Indian Puzzle Championship - 2017

Discussion Thread

Indian Puzzle Championship 2017
30th July
Quality Inn Sabari, T Nagar, Chennai


The Indian Puzzle Championship 2017 was conducted to select the team that will represent India at the World Puzzle Championship 2017 in Bangalore, India.

As part of the event, there were also two sub-events, the Puzzle Ramayan playoffs to reward and encourage inexperienced solvers, and the Pocket Puzzles Team Tournament to provide a fun alternative experience to the individual puzzle solving during the rest of the day.

Indian Puzzle Championship:

IPC 2017 was held at the end of the Puzzle Ramayan 2016-17 online rounds, which were used as a qualification process and also granted some base points to the solvers to start off with, giving some advantage to those who did well in the online rounds. IPC had 4 rounds, with a total solve time of 160 minutes, testing solvers on a wide variety of puzzles including grid based logic puzzles that are more common in the WPC as well as casual puzzles like “What’s next” or “Find the common pair” which casual puzzle solvers are more used to.

Round 1 – The Usual Suspects: This round had 8 puzzles which appeared in the Puzzle Ramayan online rounds, one from each of the 8 categories covered over the course of the rounds. The round duration was 40 minutes. Rohan Rao finished the round in 32 minutes but he was not the only finisher, with Rajesh Kumar finishing the round right at the end, with 0 bonus. Later on though, Rajesh noted a correction error that gave him points for a wrongly solved puzzle! While he ended up missing out on a perfect score, his honesty should be commended and is a great example of the fair-play seen at these events.

Rajesh Kumar practicing his new method of standing up in the midst of a round to solve faster, showing that he is both honest AND comedic... or strategic
Round 2 – The Other Guys: This round had 8 puzzles, one from each of the 8 categories covered over the course of the online rounds, that did not appear within the online rounds themselves. The round duration was 40 minutes. Here Rohan Rao had a great showing and finished with 13 minutes to go! Ashish finished with 2 minutes to spare but had a small error which means he got 0 points for that puzzle and just a partial bonus for the round, finishing with 381 points. No one else finished the round, though many solvers came close. This was enough to give Rohan a huge lead at the top.

Round 3 – The Big Short: To optimize scheduling, round 3 was solved after round 4 in competition but to preserve consistency with the puzzle sets, round 3 is covered first. This round had 7 puzzle types, two of each type, one smaller than the typical 10x10 size and one larger (roughly, 6x6 for the small one and 15x15 for the large one). The underlying theme of the round was that the large puzzles were easier in terms of logic. Some puzzle types achieved this very elegantly, most notably Path Plus and Shape Division. There were no finishers for this round. Rohan topped it with a score of 380 out of a possible 600, and Ashish was closest to Rohan in this round, with a total of 359.

Round 4 – The Hangover: This round had casual puzzle types and types which were a little different from the grid-based logic puzzles in the other 3 rounds. The scores were a little up and down for this round, and it was definitely not designed to be finish-able so it was no surprise that nobody finished the round. Even with the scores being up and down a little, the top scorer was still Rohan Rao with a total of 320 points. There were some surprises like Pranav Kamesh, usually a Sudoku specialist, equalling the score of 5-time IPC winner Rajesh Kumar, both finishing with a total of 175 for the round. What’s more surprising is that Pranav managed this after having a mistake in the Sudoku! It was also heartening to see no 0 scores in this round, it being a bit offbeat for WPC-style competitions.


Rohan Rao won his 5th Indian Puzzle Championship title with a dominating performance, topping all four rounds after having topped the online rounds too (seems familiar to Day 1!). Ashish Kumar finished in 2nd place, a career high and first time podium finish for him, and Rajesh Kumar finished in 3rd place to complete the podium. This podium is full of WSPC 2017 organizers, so the Indian A team is from 4th place onwards, i.e., Jayant Ameta, Kishore Kumar, Jaipal Reddy & Harmeet Singh. This is still a solid team, showing that India has some good bench strength even with a lot of the big names missing out due to organization duties.

Custom Trophies for the top 3

IPC winners: Rajesh(3), Rohan(1), Ashish(2)

India A 2017 – Jaipal, Jayant, Harmeet, Kishore

A big thanks to authors Bram de Laat, Nikola Zivanovic, Richard Stolk, Tawan Sunathvanichkul, Walker Anderson Dewey and Yuki Kawabe for providing the high quality Puzzles used in the event, and also to Tiit Vunk for test solving all the rounds and providing useful feedback.


Puzzle Ramayan Playoffs:

The Puzzle Ramayan concept is a mirroring of the Sudoku Mahabharat concept. The success of the latter in 2015 meant that starting up the former was the next logical step. As with SM, PR was started with a vision to provide a stepping stone to the players who are below the usual qualifiers, and encourage them to go further and become contenders for the team. There are strict eligibility criteria to achieve this end, and the top 3 is decided in a playoff contested based on the rankings in IPC among the eligible participants.

The PR Playoffs have two stages, first choosing the 3rd place contender from among the 3rd, 4th and 5th best eligible solvers from the IPC rankings and then holding another playoff to determine the top 3 rankings.

This year, the first stage was contested between R Varun (3), Devarajan D (4) and Anurag Sahay (5). Anurag raced to a quick start, finishing the first puzzle, a Masyu, comfortably before the other two participants, in spite of a 1-minute lag time at the start due to being the last starter in the playoff.

