Page 1 of 1

WPC/WSC preparation

Posted: Thu 13 Oct, 2011 4:54 pm
by PuzzleScot
This is especially for the new UK WPC team members (Emma & Neil), and will hopefully be of interest to others who are anxious about attending a WPC/WSC for the first time, from any country.

Any old hands that can write a few words of advice on preparation for the event, or add a brief experience story, are more than welcome to do so here.

Re: WPC/WSC preparation

Posted: Thu 13 Oct, 2011 5:06 pm
by PuzzleScot
I'll kick off with some obvious puzzle preparation notes.

Get hold of old WPC papers. Your national rep will/should have these.
Sit at least one past WPC paper per day. Have an alarm set for when your time would be up.
Make sure you have pencils/pens/sharpener/ruler/erasers, as you would in exam conditions.

If you can score 50%, you are doing well! IIRC, with 50% would probably finish in the top 10, so don't worry if there are some novel types that you can't do. However, some type are common, and can have whole rounds devoted to them (variants), so you should at least know how to solve easy examples of these types. Most contests have a 'classics' round. These will be hard examples of the puzzle types I'm referring to.

If you can't see how to solve a puzzle-type logically, cite the puzzle reference on the forums here, and someone will offer tips, or a walk-through.

NB. WPC/WSC puzzles are NOT public domain, so please do not post images (or representations of) these puzzles on any public forum.

Re: WPC/WSC preparation

Posted: Sun 16 Oct, 2011 12:04 am
by PuzzleScot
I must say I'm disappointed that NO-ONE has added anything here...

Anyway, I see from the official site that they recommend attempting the LMI contest at http://logicmastersindia.com/lmitests/?test=M201107P2, as this was compiled by the WPC authors.

Re: WPC/WSC preparation

Posted: Sun 16 Oct, 2011 10:40 am
by detuned
I think the biggest thing I've found with the world championships is that they are all day affairs. It's not like a "quick" one off burst like doing one of the LMI tests, you do need to be on the ball for the best part of a day. Obviously finding extensive time off to prepare isn't really practical, but it's worth bringing along some energy snacks/drinks and stuff to keep your concentration up.

Another thing is that rounds aren't generally there to be finished (although it's obviously great if you do), so it's well worth going through and seeing which puzzles might be better in terms of picking up points per minute

Re: WPC/WSC preparation

Posted: Sun 16 Oct, 2011 8:28 pm
by emma
Can I ask some practical questions?
Do you just get one copy of each puzzle? Do you have to use standardised notation for a finished solution?

Re: WPC/WSC preparation

Posted: Sun 16 Oct, 2011 10:50 pm
by david mcneill
Hi Emma,

Yes just one copy. The puzzles for each round are presented in a booklet. Occasionally, especially for optimisers, you may get more than one copy to allow for experimentation.

To the best of my knowledge, some latitude is allowed with notation. For example, a snake (Schlange) could be shown by shading squares or drawing a line. In Minesweeper or Star Battle, I think you're allowed to mark circles or asterisks. etc.

Re: WPC/WSC preparation

Posted: Sun 16 Oct, 2011 11:49 pm
by PuzzleScot
My recollections is: "If it is clear the competitor solved the puzzle correctly, they will be awarded full marks, regardless of notation used".

Re: WPC/WSC preparation

Posted: Mon 17 Oct, 2011 12:34 am
by GarethMoore
Although you only get one copy you are usually allowed to use additional paper (e.g. graph paper) to work on if you prefer, although answers have to be submitted on the original. I'm not entirely sure about what you're allowed to premark on your additional paper (e.g. empty sudoku grids ready to fill in for example) - last year we wrote pre-calculated lists of vector lengths in our notebooks for the first round, which they said was allowed, but I don't know if you could e.g. bring in pre-written tables of all possible kakuro/killer sudoku sums for varying number ranges.

Re: WPC/WSC preparation

Posted: Mon 17 Oct, 2011 1:05 am
by motris
PuzzleScot wrote:My recollections is: "If it is clear the competitor solved the puzzle correctly, they will be awarded full marks, regardless of notation used".
This is generally the case provided the notation is consistent and the grader can make sense of what is what. For example, a nurikabe can have a line for the ocean and shaded cells for islands or vice versa. What is problematic are inconsistencies that are not trivially interpreted. The training case we are told on the US team was an experience from Wei-Hwa on a Half Dominoes (where you shade a 1 pip, 2 pip, ..., 9 pips). At the end of a puzzle Wei-Hwa went from shading to writing big numbers "5" and "6" to indicate the forms that would go in that 3x3. This was not given credit because it was half shaded and half numbers. I think some graders would have given credit, but the lesson is "be consistent with your own style".

Re: WPC/WSC preparation

Posted: Mon 17 Oct, 2011 10:31 am
by drsteve
In terms of preparation, I always tried to do as many timed old rounds as possible. I also had a look at any past competitions that had a common author with the WPC.

In this case, the previous Eger World Championship (2005) would be an excellent place to start.

Also, if you have any puzzling habits that wouldn't be allowed in an exam - which the championship basically is - such as listening to music or shouting obscenities when the last number doesn't fit into a grid then try and get out of them :) The first is certainly not allowed and the second is certainly frowned upon :D

Oh, and try and improve your tolerance to the noise of camera clicking as if you sit in the wrong place in the hall, you'll have to put up with a lot of it.

Re: WPC/WSC preparation

Posted: Mon 17 Oct, 2011 11:54 am
by PuzzlerNickG
To paraphrase a well known mantra: "Preparation, preparation, preparation."

