Board Meeting: Monday, 16 October 2017

Attended by: Will Shortz (Chairman), Hans Eendebak (Treasurer), Gareth Moore (Board Member) and Prasanna Seshadri (Director)


Sudoku Description

Issue: Should the WPF define what a Sudoku is for purposes of WPF competitions?

Decision: The Board finalized a plan to appoint a panel to prepare Sudoku guidelines. Volunteers will be invited at the open General Assembly (GA). The panel should have three to five members, with a leader responsible for mediating the discussion and following a deadline set by the Board. They must submit a proposal by the end of March 2018. The Board will discuss it. If it is accepted, it will serve as a guide for future WSC hosts and as rules for the Sudoku Grand Prix (GP) beginning in 2019.

Tangential discussion: While discussing the composition of Sudokus in competitions, there was a discussion about 0 scores in the WSC and whether the WSC should be more accessible to less expert solvers.

Scoring Software

Issue: The WPF has paid a third party to create scoring software, which was used in 2016 at the World Sudoku and Puzzle Championships (WSPC) in Slovakia. Afterward the software stopped working, and the programmer has been unresponsive even after repeated efforts from Vitezslav and Prasanna.

Decision: Hans said that since the WPF paid for the software, we should get either the source code for it or a refund. If we get the source code, we can ask someone within the puzzle community to help fix the software and improve it. As the programmer is in the Czech Republic, which is hosting the 2018 WSPC, it was suggested that the 2018 WSPC hosts might be able to help.

Puzzle GP 2018

Issue: How can the WPF encourage casual solvers to participate in the Puzzle GP, with puzzles that are simple enough to entice them, while still challenging the more expert solvers?

Decision: The Puzzle GP should have one set of puzzles, with rankings for different categories of solvers. The puzzle difficulties should range from very easy with simple rules to the more difficult WPC-level puzzles. The requirement to include very easy puzzles in the GP, and to follow the submission deadlines set by the Puzzle GP Director, should be strictly adhered to. If not, the WPF reserves the right to forgo payment for the round and/or remove the authors’ names from the GP booklets. This plan is to be discussed with the Puzzle GP Director, Wei-Hwa Huang, before finalizing it.

Proposals for the future: There was discussion about exploring a rolling ratings system, as practiced by Logic Masters India, for the GP. This would encourage solvers to compete and climb in the ratings. The playoffs would still exist but as a separate final for the year. The big concern was that this might provide added incentive for participants to cheat. Measures to prevent cheating were discussed. Since these changes can all be implemented only with changes to the GP website, Karel Tesar will be added to this discussion at a later date.

Archive Access

Issue: Should new members receive unrestricted access to the WPF puzzle archive, as they currently do? That seems unfair to members who have paid annual dues for many years.

Decision: The Board decided to propose at the GA that a new Personal Member get access only for the years he or she is a member. After five years of steady membership the person would get full access.

Board Voting

Since there were three candidates for three open positions on the WPF Board, the Board decided on pro forma voting on them, in the hope that the decision would be quick and unanimous.


Open General Assembly: Thursday, 19 October 2017

Supervised and hosted by: Will Shortz (Chairman), Hans Eendebak (Treasurer), Gareth Moore (Board Member) and Prasanna Seshadri (Director)



Will introduced the Board members and the Director and announced the agenda. Prasanna delivered the financial report. Will announced that the WPF membership fee will remain at 400 Euros.

“What Is a Sudoku?” Panel

Will announced the Board’s decision to appoint a panel to discuss Sudoku guidelines, and he asked for volunteers. Arvid Baars of the Netherlands, Wei-Hwa Huang of USA, George Wang of China, and Matus Demiger of Slovakia volunteered. The panel was made official.

The panel was asked to prepare an interim report by the end of January, with a final report by the end of March. The panel's proposal will be published on the WPF Forum, with feedback invited from members, before the Board decides whether or not to accept it.

Board Candidates

Background: There were three open positions on the WPF Board. Vitezslav Koudelka and Hans Eendebak had reached the ends of their terms, and Prasanna had vacated his spot earlier in the year to take the position of WPF Director.

There were three candidates for the positions: Haijun Zhang of China, Yuhei Kusui of Japan, and Zoran Tanasic of Serbia. Zoran was not well, so it was agreed that he would make his presentation at the Members GA the next day. The other two candidates delivered their speeches here.

Speeches: Haijun kept his speech short. He introduced himself and his work in China, said he would like to contribute more to the WPF, and thanked everyone for their time.

Yuhei said he is an active solver who has participated in multiple WSPCs, making him a good person to represent the players’ perspectives. He said that having another Asian on the Board would be an appropriate representation of Asia’s growth within the WPF, and that at 32 years of age, he could represent the perspective of younger solvers. Finally, his experience at a management consulting company, and as the Japanese representative to the World Curling Federation, would help him give back to the puzzle community for the opportunities he has been given by the WPF.

