2011 UK Puzzle Championship (25-26 June 2011)

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sknight
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Re: 2011 UK Puzzle Championship (25-26 June 2011)

Post by sknight » Sat 25 Jun, 2011 5:18 pm

I think if you read the IB carefully and checked how the example answers were generated, it wasn't too bad to figure out the entry system.
If you didn't carefully study the IB, some of them might be a bit ambiguous.

I tend to think that if somebody entered using a perfectly plausible method and clearly got the puzzle right (for example, entering the positions in the Spanish Armada column by column instead of row by row, which seems like a valid interpretation of "left to right, top to bottom" to me), they should get full marks. Something downright careless (leaving off one or two positions in the Spanish Armada, when you know that each ship contains one segment for the answer and you know how many ships there are, so it's easy to count and make sure you got them all...) I'd be much less forgiving of.

No red answers for me, though (just not enough green ones), so I don't have any particular complaints.

Enjoyable puzzles, and I look forward to working through the puzzles I didn't get to.

atremba
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Re: 2011 UK Puzzle Championship (25-26 June 2011)

Post by atremba » Sat 25 Jun, 2011 9:00 pm

Dear Alan,
thank you (and other puzzlemakers) for the thrilling challenge.

If you don't mind, please revise my answer for #11 ABC, I have a stupid misprint in writing answer.

PuzzleScot
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Re: 2011 UK Puzzle Championship (25-26 June 2011)

Post by PuzzleScot » Sat 25 Jun, 2011 10:15 pm

There is now a comments form on each person's results page. Please use that from now on for comments regarding scoring. My replies will go in there too.

andaman
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Re: 2011 UK Puzzle Championship (25-26 June 2011)

Post by andaman » Sun 26 Jun, 2011 3:27 pm

I just get message from adobe 6 after entering password to open encrypted file "there was an error opening this document. bad encrypt dictionary". Any clues?

Semax
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Re: 2011 UK Puzzle Championship (25-26 June 2011)

Post by Semax » Sun 26 Jun, 2011 5:37 pm

#18 (Good neighbors):
8 shapes and one used twice. Does this mean 7+1 shapes or 8+1 shapes?

euklid
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Re: 2011 UK Puzzle Championship (25-26 June 2011)

Post by euklid » Sun 26 Jun, 2011 6:33 pm

@Semax: Alan will surely officially confirm it: At #18 you have to place 8 polyominos. Two of them have the same shape (except rotation/reflection), the remaining six polyominos are unique in their shape. [edit: correct. (Alan)]

So the answer to your question is 7+1. I didn't realize that the rules could be interpreted in two ways but when I read the rules again I see your point. The word "shape" is used both for "polyomino" and for "shape of a polyomino".

Have fun,
Stefan

petpar55
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Re: 2011 UK Puzzle Championship (25-26 June 2011)

Post by petpar55 » Sun 26 Jun, 2011 7:19 pm

I can not find password?

PuzzleScot
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Re: 2011 UK Puzzle Championship (25-26 June 2011)

Post by PuzzleScot » Sun 26 Jun, 2011 7:55 pm

petpar55 wrote:I can not find password?
http://www.ukpuzzles.org/answers.php?contestid=7

When you click START on the above page, it will appear in bold, next to the text "Puzzle File Password" in the same area of that page.
(You should see that text without a password before you click start!)

PuzzleScot
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Re: 2011 UK Puzzle Championship (25-26 June 2011)

Post by PuzzleScot » Mon 27 Jun, 2011 2:44 am

Time's up!

The new 2011 UK Puzzle Champion, earning a well-deserved place on the UK WPC team is... James McGowan! Congratulations James :D

The highest placed international guest participant was Ulrich Voigt of Germany. Well done Ulrich!

The full final results table will be available 24 hours after the contest has ended. Once I am sure that all points have been allocated fairly, I will contact all participants, asking everyone to check they are satisfied with their points. (Reallocation of points would not affect the declared winners)

A booklet containing the solution diagrams to all the puzzles will be available shortly via the main contest page.

