Monday, November 24, 2014

This week in competitive programming

I've already covered the results of the TopCoder Open 2014 in my earlier posts (first, second), which was one the biggest tournaments of the year and certainly the things will now quiet down a bit before 2015. Coincidentally, last week witnessed the finish of a similar long-running sporting event: the World Chess Championship. It might not be entirely accurate to draw parallels between competitive programming and chess because the chess grandmasters use a much more highly specialized skill compared to the somewhat general abstract thinking required to come up with new algorithms at contests. Nevertheless, last night's game 11 of the championship was reminiscent of the challenge phase of the TCO: at move 27, Anand decided to go for an exchange sacrifice since the game was heading into a draw otherwise, and he just wanted to add more randomness to the result. In a similar fashion, it seems pretty obvious in hindsight that I should've made a couple quick challenges in the beginning of the TCO finals challenge phase since I didn't have anythng to lose but had so much to gain if at least one was successful. It didn't work out for Anand, and would not work out for me as well, but he did at least try :)

A couple of days after the TCO, Codeforces Round 278 continued the competitive week (problems, results, top 5 on the left). Top 3 in this round have all been at TCO in different roles - a Marathon finalist, an Algorithm problemsetter, and an Algorithm finalist. Congratulations to Tiancheng on the victory in his first algorithm round after a 3-month break!

Finally, Open Cup 2014-15 Stage 4 took place on Sunday (results, top 5 on the left). The two teams that seem to be the strongest Russian ACM ICPC teams this year have swapped places once again at the top, ITMO 1 claiming the top spot with a very respectful margin over the Tapirs. The Open Cup season will now take a 3-week break as Russian ACM ICPC teams prepare for the NEERC (North-Eastern European Regional Contest) that takes place on December 7.

I've skipped this Open Cup round because I got stuck in Chicago for almost 24 hours on my way back from the TCO due to some technical difficulties with the plane. At the same time, this allowed me a chance to take a walk in Chicago (I've never been there before) and see how real winter looks in the United States as the temperature was well below the freezing point. Well, it's all nice and friendly!

Thanks for reading, and check back next week!

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