Students from local and international secondary schools pitted their wits against each other in an absorbing maths contest at Hong Kong International School (HKIS). Teams of four took part in the 'DragonMath 2001 Inter-school Festival', endeavouring to solve 20 maths problems in 40 minutes, competing not only for mathematical accuracy but also against time. Students from South Island School beat their counterparts from Pui Ching Middle School to take the junior division championship. However, Pui Ching mathematicians turned the tables by defeating South Island in the senior division. Joint school event The contest was originally organised seven years ago as an inter-class competition for HKIS. Last year, to enhance students' interest in the subject, it became a joint school event. This year, in addition to the international schools, two local secondary schools - Marymount Secondary and Pui Ching Middle - were also invited to take part. Anne Poole, a maths teacher at HKIS, and the event's chief organiser, said: 'In order to expand the occasion we also tried to invite local schools this year. It is our privilege to have Marymount Secondary School and Pui Ching Middle School in the competition. We have decid ed to invite more local schools in the coming years.' Ms Poole, a New Zealander, was inspired by a similar maths problem-solving match in her hometown, Christchurch, in which students from schools raced to find answers to maths problems. DragonMath's format is based on this contest. Cheung Siu-hang, a third former at Pui Ching Middle School, who, with schoolmates Wan Yiu- chung, Kwok Chun-shing and Chan Chi-ho, beat their counterparts from South Island to win in the senior division, said: 'It's a pity that we lost by a neck in the junior division. But as the teachers said, the results didn't really matter. Enjoying the fun of learning the subject is what the competition is all about.'