Saturday, November 4, 2017

WSPC 2017

I am getting well after the rest (maybe shorter than previous years?). This is my recap of Bangalore as usual.

We arrived at the hotel on Saturday midnight, without a significant time difference.

In B-team as usual; maybe I should change my mind, but anyway I was in  relatively relaxed state again.

Round 1
Solved: #3, 7, 9
Messed up from the beginning. To get high pointers, I tried #1 at first, and gained nothing in the first 10 minutes. It was rather smooth after that, but in the end of the round, I erased #11 many times. It was enough for me to predict a tough week....

Round 2
Left: #1-3, 7-9, 19, 20
Error: #14, 22
Basically solved in the order of the points, except unfamiliar #19 and 20. The problem was that I made easy errors.

Round 3
Left: #2, 3
After #1, I moved on to the last and went back. I had no time to see the remaining ones, using the given time well.

Round 4
8 minutes left.
With the advice of teammates, I searched all the possible classic grids at the beginning. I had some trouble in matching part, but the strategy was clearly effective.

Round 5
Left: #10-12
Error: #1, 7
Went from #8, #9, and returned from #7. I thought this was good for me, except errors.

Round 6
Left: #10
As I planned. Maybe I could try it, but this round is rather for me, so I did not take too much risk.

Round 7
Left: #4, 9
Just avoided #9. #5 was expected in Japan.

Round 8
Left: A3, A4, B3
Started from A with newcomer Yuki Yamamoto. My original task was A4, and it failed with some wrong deductions. A good thing was that I solved B4, another my target.

Round 9
Solved: #2, 6, 7, 9, 10, 12, 16
After I found a pair and solved it, I only solved the pairs Tomoya had matched. I think we should have done it from the beginning. He was awesome. But still, I made error in #5, and we could not finish #15.

Round 10
Our original plan was to solve #2 by all four members. We managed to get four corners of it with some assumptions, and partial credits in #1.

Round 11
0 minutes left.
Just as it goes. Started from #1, 4, 7, and finished in #6 and #8.

Round 12
Left: #4
With some assumptions as if in puzzle competitions. The rules were almost clear, but in #2, I was misdirected due to the previous Lemon. And I was not confident to #4 (I expected one more rule), and left it for the last.

Round 13
Left: #1-5, 8
To get large ones, but badly I broke #8. I missed the easiest way to know joker at first glance in #6, and noticed while solving.

Round 14
Left: #2-5, 8
Error: #6
Kept my high-pointers strategy, and I clearly knew my error-tendency this year.
I was on the safety side after many errors in the Day 1, and still made an error. I was scared for upcoming WPC.

Round 15
Only some partial credits.
Simply I could not figure it out, including some counting trouble.

Round 16
Left: #6, 8, 15, 16
Without gambling. I expected more strange round, but the puzzles were normal except Coded.

Round 17
5 minutes left, but errors in #12 and #16.
I started from Product Killer, leaving Base Grid to Tomoya. I moved on to it after some progress, and solved it with assumptions.

Round 18
Left: #8, 12, 14-18
Solved at random. We should have checked #16 (2 digits missing).

So the result is, not so good, not so bad.
No-playoffs should be a way of organizing, seeing the narrow difference.

Puzzle GP Final
Before to start, I kept in mind to check my solutions before submitting.

I made a bad start in Kropki, once resulting in no solution. I lost the advantage here, so I changed into risky mode in the next Tapa. It succeeded, and I returned to normal after that, but I had many troubles then. I found a missing star in Star Battle while checking, corrected filling error in TomTom. I had to use tweaking in Hex Slitherlink, but this was on the better side for me in this Final. Classic Slitherlink was the problem; I broke it in the center, and could not correct it soon. I knew that Hideaki is coming, so I could not choose all-erase, and... thankfully I noticed that my mistake was on the top-left and managed to correct it. Still I made error on Magnets but corrected it soon, and the last one was the only puzzle I think I was ok. The result is good anyway.

By the way, I am still struggling with the Bonus puzzles.

And I would like to mention Thomas Snyder, one of the bests in the world. My first impression after the Round 1 of the GP series this year was, "No Palmer again, no Ulrich this year, but Thomas is!". Maybe the finals were not his time, but anyway I am glad to compete with him again.


Round 1
4 minutes left.
Error: #3
The order was #11, 9, 6, 1, and then small ones. #3 was the last, and I forgot its exact rules.

Round 2
2 minutes left.
After #1-6, moved on to the last and returned. First correct finish.

Round 3
Left: #17, 18, 32
With many troubles. I should have tried Masterminds rather than #32.

During lunch, my teammates said that the difficulty was set as I could not finish. This was almost true, and I could not have left the hall yet.

Round 4
Left: #5, 6, 8, 11, 14, 15
Error: #12
I broke #15 again and again, resulted in the collapse. Tactical problem, or simply lack of power. And the error was additional damage for me.

