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Ivan Matic, assistant director of the Berkeley Math Circle and a former IMO medalist will teach our students a variety of pricinples related to Combinatorial Games.

Winning strategy for a particular game is a procedure that will ensure a victory no matter how the opponent is playing.   We will discuss some of the two player games that have winning strategies, and try to recognize the patterns for finding the strategies.   After that we will talk about multi-player games and probabilistic games.

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It might be interesting to look at several of the thriving Math Circles around the country.  The Berkeley Math Circle has an excellent site with monthly contest problems available for download.  Berkeley is also an excellent example of the positive impact that a Math Circle can have on its community.  Here is some information from the Berkeley site on their outstanding alumni:

The success of Berkeley Math Circle in identifying and fostering talent is striking. Although the BMC only started in 1998, the 6-member team at the International Math Olympiad (held in Washington, D.C., July 2001) included 3 members from this program:

  • Gabriel Carroll, graduated from Harvard as a math major and currently attending the Ph.D. program in Economics at MIT. He has won 2 Gold and 1 Silver medals at the IMO (including one perfect score in 2001), and won the Putnam competition 4 times. He was the grand prize BAMO winner 3 times.
  • Tiankai Liu, now at Harvard, won 3 Gold medals at the IMO. He attended the Research Experience for Undergraduates Program at Duluth, Minnesota in Summer 2007.
  • Oaz Nir has won 1 gold and 1 silver medal and has graduated from Duke University as a math major.

The three Berkeley Math Circle students contributed to the USA’s second-place finish among over 80 countries at the International Mathematics Olympiad in 2001. In 2002, students from the Berkeley Math Circle and BAMO continued to do exceptionally well in mathematics competitions. Over the years, a number of Berkeley Math Circle students were among the top twelve winners of the USA Math Olympiad, and one was among the five students in the US with a perfect score: Inna Zakharevich (Henry Gunn High School, Palo Alto, Currently a student at Harvard University). Several other Circle students qualified for the summer training program of the US team several years in a row. Evan O’Dorney, only in 8th grade, qualified among the top 24 students for the training of the USA Math Team in Summer 2007. He further won the Grand Prize at BAMO 2007 with a perfect score. Additionally, he has been a three-time finalist and 2007 Champion at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C.

Among other famous alumni of BMC and BAMO, it is worth mentioning Maxim Maydanskiy who tied for first place with Gabriel Carroll at BAMO 2001. Maxim was admitted to UC Berkeley, and upon recommendation from the BMC circle coordinator, Dr. Stankova, his Circle and Olympiad activities played a major role in awarding him the Regent’s scholarship, the most prestigious UC Berkeley scholarship for entering undergraduates. While at UC Berkeley, he also attended the Research Experience for Undergraduates Program at Duluth, Minnesota, and is currently a Ph.D. student in Mathematics at MIT.

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