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My 1000th Daily coming soon...
puzzlescot
Kwon-Tom Obsessive
Puzzles: 1683
Best Total: 25m 45s
Posted - 2009.12.27 21:31:43
It appears that of the 1672 days since KTL 'started' on 30 May 2005, I have completed 994 of them within the time limit for them to be considered 'on time'. I shall be retiring after #1000 on 2nd January.

I have never used the flash solver, and am very pleased to have dipped under 30 minutes for the whole week on several occasions.

This site has been a fantastic assistance to my puzzle speed solving skills, which is essential for the many world-class puzzle tournaments (including 3xWPCs) I've taken part in.

These days, too many competitions are spoiled by the use of computer programs by some participants, but despite being a professional programmer by day, I am an honest puzzle purist, and believe (as does the WPF) that it is the person's logic skills, not programming skills, that should determine a puzzle contest winner. (Excepting, obviously, competitions that specifically say a computer can/should be used)

It seems a shame that some people do so, even here, sadly. It would benefit everyone if those people declared computer assistance, and established their own separate leader board from the honest people.

So, in advance of my departure, may I wish everyone a Happy New Year, and all the best for 2010.

Finally, many thanks to Foilman for providing this wonderful site that I have enjoyed playing for years now, and hope that our paths cross one day...

Happy puzzling!
Alan.
Tilps
Kwon-Tom Obsessive
Puzzles: 4174
Best Total: 20m 22s
Posted - 2009.12.28 00:33:48
Well that was certainly a mixed post.

I'm not certain who you think uses computer assistance for the daily puzzles (after all it would be so much simpler just to use 2 accounts to see the puzzles before you do them if all you care about is getting high placement on the leader board).  Certainly some people get amazing times, but personally I don't see them as impossible (although sub 30 second times on week days is pretty close!).  I strongly suspect that if I had better mouse skills I could easily join club 19 on a lucky week, and I'm no puzzle solving super genius (my wife is better...)

But anyway, happy new year.
pqg
Kwon-Tom Obsessive
Puzzles: 3837
Best Total: 15m 37s
Posted - 2009.12.28 17:11:05
You say you've never used the flash solver - this may be a key reason for you thinking some of the best times are implausible. Once you get used to it, much faster times are possible by filling in many lines at once with click and drag in the flash solver. Personally, I don't think I'd have made club19 without it...
Last edited by pqg - 2009.12.28 17:12:25
puzzlescot
Kwon-Tom Obsessive
Puzzles: 1683
Best Total: 25m 45s
Posted - 2009.12.29 00:14:42
Maybe I'm wrong about computer assistance, and yes I do appreciate the flash solver is much faster, possibly enabling a club-19 on a good week. I know very accurately how my puzzling skills compare to the best in the world, but some of the times posted here seem superhuman. I would love to see a YouTube video of someone solving a hard weekend puzzle in 2.5 minutes. It has been asked before, yet no-one has obliged.
If I could do it, I'd be proud of my abilities, and would do so.
pqg
Kwon-Tom Obsessive
Puzzles: 3837
Best Total: 15m 37s
Posted - 2009.12.29 02:59:42
Quote:
Originally Posted by puzzlescot
I know very accurately how my puzzling skills compare to the best in the world, but some of the times posted here seem superhuman. I would love to see a YouTube video of someone solving a hard weekend puzzle in 2.5 minutes.
Your first post suggests that you know very accurately how your puzzling skills compare to the best in the world at puzzle championships, but I would venture to suggest that many of the competitors there are generalists - good all-rounders that will be beaten by specialists in a single type of puzzle - exactly as you have experienced here.

For comparison, look at Minesweeper - a form of puzzle not too dissimilar to KwonTomLoop, but where the international community is somewhat more developed - all the best solvers in the world have been video-verified. Are their times so far ahead of your's that you feel the need to call them cheaters? Personally my minesweeper times are similar to my KwonTomLoop ones - pretty fast, but somewhere between 1.5 and 2 times as slow as the very best.

