer Random Chess, in which all the pieces are messed up in starting position. He also invented a chess clock time system for in which every move you make, you get more time.

But what really can make chess more fun and suspenseful are the restrictions and limitations. Apparently, the makers of X Chess Championships agreed too. X Chess Championships was pretty much created because the makers thought that there should be more of televised chess. So for this tournament, they decided to film the matches between eight of the top young chess players in America. However, in a formal chess tournament, a chess game usually takes up to hours. I’m pretty sure nobody would want to just sit on the couch for hours just to watch a chess game. So they decided to not only impose demanding time restrictions, but also some extra fun rules. Plus, the X stands for Xtreme, so expect these rules to be extremes. The rules are explained below:

Also, a few more things she forgot to mention. One, it’s single-elimination. One game lost and you’re out, making this tournament all the more tougher. However, a dilemma arises. What happens if it’s a draw? Then this is where things get interesting: the time each player has left from the previous game will be the amount of time he/she will have for their second game. And of course, the players switch colors. This continues on until the tie is broken.

Although the rules might not sound intimidating, they actually are. Just watch episode 2 from the X Chess Championships below, and you can see how much the players have to go through. Especially the guy named Elliot (in the 2nd pairing of the video) during his second game that will break the previous draw.

Well, hopefully you enjoyed it. One thing I have to say- the commentators, hosts, and analysis were especially wonderful. They made the games so much interesting. And the chess games themselves were awesome, too. I mean, what else can you expect from these chess prodigies? If you want to watch more episodes, check the YouTube channel:


I Took The AMC!

Recently, I have just been talking about love, love, and love. And I am boy gettin tired of it. So for today, I will switch my view to mathematics. Mostly because yesterday, I took the AMC 10 B, which I’d like to say I did poor on it. The beginning half I felt good, but the later half, there were some I left blank and some I just assumed it should be right. Man, the AMC is harder than it seems!

Here’s one question (no. 14) from that test I took:

Define a\clubsuit b=a^2b-ab^2. Which of the following describes the set of points (x,y) for which x\clubsuit y=y\clubsuit x.

\textbf{(A)}\ \text{a finite set of points}\\ \qquad\textbf{(B)}\ \text{one line}\\ \qquad\textbf{(C)}\ \text{two parallel li...

Here was my thought process, which eventually turned out to be wrong:

a\clubsuit b=a^2b-ab^2, so this also equals ab (a-b)Similarly, for x\clubsuit y=y\clubsuit x, it would be                       xy(x-y) = yx (y-x) thus x-y = y-x  thus 2x = 2y and thus x=y. That would satisfy answer B.

The actual way to solve it, unfortunately to my dismay:

x\clubsuit y = x^2y-xy^2 and y\clubsuit x = y^2x-yx^2. Therefore, we have the equation x^2y-xy^2 = y^2x-yx^2 Factoring out a -1 gives x^2y-xy^2 = -(x^2y-xy^2) Factoring both sides further, xy(x-y) = -xy(x-y). It follows that if x=0y=0, or (x-y)=0, both sides of the equation equal 0. By this, there are 3 lines (x=0y=0, or x=y) so the answer is (E) three lines.

Building Where I Took My AMC

Well, look’s like this question I missed. There were also a few other problems in which I missed due to miscalculations. For instance, one question I saw 5-3 as 5+3 and put my answer as 8, when it was supposed to be 2. Next time I take the AMC, I better be careful of these silly mistakes.

Updated 9:40 pm: By the way, refer to my previous mathematics posts to know more about the AMC.

Carry On & The AMC Process

Yesterday, I talked a little about the American Mathematics Competition. After looking over yesterday’s post, I realized that I probably rushed into it too much that one would not even know what the AMC really is.

