I, Ritesh Gupta, represented India for 4th World Sudoku Championship 2009 along with 5 other participants. This was the 4th Championship in which I participated and had a great time their in Zilina, Slovakia.
I finished 15th in the championship to qualify for the semi-finals. However, couldn't perform good enough to reach top 8 for the finals. It seemed to me that Championship was well organized & good sudokus to solve, however was bit disappointed by the pointing system, the way Semi-finalists moved to Finals (many by Luck) and many great solvers like Snyder, Gaurav (from India) couldn't reach the finals. Also the team round were not good as expected as the time given for them was either not enough or was too much that every team was able to complete. It involved a lot of guess work/ Hit-n-Trial to complete the sudokus which acted as result decider for the team rounds.
From India, Gaurav Korde performed great and was one of the best solvers among all participants from the World, however he couldn't make it to the finals.
Rest all seemed well organized by the organizers. They closing ceremony at the end was great. It also invoved one Indian dance on the song of movie: Om Shanti Om by Slovakian gals. The Organizers arranged many things for participants entertainment like Ms. & Mr. Sudoku, Slovak Contemporary Dance, 4D Sudoku etc. However, all Indian Participants faced vegetarian food problem. As usual in the World Championship their were only a few options we had to eat. We had to survive on Salads, Drinks & food we brought from India. Luckily the 4 hostesses called for the participants convenience (basically language translation) were also vegetarian & they tried their best to arrange veg. meal for us. They also took us to the City Center and explained bit about their culture & history.
After the Championship got over 5 of the Indian participants, ie. Gaurav, Rohan, Himanshu, Puneet & Me went to Vienna, Austria to spend a day. Daniella, an Austrian participant guieded us bit regarding the places to visit in Vienna & traveling in Vienna otherwise it would have been difficult to tour city as Languange was the big problem. After the hectic championship, we didn't had much energy left & our body too needed some sleep. So instead of roaming around in the city we spent many hours in an Amusement park near the hotel & returned to the hotel in time to catch some sleep before the flight next morning.
We enjoyed our sleep so much to the extent that we got up late & hence reached Vienna Airport at 9:30 a.m. to catch a flight at 10:00 a.m. We nearly missed our flight as initially we were refused Boarding passes. We even started searching for alternate options for traveling back. However, after around 5 minutes we were called by Turkish Airline & were allowed boarding the flight with Immigration, Security Check etc being done on priority basis. On reaching India, it was found that Himanshu's & Gaurav's luggage was left behind at Istanbul and it couldn't reach to respective cities, i.e. Delhi & Mumbai.
Overall, our experience during the championship was great & we had lot of fun before, during & after the championship. Hope to make it to the team in 2010 & go for the 5th World Sudoku Championship to be held at Philadelphia, USA.