October 16th, 2013

art of sudoku

WPC Update

I'll limit myself to about 250 words.

First day is done, and team USA got off to a quick start in the first team round with the fastest solve (in 28 minutes), next fastest in 35. It was a well-designed round, both for having interesting puzzles but also because it actually ran for 60 minutes and many teams got a chance to fully experience the "Welcome to China". More team rounds should be like this! I worry about the opposite kind of result with tomorrow's massive snake round.

My first day has been average, with issues of timing (for example, being stuck with just half dominoes and taking almost 10 minutes to earn 0 points when I could have finished the classics round if I could just be (a) luckier or (b) more meticulous in learning the logic of these things) and also mistakes. My best round was the last, round 7, the Serbian designed round, where I almost finished the full set in time and expect 113/120 points before normalization as just the doubled skyscrapers eluded me in the last 6 minutes of time. I expect the day's results to have me in the playoffs but not in the top 3 at the moment.

The runaway leader of the tournament so far is Palmer who has had very steady and good rounds, even with at least one large point mistake in round 3 of 70 he could have had. At midday he was in the 900s with a large group from 2nd to 10th all in the 700s. I hope the US can continue its strong showing in many ways as the second day approaches.

As for the Around the World in 80 Puzzles concept, where I became an author with Team USA for the first time at the WPC (with other teams from Netherlands, India, and Serbia also writing 20 puzzle/60 minute rounds): I found the other 3 rounds very enjoyable with the different teams taking different approaches to the design, kinds of puzzles, and hidden themes and such. Our round, the "Doubled Decathlon" had standard puzzles and doubled variations (like a Yajilin that goes from 1x1 black squares to 1x2 black dominoes). And while the rules were doubled in some ways, we did our best to try to double the puzzle set-ups too in clever ways. I am glad that the Around the World in 80 Puzzles concept came together well under the direction of the Hungarian organizers and the incredible work of the international puzzle makers.

So an interesting tournament, and more interesting puzzles to come tomorrow. That's much more than 250 words, but I'm horrible at counting puzzles. Off to bed.