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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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!

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!