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2017 U.S. Puzzle Championship - Rules

The official purpose of the championship is to recognize the top U.S. puzzle solvers, and to select some members of the U.S. Puzzle Team to participate in the 2017 World Puzzle Championship (Bangalore, India, October 15-22, 2017).

 

Unofficial participation is open to all puzzlers world-wide. Nationality is determined by citizenship, not residence.

 

Registration

Test Procedures

Scoring

Outside Help

Judging

Technical Support

Results and Winners

 

 

Registration

All contestants must register to participate in this online championship, and must login to submit answers. Contestants who registered anytime on or before April 15, 2017, should have received an email on April 15 with a reminder of the test schedule and their user name. Registration confirmation after that date includes similar schedule information. See the Privacy Policy regarding our use of registration and other information collected by this site.

 

Test Procedures

Prior to Friday, June 16, you may download the Practice Test, which uses the same formats and procedures as the official USPC test.

 


 

On Friday, June 16, one day prior to the USPC, you will download the encrypted USPC file to your local computer, and save it until you start the test.

 

You should also download the Preview Puzzle Instructions, containing the instructions for all of the puzzles on the test. Most instructions are accompanied by a sample puzzle and solution. This will give you a head-start for translation or any other reasonable preparation.

 


 

On Saturday, June 17, at 1pm (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-4), the test will start.

 

At this time, the decryption password (not your login password) will appear on the Password Page—click the [START THE USPC] link or button to get the Password Page, and refresh as needed until the password appears.

 

  • Go to the Start USPC page. After 1pm, the password will appear when the password page is refreshed, and your 2 1/2 hour test will begin.
  • Please note: to help reduce network traffic, please refrain from excessive refreshing of the password page.
  • You will have 2 1/2 hours to solve as many puzzles as you can and submit your answers via the Answer Page. Your submission time is recorded with your answers. After you submit an answer or answers, the confirmation page will show your timestamp and remind you to check your Timer. You may then return to the Answer Page to view your submitted answers, continue solving, and to submit additional answers.
  • For your convenience, a separate Timer Window is available to show the current server time, a countdown to test start, and a countdown to test end. The Timer is available from the right sidebar when you are using the "start", "password", or "answer" pages. This is a convenience, and not guaranteed to be accurate. You are personally responsible for submitting answers on time.

 

After 2 1/2 hours, the test period is over. In case of emergency or network lag, the Answer Page will continue to accept answer submissions; otherwise late answers are not scored. Please use the Timer to keep track of your time remaining.

 


 

Scoring

Your last Answer Page submission before the deadline will be time-stamped and scored. Your final score is the total of all points accumulated, including bonus.

  • The scoring for each puzzle is given at the top of the page. A correct answer will earn the number of points indicated (which is a rough, relative indication of the time expected to solve the puzzle).
  • Leaving an answer blank will score 0 points.
  • There is no penalty for incorrect answers, except for spot-the-differences and counting puzzles, as noted below.
  • For a spot-the-differences puzzle (#4 in 2016), you may identify up to 10 differences, and will score 1 point for each distinct correct difference found.  If any portion of your answer is incorrect you will receive a single penalty of -5 points, but will still receive points for the correct portions of your answer. If you find all of the differences, you will receive a 5 point bonus.
  • For a counting puzzle (#7 in 2016), your answer is a total count. If your answer is correct, you will receive the given points. If your answer is off by 1, you will receive 0 points. if your answer is off by 2 or more, you will receive a penalty of -5 points.
  • If you submit all answers completely and correctly, you will receive a bonus of 2.5 points per minute early (including fractional minutes).
  • All answer submissions must be made within the 2 1/2 hours time limit. Late submissions will not be scored.

 

Ranking and tie-breaking will be based on the following rules in order:

  1. Most total points
  2. Earliest final submission time

 

Outside Help

Outside solving help of any kind is not permitted. This includes but is not limited to: assistance of any kind from any other person; prepared notes, books, calculators, computers, or tools other than items explicitly permitted.

 

You are allowed to use writing implements, eraser, blank paper (including commercial graph paper), ruler, scissors, and tape.

 

Judging

All entries and scores are subject to review for rules compliance. USA winners may be asked provide a copy of their passport ID page to prove nationality, and to sign an affidavit confirming that they did, in fact, abide by the rules of the competition. The organizers reserve the right to disqualify any contestant if, in their sole judgment, they believe the rules have been violated.

 

In case of a dispute, protest, or other judgment, the decision of the judges is final.

 

Technical Support

The organizers do not expect any technical problems with the operation of championship. If you do encounter a problem that is likely causing trouble for many contestants, check the USPC 2017 home page. If you have a problem that is most likely affecting only you, you may call the test hotline number: (+1) 650-302-4898. Officials will not, however, answer any questions regarding the puzzles themselves.

 

Results and Winners

The solutions to the test puzzles will be published on or before Sunday, June 18.

 

The top five U.S. contestants will be notified within one day of test completion. Within two days, all contestants will receive an email summary of their test score, and will have a 1-day window to respond with any scoring protests. Results will be posted on this web site no later than Saturday, June 24.

 

There are two open positions for the USA Team (two spots reserved based on past WPC performance). First priority will go to any US citizen placing in the Top-10 of the WPF Puzzle Division A Grand Prix. The remaining positions will be filled based on the results of this test. The U.S. Puzzle Team will compete at the World Puzzle Championship in Bangalore, India, October 15-22.

 

Unofficial scores for participants from other countries will be posted at the same time as the USA scores, and may be forwarded to the corresponding WPC team organizer, upon request, for consideration. If there is no organized team for your country, you may be contacted regarding individual WPC participation.