The eighth annual UK Puzzle Championship takes place this weekend. It’s an online contest with no charge for participation. You have two and a half hours to solve the language-neutral culture-free logic puzzles in the test. This year there are 36 puzzles in the test; 9 styles of puzzle appear twice with different levels of difficulty, the other 18 puzzles appear once each. There are some number puzzles and others are styles you might recognise from some newspapers. Others still might be new to you unless you’ve gone looking for puzzles on the Internet already, or taken part in previous competitions; a few may well still be new to you even if this is far from your first such puzzle contest. The instruction booklet is already available from the official competition page – and, if there were any clarifications, they’d be on the discussion thread on the forum.
It’s a pleasant development that newspapers seem to be including more interesting puzzles these days; you may well recognise some of the puzzle styles in the championship from newspapers. If you know that you enjoy those, there’s a good chance that you’ll enjoy the less familiar ones. There are plenty of places to find examples of most of the puzzle styles to practice beforehand, though you’ll need to do some digging, and sometimes let automatic translators take the strain. Start your search at the janko.at puzzle site, or at Croco-Puzzle. You can play a variety of logic puzzles using Simon Tatham’s Portable Puzzle Collection, which is available on many major operating systems for both computers and phones. The “Logic Games – Time Killers” app is available for iOS and Android as well.
If you finish in the top two places (excluding those who have qualified already at the live event earlier in the year…) among UK solvers then you become eligible to represent the country as part of the national team in the 27th World Puzzle Championship. This year it’ll be taking place in early November in Prague, along with the World Sudoku Championship. The UK team finished a superb fifth out of 19 official national teams in the World Puzzle Championship last year and sixth out of 23 in the World Sudoku Championship, so you’ll need to be extremely strong to compete on a global stage.
You can start the two and a half hours that you have to take on the puzzles whenever you like after midday (UK time) on Friday 22nd June, but you must get your responses in by 2:25am on Tuesday 26th – so Monday evening is the latest time that you can start. You’ll need to register for an account at the UK Puzzle Association site, and download a file with an encrypted version of the puzzles from the contest page. You’ll get the password to open the puzzle file when you choose to start your clock.
This contest traditionally aims to cater not just for world-class solvers but for ones of much more modest ability as well, with the inclusion of relatively accessible puzzles as well as tougher examples of the same types meaning that there’s something for many different puzzles. Only the very best in the world will be able to solve all the puzzles within the time limit and not too many will come close, but there’s plenty to get your teeth into even if you only manage to crack a handful of puzzles in the time allowed. Several UK-based escape room enthusiasts have taken part in the past and enjoyed it. Whatever your level, if this sounds like your sort of fun in theory, it comes highly recommended in practice!
Four weeks ago, this site previewed the UK Puzzle Championship taking place that weekend. The results have been published and this site congratulates everyone who is happy with their result.
The biggest congratulations of all go to James McGowan, the 2015 (and, overall, four-time!) UK champion; the UK podium exactly matched the one from the previous year, with all three performances proving extremely competitive in global terms. The number of UK participants on the scoreboard was a little down, from 20, 22, 23 and 25 in recent years to 20 this year. Good to see four first-timers taking part this year; the slight drop in numbers might be attributed to some of the regulars having to miss a year. (We’re down to six ever-presents now…)
In fact, we can continue to update a year-on-year chart of UKPC performances, in the style of Tim Peeters’ charts:
|Neil Zussman|| ||2||1||2||2||1||4|
|David McNeill||2||3|| || || ||2||2|
|Steve Barge||3|| ||3||5|| ||3||3|
|Thomas Powell|| ||12||5||7||4||4||4|
|Adam Dewbery|| ||13|| ||4|| ||4||2|
|Ronald||4|| || || || ||4||1|
|Paul Redman||5|| || || || ||5||1|
|Nick Gardner|| ||10||6|| || ||6||2|
|Adam Bissett|| || ||13||6|| ||6||2|
|Saul Glasman|| || || || ||6||6||1|
|Nick Deller||10||7|| ||15||11||7||4|
|Eva Myers||14||7|| ||16||12||7||4|
|Mark Goodliffe||7|| ||13||13||15||7||4|
|AJ Moore|| || ||9||7||19||7||3|
|Ben Neumann|| || || || ||8||8||1|
|Chris M. Dickson||10||18||19||22||17||10||5|
|Paul Slater|| || || ||13||10||10||2|
|Gareth Moore||16|| ||11|| ||13||11||2|
|Chris Nash|| || ||11|| || ||11||1|
|Heather Golding|| || || ||12|| ||12||1|
|tom1235||13|| || || || ||13||1|
|Anthea McMillan|| || ||15||17||14||14||3|
|Liane Robinson||15||14|| || || ||14||2|
|Timothy Luffingham|| ||14|| || || ||14||1|
|Kenneth Wilshire||18||20||16||21|| ||16||4|
|Robin Walters|| ||17||18|| ||16||16||3|
|Sam Boden|| ||16||17||19|| ||16||3|
|Abigial See||17|| || || || ||17||1|
|Alison Scott|| || || ||18|| ||18||1|
|Chris Harrison|| || || || ||18||18||1|
|blueingreen||19|| || || || ||19||1|
|quixote|| ||19|| || || ||19||1|
|Andrew Brown||20|| ||21|| || ||20||2|
|Laurence May|| ||20|| || || ||20||1|
|United Kingdom|| || ||20|| || ||20||1|
|David Cook|| || || ||20|| ||20||1|
|Jonathan Wilson|| || || || ||20||20||1|
|Eilidh McKemmie|| ||22|| || || ||22||1|
|Gary Male|| || ||22|| || ||22||1|
|River Edis-Smith|| || ||23|| || ||23||1|
|Daniel Cohen|| || || ||23|| ||23||1|
|Abdul Hadi Khan|| || || ||24|| ||24||1|
|shirehorse1|| || || ||25|| ||25||1|
Errors and omissions excepted and corrections are welcome; note that this site declines to split places between players on equal scores on the “time left” tie-breaker. Many thanks to everyone who has been involved with setting the puzzles or organising the contest over the years, especially serial compiler Liane Robinson.
