The Italian Almanac

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Math Championship

Professional mathematicians and amateur buffs have to sign up for the national mathematics championships and have a chance to represent Italy at the international games in Paris next August. Residents of Milan, where the national games will be staged starting March 21, will have an extra week to submit their application.

``Math is not a sport but thanks to these championships it could become one,`` observed Bocconi University mathematician Angelo Guerraggio, who is organising the Italian games. The aim of the national and international championships, he explained, ``is to present math in a different and more fun way for not only for students but for everyone, young and old``.

Last year, Guerraggio recalled, a total of 200,000 people took part in the championships worldwide and over 30,000 came from Italy. ``The only qualification you need to take part in the games is to have great desire to play. You don`t need to know complicated rules to resolve problems but you do need to have imagination, tenacity and astuteness,`` he added.

The Italian national math finals will be held at Bocconi University May 23.