WSC/WPC Impressions – August 12 (WSC Day 2)

I woke up at 7am, but was feeling super tired. I didn’t dare to go back to sleep again lest I missed the alarm. The jet lag was starting to catch up to me. The morning call failed again, so I will have to do something about it. By the time breakfast was over, we got the results for Rounds 1-8. Round 5 to 7 went as expected, but we missed a letter at the end on our guess of Round 8 (the rest were correct). That sucked.

Round 9 was a 90 minute round that has a mix of common to semi-common variants. To contrast from yesterday, I went with the mostly easy ones. The search 9 sudoku however took more time than it really should have, and eventually I guessed on the solution. The others I solved were windoku, diagon, anti-knight, renban group, anti-diagonal, clone, no touch, and a classic. Some of the variants in this round had WSC marked on them, which is kind of neat.

Round 10 consisted of a single overlapping sudoku with 2 grids. The regions were irregular, and there were scattered shaded regions that forms a set of 1-9. The US team told us that the centre 9 squares forms a 1-9 set, which was helpful, if not for the fact I messed up and had to erase. Unlike yesterday, there was no problem with the sun today. However, with the number of people finishing the round, there were a lot of “Finished!” and the staff were running back and forth near my desk. This was very distracting given that the floor was wobbly and my table vibrated every time a staff ran near it. In the end, I didn’t managed to get a single grid done, so that was a 0, for the first time in this competition.

Round 11 was another team round, with 5 sudoku variants and 20 pairs of letters linking cells of the 5 grids together. The puzzles were killer sudoku pro, diagonally non-consecutive, toroidal, sum skyscrapes, and musketry. David went for the killer, Jerry the musketry, Byron the toroidal, and me the non-consecutive. The killer was actually fairly easy, and can be solved with little help from others. I didn’t know how to start on mine at first, but was eventually able to get a few digits in after getting some digits from others. However, somewhere along the way, I realized that my non-consecutive was broken, and went ahead to fix it. After fixing it (I think), the clue going towards the musketry didn’t match, and it turned out that the musketry was also broken. By this time, the killer sum pro and toroidal was done, so David went to help Jerry with the musketry and Byron went with the skyscrapers. in the end, the sum skyscraper was the last one to be solved, and we had 3 minutes on the clock when we called finish.

When we left the competition hall, we met Elyot, the final member of the WPC A-team. He just arrived. We had lunch together and discussed various things about how start ups and gaming. The results for the top 20 or so people were up when we finished, and David and Byron placed high enough to be on the first sheet of paper. On the other hand, I placed too low for my results to be printed, so I won’t know how I placed until after the finals.

Despite my earlier complaints, the competition itself was generally well run until the finals. There were no broken puzzles or puzzles with multiple solutions in the actual competition, as far as I could tell. (unlike the instruction booklet) Anyways, the finals were in 3 rounds, where the 7-10th players are played together in a staggered start, the winner then played against the 4-6th players, and the winner of that played against the 1-3rd players.

The first 2 rounds went as expected, with the 7th and 4th players advancing respectively. In the 2nd round, the 4th to 6th players all made a mistake, but the 7th player could not capitalized on it. Going on the final round were Tiit Vunk, Kota Morinishi, Bastien Vial-Jaime, and Jakub Ondrousek from 1st to 4th place respectively. Tiit and Kota were separated by less than 1 minute, while Jakub was over 5 minutes behind Kota. By the end of the 3rd puzzle, Kota had caught up to Tiit, and by the 4th, Kota had an advantage. At this point, there was a judging mix-up between the 3rd and 4th player. While it did not affect the result, it made Jakub very angry. Anyways, Kota carried the momentum to finish in first, Tiit in second, and Bastien and Jakub in joint third.

The dinner party and award ceremony pretty much went as expected, aside from Jarett having to call Elyot to wake him up from his sleep. Sadly, since it was a formal dinner and not a buffet, the amount of food is less than what we got in normal lunches and dinners. The Chinese team won a lot of stuff, partly due to the fact that most of their team is under 18. In terms of team placement, China was 3rd, Germany was 2nd, and Japan was 1st.

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