“It was definitely a lot harder than we’ve been used to,” American team member Michael Kural said about the 56th International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO). “I think a lot of teams weren’t really used to that.”

Kural and his five American teammates won the 2015 IMO in Chiang Mai, Thailand, after competing against nearly 600 young math whizzes from around the world. China earned second place and South Korea took third.

Seven countries participated in the first math competition, held in 1959 in Romania. In July 2015, teams from 106 countries, from Nigeria, Afghanistan, Ecuador and countries in between, grappled with tough math questions over the two-day olympiad.

Can you or your friends solve this problem from the IMO test?


IMO participants must be under 20 years old and a citizen of the country they represent. Teams are composed of six people, but every member competes individually and calculators are forbidden.

In the United States, the Mathematical Association of America organizes competitions that culminate in the USA Mathematical Olympiad. The American team is selected from this process and trains for three weeks before the IMO at a math summer camp.

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