The Armchair Treasure Hunt Club’s annual Club Meeting

Oakham horseshoeThe above graphic is taken from the Armchair Treasure Hunt Club‘s web site, and this site very much hopes that they won’t mind its reproduction to promote their annual event – perhaps they might show a little Christmas spirit, in the spirit of the message central to the cartoon. (Hey, only four months and a day to go!)

The Armchair Treasure Hunt is a genre most famously exemplified by the 1979 book Masquerade, but people set new hunts every year. While none has caught the public attention in quite the same way, some are still high-concept and massive in scale; others are less ambitious and set for the entertainment of only a few dozen players. Some have clues to a physical prize to be recovered; others are purely virtual. The Armchair Treasure Hunt Club has a list of such hunts, and its members often host their own; the prizes might not be so massive, but you can rest assured that they have been composed with love by those very familiar with the genre, its common pitfalls and how to avoid them.

The club has an annual meeting which features an in-person one-day hunt. The invitation explains that Although we used to call them ‘meetings’ these events don’t have any formal ‘meeting’ part – they offer a chance to meet like-minded treasure hunters and swap ideas. But the heart of the events is a real outdoor hunt designed for teams of all ages. Members and non-members are equally welcome at these events. Accordingly, why not go along to the next one? It will happen on Saturday 13th September in Oakham here in the UK. Those who revel in minutiae of administrative subdivisions may know Oakham as the county town of the smallest historic county of England; to the rest of us, it’s in Leicestershire, in the East Midlands.

The event will start at 11am, your £22/player fee includes a carvery lunch and the whole enterprise is set to be done and dusted by 6 o’clock. To help set your expectations and decide whether the event is for you, the bottom of the invitations page has links to, near enough, twenty years’ worth of past hunts – plenty of evocative photos, many full descriptions of the hunts themselves. Stephen Miller of Pyro Puzzles writes that there can be expected to be teams wandering around Oakham before the hunt to familiarise themselves, then they’ll be given clues to get them going and exploring to find the answers. Then there’s usually a number of code breaking challenges which reveal cryptic clues to the location of the treasure, then it’s a mad dash to be the first with their hands on the prize. As the festivities start the night before, there may be some fuzzy heads in the morning, before the investigation and carvery lunch hopefully get people into gear for the afternoon’s hunt itself!

On a related topic, some reports are coming out from the International Puzzle Party in London at the start of the month: to name but four, Allard, Jerry, Kevin and Roxanne all convey senses of the fun they had. Allard and Roxanne also have gorgeous, must-read reports from Stephen Miller’s “Top Secret” in-person puzzle hunt from the start of the month, too. (This site also really enjoyed Allard mentioning that two teams of five IPP attendees also battled it out at HintHunt in London. Yep, there’s definitely a crossover interest between all the different puzzle hobbies!)

One of the highlights of the IPP is the Edward Hordern Puzzle Exchange, in which 100+ participants bring a copy of an unpublished mechanical puzzle for each other participant, and spend most of a day trying to ensure that they swap one-for-one with each other participant. (Then work out how they’re going to get 99 puzzles home, which sounds like an inside-out hip-hop song.)

Jerry specifies that contributions need not be the exchanger’s own design. He/she can commission or use someone else’s design (with permission of course). Out of the 99 puzzles that were exchanged at IPP34, almost 40 exchangers adopted somebody else’s design. (…) The exchanged puzzle must not have been previously in someone’s collection nor commercially available prior to the exchange. Another highlight is the Puzzle Party as such, surely the highest-end puzzle bring-and-buy sale in the world.

On the subject of rounding up recent events, last Friday saw the Mind Sports Olympiad‘s annual sudoku-and-Kenken competition, a 3½-hour paper with eight difficult examples of the two types to solve. Subject to confirmation, The Magpie‘s Mark Goodliffe may well have repeated his triumph in the contest from 2013. Next up: if you took part in the remote qualifying contest, which took place over 9th-13th June, perhaps you have been invited to the in-person finals of The Times Sudoku Championship, which happen on Saturday. Good luck if you have!

