2019 ASC Recap – Part 2

This is part 2 of 2 posts about my experience at the 2019 Asia Sudoku Championship which happened on 25-28th January 2019 in Clark, Pampanga, Philippines. This part will be a breakdown of my thoughts on each round.

Booklets of the 2019 ASC

Reliving the event by going through the booklets, I feel more positive about the puzzles at the ASC. The grids were very clean and themes for some individual puzzles were stunning. For a competition, I personally enjoy medium to medium-plus difficulty and the hardest grids here I felt were right in that range. There was only one minor mistake in round 4 that may have tripped people up but questionably nothing was done about it.
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2019 ASC Recap – Part 1

Yes. This recap is 8 months late. This is part 1 of 2 posts about my experience at the 2019 Asia Sudoku Championship which happened on 25-28th January 2019 in Clark, Pampanga, Philippines. This first part will be a personal account of events leading up to, during and after the competition. Part 2 will be a breakdown of my thoughts on each round.

The Asia Sudoku Championship is a relatively young event on the WPF circuit with this year’s event being only the 3rd iteration. The previous 2 editions were both held in South Korea with the 1st of its kind seeing only 3 nations (China, Korea and Japan) compete. The 2nd ASC, held in 2018, expanded to 8 countries with over 50 entrants in the Open section. Held alongside were several well-attended age groups for younger solvers (age categories include U-8, U-10, U-12 and U-15).

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Sorry for the Drought

During the 8 month drought here at SOTR, a plethora of things have been happening behind the scenes. I will spend the next few weeks posting recaps of 3 offline events I’ve attended this year; the Asia Sudoku Championship, the 24 Hour Puzzle Championship and, most recently, the Brands Sudoku Queen’s Cup.

Next month, I will be in Germany for the World Puzzle Championship. The recap for that should follow soon. After the WPC, I hope to squeeze in some SOTR events before our traditional end-of-the-year Christmas Quiz.

Blog maintenance aside, I’ve been trying to cram in as much puzzle-solving into my life as I can. Somehow I’ve never made it past 1 Puzzle GP and only competed in 6 Sudoku GP’s. Same goes for LMI’s Sudoku Maharabat and Puzzle Ramayan where I missed out too much to realistically rank among the world’s best solvers. But the odd brilliant finishes were encouraging enough not to give up speed-solving entirely.

Meanwhile, Puzzlers Club has written 2 laudable LMI tests and members are continuously chipping through floods of imported Japanese puzzles from Twitter. I have yet to jump on the bandwagon solely because I’m more of a paper guy than a Puzz Link solver. Though, I’ll get there one day when I get around to purchasing a new phone and/or iPad. I also discovered a trove of nice puzzles in LMD’s Puzzle Portal which can easily last a lifetime.

Word puzzles have also been pillaging spare time as I have renewed my subscription to Games magazine, the New York Times crossword and the American Values Club crosswords. Not to mention the handful of Puzzle Wright titles sporadically arriving in the mail. So many good puzzles and so little time to do them. Sigh.

Any other puzzle sources you’d recommend?

Results of SOTR Holiday Quiz 2018-19

Happy New Year readers, with the first half of January passing by we will award our first winner of 2019. Let’s go through the answers to our annual Holiday Quiz.

Q1: David and Goliath [2 points]
One month before the 2018 WSC/WPC, another world championship was held in Prague. This 11-year old won and set a new record by being the youngest world champion at what?
Pictured was Keisuke Fukuchi, an Othello prodigy, who defeated 2016 world champion Piyanut Aunchulee from Thailand in a best of three finals.

Q2: Another David [2 points]
In that same month, a 16-year old dethroned a seven-time world champion at what?
Over on the other side of the Atlantic in Oregon; Joseph Saelee defeated Jonas Neubauer (both USA) who was the current and 7-time world champion at Classic Tetris. The coverage of the event is phenomenal. If like me, you stumbled on this via Youtube recommendations, you’d hear enough Tetris jargon to last a lifetime. If only puzzles were presented in a similarly exciting way.

Q3: Secret Santa [3 points]
Who is this person dressed up as Santa Claus?
This is the current World Puzzle Champion Thomas Snyder. He became the first person to win both WPF titles (WSC and WPC).

