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On the 20th of April, 186 students received their awards for participating and winning in United Arab Emirate's largest math puzzle championship. There has been a puzzling frenzy that has swept this nation with over 30,000 school students over the course of three year already taking part in a competition, which has quickly transformed itself into the largest school competition in the UAE! In case you missed it all, Kenken is a world famous puzzle, enjoyed by thousands around the globe including stalwarts like Will Shortz and Martha Stewart who are self-proclaimed Kenken addicts. It regularly features in publications like The New York Times and The Times. Kenken also holds the distinction of being called 'Sudoku on a sugar hype', as it actually needs the usage of math operations while solving it.

In early 2016 Rootstalk Learning Solutions, a Dubai based child skill development company launched the KENKEN International Championship among the schools of UAE. Since then the championship has successfully executed its third edition in 2018, and are in the early stages of its fourth one, KIC 2019. 

In its third year, over 10000 students from more than 250 schools took part in the championship. Six students were given a FREE trip to New York to represent UAE at the international level on the 16th of December 2019. They are:  Eeshan Sharma from Modern High Dubai, Jeff John Sunil from The Millennium School Dubai, Aritro Chatterjee from Hartland International School Dubai, Abhinav Bhanupratap Singh from Delhi Private School Sharjah, Rishika Sood from RAK Academy, Ras Al Khaimah and Nakshatra Pratap Gadia from Arab Unity School Dubai. 

Aritro Chatterjee of Hartland International School Dubai also went on to become the World Kenken Championship of 2018!

In its recent award ceremony the these students and the other Top 20 Rank Holders of the 2018 Championship were awarded various awards and Cash Prize of AED 20,000 for their stellar achievement. All of these students had to go thorough 3 rounds of rigorous elimination before becoming the top Kenken puzzle players, out qualifying over 10000 students all over UAE.

Top performing schools such as Delhi Private School, Sharjah, Repton School Dubai, GEMS Modern Academy Dubai, Our Own English High School, Sharjah, were also recognized for their support towards the championship,

When asked about their competition's success, Dr Magdi Hafez the Director of Kenken UAE said, "We are a team of educators and puzzling is in our DNA. Our team is totally hooked on Kenken and we are continually exploring the puzzle's academic potential to increase math fluency and numeracy skills among students of not just UAE but other GCC countries as well." 

Playing Kenken puzzles is a wonderful activity for students to get into, as practicing these puzzles help them boost their numeracy skills, problem solving and strategic thinking abilities. Kenken puzzles are also a powerful tool to build cognitive reasoning, perseverance and mental stamina in students. Plus, the Kenken International Championship is the perfect motivation to get into Kenken puzzles and competitive puzzling for the first time.

For now, the 2019 edition of the championship is open for all students in the UAE & Egypt from Grades 3 to 12. Rootstalk Learning Solutions is constantly trying to spread the championship to other countries in the greater MENA region. A MENA centric competition is also on the cards and can become a reality as soon as 2020. We will obviously have to wait and see, till then we recommend you join the puzzling revolution that is sweeping the nation and hold on.

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