Wednesday 16 April 2014

Polish Puzzle Championships 2014: Team Round

This post will contain the puzzles I provided for the Team Round of the Polish Puzzle Championships. It wasn't an official round but a fun thing to do during the evening. Zoltan Horvath had contacted me if I had time to help working on a team round. as I had just finished my individual round, I figured I could. Zoltan came up with the idea of a Puzzle Labyrinth, where you needed to find your way through the labyrinth by solving puzzles and getting a clue to which would be a next puzzle. Eventually this evolved into a labyrinth where the puzzles were missing from the labyrinth and you had to place them back in the labyrinth. We decided to split the puzzles up into four categories, which would be marked in the empty labyrinth.
On Zoltan's suggestion we gave eachother 8 puzzle types, 2 per category, to write and we could choose one puzzle type ourselves. I gave Zoltan Tapa, Yajilin, Thermometers, Haido, LITS, Regional Akari, Yin Yang and Crossing Loop to write. He chose Lighthouses, First Seen Corral, Loop Extra and L-Dissection to write. He gave me Cave/Corral, Number Sea, Grades, Catloop, Retrograde Battleships, Star Battle, Masyu and Penta Blokus to write. I chose to write Kurotto, Laser, Tetromino Areas and Finnish Snake. Most puzzles had no restrictions, except that they shouldn't be too hard. Only the Circles puzzles had the restriction of being monocoloured. This was only a problem for Yin Yang and Masyu as those normally have multiple coloured circles. The Masyu worked pretty well, but Zoltan's Yin Yang topped that way more in difficulty to create. I was impressed with his puzzle. It was fun to solve. He wrote another harder one too.
When the puzzles were done we had to create a labyrinth. I first wrote one where each puzzle gives you one clue. But that labyrinth turned out too hard, so Zoltan rewrote the labyrinth with two clues per puzzle. This way it was easier to solve.
During competition most teams managed to solve the whole labyrinth, with the quickest doing it within 30 minutes.
You can find the Team Round in the following link.

Besides the Team Round, I will be also adding my harder labyrinth for those who like the challenge. You will have 3 options.
You can choose to solve this first file. [Edit: File updated 19-04-12014 5:25am blog time] It contains all puzzles with correct and incorrect clues. You'll need to solve the puzzles to figure out the correct clues and then use those correct clues to place all the puzzles in the grid.
You can choose to solve this second file. It contains all the correct clues only and no puzzles. It also contains a logical opening on page 3 and the solution on page 4. You can also use this after you get stuck on the first file or to check I didn't make a mistake when setting up the first file.
Lastly you can choose to ignore this challenge and just solve the puzzles or maybe solve the original Team Round with the easier clues.
It's up to you.

Puzzles can be found below. Sorry about the arrows, but didn't feel like redrawing the images for the blog.

Tuesday 15 April 2014

Polish Puzzle Championships 2014: Individual Round

Last weekend were the Polish Sudoku and Puzzle Championships. The Championship was also open to International solvers this year. The playoffs would feature the best 4 solvers, while having at least two Polish solvers.
The Sudoku playoffs featured Tiit Vunk, Jakub Ondrousek, Jan Mrozowski and Krystian Swiderski. Jakub Ondrousek finish first in the playoffs, followed by Krystian Swiderski, Tiit Vunk and Jan Mrozowski, making Krystian Swiderski the new Polish Sudoku champion. Full results can be found here.
The Puzzle playoffs featured Przemysław Dębiak, Matus Demiger, Zoltan Horvath and Tomasz Stróżak. The final results remained almost the same with Przemyslaw Dębiak finishing first, followed by Zoltan Horvath, Matus Demiger and Tomasz Stróżak. Full results can be found here.

I contributed a set for the Puzzle Championships for the individual round and wrote a team round together with Zoltan Horvath.

