Wednesday 15 April 2015

Polish Puzzle Championship 2015

This weekend were the Polish Sudoku and Puzzle Championships. I was one of the puzzle contributors and test-solved all puzzles for the championship (and a few more that didn't appear). Both events were won by Jan Mrozowski. You can find all puzzles at the following links: Sudoku and Puzzle. (As a small note, there is a printing error in Round 4 (my puzzles). In the larger Summon puzzle, the 3 clue at the bottom should be a 9).

This post will contain all my puzzles that were used at the championships. I used a similar structure to my round as last year, with two puzzles of each type. I tried to get a good mix of different genres, both familiar and unfamiliar. I didn't use any of the types I used last year to keep mixing it up. There's enough genres to choose from, so it seems a bit weird to repeat a genre. I think it worked out well and would love to hear some feedback from the competitors.

Puzzles can be found below.

Wednesday 8 April 2015

Puzzle #168: Statue Park, Summon

These three puzzles were originally written for the Polish Puzzle Championships being held the upcoming weekend. I aimed to write a similar set as last year, with 2 puzzles per genre. I again wrote 20 puzzles, but the test times were a bit long for a 60 minute round. I cut the Statue Park puzzles, because they didn't allow for reflection and that was the type that most likely would trip people up from that because of that.
This Summon puzzle was the original harder puzzle, but they both tested too long for their intention. So the smaller puzzle became the harder and I added a smaller puzzle to the set. I've started to like this genre better, but I still feel they somehow stay hard to solve. I think it's because it doesn't have a natural flow and it's sometimes hard to know where to look next. The logic is always solid, but it's easy to get stuck none-the-less.

Puzzles can be found below.

Wednesday 1 April 2015

2014 Slovak Puzzle Championships

While going through my puzzle files, I came across the Slovak Championships folder. I realised I had never shared these puzzles on my blog. So I figured I might as well share them now.
I was contacted by Zuzanna Hromcova to write puzzles for their championship. We were given a number of categories to write puzzles in. One of the categories was non-grid puzzles, for which I provided three different genres; namely ABC Decoder, Dice and Mastermind. Dice and ABC Decoder are types I enjoy writing; Mastermind I didn't have that much experience with. But it was something I'd like to give a go.
The other categories I picked were Latin Squares and Division puzzles. For each type we had to write a standard genre and a variant on the genre. I picked Skyscrapers, with Haido as the variant. I like Skyscrapers and I thought Haido still had part of the Skyscraper logic, but used differently enough to make it not like solving four skyscraper puzzles.
For the Division set I picked ABCD Division, with Sum Division as the variant. It's a type I have seen a lot when I first started puzzling, but I haven't really seen it much since. I thought sums was an obvious variant, but I haven't really seen it this way much. I have seen a similar variant where the grid has to be divided into a complete set of pentominoes, but not really without this restriction.

I tried to put a bit of theming in the non-grid puzzles. I wrote a few nine digit ABC Decoders for the 2014 24 hour championships, and I thought that was a good size to use in a championship. The letters spell out THE SLOVAK, which was the nicest way I could use nine different letters to write something Slovakia related. I found some words with opposite meanings in the letter set, so I used those. I think it turned out well.
I used a similar opposites theme for the Dice puzzle, with an addition of 5 words to make it unique. I think not all words are necessary for uniqueness, but it solves pretty well this way.
The first Mastermind puzzle looks really nice, with a sequence of numbers and only white circles it solves really nicely. The second one was merely an attempt to construct a nice logical 5 digit puzzle.

I thought both Skyscrapers puzzles turned out nicely. The first puzzle uses three 4s and three 5s. The second puzzle has a trio of the same digit on each side. Of course I couldn't use four different digits as these are the only three digits you can have three of the same clue on the same side in this size.
I find it hard to theme Haido puzzles as the clues are a bit limited, but they both have nice logical paths.

The first time I saw an ABCD puzzle this way was at a Dutch championship. It was a bit of a surprise then. I wrote a similar puzzle for puzzlepicnic once and I thought it would be fun to include one for the championship. The ABCDE puzzle is a standard layout and I think it solves well.
The sum puzzles were a bit hard to work out openings at first as there are so many ways to reach the sums. So I went with obvious opening digits for both puzzles to then work back to more ambiguous digits towards the end. I think they both turned out well.

Puzzles can be found below.