Hunts coming up

"A Stab In The Dark" logoWord reaches this site about a couple of interesting-looking games coming up in the UK at the start of October. It’s arguable whether or not they have as much overt mental focus as something like DASH or similar, but they involve going from location to location, finding clues and solving them. That gives them, near enough, the puzzle hunt nature and makes them relevant as far as this site is concerned. (More about some more very clearly hunt-y hunts coming up soon.)

A little over four months ago, this site covered A Door In A Wall, previewing their Diplomatic Corpse game that ran in London through May and early June. Happily, they’ve got another public game coming up in London: A Stab In The Dark, set in the world of 1970s schlock horror movies. “Adult situations, naughty words, squeezing into tight spaces and a lot of walking” are promised as you “(…) follow the clues, gather the evidence and catch ((murdered horror movie megastar Don Gowin’s)) killer“, so this is not one for the kids. Perhaps there might be something of the feel of the haunted house to it in parts; terror attractions are becoming bigger business in the UK these days.

Games start at 6pm on Wednesday to Sunday evenings from Friday 3rd October to Sunday 2nd November; teams of threeish-to-sixish (or register by yourself and join a team) should each bring comfy shoes, at least one video-capable smartphone per team, and senses of adventure. £30/player gets you 4½ hours of fun. (Alternatively, if you’re scared of the dark, matinee performances starting at midday at weekends are also available.) Already 12 of the 33 performances have sold out completely, mostly at weekends; this has to be a vote of confidence and shows the company has dedicated fans coming back from one game to the next, so don’t hang about.

If you’re closer to Cardiff than London, though, there’s a one-off game in the Welsh capital called Eye Spy 2 from 3pm to 6pm on Saturday 4th October. Again it’s a team game, involving “travelling between several locations, finding and solving clues, playing games and saving the world no less“, and again it specifies a lower age limit of 18. There is a requirement for good vision, hearing, some degree of cardiovascular fitness and mobility of extremities; running shoes and dark glasses are listed as essential basic spying equipment to set your expectations for quite a kinetic game. Smartphones and cameras (presumably cameraphones would count here) are also listed as being necessary per team.

This site isn’t familiar with the first game in the series, but the thinkARK group putting it on have plenty of past form, having hosted enticing-looking playARK festivals in Cardiff in recent years, and co-designer Julian Sykes’ blog also gives some hints as to the thinking behind the event. The booking page also has a video that may reveal even more still. There’s a limit of 75 players and tickets are about £16/player, cheaper if you book before 5pm on Tuesday. (Er, the event is almost completely sold out already, as it is, so again quick action is required.) Is there a secret agent in you?

As ever, you’ll find details of these events and all the others know to this site on the event calendar. Get your diary out!

World Puzzle and Sudoku Championships, London 2014: a personal opinion

"FIN" film stripThis will very probably be the last post this site makes as part of its London 2014 coverage. This site generally tries to keep its coverage relatively neutral and personality-free; this, unusually, is an opinion piece from one of the Exit Games UK authors.

It’s probably no surprise that people in the UK Puzzle Association started seriously kicking around the idea of bidding to host the World Puzzle and Sudoku Championships in the UK around the time of the 2011 event; the bid to host the event in 2014 was made, and accepted, as part of the 2012 championships. At the time, I was a dissenting voice. My opinion on the proposed bid ran as follows:

Bluntly, but completely honestly, I think 2014 is – at the very least – a year or two too early for the UKPA to be considering running the annual WPF tournaments. I get the impression that it’s going to be a huge process and will largely consume the efforts of the association for a year or two.

While the UKPA is so small, my preference would be to spend at least the next couple of years focusing on expanding our membership and getting a strong domestic puzzle scene going, so that we can build up really strong and enthusiastic resources before we take on the biggest project of them all.