You can find all puzzles of the Championships in the following link: Sudoku Rounds + Team Round, Puzzle Rounds. My puzzle set is round 4. This post will feature all the puzzles from my individual round. Tomorrow I will post the Team round puzzles with a special surprise.

Last year's set was a bit on the difficult side, so I tried to think of a way to rectify that this year. I decided to write 2 puzzles per type, one smaller/easier one and a larger/harder one. I didn't want to make any too difficult. I selected 10 varying types of puzzles. I was hoping to average about 1.5 minutes per puzzle on the smaller ones and about 4.5 minutes per puzzle on the larger ones. I had the set tested by Prasanna Seshadri, James McGowan and Stefan Gaspar. The smaller puzzles made that average pretty well, but the larger puzzles were more inching towards 5-5.5 average and all of them had some outliers. I couldn't really decide well which puzzles to cut so I sent in the whole set and let them know that they could leave out a puzzle type if necessary. During their testing 3 of the larger puzzles seem to have cause some problems as they went up in score. I think the set will have worked well none-the-less for all solvers with the easier puzzles to work with as well, but I'd love to hear some feedback form those who were there.

Puzzles can be found below.

Monday 14 April 2014

Puzzle #167: Araf, Nurikabe, Capsules, Catloop

Last weekend were the Polish Sudoku and Puzzle Championships. I wrote a set of puzzles for the championships and helped create a team round with Zoltan Horvath. Today I will be posting the puzzles that didn't make it to the championships. Most of them were too hard for their intended purposes. I will also be posting the puzzles that appeared on the championships later this week.
Three of the puzzle types were from the individual rounds and one is from the team rounds.

The Araf puzzles were the first ones I had written of this type. I still had to get used to construction a bit. When I do that I tend to make the puzzles a bit harder, just to see what's possible. The smaller one isn't too hard, but still a bit harder than intended.
The Nurikabe puzzle isn't actually very hard, but I changed it as I saw an aesthetically nicer version of this puzzle. That one was also a bit easier than this puzzle, which I didn't mind.
The Capsules puzzle was really too hard. It was the first puzzle I'd written for the championships and I hadn't totally finalised my intentions then and thus went a bit overboard on difficulty.
The Catloop puzzle was written for the team round. It is a silly name play on the Catwalk puzzles, which was again a renaming of the Meander puzzle type to give a fun visual theming on the website. I think this type is also known under many other names. The first puzzle is an easy puzzle, while the second is a hard puzzle. I had written the second one first and after feed back written two easier puzzles. One of them went to the team round and the other one was left over. I think this was actually the easier of the two puzzles.

Puzzles can be found below.

Rules: Catloop

Draw a single closed loop through the grid by connecting the centres of cells horizontally and vertically. Numbers on the outside indicate how many cells are used by the loop in that row or column.

This puzzle is a variant on Catwalk. In this puzzle type you draw a path from the given beginning and end point instead of a loop.

Rules: Araf

Divide the grid into some regions, formed by orthogonally adjacent squares. Each region should contain exactly two given numbers. The size of each region should be a value (in unit squares) strictly between the two numbers inside that region. Its size can't be equal to either of the numbers in the region.

Saturday 5 April 2014

14th 24 Hour Puzzle Championship

This year I wrote a set of puzzles together with Hns Eendebak. I was a bit tight on time with a holiday and other championships that I wasn't sure if I'd be able to write everything in time. I still ran a bit late getting everything together but it was in time for the championship.
This year's championship was won by Peter Hudak. Nikola Zivanovic and Zoltan Horvath finished second and third.
There were 30 competitors total in this year's championship, of which 29 did our set. The set was a bit on the long side this year with the Michael Mosshammer from Austria being the top scorer with 695 points. It would have been better if the top scorer had about 100-150 points more. The set contained 24 puzzles in total, so I should have probably cut 2 puzzles in the end.
In this post I will be adding all the puzzles I wrote. You can find the complete set and all other sets here. If you need to see the instruction booklets for any of the set you can find them in this forum post.

Puzzles can be found below.