April 27, 2009

Polish man wins Sudoku championship

A Polish man was named the top puzzle solver at the World Sudoku Championships in Slovakia, but some criticized the contest for having unclear rules.

Jan Mrozowski, 22, was named the winner after judges spent an hour deliberating a complaint from the Turkish team that the rules had not been explained properly before the final round, The Times of London reported Monday.

I don't yet know how I feel, Mrozowski said after besting contestants from 26 other countries. It's too soon. The last puzzle was very hard to work through logically, so I made a guess at one point. It was wrong, but I was able to go back and change it, and the answer became clear.

Sudoku generally involves a grid of 81 squares, some of which contain numbers 1-9. The object is to fill in the remaining boxes with single-digits while avoiding repeating numbers in a row, column or the nine interior 3-by-3 boxes.

Participants complained that some puzzles in the contest had several solutions, many grids were too difficult to solve by logic alone, rules were often unclear and the countdown to the final puzzle was read aloud as 6-4-5-3-2-1.

The ridiculousness of it has gone up another notch, said U.S. team member Thomas Snyder, who took home the top prize in 2008 and 2007 but failed to make the finals this year. It is like you've had a championship for basketball and then for the final you have a different sized ball, higher hoops and trampolines on your shoes. It's a crap shoot. Why don't we just line them up, give them a pack of cards, and let them play poker until they get a winner?