WSC/WPC Impressions – August 16 (WPC Day 3)

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The results for day 2 was out, and I have gotten a mistake on one of the That’s Not Right. On the other hand, I got 50 points for a question that I did not do. For the sake of fairness, I went and protested it. In the end, my position was unchanged, in 35th place. Byron placed 32th on the official ranking, 3 spots above me. As the individual rounds were all finished, this is the final standings of the individual WPC.

There was one more team round for the day, before the individual playoffs. In this round, we needed to make squares in the various puzzle grids given to us, subjected to different rules. The first puzzle was removing dots to form squares, the second was adding dots, the third was using Hamle moves, and the fourth was using chess moves. The 5th to 7th puzzles were all of the same type, where you alternate between using Hamle moves to form squares, and knight moves to move on numbers. Our team chemistry was good, and we blazed through the round with 14 minutes to spare. When we left the room, we noticed that there is still an unusually many number of teams who were still attempting to solve the puzzle.

Amazingly, we managed to place 4th on that round, so we made it to the playoffs. The playoff puzzle was in the same style as the 5th to 7th puzzles of the round, but instead of using plastic counter, we use humans as counters, just like wizard chess. In the playoffs, the 5th to 8th teams went first, while the first 4 teams stayed in a lobby outside of the competition hall. After they were finished, we went to the playoffs with USA, Japan, and Germany. USA and Germany were ridiculously fast, finishing the entire round in less than 3 minutes. We took 3.5 minutes ourselves, and unfortunately(fortunately?) Japan was disqualified for making an invalid move. When the results came in, the 5th to 8th team were all slower than we were, so we placed 3rd in the round overall.

The afternoon session was the individual playoffs, which used the same format as the WSC. However, unlike the WSC playoffs, the WPC playoffs were more eventful, with multiple wrong submissions and missed chances. In the first round, Bram in 7th place made 2 wrong submissions on the same puzzle, which allowed Kota in 9th place to catch up and advance. However, Kota could not make up the 4+ minutes of stagger time in the 2nd round, and Palmer in 4th place advanced to the final playoffs. In the final playoffs, Ulrich Voigt was in 1st place, Ken Endo in 2nd, Florian Kirch in 3rd, and Palmer Mebane in 4th. The first puzzle went as expected, but things got interesting starting with the second one (Area 51). Ulrich made an incorrect solve of the puzzle on the top left, which allowed Palmer to mostly catch up, only for Palmer to have made the same mistake in the same place. During the fourth puzzle (Kakuro), Ken seemed to have gotten stuck, and fell behind the other contestants. Then, Palmer made an amazing solve of the fifth puzzle (Unequal Length Maze), finishing it in about 15 seconds. By the 6th puzzle, Palmer was neck and neck with Ulrich, with Florian slightly behind. In the end, Ulrich won the playoffs, Palmer got 2nd place with 22 seconds behind, and Florian got third with 1 minute 12 seconds behind.

After the playoffs, there was the after championship soccer that I did not attend (I went to take a nap), and the dinner and awards ceremony. We got a huge puzzle book in the ceremony, and there was karaoke afterwards. At 12:30, the hotel staff kicked us out of the conference room and into the bar, where we continued on the drinking and karaoke, joined by Scrabble playing and sudoku racing. Byron got a book of extra hard sudoku from the Japanese captain, and for each puzzle, the times of Kota Morinishi, the World Sudoku Champion of 2014, were written down. Byron and I managed to got within 1 minute of Kota once each, but failed miserably on the others. By 2am, I was very tired, and crashed on the bed, which concluded the World Puzzle Championship.

Epilogue: My ride was scheduled to East Croydon on the next day at 2pm, but seeing that there is no lunch, I took the 11am ride instead. I arrived in central London at 12, left my luggage in my hotel, and started touring the Tate Modern right across the street. I will be touring London for 3 more days before heading back to Canada.

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