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Indian Sudoku Championship 2012

The Indian Sudoku Championship 2012, organised by Logic Masters India (LMI), in association with Times Of India, was held in July, 2012. Participation is free of cost and everyone is invited to participate in the event irrespective of age. There are no prerequisites/requirements for participation. Top competitors will represent India at the World Sudoku Championship 2012 which will be held in Croatia in October, 2012.

There were regional rounds in four different cities and the top four contestants from each city qualify for the national finals.

1st July, 2012: Bengaluru Regional Round
Good to see 1000+ participants.

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1. Jaipal Reddy
2. Rakesh Rai
3. Asha Siddaiah
4. Rajesh Kumar

Congrats to the top 4 who qualify for the national finals.
Jaipal and Asha are my WSC 2010 team-mates, Rakesh is an IPC 2012 finalist and Rajesh, one of the most experienced Indian at the World Championships.

8th July, 2012: Chennai Regional Round
Again good to have 1000+ participants.

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1. Sumit Bothra
2. R Thejesvini
3. Raman Garimella
4. Zalak Ghetia

Congrats to the top 4 who qualify for the national finals.
Sumit is my WSC 2011 team-mate. Nice to see Raman back. Its also good to see 2 females among the top 4.

14th July, 2012: Delhi Regional Round
Good to have 1000+ participants.

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1. Ritesh Gupta
2. Himani Shah
3. Akash Doulani
4. Saroj Kumar Sahu

Congrats to the top 4 who qualify for the national finals.
Ritesh, a three-time national champion, is my WSC 2009 and WSC 2010 team-mate. Nice to see Himani back after a break. Akash is an ISC 2011 finalist. Good to have another new face, Saroj Kumar Sahu.

15th July, 2012: Mumbai Regional Round
This was leading to be the toughest of the four rounds. And without doubt, it was. 1000+ participants again, but many good players and previous finalists present.

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1. Rohan Rao
2. Gaurav Korde
3. Dr. Omkar Hendre
4. Himanshu Mittal

Congrats to Gaurav, Omkar and Himanshu.

Due to the big pool of possible players who could make it to the top 4, it was important to do well in both the rounds. I finished the Classic round in 16mins, but after Gaurav, who finished in 14mins. I had to beat Gaurav by at least 2mins in the Variants round. I finished the Variants in 9mins whereas Gaurav took 18mins.

Gaurav and me had a good lead over the rest. Good performance by Omkar and Himanshu to make it. Manoj Arora, who stood 5th with an impressive result, missed the top 4 due to a silly mistake. Tejal Phatak, who stood 7th, being the best female performer, also missed the top 4 due to swapping of two digits.

Competition was tough, and one way or another, there had to be good players who would not qualify.

22nd July, 2012: Indian Sudoku Championship Finals
The top 16 who qualified for the national finals, battled it out for a place in the top 4.

Unlike last year where many good players could not make it to the finals, this was one that was looking to be a tough competition.

Round 1: Sprint
16 sudokus, all 6x6, classic and variants, 25 minutes. It was good start since I was the first to finish with 6 minutes left on the clock. Gaurav came in 2nd with 3 minutes left. It surely helps to start on a high when defending your title :-)

(Results were announced at the end)
Unfortunately, I made a grave mistake in one of the sudokus, and lost 30 (+60 bonus) points, a total of 90 points. Gaurav scored 280, Ritesh 250 and I, 220.

Round 2: Classics
8 Sudokus of varying difficulty, 40 minutes. I finished first again with 12 minutes on the clock. Gaurav and Sumit were close behind with 11 minutes.

Round 3: Mix
This was the make-or-break round for most players. 8 variants, 60 minutes, and 650 points. The biggest round. I was certainly disappointed in not being able to finish all sudokus with ample time in hand. I managed to shade the odd-even cells in Parity, but I kept going wrong while solving it.
Well, ironically, everyone had a bad round. Gaurav could have taken a lead but made an error in Outside, thus, pulling him down further.

Round 4: Surprise
The rules of this round was given right before the round began. Beautiful sudoku. Perfectly executed, and exceptional feedback from all players. It was just the perfect round to end the championship.
4D Sudoku: Place the 36 cells in the grid such that every row/column and 2x3 box contains each number, each alphabet, each colour and each shape exactly once.

A mechanical round which was certainly well planned and implemented. 13 of the 15 finalists managed to finish it within time, with Sumit being the fastest, 30 seconds before me.

Final Results

1. Rohan Rao (Mumbai) - 1548
2. Sumit Bothra (Kolkata) - 1475
3. Gaurav Korde (Mumbai) - 1420
4. Rakesh Rai (Chennai) - 1354

Complete Results

I won my 3rd ISC title on a trot (equaled Ritesh's hat-trick of 2007-2008-2009). I also won my 3rd IPC-ISC double. I'm happy to have won my 6th title in a row, and hope to do well at the World Sudoku Championship 2012, Croatia.

Thanks to Times Of India and Logic Masters India for organising this championship on such a huge scale. Great sudokus as usual by Amit and Deb.

Personally, this was the team I had predicted when ISC started, so I'm glad it turned out to be right as I believe we have the best four sudoku solvers of the country and we hope to improve India's performance this year.

NOTE: I will be regularly updating my blog about puzzles and championships, and will be actively participating in forum activities, but I'm taking a (much-needed) break from solving in a competitive mode.

June 2012 Sudoku Test