USPC 2015 is over

September 5, 2015

I haven’t found much discussion online; maybe it’s on sites like Facebook where I’m not present, so let’s dump some thoughts here.

Tentatively, I finished, with 0:02:08 left on the clock. Unlike in the last two rounds of the WPF Puzzle GP (where I honestly ran out of time and had no illusions of getting a full score), I actually had time to check everything, so I’m crossing my fingers that 375 + time bonus will hold. (Update: The score held. No errors.)

Some quick comments on puzzles (and I’ve probably still forgotten to say something nice about at least one puzzle I liked):

7. Raindrops – If my solution was right, I got tricked in the way Cihan probably wanted and lost quite a bit of time. But I’m still only 99% sure I got it.

11. Intersections – This probably had my favorite logical step, using the 9348 string to deal with the 12 that had a second 12 in its row and a third 12 in its column.

12. Kakuro – Some nice logic here too about fitting 2,5,6,8 into the top two rows.

21. O’utcast – I was pretty worried about this one before the test, with good reason since it did take awhile. I really like the amount of logic that was possible at the beginning though, especially relating to Os on the edge or in intersections. The end of the test in general had some very cool types/variations that were fun to solve (even the Sudoku-ish Pinochlada and Pathfinder).

19. Pinochlada – The hardest puzzle in my opinion, but unexpectedly fun. The start required dealing with information overload, but it was extremely satisfying near the middle when squares I hadn’t even looked at before could be immediately deduced by using rank and suit together.

4. Airhead – I saved this for the end of time as usual, though unlike past years I didn’t have anything left to do when I started it. I found this one to be very difficult; I didn’t have any differences for the first 5 minutes or so, and none of the ones I found felt obvious. I did avoid long gaps between my last few though, which is probably why I still scraped by with a finished test.

WPC 2014: Playoffs and Conclusion

August 16, 2014

I’ll save my final rank for later in the post. I am starting to see a pattern where apparently Ulrich and I make these very fun to watch (obviously not intentionally), though this time we had help.

I can’t do my usual detailed per-puzzle rundowns because most of what I had to say for each one was about what was happening around me and where my standing was. This year, we sat at a walled-off booth, solved puzzles on a projector, and had little to no information about how things were around us. Even if it does make this harder to write, I much prefer the lack of distracting information. I had tried to refrain from looking around me too much even when it was possible in previous years.

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WPC 2014: Day 2 Afternoon

August 16, 2014

I got to posting this a bit late, so a lot of stuff has happened and this will be a marathon post.

I realize that the final scores are not up on the WPC website yet, but I’d have a lot of rounds to put on the scoreboard and there are protests happening. So I’ll summarize instead and link to their scoreboard later.

EDIT: My teammate Will Blatt’s protest went through, so he just squeezed into 10th place, knocking out Roland. There are no other changes to the top 10 that are in this post.

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WPC 2014: Day 2 Morning

August 15, 2014

I might not get to all the rounds in this post; the afternoon rounds start very shortly and I wouldn’t want to be late. But I’ll at least get a scoreboard up.

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WPC 2014: Day 1 Afternoon

August 14, 2014

Before we get to a scoreboard, let’s start with a fun quiz.

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WPC 2014: Day 1 Morning

August 14, 2014

The day 1 morning is now over. It looks like the organizers are making rounds finishable this year, in that I got all three of them done and several others did too. Which is good, because we’ve been asking for more of that. Also a little bad for me, because I’m mistake-prone and I’m very nervous about losing my time bonus on these rounds.

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WPC 2014: Pregame

August 12, 2014

I’ve been in London a couple days now. The 2014 World Sudoku Championship just finished. The top 10 after the preliminary rounds that made the playoffs, from #1 to #10, were: Tiit Vunk (Estonia), Kota Morinshi (Japan), Bastien Vial-Jaime (France), Jakub Ondrousek (Czech Republic), Seungjae Kwak (Korea), Dai Tantan (China), Hideaki Jo (Japan again), Michael Ley (Germany), Takuya Sugimoto (Japan again again), Jin Ce (China again)

I don’t know the exact rank reordering rules, which the IB did not specify, but I think the only shakeup from the playoffs was Tiit and Kota switching, meaning Kota is the new world champion. Though Tiit beat him in the GP finals the day before, which had the exact same top three seeds and no shakeup in the podium.

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WPC 2013: Day 3

October 22, 2013

See the first WPC 2013 post for an explanation of the post date. Also, all round scores can be referred to here.

Before I get to day 3, I should note that the team results showed that even despite a mistake on the weakest link (which was my fault, and not related to the misgrade), our sizable lead going into those two team rounds stayed sizable. So the US team took first place this year. Yay!

As a bummer, I messed up the Pento Office in round 12, but I still managed to top the round by a sizable margin. You know it was a good run when you can drop the highest-valued puzzle like that and still stay ahead.

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WPC 2013: Day 2 Afternoon

October 21, 2013

See the first WPC 2013 post for an explanation of the post date. Also, all round scores can be referred to here.

The preliminaries are now over. In individual rounds, my day 2 afternoon was the usual: awesome. My team round performance was so-so, but if we’re clean we’ll have stayed level with the rival teams across both.

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WPC 2013: Day 2 Morning

October 21, 2013

See the first WPC 2013 post for an explanation of the post date. Also, all round scores can be referred to here.

The day 2 morning is done, and the scores for one of its rounds as well as the day 1 rounds are available. That led to lots of good news. First, what I considered an okay performance on rounds 4 and 5 turned out to be the high scores, and my round 7 score was only behind Thomas’s and Ulrich’s (comparing with both of them after the round probably skewed my perception a bit…). Second, the weighting system of the world rounds may have turned out to be a bit broken in a way that favored me. I figured with the system they used that top scores would be around 600. Instead, I have two scores over 800 on rounds where the scoring rules specify that only four people can score above 500. That seems a bit too lopsided. The around the world concept seems to work great in general, but I think the scoring rules could use another look. Third, my day 2 morning went so well that I have probably clinched first place in the preliminaries even if I skip the afternoon entirely.

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