The Summer Conferences of the Tournament of Towns
The «Conferences» of the Tournament of Towns differ from usual scientific conferences. They have no «plenar talks», «section talks», or an official program. Rather they are informal meetings of the best participants of the Tournament of Towns and of their attending teachers.
One of the goals of the conferences is to provide a possibility for capable school students to start research work. For this, organizers offer them interesting difficult problems (traditionally they are called projects) which often can be linked to open mathematical problems. Even explanation of the conditions for such problems can take a whole lecture. Because of that the presentation of the problems takes at least a day of the conference schedule.
Solving of such problems requires a large amount of time and considerable intellectual efforts. Because of that the process of solving has a free form: a large amount of time (a few days) is assigned, solutions can be made by a person or by a group (such group does not always coincides with “a team” that came from the same town). The Jury assigns deadlines for written solutions (by tradition, there are two deadlines called “the intermediate finish” and “the final finish”). The presented solutions are examined, and degree of progress is evaluated. Then the analysis of solutions is carried out. Some problems after the first deadline are removed from the contest. Sometimes after that new problems are added. Success criteria also differ from the traditional ones: success of the participant is estimated by his/her maximal progress in one of the projects. I.e. in fact there are many simultaneous competitions (one for each project). Many participants cannot choose a single projects and solve different problems at the same time.
Meanwhile all participants, school students as well as teachers, get possibility for recreation, intense creative work and interesting communication.
Materials of the conferences from 5th to 7th were published in special editions of the Information Centre of the ToT. They will appear on this page later.