Pupils from The Manchester Grammar School have proved they are among the best codebreakers in the country after coming second in a national cipher challenge.
The team of Naunidh Dua, Hamzah Mahmood, Sam Hindley, Matthew Bream, Rakin Chowdhury, George Jayson, Kai Conway-Lai, Dean Chaudhri, Nav Leelarathna and Adrian Deng – collectively known as ‘Mens4s’ – entered the National Cipher Challenge, which is open to all schools across the UK.
The competition is organised by the Mathematics Department at The University of Southampton, and attracted entries from more than 3,500 teams.
And out of the thousands of entrants, the MGS team narrowly missed out on winning the entire competition by finishing a close second and proving themselves to be among the best young codebreakers in the country. The team also won £800.
The team will attend a ceremony at Bletchley Park in Milton Keynes – which was the central site for British codebreakers during World War II – on March 6 to receive their prize.
The competition was structured as a series of encrypted messages which competitors are challenged to decipher and unravel the mystery of Rome’s Lost Legion, which vanished in Northern Britain in 108 AD.
Team captain Naunidh Dua, 16, of Altrincham, said: “Earlier this year we founded the Lower School Cryptography Society at MGS, after myself and a few others came third in the Alan Turing Cryptography Competition.
“Thankfully we managed to recruit more people to the society and stimulate their interest in codebreaking so we decided to enter a tougher competition.
“It involved several late nights, up until 3am some nights, but we are all delighted that our hard work has paid off in the end and that we have been awarded with a close second place.”
Tim Pattison, Head of Mathematics at The Manchester Grammar School, said: “To finish second in such a prestigious national competition out of more than 3,500 entries is an absolutely astonishing achievement by our boys.”