Inquirer Sudoku National Championship FAQ

Inquirer Sudoku National Championship and Registration FAQ

Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about The Philadelphia Inquirer Sudoku National Championship and the how to go about registering to participate. Click on a question to view its answer or scroll through the FAQ to read them all.

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Frequently Asked Questions abut the Championship and Registration

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know what Level I am?
There is a section on the website where you can try out practice puzzles to help you determine what level sudoku player you are. There are three different levels of puzzles – easy, medium and hard. Click on Try a Puzzle on the homepage to help you determine what level sudoku player you are. If you want to try right now, click here

For the Championship participants will be judged on how fast and accurately they are able to solve the puzzles. There will be several rounds and each round will last somewhere between 30 – 40 minutes (depending on the round). For each round participants will be given three puzzles. Those registered in the beginner category will only have to solve one of the puzzles in the given amount of time. Those registered in the intermediate category must solve two of the puzzles in the given timeframe. Lastly, those registered in the advanced level must complete all three of the puzzles in the given timeframe.

An advanced solver is one who can solve just about any sudoku without much difficulty.

An intermediate solver, for purposes of the championship, is one who can solve medium-to-hard sudoku puzzles consistently and fairly easily.

Everyone else, for purposes of the championship, should be in the "easy" division.

Here's another way of looking at things: Each round at the championship will have 30 minutes. Solvers in the advanced category will need to solve three sudoku puzzles within this amount of time. Those in the intermediate category will need to solve two puzzles in this time. Those in the easy category will need to solve just one.

Ultimately, the decision on which category to enter will rest with the individual and how big a prize he/she wants to go for. The higher the prize, the tougher the category.

Will there be winners for different age categories?
Yes, participants need to specify what age category they are in because prizes will be awarded for the winner of each age group at the end of the Championship. Age categories include:
  • 10 and under
  • 11 – 12
  • 13 – 14
  • 15 – 17
  • 18 – 19
  • 20 – 29
  • 30 – 39
  • 40 – 49
  • 50 – 59
  • 60 – 69
  • 70 – 79
  • 80 and over
How much is the entry fee?
All Events Package: Welcome Reception, Championship Competition, Championship Dinner - Adults (18 years of age and older) $72 USD (for subscribers to the Inquirer), $90 (non-subscribers); Youth (17 years of age or younger) $50 (subscribers) $40.

Championship Competition ONLY - Adults $40 (subscribers), $50.00 (non-subscribers); Youth $8 (subscribers), $10 (non-subscribers).

Championship Competition College Students - $12 (subscribers), $15 (non-subscribers).

Welcome Reception ONLY - All Ages $24 (subscribers), $30 (non-subscribers).

Post-Championship Meal ONLY - All Ages $16 (subscribers), $20 (non-subscribers).

Non-Compete Package (This includes the Welcome Reception and Championship Meal ONLY) - All Ages $40 (subscribers), $50 (non-subscribers).

Non-Competing Spectator Admission to Championship Competition ONLY (All Ages) $8 (non-subscribers), $10 (non-subscribers).

Note: Online registration available through Friday at noon.
How much does the winner receive?
The winner of the advanced level of the championship will receive $10,000. The winner of the intermediate level will receive $5,000 and the winner of the beginner level will receive $3,000. There will also be winners in a variety of different categories and they will each be awarded $100.
What are the hotel rates?
Contracted hotel rates are available here. Book your hotel room sooner rather than later, because the hotel rooms will be released 30 days prior to the event if they are not yet reserved. You are responsible for your own hotel reservations.
Will there be parking available and is that paid for as part of my entry fee?
Parking will not be included as part of your ticket price. However, there are more than 13,000 spaces in parking lots surrounding the Convention Center so finding parking should not be a problem.
Will lunch be served as part of the entry fee?
No. There will be an hour break for participants to go to lunch. The Convention Center is close to several restaurants and take-out eateries.
What is the return policy if I decide I no longer want to participate in the Championship?
Registrants will receive a full refund until 10 days prior to the event. Thereafter, participants will not be refunded for cancellations.
How do I register for the Championship?
Click on the Register Now link on the main Sudoku page, which will show you the registration options and their pricing, with a 20% discount for existing or new Inquirer Subscribers. The registration process uses a service called You will see Headings at the top of each screen that will tell you where you are in the 5-step registration process:

Choices --> Billing & Payment --> Participants --> Review --> Done

Here are some pointers that you might find helpful:

  1. Choices --> Billing & Payment --> Participants --> Review --> Done

    This page give you an overview of the event and is where you specify all the registrations you wish to purchase for all your participants. First you specify how many participants you want to have in total on this screen, then on subsequent screens you will identify the individual participants and the events they will be attending.

  2. Choices --> Billing & Payment --> Participants --> Review --> Done

    This page is where you provide billing address and credit/debit card information for payment for your registration. American Express, MasterCard, Visa and Discover cards are accepted.

  3. Choices --> Billing & Payment --> Participants --> Review --> Done

    Billing information will automatically carry over to this page. If the cardholder is to be the primary contact, please select “Yes” for the Registration Primary Contact section. If the cardholder is not participating in any of the events, and is only paying for the regisrations for others, enter the information for the participant that should receive the registration confirmation information, and specify that they are the Registration primary contact.

  4. Be sure to scroll to the bottom and answer all questions regarding the events in which the participant will be attending, and providing some basic information about the participant. Click Update Participant and Continue button.

  5. This takes you to a registration overview screen and shows the registrations purchased, billing information and participants listed so far. There three buttons at the bottom of this screen for your three options for next steps:
    a. Previous button – Allows you to make edits, but you will LOSE your previously saved information. Sorry!
    b. Add another participant button – This will take you to a new participant information entry screen where you can enter information for an additional participant. Click the auto fill arrow (to the right of each box) if the information is the same as the primary contact. Be sure to enter the required fields marked with "*" and answer all questions at the bottom of the screen.
    c. I’m done Adding Participants. Next >> button. Use this when you've entered all your participants and are ready to submit your registration.

  6. Choices --> Billing & Payment --> Participants --> Review --> Done

    Review Page – Registration is not complete unless you select submit. There are options to edit billing information, or participants. If everything is satisfactory, please select “Yes” at the “I authorize the submission of this event registration” item.

  7. Choices --> Billing & Payment --> Participants --> Review --> Done

    A registration confirmation page will be displayed, which can be printed and saved as a record. The registration primary contact will also receive a confirmation email. The credit card holder will also receive an email acknowledging receipt of the payment. Please retain a copy of the email. Please add to your spam filter to be sure the acknowledgment doesn't end up in your junk mail folder.
Is onsite registration available?
Onsite registration – Registration will be available online until Noon, Friday October 19. People can register onsite the morning of the event between 9 and 11:00 a.m., but packages are not available for onsite registration.
Will the puzzles be only the standard 9X9 puzzles or will there be variations?
They will be the standard 9x9 grids.
Will the contestants use paper and pencil to solve the puzzles, or will the puzzles be in some other form such as electronic?
The puzzles will be solved with pencil and paper.
Who is creating the puzzles?
The puzzles will be selected by Nick Baxter, who is captain of the U.S. team for the World Sudoku Championship. We can't reveal how the puzzles are being created for the tournament.
What size paper will the puzzles be on?
8-1/2" x 11" paper.
Will people be able to use erasers at the championship?
How big will the grids on the puzzles be (in terms of inches or centimeters)?
They'll be large - significantly larger than the sudoku that appear in most newspapers.