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WPC Report

26th World Puzzle Championship
Bangalore, India
October 18th-22nd, 2017


The World Puzzle Championship has been held annually since the year 1992. Over the years, the Championship has developed and become the premier platform to acknowledge the top logic puzzle solvers of the world, and also a platform for authors to express themselves with new and innovative ways to test competitors.

In 2017, we wanted to truly explore the variety of possibilities for the WPC, with grid based logic puzzles mixed with different rule twists and concepts, and also puzzles that aren't grid-based or those that stretch the boundaries in different ways.

For each round, we had an idea or a theme as a base and tried to execute it within the round parameters in an entertaining way. We also had the idea of theming the entire WPC itself on past LMI rounds, which have been authored by various authors from around the world over the years. We named, and themed each round on inspirations of contests or other ideas that have a prominent link to LMI's past. Let's get to the rounds!


Day 1:

Round 1: Road to Bangalore
This round consisted of some classic puzzles and some variations that were themed around the 26th WPC, India, Bangalore, LMI and 2017. Ken Endo of Japan started strong on what would be a dominant run throughout the Championship, finishing the round with five minutes to spare. However, he had a mistake in one puzzle which was large enough to cost him his bonus too. Even with this, he ended up topping the round tied with compatriot Kota Morinishi, with a score of 425.

Round 2: Indian Puzzle Land
This round consisted of 16puzzles across 8 different types, all invented in the past by different Indian authors. Ken Endo finished before time again, with two minutes to spare. This time there was no error, and he finished with a total of 620 including the time bonus. No one else finished the round, Ulrich Voigt was the best of the rest with a nice looking score of 555 for the round.

Round 3: Evergreens
This was the Classics round, with 32 puzzles across 16 familiar puzzle types. We tried to present some of the pairs in this round with one puzzle being an offbeat on the 'usual' way the puzzle is solved. Four Winds, Magnets and Arrows were probably the best examples of this. Many solvers are strong at classics, and this round had a finisher who wasn't even an official competitor - Hideaki Jo, with a total of 855 out of a possible 900. It's not a surprise though, and definitely much lesser of a surprise than seeing someone like Hideaki on the B team in the first place. Among the official competitors, Ulrich topped the round with a total of 845, and Ken Endo and Kota were close behind with 830 and 825 respectively.

Round 4: Twist
This round consisted of 16 puzzles using variations introduced by Indian authors to existing familiar puzzle types. This round turned out to be especially difficult, mainly due to a very difficult coloured Star Battle that stumped most solvers. China's QiuYanzhe topped the round with a total of 525, with Palmer Mebane close behind him with a total of 505. In a Twist in Twist, Ken Endo had a poor round by his standards, ending up with a total of 330.

Round 5: Hexed & Remixed
In this round there were 8 puzzles. The round was based on different tessellations, with the cells going from triangles to decagons through the round. We had presented this round as Hex puzzles in the Instruction Booklet to keep a little bit of a surprise, but a lot of solvers figured it out. Still, the Nonagon grid was a surprise to many. Ken Endo was back to his place at the top for this round, finishing with four minutes to spare and scoring 440 points. The second place was shared between Bram De Laat and Michael Mosshammer, with 360 points each. It was Ulrich's turn to have a comparatively poor round, finishing with a total of 315.

Round 6: TVC
This round consisted of 15 puzzles, with two Classic Tapa puzzles followed by 13 variants of the popular type, in a call-back to the popular contest series on LMI of the same name. In this round, we tried to include a variety within the ideas. The round started with the puzzle originator Serkan's variant ideas, followed by popular ideas that had come from Indian authors, followed by an Innovative idea and an Instructionless idea, and ending up with a Champion's corner, with one idea each from three of the past four TVC Champions. The round was the first of four single puzzle-type rounds at the WPC.

Ken Endo continued cruising along, finishing the round with 7 minutes to spare, contributing to a strong score of 520. Walker Anderson was close behind him though, finishing with 6 minutes to spare for a total of 510. Surprisingly, no one else had a bonus for the round, with the next best score being 400, so this was a very strong round for Ken Endo & Walker Anderson.

