A friendly message to potential participants abroad who are considering flying to our next event

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We’ve received more than a few messages from people around the world eager to travel to Montreal to take part in the National Mental Math Championship.

We’re honored by your interest. And yes, we are happy to welcome your participation. We can also write an invitation letter if that’s useful.

However, we think the decision to plan such a trip shouldn’t be taken lightly. We don’t want anyone to take days and weeks planning his or her trip, spend large sums of money, travel here, take part in our event and end up regretting his or her decision for some reason. We’ve written this short and unusual post just to be completely open and make sure that you can make a well-informed choice.

Before you decide whether or not you want to plan a trip to Montreal or Vancouver, here are a few factors that maybe you should take into consideration:

– We are a small and relatively new non-profit and non-professional organization, run by a very small number of unpaid volunteers. Although we are hoping to sooner or later attract a significantly larger number of people, chances our next events will remain relatively small. Hopefully that won’t be the case, but don’t be surprised if less than 20 or even less than 10 competitors end up participating alongside you.

– Our mental math and memory championships only lasts for a few hours during one afternoon.

– Participants who aren’t Canadian citizens can’t win the “Canadian mental math champion” or the “Canadian memory champion” titles. But they can win the Open section. The final scoreboards will also make it clear who got the best results overall, regardless of citizenship status.

– Staying in an Airbnb currently can easily cost about 100$ a night or more. It’s possible but far from easy to find some cheaper options. Also, Canada in November can sometimes be quite cold!

– We are happy to highlight and celebrate on the website and on social media whatever great results you may achieve, but we can’t guarantee that other organizations will recognize those results as valid.

– There will be some prize money, but not a lot.

– On the day of each event, there probably won’t be enough volunteers on site to quickly take care of the correction process. For the mental math championship, participants who don’t mind will be asked to help with some parts of the process*. For the memory championship, because some aspects of the correction process can be confusing and complicated, the vast majority of the correction-related tasks will be done by CMSA volunteers, and most of that work will be done after the end of the event.

*However, it’s perfectly ok if you would rather not help with the correction in any way. You can also refuse to have any other participant help correct your answer sheets and wait for a CMSA arbiter to do it instead.

– The task of double-checking, calculating and compiling the final results while presenting them in a clear enough way is done by mostly just one person. It may take up to a few days before for the results to end up being published online.

– If your main goal is simply to try some CMSA mental math or memory challenges and see how well you can perform, you know that you can do that for free without even having to leave your home? Our Honorary Challenges for mental math and memory will allow you to do just that.

All that being said, if you already know all that and you don’t mind, we will of course be happy to welcome your participation and we will be eager to meet you in November!