World Puzzle Championships 2010 :D (Team Diary)

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ronaldx
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World Puzzle Championships 2010 :D (Team Diary)

Post by ronaldx » Sun 24 Oct, 2010 3:52 am

Good luck to everyone who is competing and see you there!!

Ronald

PuzzleScot
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Re: World Puzzle Championships 2010 :D

Post by PuzzleScot » Sun 24 Oct, 2010 10:49 am

Yes indeed! Very best of luck to all of you.
Is it possible anyone there will be providing any updates at any time to us jealously sitting at home this week?

GarethMoore
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Re: World Puzzle Championships 2010 :D

Post by GarethMoore » Sun 24 Oct, 2010 11:15 am

Ronald and I have arrived and checked in just this second. :)

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Re: World Puzzle Championships 2010 :D

Post by PuzzleScot » Sun 24 Oct, 2010 11:42 am

I've put a link on the UKPA home page (http://www.ukpuzzles.org/) to this thread. We look forward to any updates you can provide :)

detuned
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Re: World Puzzle Championships 2010 :D

Post by detuned » Sun 24 Oct, 2010 1:08 pm

Good luck guys, do us proud! I look forward to hearing all about it!

GarethMoore
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Re: World Puzzle Championships 2010 :D

Post by GarethMoore » Sun 24 Oct, 2010 2:04 pm

Well in breaking news the instructions now have an example of the Slitherlink Weakest Link jigsaw (looks hard) and the final version of the Sprint round has an extra maths/fitting puzzle in.

ronaldx
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Re: World Puzzle Championships 2010 :D

Post by ronaldx » Sun 24 Oct, 2010 2:16 pm

Hello,
Gareth and I have checked into the hotel!

So far we have spoken a lot to Vasso, who is on the Greek team. We have been working on some of the harder puzzles and it has been really productive to work together!
We have something of a breakthrough on "Numbers in Arrows" for Round 1, which is relief. Although we're [really she is] still working on the harder 2008 puzzle. I still have no idea how members of the forum found the Hula-Loop puzzle trivial - none of us have successfully finished it yet.

The neighbouring restaurant has a range of Polish specialties - I had kielbasa with a bowl of mustard and Gareth ate pancakes containing "wholemeal groats". I commend his bravery.

We also spoke to some other friendly competitors - George, who is the captain/translator for the China team - he works for a company supporting Chinese Students in the UK so was sat next to Gareth on the flight (they apparently didn't comment on each other doing puzzles)
And the Russian contingent are friendly, and Ulla (and the rest of the Finnish team) helped us pronounce the Polish for 'thank you'.

So dziekuje Ulla! You can hear it for yourself:
http://www.forvo.com/word/dziękuję

Not sure how much time I will have for updates, but will try to keep you informed!
Ronald

detuned
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Re: World Puzzle Championships 2010 :D

Post by detuned » Sun 24 Oct, 2010 2:47 pm

George is a bit of a hero - we frequently ended up sharing a dinner table with him and the Chinese competitors in Philadelphia.

I shall try and pump my contacts for regular updates - probably best to keep focussed on the competition for now!

nickdeller
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Re: World Puzzle Championships 2010 :D

Post by nickdeller » Sun 24 Oct, 2010 2:56 pm

ronaldx wrote: I still have no idea how members of the forum found the Hula-Loop puzzle trivial - none of us have successfully finished it yet.
I'll see what I can do, possibly in another place. :)

Good luck to all, and "Hello" to all!

detuned
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Re: World Puzzle Championships 2010 :D

Post by detuned » Sun 24 Oct, 2010 5:25 pm

nickdeller wrote: Good luck to all, and "Hello" to all!
Ditto, especially Nick Baxter and the rest of the Americans! With Thomas and Palmer (not to mention Hideaki) all competing, the rest of us might have a chance on nikoli.com :)

danmoore
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Re: World Puzzle Championships 2010 :D

Post by danmoore » Sun 24 Oct, 2010 6:02 pm

Best of luck to everyone on the UK team in the championship!