I sent this by private message to the UKPA’s directors. It was clear that mine was a minority opinion, so I had my say once, left it at that, and drifted away from the UKPA, leaving them to do their own thing. They do it extremely well; I wrote a preview of the UK Open face-to-face puzzle and sudoku championships in March, and of their online UK Puzzle Championship, probably my single favourite long-form online puzzle contest each year, in May. I’ve given publicity to the UKPA’s activities where and when I can, without otherwise being involved.

After having attended the face-to-face UK Open events in 2012, I was convinced that, while the UKPA membership was small, it had sufficient talent to be able to run the world championships… barely. I would never have said that I thought they couldn’t do it, but I did think (but not say out loud) that, in practice, the organisation was so small that they couldn’t do it without driving themselves incapable through overwork, to the point of putting the organisation itself at risk.

The last two weeks show that, as it turns out, I was wrong. I acknowledge that and am delighted to have been proved wrong.

It’s likely that the team putting together the event was one of the smaller teams in recent years. It’s definitely true that there was an immense amount of work put in long before the event came to fruition, and very little sleep indeed was had by the people running the event while the week itself was in progress. I haven’t yet seen a great deal of long-form blogging about the event itself (though see Roland Voigt, Palmer Mebane and the Canada team) but the social media instant feedback I’ve seen has been extremely positive.

Accordingly, while there is not yet necessarily much primary source material to suggest how this year’s championships compared to previous years, the second-hand feedback implies that it was about as good as the event has yet been, and certainly at the very top end of expectations. I get the impression that the event was relatively low in terms of bells, whistles and miscellaneous “jazzmatazz”, but that the important bits were all present and correct. Certainly there were no broken puzzles, which is to the event’s massive credit.

While thanks and praise should be given to puzzle authors from around the world, for the puzzle-writing has been a global task for years now, as far as editing and testing are concerned, the buck stops with the local organising committee, and they did not disappoint in the least in that regard. Full spreadsheets have now been published with the World Sudoku Championship scores and World Puzzle Championship scores; while my preview may not have picked the winners, I’m adequately pleased with the extent to which I was there or thereabouts.

Many congratulations and great gratitude to the organisers and volunteers who put on the year’s event. Their hard work and excellent results have done the UK proud. Next year’s championships have been announced as taking place in Bulgaria; if you’ve enjoyed this site’s coverage of this year’s events, and think you might enjoy taking part in an event that will get covered in the same way around the world next year, start your practice now! Details of qualification for the 2015 UK teams will be published as soon as they are available.

August 2014 Dealwatch: coupons and discounts to play exit games for less

"50% discount" graphicOne of the best reasons to keep following this blog for news of new sites is that sites tend to be more likely to offer discounts immediately after they’ve opened than later on. (There is a school of thought that offering discounts too frequently will drive people to wait for the next discount to come along and delay their purchase; for instance, has anyone ever paid full price for a three-piece suite?) Here’s a quick run-through of the deals that this site could find that are still valid. (Ground rules: terms and conditions doubtless apply and this site takes no responsibility for deals that fall through for whatever reason. These are not exclusive in any shape or form.)

One hot new discount comes from Escape Glasgow, of the Dear Green Place, which is opening its first room either today or tomorrow. If you’re quick, there is a flash Wowcher deal active, but you need to book it by 23:59 this Friday night, so a little over two days away. Teams of 2-6 get to play for £24 rather than £60. Vouchers are only valid until 22nd November. (Supposedly 34 have gone already; it’s not clear if there’s a limit, but don’t hang around.)

