2021 MoMath Masters

How to Play


Should you wish to participate in the competition, you must check in between 9:00 am ET (New York) and 5:00 pm ET (New York) on February 22, the day before the competition.  Check-in closes at 5:00 pm ET (New York) on February 22.  We recommend checking in early to ensure that any technical issues are resolved and that your setup is fully functional before the tournament begins.

To check in, go to firstround.momath.org.  You will be asked to input your email address.  Please use the email address you used to register for the Masters.  After submitting your email address, look for a confirmation email that includes a URL to the first round competition.  Follow the URL provided.  At 4:30 pm ET (New York), the questions will appear at that link.

If you have trouble checking in, please call 212-542-0566 or email mastershelp@momath.org.

Once you log in, you will stay logged in to the online competition, provided you are not in incognito mode and do not clear your cookies.  If you are in incognito mode or clear your cookies after check-in, you will need to repeat the check-in process.


You may begin the first round any time between 4:30 pm and 5:15 pm ET (New York).  You will have 45 minutes to answer questions, starting from the moment you choose to view your first question.  Please note that you need to join by 5:15 pm ET (New York) to have the full 45 minutes permitted; participants who join later will have less time to complete the round.  If you would like the opportunity to purchase additional time (see below for more information), you need to start before 5:15 pm ET (New York).  Additional time may be purchased, but in no case will the preliminary round extend beyond 6:00 pm ET (New York).

If you qualify for the Finals Round, MoMath will call or text you between 6:30 pm and 7:30 pm ET (New York).  If we can’t reach you, you forfeit your position in the Finals Round.

The Cocktail Hour (with entertainment featuring Roy Wood Jr., Mark Mitton, and Marcus Miller) begins at 6:30 pm ET (New York); the competition portion begins at 7:30 pm ET (New York).

The Finals Round will begin at 7:30 pm ET (New York)

Finalists must be present at 7:30 pm ET (New York) to participate in the Finals Round.

Finalists will type their answers into the Zoom chat.  Only MoMath will be able to view the answers entered. 

Materials needed

If you participate in the tournament and are selected for the Finals Round, you will need to have:

  • Your video on without a virtual background
  • 15 sheets of paper
  • A thick marker

If you are a finalist, you’ll write your answer legibly on the paper and then hold up your answer to your camera.  Turning off your virtual background at this time will ensure that your answer is visible.

Before you begin

Choose a “handle” that will be used to display your progress on the leaderboard.  From the home screen, tap “Edit My Profile” to input your desired handle.

During the game

Once the tournament begins, you may start answering questions.  From the home screen, tap “Competition.”  From there, you can choose a category — Math Pulse (trivia), Gardner Greats (logic puzzles), or Math Classics (contest math) — and a difficulty level.

If you run out of time, you can make a pledge of an additional contribution to MoMath — that’s real money! — to keep going.  (You will be asked to fulfill your pledge after the competition round ends.)  The game will give you a chance to make a pledge while you are in the middle of a question, in case you need more time to answer.

You will initially have 45 minutes to complete the First Round.  If you are close to running out of time, you can pledge funds while you are in the middle of a question to receive additional time.  However, you will only be able to purchase enough time to play right up until the final deadline for the First Round, at 6:00 pm ET (New York).


If you get a question right, you win points.  If you get it wrong, points are deducted from your total.  If you answer a question — incorrectly or correctly — you are locked out of that question and your score is adjusted.

Questions are weighted based on difficulty; points are allocated based on level. More points are given for more difficult questions:

Level Correct Incorrect
Easy +100 points -25 points
Medium +300 points -75 points
Difficult +1,000 points -250 points
Elite +2,500 points -625 points


Note that your cumulative point total can drop below zero.


There are three different categories of questions: Math Pulse (trivia), Gardner Greats (logic puzzles), and Math Classics (contest math).  You may choose to focus on a single category or to answer questions from any mix of categories.  Points from all categories will be added together to generate the final score, which is the primary component used to determine which participants will be invited to compete in the Finals Round.  There are also prizes for the top scorer in each category.  Not all categories have questions at the highest (elite) point level.


You are welcome to collaborate with whomever you like, but we ask that you refrain from using internet search engines or other non-human research sources.  However, if you do work with someone else on a question, we ask that only one of you enter the answer into your contest portal.

New in 2021

If you have participated in the MoMath Masters in prior years, please be aware of the following changes that have been implemented this year:

  • The First Round of the competition will take place before the cocktail hour begins.
  • During the First Round, once you start the competition, your 45-minute timer starts and cannot be paused.
  • You can revisit a question if you have not yet submitted an answer to that question.  You cannot revisit questions that you have already answered.
  • It is possible to have a negative cumulative score.
  • You will need to use the email address with which you registered in order to access the online competition.


Contact MoMath for assistance: call 212-542-0566 or email mastershelp@momath.org.