A unique mathematical contest — the Baltic Way team competition — is
held on the shore of the Baltic Sea every autumn since 1990. The name of the competition
comes from the mass demonstration for the freedom of the Baltic States organised
on August 23, 1989, when people from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania stood hand in
hand along the road from Tallinn to Vilnius.
For the first two years, only teams from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania took part
in the event, but later all the other countries surrounding the Baltic Sea (and also
Iceland) joined in. Thus, the contest is now normally held among 11 teams:
Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany (represented mainly by Rostock and Hamburg),
Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Russia (represented by St.
Petersburg) and Sweden. Sometimes organisers also invite a guest team to take part
in the contest. In 2001, there was a guest team from Israel, in 2004 and 2014, from Belarus, in 2005, from Belgium, in 2011, from South Africa, and in 2015, from the Netherlands.
The rules of the competition are simple: each country sends a team of 5 high
school students, who are expected to solve 20 problems within 4.5 hours. During
this time, the team members can and must communicate — otherwise they would
not be able to solve such a quantity of problems. Hence, Baltic Way is not
only about mathematical knowledge, but also about cooperational skills.
For Estonia, there have been more and less successful years. In 1993,
1997–2001, 2003 and 2015, Estonia reached a place in the top 3, and in 1999, the Estonian
team was awarded the first.
The next Baltic Way contest will take place in November 2017 in Denmark.