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Puzzle GP

It isn't clear to me but are the two sections solved separately or together?

How is the 90 minutes split over both section?

Is it possible to clearly isolate the competitive section from the casual one? I am not very satisfied with the numbering of puzzles - two puzzle sets from 1 to N are pretty confusing. Thanks a lot...

Regarding Para's question: My understanding is that solvers have 90 minutes over all. Players who are interested in the competitive part will start with the competitive part, ideally finishing it and claiming a bonus within those 90 minutes. In that case, they could then continue solving puzzles from the casual section.

Assuming that it's typically not possible to complete the entire test, you can't compete optimally in both of the competitive and casual section individually. Whether the overall score makes much sense to compare between solvers focussing on either section would remain to be seen.

Yes, rob is correct. If you want to be competitive for the playoffs, start with the competitive part, and claim bonus when you are done with that part. I expect most competitive players to be able to claim bonus. Then move on to the casual part for fun or to try to compete with the other players.

If you are just experiencing things for fun, then jump around and do whatever puzzles you want, although the casual part has easier-to-understand instructions and a wider variety of puzzles.


Then, there is only a chrono? I was expecting two differents slots for the two competition. As I'm a Casual, but I like some puzzle of the official contest, I would like to know how bad I'm with the champions but, however, having a measure of my honest competition. Can you do it next time?

Moso: My expectations, based on testing, is that the "champions" will easily finish off all the Competitive puzzles and still have time to do many of the Casual puzzles. For that reason, I am not going to separate the puzzles into two time slots because then the "champions" will have too much unused time!

If you want to have a measure of your honest competition, it is simple -- just solve as much as you can, picking any puzzles you wish. Then, afterwards, we will release a list of scores for Casual and Competitive combined. From that you can see how you compare to the champions. Even though the two sections are separate for bonus purposes, the point values are weighted fairly between the two sections.

I am looking forward to seeing the results, to see if they fit with my expectations! If there are differences I will make sure to adjust for rounds 2 and beyond.

This seems silly. An average solver can only attempt one contest or the other. As it is, I didn't even OPEN the competitive section. What a shame, and complete waste.

Why not keep the contests completely separate??

We all want to know how we'd do in the main section, as that is precisely the level playing field we have at the WPC.

Happy to see a separate non-WPC contest, but please, keep them apart!

This also seemed silly for me at the first glance, but now I changed my mind. If there are two separate competition, then most probably we will see the same players in the top of both. And now we have a place for non top-solvers to be in leader board.
Everyone can solve all puzzles just for fun without time limits (or doing own time check), but best competitors definitely want to officially participate in competitive part and so they can't really compete with casual solvers. This may look unfair, but I think it totally make sense.

I'm also not convinced by the two-in-one format. I know I'm not competitive for the top 10, and perhaps not even for the top 30 this year, but I used to think that the GP format was aimed not just at selecting the top 10 but also at keeping things fun to less competitive people like me. However, this puts me in the situation where I have to work on the Competitive section (since I'd like to compete), have no hope of finishing it since I'm not quite fast enough even when I'm not having a bad day like this time, and just don't get to try the Casual section (which did contain some very nice puzzles) during the contest. I'm honestly not aware that anything with last year's format was broken enough that it deserved to be "fixed" in such an inelegant and unsatisfactory manner. If the goal is to have a more relaxed contest for beginners on the side, then it should just be run on the side, not concurrently with a shared timer. Oh well. I guess we'll have to live with it.


PS: another small comment on this round's competitive puzzles: the puzzles themselves were very nice, but I found many answer keys frustrating -- they sometimes tested precisely the most guessable rows of the grid (!)

TiiT's picture

"Champions" don't mind if they have too much unused time. Believe me, it actually feels good if hou happen to finish early and get some unused (read: extra) time.


I didn't follow at all the discussions that led to the creation of the casual section, but after this first round, I'd like to give my opinion.

From what I gathered, the casual section has two goals :
- make the "top" players compete on the whole 90 minutes (and so compare them on something else than just their endtime)
- make a lesser difficult competition for more casual players, and compare them more precisely (for this population, the competitive puzzles might be too hard to have distinguished scores)

Problem with having the two competition at the same time is that players have to choose between the two. Problem with separating them is that "top" players would probably do the casual one too, and that would prevent good casual players to be recognized.

Actually, the whole difficuly is that there isn't only two separate categories of player, "top" (competing for the final) and "casual" ! There is a whole lot of people who have no hope to be top 10, but are still able to do a good part of a competitive round, and would find the casual one "too easy". For full disclosure, I have to admit I fall into this category (16/22 competitive puzzles done in 90 minutes (thought I have been rubbish at typing the answers and typoed 2) ; and I finished the casual booklet in 40 minutes the next day).

I believe it is this kind of person who find it frustrating to have to choose between competitive and casual. On my side, I decided to prepare as if there was only one competition, planning my attempts at solving on the two booklets (ended doing only competitive because "more points" but anyway it might be different next time), and this way I didn't feel frustrated in the end. Having done the casual one "in real conditions" afterwards, I will still be able to range my performance on the global score.

