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03 February 2011 @ 08:51 am
Rich Weekend of Puzzles  
The recent growth of more online puzzle competitions (particularly with flexible starting times) has been a really good trend for the solving community. Except sometimes you now see too many competitions over a given weekend. This weekend might be such an embarassment of riches.

LMI is hosting Serkan Yurekli's Tapa Variations Contest V, the first of four biweekly contests through February and March to determine the best Tapa solver. Last year I was away and missed the first one, and then slept through the rest since I didn't figure I could catch up with a 0 score. This year, the scoring is much fairer if you miss a test, while still rewarding consistent performance. And the start time is now completely flexible, thanks to the LMI hosting, so scheduling in the test is much easier. Tapa is one of my favorite puzzles, and Serkan's creativity is always a joy to behold, so check out this competition as I'm sure I will.

This weekend is also the fifth SudokuCup test, this time organized by a team of Slovakians (I wrote the third competition held last January). I have a hard time writing about this year's test, as thinking of Sudoku and Slovakia in the same sentence generally starts a kind of reflexive anger after past events and I don't think we share the same creative vision when it comes to executing sudoku variations (I have a list of 5 or 6 nitpicks in the instruction book that start at the 45 given classic example and go on but I'll keep you from my ranting). But for those who prefer sudoku to other puzzles, or those with the time to do both, maybe you'll decide to play in the SudokuCup this weekend too.

If not, next week brings another Sudoku test on LMI, followed the next weekend by another Tapa test on LMI, and so on. It's truly not just a once a year (USPC) kind of calendar anymore.
(Anonymous) on February 3rd, 2011 08:19 pm (UTC)
Puzzle Event Calendar
The puzzle event calender provides an overview of all competitions announced: http://www.janko.at/Puzzle-Events/
Teesside Snog Monster: swingsjiggery_pokery on February 3rd, 2011 09:05 pm (UTC)
Re: Puzzle Event Calendar
I was going to point to that with a glorious hurrah if you hadn't done so!

Thought experiment: suppose that more and more sites start offering contests to the point where, on a particular weekend, you might have rated / relatively serious competition at five sites offering daily puzzles and another five sites offering weekly puzzles. Is that really too many?

There are at least two competing drivers here. Arguments for "few competitions but good ones" would be that competitors could feel they took part in "all" the competitions without an unreasonable level of time and that relatively many of the top competitors would all participate against each other in some of the contests. Arguments for "many competitions of various quality" would be to ensure that all participants have a wide choice of contests, possibly in several different styles or at several different levels of difficulty.

I think I can see both perspectives, but think that I would prefer to accept the costs and drawbacks of the latter than the former; accordingly, I would personally feel reluctant to start talking about "too many", even at a factor of three times as many as is currently the case.
motrismotris on February 3rd, 2011 10:17 pm (UTC)
Re: Puzzle Event Calendar
My attitude is already that there are "too many" sudoku things, but that's in part because I think sudoku captures just 10% of all interesting logic puzzle space and I don't choose to take all my puzzle time solving the same puzzle type over and over again.

From the stand-point of a top-rank competitor, I want to do the competitions the rest of the world's best are doing, and that might select against some new sources until they demonstrate their quality. I'm partial to LMI, for example, because they maintain running Puzzle Rankings and Sudoku Rankings and very much have the best solvers playing there. If the best authors keep being invited to do LMI tests, I'm satisfied not venturing to too many other places, as a test every other week is plenty for me.
zundevilzundevil on February 4th, 2011 02:40 am (UTC)
I saw some of the examples and started having terrifying flashbacks. I trust your experience was similar.