LivMS Event:

This was an online event for Open Challenge entrants and their teachers. Attendees joined the event, then had fun navigating a virtual venue, challenging themselves with a variety of mathematical puzzles, finding their way through different mazes, and finally enjoying a presentation of the solutions and prizes.

The timing for the evening was roughly as follows

Prizewinners were able to have photos taken, which were displayed during the presentation. This was entirely voluntary.


With the current COVID situation, it was decided not to have an "in-person" event for the Open Challenge Prize Giving Evening. Instead, an on-line event was arranged using the "Gather Town" platform.

A 2D "Cartoon-Like" space was created with puzzles, mazes, and an auditorium for the presentation of the Sample Solutions and the announcement of the winners.

The evening started at 19:00 and officially closed at 21:00, with the sample solutions presented at 20:20, and the winners being announced at 20:35.

During the initial 20 minutes or so many of the attendees were simply running around in the space. Several needed prompting to go and explore, despite the instructions. If this sort of event is run again we might want to have an ante-room that is effectively bare except for a door on one side, and attended by someone simply announcing:

Perhaps something more could be done, and suggestions would be welcome.

Also during this time the prize winners were found and asked if they would consent to having a screen shot. Most did, with a few declining, and a few not having cameras. These screen shots were then shown during the announcement of the winners.

Tony Carter presented the Sample Solutions, with Colin Wright operating a Screen Share of the slides, and Gaynor Bahan gave a short introduction, handed over to Tony, and then came back to read out the lists of winners. Any available screen-shots were shown as a Screen Share by Colin Wright.

The evening was generally regarded as a success. Records show that most of those attending were attempting puzzles and mazes right up to, and some after, the presentations, suggesting that they were engaged and active throughout the evening.

Our thanks to all who attended and assisted:


We had:

There were 21 other students on our lists who neither registered nor attended. Of these:

There were 34 students present, including 11 out of 15 prizewinners and 11 out of 31 certificate winners.

It is to be noted that in some cases there will have been other "attendees", parents or other interested individuals, attending by "shoulder surfing". We have no way of knowing how many such attendees there might have been.

Official Feedback

Comments in the chat were uniformly positive, with many attendees saying that it had been fun, and saying thank you.

The official request for feedback resulted in 12 responses. One has been analysed separately, the other 11 are summarised as follows.

Question 1: "Please rate the evening overall."

Nine responses scored this as a maximum 5, and two as a 4.

Average 4.8 out of 5.

Question 2: "Please rate the ease of use of the Gather Town platform."

Eight responses scored this as a maximum 5, and three as 4.

Average 4.7 out of 5.

Question 3: "Would you recommend attending the Prize Evening to others?"

All responded "Yes"

Question 4: "What did you particularly like?"

In alphabetical order:

Question 5: "What could have been better?"

Again, alphabetically:

The take-away from this is that the timing could have been different, perhaps with 30 minutes of puzzles instead of an hour, and then go back to the puzzles after the prize-giving.

Some wanted more instructions, and some wanted the answers. Otherwise this seems to be extremely mild criticism.

The omitted response

There was one response omitted from the above analysis, because it is significantly different, very much an outlier. It's from a teacher.

Here is that response:

"What could have been better?"

This is a real mixed bag. Clearly this teacher's answers are very much at odds with those of the others, wanting more certainty and reassurance. Interesting that a maze named "The Truly Evil Maze" is described as "very difficult".

The point(s) about the camera are definitely worth noting.

The Puzzles

An analysis of the puzzles set is available to members on request.

There were ten puzzles and three mazes. A brief summary of the attempts is:

The Mazes

The Truly Evil Maze was only completed by two people, while both the Jumping Maze and the One Way Maze were completed by fourteen people, albeit not the same 14.

There is no record of how many made unsuccessful attempts.

C D Wright

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