WPC Poland Thread
Competition has a lot of good classic variation rounds and some oddball rounds. Bonuses are also a little curious in some respects. In several rounds the bonus increases as more people finish (if n people finish, the first solver gets 5*n points, next gets 5*(n-1) points, ..., but this causes a few problems). If a solver does very well on a round that is otherwise hard to finish, they earn 5 (maybe 10) bonus out of 200 or so for the round which is tiny, when there also is no time bonus. On the other hand, if the round is very poorly timed and dozens finish, then making one mistake can have the effective cost of many points (on the order of the round value). Fortunately only a few rounds use this quirky system but I cannot see it's advantage over several other choices. And I can certainly see the odd position of say having 3 members of team Germany or Japan done when I'd say finished, giving those teams 10 more points relative to the US just because I claim my 5. So the incentives feel a bit off. But that's probably focusing too much on one specific detail than the overall set-up which is very nice.
Individual semi-finals will take the top 8 competitors, staggered start from scores, with 1st place choosing 7 types from a pool of puzzles for the group. Four fastest finishers then become the finalists with the fastest finisher choosing the 7 types from a pool of puzzles for the finalists. Puzzle selection power is huge, so I'm certainly aiming to qualify at the top (not that I wouldn't otherwise).
There will also be a team final with the top four teams. It will be sort of weakest link style but with a relay element. Each individual has a task but they must be done in a particular order. After the first finishes, he/she gets 1/9 of a team task and can start on it while the next member of the relay starts his individual task. The successive members bring 1/9, 2/9, and 5/9 of the team puzzle back. Once the full puzzle is there and solved, team podium order will be determined. This will be interesting (and I certainly feel I can predict 3 of the team finalists right now, although maybe not their order).
Anyway, we've already scouted out the hotel for the scavenger hunt round and I've finished solving all the practice problems I planned for the year, so I'm not sure what I'll do with myself before the competition starts in 2 days. I'm also a part of the evening entertainment - a Puzzle Academy with Vladimir Portugalov and myself. He'll talk about a memorable puzzle he wrote. I'll talk about a memorable puzzle I solved. I doubt the puzzles being discussed will be the same but hopefully it will be interesting.