WSPC 2018 Venue and Website

Jan Zverina of the Czech Republic gave a presentation with details of the next World Championship. The venue will be the Hotel International Prague. The official website is http://wscwpc2018.cz/, where the details of the event are already displayed. The HALAS league, which organizes the Sudokucup and other events in the Czech Republic, will provide the puzzles and be responsible for the event.

WSC WPC 2019 Bid

Isabelle Gall made a presentation offering to host the 2019 WSPC in Kirchheim, Germany.

Closed WSPC Websites

Prasanna noted that some past WSPC websites have become inactive following their respective championships, and the information on them has been lost. Prasanna proposed putting more content from past championships on the WPF website. He asked for hosts to work with him to do this. Meanwhile, inactive links will be removed from the WPF site.

Trophies at WSPC

George Wang of China requested that a trophy be presented for the team competition winners at the WSC and WPC, because visually the media coverage is better with trophies than with medals. Will noted that the choice of prizes is up to the hosts, but that future hosts should take this view into consideration.

Future Year Hosts

Will opened the floor for expressions of interest to host the WSPCs in 2020 and beyond. George Wang mentioned that China is considering an offer for Shanghai in 2020. For a later year Will mentioned the possibility of a joint USA/Canadian WSPC, to be held in Canada, with puzzles provided by the USA.


Scheduling & format: Jan Novotny discussed problems with the scheduling of the GPs in 2017, with cancellations and rescheduling, making it difficult for players to participate.

Will explained proposals from the Board to help alleviate these problems. The Puzzle GP will consist of one set of puzzles, which would lessen the burden on authors. This would then make it reasonable for the WPF to impose stricter deadlines on authors and set repercussions if the deadlines are not met.

Will explained further that each set would still test different skill levels and categories at once, rather than doing this through different puzzle sets.

Normalization: Jan Novotny then went on to ask about normalization in the GP and said that scoring without normalization seems unfair.

Wei-Hwa said that because the number of puzzles is different for each GP, it was sometimes easier/harder to get points in a normalization system. So the decision was made to remove the set limit, and to be flexible, relying on the puzzle testers. He said that with multiple testers, the point distribution can be more accurate. If calculations are done correctly, the puzzle difficulty and the points awarded will be consistent throughout the GP.

Wei-Hwa also said that a one-month deadline was not enough to get puzzles edited, formatted, and tested. He brought up the Turkish round, in which there weren’t enough puzzles, and the submission was made too late to solicit more puzzles, which meant that this round had to be cancelled and held as an unofficial contest.

Finally, Wei-Hwa recommended having a backup round of puzzles ready, as was done in 2015, with the understanding being that the backup round would be used as the first round of the following year if it wasn’t used in the year it was made.

Casual Puzzles: The merits of having different division sets was discussed, and the reasoning behind having casual puzzles was explained, as being a means to entice solvers who are not familiar with WPC-style puzzles to try them. David McNeill said these puzzles could be held in inventory and not a competition, because the kind of solvers we hope to attract may not immediately be interested in competition anyway. David proposed the formation of a WPF Puzzle Club, releasing a certain number of puzzles each week, for leisurely solving and submission. Under the proposal, each set would be active for submission for one week, with no time limit, so that newer solvers have ample time to solve them. Will said the Board will consider this idea. 

Note of thanks and conclusion: Will concluded the proceedings by thanking Hans Eendebak and Vitezslav Koudelka for their long service to the WPF. Vita was a co-founder of the WPF, Hans was with the organization since the start, and both have been long-serving and dedicated members of the puzzle community. Will also thanked Wei-Hwa Huang and Nikola Zivanovic, the WPF GP Directors, for their work with the GP, spreading interest in puzzles around the world. Finally, Will thanked the Indian Organizing Team for putting together a successful and highly enjoyable World Championship week.




Members’ General Assembly: Friday, 20 October 2017

Supervised and hosted by: Will Shortz (Chairman), Hans Eendebak (Treasurer), Gareth Moore (Board Member) and Prasanna Seshadri (Director)

Attended by: Bulgaria, China, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, Serbia, Slovakia, Switzerland, Turkey, UK, USA


Board Member Elections

Zoran’s Speech: As Zoran Tanasic was unwell during the open GA, he made his speech here. He mentioned his role as president of the Serbian Puzzle Association, with good performances in the WSC and WPC. He also noted Serbia’s many contributions to the WPF through GPs and otherwise. He said that his 30-year background as a finance manager for a music company could be useful.

Voting: Will noted that two positions will be for three-year terms and one for two years. Who gets which positions will be decided by random selection later. Will explained the basic requirements for the Board members, such as attending meetings at the WSPC and being responsive in email discussions through the year.

Since there were three candidates for the three positions, Will proposed a simple vote for all three to be elected by a show of hands. Eight voted yes to this proposal, with none opposed. The three candidates were confirmed.

WSPC 2019 Bid

Germany’s bid was discussed. Pal Madarassy of Hungary expressed concern that with such a nice location, the German hosts would not be able to meet the WPF’s limit on the participation fee. Will noted that the German hosts guarantee to stay within the limit. Also, the WPF Board will be in frequent communication with the 2019 hosts, and in the unlikely event that anything goes wrong, the Board will consider alternatives.

