It's been four years since I posted on my blog. It's also been four years since I wrote practice puzzles for anything. Most puzzles I've written in the last years have either appeared on the Dutch team website wcpn.nl, Sudoku and Puzzles Down Under on Facebook or in different national championships. This post will contain all practice puzzles I wrote for this year's World Puzzle Championship in Krakow, Poland.
The championship itself was a lot of fun. The puzzles were very nice. I was introduced to some fun new puzzle types. La Paz and Rail Pool were definitely my two favourite new types. Those puzzles were a lot of fun to solve. Pretty much every new type had something interesting though. The Nightmare in Krakow round was a fun combination of rule variants. The No Four In A Row concept led to some interesting puzzles. These two were my favourite two variant rounds.
The championship went better than I expected. I hadn't really gotten around to competing much in the last few years. I had lost my drive a bit during COVID to compete in the GP or other online competitions. I wasn't really sure how well my solving skills had kept up. At the championship it turned out that I was still able to compete with the best puzzlers. I had a good start to the championship and avoided errors through the first 4 rounds. I ended up in 4th place after 4 rounds, which was a lot better than I was expecting at the start. After this a few errors started sneaking in. I broke a couple puzzles in the Snake round and also made an error on a third puzzle, so I dropped off a bit after this round. The second day got worse over the day. I made some small errors that lost me some points in the morning, but the big errors came in round 11 and 12. A small error in round 11 cost me over 200 points for the puzzle and the time bonus. Round 12 just had a number of dumb errors in a couple of puzzles. In the end I managed to make it to the playoffs in 10th place (12th unofficial). Philipp Weiss just managed to edge me out in the playoffs because I broke the BACA on the first go and had to restart it. A good solve on the Star Battle Builder got me pretty close, but I couldn't find the solution in the bottom of the Shimaguni fast enough.
Overall I'm pretty happy with how the championship went. I'm still hoping to reach the podium one time and at least this championship shows I can still compete with the best in the world.
WPC Practice Puzzles