Round 5
4 minutes left.
From the last page except leaving #2 for last. I appreciated Toketa in #7. I was tired after the bad round, but recovered a little here.

Round 6
7 minutes left.
I was not satisfied to be honest. I missed an easy step in #3, and had some trouble in #11. But I succeeded in getting out.

Round 7
11 minutes left.
Our starting positions were, A: me, B: Kota, C: Tomoya, D: Taro. Tomoya was faster, so I got his help in A1 and A4. Later I helped Taro a little, and Kota found an error in C1.

Round 8
1 (Taro): correct, 2 (Kota): correct, 3 (Tomoya): 30/440, 4 (me): 190/480
Taro was okay here. Kota corrected it in the last minute and completed his job. Tomoya had some trouble, and helped my last part, but it seems that I had already broken it, including copy-error. Disappointing round.

Round 9
20 minutes left.
Error: #8 (partial credit)
My solving order was, #7, 8, 5, 6, 4, 2, 1, 3. I spent about 25 minutes in the first two, so I think I earned much time here. And the last thing I did in this round was to find my name; hey, they were used as a gimmick!
This was a chance to decide the individual result, but I was not confident even after I claimed finish, due to my many errors this year. In fact, I did again.
There exist clear signs that I checked counting, and I still overlooked!

Round 10
Left: #4, 5, 9, 12
I was sure that all my answers were correct, though I was near to an error in #13. My team did a great thing to search all 72 patterns of the optimized 10x10 Star Battle beforehand, so it was as if a gift for me.

Round 11
Left: #2, 6, 8
My plan was to get #3 and 4 first, and I was caught there. It could have been worse accident, so I think I endured well.

Round 12
Left: #6, 17, 18
Error: #1
Strange error in the very first one.
I wanted to avoid another destruction after Round 4, so I had no reason to tackle #17 unless trying to finish.

Round 13
0 minutes left, just few seconds.
Like in the previous round, I left #10 for last. After checking the others, I decided to try it in the last 5 minutes. But it stopped in the middle, so I used an assumption in the last 2 minutes. Then it went smoothly, and I managed to finish it without leaving checking seconds!

Round 14
Left: #7
After #3, I tried #4 but could not solve, then went to #5 and #6. After the call of 5-minute, I finished #6 and got #1, 2. I did short checking, and returned to #4 in the last 30 seconds. I completed it with a small change to the previous attack. So I got 180 points in the last 5 minutes. Thrilling!

Round 15
Left: T2
Error: C4
A: Tomoya, B: Kota, C: me, D: Taro
I took time to understand the distance rule. I had trouble in the solving part too, and what was worse, made a counting mistake in C4. I did a little in T1, but it was clearly bad work.

Round 16
I do not know why it was canceled.
Taro solved T3 and then went to the third hardest table. I and Tomoya tried T4 from the beginning, and Kota joined in after T1 and T2. After finished, I went to the hardest, Kota to the second, Tomoya to the easiest. In individual table, I found two-loop error in the Maxi Loop while checking, corrected it and left 4 minutes. Kota was trapped in the Reflect Link, and his 2-minute should have been our score.
Maybe we could choose better strategy.

Round 17
Left: #1, 3-5, 12, 14, 16, 18, 22, 24, 25, 27, 29
Partial: #19 (40/65)
Error: #20, 21
Good enough if no errors. I made wrong correspondence in #20, and swapped the last two in #21.

Round 18
Left: #18, 21, 22
Error: #13, 17
Began from high pointers except #10, and ended in #13-14. The ways of errors show that I did not fit any more.

Round 19
Solved: #3-6
I lost time in #2 at the beginning, and feared that it would be even possible to get no points. It did not happen, I solved #6, #5, #4 and #3 in the last minute.

Round 20
Left: #4-6
The result is a surprise after I recognized my fatigue during lunch. I spent more than 10 minutes in #7 at the start, but it went better after that.

Round 21
0 minutes left.
I found 5-set pattern in the first half of the round, but no progress after that. I decided to get 80 points in the last 3 minutes, checked carefully, and noticed that the remaining pieces form a set! Oh.

Round 22
Left: #5
Smile: #2
We were surprised to see an uncovered smile-cell in #1, which we tried first (the sheet was soon changed by the organizers). We were careful in general, except #2; we did it in the end with guesses and it almost worked. If we had had one more minute!

Round 23
Left: #4, 9, 11, 12, 14-17, 19
We feared this round, but tough setting may have worked for us. I feel I did a little here, maybe the most important thing was to construct a base of #6 and leave it to Tomoya for tweaking.

As I said in the ceremony (Was it enough to listen? I was exhausted after football and not sure if I spoke well.), I was brought up in LMI, so it is my pleasure to win in India. And thank you my teammates, including not being there, for supporting me irrespective of my poor performance. Team title had been my target for a while, so we finally did it! I hope I and my team will be better next year in Prague. I was apparently not in the best this year, I will keep my way and get improved. See you next year in Czech, or other place if I can!

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