Q4: Mashed Puzzles [3,4,4,3,4 points]
Which two puzzles combine to give the anagrams below?

ORCA WAVERS = ARROWS + CAVE
THAT PAINKILLERS = SLITHERLINK + TAPA (or PATA)
PUBLISHED OUTTASKS = BATTLESHIPS + SUDOKU
SETTING SLAM = MAGNETS + LITS
CLUMPED PLAYBOOKS = DOPPELBLOCK + MASYU

Perfect scores all around! I thought this was going to be difficult since most anagram solvers don’t have puzzle names in their database. Rakesh had a typo (List instead of LITS) but I marked it correct anyway.

Q5: Another Scrabble Controversy [3 points]
There was a controversy at this year’s World Scrabble Championship and it was caught on camera. What do you think is going on in this precise moment?

Nothing official was heard from the organizers but the incident in question involved Alexius Quashie (Ghana) allegedly peeking into the tile bag and swapping tiles he didn’t desire. The other side argues that because the bag at this event was transparent, they had to put the bag into another (opaque) bag. He claimed to have only look at where his hand was going when he felt that he was fishing into the wrong pocket. Nonetheless, he was disqualified.

Q6: Excelling at Art [4 points]
This 77-year old Japanese artist came up with a way to produce and sell drawings at his home. How does he do it?

Pictured here is Tatsuo Hirouchi, who makes Japanese landscape designs using Microsoft Excel. He’s been at it for over 15 years. You can visit his website here.

Q8: Wish Lists [2,3,2,3,3,3,3,3 points]
What do you think would be the most suitable puzzle for each house?

Let’s start from top to bottom going left to right.
Ken: Kakuro was what I had in mind. It turns out Kropki was equally valid.
Noah: A lot of you answered Star Battle Sudoku which is wrong because (normally) it would only contain 18 stars. The answer I had in mind was Star Product Sudoku which would almost always have over 20 stars. Tricky Noah.
Murat: Strawberry snake is the literal meaning of Hebi Ichigo. Ichigo is a pun that means “one to five”; signifying the length of the snakes.
Dave: The only cactus I remember seeing in a puzzle is in Area 51, a creation of David Millar. I also accepted Cows and Cactus but didn’t accept Tents (maybe with stylized trees?), Oasis (the actual puzzle type didn’t have any cacti, or anything symbolizing it) or jigsaw puzzle with a picture of a cactus (cheeky answer!).
Richard: Back in high school the Bunsen burner is often paired up with the tripod, hence Tripod Sudoku. I tried backing up Match Sudoku but couldn’t find any credible sources.
David: The correct answer is Psycho Killer. The creator, Serkan Yurekli, specifically mentioned Talking Heads as the inspiration for the name. This was back in 2009 during his amazing run of Oguz Atay Puzzle Contests. I didn’t accept Killer Sudoku since the actual name was exactly Psycho Killer. A couple of you submitted Cities which I vaguely remember as City Construction or the singular City – so I decided not to accept it. I tried finding other sources to score it but came up empty-handed.
Joy: This one had more acceptable answers that I thought. Intended answer was Tentai Show (Double Spiral Galaxies work as well); but I’ve also accepted Statue Park and Heavy Dots (even though the latter is in a grey area). Consecutive Quads Sudoku was not accepted because it is a number-filling genre. Paint by Threes also didn’t score because it doesn’t have circles.
Nick: Shakashaka. Not sure if there’s any alternate solution though.
ETA (18/1/19): As Rakesh has pointed out, there are some presentations of Paint by Threes that uses circles. This is accepted as correct and scores are changed accordingly.

Q8: Sequence [3 points]
Which puzzler would follow this sequence; Dai Tantan, Liane Robinson, Galina Titova, Zuzana Hromcova, Tejal Phatak, _____?

The list contains female puzzle solvers from China, UK, Bulgaria, Slovakia and India. These countries were also the host of WSC/WPCs from 2013. So any female puzzle solver from the Czech Republic (2018 host) would be acceptable. Two of you submitted Jan Novotny and did not score.

Q9: Christmas Trees [1,2 points]
Can you figure out which tree belongs to Manea? How about Giovanni’s tree?
Looking at the ornaments you could see that each tree has exactly one duplicate. The duplicate also happen to correspond to the first letter of the tree owner’s name. Angel for Amit, Ice-cream for Ivan, Elf for Edison and Raindeer for Rakesh.