Chris
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Re: World Puzzle Championships 2010 :D

Post by Chris » Sun 24 Oct, 2010 8:20 pm

And best of luck from me too - great to have news of the competition as it progresses!

ronaldx
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Re: World Puzzle Championships 2010 :D

Post by ronaldx » Mon 25 Oct, 2010 6:48 am

Hey! Thanks everyone for the luck. Sunday night's game for me was Ubongo, provided by Croatian Zrinka and played with Bulgarians Georgi, Georgi, and Martin.. (George is surely the most common name this year)

Fun game - 4 players competing, each with a (different) set of polyominoes and a (different) small deck of cards - each card has a silhouette to fill with particular of the polyominoes. The game is a race - with the first player scoring 3, the next 2, then 1 and 0.

Ubongo regular game was rather quick paced with matchups lasting a few seconds - no more than a minute (of course we played the "hard" difficulty level). Then we broke out "Ubongo Extreme" - an upgrade featuring more polyominoes and on a hex grid. The first matchup took around 5 minutes - during the second card most players drifted away through boredom or went back to the instruction booklet. A rare case of a game being too hard for WPC players!

One Polish breakfast, please!

dickoon
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Re: World Puzzle Championships 2010 :D (Team Diary)

Post by dickoon » Mon 25 Oct, 2010 10:40 am

Further good luck, team! Solve 'em dead!

PuzzleScot
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Re: World Puzzle Championships 2010 :D (Team Diary)

Post by PuzzleScot » Mon 25 Oct, 2010 6:39 pm

How was the day trip? Anything interesting? I imagine you guys are poring over tomorrow's puzzles and socialising just a little right now. Simon arrived safely I assume?

ronaldx
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Re: World Puzzle Championships 2010 :D (Team Diary)

Post by ronaldx » Mon 25 Oct, 2010 6:59 pm

The day trip was excellent, we were in the centre of Warsaw with a local guide (not sure if she was a competition helper or a guide employee)

which started with:
"These are the escalators of Warsaw, most famous from before time of computers and World War II. I'm sure you have heard of them from around the world"...

(I'm not sure if this is a local joke but it seemed sincere that we should have heard of the escalators of Warsaw)

We took a walk around Warsaw Old Town - Warsaw was completely decimated by the Germans towards the end of WWII - prior to the war there was a large community with perhaps one third of the population Jewish... those that survived have mostly moved away. The guide was able to give us an interesting and impassioned local interpretation of this - that Warsaw was always a multicultural and welcoming city, and it was a shame that the city and country was still associated with such destruction. She mentioned, for example, that Israelis were required to visit the death camps in Poland as part of their army camp training, but it was a shame that they rarely visited their former cultural home.

Anyway, the Old Town was completely destroyed - but they've rebuilt the whole area using original blueprints and the guide expressed extreme pride for her city about this which I found remarkable - I would compare the situation to Coventry which was similarly bombed, rebuilt, and is now treated in Britain with some disgust.

We saw the narrowest building in Warsaw, whereby the front was a width of a doorway squeezed between two other buildings, but at the back was actually quite large for some kind of tax purposes that I wasn't following. Narrowst Building in Warsaw!

Q&A is about to start (9pm local time). Sweepstake on finish time?

detuned
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Re: World Puzzle Championships 2010 :D (Team Diary)

Post by detuned » Mon 25 Oct, 2010 7:10 pm

ronaldx wrote:
Anyway, the Old Town was completely destroyed - but they've rebuilt the whole area using original blueprints and the guide expressed extreme pride for her city about this which I found remarkable - I would compare the situation to Coventry which was similarly bombed, rebuilt, and is now treated in Britain with some disgust.
Coventry is reviled because it's fugly. And has an insane ringroad. And is full of people from Coventry. Also the phrase "sent to Coventry", meaning to never see someone again dates back to the English civil war.

nickdeller
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Re: World Puzzle Championships 2010 :D (Team Diary)

Post by nickdeller » Mon 25 Oct, 2010 7:13 pm

ronaldx wrote:Q&A is about to start (9pm local time). Sweepstake on finish time?
Gareth's not done one of these before. Has anyone warned him, I wonder? :-D

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Re: World Puzzle Championships 2010 :D (Team Diary)

Post by PuzzleScot » Mon 25 Oct, 2010 8:53 pm

Sweepstake on finish time?
Now? Aaaalways longer than you'd expect. Nearly fell asleep last year, which caused us to miss an importantly allowed (illegal) construct on the team 3D snake puzzle. But hey, we were ahead of the Americans after that round, so didn't do too badly ;)

ronaldx
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Re: World Puzzle Championships 2010 :D (Team Diary)