Another new site, Escape Rooms of London, also have a deal going where a quick response is required. Until Sunday 24th, share a post they made on their Facebook on August 11th on your Facebook. If your share gets five “Like”s, take a screenshot and e-mail it to them for a 50% discount on your first game. Cunning plan! The post explains the details. (Edited to add: Additionally, Escape Rooms made a Groupon voucher available, and told this site about it before 10am one morning. When this site came to check out the details less than 12 hours later, the voucher was no longer available because all 100 vouchers had been bought. That’s fast. In fact, all 100 went within just four hours – but a few more are set to be released on each of the coming days, so look out and try to be in the right place at the right time.)

Bath Escape had a blog post last week relevant here; solve the riddle, e-mail the solution to them and follow them on social media for a 10% discount, refunded in cash in person. It’s not clear if there is a time limit for this offer.

It’s arguably a good sign that every other deal in last month’s Dealwatch seems to have expired or sold out and that the existing sites are selling out without offering discounts. You really do need to act quickly. Escap3d Dublin had a Groupon offer that started after the last Dealwatch and has already finished, which might point towards Dealwatch needing to become more frequent than monthly.

In the short term, or if you’re looking for deals outside the UK and Ireland, there are many reasons to commend the Intervirals weblog; Essa does a tremendous job at pointing out exit game special offers from around the world as they become available.


By Svilen.milev (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia CommonsDetails of all the award-winners from last week’s World Puzzle and Sudoku Championships have been posted:

2014 World Sudoku Championship

World Sudoku Champion
1) Kota Morinishi (JPN)

2) Tiit Vunk (EST)
3) Bastien Vial-Jaime (FRA) & Jakub Ondrousek (CZE)

World Sudoku Team Champions
1) Japan

2) Germany
3) China

World Junior Sudoku Champion (Under 18)
1) Dai Tantan (CHN)

2) Jin Ce (CHN)
3) Sun Cheran (CHN)

World Junior Sudoku Team Champions (Under 18)
1) China

2) Korea

World Senior Sudoku Champion (Over 50)
1) David McNeill (GBR)

2) Jiri Hrdina (CZE)
3) Stefano Forcolin (ITA)

Best WSC Newcomer
Dai Tantan (CHN)

2014 World Puzzle Championship

World Puzzle Champion
1) Ulrich Voigt (GER)

2) Palmer Mebane (USA)
3) Florian Kirch (GER)

World Puzzle Team Champions
1) Germany

2) Japan
3) USA

World Junior Puzzle Champion (Under 18)
1) Qiu Yangzhe (CHN)

2) Olivier Garconnet (FRA)
3) Mehmet Durmus (TUR)

World Junior Puzzle Team Champions (Under 18)

World Senior Puzzle Champion (Over 50)
1) Stefano Forcolin (ITA)

2) Jiri Hrdina (CZE)
3) Nick Baxter (USA)

Best WPC Newcomer
Yuki Kawabe (JPN)

Many congratulations all round! Computer power supply problems here, so further exciting things will have to wait for now.

(Image credit: By Svilen.milev, via Wikimedia Commons; mouseover the image for license details.)

“And STILL… undisputed championofthewooooooorld…”

Ulrich Voigt, ten-time World Puzzle ChampionThe photo above, taken by the Japan Puzzle Federation, is of Ulrich Voigt, shortly after winning third place in the World Puzzle Federation’s in-person final of their year-long GP competition. This was just a warm-up for him, preparing his defence of his individual title. The previous post saw him listed as number one seed going into the play-offs.

The quarter-final saw finishers numbers seven to ten compete over three puzzles, for a single spot in the semi-final, with the lower-ranked finishers suffering late starts relative to the seventh-placed finisher by way of a handicap to penalise them for their lower finish. Bram de Laat of the Netherlands started the quarter-final first, by virtue of his seventh place finish, Zoltan Horvath of Hungary started second for finishing eighth, Japan’s Kota Morinshi finished ninth and so started third, and the USA’s William Blatt started fourth, having being promoted to a tenth-place finish upon appeal. (Previous tenth-place finisher Roland Voigt responds very reasonably.) The first puzzle, a Slitherlink (a.k.a. Fences, Rundweg etc.) was probably the one that had the biggest impact in the quarter-final; Kota Morinshi overtook the two previous starters and never looked back, even after having to erase a big chunk of his third puzzle. Kota finished the quarter-final first to reach the semi-final, and the potential double championship remained on!

