WSC/WPC Impressions – August 11 (WSC Day 1)

I don’t know why the big point ones were so hard.
— David Jones, after Round 3.

To start off the morning, my wake up call did not happen. Luckily I did set an alarm on my phone, so that turned out OK. It would have sucked if I ended up missing a Round when I am a member of the WSC A-team this year. Breakfast was a typical English breakfast, which was decent.

There are significant problems with the lighting of the venue. The competition room is too dark, and worse still, when the clouds covers and uncovers the sun, the room gets darker and brighter. Anyways, it was sunny most of the day, except for short sudden thunderstorms right after lunch and during part of the GP. The sudden weather change reminds me of Waterloo.

Like last year, Round 1 was easy classics. However, unlike last year, there is no difficult classics round. Instead, 2 classics are put at the end of most rounds so that people can solve something if they have 5 minutes left. Anyways, I got the first 6 on this round, which is acceptable, but not as good as David or Byron.

Round 2 had the typical variants. I solved the deficient, killer, odd, non-consecutive, and 1 classic. The killer was easy, but I spent a lot of time on the non-consecutive and the odd sudoku. From what I heard afterwards, the windoku was easy, which really sucked. Apparently, a lot of people found this round easier than I had, since I dropped by like 20 positions after this round.

Round 3 consisted of sudokus with digits/writings outside the grid. I did the odd-even-big-small, X-sums, outside, next to 9, and even sandwich. I think I did well on this round, though I will have to wait for the result to see.

I bombed Round 4 hard, solving only the consecutive and the no nines. I guessed on the no nines too. I thought was good at these relation stuff, but apparently not, as I have lots of problems trying to work the non-consecutive sudoku, and not getting anywhere with it. With a total of 115 points, it tanked all the rankings that I could have gained from my performance in round 3.

Round 5 was arithmetic, and I think I did OK on it. I got the killer, little killer, equality, and 1 classic. The equality took much more time than it should have. I recognized that the sum must be divisible by 9, but did not realized that the sum has to be exactly 18 before the competition.

Round 6 was puzzles with irregular grids. I spent a long time on the isometric, which was only 30 points, and in the end I had to guess (and guess wrong) before getting it correct. The parquet was easy, so was the irregular. The sudokurve was annoying, but not difficult. I think I scored about 200 points in each of these two rounds, if I didn’t mess anything up.

Round 7 was a team round, where each person was given a coloured pen, and was only allowed to write on the quarter of each grid with their colour. There were 6 puzzles to solve, 4 at a time. At every 90 seconds, a call of rotate indicated that we have to pass our current grid to the next person. Since David is the fastest solver, naturally he looked over our grids to help us with parts while passing it on. After some screwing up, and other mishaps, we managed to solved everything on the very last rotation, and had 1 minute on the clock. Hurray for Team Canada.

Round 8 was another team round. This time, we were given strips which we had to assemble to form a valid sudoku. There were12 (18 for the last one) strips for each sudoku. Each one had the position in the grid and numbers written on them, and we had to find the order to lay them down to cover all the incorrect numbers. We managed to get the first 3, and was only a few letters away from the last one. Time will tell whether the guess we made are correct. In hindsight, we could have done a lot better in this round. Team B suggested during dinner that they started writing all pairs on numbers into each grid and circling the right answer about half way through. This would have saved significant time when we are comparing and checking which strip goes above.

All-in-all, day 1 could have gone a lot better.

After dinner was the Sudoku GP finals. This year’s GP is rather subdued, and mostly consist of people solving the same puzzles that that the contestants are solving. I missed the commentary from last year, After that, we played Set and a board game called Saboteur. It was a board game version of Mafia, where the good dwarves are trying to build tunnels to the gold, while saboteurs are trying to run the other players out of cards. There are tunnel cards, enabling/disabling cards, and demolition cards. 1 gold mine is hidden under 1 of the 3 cards, but the only way to know which is it is to use a detector card. The game was fun, even though I did not managed to win a single round, both due to my lack of skills and a bit of bad luck.


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