Will then asked for a show of hands for Germany to host the 2019 WSPC. The vote was unanimous in favor.

Financial Report

The financial report had been emailed to members prior to the Championships. It was circulated again during the meeting.

Archive Accesses

Will raised the issue of there being no restrictions on new members’ access to the WPF puzzle archives — the unfairness of a new member having unlimited access just like a longtime member. After discussion it was agreed that a member’s access should be of the current year + one previous year for each year of membership.

WPF Bank Account

Will noted that the WPF bank account is currently overseen by the former WPF Director, Hana Koudelkova, and that she does not want to continue operating it. According to Prasanna, shifting the account to India would be too costly and have unwanted legal considerations. Will said there is a payment of 50 Euros per month for the job. No one at the meeting expressed interest in the position. Will said the Board will work to find a solution.

Asian Sudoku Championship

John Park of Korea announced that the Asian Sudoku Championship will be held in February 2018, and he asked the WPF to help promote it. Will said that it is WPF policy to support events like this, and will do its best to do so, especially among its Asian members.




Board Meeting: Saturday, 21 October 2017

Attended by: Will Shortz, Gareth Moore, Haijun Zhang, Yuhei Kusui, Zoran Tanasic and Prasanna Seshadri (Director)

Introductions and appointments

Following introductions of the new members, officers were selected. After discussion it was agreed that Will should continue as Chairman, and Gareth should continue as Competition Liaison. Given Zoran’s experience as a financial manager, it was decided that he would become the Treasurer.

WPF Bank Account

Will raised this issue again. While there was discussion on the issues presented, there were no takers again for the job, so Will said he would check in the USA for possibilities.

New WPF Website

Prasanna noted problems with the current website, in terms of operation, promotional possibilities, and other things. The Board approved the need for a new site, and Gareth suggested a wordpress domain, so that operations would become easier.

Financial Aid

The criteria for financial aid to attend the WSPC were discussed. Will said that need and the distance of a country from the WSPC should be the major criteria. Prasanna noted that sometimes countries that don’t have long distances to travel still have costly fares, perhaps due to bad connectivity of airports. The Board decided to handle this on a case-by-case basis, as before, and that the cap for aid would stay at 3,000 Euros.

Participation Fee Limit

Will proposed increasing the maximum participation fee for WSPC contestants imposed by the WPF, because it was limiting the event to either non-affluent nations or remote locations in affluent nations. This was not discussed in detail and will be revisited in online discussions.


Background: For the 2017 WSPC the Indian organizers decided not to have playoffs, which sparked a long debate about playoffs for the WSPC and GPs.

Discussions: Will noted that there are currently two sets of playoffs in the same week, and it is confusing to have both WSC/WPC playoffs and the GP playoffs with largely the same group of solvers.

Will proposed scrapping the GP playoffs altogether so that it is an online event only, while using the WSC and WPC playoffs for publicity and awareness.

Prasanna argued that participating in the WSC and WPC is difficult — because of time, travel, and costs — and by comparison the GP can be done from home, so the GP is more conducive to promotion to attract interest.

In addition, Prasanna noted that the WPF spends 3,000+ Euros on the GP each year, including director and author payouts, so financially it makes sense to invest a little more money in promoting it with an offline component.

On the administrative side, Prasanna noted that it is easier for the WPF to control the GP each year, with a consistent format, as it is organized by the WPF directly and not by the WSPC hosts.

He also argued that the goals of the two events are quite distinct — one aiming primarily to crown a World Champion, the other aiming primarily to reach out to more solvers.

Zoran said that he had no objection to there being two sets of playoffs.

Yuhei said the preference of the Japanese players was not to have WSC and WPC playoffs, because it is unfair for one round to determine so much after so many rounds of preliminary solving. Also, having live GP playoffs at the WSPC prevents cheating, which might be done online.

Will noted that since there is no consensus, no decision could be made, and the discussion should continue online.


There were a few requests for the Board to look into, so these were discussed at the end of the meeting.

Asian Sudoku Championship: The WPC member from Korea requested help with promotion and content for the Asian Sudoku Championship. The Board decided that while promotion could be done via the usual channels, the WPF had no authority over content. The most that can be done is to connect the organizers with potential authors.

George Wang: George Wang had requested the official title of Personal Assistant to the WPF Director for Chinese Affairs. George said this would help him with plans to host the World Championships in 2020 in Shanghai. He needs it because the Shanghai government requires some proof of authority. Since Beijing Media (which George represents) is not a Shanghai entity, that authority is not enough. As George has been very helpful to both past and present WPF Directors, the Board unanimously approved this request.

Iran: Omid Ostad Norouzi of Iran had requested a letter of introduction from the WPF, which he can submit to the Iranian government in order to start a puzzlers’ organization. This would work to have national qualifying tournaments for future World Championships. This was unanimously approved.