So, in the semi-final, Kota Morinshi started some time after sixth-placed finisher Peter Hudak of Slovakia, somewhat longer after fifth-placed finisher Hideaki Jo of Japan and even longer still after fourth-placed finisher Palmer Mebane of the USA. In Palmer’s own write-up, he talks about the five puzzles he faced. He points to an unusual technique that he used to crack the Suguru puzzle, on his way to defend his fourth-place finish and qualification for the final.

Palmer had a 4’20” penalty to make up, with third-place finisher Florian Kirch of Germany suffering a 3’40” hold and second-place finisher Ken Endo of Japan having to wait 2’49” until after first-placed qualifier Ulrich Voigt of Germany started his final. This was longer still at seven puzzles: in order, Battleships, Area 51, Kakuro, Nurikabe, Unequal Length Maze, Neighbours, and Masyu. Mebane spotted a quick constraint on the 3-length ships to make up much of the time disadvantage on the Battleships puzzle, and was fast on Area 51 and Kakuro despite a minute-long penalty for a wrong answer on the second and 30 seconds struggling with a false solution to the third. After catching up further on the Nurikabe, Palmer writes:

(…) Unequal Length Maze is a fiddly Erich Friedman type without a lot of logic in it. An odd choice for a playoffs. Apparently this one went really poorly for Ken Endo, leading to his eventual 4th. In contrast, I saw a way to include a path pattern I often see in the solutions for these and finished it in 15 seconds. I was rather incredulous at this, my invigilator David McNeill was moreso (…) and Josh Zucker from the USA B team said it was his favorite solve of the championship.

Palmer made up more time still on the tricky Neighbours and final Masyu, so had come back a long way from his 4’20” initial deficit. Not quite far enough, for Ulrich Voigt had finished 22 seconds earlier to claim his tenth world championship. (This is the first time he’d won three in a row, and the first WPC “threepeat” since Wei-Hwa Huang bowled a metaphorical turkey in 1997-1999.) Florian Kirch was also making up time, finishing within a minute as well to take the third step on the podium. Full results to follow shortly when available. Congratulations to all the play-off participants, and to the top-placed teams as well.

The whole concept of a play-off for the finals remains slightly controversial, though it has been well-established since 2000. There is scope for criticising the extent to which the results of the first two days of competition are, arguably, close to thrown out when the result of the handicapped fifteen round decide the overall result. It’s almost a made-for-TV finale before the event has started to attract TV coverage. There have been a variety of play-off formats used over the years; this year’s was relatively well-received, for making the headstarts relatively large while keeping the solving interesting. It’s interesting that Palmer Mebane fairly explicitly targets finishing first before the play-offs over finishing first in the play-off, and he’s not alone in that opinion. Nevertheless, there are no realistic signs of play-offs being removed from championship consideration in future years.

Stretching back to last century, perhaps American Gladiators is to blame?

Finals day at the World Puzzle Championships

Europe's "The Final Countdown" single coverTwo days down and one day to go at the World Puzzle Championships! Arguably today is the single biggest day in the world puzzling calendar.

Usual source Akıl Oyunları points to a scoreboard photo taken by Rejtvényfejtők Országos Egyesülete, which I believe is the Hungarian puzzle organisation. Germany are leading the team competition with a single round to go from Japan, by almost a thousand points. Germany B are in unofficial third place, but ineligible for the podium; in the official third place is the US team, but are only barely ahead of Slovakia in fourth place. There’s a long gap between the first two and third place – so, barring a remarkable disqualification from the final round, it’s practically head-to-head between Germany and Japan for the title. The fifteenth round, the final one before the individual play-offs, is a purely team contest:

This team round consists of three phases. The first two phases take place in one session, and the third and final phase takes place in a second session, with a break before it. In the first phase, which covers puzzles 1-4, each team will be seated at a table and will be asked to solve 4 separate paper puzzles. (…) In phase 2, which covers puzzles 5-7, the players move counters according to given rules in a series of steps. When the team are satisfied they have found the final position of each counter, they should mark the locations with the given stickers.

