One fine day, last year Pishi came back home from school with a small book in his hand. It was a book about KenKen puzzles. KenKen also known as Inkies, Mathdoku, Calcudoku, and Web Kendoku. KenKen is a puzzle created by Tetsuya Miyamoto a Japanese Mathematics teacher. Each Inky puzzle has only one unique solution. Till that date, I had not heard of this interesting puzzle. The school was conducting the first stage of the school level exam for KenKen. The selected students from this round would move on to the next level, the inter school level. The next rounds were the state round, the national round and the international round which is generally held in New York.
So Pishi showed me the tiny book and while glancing through it, I noticed that it was peculiarly similar to its more popular counterpart Sudoku. However, instead of squares, KenKen uses irregular shapes which in my opinion makes it more complex and involving. I started teaching him the initial examples with the 3 x 3 and I found that he grasped them very quickly and started solving them on his own. Next we moved on to the 4 x 4 and he solved them too. He also solved the initial few examples of 5 x 5 with my help which I felt was cool for an 8 year old. There were 75 puzzles in that small book and in a few days he had solved almost all of them. I should mention here that he is a smart kid and more so in Mathematics where he seems to have a thing for numbers.
So he appeared for the school level exam and in a few days when the results were announced, he had topped the list. These were 3 x 3 puzzles and he had scored full marks in the exam. He went on to score full marks in the inter school level as well and got selected for the state level. The institution that handles KenKen in India is called Bray Slim and sadly they are sloths in management. Their website mentioned that schools in few cities like Mumbai and Delhi already finished the State Level exams. I kept mailing them regularly asking them about the dates for the State Level exam but their replies were not convincing – they kept saying that they would be informing us of the dates soon – but the soon never seemed to arrive. One day they said that due to some reason, all students who had qualified for State Level would be allowed to compete in the National round. I was relieved for all the effort that the kid had taken would not go to the dogs.
So Pishi has qualified for the National Level and after a lot of follow up, we know that the exam would be held on 20th Aug 2017 in Mumbai and Delhi. But Bray Slim forgot to mention which student would go to Delhi and which one would attend it in Delhi – I feel these guys are dumb or careless. They have one task and they can’t do it with sincerity. Bray Slim get a job! I sent them at least a dozen mails and finally 20 days before the exam, that is today, I got to know the date and the venue. So 20th August is the day Pishi and I have been waiting for. We will be there to support him in Mumbai and I hope he will rock the exams and make it to the International Level in New York.
Please wish him all the best.
Chow from the molecule