Questions will be provided at 730pm (London time) and contestants will have up to 24 hours to email their responses. Note that no more than 2 to 3 hours will be necessary–we recommend that you spend up to 30 minutes per question (the 24 hours are intended to make it accessible for participants from various time zones across the globe). A maximum word count of 500 words per answer is allowed. In addition, participants are welcome to provide one image per answer, but that is completely optional.
The Creative Thinking World Championship comprises four open-ended questions. Points will be scored for: Creative Fecundity – the ability to produce a range of ideas in a limited time; and Pure Originality – the ability to come up with ideas that other contestants haven’t considered. The scoring system will, however, reward quality far more highly than quantity.
Inspiration challenging questions in the past have ranged from bewildering diagrams from patent documents to even-more bewildering overheards from Cambridge market, or from alleged archaeological discoveries in the distant future to potential improvements in the design of the human body. We must stress, however, that past questions are no guide to what might turn up this time. Entrants should be ready to be stimulated by anything.
William Hartston writes the questions and scores each round. Hartston draws upon an immense and eclectic range of interests. He won the British Chess Championship in 1973 and 1975. He writes the off-beat Beachcomber column for the Daily Express and has authored books on chess, mathematics, humour, sloths, sex and useless information. He has also been a regular guest on the BBC Radio 4 and occasional TV programme, Puzzle Panel. Aside from his chess and media-related activities, Hartston is a Cambridge-educated mathematician and industrial psychologist. During the 1980s, he was recruited by Meredith Belbin, at the Industrial Training Research Unit in Cambridge, to work as part of a multi-disciplinary team researching the dynamics of team roles. In his spare time, He is also an opera critic.
His latest books include A Brief History of Puzzles, Sloths, and two volumes of The Things That Nobody Knows, each discussing 501 unanswered questions ranging from science to history, All of these are published by Atlantic Books, as is his latest work, Numb and Number, which seeks to demystify some all too common problems about innumeracy.