Conclusion of Day 1:

At the end of Day 1 it was already clear that it would take a lot of effort to stop Ken Endo from racing to a 2nd World Title, but with many rounds to go, including the largest one of the WPC, there was still some hope for his nearest competitors.

Day 2:

Round 9: Marathon
Over the years, the Puzzle Marathon has been a staple of LMI's Monthly contests, featuring annually since 2012, in a format that has been received positively by the puzzle community. With this in mind, having a Marathon round was one of our first ideas for the WPC. It is a matter of pride for us that we had one puzzle from each of the eight WPC contributors for this round.

Ken Endo proved that he is on another level by finishing this round with nearly 20 minutes to spare. This is especially noteworthy considering no one else finished the round. However, he had a slight error in one of the puzzles, and with a 0 in that puzzle and partial bonus... he still had a score that was more than the total points for the round! He scored 1135. Palmer and Kota had the joint second best score for the round with 1020 each.

Round 10: Parallel Universe
This round was based on a concept used by Prasanna Seshadri for the Parallel Universe contests on LMI, having Classic types but with a twist. Here, we went with Logical Optimization as the twist for the puzzles, using one puzzle each of the same 16 types used in the Evergreens round the previous day. This round proved to be difficult, probably due to the different kind of solving that optimization forces. The top score for the round was 510 out of a possible 600, scored by both Ken Endo and Kota. Bram finished close behind with a total of 500. Ulrich fell behind again here with a total of 325.

Round 11: SVC
This was the second single puzzle-type round at the WPC, again a call-back to the LMI Contests of the same name, consisting of 8 puzzles, with two classic Snake puzzles followed by six variants. Again, we tried to include a mix of familiar variants, Indian ideas, an innovative and an instructionless variant. This round had a shakeup in terms of toppers, with Yuki Kawabe finishing the round with two minutes to spare and topping the round with a total of 270 points. Neil Zussman, Palmer Mebane, Robert Vollmert and Thomas Snyder also finished the round. Neil ended up with a total of 260, while Palmer and Rob settled for 250 with no bonus. Thomas had a mistake which dropped his total down to 235. Ken Endo has a comparatively poor round with a total of 165 but was helped by the fact that nearest competitor Ulrich also had a lacklustre round, scoring 180.

Round 12: 123 GO
In this round there were 26 puzzles, with names starting from A-Z. To go one step further with the theme, we also had the grids of these puzzles shaped as A-Z respectively. The puzzles were largely of an easy difficulty as this was a sprint round. No one finished the round. In a throwback to past championships, Thomas Snyder and Ulrich Voigt topped the round with 355 points each out of a possible 450. Ulrich didn't get much of a lead here though, with both Ken Endo and Kota finishing close behind with a total of 345 each.

Round 13: No Numbers
This round consisted of puzzle types which had no alphabets or numbers as clues or other elements. The round had some rarer puzzle types which resulted in making it a bit difficult to finish again. Ken Endo was the only one who managed to do so, with a perfect score of 400. Walker Anderson was the best of the rest with a total of 325.

Round 14: Fillomino Fillia
Single puzzle-type round number three covered Fillomino and its variants, again with the same mix criteria we had for the previous single puzzle-type rounds. While this round had a very difficult Sum Fillomino, it still had many finishers, but Qiu Yanzhe was the quickest one to do so, finishing with over 5 minutes to spare. He had one error but even so, with partial bonus, he topped the round with a total of 323. Ulrich, Kota and Thomas all finished the round with a minute to spare and scored 310 each, while Hideaki and Yuki also finished the round without errors. Palmer Mebane, author of the Fillomino Fillia series on LMI, scored 170.

Day 3:

Round 17: FAST
This round consisted of 29 Puzzles. Why so many? Because there were 29 countries attending the WPC, and each puzzle was themed on a monument from a different country among the attendants. All puzzles used in this round were what would be called as 'casual' in the puzzle community. Most of them weren't grid-based, and all of them would be familiar to an average puzzle solver who isn't regular at the WPC.

Since this round provided something different, the toppers were also different. No one finished the round, and the two top scores were achieved by two unofficial competitors! Ko Okamoto of Japan's C team (!) topped the round with 476, and Wei-Hwa Huang of the USA B team had the second best score of 437. Philipp Weiss scored 427, the highest score among official competitors. Ken Endo scored just above half of Ko's score with a total of 250. This round provided a proper shake-up in scores, proving benefit of rounds varying from regular WPC styles.

