And the second day of the WPC is done. The individual preliminary rounds are over. Here’s an update on the top ten.
[#. Name (R8; R9; R10; R11; Total)]
1. Ulrich Voigt (120, 315, 280, 560*, 3105)
2. Palmer Mebane (110, 375*, 270, 429, 3024)
3. Thomas Snyder (170*, 360, 245, 341, 3016)
4. Hideaki Jo (120, 340, 185, 385, 2745)
5. Bram de Laat (95, 325, 235, 297, 2662)
U. Michael Ley (145, 310, 115, 242, 2642)
6. Roland Voigt (145, 300, 205, 407, 2642)
7. Philipp Weiss (130, 280, 210, 341, 2531)
8. Neil Zussman (130, 310, 225, 319, 2529)
9. Wei-Hwa Huang (160, 345, 210, 286, 2521)
10. Peter Hudak (120, 300, 160, 297, 2512)
Again, U means unofficial participant, the usual caveat that there may be typos applies, and the * means top score of the round. I should also note that round 5 was handed back today, and I have a pending 50 point protest on it. My team thinks it could go either way. (EDIT: Didn’t get any points out of this.)
The day began with Round 8, a Screen Test. If you aren’t familiar with it, a puzzle, usually a very observational one, is flashed on a large screen for a short amount of time, and you have to solve it in your head and write the answer on a form. The organizers did something very interesting this year, with all kinds of animation present in the puzzles. One of the puzzles was a simple “Count the black circles”, with them all the same large size and not overlapping. When we get to that puzzle on the screen test, they’re in a spinning ring formation. Surprisingly difficult to do. A lot of other fun challenges meant the whole room was chuckling for a good portion of it. From a competition standpoint though, screen tests are one of my weaker rounds, so I dropped a bit of ground on it. Thomas got the top score on the round for the Nth time.
Next was the Sprint Round. 4 instances of 5 types: Ariadne’s Threads, ABC Connect (Numberlink), Fragmented Loop (Loopfinder), Shikaku, Yajilin. (Ariadne’s Threads could be concisely described as a consecutive Numberlink.) If you know me on nikoli.com, you know that these are all some of my best types. It was a 30 minute round, and I was the fastest to finish with 15 left on the clock. Thomas was the second with 12 minutes of time bonus, and others like Wei-Hwa and two Japanese were at the 9 or 10 minute mark. The whole US team finished, not a surprise since we are all on nikoli.com. We also all managed to avoid errors and get the full bonus.
That said, there is a bit of a bummer in this. The round was 300 points, and time bonus is 5 per minute saved. I solved the round at 20 points per minute, and my score is only 12.5 per minute. So the round with all of my best stuff wasn’t weighted heavily.
Round 10 was “Divide and Conquer”. It is evidently fairly standard for the Hungarians to have one or two rounds focused on a single new type (Crack it On and Honey Islands in 1999, Streets and Fifty-fifty in 2005), and this was the one this year. It resembles a Fillomino variation, except that all the region sizes are given and same size regions can touch. I thought it would be a strong round for me, but the actual round was wacky. I nailed all of the square grids, but it got crazier after that. Hex, Cube, Olympic Rings, the border of Hungary, a “#” sign (no one I know attempted this monster). Scores are out, and it seems I did fine being 10 points behind Ulrich, but I’m a little miffed about being 5 seconds from finishing a 40 point puzzle, which I was frantically trying to get done even as time was called. Oh well.
Round 11 was the “11” round, and was intended to begin at 11/11/11 11:11:11. In reality we only just started handing out the tests at that time, but we were close. This round was peculiar with a lot of extremely high-valued puzzles that were not correspondingly hard. A weights puzzle with 11 weights is not 77 points. I did fairly well, getting all but two, but again, I’m kicking myself for making a dumb error on one of the highest valued ones and thinking it had no solution. It wasn’t unreasonable to think so when I had ascertained to myself that another puzzle in the round had 36(?!) solutions (although one extra clue could have fixed it). Ulrich finished the round with a couple minutes to spare, but fortunately I was clean, so I didn’t drop too much to him.
After a lunch break we had three more rounds, all longer, and all of which haven’t been scored yet.
Round 12 was a bunch of Hungarian puzzle styles in a long 80 minute round. Earlier I had done really well on the long “Assorted” round (2), so I had some reasons to be optimistic. At 5-10 minutes left I started struggling to find things to do, which is good in some sense (a lot done) and bad in others (dead time). I ended up managing to spend that time guessing my way through a relatively high-valued puzzle, so it felt like a success. One possible bummer is that the highest valued puzzle, a Pentomino one, had a “no reflection” rule that I missed. My team seems to think the solution didn’t have any room to mess up on this, but I’m still really worried as that’s a ton of points that could be dropped. If I get that though, I should have a good round.
Round 13 was the “Innovative” round with more unfamiliar types, which had me worried as there was a lot of stuff (e.g. variations on Skyscrapers and Japanese Sums) that I didn’t feel comfortable with. I ended up breaking several things in this round and not always fixing them, so a lot of time was lost. I also had a timing issue. Usually in a 60 minute round I can make several passes through the puzzles, but on my first run through, while trying to wrap up the last puzzle on the last page, a Skyscrapers variation, I looked up and saw there were 6 minutes left. Whoa! At about 4 minutes left I realized I had no shot at finishing the skyscrapers logically, so a flurry of guessing ensued. At about 15 seconds to go I had something reasonable, and it seemed that the plethora of constraints all checked out, but I’m just not certain. If I did get it out I think my score is quite good, but it’s a real tossup.
Round 14 was the “Best of” round. 77 small instances of types from all across the competition, and 60 minutes to do them. 10 points for every puzzle. I was moving chaotically, solving things, trying and breaking things, skipping things, and making multiple passes. I think my haphazard approach that caused me to go through the packet two or three times hurt me quite a bit, but we were informed of the round format about 1 minute before it started, so there was no time to think of a strategy. Due to how I attacked the round, I have absolutely no idea how I did. motris, for whom this style of round is fairly well-suited, thought he ended up with 59. I don’t think I got near that, but hopefully I don’t drop much from this.