25th International Mathematical Olympiad, Prague 1984
Report by Dr. David Monk (University of Edinburgh),
Leader of British Team.

The party consisted of the team, listed in the Appendix, Frank Budden (Deputy Leader), John Hersee (Observer) and myself. Travel to and from Prague was by British Airways flights. Mr. Hersee and I flew out on Friday 29th June and the others on Monday 2nd July; all returned together on Wednesday 11th July. Mr. Budden and the team stayed at the Kajetanka hostel. Initially the leaders and observers were accommodated at the opposite side of the city, but moved on Thursday 5th July to a hostel some 25 minutes walk from Kajetanka. All travel arrangements proved satisfactory, the accommodation was comfortable and the food good.

The main work of the Jury, under the chairmanship of Dr. F. Zitek, was to choose and translate the six contest problems, adjudicate on queries by contestants at the beginning of each examination, and finally determine the prize list. With 34 countries involved, discussions tended to be lengthy! A larger ‘pool’ of shortlisted problems would have made a balanced selection easier to achieve but the choice was eventually agreed in good time.

The official opening of the Olympiad took place in the afternoon of Tuesday, 3rd July. The two examinations, of 4½ hours each, were held on the two following days. Marking by the leaders commenced on Wednesday evening; deputies joined in this work after the second examination. Coordination started on Thursday 5th July and was completed in time for the final Jury meeting on the Saturday evening. First prizes were awarded to contestants with a total mark of 40 or more (out of 42), second prizes from 25 to 38 and third prizes from 17 to 24. Thus the British team gained one first prize, three seconds and one third. Overall I regard their performance as very satisfactory. Paul Balister lost only one mark; it is pleasing to note his progress from a third prize in 1982, through a second (+ special prize) in 1983 to a first in 1984. Richard Biswas, our other “old hand”, gained the same mark as last year. I tried hard to get a special prize for his solution to problem 4 but it appeared that several others had the same method. Only one special prize was awarded, to a Russian contestant. Michael Harrison missed a prize by only two marks. The appendix gives details of our marks and totals for other countries.

As usual a variety of entertainment – visits, theatre outings, sightseeing and receptions – was provided. The organizers also waived accommodation charges for teams which, like ourselves, stayed an extra day because of travel requirements.

The leaders attended a Symposium on contests and training; Mr. Hersee spoke for Great Britain. An interesting exhibition on this theme was mounted at one of the hostels.

My thanks are due to Frank for his mathematical work and concern for the team’s welfare, and to John for making travel arrangements and helping in other ways. The Czech organizers worked extremely hard to make this a successful and enjoyable event.

The 26th IMO is to take place in Finland in 1985, with Poland as the probable venue for 1986.


The British Team

P. Balister(King's College S., Wimbledon)77767741I
R. Biswas(Leighton Park S., Reading)77277131II
M. Harrison(Loughborough G-S.)77001015
M. Moore(Manchester G-S.)77064731II
M. Richards(Millfield School)71167729II
I. Stark(Winchester College)35077022III

The National Teams

Soviet Union235510
United States of America195141
Great Britain169131
East Germany161123
West Germany150024
Algeria (4)36000
Norway (1)24001
Luxembourg (1)22001

34 teams, 192 competitors. Figures in brackets show the number of competitors when this is less than 6.

Cyprus and Norway were competing for the first time. In all, 38 countries have participated in IMO’s over the years since 1959.

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Contact: Joseph Myers (imo-register@imo-register.org.uk)
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