There’s one online puzzle contest taking place this weekend: the eighth and final round of the World Puzzle Federation’s Sudoku Grand Prix. The instruction booklet for the 1½-hour round is available – coincidentally, also set by UK organisers! – and the puzzles will be available to solve until Monday evening.
Next weekend, the UK Puzzle Association will be holding its annual UK Puzzle Championship. This takes place online, it’s free to enter and it’s open to everyone in the world. You should enter.
Clear yourself a 2½ hour window at a time of your choosing between noon on Friday 26th June and 2am on Tuesday 30th June. (Both times are quoted as British Summer Time; you can start at any point up to 11:30pm on Monday 29th June, so you have 3½ days.) During that time, you aim to score as many points as possible by solving the 28 puzzles, submitting your answers on a web form as you go.
The puzzles are a mixture of logic puzzles, arithmetic puzzles and word puzzles. Go to the contest page and download the instruction booklet which tells you what sorts of puzzles that there are on offer this year. Maybe you can find ways to practice some of them, or puzzles like the ones in the contest, but some are original and working out how to solve them is part of the fun.
There are plenty of online puzzle contests in the calendar; however, the UK Puzzle Championship has been my favourite or second favourite of the year for several years running. It’s deliberately accessible, so as many people as possible can enjoy the thrill of proving to themselves that they really can solve puzzles that looked impossible at first. Normally I finish about three or four places from the bottom (which used to be good when there were only half a dozen UK entrants at the start, but these days there are something like two dozen, so it’s rather less good) but even so I have had a great deal of fun along the way – and you can too, no matter how little you rate your own puzzle solving skills.
Why does your country need you? Well, the UK Puzzle Association uses this as a qualifying tournament for its team at the World Puzzle Championship, which this year will be held in Sofia in Bulgaria in mid-October. Last year’s event was in Croydon here in the UK; this site covered the event extensively. Opportunities to represent your country in meaningful global competition come rarely; puzzle fans, there are no better ones!
Two weeks ago, this site previewed the UK Puzzle Championship taking place that weekend, then reviewed UK performances in puzzle contests. The results are published and this site congratulates everyone who is happy with their result.
The biggest congratulations of all go to James McGowan, the 2014 UK champion, who matched Neil Zussman’s achievement in 2013 of being not just the UK champion but also the top global scorer; Neil finished second in the UK this year, with Tom Collyer getting a UKPC personal-best third place. The number of UK participants on the scoreboard also continued its annual increase, with 25 troubling the scorer this year as opposed to 20, 22 and 23 in the previous years.
In fact, we can produce a year-on-year chart of UKPC performances, in the style of Tim Peeters’ charts:
|Neil Zussman|| ||2||1||2||1||3|
|David McNeill||2||3|| || ||2||2|
|Steve Barge||3|| ||3||5||3||3|
|Adam Dewbery|| ||13|| ||4||4||2|
|Ronald||4|| || || ||4||1|
|Paul Redman||5|| || || ||5||1|
|Nick Gardner|| ||10||6|| ||6||2|
|Adam Bissett|| || ||13||6||6||2|
|Nick Deller||10||7|| ||15||7||3|
|Eva Myers||14||7|| ||16||7||3|
|AJ Moore|| || ||9||7||7||2|
|Mark Goodliffe||7|| ||13||13||7||3|
|Chris M. Dickson||10||18||19||22||10||4|
|Gareth Moore||16|| ||11|| ||11||2|
|Chris Nash|| || ||11|| ||11||1|
|Heather Golding|| || || ||12||12||1|
|tom1235||13|| || || ||13||1|
|Paul Slater|| || || ||13||13||1|
|Liane Robinson||15||14|| || ||14||2|
|Timothy Luffingham|| ||14|| || ||14||1|
|Anthea McMillan|| || ||15||17||15||2|
|Sam Boden|| ||16||17||19||16||3|
|Robin Walters|| ||17||18|| ||17||2|
|Abigial See||17|| || || ||17||1|
|Alison Scott|| || || ||18||18||1|
|blueingreen||19|| || || ||19||1|
|quixote|| ||19|| || ||19||1|
|Andrew Brown||20|| ||21|| ||20||2|
|Laurence May|| ||20|| || ||20||1|
|United Kingdom|| || ||20|| ||20||1|
|David Cook|| || || ||20||20||1|
|Eilidh McKemmie|| ||22|| || ||22||1|
|Gary Male|| || ||22|| ||22||1|
|River Edis-Smith|| || ||23|| ||23||1|
|Daniel Cohen|| || || ||23||23||1|
|Abdul Hadi Khan|| || || ||24||24||1|
|shirehorse1|| || || ||25||25||1|
Errors and omissions excepted and corrections are welcome; note that I decline to split places between players on equal scores on the “time left” tie-breaker. Many thanks to everyone who has been involved with setting the puzzles or organising the contest over the years!
There’s one online puzzle contest taking place this weekend: the sixth round of the World Puzzle Federation’s Sudoku Grand Prix. The instruction booklet for the 1½-hour Bulgarian round is available and the puzzles will be available to solve until Monday evening.