World Puzzle Championship 2000
(Scores for the WPC are posted at the official site.)
I was a judge at the World Puzzle Championship.  Before things even got started, I test solved dozens and dozens of puzzles.  Nick Baxter, who organized the event, wanted to be sure that everything was fair and balanced.  I was asked to be a judge by Will Shortz, and gladly accepted the task.

My first job at the Stanford Marriott was to greet people and hand them Sponsor packages.  A book by David Tuller & Michael Rios was handed out -- Mensa Math & Logic Puzzles (\$8).  Many people were seen throughout the event trying the 380 puzzles in the book.  There was a dinner that night, and all the teams were introduced.  Meanwhile, my copy of Fill-agree by Kadon was hit with all that played with it.  At the dinner, I met Bernardo Recaman Santos of Columbia.   He gave me a great puzzle: Arrange the numbers 1-15 in a sequence with the property that every two consectutive numbers sum to a square number.

I went to Nick Baxter's room and started gluing puzzles together with him and Matthew Daly. We needed to finish them all in time for the Friday competition.  Nick prepared labels for the board.  Matthew had cut blocks and boards.  Now we just needed to assemble everything.  We ran out of glue early on, but fortunately there was a mall nearby.  The object we constructed was a rolling block maze by Erich Friedman.

In Part 1, the potential champions solved a potpourri of 20 puzzles.  I had a puzzle in that section.  In the following four multiplication problems, each symbol stands for the same digit throughout.  Figure out what number is represented by each symbol.
Another puzzle was Distance, by Erich Friedman.  You need to put the numbers 1-15 into the unshaded circles so that the distances are constantly increasing.  That is, the distance from 1 to 2 will be less than the distance from 2 to 3, which is less than the distance from 3 to 4, and so on.  Here is my easy version of that puzzle.
Railroad Tracks was by Craig Kasper.  Lay a single, closed loop of railroad track that travels through every square of the grid. The track connects squares horizontally or vertically, and crosses itself only in the squares with a cross. The track must go straight through the stations, which are the squares containing numbers. As you follow the track, you will visit stations 1 through 13 in order, then return back to station 1.
In Part II, solvers struggled with a set of Lunar Lockout problems.  Here is a problem that was finally pulled for being 'too hard.'  In this puzzle, the X robot is invisible. You must locate the only starting position of X so that a 7 move solution is possible.
Part III was the rolling block maze by Erich Friedman.  It was quite a sight, watching 20 teams trying to solve a very interactive maze.  You can see a picture of this maze above.

Part IV was a set of manipulative puzzles.  Roundabout was by Adrian Fisher.  Arrange the nine pieces to create an island containing a closed and continuous network of curved railroad track and roundabouts. No track runs off the edge of the island, there are no dead-ends, and there are no holes in the middle of the island.

There was also a Zome Construction problem by Nick Baxter and myself.  Build K6 with 6 white nodes, 5 medium yellow struts, 2 long green struts, 1 short blue strut, 5 medium blue struts, and 2 long blue struts.  After all the puzzles were over, I announced a \$20 prize problem for Zome construction.  Build the Petersen Graph with 15 short blue struts and 10 nodes.  I'm not sure if this is solvable.  I've managed 14 short blue struts, and miscellaneous struts for the last one.
Part 5 included 13 different variations of Battleships.  Here is a variation that wasn't used -- Triangular Battleships.  Locate the position of the 10-ship fleet in the grid. The fleet is shown to the right of the grid: one 4-unit battleship, two 3-unit cruisers, three 2-unit destroyers, and four 1-unit submarines. Each segment of a ship occupies a single cell. Ships are oriented either horizontally or vertically, and do not touch each other, even at a single point.
Part VI was Potato Appeal, a team solving competition put together by Wizards of the Coast.  Mike Selinker wrote up the event, so I'll quote his write-up.

