And the morning begins, with 2 rounds.
The first round was all Domino Hunt puzzles. One of my least favorite types. I did the best I could, but ended up with the two hardest left unsolved when the people I’m trying to keep up with are finishing with a substantial bonus. I had a shot at getting one of the last two when I went on a promising bifurcation route, but it broke at the end with about a minute left. Lovely.
The second round was the 2 hour marathon round of 21-themed puzzles, called Blackjack. It was going pretty well for awhile, and then I decided to try the Octopus (8 snakes on one grid, each length 21). 5 minutes in, I was pretty confident in one half. 25 minutes later, I had been trying and failing to get the other half to work and decided I needed to get to other things. One thing you don’t want to do on these marathon rounds is throw a quarter of the time limit at a puzzle you don’t get. Indeed, I ended up at about 75% of the score other top finishers were getting. In last year’s WPC these marathon rounds were where I accumulated most of my advantage, so this is a bad sign for me.
At this point, I have about 100 points of disadvantage to make up to keep up with the top, which translates to about 400-500 points on last year’s scale. The afternoon rounds are a little more suited to me, but not by much. We’ll see what happens.