The World Sudoku Championship (WSC) is an international sudoku puzzle competition organized every year by a member of the World Puzzle Federation. 30 countries are members of the World Puzzle Federation, and the national teams from these countries participate in this competition. The puzzle competition typically consists of 100 or more puzzles that all the competitors solve in timed rounds. The puzzles include classic sudoku, sudoku variations, and other puzzle types that are played in rounds such as Relay Round, World Record, etc.
The World Sudoku Championship is all about the puzzle solvers competing to set a record for the fastest sudoku solution. While sudoku may be a mere recreation for some, it’s more than just a grid of numbers for others. Many solve sudoku puzzles religiously and aim to improve their skill and timing at solving different difficulty levels. Here are a few important lessons you can learn from the World Sudoku Championship:
Speed and Variety are Key Elements
The World Sudoku Championship players play a variety of sudoku puzzles with multiple skill levels ranging from easy to medium and hard. Sudoku is time-based, and each player competes for the fastest sudoku solution as the fastest solver wins the competition. This implies that speed and variety are the key elements in solving sudoku at the competition.
Solving a variety of puzzles based on different difficulty levels helps you to enhance your skills and speed. Moreover, it helps time your speed of solving the easy ones, the medium-difficulty ones, and the high-difficulty ones. If you compare the time taken in each difficulty level, you would know where you are lacking and which type of difficulty level you should work on.
Setting a World Record is the Goal
The goal of every player in the sudoku world championship is to set a new world record for being the fastest sudoku solver. In fact, the solvers compete to set a Guinness World Record for the fastest solution in the World Record round of the competition. The World Champion, Thomas Snyder, currently holds the Guinness World Record for the fastest solution. He is known to have taken less than 90 seconds to solve a ‘very easy’ skill level sudoku puzzle. Each year, players from different national teams compete to break records and make new ones for the fastest sudoku solution in the championships.
The Size of the Grid Makes a Difference
For a fact, the size of the sudoku grid makes a difference in the time one takes to solve the puzzle. For instance, if you are used to solving sudoku on a small grid made on paper, you may take more time solving the same on mobile or a computer screen.
The sudoku master, Thomas Snyder, won the first National Sudoku Championship in the US in 2007 by completing a series of three easy, medium, and puzzles in 9 minutes and 59 seconds. He was over 8 minutes faster than the other solvers. However, in the final round, Synder and other finalists had to solve the puzzles on 4×4 foot grids for the audience to watch, which posed a special challenge for them.
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Sudoku Puzzles need Methodical Solving
The American sudoku champion Snyder believes that a sudoku puzzle should be looked at with a strict and methodical thought process. Many puzzle solvers tend to focus only on a certain part of the grid until they solve a few squares. However, as per the sudoku master, you should look at the whole grid and search for opportunities to fill the squares with correct numbers. Methodically solving sudoku will give you a clearer picture of where you are making progress and where there is no progress.
Regular Practice Can Help You Win the Competition
Practicing sudoku every day increases your speed of solving the puzzles and stimulates your brain. Thomas Snyder solves sudoku every day first thing in the morning. He adds that solving sudoku in the morning works like coffee for his brain. His regular practice helps him stay calm during the competitions and solve the puzzles much faster than the other competitors. He believes that anyone can improve their sudoku skills through regular practice and adopting a methodical way of solving puzzles.
World Sudoku Championship Winners Over The Years
The most successful winner of the WSC is Kota Morinishi of Japan, who has won four individual titles in 2014, 2015, 2017, and 2018. The sudoku champions ranking in the second position are Thomas Snyder of the USA (2007, 2008, and 2011) and Jan Mrozowski of Poland (2009, 2010, and 2012), who have won three titles each. The WSC competition has been held for 13 years so far.
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Since 2007, the World Puzzle Federation also holds a team competition alongside the World Puzzle Championship. Japan is the most successful national team that has won this competition for five years in 2007, 2012, 2014, 2015, and 2018. The other successful teams are Czech Republic (2008, 2016), Germany (2010 and 2011), China (2013 and 2017), and Slovakia (2009).