Unfortunately for him, he then stepped into a minefield; he submitted the second puzzle, a Minesweeper, 5 times and each time there was a mistake and the checker returned it to him. By the 5th incorrect submission, R Varun had finished his Minesweeper and advanced into the next stage.

Anurag (left) and checker Ezhilarasi

Devarajan (right) and checker Kishore

Varun (right) and checker Harmeet

Everyone else is watching as the playoff is in progress

In the second stage, the puzzles were Kakuro, Fence and Lakes. Indians may be familiar with the first two, although Fence is referred to as ‘Loop the loop’ on Times of India.

The Kakuro was intended to be the hardest puzzle of the playoffs, having a slightly narrow solving path, and it showed, with the solvers taking a good chunk of the playoff time on it. The puzzle even interested some other solvers in the audience to have a go, and thankfully we had some extra prints.

Varun started at 3rd with a 1-minute wait time, but he was the first to finish the Kakuro, which was surprising to everyone who had IPC runner-up Ashish seeded at 1 here as a clear favourite to run away with the playoff. Ashish finished soon after though and the next puzzle was his favourite and he dispatched the Fence quickly as expected, and made quick work of the Lakes puzzle too to win the playoff. Varun did add value to his strong Kakuro solve though, finishing 2nd ahead of 2-seed Lenson, who just couldn't get going and spent relatively too long on the Kakuro to make it up later.

While Ashish hasn't yet been on the A-team and won't get a chance this year too, the reason for this, i.e. that he is a WPC organizer, shows a very rapid progression. Winning the Puzzle Ramayan title for two consecutive years has definitely helped him progress and is a big part of the journey to being a runner-up at this year's IPC and he will hopefully be a strong addition to the Indian A-team in future years.

Varun proceeds steadily on the Fence

Lenson toils through the Kakuro

Checker Kishore watches Ashish solving

A crowd gathers to try the puzzles for themselves

Puzzle Ramayan top 3 trophies

Puzzle Ramayan Top 3


Pocket Puzzles Team Tournament:

PPTT is a knockout style team tournament which was tried out at an IPC event for the first time this year.

We decided on teams of 3 based on players' rankings from the IPC's Round 1, and allocated teams in such a way that the total of the rankings was roughly the same for all teams. The top 8 seeded players after IPC round 1 were made Team captains. Then came the solving itself and there was a system which had 3 1v1 matches within a team vs team match. Helping was allowed, with the understanding that one may lose their own match and point if they spend the initial time helping someone else.

We got very lucky and had exactly 24 participants making for 8 3-person teams. Round 1 had puzzles Star Battle, Two Circles and Tents. Round 1 results:

Team captains Rajesh and Jaipal feel the need to have an arm wrestling contest before they get to the puzzles

From Round 1, the teams went into the top half for places 1-4 and the bottom half for placed 5-8. For this round, the puzzles were One of Each, Fence and Shape Division, of which Shape Division was the hardest puzzle of the tournament. This was announced beforehand to provide an added element of strategy to the pre-match discussions. Round 2 results:

A look at all the teams cooperating and solving

The four finishing matches were set, one to decide 7th and 8th, another for 5th and 6th, another for 3rd and 4th and of course the match to decide the top two spots. For this round, the puzzles were Double Back, Kakuro and Lakes. Round 3 results:

Final standings

In general, the feedback was that this round was very enjoyable and more importantly, was an easy way to learn from the experts and see how they solve and get their direct help on some of the puzzles. Its nice to see that Team Harmeet, the 6-seeds ended up winning, against the 4-seeds Team Kishore, showing that such tournaments give a chance for anyone to win and put everyone on an equal footing. Here are some photos followed by a very short video of the event:

Match for 7th place

Match for 5th place

Match for 3rd place

Match for 1st place

Winning team posing with the puzzles

Pocket Puzzles!

A quick look at teams participating in PPTT

Day 2 conclusion:

Day 2 had 24 participants in total, up from the 21 in 2016. While other logic puzzles still take a backseat to Sudoku in India, it is good to see decent numbers of participants at these events competing and learning more about puzzle solving, and continuing to show interest in expanding their knowledge and exploring more within the logic puzzle spectrum. This event has been successful for two years running and we hope to continue it for many years to come. To the participants, please continue to participate in LMI Contests and become more and more involved in our Puzzle community.

Some participant feedback:
Sai Karthik Burra:

Both Sudoku & Puzzles in SM & PR are very nice. A Biggg Thank You to all the Authors of the contest. Organizing is at its best and the concept of Team Round for Puzzles is so much fun. Sharing the ideas with like minded people is always fun and a good learning experience as we wont get this opportunity as individuals. Again Thank You guys its a memorable event to cherish :)

Ramesh K Swarnakar:

Like the ISC and SM finals of 2017, this event too was wonderful and nicely organized. Puzzles in all rounds were interesting. Eventhough I missed many a things in round4 which I could have attempted fairly well, I thoroughly enjoyed the entire event. The team round was a wonderful concept put up by organizers. The kind of excitement and feeling of togetherness towards puzzle solving was great during this round. Overall, it was a great event and its experience is going to help everyone in larger way. I am looking forward to be part of 2018 events too. Thanks to everyone, authors and organizers, for giving us the opportunity to participate and meet India's best solvers.

To see more, visit the discussion thread for the tournament, here. Here's to seeing the competition as well as the camaraderie grow in future years!

Last edited by prasanna16391 @ 8/9/2017 12:30:01 AM.