Post by ronaldx » Mon 25 Oct, 2010 9:16 pm

I thought we were done but several people are bothering to ask questions about the screen test at the end... and questions that they forgot to ask before

ronaldx
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Re: World Puzzle Championships 2010 :D (Team Diary)

Post by ronaldx » Mon 25 Oct, 2010 9:32 pm

Now we're done!! Wei-Hua asked the question with the most applause, about the Graliter, which I offer below:

It was stated that 2+1=3 is the same equation as 3=1+2 (as it's reversed but the same path), but 1+2=3 is a different equation on a different path.
Of course he asked what we were thinking - is 55=31+24 then the same as 42+13=55? (you can correct this if it's wrong, I am tired.

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Re: World Puzzle Championships 2010 :D (Team Diary)

Post by PuzzleScot » Mon 25 Oct, 2010 10:38 pm

Well, a couple of pints to clear the mind for a good night's sleep won't do any harm! Best of luck for tomorrow guys. Let us know what you can when you can 8-)

ronaldx
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Re: World Puzzle Championships 2010 :D (Team Diary)

Post by ronaldx » Tue 26 Oct, 2010 7:03 am

Hello

As I update over breakfast (eggs today are boiled not scrambled), I have just found out that Ulla (Finland) has left her 11 month old daughter at home without her for the first time! How cool! I hope the girl's father is ok ;)

Today's schedule is to complete Rounds 1-8

Round 1: Welcome
This round looks like it could be nasty for several reasons.

Each of 113 cells (forming 6 puzzles)1 have to be filled with a digit, with correct digits worth 1 and incorrect digits worth -1. It has been made clear that we can finish the round with negative points.
Puzzles only have unique solutions in the context of the whole round - some puzzles have an overlap of particular cells and cannot (necessarily) be solved independently. The only minor good thing about this is the overlap in the puzzles - meaning particular cells are in fact worth 2 points. Gosh, I just thought of that.
Of the 114 cells in the puzzles, only 1 will be given - meaning there could be no obvious or effective start points.
More pressingly, there is an ungenerous time limit of 19 minutes. 6 cells per minute are required

Elastic Bands is fine for me - I effectively started a PhD on this puzzle (though I didn't finish... hmm) which, in academic terminology, is to label a rearranged network of nodes.
Numbers on Arrows - we struggled with this and only thanks to Vasso (Greece)'s help do we have any break-in.
Our observation is that you can split the grid in two pieces and the net flow in either direction must be 0. However... we have only tried examples of maybe 10 in size - this puzzle is of size 19
Sums or Differences - it's hard to see how this could be made extremely challenging, although I would expect it to rely some on the neighbouring puzzles
Sums - Steve pointed out a nice rule which I am calling "nuke". If you count the totals in a "nuke" pattern, you quickly can obtain the total of the whole grid (190) with one cell being counted zero or several times. Use this pattern to complete that cell and the puzzle should be easy... note: should be. I haven't fully tested this theory.
Increasing Differences - I am assuming this will appear on a 6x6 grid, which would be nice for the reason that 18 out of 19 possible vector lengths MUST be used. Having drawn a few of these, in the 6x6 grid these vectors follow a somewhat-memorable pattern. I plan to draw a few more of these now to get in the habit.
Arithmetic Transformations - There may be a bit of trial and error here but I'd be surprised if this takes too much work.

We are expecting 5 minutes break between rounds. I realise that if I go into the other rounds in such detail then I will have no time left, so what follows should be a shorter summary:

Round 2 - "Classic of WPC" - Standards
What is immediately interesting about this round is that the first battleships puzzle is worth just 2 points (24 seconds), whereas the big Hashi is worth 41 (8 mins 12 secs). I'm broadly familiar with all the standards, and so my plan is to start with the larger puzzles and see what comes out of that. There seems no way it could be worth it for me to complete a sudoku for just 4 points - it takes me a bit of time to fill in each cell even on an easy puzzle. But... will have to see how the difficulty is rated - so far we obviously have no concept of how hard 2 points is vs 41 points.
As a team there seems to be a fear of Hitori - I started using a nice method (did Alan mention this here?) of uniqueness to solve which seems to work extremely quickly.

