Wednesday, July 16, 2014

GP 2014

All GP series ended last week. Here I write about two things.

First, about examples in the instructions. What are the roles of examples? Of course they should tell us how its rules work, but sometimes I saw examples which don’t need all rules to solve, and had trouble with contest puzzles. As I’m an accustomed solver, I need to learn only the rules which I see for the first time, but for beginners, the risk of wrong rule interpretation will increase if bad examples are provided.

Another role of examples is to tell how contest puzzles will be. PGP Round 2 is a good example for this. In this round we can learn from the instruction that grid shape is not rectangular, and we may even predict that all grids are the same shape. Moreover, proper examples can give more information to the solvers, but this power of examples seems not recognized enough. Though non-rectangular example makes us wonder if the contest puzzle is also non-rectangular, we saw such bad examples many times. And one more point: some examples are used again and again, but the sources of them are not mentioned. Example puzzles should also be thought highly of.

The next is about the difficulty of the GP series. It is said here that “The puzzles in the Grand Prix will be designed for all the players with different solving skills, for beginners as well as for the best world players.”. The difficulty I expected from the sentence is that of PGP Round6, so I felt the other PGP contests are too hard. I introduced GP to my puzzle friends who are not familiar with contests, but sadly, one of them even asked to me that “is it really for beginners?”. Satisfying both top solvers and beginners in the same contest is a hard job. If we want to do so, I think we should allow some differences between GP and other contests, and maybe the differences of results as a consequence, too.

By the way, I asked my friends the order they solve in the contests. They start from the types they know well: mostly from nikoli puzzles (this is natural because they are Japanese, though solving steps are far from that of nikoli’s puzzles.) and next, try for the types they think they can solve. They tend to challenge the types they have seen in the earlier GP series, so using the same types continuously may be good in GP. And they also look at the points tables when choosing which to solve, so proper point distributions “for beginners” is important. I felt some puzzles had improper points, and others were valued only from the seasoner’s side; sometimes this makes big trouble for beginners. We should keep in mind that difficulty for top solvers is far from that for beginners.

So I think GP series should be controlled more by the organizers. I want to see appropriate difficulty and point tables. And I also want to ask the organizers for not changing difficulty and maximal points in the series. I think I had an advantage from lower points in the last round of PGP, and my 2nd position in the final result is unfair. But anyway, I can enjoy the final as a solver.

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