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23 November 2009 @ 03:01 pm
Straight from my inbox  
(I'm sure an official announcement on philly.com will come soon, but an email signed by Will Shortz qualifies for me even with the many typos. Here, for the sudoku community - whether advanced, intermediate, or beginner - is finally some justice; nothing can fully restore the finals, but this is something.)

Dear Thomas,

We are pleased to announce the final results for the Advanced Division of The Philadelphia Inquirer Sudoku National Championship, held on October 24, 2009, following an investigation regarding a possible violation of the Championship rules. First place and $10,000 was awarded to Tammy McLeod from Los Angeles, CA. Thomas Snyder from Palo Alto, CA. won second place and $4,000. Chris Narrikkattu was awarded thrid place and $3,000 as a result of the disqualification of Eugene Varshavsky.

Mr. Varshavsky's poor on-stage performance during the championship finals led to a thorough investigation of his qualifying round solving time, and ultimately resulted in his disqualification.

Over the last three years out Championship has established a reputation as the championship for everyone and has a strong following in the advanced, intermediate and beginner sudoku community. The integrity of this competition remains our highest priority and we hope you will join us again next year for our fourth annual Sudoku National Championship.

Will Shortz

ETA: Now the Inquirer's story is out: 3rd Place Winner Disqualified in Sudoku Scandal
EFTA: Philly.com/sudoku official statement
(Anonymous) on November 24th, 2009 12:38 pm (UTC)
The Inquirer gives a few additional details about the retesting process:


It was pretty smart of Will and Nick Baxter to simply give the Sudobomber the actual puzzles from Round 3. True SudoFail.
motrismotris on November 24th, 2009 03:30 pm (UTC)
Re: Mulligans
Most likely not the actual puzzles, but transformed versions of them. They'd solve the same way. I'll have some more to say about ways to retest a puzzle later this week.
nickbaxternickbaxter on November 24th, 2009 04:43 pm (UTC)
Re: Mulligans
I prepared the round 3 puzzles both ways, so I had some flexibility. But as things played out I ended up giving the unaltered puzzles during the re-test, primarily to strengthen the comparison to the live round 3.
(Anonymous) on November 24th, 2009 11:23 pm (UTC)
Re: Mulligans
So what did he do? He just showed up pretending everything was fair? And then he could not even finish them? It must have been a suicide, he probably was hoping he will find a way to cheat again. I am so angry and puzzled with that guy.

Svilen Dyakovski
Henrytahnan on November 27th, 2009 05:25 am (UTC)
Re: Mulligans
It really does indicate some sort of phenomenal hubris to sit there, unable to even complete puzzles that he'd previously solved in record time, and still insist he hadn't cheated. Or, frankly, to show up for the retest in the first place. Man.
(Anonymous) on December 15th, 2009 12:47 am (UTC)
...I was there for the craziness in Philadelphia. It was my first sudoku tourney, and I remember you raising your hands in celebration (before you realized your mistakes) and then later graciously congratulating Ms. McLeod. I also remember watching Mr. Varshavsky stand there in his hoodie and saying aloud, "That guy ain't movin'." Little did we know...

I figured that with my years of doing sudoku puzzles from newspapers I should enter in the intermediate level, but my performance in the timed puzzles on the website brought me back down to earth, and I ended up entering as a beginner.

I usually make the sort of marks you describe (though I am just learning on your site all of the inherent terminology) when solving at home, but I thought they'd be frowned upon in the tournament, and so I made almost no marks and carefully erased the few I did make before raising my hand. (I just wish I could blame this for my not finishing the third set or the set for the location round.)