There really is no substitute for practising as many puzzles as you can. This becomes doubly true once the puzzle instructions are released because you will then know what puzzles to focus on.

As others have said, be prepared for it to be mentally draining. One particular thing is to try not to let your thoughts linger on a bad performance in a round - something that I know I have done in the past. I guarantee that you will come out of at least one paper knowing that you messed up and could easily have done better. Do whatever you need to do to get that out of your system so you can move your focus to the next round.

Re: WPC/WSC preparation

Posted: Wed 19 Oct, 2011 8:08 pm
by Nilz
This thread is a good idea. A few random organisational questions:
How long is there generally between rounds? The schedule indicates 4 sessions of 3 hours each of Individual Rounds, is this typically several rounds with short breaks in between?
How long after each round do we find out our scores? Or does it vary with the type of puzzle?
Regards notation: Motris says you have to be consistent. Quite how strict are the judges? For example when I solve hard Nurikabes, I tend to put a dot in squares I know can’t be filled (ie, islands). If I started to do this, would I have to dot every blank cell, or would it be sufficient towards the end to just shade in all the non-island cells? I assume the judges can use common sense?

What would be a sensible amount of money to take? I know I have a lot of free time on Sunday before my plane, and there is also a tour on Wednesday- is there likely to anything such as entry to a museum that we need to pay for, or are the main expenses just optional things like souvenirs and local puzzle books and games? And for those who have been to Hungary before, is local currency imperative?

Re: WPC/WSC preparation

Posted: Wed 19 Oct, 2011 9:17 pm
by david mcneill
Gaps between rounds are often about 15 minutes. If a round over-runs, this will sometimes be less. Round 1 is often short (30 minutes) with a theme e.g. in 2005 the opening round had an Eger theme. Round 2 is usually long (90-120 minutes) and features standard puzzles. Later rounds usually feature novel puzzle types. Scoring is very unpredictable. The Hungarian organisers are likely to be very good, but I would be surprised if we get any scores in the first 3 hours.

You would definitely get credit for that Nurikabe solution.

Must go. My daughter needs a lift.

Re: WPC/WSC preparation

Posted: Wed 19 Oct, 2011 10:03 pm
by PuzzleScot
Nilz wrote:What would be a sensible amount of money to take? I know I have a lot of free time on Sunday before my plane, and there is also a tour on Wednesday- is there likely to anything such as entry to a museum that we need to pay for, or are the main expenses just optional things like souvenirs and local puzzle books and games? And for those who have been to Hungary before, is local currency imperative?
Money is usually only required for souvenirs and drinks. The organised trip is fully inclusive, so there will be no extra charges there. I'm going to take 100 Euros and a credit card (or 2).
Liane has been a few times to the 24hr, so I asked her pretty much the same. This was her response:
When we went to Eger in 2005 I can't remember what money I took.
When I've been to the 24hr I've just taken euros as that is what Gyorgy had put the cost out in. I've not spent much when doing the 24hr as it is arrive, evening meal and questions, bed them competition, lunch, prize giving then back to the airport. I have paid for the odd drink in the hotels with Euros.
Probably as well dropping Gyorgy a line to ask him.
Don't think they'll take sterling. Credit cards seem to be widely taken. The beers are dead cheap from what I remember. They have a piano in the lobby area - I remember David taking his music and playing it - so you should be able to jump on and have a go.
There's a swimming pool, sauna etc. in the hotel - but if you go in the pool you need to wear a hat - fellas included!
I've also had a look at the FCO website on Hungary, for what its worth (well, the EHIC and Travel Insurance advice stick out), and the wikitravel page on Hungary too, which is more interesting, but still largely irrelevant for our purposes. On finals day, there's usually a 5-a-side football game, or some other impromptu fun/games, so shorts/trainers (and of course, trunks/cap) might be handy.

Re: WPC/WSC preparation

Posted: Thu 20 Oct, 2011 10:29 am
by uvo
These three hour sessions will almost certainly consist of several rounds. In fact, I do not recall a single three hour round in any WPC since 2000; there may have been 150 minutes rounds, but very rarely. A typical WPC consists of: 2-3 long rounds (90-120 minutes), several intermediates (about 60 minutes) and some sprints. Team rounds are usually shorter than individual rounds - even with very difficult puzzles, four solvers can do them much faster than individuals.

For example, here is the schedule of Eger 2005:

Day 1:
10:10-10:40
10:50-11:20
11:40-12:10 (team)
14:30-15:00
15:20-16:50
17:00-17:30

Day 2:
09:30-10:30
10:40-11:10
11:50-12:10
14:15-14:45 (team)
15:10-16:50
17:00-17:30 (team)

Scores are usually posted as soon as they are available - depends on the puzzles of course, some types are easier to check than others.

Re: WPC/WSC preparation

Posted: Tue 25 Oct, 2011 7:46 pm
by Nilz
Thanks for the answers. I didn't expect anyone to accept sterling, I was more interested in whether they accepted Euros or if we'd need Hungarian currency (Forints?). It seems like the conclusion is that probably only Euros are needed.

Re: WPC/WSC preparation

Posted: Fri 28 Oct, 2011 7:41 am
by sf2l
I will go with some Euro and I will get some Forint out of a local cash dispenser. There is always a cash dispenser at the airport which accepts foreign cards. This was also the case in Turkey and Poland. Much better than to change currency in the Hotel, they will do (even with Sterling) but the rate will probably be horrible.