Thank-you to everyone who participated! We broke lots of records this weekend. We had 152 competitors from 37 countries taking part, including 28 British competitors! I think the UKPA can happily celebrate its 1st birthday now. 8-)


Thank-you again. Hope you enjoyed it.
You may discuss any of the contest puzzles now.

PuzzleScot
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Re: 2011 UK Puzzle Championship (25-26 June 2011)

Post by PuzzleScot » Mon 27 Jun, 2011 10:09 am

I've had more than a couple of criticisms of 'Good Neighbours', so I need to say something about that.

I appreciate now that there was an ambiguity as to whether there were 8 total pieces to place, or 9. However, there was plenty time to clarify this before the event started. I confess to compounding the (silent) issue by changing the first sentence's wording in the PB. I only did this to reflect that the pieces were actually shown, and not hidden, and didn't think it would make any difference. Lesson learned.

Also, since there are very few tile arrangements that can satisfy the neighbour count constraint of every piece, too much information in the IB could have allowed contestants to pre-solve a set of valid arrangements, likely having the solution amongst those in advance! That is my reason for not showing a candidate piece list in the IB, though in retrospect, perhaps I should have anyway. Like I've said, there was plenty opportunity to discuss before the event.

Did the puzzle need trial end error to solve? Not at all ;) See walkthrough below.
(You'll need to scroll, and I've used letters to replace piece sizes once they are placed)

Code: Select all

We have our piece options:
5 x 4s
2 x 3s
1 x 2
1 x 1
Total 9 pieces, size 29. 
We need to lose net size 5 by throwing away 2 pieces, and adding 1.

We can go -4 -4 +3; -4 -3 +2; -4 -2 +1; or -3 -3 +1; 
Not trivially obvious, so we'll revisit later.

With given clues, we must have:

444433 (In this row, 4s are 1 piece (I); 3s are part of 1 piece.)
....3.
....3.
....3.

At least 2 x 3s are in the solution, so we can eliminate
the replacement options -4 -3 +2 and -3 -3 +1.

The 3 at R2C5 can't form a V with the top 2, otherwise it will be neighbours with at least 4 pieces, so we now have:

IIIIVV
....3V
....3.
....3.

Since the Col 5 clue is 6, those 3s are one piece.

IIIIVV
....iV
....i.
....i.

The only way to tile the rest of Col 6 is with a size 2.

IIIIVV
....iV
....i2
....i2

The replacement option now can't be -4 -2 +1 (we need the 2)
so NOW the final tile sizes (using -4 -4 +3) are known to be:
1,2,3,3,3,4,4,4

So we need to fit 1,3,4,4 into the remaining space.
The '1' must be surrounded by a single piece so must go in the corner.

IIIIVV
....iV
....i2
1...i2

All 3 remaining pieces must reach R2, so immediately we get

IIIIVV
S...iV
SS..i2
1S..i2

The 'S' piece must touch both remaining pieces.
All remaining unknowns in C4 must be from same piece. 

Therefore, the puzzle now trivially solves to:

IIIIVV
SVVLiV
SSVLi2
1SLLi2

Done.
Alan

drsteve
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Re: 2011 UK Puzzle Championship (25-26 June 2011)

Post by drsteve » Mon 27 Jun, 2011 10:16 am

Good Neighbours - the only criticism I had was that I wated five minutes failing to be able to count. Once I realised this was a 6 by 4 rectangle, if anything, I found it a bit easy for the points available. Maybe I made a lucky guess, but I don't think so.

While I'm here, a lovely set of puzzles and, unlike the USPC, all WPC standard - no spot the difference, for example. Oh, and ABC Minesweeper was an
outstanding piece of work from the setter.

