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Monday, November 28, 2016

Blackjack Hitori

Earlier this year, I posted about Nibbl, a puzzle solving and publishing mobile platform where users can solve hand-crafted puzzles created by some of the top puzzlers of the world.

As a series of packs (or 'Collections' on Nibbl), I've published my first set called 'Blackjack Hitori'. Its contents are:

4x4 Hitori - 1 puzzle
5x5 Hitori - 1 puzzle
6x6 Hitori - 1 puzzle
7x7 Hitori - 1 puzzle
8x8 Hitori - 5 puzzles
9x9 Hitori - 5 puzzles
10x10 Hitori - 7 puzzles

I tried to create these with varying difficulty levels and as many different types of solving paths as possible. Hopefully, with some pleasant themes in some of them :-)

If you enjoy solving Hitori puzzles, or want to try your hand on a few, you can purchase this from Nibbl and solve it on your phone at leisure!

Currently, the collection with these 21 puzzles is priced at 99 Nbls (little less than $1). Not only can you solve them, but you can also see the solution path set by the author to help you understand the flow of the solution. Maybe some of you can learn some tricks with it too.

You'll find it in the Collections section in Nibbl. These are not published as individual puzzles, so, you can only solve them from the whole collection.

You can also check out some interesting collections by fellow Nibbl authors. Rob Vollmert's Star Battle and Prasanna Seshadri's Tapa collections are worth a shot.

For those of you who aren't on Nibbl yet, you can download the app from Apple Store or Google Play Store.

Feel free to use my referral code for some bonus credits: ROHA3286

Hope you enjoy the set!

I plan to publish similar packs like these in the months to come. A Sudoku collection will be published next month, so watch out for it.

Special thanks to Dan Adams, Rob Vollmert and Prasanna Seshadri for testing the puzzles.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

World Puzzle Championship 2016

The 25th World Puzzle Championship (WPC) was held on 20th - 22nd Oct, 2016 in Senec, Slovakia.

View Championship Page

Indian Team

The Indian team was selected from the Indian Puzzle Championship 2016 (IPC). We had two complete teams this year.

The A-Team is same as last year's.

Similar to my WSC experience, I didn't have too much preparation or expectation this year. As a team, we were hoping to get into a single digit rank, which we missed last year with our 10th place.

Similar to my WSC experience, puzzles were fantastic all around. Some beautiful themes and well-crafted puzzles.

The Indian team performed well this year. Prasanna improved on his (and India's best individual rank) by finishing 18th (one better than last year's 19th), which is also his fourth consecutive finish in the Top-25. It is quite creditable considering no other Indian has ever crossed the 25th mark.

I finished 28th, which is my best WPC rank ever! Yoohoo! 8yrs later, when I'm old and on the verge of quitting, comes my best performance. Haha, well, it certainly felt good but I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to cross the 25th mark.

I made a single digit error in two high-pointers, one of which was the Full Scrabble. Had I got that Scrabble right, it would be the first WPC round I'd have convincingly finished (ignoring the single puzzle rounds). Well... maybe some other time.

Amit finished 39th and Swaroop, a disappointing 72nd.

We finished 10th in the team standing, equalling our best team rank last year. Missed single digit yet again.

The unofficial players: Rakesh did well in 69th, Ashish in 108th, Rajesh in 119th, Kishore in 133rd and Jaipal in 151st.

Prasanna has been in tremendous form in the GPs, but had an average WPC this year.
He's doing well in elections too! (Yes, he got elected as a board member in the World Puzzle Federation, but more on that later)

Last year, we saw Ken Endo (Japan) pip Ulrich Voigt (Germany) in the playoffs. This year Ulrich pipped Endo to take his 11th WPC title. Absolutely incredible, and he still continues to be on top after all these years.

Endo had a huge lead in the preliminary rounds, over Ulrich and Palmer. Scoring 1000+ points over Ulrich is truly a great achievement. It felt like the start of Endo's domination after his string of magnificent performances in online contests throughout the year. But it was not to be...

I missed the playoffs due to a Machine Learning hackathon I was competing in, but Endo unfortunately fell to third, with Palmer finishing 2nd.

View Complete Results

Puzzle GP
I've loved the GPs and its high-quality puzzles, and I've shared most of my thoughts on my WSC blogpost.

This was the first time I competed in Puzzle GP, only because I really enjoy the Casual-type puzzles. After the first two rounds, it was evident there wasn't much competition here (well, the Competitive section is what really matters), but I thought I'll go ahead and compete for the Casual winner.

And I won! There were no playoffs for the Casual section, but the Competitive section playoffs was quite entertaining.

Endo raced through the puzzles for an easy win, but it was a fight to the finish for 2nd and 3rd, with 7 of the 10 players on the last puzzle. Ulrich finished 2nd, just 3 seconds before Will Blatt (USA).

View Casual GP Results
View Competitive GP Results
View General GP Results

Kudos to Matus Demiger, Matej Uher, Peter Hudak and the entire Slovak team for hosting this wonderful event. It was excellently organised and a lot of fun! Thanks a lot!

There were far too many Kropki puzzles (ask Przemyslaw about it), but well, every team have their preferences.

Next Year
Slovakia have set the bar high, and the Indian team will be hosting all you wonderful people next year during the same week (15th - 22nd Oct, 2017) in Bengaluru, India. I look forward to it as much as many of you, and hope it is a successful and enjoyable WPC.

Feel free to write to me: in case of any help/queries/questions regarding next year's event. We'll have our webpage out soon, and the LMI forum is always available and active for other discussions!

And now, back to boring non-puzzle life :-|

P.S. Read about my WSC experience.