WPC 2012 Update 5

I haven’t been keeping up with these well… still some rounds to talk about and the playoffs are already over and done. I’ll reserve playoff discussion for a separate post to be made just after this one. The results are online already, so I won’t post a score chart.

On the topic of previously discussed rounds that have now been scored, it seems I topped round 7, lines and arrows, by 13 points, despite a stupid 5 point mistake. I did feel I was pretty efficient that round though. Round 8 was indeed very difficult, with a top score of 77 out of 120 and my 63 not being too bad.

So now let’s start with the day 2 afternoon. Round 10 was “Anthology”. 20 puzzles, selected from each of the previous 20 WPCs. Very few mid-valued puzzles here. They were mostly 5- or 15+. In the round it did not go too well for me. I had a lot of high-pointers out, but at 15 minutes left in the round (out of 90) I wasn’t sure what other points I could get. The time ended up divided on a 17-point word puzzle with 60 words to put in. I tried throwing stuff down for 2 minutes, got a contradiction, and quickly moved on. The rest of time was spent trying to get the 20-point Japanese Number Castle, which was the type selected from last year and one I had done well on. Unfortunately I was maybe 3-5 minutes of tweaking away from solving it when the round ended, so that entire 15 minutes was bungled. Indeed, my score of 112 (Ulrich’s 160 was the top) was not so solid.

Next is round 11, the innovatives round which they called “Something Newish”. In both of my past two championships this round never went very well for me. It was my poorest showing in Poland and a place I lost a lot of ground on the top in Hungary. Here… I got the top score. I left untouched the two puzzles I felt very uncomfortable with, a 9 by 9 Easy as ABC Sudoku Skyscrapers (28 points, the highest of any in the championship), and Rural Tourism, a messed up Star Battle variation. Thomas was saying that the Sudoku should have been worth 48 after the round, given how long it took him. But I got everything else. The big victory of the round was starting a 21 point card puzzle with about 3 minutes to go. If you’ve been reading these updates, you know that’s a bad sign, but as the clock ticked down I barely managed to tweak my guessing into something I couldn’t find anything wrong with. Maybe 20 seconds were left when I put down the last bit. And I did indeed get it.

Finally, round 12, Half Dominoes. One samurai Sudoku style Half Dominoes grid, with row-column clues including all cells on the grid. 50 minutes to solve it, 100 points if correct. With so many cells in each row/column, it basically ended up almost like a Sudoku; not good for me. Still, I managed to pull a decent performance. I couldn’t touch top scores like Pal Madarassy’s 170 (solved in 15 to 15.5 minutes) or Thomas’s 162 (19 to 19.5 minutes), but my 139 (30.5 to 31 minutes) was respectable and kept me from losing too much ground. Considering the kind of round, I was quite happy with this. Below top scorers, where fewer people were finishing, the scoring was very lopsided, with 100s mixed with 20s, and I don’t think the scoring rules were well-designed with that part of the score table in mind.

That was the last individual round. Round 13 was a team round, which was instructionless. I don’t want to talk much about this one; it’s my least favorite round of any of the three WPCs I’ve been to. Suffice it to say, one of the puzzles, which we had to puzzle out the instructions for given an example, had the most unintuitive rules I’ve ever heard of. I don’t think any team figured out what that puzzle was about. Ridiculous.

I guess I forgot to talk about the previous day’s team round too (6), Marina, which was a manipulative optimizer puzzle. I ended up enjoying it more than I thought I would, but it still wasn’t my cup of tea. We thought we had something pretty good at the end, but we ended up losing quite a bit of ground on it. Oh well. The team finished third, which is a bit unfortunate given some of our recent showings.

Playoff post coming shortly…

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