WSC/WPC Impressions – October 17 (WPC Day 2)

Round 8 was unlike any other round of the WPC so far. Instead of having separate puzzles independent of each other, we had twelve 10×10 puzzles laid out in a 3×4 grid. For each pair of adjacent puzzles, the squares on the edge must be in the same state. ex. If the right-most square of row 5 in puzzle 1 is shaded, then the left-most square of row 5 in puzzle 2 is also shaded. This meant that you need to jump back and forth between puzzles using information gained from other puzzles. A practice run of the round can be found The round itself was a lot easier compared to the LMI one. In fact, it was easy enough that I managed to submit 16 minutes early. I was worried whether I missed a squared on the battleship after I came out, but in the end, I got the points and bonus, so that’s all good. One funny thing about this puzzle was that the top left grid shaded out the letters CHINA, except that the I and the A was slightly distorted so that you can’t guess on it.

Round 9 was another classic. The round had 10 puzzle types, each with 3 puzzles, themed with the digits 2, 3, and 4 respectively. I was familiar with some types, but not so much with the rest. I spent way too much time on the 4 cave and the 3 minesweeper, and didn’t even manage to get the latter in the end. That screwed with my points so bad that I scored way below other people at my rank. It also didn’t help that I wanted to go to the washroom for the whole 90 minutes of the test.

Round 10 was the sprint round, where we were asked to divide the given shapes into congruent pieces made of 1×1 squares. The shapes can be rotated but not reflected, and they do not have to touch orthogonally. The words China (in both Chinese and English), and the digits 2013 were used as the shape for the division. The letter 国 was so complex that it had to be divided into 75 pieces, which were all 1×1. Personally, I think I did ok on this round, all things considering.

Round 11 was the “Screen test without a screen”. ie. It’s a visual puzzles round that was done on pencil and paper. The puzzles in this round are more like some of the brainteasers and MENSA books you can buy from bookstores, instead of the more grid based types like the ones from Nikoli. It was fun, but apparently, I suck at these, and my score was pretty bad compared to other people. I made a wild guess on the last one, but didn’t get it correct. I was close, though.

Round 12 was the Zodiac, where you were given standard puzzle types, on grids that shaped like the 12 Chinese Zodiac animals. All in all, I did really well this round, and got 9 of 12 puzzles. The only ones I missed were the Hamle, which was a slog; the ox division, which I should have tried to get it; and the nurikabe scrabble, which was actually quite easy, though I didn’t have the time.

Round 13 was the weakest link, where there were 5 big puzzles, each of a different type, and 20 small ones. Each team member is given 5 of the small puzzles, one of each type. When a person solved at least 4 of of the 4 given, s/he can go to the main table to solve the big ones. The big puzzles were samurai puzzles. ie. The center puzzle depends on 4 outside ones, which were the small puzzles given to the team members. However, which small puzzle is matched with which corner was not given, and we had to test for that. Ultimately, we decided to skip the Tapa until we got to the main table. The small puzzles didn’t possess a big challenge for me, though I must admit the Tria puzzle was annoying. At the main table, I solved the rest of the Tapa that the group brought down, as I suck at the other puzzle types in comparison. Then, I started solving the big Tapa. Unfortunately, I made a few mistakes at the bottom and had to erase a section, which slowed me down drastically, and didn’t manage to finish that. I also forgot to fill in a square on 1 of the other tapa and lost 50 points, which really sucked. Go me for screwing up the team……

Round 14 was another team round, where we were given a big outer snake, a few fixed puzzles, and 20 tiles that together formed an inner snake. From what I heard, this round was toned down a lot. Originally, the possible locations of the 20 inner tiles were not given, and we had to figure that out from the boundary given by the outer snake. This describes why the 2 snakes seemed like they have nothing to do with each other in the final puzzle. Anyways, that was a fun round, and the puzzle was amazing. The outer snake was actually the boundaries of China, to boot. We first solved the fixed puzzles that clued us to the position of the tiles, then solved the inner snake and had ~15 minutes left. We solved the outer snake afterwards, and had 6+ minutes to spare. Luckily we decided to make a quick check before handing it in. Dave noticed that 1 end of the outer snake touched the water while the other almost, but didn’t. We corrected that and handed in the puzzle at 6:01, giving us some bonus points.

After dinner, it was Mah-jong time. Jarret, Byron, David, and I went to play, so we had enough people to form a table. As I was the only person who knew how to play, Wei-Hwa of the US team and I taught the others. To make things easier, we played without scores, which IMO really made the game not interesting. The reason is that if you are allowed to make any hand, you can’t gain meaningful information from watching another person’s discard. Still, David’s luck was very good, and he scored 5 out of the 7 hands that we played. By 11pm, we were bored and went back to the hotel.

P.S. The beer there has no alcohol content! I swear!


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