We were looking for Manea’s and Giovanni’s tree and among the four choices below there’s tree #1 with two (m)istletoes and tree #3 with two (g)ingerbreadmen. Sorry, Salih!

11 submissions were received throughout the holidays. And the winner is…

Congratulations to James McGowan from New Zealand!

 

He will receive Nikoli no Penpa 2019 to enjoy throughout the year.
James’ encore of perfect 60 is remarkable. He has now swept the last three Holiday Quizzes. But the competition is definitely fiercer. Amit was only one question away from tying. Salih was virtually close to perfect as well.
Credits to Freepik for the lovely images used in question 9.

I’ll be spending 2019 looking for nuggets to make a tougher Holiday Quiz next time!

Due to the lack of hurdles last year, I owe you 2 Nikoli Hurdles, the first of which is coming up next. Near the end of January, if nothing goes wrong I’ll be competing in the Asian Sudoku Championships in the Philippines. So if you’re also attending do come say hello.

Thanks for playing the quiz.
Wish you all a happy 2019!

SOTR Holiday Quiz 2018-19

Merry Christmas wherever you are around the globe. Wish you a safe and serene holiday season! 2018 has been the least productive year SOTR has ever seen. Hopefully the semi-finished planned events in my scrapbook can be showcased next year. As for now, we have the usual SOTR Holiday Quiz.

Instructions: Answer as many questions as you can. You don’t have to answer all the questions. Submit your entry at the entry form below. The highest scorer will receive a copy of Nikoli no Penpa 2019 published by Nikoli. You can submit multiple times but only your latest submission will count – so you can change your answers until the deadline on Wednesday 9th January. Questions can be made by commenting on this post or by e-mail to roygbivpuzzles (at) gmail (dot) com.

Tie-Breaks: If the highest score is achieved by multiple entrants, the entry that scored the highest in Wish Lists (question 7) wins. If the tie remains unbroken; the entry that scored the highest in Mashed Puzzles (question 4) wins. Rock-Paper-Scissors will decide any further ties.

Happy Quizzing!

Q1: David and Goliath [2 points]
One month before the 2018 WSC/WPC, another world championship was held in Prague. This 11-year old won and set a new record by being the youngest world champion at what?

Q2: Another David [2 points]
In that same month, a 16-year old dethroned a seven-time world champion at what?
Look at their immense concentration in the finals!

Q3: Secret Santa [3 points]
Ho! Ho! Ho! Have you been good? Who is this person dressed up as Santa Claus?
Q4: Mashed Puzzles [3,4,4,3,4 points]
Which two puzzle names combine to give the anagrams below?
For example, PAXON MONORAIL gives Nanro and Maxi Loop.

ORCA WAVERS
THAT PAINKILLERS
PUBLISHED OUTTASKS
SETTING SLAM
CLUMPED PLAYBOOKS

Q5: Another Scrabble Controversy [3 points]
There was a controversy at this year’s World Scrabble Championship and it was caught on camera. What do you think is going on in this precise moment?
Q6: Excelling at Art [4 points]
Not wanting to buy expensive drawing equipments, this 77-year old Japanese artist came up with an unorthodox way to produce and sell drawings at his home. How does he do it?Q7: Wish Lists [2,3,2,3,3,3,3,3 points]
Dashing through a village of puzzlers, Santa needs to deliver the most appropriate puzzle type for each of these well-behaved children. What do you think would be the most suitable puzzle present for each house?

Q8: Sequence [3 points]
Which puzzler would follow this sequence; Dai Tantan, Liane Robinson, Galina Titova, Zuzana Hromcova, Tejal Phatak, _____?

Q9: Christmas Trees [1,2 points]
A group of friends have decorated their personal Christmas trees. Due to a mix-up while transporting them, two of the trees have been lost in the mix. Can you figure out which tree belongs to Manea? How about Giovanni’s tree?
Choose the two trees from the four choices below.

Submission form:
Submit your answers using Google Forms at this website below. Changes can be made until the deadline on 9th January 2019.
[Submission closed]

Thanks for playing!

See you in 2019!

