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art of sudoku
motris (motris) wrote on October 26th, 2009 at 06:22 am
Re: age category
If you're reading this blog but missed the discussion of the WSC this year, let me be very clear again with the first principle of any competition:

I do not come to competitions to not solve puzzles.

I will certainly not turn in an incomplete paper to set a time standard when I have not finished all the grids. I will also not go to sleep and miss an 11 pm Nightmare in Zilina round (or any of six rounds earlier in the day) when I qualified for the playoffs 12 hours previously after a huge score on the 1st round that itself was higher than the overall score after all the rounds of the last playoff entrant.

Competitions should be for the puzzlers and about the puzzles. Not solving puzzles you are given is anathema to me; why else are we there?

So why not just not turn it in you say? Well, first, before you know for sure you've made the stage (and you do not know until your name is called much later because errors happen all the time, believe me), it might be nice to at least have a shot at another prize to salvage a bad day. As a competitor, I should not have to choose to solve or not or turn in or not or use another gear or use my left hand or whatever instead of just solving puzzles.

So, your complaint if you are 27-29 should not be with me but with the organizers who think it is appropriate to keep rewarding the two-time world champion with an extra prize. It is on the organizers to have thought of WHY they are giving out extra prizes. The WHY of these prizes in my opinion is always about giving more things to more people, not more things to the same person. This functions like a "registration fee refund" and you get your name in the paper. It will make more people feel good. Set this kind of prize up to do this. Of course, before dealing with this issue, I wish there would be a real and reported ranking of the finishers of each round (names are only quickly flashed through in a powerpoint, never printed anyway, and times aren't given at all). I wish people who pay a lot to register for the event were given some way to get the puzzles back (or at least fresh copies) of the 30 sudoku that were used across all rounds. Even if you only are as good as an intermediate solver for speed, you'd likely enjoy seeing what the advanced solvers did for next year. Good luck seeing them here. Why is that? 75 dollars not enough to buy those 9 puzzles too? Again, in an event about the puzzles and for the puzzlers, this isn't even an issue. Having been fortunate to solve at dozens of tournaments now, and running several of my own, I feel I have a good appreciation for what gets people coming back and it is always being thoughtful to what the solvers will want. The novelty of there being a championship or meeting Will or whatever is supposed to be the gimmick here is not going to be enough if the event itself is a hollow shell of what it could be for the sudoku community, such as even having social activities before/after as happens for the ACPT. Imagine something like an evening activity talking about things that sudoku people would want to hear about, like a lecture from someone on how you construct these puzzles or how uniqueness comes up in these challenges or what a world sudoku championship is like or watching a copy of the Sudokumentary. Throw in a sudoku-based puzzle hunt that you've got to solve as a team or other puzzle challenge with some book prizes. Will's ACPT would not be what it is if it was not for the friendships and relationships that have been built by it and the evening events where you are suddenly teaming up with someone you've never met before encourages new interactions and making new bridges.

So, anyway, maybe I've taken your tone as more bitter than it is, but I do not and cannot appreciate anyone thinking I or anyone would go to a championship about puzzles and skip the puzzles. Leave after round 1, go to a bar, come back at 3:30 when they need me again. If that was the case, you probably care about the money and being fresh and don't love the puzzles themselves. I'm there to solve sudoku.
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