Surprise! Nikoli Hurdles 5!

Another year is zipping by and to cap it off, SOTR will run two back to back events. Starting today is the 5th edition of Nikoli Hurdles. The format remains the same with eight puzzles to be solved in order. The answer to the previous puzzle is used to open the next puzzle. Based on the last readers’ poll; Satogaeri will make an appearance.

Tied for second were Slitherlink and Sashigane, so they both will be included in this year’s set. Solvers can enter their name for a chance to win a copy of Nikoli no Penpa 2018, once they reach the finish line. More information can be found at the ABOUT NIKOLI HURDLES page above.

The contest will close on December 20th. Shortly after on Christmas we will have our traditional end-of-the-year Christmas Quiz. Any questions can be made using this form.

Have fun!


WPC 2017 Recap – Part 2

This is post 2 of 2 about my experience in the 2017 WPC in Bangalore, India. The first part contains the non-puzzling side of the event while this post will be my thoughts of each round.

With no play-offs, 23 rounds of puzzles (17 individual rounds and 6 team rounds) were crammed into three days. I feel most of these rounds were sadly undertimed and a lot of beautiful puzzles were missed. Or I’m just slow, but to the best of my knowledge, I don’t think many solvers were finishing these rounds.
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WPC 2017 Recap – Part 1

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.
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See you in Bangalore!

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.

  Hello readers,

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!

Mother’s Day Meeting


After getting our hands on last year’s batch of WSC puzzles; me and Sinchai decided to simulate the WSC experience. Mother’s Day was coming up and with it, a three-day weekend.

A quick ask-around produced a lot more keen players that we initially expected. Joining us in the mock-event were Thailand’s leading solvers. Only 2 or 3 reasonable solvers were absent. We rented a sit-in café for the whole day and squeezed all the individual rounds in a single evening.
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Tiit Vunk Wins 2017 BRANDS Queen’s Cup

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

Central Plaza Westgate was once again the venue for the annual BRANDS King’s Cup International Open. The $10,000 USD winner’s purse attracts a handful of top Scrabble players in the world each year. Held alongside is the Sudoku Queen’s Cup where the winner takes half as much at $5,000 USD. There were many side events including A-math (an equation-building boardgame) and Kumkom (a Thai version of Scrabble).
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Annual Pilgrimage to the USPC

One event I look forward to every year is the USPC. What makes this event stand out from your regular online tests is the amount of innovation that constantly pop-up year after year. Forget the usual types that you routinely solve all year round, here, it’s not an exaggeration that the USPC showcases some of the most creative constructions I solve puzzles for. These are the heavy-pointers which require insight and thinking-on-the-spot rather than common types which needed constant practice to get good at. Therefore, most of them end up being elegant one-off puzzles and will likely not see any of its siblings in the future (a notable example is the Criss-Cross Sums from the practice test).
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PuzzleDo Mystery Revisited

I haven’t properly sent off PuzzleDo that happened three months ago, both Michaels have already received their prizes long ago. PuzzleDo has been a project lying dormant for about 7(!) years; the logo, characters, weapons and room cards were all drawn 7 years ago before I even entered college. It was originally intended to be an LMI test with a completely different format and progress on it went on and off numerous times. Late last year, while hunting for ideas, I re-explored my old files and saw the raw materials for PuzzleDo.
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24HPC 2017 Recap Part 2

This is part 2 of the 17th 24HPC recap. Part 1 contains the event leading up to and after the competition. This part will contain my thoughts on each of the 13 rounds.

Everyone signed the welcome/farewell puzzle – made by Zoltan Horvath.

Round 1
Puzzles by Matus Deminger
Matus came up with a very interesting idea this year. The puzzles came in pairs with one classic type followed by a loop variation of that type. I jumped around quite a bit and enjoyed what I solved, largely due to them nicely being logically approachable. The large Kakuro loop was especially very clean.
Score: 620/1000 – 8th place
Favourite puzzle: Kakuro loop.

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