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NZ Sudoku Championships

NZ Sudoku Championships to innovate with vaki puzzles and electronic scoring

The inaugural New Zealand sudoku championships to be held in Thames over the weekend of March 1-2 will be a little different from state and national championships held elsewhere in the world.

This will be the first time the sudoku variant, vaki puzzles, have featured in competitive play. “Vaki puzzles were developed in New Zealand so it is fitting that they form part of the New Zealand championship” says championship organiser and secretary of the New Zealand Puzzle Association, Bob Gandal.

Vaki puzzles are like sudoku in that every symbol must occur once in every row and once in every column. Unlike sudoku, each cell in the completed grid contains two symbols (most often a letter and a number), a pair, and each pair only occurs once in a correctly solved puzzle. “Competitors have taken to vaki puzzles” says Mr Gandal. “They have been able to practice online at the website.”

Puzzlers can book their place in the finals anytime as online qualification has commenced at Contestants have forty-five minutes to solve as many puzzles as possible, with the best scores achieved in four sudoku and two vaki puzzles being added together to provide an overall score. Eleven year old Alphaeus Ang from Liston College in West Auckland, the highest ranked under twelve chess player in the country, remains as top qualifier for the championships.

Electronic scoring is the second innovation on display at the New Zealand sudoku championships. “Sometimes the most interesting parts of competition in the UK and USA are the fierce dead parrot arguments put forward by contestants who, after handing a puzzle up to the judges, decide that they would much prefer the 7 in row three column four was a 3” says Mr Gandal.

“We will take the opportunity to further test the world’s hardest logic puzzle, vaki kal-toh, at this championship”, says Mr Gandal. “Kal-toh is a Vulcan puzzle imagined by the creators of Star Trek but never made real. We have some ideas and will be bringing simple and not so simple versions of vaki kal-toh to Thames. The simple version has been solved just once by a computer geek in the UK. There will be chocolate fish for solvers in Thames.”

The sudoku championships are part of the NZ Festival of Mind Sports taking place in Thames from February 28 to March 2nd. This will include the NZ Mind Sports championship, a separate competition.

NZ sudoku championship: website


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