It was just as fascinating as M. Selinker says.  The Balloon Balance problem by Richard Garfield is below.  Note that the weights and balloons are in equilibrium on the smaller figure.  Move them to the larger figure and obtain equilibrium.  Of all the puzzles, I think this was my favorite.
Part VII was Optimization.  Remember my Crossword Maze puzzle?  Will Shortz rejected it 22 years ago, back when he worked for Games.  I printed it here at my site, and Nick Baxter wanted it.  Will Shortz wound up being one of the test solvers, and this time he liked it.  Luc Kumps did a lot with Crossword Mazes, but I couldn't print any of it if I wanted to see them in the WPC.  Here is my starting page for crossword mazes.  The puzzle was to add one square, then find the longest possible path.  I added a square to the lower corner, and beat everyone in the competition with the route below.
Another optimization challenge was to divide a Connecticut grid into squares.  Denis Auroux of France managed to find a 64 square solution.  His solving method was to "look for miracles."  Can you match his feat?  My own personal best was 79 squares.
Part X included more miscellaneous puzzles.  My favorite from this batch was Triangle Trisection by Nob Yoshigahara.  Divide the figure into three contiguous pieces that can be reassembled to form an equilateral triangle. Pieces can be rotated, but not reflected. The grid lines are given to show the true proportions of the diagram; your cuts may be anywhere.  Only one person solved this.  I managed to solve it in the test solving phase.
Judging all these puzzles took awhile.  Particularly fun was the Connecticut grid, since we had to count squares on each entry.  We got all the papers back by midnight.  The next day, ten finalists were selected for a final round of puzzles.

The top ten solvers wore soundproof headphones as they faced the final round -- eight puzzles on posterboard.  The tenth place person was given 30 minutes.  Solvers with more points were given extra time.  Wei-Hwa wound up with a 25 minute lead.  The way the rules worked, an answer could be resubmitted, wiping out the previous submittal.  Whoever submitted the most correct answers the earliest would win.

Other solvers gradually trickled in, until all ten raced the clock, trying to solve all the puzzles.  Wei-Hwa carefully checked all his answers as the others solved the puzzles.  With about two minutes remaining, Wei-Hwa realized he had made a mistake with a triangle counting problem.  He submitted the correct answer.  A few seconds earlier, Ulrich Voigt of Germany had submitted the final answer to his eighth puzzle, and thus became the World Puzzle Champion.  Wei-Hwa Huang of the United States came in second.  Niels Roest of the Netherlands came in third.  The US team beat all others.

Here's the puzzle that gave Wei-Hwa trouble --

How many triangles are in this figure?  (By Nick Baxter)

So, that was the World Puzzle Championship in a nutshell.  There's still more I'll be adding to this page, but not tonight.  If you have a write-up or puzzle you'd like to share, please write to me.

Composer's Competition
For those that made the puzzles. Erich Friedman won with 18 varied puzzles.  Nick Baxter tied for second, with 13 puzzles.  He also organized everything.  David Tuller & Michael Rios also came in second with 13 puzzles.  Dave & Michael's book Mensa Math & Logic Puzzles (\$8) is now available.  It's a great book, stuffed with 380 puzzles.

Will Shortz came in fourth, with six puzzles.  The other composers were Craig Kasper (4), Mark Gottlieb (4), Harry Nelson (4), Ed Pegg Jr (3), Scott Kim (3), Adrian Fisher (2), Richard Garfield (2), Mark Rosewater (2), Serhiy Grabarchuk (2), Mike Selinker (2), Teeuwynn Woodruff (2) Peter Grabarchuk (1), Nob Yoshigahara (1), Fred Piscop (1), Goh Pit Khiam (1), Moshe Rubin (1), Nancy Schuster (1), Sherlee Oldacre (1), Alexey Pajitov (1), and Paul Peterson (1).  I'll try to present several of these puzzles after getting the necessary permissions.

I learned of Brein Brekers, a puzzle magazine from the Netherlands.  I'll try to make a new page of puzzle magazines.