Round 18: PIC
This round consisted of 22 puzzles across 11 innovative types. Most of the ideas were from the ones contributed to the Puzzle Innovations contest on LMI which got a total of 64 puzzle idea submissions. Of these, the winning ideas were:
1. Shards by Dan Adams (USA)
2. Largest Number by Anurag Sahay (India)
3. Maximal Archipelago by Ivan Koswara (Indonesia)
In addition to these there were some other great ideas among the submissions too which were used in the contest, like Grapevines by Dan, Falling Letters by Nikola Zivanovic, etc. There were some ideas organizers contributed to the round too, namely an adaptation of the popular Candy Crush game and an interesting and simple new style called Rassi Silai, which is Hindi for Rope Threading.

Ken Endo topped the round with a score of 785. The score could have been higher if not for an error on a high pointer which would have made for a huge leap compared to the other scores for the round. The next two best scores were both by unofficial competitors Hideaki and Anderson Wang, with scores of 690 and 650 respectively. The next best official score was 620 by Tomoya Kimura.

Round 19: Logidoku
This round was the fourth single puzzle-type round, and it was a mirror image of the 'Is It A Sudoku?' round at the WSC. We have covered the WSC round in the WSC report and believe the results there reflect that it was conducive to Sudoku solving. This round was just as important but in the opposite sense that WPC specialists should excel at the round. This proved to be the case with Hideaki Jo topping the round with a score of 290. Qiu Yanzhe was the best official competitor with a total of 260, while Michael Ley, another unofficial competitor, was close behind with a total of 250. Ulrich also had a decent showing here with a total of 235. Matus Demiger, author of Logidoku on LMI, scored 130.

Round 20: Puzzle Fusion
This round consisted of 8 puzzles across 4 types which had a common idea behind them. The round was based on puzzles that were variants of themselves, i.e., with the concept repeating in usage, thereby 'squaring' the puzzle type. This round was not finishable, and Ken Endo and Philipp Weiss topped the round with 235 each. Martin Merker was close behind with a total of 210.

Round 21: Broken Pieces
This round was a mechanical round where participants had to match a set of tiles in a certain way to get six sets of three out of the 18 tiles. The round proved to be the easiest one of the WPC. Even though it was just a 15-minute round, half the hall finished it! The fastest finishers were Neil Zussman, Bram de Laat and Pavol Kollar, all finishing with 10 minutes to spare, finishing the puzzle in under five minutes and ending up with scores of 210. Ken Endo barely finished the round, ending up with a score of 160 without any bonus, giving many solvers a chance to finish a round before him. :)

This round was also a great source of exercise for the organizers, with so many people around the hall finishing and needing a record of their bonus time!

Conclusion of WPC Individual Competition:

He may have faltered on the last round but Ken Endo just proved too dominant across the rounds, and emerged the 2017 World Puzzle Champion, with a total of 7655 points. Ulrich Voigt finished at 2nd place with a total of 6782, just a little bit above Kota Morinishi's 3rd place total of 6724. For Kota it capped a near perfect week, with one world title and a podium finish in another World Championship, which made him the clear winner of the All-Rounder award.

The top three A-50 solvers were Taro Arimatsu (1), David McNeill (2) and Michael Smit (3). The top three U-18 solvers were Walker Anderson (1), Pavol Kollar (2), and Kang Hyunmo (3). Tawan Sunathvanichkul of Thailand was the best debutant.

From left to right: Ulrich Voigt (2nd), Ken Endo (1st), Kota Morinishi (3rd).


The team competition rankings are decided with a combination of Team round scores and the sum of scores of the four participants from the team in the individual rounds. Here's how the team rounds went.

Round 7: Deception
This round had 16 puzzles which were all liars. They were grouped into sets of four where each puzzle lied in a different way and solvers had to determine the way each puzzle lied as part of the solving process. The round was finished with bonus by five teams. Among official teams, Japan finished with 11 minutes to go, topping the round with a total of 1840. USA were close behind with a total of 1760 while Team Slovakia finished with 1560 points. The two other teams to finish before time were both unofficial, Japan B and Team UN 3, composed of Michael Mosshammer and Eva Shuckhert from Austria, Vincent Bertrand from Belgium and Claudine Thiry from Luxembourg.