2018 WSC Recap – Part 2

This is part 2 of 2 about my experience at the 2018 World Sudoku Championship which happened on 4-7th November 2018 in Prague, Czech Republic. This second part will be a breakdown of my thoughts on each round.

Round 1 – Classic Start [Individual]
Me and Sinchai correctly predicted 13 puzzles with the givens forming numbers 1-13. 30 minutes was going to deplete fast and I started panicking when my second grid had an error. Quickly recovering, I turned in a 9/13 puzzles where my 10th puzzle needed about 20 more seconds.
I was quite confident in classics but having stumbled I was therefore surprised to finish in 17th. Wow!
Points: 240/345 – 17th place (unofficial ranking which includes non A-team members)
Top score: 325 by Jakub Ondrousek
Favourite puzzle: I don’t think any fast solver would remember any particular grid.

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2018 WSC Recap – Part 1

This is part 1 of 2 about my experience at the 2018 World Sudoku Championship which happened on 4-7th November 2018 in Prague, Czech Republic. This first part will be a personal account of events leading up to, during and after the competition. Part 2 will be a breakdown of my thoughts on each round.

Preparation
My WSC adventure started well before November. After convincing my management department and a successful tussle at the embassy, there was a period of about 4 weeks to prepare. All my spare time, where I would normally solve or construct puzzles, were channeled to solely practicing sudoku.
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See you in Prague

In a few days I’ll be flying to Prague for the WSC/WPC. My participation was in doubt up until a few weeks back so it is good to have an ample period of time to reflect on the promptly-released instruction booklets.

As hinted in the participants list; Thailand is fielding in only 2 sudoku players. A bummer since I was looking forward to solving the team rounds together. An important conference later in the week meant I couldn’t stay for the WPC. Fortunately being one of the test solvers, (along with Hideaki Jo, Michael Mosshammer and probably a few others) I have a rough idea what I’ll be missing out on.

The WPC/WSC seems to elude me year after year despite my immense eagerness to take part. The grueling back-to-back combo being over a week long doesn’t help either. Guess I’ll seek refuge in the more forgiving schedule of the 24HPC for now.

Weirdly, this is only my 2nd attempt at the WSC. My first being in Beijing (2013) where I finished 30th, so any improvement on that would be goal achieved. My close puzzle friends have heard enough of me moaning about how I’m more keen on puzzles in general so it is also an incentive to show that I can also solve a sudoku or two (or twenty).

The IB struck me as quite Czech-centric so I think regulars in the European circuit would have a sizable advantage over people who’ve, say, just heard of Fed Sudoku last week. By jove, there’s an oil well of neat puzzles there!

Predictions!
WSC: Because of the aforementioned reason; I predict a Tiit Vunk win over Kota Morinishi this year. However, local favourite Jakub Ondrousek might have something to say about that. Team-wise, it is going to be hard, if not impossible, to top China. Despite missing Qiu Yanzhe, the enormous (and ridiculously young) talent pool China has will assure their dominance for the next few WSC’s.

WPC: A boring prediction in Ken Endo. Although with play-offs back in business; Ulrich Voigt might work his magic to claim his 12th WPC title. For the last 9 years; USA, Japan and Germany have been hogging all the WPC team medals. Hideaki Jo missing from Team Japan means my virtual bet is on Team USA.

Just to shot-gun some potential dark horses;
WSC: Dai Tantan, Seungjae Kwak and Keisui Okuma.
WPC: Walker Anderson, Robert Vollmert and Nikola Zivanovic.
Go horsey go!

I plan to blog this year’s WSC experience here and maybe a few thoughts and comments on the WPC puzzles would go up shortly after the whole ordeal is over. If you’re attending; best of luck and do come by and say hi!

See you in Prague!

2018 BRANDS Queen’s Cup Returns to Thailand

[Photos in this report are courtesy of Thailand Crossword Association and Thananon Boonkrong]

Trophies from the Royal Family up for grabs

The 2018 BRANDS King’s Cup happened earlier this month drawing the world’s top Scrabble players to Bangkok from 6th-9th July. At the same venue, Central Plaza Westgate, some big names from the world of sudoku also vied for the BRANDS Queen’s Cup.

Packed house at this year’s BRANDS King’s Cup

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