Congrats all round.

ronald
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Re: 2011 UK Puzzle Championship (25-26 June 2011)

Post by ronald » Mon 27 Jun, 2011 11:02 am

However, there was plenty time to clarify this before the event started.
There was a lot of discussion on Good Neighbours, and a request for a better example was clearly made - and declined - on this forum.
It's always going to be hard to understand instructions fully without a proper example.
Besides, I thought I had understood the rules as being 7+1 so it was not clear there was any problem. The unannounced change to the instructions in the puzzle book made the rules apparently 8+1. Which is correct? I still haven't understood this.

uvo
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Re: 2011 UK Puzzle Championship (25-26 June 2011)

Post by uvo » Mon 27 Jun, 2011 11:35 am

Has anyone tried solving it with 8+1? Whatever shapes you choose, you have more than 24 cells in total.

drsteve
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Re: 2011 UK Puzzle Championship (25-26 June 2011)

Post by drsteve » Mon 27 Jun, 2011 11:41 am

I missed any discussion but it never occurred to me that the rules could be read to mean 8+1. Seemed pretty clear to me.

ronald
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Re: 2011 UK Puzzle Championship (25-26 June 2011)

Post by ronald » Mon 27 Jun, 2011 12:05 pm

uvo: It's true that I didn't try, but only because I didn't understand the rules clearly enough to find it a valuable use of time during competition.


drsteve: Perhaps you missed that the rules were different in the competition.
Since they now say "eight of the shapes given below" it suggests to me that eight shapes must be chosen from the list, making 8+1.

Until that point, it hadn't occurred to me either - but the rules read differently in the competition compared to the instructions.
I don't think that means it's clear - quite the opposite.
Last edited by ronald on Mon 27 Jun, 2011 12:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

kiwijam
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Re: 2011 UK Puzzle Championship (25-26 June 2011)

Post by kiwijam » Mon 27 Jun, 2011 12:10 pm

I also read the rules as 8+1 at first (8 shapes, 9 pieces), but as Ulrich pointed out it is quick to prove that 9 pieces must use at least 26 squares.

rob
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Re: 2011 UK Puzzle Championship (25-26 June 2011)

Post by rob » Mon 27 Jun, 2011 12:17 pm

PuzzleScot wrote:Did the puzzle need trial end error to solve? Not at all ;) See walkthrough below.
(You'll need to scroll, and I've used letters to replace piece sizes once they are placed)

Code: Select all

With given clues, we must have:

444433 (In this row, 4s are 1 piece (I); 3s are part of 1 piece.)
....3.
....3.
....3.
Alan
How do you deduce this? Why would

Code: Select all

333444
....4.
....2.
....2.
not work?

Edit:
This looks like a valid alternate solution to me. I guess I don't understand the rules?

Code: Select all

AAABBB
CCDDBA
CEDDGA
CEEFGA
Edit #2:
Ah, the mysterious neighbours rule that I didn't understand and chose to ignore...

PuzzleScot
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Re: 2011 UK Puzzle Championship (25-26 June 2011)

Post by PuzzleScot » Mon 27 Jun, 2011 1:16 pm

rob wrote:How do you deduce this? Why would

Code: Select all

333444
....4.
....2.
....2.
not work?
OK, I skipped a mental step. How could the 2 only achieve 2 neighbours now? (But I think you saw that eventually)

motris
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Re: 2011 UK Puzzle Championship (25-26 June 2011)

Post by motris » Mon 27 Jun, 2011 3:12 pm

drsteve wrote:While I'm here, a lovely set of puzzles and, unlike the USPC, all WPC standard - no spot the difference, for example.
To defend my country's championship, I'll point out that the World Puzzle Federation standard is actually to include a set percentage of various types of puzzles and observational puzzles is a small fraction (I can't find the exact proportion but it is non-zero); the main selection requirement is the culture/language neutrality of what appears. The USPC is Nick Baxter's best attempt to meet this WPF standard, so you see some fraction of observational puzzles (about 10%), some fraction of "word" puzzles that use logic (about 10%), as well as fill-in, loop, maze, and so on. The only type that cannot appear on a USPC that does appear at the WPC are manipulative puzzles (jigsaws, 3D assembly, etc.). When the US last hosted a WPC, we similarly had a mix of all the types and it was a Counting puzzle that cost Wei-Hwa Huang his fifth world title despite having a massive lead on the field before the first playoffs. Ulrich pulled off the comeback to start his career.

