This is 1 of 2 posts about my experience in the 2017 WPC in Bangalore, India. This first part contains the non-puzzling side of the event while the next post will be my thoughts of each round.My flight arrived into Bangalore late Tuesday night. Ashish (Kumar) and Rakesh (Rai) picked me up from the airport and caught me up on the news regarding Kota’s miraculous 3-point win over Tiit (Vunk). Once at the hotel, I got to meet a long time acquaintance Rishi (Puri), who was leaving Bangalore later that night.
This post was meant to go up before I leave for India. As you can see below, I’d made some frighteningly accurate predictions! Let’s see if they will hold true for the WPC as well.
Last month, I have been extremely busy with work and sorting out papers to ensure that I will be participating in the World Puzzle Championships! I’ll be heading out to India tomorrow night and join the ongoing World Sudoku Championships.
I couldn’t get a longer leave to compete in both WSC and WPC – so only one choice was possible. I opted for WPC because Thailand had already field in a WSC team (led by the energetic Sinchai), and pushing out one of our younger solvers is something I’m not eager to do. Most importantly, though, I enjoy puzzles more!
Interestingly, this will be my first time competing – which means I can potentially win the Best Debutant prize! Unless there are dark horses lurking in the Chinese or Korean team – I feel I have a decent chance.
The organizers made a bold choice by not having play-offs this year and this was reflected in the higher amount of puzzles than previous editions. We’re talking 23 rounds in 3 days! The last two weeks were spent digesting the heavy 90-page instruction booklet.
This year also sees the return of Thomas Snyder (USA) after a three-year hiatus from the championships. The new format without the finals might favour the consistent Ken Endo (Japan) over the 11-time and defending champion Ulrich Voigt (Germany). There are promising and scarily young talents; like Walker Anderson (USA) and Qiu Yanzhe (China), who make guys like Palmer Mebane (USA), Bram de Laat (Netherlands), Hideaki Jo (Japan and somehow in the B team?) or Nikola Zivanovic (Serbia) look like old guards.
The WSC is currently underway and I don’t see Jakub Ondrousek’s (Czech) or Jan Mrozowski’s (Poland) name in the starting list – so I predict another battle between Kota Morinishi (Japan) and Tiit Vunk (Estonia). However, team-wise we should also look at China who’s been steadily creeping up the world ranks with their young team.
Much excitement, can’t wait to be there. If you’re attending (or already there), please drop by and say hi!
See you in Bangalore!