A 13-Year-Old Math Whiz on the Best Calculators and Online-Chess Sites

By Chris Kornelis Features Dow Jones Newswires

I do watch TV -- perhaps more than I should. I've been watching "The Twilight Zone" -- the really old one -- on Netflix. I got interested because of my father, who's into sci-fi. I'm into sci-fi pretty much. I guess it's sort of a nerdish thing.

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An excellent website that has helped me a lot is artofproblemsolving.com. Its math textbooks were some of the key resources that I used when I was younger to get up to this high level of math. It also has an excellent website with an online community of mathy people, and an online school.

I play a lot of online chess on Chess.com. There are very good people to play chess against on the site, whereas at my house not so much. No offense to my parents, but they're not as good at chess as I am.

I play a card game called Mao. It's played with two regular decks shuffled together. When you win a round by getting rid of all of your cards, you make a new rule that people have to follow, but you don't tell them what it is. They have to deduce what the rule is by how it's applied and how they get penalized for not doing what it is they're supposed to do.

My Texas math team is spread out all across the state, so we use Google Hangouts to practice our team rounds. This is critical. We managed to get a perfect score on team rounds -- but if we hadn't, we wouldn't have won.

Calculators are allowed in Mathcounts competitions. My favorite is the TI-30x IIS. It's simple and really fast. It has a lot of memory locations, too -- not just the horribly confusing memory on cheaper calculators.

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I also use a site called Expii.com. It has all sorts of math and science lessons that you can go through and learn at your own pace. It has some interesting math puzzles, too. I've spent quite some time on those.

I got a cellphone last year to stay in contact with my mother while I'm at math camps and not within a 20-foot radius of her. My current one is a SamsungGusto 3 flip phone. I don't really use it to get on the internet; I pretty much just use it for calling.

I have a fidget spinner that's shaped like the Batman logo [similar model shown], with two weights instead of three. It's hard to explain what the draw is. It's just one of those things.

Edited from an interview by Chris Kornelis

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 21, 2017 15:10 ET (19:10 GMT)