While individual solvers may prefer one type to another, the point of a world puzzle championship is to challenge solvers in all the puzzle disciplines out there, and while you might not be thinking as much when doing a Spot the Differences or some Counting puzzles, these do exist as puzzles, they are culture-neutral, and they can appear at a reasonable percentage. In fact, as I understand the WPF rules, they are supposed to appear. So do not try to call the USPC something less than "all WPC standard". We've had WSCs without sudoku, so just looking at what hosts choose to write doesn't mean that is the standard they are expected to meet.

motris
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Re: 2011 UK Puzzle Championship (25-26 June 2011)

Post by motris » Mon 27 Jun, 2011 3:24 pm

uvo wrote:Has anyone tried solving it with 8+1? Whatever shapes you choose, you have more than 24 cells in total.
This was my experience as well which came up as I checked the puzzle. In fact, re-reading the rules I think they point more to 8+1 than anything else as you are putting in 8 shapes from those below (there are 9) and 1 will be used twice. While I had trouble accepting this when I was working off 28 squares (somehow 6x4 = 28 to me), once I got to 24 squares it was clear you meant 7+1. Still, a clearer example would have helped, or using language in the IB to clarify what was being shown in the example. "Place exactly 8 shapes in the grid (5 in the example)" would have been a huge improvement.

My other stupid moment (besides seeing 28 squares in that puzzle) was checking my snake and mistaking the bottom-rightmost column clue as even versus odd and seeing 5, not 4. I had the right snake for 5 minutes before I finally submitted it as my solution, by basically proving a different puzzle had no solution.

There were a few very difficult answer entry mechanisms, the worst by far being the first Fences puzzle. The time to count and check was about the same as to solve the loop, and the extra graphic detail to show the UK made it difficult to consider shading some cells and not others for the counting, unless you used a colored pencil which I'd forgotten to set out. (I'm also not convinced those are square cells on that page, or several other places, and that always puts me off.)

Still, just as with your recent sudoku championship, I'd say I'm greatly encouraged by how the UKPA is putting forward good championships and I enjoyed my time here. Thanks for putting this test together and to all the authors for their puzzles. Congrats to Ulrich on the fastest perfect finish.

drsteve
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Re: 2011 UK Puzzle Championship (25-26 June 2011)

Post by drsteve » Mon 27 Jun, 2011 3:44 pm

motris wrote:
drsteve wrote:While I'm here, a lovely set of puzzles and, unlike the USPC, all WPC standard - no spot the difference, for example.
To defend my country's championship, I'll point out that the World Puzzle Federation standard is actually to include a set percentage of various types of puzzles and observational puzzles is a small fraction (I can't find the exact proportion but it is non-zero); the main selection requirement is the culture/language neutrality of what appears. The USPC is Nick Baxter's best attempt to meet this WPF standard, so you see some fraction of observational puzzles (about 10%), some fraction of "word" puzzles that use logic (about 10%), as well as fill-in, loop, maze, and so on. The only type that cannot appear on a USPC that does appear at the WPC are manipulative puzzles (jigsaws, 3D assembly, etc.). When the US last hosted a WPC, we similarly had a mix of all the types and it was a Counting puzzle that cost Wei-Hwa Huang his fifth world title despite having a massive lead on the field before the first playoffs. Ulrich pulled off the comeback to start his career.

While individual solvers may prefer one type to another, the point of a world puzzle championship is to challenge solvers in all the puzzle disciplines out there, and while you might not be thinking as much when doing a Spot the Differences or some Counting puzzles, these do exist as puzzles, they are culture-neutral, and they can appear at a reasonable percentage. In fact, as I understand the WPF rules, they are supposed to appear. So do not try to call the USPC something less than "all WPC standard". We've had WSCs without sudoku, so just looking at what hosts choose to write doesn't mean that is the standard they are expected to meet.
Blimey! My apologies if any way I've cast the USPC in a bad light - but even though they may be supposed to appear, observational puzzles are in a minority in the WPCs of recent years. This sort of thing consists of the majority, if not all, of the last three WPCs.

