Thirteen year old Granth Thakkar from India presents his trophy after he was nominated as fastest mental calculator during the 2014 Mental Calculation World Cup on October 12, 2014 in Dresden, eastern Germany. 40 mathemathics champions from 18 countries took part in the event. Thakkar attends Ashadham Mother of Hope School in Vapi India. AFP PHOTO
Here is how Christiane Raatz of www. general-anzeiger-bonn.de reported his feat:
Whereas other students moan about tricky math tasks, Rhea Shah and Granth Thakkar can not get enough of it.
Eight-digit numbers multiplied together, determine weekdays of the last century or drag square roots of multi-digit numbers – no problem. “Numbers are our passion. We love to expect,” say the two 14 and 13 year-old Indians. They need neither calculators nor paper or pen. Is expected in the head.
The passion pays off: In the 6th World Championship in mental arithmetic Granth Thakkar picked as one of the youngest competitors at the weekend in Dresden the world title in the overall standings. The 13-year-old broke most of the tasks error free and in no time. “I’m happy, happy, happy,” Granth said after the jury’s decision. He was a little unsure during competitions, whether he would actually make it. Rhea Shah became world champion in the individual category root extraction
Second in the overall standings was Marc Jornet Sanz from Spain, followed by the Japanese Chie Ishikawa. A total of 40 math aces from 18 countries competed against each other. The youngest participant was a ten-year-old Indian, the oldest a 80-year-old Frenchman. The World Cup in mental arithmetic takes place every two years.
Although Granth Thakkar already brought several world records, he was pleased with his first title as the world’s best mental calculators. Even on the weekend before, he had won the gold medal at the Junior World Cup in Bielefeld mental arithmetic. Organizer and jury member Ralf Laue spoke of a “real high flyer”.
At eleven years Granth took part for the first time at an Olympics, now he has become accustomed to success. “Of course I’m proud., But with time that is somehow normal.” The youngest champion in history he is not yet. The 2010 Mental Calculation World Cup was won by the then eleven-year old Priyanshi Somani – also from India.
“There, mental arithmetic is more common than here,” said Ralf Laue. There are numerous competitions in mental arithmetic, the discipline was already popular with the youngest.
Not only talent, but also holds any amount of exercise behind the computing arts, tells the coach of the Indian team, Gwendolen Noronha. On normal days they drummed with their protégés four to five hours. Before competitions like the World Cup can be up to twelve hours. “One does not need to be born a genius,” the 26-year-old is convinced. Enough of computing do not have the math fans after this streamlined program. “I do not need holiday after the World Cup, on the contrary,” Rhea said, beaming.
Two days hatched the mathematical geniuses in one examination room of the TU Dresden on the tasks. Calculator and pen and paper were taboo – the only concrete result could be noted. Among other eight digit numbers multiplied together, ten-digit numbers are added or are assigned to the respective weekday calendrical data. What will be July 22, 2051 for a week ?, it said. Or: what is the square root of 342624? In addition, candidates had to solve tricky tasks surprise.
Each head computer have its own method, Laue said. Many trained first with an abacus – a calculator with small balls. After some time, you no longer need the machine, it is sufficient to imagine the task figuratively. “Like a piano player who eventually no longer have to look at the notes” One other trick is to imagine an image for a combination of two or three numbers and to develop stories.
For public computing shows gave the “masterminds” samples of their skills and betrayed their methods to memorize long columns of numbers and terms. An eight-year-old student from India, however, did not compete for the official World Cup, filed a Rubik’s Cube blindfolded. Also present was the Dutchman Willem Bouman. The 75-year-old is known in the scene as the “King of primes”. If he sees a phone number, he breaks them down like in their prime – in seconds.
Granth Thakkar, however like most square roots. When the 13-year-old does not just count, sometimes there is also time for what he calls normal things – play chess, for example. His hobby will not be a career in the number acrobat later. Instead, he dreams of becoming an astronaut. “I think it would be great to fly into space.”