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!