As for posting videos, it's a step that may come some day, as the community expands, but for now, you won't see any videos of a hard weekend puzzle done in 2.5 minutes for the simple reason that nobody has achieved that - those kind of times have only ever been gotten on relatively easy weekend puzzles - and even then only by ~3 people. (by the way, you can find videos of the SlitherLink WorldChampionship hosted by nikoli.com - the puzzles are large scale but pretty easy compared to KwonTomLoop - still, the winning times are reasonably impressive given the slower implementation)

(Incidentally, I reckon there must be a reasonable crossover between good KwonTomLoopers and good Minesweepers - any other good sweepers on here? I had 2/17/61 on Beg/Int/Exp before I pretty much gave up around 7 years ago - at the time that put me in the Top30 in the world - the standard has improved so much since it's now barely in the Top300!)
Last edited by pqg - 2009.12.29 03:02:14
MondSemmel
Kwon-Tom Obsessive
Puzzles: 3834
Best Total: 7m 47s
Posted - 2009.12.29 03:48:05
I've been meaning to post videos for a long time, but I always run into two problems:
1) Endless procrastination. The reason I'm so good at this puzzle is that a huge chunk of my time spent procrastinating is spent doing this specific puzzle type. As soon as I make any commitment to do basically anything, I start procrastinating - including on making videos here. Right now, I'm procrastinating on doing any studying for university whatsoever (I'm studying physics since this semester, winter vacation right now)...
2) I have no webcam. I tried using programs that just capture the screen data (i.e. those you use to make video game movies), but I'm just not experienced with them - I really wanted to capture mouse movements, but with my fps settings, the mouse was just jumping around - seeing me solve puzzles like that wouldn't be educational at all.

I've given up on trying to find solutions to the first problem, but if anyone can provide me with a good, comprehensive, step-by-step guide on making videos (like the one you requested), I might give it another shot. I'm good enough at these puzzles that people might learn a thing or two from videos.



On a more general note, I don't think this community is big/prestigious/whatever enough that anyone would benefit from cheating in it. And if they suddenly did, they would a) be found out (after all, the consistently best solvers here have been around for years) and b) have no reason to return regularly and solve more or less all daily puzzles.
As for me, it's really just as pqg says - you might be an incredible generalist at puzzle championships whereas I really only even do a very, very narrow subset of puzzles (essentially slither link and a few other puzzles at janko.at/Raetsel/ (website in German, tons of puzzles that can be solved online) - but I'm only this good at slither link). And it took me an eternity and a few extremely lucky weeks to get this fast - I apparently joined Club 19 in July of 2007 and then the flash solver appeared in 2008 and it still took me until November 2008 to join Club 9...
Last edited by MondSemmel - 2009.12.29 03:49:21
puzzlescot
Kwon-Tom Obsessive
Puzzles: 1683
Best Total: 25m 45s
Posted - 2009.12.30 12:07:53
@pqg: It is quite common to find that people who are good at one type of puzzle are good at another too.
eg, a regular UK team member David McNeill is the most consistent all-rounder we have, and is also easily the fastest Sudoku solver in the country. Also, an American, Wei-Hwa Huang, who posted the Google puzzle section for quite a while, and is a regular WPC podium finisher, is a wizard at 'Fences' (ie Loopy/Q-T Loop) puzzles with pencil/paper - so fast in fact, that he has a pencil in each hand, drawing simultaneously with both, because "I can't draw the lines as fast as I see them".

However, it is indeed possible to improve vastly on one genre of puzzle with lots of practice. Anyone who is excellent at one class of puzzle really should try other types - we need new blood at the WPC, and I think there's plenty here that could do well.

I'm roughly a factor of 1.5 to 2 in speed from the top 10, by the way, in pretty much any puzzle you can find - original or 'old'. It seems a lot, and I know I'll never rival these guys, but to put it in perspective, I (or most people) would be delighted to do a rubik cube, or minesweeper within double the world best times.

@MondSemmel: I am delighted to read your response - my faith is restored!

I did some scouting about, and found an excellent free screen video capture program that I've been experimenting with this morning: http://camstudio.org/

Download the camstudio20.exe, and run it to install.
I have it set up as:
Region -> (selected) Region
Options -> no audio
Options -> Video -> MSVideo1 (dft .avi); 60% quality; 25fps.
(less than 50% is too grainy)
After testing, set:
Options -> Program -> Hide Flashing Rectangle. (it's a bit distracting)

Files produced are about 100KB/s

To record, click the Red button, drag TL-BR over the area you want to watch, then recording starts immediately. Click square stop button to end recording and preview.