So what is the AMC? The AMC is the first test of a number of tests in America that determines the final six contestants who will go represent the USA for the International Mathematical Olympiad. If you happen to test out as the top 2.5% – 5% of the whole nation on the AMC, you are qualified to test on the American Invitational Mathematics Exam (AIME). As I mentioned yesterday, the AMC is multiple choice. The AIME is harder: for all questions you have to write the answer in. After testing the AIME, your AMC score is somehow converged with your AIME score to determine whether or not you can take the USAMO (or the USJAMO, if you take only AMC 10). The USAMO, short for United States American Mathematics Olympiad, in much much harder than the AIME. The AIME is writing in the answer; the USAMO is writing in a full-out proof. And no, not those basic geometry proofs. It’s advanced-level mathematics proofs. If you luckily make it to the top five contestants, then you’re in for the IMO. (see my Dec. 18 post)

Here’s the basic summary: AMC 10/12 → AIME → USAMO/USJAMO→ IMO.

Anyway, like I said yesterday, I was feeling frustrated over practicing the AMC. I almost wanted to give up, but then my morale improved upon hearing a song by fun. called “Carry On.” Hear it below:

I like this song; it’s perhaps the best pop song I’ve ever heard. The chorus tune is my favorite, because it seems to me a little bit like old folk music, with the tone starting low and getting “exponentially” higher. The music video is also pretty nice, which is way better than the video for “We Are Young.” It shows scenes of dimness, sadness in a sense, and idleness, but later with the tune “carry on” shows scenes of happiness and jolliness. Again, this song got rid of my anger over the AMC, because I had this same sort of feeling. I was feeling sad, but this tune later made me happy.

I would say this song truly boosts someone’s happiness in times of despair and hopelessness. It reminds me, at least, that I should forget about all my past misgivings and just “carry on.” Speaking of that, I also liked the lyrics, too. One quote: “May your past be the sound/ of your feet upon the ground.” Isn’t that beautiful? Another one: “My head is on fire/ But my legs are fine/ After all, they are mine.” Rarely does one find this kind of symbolism and deep meaning in modern songs today. Here, this quote is trying to say that even when things torment our mind or “head” we should still keep on walking aka going on with life since “our legs are fine.”

Well, hoped you liked this song.


I shall now convert my attention from politics to mathematics. We all have taken math tests before, some easy and some hard. For those hard math tests, we sometimes go crazy over a single problem or just don’t seem to get the whole thing. By the time test time is over, you think you’ve probably been through hell multiple times already. If you think that is hell, then what’s coming up next is hell times fifty. It is the IMO, or the International Mathematical Olympiad.

2006 IMO
at Ljublijana, Slovenia

The IMO is a mathematical competition for high school students, but sometimes middle school students join too. Each country sends a team of around 8 math geniuses to represent them. In order to be in the American IMO Team, you have to compete in the American Mathematical Competition (a superhard math test) and rank near top. If you do get into the international team, then contact me and I will worship you. JK. Anyway, if you do, then you and your teammates will go through this difficult math training program in which you will practice some of the world’s hardest math problems.

Suppose you work really hard and now it’s competition day. You are now competing with other math geniuses from around the world. For the competition, it is just a 6-problem test. Don’t think it’s easy now, these 6 problems is very possibly the 6-hardest proofs in the world. Even the math geniuses have a hard time figuring this out. You are given a number of hours to do these problems, and after the test, you are done for the year, and must go through the same grueling process in order to try out for it next year.

Rarely does someone get a perfect score, and rarely is there a team who gets all gold. However, in the most recent IMO, South Korea did get all gold. But the country who reigns supreme in the IMO is China. They have won the vast majority of the time and had 11 times where all its team members got gold. Man, how do they get taught? Either they have really smart teachers or they’re really smart themselves. For the USA, only a few accomplishments have been made.

For more detail, check out the Wikipedia page for this: IMO Wikipedia. For the official website, click here: IMO. You can watch a (link) BBC documentary Beautiful Young Minds, documenting the lives of United Kingdom IMO competitors.