A funny thing happened after winning my third world sudoku championship in Hungary last year. I didn't get one interview. Not a single reporter on site. Not a single email or phone query when I got back home. So for those wondering why I never linked to any new video of me being quirky after my most dominant sudoku tournament win against the strongest field yet, that is why.
Well, I expected BIST 2012 to be much different. With the Beijing Media Network being a primary sponsor, it was obvious interviews would happen. Two cameras got me at the airport as I exited customs. More got me on the daily excursion. I got pulled out of my hotel room while relaxing pre-opening ceremony for an interview. Then there was a press conference run during the start of dinner where six solvers (the top four from last year who would again qualify as the top four this year and two Chinese solvers) were asked questions. When the instruction meeting later was over they wanted video of me offering tips to the youngest Chinese competitor, and shots of me solving puzzles. During the competition, it felt like all the 10 minute breaks became five, because I certainly had to share the world an update on that last round. And when I wanted to go hide after one of my worst playoff performances in memory, I instead stayed and grinned and gave another closing set of answers talking about how beautiful the puzzles were, to highlight Chen Cen's (and others?) work to make a great tournament. Given how poorly I performed, I bet almost none of this footage was used. Still, there are often open shot rolls given out as B-reel footage for other agencies that might run a story. I found such footage (I'm most of the last 90 seconds) that comes close to a BINGO on the Snyder Sudoku footage game card, what with excessive hand motions, awkward shots of me looking at nothing in particular, the "you know" problem, the stuttering, and my favorite, an odd but edgy quote - here it is equating sudoku with other addictive drugs (cleaned of above problems):
"If you're having a stressful day you can take a 10 minute break and go do a puzzle. Some people may use something else for their relaxation: smoke a cigarette, get a drink, .... I solve a puzzle. So, maybe I'm a strange person in that way but it is relaxing and fun."
I find myself pretty funny when I'm jet-lagged and trying to make sudoku sound interesting. Maybe you will too.
ETA: Here is one of the better print pieces - at least in that it highlights some of the puzzles as I was trying to do (this is from after the semi-final): "Most Sudoku puzzles are designed by computers, which are not really interesting... if you make poetry by computer, it would not be interesting poetry either. But these have very artistic, logical themes."