I'm really looking forward to seeing how pros do these so quick
puzzlescot
Kwon-Tom Obsessive
Puzzles: 1683
Best Total: 25m 45s
Posted - 2009.12.30 12:40:10
I've put a demo on Youtube, so you can see what it looks like there.. YouTube

(Might not be available immediately - this is the first vid I've posted, and not sure how long it takes)

edit: OK, I see the problem. Seems this BB doesn't preserve case in URLs, but it's important for Youtube, so either go to Youtube puzzlescot or search for KwonTom.
Last edited by puzzlescot - 2009.12.30 18:59:04
pqg
Kwon-Tom Obsessive
Puzzles: 3837
Best Total: 15m 37s
Posted - 2009.12.30 19:26:45
Quote:
Originally Posted by puzzlescot
@pqg: It is quite common to find that people who are good at one type of puzzle are good at another too...
I'm not disputing that, it's obviously true, but my point was that at the elite end of things (which were the times you were taking issue with), that doesn't mean the absolute BEST in one type of puzzle will be No.1 in others as well.

Also when you say you are slower "by a factor of 1.5 to 2 in speed from the top 10" on most puzzles do you mean from 10th place? If so, that doesn't seem too inconsistent with your KwonTom stats, so why the scepticism?

One final point re: the flash solver. Obviously, the fastest times are always achieved on easy puzzles - these are precisely the ones where the speed of the flash solver comes into its own, because large segments can be filled in on a single click and drag. I would guesstimate that while the flash solver might only save an accomplished user less than 10% of their time on a tough puzzle, that could rise above 40% on the easiest ones.
MondSemmel
Kwon-Tom Obsessive
Puzzles: 3834
Best Total: 7m 47s
Posted - 2009.12.30 21:23:20
Quote:
Originally Posted by puzzlescot
I've put a demo on Youtube, so you can see what it looks like there.. YouTube

(Might not be available immediately - this is the first vid I've posted, and not sure how long it takes)

edit: OK, I see the problem. Seems this BB doesn't preserve case in URLs, but it's important for Youtube, so either go to Youtube puzzlescot or search for KwonTom.

Please put that video in a seperate thread - there shouldn't be any solutions to weekly puzzles up in the forums. If you do want to discuss current weekly puzzles, there's a feature you can use when creating a new thread that prevents anyone who hasn't solved the puzzle to see its contents.

EDIT: I have now posted two videos - none as fast as my best times, but it's a start. I haven't done that many puzzles lately, but more importantly, the puzzles weren't particularly easy. The program for video capturing works fine, thanks.
Last edited by MondSemmel - 2009.12.30 23:03:17
Differ
Kwon-Tom Fan
Puzzles: 35
Posted - 2010.01.02 09:19:46
I think that the speed of solving a puzzle should not depend on restrictions like clicking speed or such; instead, the only factor should be a person's thinking speed. In that sense, the flash solver is a step toward a more "pure" puzzle.
astrokath
Kwon-Tom Obsessive
Puzzles: 3093
Best Total: 13m 42s
Posted - 2010.01.02 11:21:49
Puzzlescot, let me add myself to the list of the non-computer-assisted solvers. Seriously, getting a computer to solve a puzzle and then re-tracing the solution? That'd be SLOWER for me, as I'd have to switch my concentration from solution to puzzle board. Far faster to let my brainpower solve it as I go!

I seem to have peaked a little in my solving speeds, but I totally believe the times posted my MondSemmel, Brian and the rest of the 'big guns' are plausible. I *know* I could improve if I ditched my x's and let myself flow with the flash solver - even using it, I tend to click rather than trace. But I've got a toddler tugging at my legs most of the time these days, and that does throw the concentration off a bit and remove time for practise! These days, I only really get on the daily topspot for puzzles where I let my intuition do half the work - I can't really compete with the others on speed alone!!
puzzlescot
Kwon-Tom Obsessive
Puzzles: 1683
Best Total: 25m 45s
Posted - 2010.01.02 12:33:00
Now that I've read a proper discussion on this, and seen MondSemmel's videos, I completely and humbly retract my original allegations!

You guys are incredible!

I'd still like to see more vids, purely because I love seeing genius at work

That's my 1000th done now, and a tricky bugger it was to finish up.
I might pop by in the future, but I've got other business I need to concentrate on in my 'need a diversion' moments of each working day.

All the best!
foilman
Kwon-Tom Admin
Puzzles: 1718
Best Total: 24m 8s
Posted - 2010.01.04 09:24:51
Just got back after a week or two off and read this interesting discussion. Nice to see some videos starting to appear, I've always been interested in how the fast times are achieved. You might like to know that I do have a few checks in place which have caught a few cheats in the past - and internally the moves you make are logged so I can replay any suspiciously quick solves. There have been a few times where the solve started at one end of the loop and drew round the solution in one go - fairly obviously someone who has cheated!! Whereas the genuine really fast times often have mistakes made which are then corrected and other little things that demonstrate a real person behind them.

