Efficient teamwork and quick thinking enabled three Hong Kong youth to score a 'first' by scooping the top prize in a computer competition that attracted participants from the Asia-Pacific region. The International Schools' Software Competition, organised by the South East Asia Regional Computer Confederation (SEARCC), was held in New Zealand last November. The Hong Kong trio also won awards in the Hong Kong Olympiad In Informatics (HKOI) last month. In the SEARCC contest, each team had two hours to finish four tasks using one computer. One of the two teams from Hong Kong spent only 38 minutes tackling the tasks. The first runner-up, an Australian team, took 65 minutes, while the second runner-up, a Hong Kong team, took 70 minutes. 'As soon as the competition started, each of us read one set of the requirements,' Chan Yuk-hei, a Form Six student from Sha Tin Methodist College, said at the prize presentation held at the Hong Kong Teachers' Centre in North Point last week. 'We trusted each other's judgment on which task was the easiest and began with that.' Team leader Chan Siu-man, a sixth former at TWGHs Kap Yan Directors' College, said: 'When one of us was typing in the program, another would be watching over his shoulder to debug. At the same time, the third member would be resolving another task.' With a month to practise before the competition, it was vital to speed things up by using the same programming language and unifying the variables, he added. In last month's HKOI competition, Yuk-hei won a bronze, while Siu-man and his twin brother Siu-on, who was also on the winning team and is in the same school and same form as Siu-man, both took home gold medals. More than 670 students from 99 schools took part in the HKOI competition. Sixty-two students from about 30 schools were awarded gold, silver and bronze medals. Students from Diocesan Boys' School (DBS) claimed 17 prizes, which helped DBS win the overall championship. TWGHs Kap Yan Directors' College was first runner-up with 13 prizes, followed by La Salle College and Pui Ching Middle School with eight each.