The WPF Puzzle Grand Prix 2016 is here! After successful editions in 2014 and 2015, the 2016 edition consists of eight rounds held across the first seven months.
The top-10 finalists will be invited for the GP playoffs during WPC 2016 (Slovakia).
The format has changed a bit this year, with the contest having two sections. A Competitive section which is the main section on which the toppers will be decided, and a Casual section, comprising of more 'culture-neutral', non-grid based puzzles, geared towards leisure solvers. Its very unlikely competitors will be able to participate in both sections, so, I guess most players need to choose one.
I think I'm better at the 'Casual' sort of puzzles, and hence, will be competing only in that section.
There has been some discussions regarding the new scoring system for the GPs. Historically, normalization of scores for a championship consisting of various rounds has worked well due to the unreliability of having similar rounds in terms of scores and difficulty.
The GPs did use normalization in the previous editions, and it was universally accepted.
I'm not convinced there was a need to go ahead without normalization this year, so it remains to see whether or not it will work. You can find some pros/cons being discussed about the new scoring system on the GP Forum.
Being part of the organizing team of Sudoku Mahabharat / Puzzle Ramayan (which are very similar to the structure of GPs), we had to change the scoring system during this year's rounds, due to the inconsistencies without normalization. So, I'm not particularly in favour of dealing with raw scores.
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Round 6: Serbia (10th - 13th Jun, 2016)
As the competition is getting heated up, I was fairly comfortable with the puzzles in this round. Enjoyed the set and managed to finish all but one puzzle (Weights).
Before this round, I was leading with ~ 25points over Adam Bissett and ~ 50 points over Yuhei Kusui. Ironically, all three of us scored the exact same points: 344, in this round, keeping the standings the same.
It now boils down to the last two rounds to decide the winner.
I was afraid that I barely managed to score 200 points in this hugely big 500+ pointer round. But it seems like it was too hard and everyone struggled.
The concept of Escape The Grand Prix is really nice, but not suitable for a time-contrained online puzzle round. This is easily going to be the discarded round for most of the top players.
Kudos to Randy Rogers for scoring 254 points, and Sinchai Rungsangrattanakul for scoring 242, way above the rest of the lot, while I scored just 205. Which is my poorest round so far.
An easy set here. Managed to finish all and score full points, thus keeping my lead intact.
Nice puzzles too.
The four rounds so far have been worth 293, 402, 420 and 259 points. What in the world is the logic of not having normalization. That is the biggest failure of this year's GPs.
What an amazing set of puzzles. Just wow! This is the best set of puzzles I've solved in a long time... each and every one of them is a beauty.
The Instructionless Machine puzzles... exceptionally interesting and well-made. I think it was the sheer fun of the round that made me perform so well. I topped with 420 points, scoring over 100 points more than everyone else, except Jarett Prouse who scored 382.
Which means, I'm back in the top-3.
Round 2: Slovakia (19th - 22nd Feb, 2016)
Bad round. Lost time on the scrabble puzzles and wasn't able to complete them at the end.
Scored 283 points which is bad compared to the highest being 402. Hopefully, this could be one of my discards.
With no normalization, we have two rounds, one worth 293 points and the other worth 402 points. I just don't get it.
Round 1: India (22nd - 25th Jan, 2016)
It was a spur of the moment decision to participate in this round, since, being authored by Indians, I just assumed I couldn't compete. But Prasanna informed me that I was the test-solver only for the Competitive section and I could, in fact, participate in the Casual. And I did.
I finished 4th with 262 points. The highest score was 275 points by Adam Bissett of UK. Not a bad start.
The puzzles were excellent. The Buttons and the Number Series really got me scratching my head for a long time, and ultimately ended up missing out on two Number Series and a minor error in Shape Count.
Its quite funny that considering normalization is not being used this year, you'd expect the rounds to at least be similar in terms of points. The Competitive section was worth 697 points while the Casual section was worth 293 points. So, I have no clue where this is going. Lets hope its not too bad.