One day I may add the option to publish your logged moves for a puzzle so you can choose to show how you solved it if you wish. However (like Astrokath!) having a toddler running around (and another on the way) means I don't have as much time to work on this as I'd like.
foilman
Kwon-Tom Admin
Puzzles: 1718
Best Total: 24m 8s
Posted - 2010.01.04 09:59:49
PS Also, I've fixed the problem that forced URLs posted to lowercase. YouTube links should work fine now...
tkolar
Kwon-Tom Addict
Puzzles: 244
Best Total: 35m 21s
Posted - 2010.07.04 16:25:23
Quote:
Originally Posted by pqg
(Incidentally, I reckon there must be a reasonable crossover between good KwonTomLoopers and good Minesweepers - any other good sweepers on here? I had 2/17/61 on Beg/Int/Exp before I pretty much gave up around 7 years ago - at the time that put me in the Top30 in the world - the standard has improved so much since it's now barely in the Top300!)

To answer that, I'm Thomas Kolar, best Austrian and #11 worldwide with 2-12-41 (If you still read the guestbook, you probably know me as Tommy )

edit: Quote tags are cool, especially if you actually use them
Last edited by tkolar - 2010.07.07 14:59:51
jean
Kwon-Tom Obsessive
Puzzles: 2045
Best Total: 20m 50s
Posted - 2010.07.06 02:12:32
Meant to reply about Minesweeper when it first came up but never got around to it ...

I'm not a competitive Minesweeper.  I gave up looking my times long ago, being bored of it.  Instead, I decided on a new challenge - to solve a puzzle without marking any mines.  I use the left click exclusively.  My measure of success at the moment is percentage of puzzles solved - currently 14% on advanced.  I'd be interested in other people's percentages, given that some puzzles are impossible to solve using logic alone, and that there is a random chance factor as to where in the solving process you come across this element.

Yes, I'm a nerd.  Why do you ask?  I'm also the aformentioned wife of Tilps.
tkolar
Kwon-Tom Addict
Puzzles: 244
Best Total: 35m 21s
Posted - 2010.07.07 14:56:34
Hm, there are a couple of NFers (non-flaggers), but I don't know about anyone playing NF for consistency. You might find someone if you post on the guestbook though. I'm a very consistent player if I play for it (and get into the right zone), but I don't have stats about that at the moment.
octo
Kwon-Tom Fan
Puzzles: 31
Best Total: 1h 23m 9s
Posted - 2010.07.07 18:25:19
Yeah, most of the msinfo sweepers play for speed and not completion. Manu does have a pretty high completion rate, but he uses flags.

Also, I just came here recently through Tommy's link on the msinfo guestbook. My minesweeper times are 2/18/67.
EWQMinesweeper
Kwon-Tom Obsessive
Puzzles: 909
Best Total: 22m 56s
Posted - 2010.07.08 14:52:59
Hello everybody, this is my first post here so maybe i better introduce myself first.
Like tkolar and octo i am a minesweeper player (7th best ever with 1(1*6)+10(10*2)+40(40*2), 1st at 2009 UK Open minesweeper world championship and 3rd on the 2010 active ranking). Besides minesweeper, on which i already spend way too much time i enjoy playing nonosweeper (all time top 10 and top 5 among actives) and speedcubing (already down to 2-3 times the records of qqwref). ah, almost forgot that just 1 month ago some other minesweepers and i were playing this Game a lot. 2 years ago SquarO was quite popular among sweepers.

Though i have already some experience with slither link it is already 6 years since my last puzzles. might take a while until i'm able to compete here

about minesweeper:

Quote:
Originally Posted by jean
Meant to reply about Minesweeper when it first came up but never got around to it ...

My measure of success at the moment is percentage of puzzles solved - currently 14% on advanced.  I'd be interested in other people's percentages, given that some puzzles are impossible to solve using logic alone, and that there is a random chance factor as to where in the solving process you come across this element.

winning percentage is something that is imho not worth caring about, since a) not all patterns are solvable and b) you need to guess at the start. rather i would care for how many games per hour you can win. i've done 1000 beginner games in 2h20min, manu has done 1000 intermediate games in 11h11m and the record for the most expert games won in one day is 92, held by me. the last time i checked my winning percentage of 1 random minesweeper session it was around 0.4% for expert (disclaimer: it is not very easy for a top sweeper to find this stats, since we don't play vista minesweeper and our programs don't save blasts.)

happy sweeping

EWQMinesweeper
Last edited by EWQMinesweeper - 2010.07.08 14:53:25
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