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11 April 2008 @ 09:44 am
WSC Preview  
Still waiting for the official instruction booklet which will tell us about bonuses and timing but the preview of puzzle types already posted on wsc2008.com suggests the kind of championship we will see. I'm glad to finally see a sudoku relay round in the event, with the 7th (classics) round having that characteristic. There is a large round of "twins" puzzles which will hopefully have some good puzzles. I tend to dislike the "copy a solution from here to there" steps when they arise, and this seems to at least have one chance at that in the alphabetic substitution puzzle, but the others are a bit unusual, particularly the sum >8 and difference 1/8 twins. The rest of the rounds seem standard fare now for the third WSC - variants and classics spread around in reasonably long rounds where I tend to be in the top of the field consistently. I've solved basically all the types before so nothing really new to brainstorm this year compared with all the geometric variants last year that had "hidden" constraints you could prove by playing with the examples.

The team rounds seem somewhat "standard" still as team rounds go but may allow a little more teamwork than last year's. Part 9 has three puzzles split into pieces and, with three people, we will obviously each take one puzzle for the tiled sum/irregular/diagonal. I understand how you'd tile a diagonal sudoku and I guess a tiled irregular is probably just a normal jigsaw-like puzzle (play with the arrangement of pieces until you get a 9x9 square) but I'm curious to see how you tile a sum sudoku. The other team round is a weakest link round with a samurai puzzle but until I see the instructions, its not clear what the "entry" puzzle(s) will be to the team desk. Only three members of our group of four are on the team and the decision of who is on the team has not yet been made. We have a talented squad, so some on-site brainstorming will need to be done to make this decision.

The biggest apparent news in the championship is the presence of two titles for the individuals, with it seeming that without winning both, either title itself is somewhat diminished. This means I have a lot more to shoot for as I defend my title this year. I'm tired of the criticism that the WSC champion is good at variants and not classic puzzles. I won the US championship handily with just classics and I will hopefully do well in Goa as well.

If there is a theme to my championship thinking then, it is that I will be taking it to 11. With that in mind, here is a new Tablecloth Sudoku (the type created at WSC2) of the Spinal Tap variety (11 wide with 9x9 sudoku in the middle). All rows/columns will contain 1-9 and A,B and no digit/letter is repeated in the 3x3 bold regions in the center. The big shapes belong to multiple rows/columns. This is an easy example but it proves the larger size is possible.

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zundevilzundevil on April 11th, 2008 11:31 pm (UTC)
So as I'm sure you're well aware, the point distributions and round arrangements and stuff are all on the site now. They are definitely bringing the hammer this time. 12 classics in 45 minutes is just one of the rounds that stands out as maybe a smidge quicker than I'd been expecting.

OTOH, this also looks to be extremely entertaining, with the puzzles for given rounds having more to do with each other than last year.

How are you feeling about the new variants -- like the 1/8 and >8 twins? Have you tried the sample puzzles? I'm going to give simulated rounds a go tonight, although maybe just getting through the main puzzles (w/o the extra classics on the end) in the time limit is a worthy goal of its own.
motrismotris on April 11th, 2008 11:39 pm (UTC)
Re: Tigerproofed?
I'm saving the instructions/samples for the flight. Unfortunately, the twins don't have a examples to be solved but you should plan ahead for how the constraints must work.

I have mixed feelings on the point breakdowns. This returns to a WSC1 style where, provided round timing is ok, the rounds can work, but I still fear twiddling my thumbs having checked all the problems, as everyone else in the room can catch up. The scoring - by reducing the value of the classics puzzles - also has a WPC-Rio style effect of shrinking the differences on the top end, and making the rounds that do have bonus (2 and 6, the classic rounds) that much more important. While the scoring is not ideal, round theming is nice and hopefully works well.

My biggest gripe though is that I really dislike running two playoffs for two prizes, each with a 4 compete for 1 setting. My guess is 3 out of the 4 "classics" finalists will end up as regular finalists anyway so I'm disappointed that this is how it is being run. My goals have simplified now - give the US a team title. I can get every point I want in the individual rounds and not escape the crapshoot of two different playoffs, but I can deliver to the US team better than I did last year when I left points on the table by carelessness.
(Anonymous) on April 16th, 2008 05:06 pm (UTC)
Re: Tigerproofed?
Congratulations on winning the crapshoot! I would've expressed my support for your efforts earlier, but I didn't want to risk the suggestion of increased expectations knowing how perilous a sudoku playoff can be, let alone two.

Of course, that isn't to say I wasn't still really hoping you'd manage it. I also greatly disdain the idea of needing a "classic" trophy with a separate playoff; placating the "Whatever THIS is, it's not sudoku!" crowd doesn't justify undermining the championship and muddling what press coverage the WSC gets, in my opinion. I was really hoping for someone to pick up the double, be it you, Hideaki or anyone else, if just to try and put that idea to rest.

I felt that you were quite justified in aiming to deliver for the team and keeping the individual glory secondary; there's not much shame in a playoff loss, because it's really a much less statistically significant result in my eyes than an overall point tally. Commiserations on the 4th-place team finish, but hey; there's only so much control you had over that result. There's a lot of strong solving teams there.

As usual, I end up having to say "Maybe next year." My cash flow situation would've kept me out this year, if I didn't already have final exams during the competition dates. At least there were some Canadians, though.

Looking forward to your report!

Byron Calver
johan_de_ruiter on April 16th, 2008 06:53 pm (UTC)
Re: Tigerproofed?
Impressive! You are truly a champion.

thedan on April 14th, 2008 01:56 pm (UTC)
Go get 'em, champ.