Round 3 - Married Puzzles
I find these extremely confusing.
ABC Battleships - from the example looks quite simple - it's clear that the position of the ships could be more obfuscated than this (a ship could be entirely hidden from the edge, though there would be a uniqueness constraint on this)
Fenced Estate - I realise a personal weakness in Skyscrapers, which I can generally solve but not consistently or confidently (nor quickly). Zrinka can complete a 6x6 Skyscrapers apparently in a matter of seconds. I literally turned my head and she had completed the example. I find this absolutely fascinating - I had no clue how to do this. She merely says "I set them for a magazine so I know the patterns". This corresponds to something that Simon said about there being a limited number of Skyscrapers patterns (I believe he said that 8x8 Skyscrapers is impossible to grid?). I plan to investigate further outside of competition.
Masyu Loop - again my Masyu is logically poor, but I think Masyu puzzle is quickest solved by judicious guessing. Will have to see!
Paint the Snake - seems like a nice puzzle
Skykuro - this is a weird puzzle! If Skyscrapers are hard to set, this must be almost impossible! I am looking forward to this.
Sudokuro - each square-with-arrow is constrained by the total of the cells before it (for example - a sum of 7 in the first two cells of a row, followed by a square, must mean there is 28 in the square). This knowledge can make the logical solve very sudoku-like. I think this will be a good puzzle for me. Not sure about it, but it's worth the highest number of points and so is tempting.
Tapa Connection/Tapa Island - The Tapas themselves have a lot of rules and these puzzles add more rules on top of those. I don't really like these as I am not familiar enough with Tapa and kept forgetting one of the key rules.
For me in this round, the puzzles that I am most interested in contain the most points. However, my problem is that I prefer to do puzzles that I enjoy - not puzzles that might be better value for points. Luckily in this round, my preference appears to match up with the points... but then it could be that I find them intractably hard and waste a lot of time. I have to work on this more in future with more timed practice - neither Gareth nor myself have brought any time-keeping device that isn't on our phones (banned). Oops. We're all assuming a countdown timer will be visible

Round 4 - Anaconda (Team Round!)
Each of us has been through the puzzle... and we observed that any single mistake is critical and can be entirely fatal to the puzzle, with a mistake in one grid easily carrying across to more and more grids before being spotted. Despite Steve's objection (that we will waste a lot of time) we have agreed to work in pairs (Gareth+Steve/Simon+Ronald) checking each other's work, at least until we identify some decent break-ins to the puzzle.

Steve has agreed to be nominally responsible for tracking an outline layout of the complete map (though we all need to be aware of this), and we agreed to shout any interesting observations out so that everyone is aware of what's going on generally across the grid. I have a good feeling about our ability to communicate and work well as a team, despite some friction over our best strategy! Hopefully this should be a good round for us.

Other
The layout of the room is interesting - despite an attempt to block copying by installing the regular paper dividers - there are huge mirrors in the room which allow you to (I think quite easily) see right across the shoulders of about 5 other competitors. I am hoping these will be covered over as I'm easily distracted!
I totally failed to be brief, oops. I hope you enjoy anyway! Let us know if you have any questions about how it's going.

dickoon
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Re: World Puzzle Championships 2010 :D (Team Diary)

Post by dickoon » Tue 26 Oct, 2010 10:01 am

Certainly did enjoy it; thanks for sharing!

drsteve
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Re: World Puzzle Championships 2010 :D (Team Diary)

Post by drsteve » Tue 26 Oct, 2010 11:51 am

Well, the first morning is done. Forgive any brevity, but I'm typing on my Blackberry and its fiddly!

Round One was as mental as usual. Russian style puzzles meant that Russia and Poland di well. We did not exactly shine in this round. Say no more. The threat of losing points for wrong answers resulted in lots of rubbing out to ensure a positive score.

Results aren't out for the other rounds. Classic was exactly that, with the small puzzles being there for some reason - for the most part, they were very small. Married was interestin - I steered clear of the sudoku/kakuro types but got horribly bogged down with Tapa islands.

The Anaconda was impractical really - four people working on a single sheet of A1 was very difficult to coordinate, especially when two had to work upside down! We may have got sevenish snakes out, but you need to have the big snake to be sure.

Anyway - more after this afternoon's trials - it will be interesting to see how we coordinate four people working on a 30 by 30 sym-a-pix together.

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