It's no insignificant amount of pressure, for sure, although I think the contention that it adds credibility to the eventual winner is circular reasoning. With all due respect to the other competitors (particularly three-time finalist Tammy), there is little or no doubt in my mind who solved the finals puzzle the quickest. I guess it depends on what you mean by "solved", but what I mean by it strikes me as being closer to the true definition of it than what is rewarded here...IMHO of course. If, OTOH, Thomas declared an incorrect solution...and was followed 10 seconds later (cleanly) by someone else, then it's quite reasonable to say the second person was the fastest solver. Maybe 30 seconds too. But 3 minutes?
(Incidentally, a part of me wonders what would be worse: declaring a wrong solution with a large lead on second-place that (quadruple)-checking was warranted *or* finishing and spending time checking a clean grid...and getting caught in the process! With no real way of knowing how well the other people are doing -- aside from general intuitive feel for a given puzzle or outside knowledge of "She's very good and this other joker is probably a cheater" -- either seem very possible, needlessly (to me). Maybe we can have a real-time "Sudokounter" installed that tells the people on stage how well the others are doing?)
Most competitions with this sort of all-or-nothing scoring system (e.g. long jump) allow for multiple attempts; and other competitions like gymnastics or figure skating penalize for mistakes rather than essentially nullifying the entire attempt. I guess a one-attempt long jump competition would require a different sort of strategy, but I don't think that would add much in the way of value -- or in the sense of determining who's "best" at the activity. Maybe that's not the point here? Anyhow, nothing's likely to change (other than the headphone rules) by next year, so let's just settle on...if I ever run one of these competitions it will have multiple puzzles or it will have some way to fix screwups. :)
The "Checking the last five digits" concept was suggested to me before it was cool. Sadly it wouldn't have even served any real purpose in Zilina.
This whole discussion is telling me that I should write up my Grand Prix system of puzzle tournament scoring, maybe on that defunct LJ of mine...
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