Indian Sudoku Championship - 2017

Discussion Thread

Indian Sudoku Championship 2017
29th July
Quality Inn Sabari, T Nagar, Chennai


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

As part of the event, there were also two sub-events, the Sudoku Mahabharat playoffs to reward and encourage inexperienced solvers, and the Classic Sudoku Master tournament to provide a fun alternative experience to the usual exam-style system of Sudoku competitions.

Indian Sudoku Championship:

ISC 2017 was held at the end of the Sudoku Mahabharat 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. ISC had 4 rounds, with a total solve time of 170 minutes, testing solvers on Classic Sudoku, variant Sudokus, Samurai Sudokus and multi-linked Sudokus.

Round 1 – The Classic Begins: This round had 12 Classic Sudokus, to be solved in 35 minutes. The round was finished by just one solver, Rohan Rao, right at the end, getting a perfect score of 400 points.

Round 2 – Trip Down Memory Lane: This round had 8 Sudoku variants, one each from the variants in the 8 categories explored in the Sudoku Mahabharat online rounds. Rohan was the only finisher here again, with 2 minutes to spare this time, getting a score of 420 points. Solvers at 2nd/3rd place were closer to finishing this time than they were in Round 1, with Kishore Kumar scoring 365 and Rishi Puri scoring 363.

Round 3 – Battling the Samurais: This round had two Samurai (multiple overlapping Sudoku grids, typically 5) Sudokus, one entirely made of Classic grids and the other having four variant grids overlapping a middle Classic grid. This round turned out to be the most finish-able one of the day with Rohan finishing with 19 minutes to spare, Kishore with 14 and Rishi with 9. Even Pranav Kamesh and Gaurav Kumar Jain finished with 8 minutes and 3 minutes to spare respectively.

Round 4 – Octopus Link: This round had 8 interlinked Sudoku grids, with a simple linking constraint joining all 8 grids. Rohan finished this round with 2 minutes to spare, with Kishore and Rishi both finishing right at the end. While the linking was simple, the solving implications was intimidating for beginners with many low scores in the round. But with the partial marking, everyone had something basic to gain from the round.


Rohan Rao won his 5th Indian Sudoku Championship title with a dominating performance, topping all four rounds. The fact that he had topped the online rounds too only added to the lead at the top. Kishore Kumar and Rishi Puri completed the top 3, and young Pranav Kamesh finished at an impressive 4th place. Since Rohan is organizing the 2017 WSC, 5th place Jaipal completed the Indian team for the year, joining Kishore, Rishi and Pranav.

Custom Trophies for the top 3

ISC winners: Kishore(2), Rohan(1), Rishi(3)

India A 2017 – Kishore, Pranav, Rishi, Jaipal

A big thanks to authors Arvid Baars, Bram de Laat, Nikola Zivanovic, Richard Stolk, Salih Alan and Tawan Sunathvanichkul for providing the high quality Sudokus used in the event, and also to Jan Zverina for test solving all the rounds and providing useful feedback.

Sudoku Mahabharat Playoffs:

The Sudoku Mahabharat concept came to be in the year 2015 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 ISC among the eligible participants.

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

This year, the first stage was contested between Jayant Ameta (3), Shaheer Rahman (4) and Vishal (5). Jayant made the most of his time advantage being the top seed of the playoff and advanced to stage 2 where he would face Pranav Kamesh (!) and Hemant Kumar Malani (2).

Jayant (right) waiting during 30 second checking period

Shaheer (left) racing to close the gap on Jayant

Vishal (2nd from right) waits for Rajesh to check his solution while Jayant and Shaheer solve on

In the second stage, Jayant continued his impressive run and leap frogged Hemant but was not fast enough to catch Pranav who solidly held his advantage to win his first Sudoku Mahabharat title. There were some notable ups and downs in this playoff. Hemant finished the first Sudoku, a Classic, about 5 seconds before Pranav, which with the 30 second disadvantage equates to being 35 seconds faster. However, after this quick-fire start, he broke the second Sudoku, a Diagonal, and fell behind, and could not catch up on the third Sudoku, an Anti-Knight.

The final standings had Pranav at 1st, Jayant at 2nd and Hemant at 3rd. For Pranav, it may be his only SM title for a while since he just made the Indian A team, and participating in the WSC on the A team will mean he loses eligibility to the SM title for at least 10 years. But this just proves SM’s positive influence on potential future mainstays of the Indian team, and hopefully future winners also end up in the Indian A team as Pranav has done.

Pranav (left) solves while checker Rajesh waits idly

Hemant (left) solving as checker Rohan watches

Sudoku Mahabharat top 3 trophies

Sudoku Mahabharat Top 3


Classic Sudoku Master:

CSM is a 1v1 knockout style tournament, held as a recreational event after the ISC rounds. There are 5 minutes to solve a Classic Sudoku and the solver who solves first correctly defeats their opponent.

2016’s CSM tournament saw Kishore Kumar emerge victorious while Pranav Kamesh pulled off an upset by eliminating Rohan Rao in the quarter finals.

This year, there were 42 participants, so 10 qualifying matches needed to be held for ranks 23 to 42 to lead into the Round of 32. The results of the qualifiers are below.

While some of the top 32 did qualify into the round of 32, some of them were eliminated by the lower seeds, providing the unpredictability and excitement usually seen within this style of tournament. 40th seed Rashmi was the lowest seeded player going into the main rounds. Some highlights from the tournament are noted below:

Round of 32 saw a father (Jaipal) vs son (Kartik) match.
Father wins, for now

U-21 prize winner Hemant vs
A-50 prize winner Lakshmi

40th seed Rashmi advances to the Round of 32..

..but can’t get past 8th seed Shaheer Rahman

24th seed Anil upsets 9th seed Deepika before losing out to Shaheer, who seems to habitually knock out surprise victors..
Some epic matches have both players finishing very close to one another correctly.. This wasn’t one of them. This epic quarter final between Rajesh and Ashish saw one solver not finish at all, and the other solver finish wrong! Eventually though his solution was wrong, Ashish advanced (or, more appropriately, ‘escaped’) to the semis on number of correct cells

Videos were taken of the semi-finals and final. Watch those below:
Semi-Final 1
Semi-Final 2
The results from the Round of 32 onwards can be seen below:

Day 1 conclusion:

Day 1 had 43 participants in total. These events, just as much as the competition, are a chance to meet like-minded people and exchange thoughts and ideas that wouldn’t be possible elsewhere.

Participants of all ages gathered for a common interest and had a packed day of solving, competing, socializing and learning. In fact, there were participants in both A-50 and U-21 age categories who won a personalized Sudoku as a prize.

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 Sudoku community.

Some participant feedback:
Kishore Kumar:

That was a fun filled 2 days of sudokuing and puzzling at the Indian Sudoku and Puzzle Championships(ISC&IPC).Thanks to all authors for creating a set of absolutely brilliant , splendid and world class sudokus and puzzles and to organizers for running the event beautifully.I enjoyed a lot !

Ramesh K Swarnakar:

ISC 2017 along with the SM finals was an amazing experience. The whole bunch of Sudokus that appeared in Round1 to Round4 of ISC and then in Classic Sudoku Master were nicely crafted. Inspite of my poor performances in rounds 3 & 4, I feel the grids really tested solver's skill in all aspects. I enjoyed being part of the event especially the classic sudoku master event. Thanks to authors and organizers for offereing us such a wonderful event.

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 @ 1/4/2020 5:01:23 PM.