The Times National Su Doku Championship

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mikecolloby
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The Times National Su Doku Championship

Post by mikecolloby » Mon 13 Jun, 2011 9:34 am

Qualification started in the paper today. 5 qualification puzzles, one per day, 13-17 June, as per normal.

detuned
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Re: The Times National Su Doku Championship

Post by detuned » Mon 13 Jun, 2011 9:53 am

Thanks for the heads up Mike, after my little accident last year I think I'll need to do this...

Magoo
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Re: The Times National Su Doku Championship

Post by Magoo » Tue 14 Jun, 2011 2:36 pm

Is it better to have a little accident in qualifying or in the final? DIscuss...

detuned
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Re: The Times National Su Doku Championship

Post by detuned » Tue 14 Jun, 2011 6:55 pm

Yes :shock:

Actually I messed up today's too, which would have been been a pity if I hadn't solved yesterday's in a time that I'm unsure will not be considered as cheating!

PuzzleScot
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Re: The Times National Su Doku Championship

Post by PuzzleScot » Tue 14 Jun, 2011 7:09 pm

detuned wrote:Actually I messed up today's too, which would have been been a pity if I hadn't solved yesterday's in a time that I'm unsure will not be considered as cheating!
I'd like to think that a respectable contest organiser knows who to expect to be up there, and act accordingly. The Times people have always appeared professional to me! Do they still do the regional live qualifiers? FYI, I have a 100% record of making the finals in that tournament - 1 from 1 - yeah!

detuned
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Re: The Times National Su Doku Championship

Post by detuned » Mon 19 Sep, 2011 2:17 pm

So this happened on Saturday, great to see everyone there. The eventual winner, George Danker is going to be having a wild party - or says the Times today haha.

If anyone is interested in what was going to be some short reflections but then turned into 2,000 words, I did a write-up of the event on my blog:

http://blogs.warwick.ac.uk/tcollyer/ent ... es_sudoku/

Magoo
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Re: The Times National Su Doku Championship

Post by Magoo » Tue 20 Sep, 2011 4:50 pm

I'll post on Tom's blog tonight hopefully, but for now I'll say that it was good to see so many regular faces in the final - I know Matt was in last year's, and thought maybe Kit was too? I was obviously sad to make an error (very small this time) and miss the prize again, but there we go. HOWEVER, I do have one interesting observation - I sit at the back and note down finishing order and times in the heats for those I can see (to get some idea of whether I will qualify mainly). I am very confident that Stephen Gerrard finished ahead of Matt in both heats (and me in the first). We were all seated in a row, and I reckoned he was 6th in the first heat and 9th in the second; instead the Times awarded him 15th and 11th place, I now see, meaning he missed the final by one spot. I'm absolutely sure this is a miscarriage based on their bizarre 'placings system' and the difficulties they have executing it.

detuned
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Re: The Times National Su Doku Championship

Post by detuned » Tue 20 Sep, 2011 5:14 pm

That does sound very bizarre! Now that you come to mention it, they don't have a big timer visible which would surely be to the benefit of at least the judges if not the participants. Surely anything like this could easily be bypassed by noting down finishing times - although in theory compiling a list ordered simply by placings shouldn't be so hard to achieve?

I noticed at the start there were several lists being passed round for people to fill in table numbers next to their names. I definitely filled in two of those. Perhaps there is potential for a miscarriage whereby there was a confusion between the relative placings of two of these sublists? Although I had presumed they were there simply to match names to numbers, rather than helping the organisers work out who placed where.

PuzzleScot
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Re: The Times National Su Doku Championship

Post by PuzzleScot » Tue 20 Sep, 2011 6:48 pm

On an interesting side-note. In google, if you search for << "the times" sudoku championship 2011 >>, this forum takes the top 2 results 8-)

<< sudoku uk >> has us 4th, and << uk sudoku >> places us 2nd! (and we don't even have any vanilla sudoku for anyone to play on this site!)

George
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Re: The Times National Su Doku Championship

Post by George » Wed 28 Sep, 2011 3:58 pm

Mark,
I was seated directly behind Stephen Gerrard and I noted that he was quite slow on the first set of puzzles. He definitely finished a long time after you! The organisation of the competition wasn't perfect but I don't think there were any important errors.

To all (although perhaps particularly to Mike):

I am actually not a big fan of online competitions. Sudoku is nice as a minor hobby for me but I wouldn't normally want to take 2 or 3 hours out of a weekend to sit in my room doing it - especially when I'd have very little chance of getting anywhere near people like David or Tom on anything other than a full set of vanilla. On the other hand, The Times national championships seem to me more like a fun day out than an exercise in puzzle solving, and I'd be saying the same even if I had a poorer track record.

It was a pleasure to see all of you again!
George

PuzzleScot
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Re: The Times National Su Doku Championship

Post by PuzzleScot » Wed 28 Sep, 2011 5:03 pm

Welcome at last George!
George wrote:I am actually not a big fan of online competitions.
That probably explains your absence from the online contests then...
I'll circulate an email nearer the time of the 2nd UK puzzlers conference - we expect to have puzzle and sudoku contests in some guise, so I hope to see you then. In the meantime, as you are aware, the WSC is far more than vanilla, so if you want to compete there again with any success, you'll need to expand your taste-buds 8-). LMI's tests are a good starting point, whether timed or at leisure.

Steve
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Re: The Times National Su Doku Championship

Post by Steve » Thu 29 Sep, 2011 2:21 pm

George - Well done for winning again - a great performance. I wonder if you get to keep the trophy if you win it for a third time!

I think you're right in that I wasn't a hard luck story. Unlike previous years when I qualified quickly, this year I felt I was very slow, especially in Round 1. Ironically I did the final puzzles from Monday's paper and flew them, unlike the last 2 years when I ran into brick walls! I think that my technique can be great in certain circumstances but when the puzzles are structured differently I can come unstuck. I need a plan B as my current method is way too slow when I run into trouble.

Tom - I've just read your blog and its a good read. I really thought you were nailed on for the trophy after qualifying so fast - it seemed like you were on fire, but as we all know, just one small error or not spotting something can make all the difference.

A few observations from the competition although it does seem a bit churlish given that David and his team do such a good job organising it.
- Return to a bigger sized puzzles from 2 years ago. There's no need for them to be so small.
- Don't have such a long gap between round 2 and the final. As the finalists are announced straight after, I can't see the reason for such a delay
- I'd echo the point about the list of names being passed up the desks. It seems a bit haphazard. I don't see why we aren't allocated the desk number on registration.

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