The official purpose of the test is to select some members of the U.S. Sudoku team, to participate in the 2015 World Sudoku Championship (Sofia, Bulgaria, October. 11-15, 2015).
Prior to the official test, you are urged to try the Practice Test, which uses the same formats and procedures as the official qualifying test, including downloading, decryption, printing, answer submission, and answer resubmission.
On Saturday, Sept. 5, one day prior to the U.S. qualifying test, you will download TWO encrypted test files (Part 1 and Part 2) to your local computer, and save it until you start the test.
At this time, you can also download the Puzzle Instructions, which includes a sample puzzle and solution, point value, and a description of the answer key format for each puzzle. An "answer key" is the description of what you must enter into the Answer Page to demonstrate that you've solved the complete puzzle. This text will correspond to the two arrows shown next the puzzle grid.
On Sunday, Sept. 6, at 1pm EDT (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-4), the qualifying test will start. At this time, the decryption password for Part 1 (not your login password) will appear on the Password Page—click the [START THE USA TEST] link to get the Password Page, and refresh as needed until the password appears.
Please note: to help reduce network traffic, please refrain from refreshing the password page until the test starting time (note the server timestamp displayed on that page). However, you should test that your web browser will actually refresh the page when requested.
At 2pm EDT, the decryption password for Part 2 will be available on the same Password page; you will need to refresh the page for it to appear.
You must submit your answers for Part 1 and Part 2 on separate answer pages (both linked on the right-sidebar). All answers will be two selected rows or columns of the completed puzzle grid(s), separated by a comma or space. Your submission time is recorded with your answers. After you submit answers you can return to the answer page to see confirmation of your submitted answers, and to submit additional answers.
Please make sure that you've submitted answers for both Part 1 and Part 2. Answers for Part 1 may be submitted at any time before the end of the test, but the completion bonus is only available for answers submitted within the first hour.
At 3:30pm EDT, the qualifying test will end. 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 answers you can return to the Answer Page to view your submitted answers, continue solving, and to submit additional answers. It is not necessary to re-submit answers at the deadline if they are already recorded.
In case of emergency or network lag, the Answer Page will continue to accept answer submissions; otherwise late answers are not scored.
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. This is available from the right sidebar when you are using the "start", "password", or "answer" pages. This is a special convenience, and not guaranteed to be accurate. You are personally responsible for submitting answers on time.
Your last Answer Page submission for each part will be time-stamped and scored. Your final score is the total of all points accumulated for both parts, including bonus.
Ranking and tie-breaking will be based on the following rules in order:
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.
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.
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 Qualifying Test 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.
Solutions to the test puzzles will be posted no later than one day after the test.
The USA contestants with the top five unaudited scores will be notified within one day of the test. Within two days, all contestants will receive an email or online summary of their 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, Sept. 12.
There are three open positions for the USA Sudoku Team. First priority will go to any US citizen placing in the Top-10 of the WPF Sudoku Grand Prix (none for 2015). The remaining (3) positions will be filled based on the results the this qualifying test. The U.S. Sudoku Team will compete at the World Sudoku Championship in Sofia, Bulgaria, October 11-15.
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 WSC team organizer, upon request, for consideration. If there is no organized team for your country, you may be contacted regarding individual WSC participation.