WPC 2014: Day 1 Morning

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.

Round 1 was a Welcome round with various UK and 2014 themed puzzles. There were a couple types here I was uncomfortable with, most prominently a Minesweeper variation called Triangular Minesweeper. Although my performance ended up okay, it turned out that the Fillomino near the front killed me. I had a near-solution for about 5 minutes before I finally saw the stupid thing I was missing and got it. I finished with about 15 seconds left. Scores have been posted for this one. I was clean with 750, and Ulrich’s 6-minute early finish (840) topped the round. (Not going to do a full score chart because when it’s only round 1 it’s just misleading.)

Round 2 was The Great Outdoors, a quick 30 minute round, full of variations of Simple Loop. This is one of my best types. Most of them presented little trouble, but I struggled a bit with the one where the paths between each flag had to be an equal distance. I solved it intuitively and got stuck in a bad guess space in one corner (which others reported being a problem area too, and is apparently the last place you get to when you use logic), but it didn’t eat up time like that Round 1 Fillomino did. In the end, I finished with just over 15 minutes to spare. Also, good job to EKBM, who was sitting right in front of me and beat me by about a minute. (No surprise; I think our strong types are fairly similar.)

Round 3 was a 2 hour long Classics round with a lot of puzzles. I’m not sure why Pointing at the Crowd, an innovative that debuted (I think) in WPC 2011 and that I haven’t seen much of since, was considered a classic, but oh well. Fortunately for me, the organizers included basically all the nikoli types in their list of classics.

For how it actually went, I was very close to done the round with about 50 minutes left, with a number of lucky “guess guess guess oh wow I’m right” solves. After cleaning up a few stray puzzles that I just hadn’t gotten to, I really struggled with the last two, the Tents and the second No Four in a Row. Eventually, after banging my head on them a lot, I did get both of them with about 28 minutes or so left on the clock. There wasn’t much logic in either solve.

Now this round has 30ish puzzles, so checking was a must here. In the process of doing so, I ended up correcting two errors (Nurikabe and Tetroscope). I looked over every puzzle pretty carefully and couldn’t find anything else wrong, so eventually I gave it a shot and turned in with 21 minutes left. I know Kota Morinshi of Japan was faster (26 is what I heard; congratulations to him if it’s clean), and I went off to lunch before I heard much about others’ finishing times. I think it’s a solid performance… if I get them all.

Bit ambivalent about the afternoon coming up. We have Latin Squares, which ends with five hard Easy As puzzles. That’s a good way to keep me down. We have On Your Own, the instructionless round that no one’s ready for. And we have Sprint, the only one I like which has mostly types I can sprint through… except two more No Four In a Rows at the end as the hardest puzzles. I’m praying those are like the first of the two we saw in Classics, which could be done with first-level deductions only.

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