WSC/WPC 2014 Recaps: Part I

Before I get to these, I just wanna quickly say that I do plan to resume posting puzzles on this blog again. It might be restarting around mid-September, but we shall see. Now I’m gonna start a series of recaps for the entire week. I’ll begin with the day before the WSC, because this day was a little eventful.

We had a stopover at Dubai on the 10th. We being me, Rohan Rao, Jayant Ameta and Kunal Verma. Rohan and me had started our journey from Mumbai, whereas the other two had to get to Mumbai from Bengaluru first. Anyway, in Dubai, I was already drowsy because I just cannot sleep on a plane. Ever. Once we got on the one to London, we encountered our first puzzle – the pilot made an announcement that the batteries were dead and that new batteries would be required, and would need to be transported from the other side of the airport. Yup.

Anyway, this caused a delay of about 90 minutes. If nothing else, it gave us a preview of sitting idle after finishing (the boarding of the flight) early. We reached London without any further delay, but with added sleep deprivation for me, causing a huge headache. Once we reached the hotel, we were greeted with two ‘surprises’.

First, our rooms weren’t ready. I’m guessing there was some confusion about clearing out the previous guests. The only thing I am sure of is it had nothing to do with batteries this time. The other surprise was that somehow Team India’s room allocation was messed up. This problem was magnified by the fact that the hotel staff had misspelled Deb’s and Rishi’s names and at first we couldn’t even find them in the database. Finally, we just went up to one of the two rooms already allocated to some members of our team, and set up camp there until the rest of us got allocated.

We started discussing a little about the rounds and all that, and somewhere during this time I realized that I didn’t have my suitcase with me. Oops. I’d forgotten it in Reception, and this was one of about 10 times over the week where I forgot something really important somewhere, but fortunately I found it there later. Puzzlers don’t steal. Thanks, puzzlers. Anyway, I retrieved the suitcase, got back, sat through the discussions without contributing much (headache), and then we went down for dinner and the WSC Q&A session.

I have no recollection of dinner on the first day. The Q&A mercifully didn’t have many questions, I just wanted to get to bed (except that I didn’t have a room allocated yet). The WPF flag was hoisted, the Qs were A-ed, the WPF Newsletter was distributed, much fun was had. For some reason, I thought we already had the newsletter and my team believed me (I don’t know why they would considering the state I was in). Thankfully we were able to get some copies later. Even more thankfully, I was able to get a room soon after the Q&A session.

Each set of rooms in the hotel were a little different, and the pathways were a Missing Labyrinth puzzle worthy of a 400 Club (refer to WPC IB to understand reference). Rohan claimed (and we later verified) that to get to his room from the competition hall, 17 turns were needed. My room was on the 2nd floor, and had a doorstep. I did not notice said doorstep until the next day (woke up mostly fine, the headache had subsided), and I have absolutely no recollection of bringing my suitcase in, but it was there this time thankfully. Tomorrow I’ll recap the WSC rounds. Even with all the problems on day 1, I should note that this turned out to be a fun week with two well-organized events.

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