Czech Republic and United States won the podium of the 1st World Sudoku Championship (WSC1), the puzzle event of the year organized by nonzero edizioni, together with the World Puzzle Federation and Lucca Tourist Board. These are the final rankings:
1°: Jana Tylova, 31, an accountant from the Czech Republic,
2°: Thomas Snyder, 26, a Harvard University graduate student,
3°: Wei-Hwa Huang, 30, a software engineer for internet search engine firm Google in California.
Fourth place for Tetsuya Nishio, Japan, puzzlemaster and creator of the “Killer Sudoku” published by The Times in London.
During the ending ceremony, which was held at the Ducal Palace in downtown Lucca, Ms Tylova was presented with her winner's trophy by Wayne Gould, the retired Hong Kong judge most recently known for helping to popularise Sudoku.
The three finalists brilliantly saw off competition to battle each other in the seven rounds of the Finals, tackling in the two-day event a total of 45 puzzle grids, from the classic 9x9 Sudoku to a range of 18 variations, including Diagonal Sudoku, Irregular Sudoku, Sum Sudoku, Toroidal Sudoku, Mechanical Sudoku, Combined Sudoku and Odd/Even Sudoku.
The nine finalist come from six Countries: two are from Czech Republic, the champion Jana Tylova and Robert Babilon; two from USA, second and third placed Thomas Snyder and Wei-Hwa Huang; two from Japan, Tetsuya Nishio and Shinichi Aoki. And one each from Hungary (Zoltan Horvath), Slovakia (Peter Hudak) Serbia and Montenegro (Nikola Zitanovic).
85 puzzle-solvers from 22 Countries took part in the two-day event in Lucca: Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, Philippines, Poland, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovakia, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, USA and Venezuela.
Almost 70% of contestants were under-30 and 16% were under-20. The youngest was 15-year old Roland Jago, Germany, and the oldest was 61-year old of Martino Nacca, Italy. Women made up around a third of the competitors.
"The Championship was a fantastic event and I’d like to thank all people involved", said WSC1 organiser and editorial director of nonzero edizioni, Riccardo Albini. "I’m particularly pleased for the compliments we received from puzzlers about the quality of the sudoku presented at WSC1: as puzzle lovers we couldn’t receive a better acknowledgment".