As a suggestion, maybe it would be an idea to consider having two different passwords, and give the options to players to get both passwords at the same time (as now), or not ?
Or to have : if the casual password is requested during the competitive timer, then it has the same endtime, and if it is not, then it has its own 90 minutes ?
I have no idea how the technical system works, so I'm not saying it is easy, it is just a suggestion to try and make everyone happy :)

I really like that idea. If you're in the running for the top ten, you pick both at once. If you're competitive but outside the top ten, you pick one at a time.

My hope was to have a leaderboard for the combined sum of Casual and Competitive, and that would be the leaderboard used for players who don't care about competing for the final but want to have an overall score. Unfortunately because of technical reasons the combined leaderboard won't be available yet for a few days.

Having the two sides separate would defeat this purpose.

What is the problem with having two separate contests and timers if you want an overall leaderboard? If the two contests are valued properly, it would seem that you could just add together the scores for each.

That arrangement would force all competitive players to take both sections, which I feel that many of the top competitive players would object to, much in the same way that similar puzzles have fallen out of favor in the WPC. The WPC has gotten much more strict about culture-neutrality; it seems that sequence puzzles and word searches are no longer there.

I don't think Sequence Puzzles and Word Searches are good examples of Culture Neutrality. I don't know what a Word Search does to violate Culture Neutrality that a Scrabble doesn't, and number sequences at least should be culture neutral. I feel those particular puzzles have other problems attached to them.

For Sequence Puzzles, there is always a chance of a solution not intended by the author which is valid. In fact, you pointed out an alternate solution for one of the Missing Number puzzles in the Indian round and added a number in to get away from that. I think there is a greater degree of comfort in confirming that a grid-based logic puzzle has a unique solution, which may make them better from an organizational standpoint.

For Word Search puzzles, I think it may simply be a case of a Scrabble-like puzzle offering more. Hitori is an example of this. In general Hitori too has moved away from the search aspect lately and I have seen many top solvers and authors talking about removing the "noise" from Hitori. It has more to do with the search element bringing up a greater luck factor and not being as fun (that is subjective but seems to be a popular opinion).

Either way, I think I am in agreement with having people take both sections, for a few reasons:
- In the current arrangement, only the top 4-5 players will have the time to do the Casual section and since the competitive section is what primarily counts for playoffs, it is still a matter of choice. As it stands, I saw some top solvers who are not top 4-5 but probable contenders for the top 10 solving 4-5 Casual puzzles and wondered if they'd failed to read about the format because that is bad strategy if you want to make the playoffs, when you have competitive section puzzles left over.

- In an arrangement which asks competitors to do both sections but still primarily chooses the competitive section for playoffs, at least you are giving more top players a choice than the top 4-5.

- I don't think Casual section gets a mass rejection as long as it doesn't primarily factor into the playoffs, because its just more fun puzzles to solve. You'll rarely find a top solver who wouldn't like more puzzles to solve on a weekend :) On a personal note, if the Casual Section was separate I would attempt it partly to improve myself in what I consider a major weakness and partly to just enjoy more nice puzzles in a competitive atmosphere. As it stands, I am 100% sure that I'll be doing just the Competitive Section in every round because that's where my strengths lie, that's what primarily counts for playoff totals, and I want to see where I stand among top solvers in the puzzles which are a majority in the WPC as you say.

As I noted when you first let me know your plan, I am very much in favor of including more Casual puzzles in the GP in some way, since one of its goals is to encourage more beginners to participate. I didn't discuss it in detail beyond that because the primary function I had was to get my team to submit the quota of puzzles needed, but in my personal opinion I'd either like it to be completely separate, or for the two sections to be solved in 90 minutes with both counting for playoffs, as opposed to the current arrangement.

I understand the problem with both counting for playoffs being about culture neutrality. But I think it merits a discussion whether or not to be more lenient in that regard for the GP. In my opinion, the more the GP separates itself away from the WPC, the bigger the credibility is to "two" World Champions per year. Also, I feel, as long as you estimate that the culture neutral puzzles across both sections will take 90 minutes for the Champions, it fairly reduces that problem. Here, no person came close to finishing both sets (Endo has 30 puzzles as the highest total unless I missed someone), which means, as long as he got to solve Battleships, Word Search, and Number Sequence, there wasn't much of a culture neutrality problem for him to finish the same 30 puzzles with roughly the same points and no unused time.

By saying there won't be mass rejection of Casual Puzzles as long as they don't count for playoffs and then saying its probably fine to have them count for playoffs. To make it clearer, I just prefer one or the other extreme here. If I am made to solve some Casual Puzzles to compete with top solvers I will do so, and if I can solve it completely separately I will do so. But if I'm not going to finish the Competitive Puzzles and they're the only thing that counts for playoffs, I have zero reason to attempt the Casual Puzzles within the competition time.

That's right, Prasanna. My hope is that most competitive players will finish the competitive section and will have a bit of time left over for the casual section. However in round 1 we were pretty lopsided and most of the points were in the competitive section. Round 2 will be different, where the two sections are closer to equal in points.