AGazine, August 2012

The Online Magazine of the Academic Games Leagues of America

AGLOA News Outstanding Seniors Down Memory Lane Past AGazines

News and Notes

The posting of the 2012-13 Tournament Rules for all games along with any changed documents (such as variation sheets) is nearly complete. The most recent postings are these:

The AGLOA Board has made the following appointments.

Tournament Council

  • Director: Rod Beard, West Bloomfield MI
  • Manager: Larry Liss, N. Palm Beach FL
  • Board Contacts: Brother Neal Golden, New Orleans LA & Nancy Kinard, Tequesta FL

Alumni Council

  • Director: Stuart White, Ann Arbor MI
  • Social Media and Technical Operations: Mike Steigerwald, Minneapolis MN & Craig Zeller, New Orleans LA

Finance Council

  • Director: Steve Wright, Shelby Township MI
  • Direct Donations Chairman: Lee Vaccaro
  • Board Contact: Jim Davis, Pittsburgh PA

Other Items

  • All districts of the Michigan League of Academic Games will participate in the 2013 AGLOA National Tournament. MLAG will follow the AGLOA Tournament Rules in all games for 2012-13.
  • With the increase in the number of participants from Michigan, an additional Tournament Council representative will be elected from Detroit for a three-year term beginning in 2013.
  • Chris Holstein of Detroit replaces Rod Beard on the Mathematics Rules Committee.
  • Team competition in the game of Wff ‘N Proof will be offered in all divisions at the 2013 Nationals. WNP will be played Friday and Saturday evenings following the last rounds of the day. Wff ‘N Proof results will not count toward team or individual sweepstakes awards.
  • Oglebay Resort in Wheeling, WV has been finalized as the site of the 2017 National Tournament.
  • Seven cities have submitted bids to host the 2016 tournament. The Board hopes to choose the location within the next few months.

2012 Outstanding Seniors: Ridwan Syed and Dustin Wright

This is a case of “you can’t include one without the other.”

Ridwan Syed and Dustin Wright have been Academic Games teammates for eight years at Haynes Academy for Advanced Studies in Jefferson Parish LA. They have excelled at LinguiSHTIK, Equations, On-Sets, Propaganda, and Presidents throughout that time, winning numerous individual titles and leading their teams to numerous local and national championships. The Outstanding Senior Nomination Form for each lists “too many to count” on the line for “Which National Championships has the nominee won?”

At the risk of omitting an award, here’s at least a partial list of their titles from the last four years, which is impressive enough.

2012 Team – Sweepstakes, On-Sets, LinguiSHTIK, Presidents
Ridwan – Sweepstakes, Propaganda
Dustin – On-Sets
2011 Team – Sweepstakes, On-Sets, and Presidents
Ridwan – Presidents and Propaganda
2010 Team – Sweepstakes, Equations, On-Sets, Presidents, Propaganda, LinguiSHTIK
2009 Team – Sweepstakes, On-Sets, LinguiSHTIK, Presidents
Ridwan – On-Sets

Their lasting contribution to Academic Games, however, will be the “Thinking Kids Project.” After winning sweepstakes their sophomore year, they wanted to share the great feeling that had. So they volunteered to coach at various schools in the New Orleans area.

Another aspect of the project was developing a collective resource library to make the games more accessible to a larger audience. Emulating another Jefferson Parish AG player, Salman Kahn, founder of the incredibly successful Khan Academy website, Ridwan created videos to teach the games such as one on On-Sets. Both students became certified judges so that they could officiate in their own parish and at NOAGL tournaments.

Ellie Gamble, their coach, relates an incident that illustrates Ridwan’s effectiveness as a coach.

On the first day at a New Orleans city school, Ridwan quickly learned the definition of “urban living.” As we were making our introduction to our new elementary school, the kids looked curiously at the “big kid” with the funny name. Both sides were eyeing each other to give their seal of approval. Once the kids felt comfortable with Ridwan, one of them proceeded to stab Ridwan‘s hand with a pencil as a sign of acceptance. The two became fast friends. The 5th grader lived in the inner city, took public transportation, and loved math. The 11th grader lived in the suburbs, was always looking for a ride, and loved math. It was that mutual love that drew them together and led to many local competition successes.

Ellie also recalled her first meeting with Dustin.

As a 6th grader in a newly formed magnet school, Dustin walked in and said confidently, “Hey, Ms. Gamble, do you know Presidents? That’s the only game I need to learn in order to succeed.” Over the years, those words have proven to be profound as year after year, it became the reasons for the lack of personal success in Academic Games.


Academic Games has been one heck of a ride. One of the most (if not the most) gratifying experiences of my life. Academic Games has taught me many life lessons. I’ve learned so much from my coaches, teammates, and even my opponents. I’ve come away with values such as teamwork, determination, and the love of competition. Academic Games has taught me how to deal with pressure and how to accept failure, not to mention how to learn from failure. I feel like Academic Games is what’s allowed me to reach my potential both as a student and as a person, and I am greatly indebted to the experience. I truly enjoy being able to share my knowledge of Academic Games and hope to be able to continue helping others learn as much as I have.Ridwan Syed, Thinking Kids Project website

Down Memory Lane

Once upon a time, Equations players in Middle, Junior, and Senior Divisions could pick two or even three multiples of k for the same shake. After one player picked k, another could also pick k with a different value.

For example, if one player chose k = 7 and another k = 11, then the Solution had to differ from the Goal by a multiple of 77. If the two values of k were 6 and 10, the Solution had to differ by a multiple of 30, the LCM of 6 and 10.

The rules were amended for 1986-7 to prohibit calling k a second time in a shake. The rationale for the change was to “cut down on the additional teaching that must be done to cover those rare instances when two k‘s are selected and allow more time to concentrate on all the mathematics involved with one value of k.”

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