Day 2 of the WSC only had 3 more rounds, unless you were one of the individuals good enough to make the playoff. Round 9 was another variants round, where a common variant is paired with a more exotic variant similar to the common one. Some of these variants are quite brutal, especially the 66 points one, which I didn’t even bother to look at. Anyways, I botched the consecutive sudoku on this round, but in the end I was able to fix it. However, that did took some time, time that I could have used to finish the anti-knight-and-queen sudoku that I was 2 minutes or so from completing. Grrr……
Round 10 was called the great wall, and consisted of 5 linked classics in the shape of a W. The puzzles themselves were not particularly hard, but given that there was only 15 minutes to solve, it was not nearly enough for me. I started off on the left side, which was a bad idea, as I later found. The right side was much easier to start, and in the end, I only got 1 done, which netted me 20 points.
Round 11 was (mostly) based on the number 8. 8 is a lucky number in Chinese, as it sounded similar to the word for wealth. It also happened to be the 8th WSC. There was a 8×8 classic which was surprisingly hard for 12 points, as well as a bunch of variants involving the number 8 one way or another. This round was one that I felt truly disappointed in, as I spent a huge amount of time on the answer 8 sudoku, and was again a few minutes away from completing the 4 by 2 sudoku when time was called.
The afternoon was the play-offs. There were 9 rows of chairs lined up, with the further rows having less chairs. The top 10 contestants that made it to the playoffs were seated in the back row, and after successfully solving a puzzle, they can move up to the desk on the next row. However, if there are no more desks available, the contestant is eliminated. This was to continue until 3 contestants have solved all the puzzles, and the first 2 will move on to the grand final. Apparently, sudoku is very big in China, as one of the sponsor was the Beijing Media Network, and they had a camera crew and a broadcast vehicle there. It probably also helped that BMN was the company publishing the sudoku/puzzle books on sale at the competition. From what I heard from Jerry the next day, we got on TV, yay. Anyways, during the semis, they had 2 projectors screens for the audience, and the cameras were filming in such a way we can see the actual sudokus being solved. The semis took an hour, and by the end Jin Ce from China and Kora Morinishi from Japan moved on to the finals.
The finals was a set of 5 puzzles, selected from a set of 10. There were 3 classics, one consecutive, and I can’t remember the last one. Compared to the puzzles of the semis, the final puzzles were very easy. In the end, Jin was able to beat Kota 3-2, and clinch first prize on the sudoku championship.
After the championship came the award ceremony. I had a bad stomach so I ended up showing up 15 minutes late, and I missed the part where they handed out the lottery tickets. Furthermore, the Canada table was full, and they had to squeeze around to fit me in. At the dinner, there were some impressive performances, including a contortionist, and the face-changing opera act. The music, however, was way too loud, and caused discomfort to my ear. The lottery draw that follow saw Dave winning the first prize. When the speaker spoke the number 208 in Mandarin, I was poking at Dave and pointing at the stage in excitement, completely forgetting the fact that Dave do not understand Mandarin. Anyways, despite the fancy ceremony, the dinner itself is essentially hotel food, though better presented. This concluded the WSC, and I skipped the question session to get some much needed sleep.