PuzzleScot
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Re: 2011 UK Puzzle Championship (25-26 June 2011)

Post by PuzzleScot » Mon 27 Jun, 2011 4:03 pm

motris wrote:... the World Puzzle Federation standard is actually to include a set percentage of various types of puzzles and observational puzzles...
I must say firstly that this is news to me! I suspect the reason you can't find these exact percentages is in fact, that they're not pubished.

The membership rules do not state members have to hold anything other than language/culture-neutral open tournaments.
However, "The criteria for hosting a WPC include: ...; Agreeing to create the puzzles according to the approved rules of variety and fairness; ...", although these "approved rules of variety and fairness" aren't stated anywhere.

The way I see it, is if the member country chooses to use a system or contest it thinks selects its best team, that is for them to decide. The USA has understandably chosen to follow the WPC model in its selection procedure. We have chosen not to. I believe top puzzlers don't need to prove they can do a word-search, spot the difference, or count circles. If a test can identify the most mentally agile solvers, I am quite confident they will cope at least as well as anyone else would if/when any of these types appear.

I'm not mocking your procedures - in fact, the top UK performer at the USPC this year will get a team place too. (long story!)
The USA also uses a static on-line window. I think that is more reliable than ours (though as you know, not flawless) but we don't have the luxury of having the rich pool of interest you have built up. Yet ;)

dickoon
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Re: 2011 UK Puzzle Championship (25-26 June 2011)

Post by dickoon » Mon 27 Jun, 2011 4:36 pm

I'll add my thanks for a very enjoyable championship. The puzzles that I tried were all rather well-behaved; I started nine, completed the first eight and only ran out of time on the last one. (I could have selected a shorter, lower-value puzzle for the last 17 minutes, but thought I had a fighting chance of getting the Bridges in the time left. Not even close.) If a large part of the joy of puzzle-solving is to see a difficult-looking puzzle that you think you won't be able to solve, then surprising yourself pleasantly when you do in fact solve it, then this championship scores very highly in that regard, especially considering that some of the puzzles I managed to crack were types (or variants) that I generally consider myself fairly weak at: the Hidoku and the ABC Minesweeper.

That said, I'll speak up for wordsearches and spot-the-differences, which solve a few valuable roles; first off, they look familiar and friendly, and thus may encourage marginal participants to take part on the grounds that they can fancy their chances at getting started. While the primary goal of a UK championship must be to attempt to discern the best solver, I'd have liked to have seen the first few puzzles set the bar very low with small, accessible standard-format puzzles. I'd even go further: standard-format puzzles from newspapers, rather than puzzle magazines, let alone puzzle web sites - while thematic, the first couple of puzzles seemed large and long for five points to me. Additionally, the USPCs have had some very interesting and deeply challenging wordsearch-type and crossword-type puzzles in recent years, making them far from the "gimme"s that you might expect.

I look forward to finding out whether our attempts to bring new UK solvers into the UK Puzzle Championship fold bore fruit.

motris
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Re: 2011 UK Puzzle Championship (25-26 June 2011)

Post by motris » Mon 27 Jun, 2011 4:54 pm

PuzzleScot wrote: I must say firstly that this is news to me! I suspect the reason you can't find these exact percentages is in fact, that they're not pubished.
It's mainly that I haven't taken the time to go through all the old WPF newsletters which exist only as scanned images for the relevant page. This was the set of recommendations presented to the board at the second WPC. Certainly we are 15 years on from then, but this should not be neglected.

http://www.worldpuzzle.org/news/newslet ... -1415.html

Volume 3 of the minutes says that this is the standard that was approved, and so until I'm pointed to a future wording, it looks like "Observation and Pattern Recognition" is 15-25 percent. I'm not saying I agree with everything here, just that this standard was adopted by the WPF when they considered the question of fair and appropriate puzzles.

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Re: 2011 UK Puzzle Championship (25-26 June 2011)

Post by PuzzleScot » Mon 27 Jun, 2011 5:15 pm

Good find, and interesting reading for what to expect at a WPC. However, this is getting too off-topic now.

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