24 Hours of Puzzling

[Friday 19.00]
One day before the start of 24HPC, we met for a brief technical meeting. It started with a wonderful buffet dinner. I had the very warm company of the UK puzzle team who will also be hosting the UK Puzzle and Sudoku Championships this weekend. The questioning session began and it took surprisingly fast to cover the 300+ puzzles that we were going to be faced with tomorrow. We got a T-shirt and retired for the night.

Shirts for everyone!

Shirts for everyone!

The 24HPC starts at 10am on Saturday and finishes at the same time on Sunday. To the best of my memory, I have never spent time on one thing throughout an entire 24 hour cycle before. I stay up a lot so I should be fine right? At least that’s what I thought.

[Saturday 10.00]
And it’s on!
There are 13 rounds, each lasting 100 minutes. The top scorer will score 100 points while the rest will score points based on how many percent of the top score they achieved. The first part of the marathon contained 4 rounds, finishing at 5pm.
I was fresh and did quite well, scoring in the top 5 a couple of times. After the four morning rounds I was in 8
th place.

Starting in 5 minutes

Starting in 5 minutes

I picked a terrible seat in the back of the room which kept making squeaky noises every time I try to erase something. I also end up pissing Christoph Seeliger off (who was unluckily seated beside me) every time I solve a Tapa and other shading-heavy puzzle type. Sorry!

[Saturday 16.30]
A 4×4 Cross Maths using 1-16? Nope! Not gonna happen today!

[Saturday 17.10]
After 4/13 rounds was dinner. A lot of nice sandwiches and salad were served. However, after only 10 minutes in, Gyorgy walked into the room announcing, “3 minutes! 3 minutes! Round 5 in 3 minutes!” We exchanged confused looks, “did he say three or ten?”.
It was indeed 3 minutes and I pretty much stuffed as many pieces of bread into my mouth as I can before rushing back to the competition room. This is a marathon all right.

Dinner before 10 more hours(!) of puzzling

Dinner before 10 more hours(!) of puzzling

[Saturday 19.00]
How does Mochikoro work again?

[Saturday 21.00]
The night section contained 6 straight rounds which continue to 4am. This is where I went downhill. I found myself fighting just to keep my eyes open. And on several occasions, especially during Bram de Laat’s difficult round, I was pretty
much sleeping in short intervals. After 10/13 rounds I plummet way down to 12th place.

[Sunday 00.45]
Nikola Zivanovic (who would end up finishing in 2nd place) walked up to me, “I scored 1000 in your round and had about 15 minutes left. The puzzles suited me really well.”
Speechless.

Breakfast before the last 3 hours of the marathon.

Breakfast before the last 3 hours of the marathon.

[Sunday 04.20]
Breakfast time. 
The thought of having breakfast at 4am prevented me from eating anything. I had a cup of hot chocolate and it was straight back to puzzling.

[Sunday 04.40]
The last 3 rounds started with Serkin Yurekli’s set. After washing my face I came back scoring a nice 4th place, which bumped me up to 9th place. I could’ve scored more if Serkan didn’t decide to include Summon in his set. That alone was worth 165 points! I had plenty of time left but had nothing else to solve which was a pity. I made it my goal to finish in the top 10 and at that time I was hanging by a thread.

[Sunday 10.00]
In the end, my dreadful performance in the final round, by Fatih Kamer Anda, certainly didn’t help with my results. I finished the event in 12th place which is not the best but one that I can still look back in a positive sense.

Too...many...puzzles...

Too…many…puzzles…

[Sunday 11.30]
Prize giving and close ceremony. Wait. What ceremony?
After 10am I went straight to my room for a quick shut-eye. I set three alarms and missed them all. Consequently, I missed the prize giving.

[Post Mortem]
There were a lot of interesting puzzles and addressing the highlights would drag this post uncomfortably longer than it should be. I got several new ideas I want to try out already. If you live in Europe and travelling is easy for you, I highly recommend attending this event. Just completing it is impressive enough, regardless of your results. Also congratulations to Peter Hudak on his solid win this year.

24HPC 2014 Champion (Image courtesy of ROE)

24HPC 2014 Champion (Image courtesy of ROE)


Should future 24HPCs be held when I’m not required by my school, I will definitely come back. Great event and thank you to all organisers and  those who took part in making it such an enjoyable experience. As for now, I do not want to see another Nanro or Skyscrapers for the time being.

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