Bonus points will be awarded for teams who finish all 7 puzzles correctly in the allotted time, as
per the other team rounds. In addition, the first 8 A-teams to submit a correct set of solutions for both of the first two phases will qualify for the third and final phase. (…) Teams that successfully complete the final round will be awarded further bonus points according to their ranking position: 1st=2800 points, 2nd=2000 points, 3rd=1400 points, 4th=1000 points, 5th=700 points, 6th=500 points, 7th=350 points, 8th=250 points. In the final phase, the team players will themselves act as counters moving around a large grid on the floor, with each player playing the role of one of the four counters.

So Japan have a fair bit to do in order to catch up with Germany. If Japan complete the final round correctly and Germany don’t, that will be enough, but this seems unlikely. If Japan complete the first two phases more than three minutes more quickly than Germany, then they’ll be within 800 points of Germany and just need to win the third phase outright. However, if neither of these is true, barring a German meltdown, Japan will need to beat Germany in the third phase by at least two places to overtake them. Slovakia are within a couple of hundred points of the USA, so overtaking them to reach the podium looks like a distinct possibility.

The individual play-offs take place this afternoon, with the ten finalists being, in descending order of score:

  1. Ulrich Voigt, Germany
  2. Ken Endo, Japan
  3. Florian Kirch, Germany
  4. Palmer Mebane, USA
  5. Hideaki Jo, Japan
  6. Peter Hudak, Slovakia
  7. Bram de Laat, Netherlands
  8. Zoltan Horvath, Hungary
  9. Kota Morinshi, Japan
  10. Roland Voigt, Germany

The top-placed UK finisher was Neil Zussman, who missed the play-offs by fewer than fifty points when Roland Voigt overtook him to take the tenth spot in the last individual round. So close…

More later. This site doesn’t normally do multiple posts in a day, but finals day is an exception!

Friends in high places

Letter from Buckingham PalaceOne of the star guest attractions at the World Puzzle Championship is the above letter, sent in response to a letter informing Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II of the event’s existence. Probably most of the event attendees have their own photos of the framed letter; credit Akıl Oyunları for that particular photo, that does well at avoiding the glare of reflection from the frame. (Unusually for this web site, click on it for a closer look.)

Akıl Oyunları also takes the credit for recent photos of the World Puzzle Championship scoreboards after five rounds: the team scoreboard has the German team narrowly overtaking the Japanese team after round five (and the USA team being fought hard by the German B team) though there has been some nip-and-tuck in the battle between them, and the individual scoreboard shows Germany’s Ulrich Voigt starting to pull away from the field.

For further live updates, keep following Akıl Oyunları’s Facebook page and perhaps also the German-language “Live from London” thread on the Logic Masters Germany page. The Canadian puzzle team weblog is being frequently updated as well, as is Palmer Mebane‘s weblog. On Twitter, English-language discussion was tagged #worldsudoku for the world sudoku championship and is being tagged #worldpuzzle for the world puzzle championship. If you know of other sources, please post them in the comments below.

The in-person final of the World Puzzle Federation’s GP competition was last night. The “Live from London” thread referred to above had the play-by-play and the Japan Puzzle Federation have a photo of the scoreboard. It must have been great fun to watch the scoreboard be updated in real time, let alone watching the competitors solve the problems. Congratulations to Hideaki Jo and Kota Morinshi of Japan for overcoming their slight time penalty, arising from performance in the online rounds, to take first and second ahead of Germany’s Ulrich Voigt.

