Week in Beijing Part 1 : WSC Day 1 (Round 1-5)

Its been a while since I returned home from China, but I’ve had to jump right in to a bunch of deadlines here and there. So today I’ll finally start recapping the events and then maybe posting some puzzles after that.

Most of team India, including myself, got late due to missing the connecting flight, and ended up missing the opening ceremony. So the first night was pretty meh. The next day, we first visited the Great Wall, and climbed wayyyyyy too many steps to reach the top-ish area. Meaning it was at the top of the wall, but there was an area further away which was even higher that we decided to miss. I’d like to think its because we didn’t have time, and not sheer exhaustion. I like to think a lot of things.

After that we went to the Bird’s Nest, and the Water Cube, to experience in general the venue of the Beijing Olympics. The highlight here was the part where first Jason Z and then me nonchalantly went and stood in front of the camera whose content appeared on the big screen in the Water Cube. It took a while for them to realize we hadn’t paid to stand there, and for us to realize its paid, and for them to explain to us whether we should pay or not. I still have no clue whether we should or not, so score 1 for foreign communications.

We came back mostly pretty exhausted from the Great Wall climb, which actually turned out to be a good thing because it adjusted our sleep cycles nicely, and we all slept at a pretty good time and woke up fresh for the competition the next day.

WSC Day 1

Round 1 : Easy Classics

This round featured 1 4×4, 3 6x6s and 14 9x9s with a duration of 30 minutes. I started from the last page here, finishing 7 9x9s, and then seeing I had just 7 minutes left, got the smaller sized ones done, and I still had a minute and a half, and I somehow managed to blitz through the easiest of the 9x9s just in time. Final score : 134/200.

Scores were updated at the end of this round. As I remember it, I think Rohan was 8th, Rishi was 21st and I was 23rd at this point. Obviously Classics isn’t my strength. The harder ones of this round struck a little bit of fear in some, including me, about the Hard Classics round coming up later, because the hardest here was 18 points and the easiest there was 22 points.

Round 2 : Common Variants

This round had 18 variants, some of which were in different dimensions like Star/Ring shapes, while the rest were your normal variations. This was an 88 minute round, which I felt pretty confident about. I didn’t have a great round though. I broke the Non-Consecutive, the Untouch and the Kropki. I re-did and fixed all of them, but obviously lost some time there. Was quite close to finishing a high point Inequality Sudoku towards the end, but couldn’t. In the end I’d solved 12 out of 18. Score : 419/600. This turned out to be quite good, and place me much better than the Classics round where I had no mistakes.

Round 3 : Jigsaw Sudoku

This round was not good. It was a 15 minute round, where we would be given a blank grid that was expanded in a way that you had 12 3×3 boxes still forming 3 boxes in each row and each column. Then, there were the envelopes, A, B and C. A was with minimal clues, and the Jigsaw could still be solved, B was with slightly more, and C was with even more. If a solver chose A, and solved it, they’d get 100 points, and be eligible for finishing bonus. 50 and 20 for B and C, with no bonus applicable.

The problem was that the grid, unlike the Instruction booklet grid, didn’t offer any easy limitations for placing pieces, which I think is necessary for a 15 minute round like this. I went about risking it with A though, and thought I had it, and was solving till the end when I spotted a mistake that could not be rectified. So with about 3 minutes left, I opened B, didn’t get much, then with 1 and a half minutes left I opened C. C had all the digits given and it was just about arranging the pieces correctly. I did this, but then had just 30 seconds to copy it all into the grid. Not enough.

Final score – 0/100. I spoke to Rishi and Tiit later, who both had a bonus in the round and both said they got lucky. There were many 0 scores here including the top solvers. I don’t see how a solver aspiring to be in the top 10 could’ve done anything other than choosing to go along with A. There should either have been more time to the round, or the grid should probably have given more than it did.

Rankings displayed after this round showed I’d actually climbed 2 rankings in spite of the 0 score, mainly because of my good score in round 2 and because 0 was a common score for the 3rd round.

Round 4 : Hard Classics

My initial worries after Round 1 proved unnecessary. In fact, this round was probably more finishable. The classics were hard, but just with a bunch of nice techniques thrown in. There were 8 classics, in a 35 minute round. I did 6 of them, but left 2 of the highest pointers. Not too much difference in points though. I ended up with 148/230 having lost partial points to my only “uncaught” mistake of the WSC, leaving 2 cells blank on a Classic.

Round 5 : Math Variants

This round was my biggest disappointment of the entire WSC. Its no 0 score like the 3rd round, but its a round where I did horribly. There were 8 Math based variants for 40 minutes. Math variants are usually my strength so I was looking at scoring well here. I started off well enough, solving 4 of them in under 20 minutes. What followed was absolute disaster as I kept breaking each of the 4 variants ending up with just the solved 4 for the round. Final score – 103/250. Meh.

At the end of this, I was 27th, Rohan was 12th and Rishi was 21st.

Tomorrow, I’ll cover Team Rounds, the GP Finals, and Day 2, which had just 3 individual rounds.

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4 comments on “Week in Beijing Part 1 : WSC Day 1 (Round 1-5)

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