Round 8: Kashmir Carpet
This round consisted of variations which were thought up by Indian authors over the years, but with a twist: The decorations were separated from the givens and it was up to the teams to figure out the correlation before solving each variant. This round proved to be difficult for all teams. Team China topped the round with a score of 780 out of 1400. Team Japan didn't do so well in the round, and in fact fell well short of their own team B's total. Team USA had an impressive showing with a total of 655.

Round 15: Loop Pool
We wanted to have a weakest link round, but were aware of a lack of volunteers to execute live checking before getting to the team table, and we also wanted to have something different in terms of valuable information participants bring to the team table. These considerations inspired the idea to have a set of Instructionless puzzles whose rules combine at the team table.

To lessen the complexity, the base rule was that all puzzles had a loop visiting all cells, so that participants may build from there. There were separate points for individual tables and team tables but participants had to solve all puzzles to receive a bonus. The round had a higher points/minute ratio to account for the added effort to solve Instructionless puzzles. Unfortunately, none of the teams were able to finish the 20x20 combined loop at the team table, and the highest score was 1575, scored by Germany, USA, Slovakia as well as Japan B. Japan B beat their A team in this round, with Team Japan scoring 1420.

An interesting fact is that we originally had a 35x35 puzzle for the team table for this round and switched from that to a 10x10 and a 20x20. :)

Round 16: Sampler Platter
This round was a twist on the usual weakest link process too, in that it was an invert of strategy. Instead of solving at individual tables and combining after that, participants solved as a team to determine the sets to solve individually and send their solvers to the respective individual tables based on difficulty of the puzzles on that table. It was a round with live strategy.

Unfortunately, due to an error caused by a misplaced sheet on the wrong table, which was solved by a top team's player, we had to cancel the round and not consider any scores from it. In spite of this, we hope solvers enjoyed the inverted take on the weakest link concept.

Round 22: DWBH
This was a round which provided a different dimension to solving, making solve paths more dynamic by using scratchlabels to scratch out clue cells as well as correct solution cells. The idea was inspired by the Minesweeper computer game, and we designed the puzzles of the round to fit a similar dynamic solve path. The puzzles were made early, but this round had the most effort, since the scratch labels had to be cut and stuck individually on each cell.

Right from 15th October, the day before WSC, all the way to WPC Day 2, we had volunteers working on cutting and sticking scratch labels. Our volunteers and scratch-label-sticking-machine Ashish Kumar worked tirelessly to stick a total of 31046 labels on the sheets for the 43 teams. The checking room floor was a sight to behold, with small square paper bits spread around like confetti ;)

All the effort was worth it and this round was enjoyed by everyone and universally appreciated as an entirely new approach to solving.

Team USA had the best score on the round, with a 1335 out of a possible 1600. Team Japan finished with a total of 1130 which was equalled by team UK.

Round 23: Word Show
Just as it was in the WSC, our final round for the WPC was a clear choice. This round had 20 word puzzles where words had to be used from a combined word list. The word list was the participant list for the Championship, including guests and organizers.

Team Japan and Team UK topped the round with 1281 points apiece. Team France was close behind with a total of 1214.

Conclusion of WPC Team Competition:

Unlike the individual competition, the team title was a close race between team Japan and team USA. While team Japan had the eventual WPC Champion as well as 3rd place finisher on their team, team USA was evenly distributed with excellent solvers who were all in the top 12. Japan's team dynamic gave them the edge in the individual rounds with a total of 24429 to USA's 23303, but Team USA's dynamic helped them in the team rounds with a total of 7040 to Japan's 6571. This wasn't enough to overturn the individual round total though, and Japan won the title with a total of 31000 after 23 rounds and 334 puzzles. USA ended close behind them at 2nd place with a total of 30343, while team Germany finished 3rd with a total of 28664, more than 7000 points better than the next best official team, Slovakia.

Content availability:

The contents of the WPC are available on sale to Indian solvers at Rs. 1000 as a PDF collection. To find out more about the process of purchase, please send a mail to wspc2017@logicmastersindia.com.
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