In exit game news too exciting to wait, Escape Quest is a site under construction, expected to open in November in Macclesfield, Cheshire. The site has a gorgeous little trailer video that’s rather fun. You can sign up in advance, with an opening discount promised, and a little impudence and investigation (for would you expect less?) reveals an address, so there can be a pin in the map. This site wishes Escape Quest well and looks forward to reading more from them!

Sudoku’s coming home

sudoku japanese script logoThe history of sudoku is a long story – or, at least, a long-distance story.

Magic squares date back to China and were generalised by the great Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler. A hundred years ago, French newspapers published some puzzles that bear very considerable similarities to sudoku, if you squint. The birth and infancy of sudoku as they are generally known today is ascribed to Howard Garns, and it’s certainly true that there have been “Number Place” puzzles in Dell Pencil Puzzles and Word Games magazine since 1979. However, the puzzle only really grew up after it started being featured in the great Japanese puzzle company Nikoli’s monthly communications from 1984. Taking the analogy further, New Zealand’s Wayne Gould adopted the puzzle and introduced it back to the English-language mass market, starting with The Times of London in 2004. It has spread around the world from there.

Nevertheless, it’s probably fair to say that sudoku is largely considered a Japanese puzzle; certainly one of its Japanese names has broadly stuck, rightly or wrongly. This is the sense in which the ninth World Sudoku Championship represents something of a homecoming, for the individiual winner was Kota Morinishi of Japan, the first time the competition has been won by a Japanese solver. (Kota had finished second for each of the last thee years, so this does not come as a big surprise.) The individual results have been posted and the Independent has a report with a little colour about the play-offs. The team results will surely follow very soon.

Clearly Kota is in hot form and will be looking to do the double when the World Puzzle Championships start tomorrow, also in Croydon. Kota finished eighth in last year’s WPC, but also finished fourth in the World Puzzle Federation’s Puzzle GP series held over the year, so he’s definitely got a chance. Nobody has done the double before, though; the closest anybody has come is Dr. Thomas Snyder of Grandmaster Puzzles. Dr. Snyder won the World Sudoku Championship in 2007, 2008 and 2011, and finished second in the World Puzzle Championship in 2007 (and third in 2011). You have to imagine that Kota will be there or thereabouts in the puzzle championship, though there are a great many strong contenders trying to keep him from the title, not least his Japanese teammates.

Nevertheless, this site chooses to consider it a good sign for its prediction of Japan to win only its second ever team championship…

((Edited to add:)) While they’re not up on the web site yet, someone has posted a photo of the top of the team scoreboard. Congratulations to Japan for winning the team competition, by a narrow margin from Germany and China. As well as no individual ever having done the sudoku-and-puzzle double, no country has ever done it yet either – at least, until now!

The World Sudoku Championship is in progress

World Sudoku CHampionshipDay one of the World Sudoku Championship has seen a great degree of mass media coverage. The Independent on Sunday previewed the event, the Telegraph also previewed the event on the Sunday and then carried early event coverage on Monday, with a great many fun quotes from competitors. The event even made the 6pm national BBC radio news broadcast – skip to 27’35” to 29’39”.

The Guardian also had a piece, relaying gloom from the British team. (I did particularly like one of the readers’ comments, though, and suspect I may steal it to use heavily over the next ten years: I went to a sudoku championship once, but it was only to make up the numbers.) Further afield, Le Monde were very charming about the event, in French, and I would bet that the Chinese media covered the event heavily as well, for they are the favourites. The volunteers are busy marking papers, but some coverage from day 1 has been published.

I also enjoyed this witty comment on Twitter: Croydon hosts World Sudoku Champs. What will the legacy be? Will a generation be inspired? No 9-storey 9-room towers of dedicated infrastructure required, but more people trying out for the UK sudoku and puzzle teams next year than this year would be a great result.