A fight to the finish: ACRush “CHECKER”mates acube to win August Challenge

5 min read

August is a very special month for Indians. It was 65 years ago, on the 15th of this month that our nation sampled its first sweet taste of freedom and we came into our own being. So, perhaps it feels just right to have an Indian at the sixth place on our global Top Ten ranks for the August Long Contest. Yes, we are talking of djdolls who fought it out hard with the best programmers in the world to make his mark on our top listings. I do hear cheers go up all around in the home crowd and that, sounds good! 🙂

Moving on, the August Long Contest is done now, but it is far from being dusted. The challenge turned out to be one of multiple claims on the first place, surprise late entries that changed things on the ranks, quite a few fresh appearances in the final top ten, Indians making their mark on the leader board and, let’s admit it, a few minor glitches from our side. Read along to find out more.

Let’s talk of the top rank holders at the outset. Ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together for ACRush and acube, our first and second rank holders respectively for the day. Between them, they made sure that the result of the August Challenge was a guessing game to the very end. Their styles of tackling the long contest were quite different.

ACRush made his presence felt early up in the contest. He came in on the second day and soon worked his way to the top ranks. Once he got to the acme of the rankings, he decided to hold on to it and made himself comfortable at that spot. ACRush, being a master of Long Contests, looked all set to finish at the top when suddenly on the eighth day of the contest another veteran decided to rush in and shake things up a bit at the front. Acube’s blitzkrieg through the problem set was awe-inspiring to say the least. He found his way to the top soon and when he was still sitting pretty at that spot with less than seventeen hours to go for the end of the contest many hoped for, and got, a tough fight between him and ACRush for the first place. Not the one to give up, ACRush continued to try and improve his score to 10. It seems he was biding his time. Just an hour before the end of the contest, with acube still holding tight to his position at the top, ACRush came up with a solution for the challenge problem CHECKERS, that had the judge grant him the elusive perfect 10. That sealed the winner for the August Long Contest. Our congratulations to, and appreciation for, both the aces for showing everyone what it takes to be master-class!

With that, have a look at the Global Top Ten listed below. Note that we have four participants jointly holding the 10th place. Also worth mentioning is a splatter of fresh appearances on the ranks like Sumudu, djdolls, evgentu, Krig and shevchen. Sumudu was at one time leading the score board. With experience and further practice, we might soon see fresh challengers for the top places. We wish all of them luck for future contests.

Global Top Ten:

1. ACRush
2. acube
3. damians
4. Sumudu
5. tomek
6. al13n
7. thocevar
8. evgentu
9. chaemon
9. fmm
9. Krig
9. shevchen

Let’s also look at what the home crowd has been up to during the contest. Check out the Indian Top Twenty ranks. Quite a few people on the twentieth rank this time.

Indian Top Twenty:

1. djdolls
2. balajiganapath
3. balakrishnan_v
3. guptaanil2k1
3. kriateive
3. pulkit
7. n2n_
8. anudeep2011
9. rizwanhudda
10. shahbaz
11. nihalpi1
12. mukulgupta
12. niteshb
12. palatanu03
12. rab188
12. shashwat001
12. sidhantgoyal
12. thecodegame
12. uditiiita
20. abc_xy
20. abhinavabhi2
20. alphanso
20. ani_gupta
20. ankit_ism
20. bittu_it
20. clow_reed
20. experience257
20. ezio_123
20. jastiger
20. kiranjot
20. migdal
20. mohit13
20. mudda
20. nikhil19
20. ns24
20. phantom11
20. prashantcare
20. pratikmoona
20. ranjith1610
20. rishabhm
20. shashank_jain
20. shivamrana
20. theslavemaster
20. theycallhimavi
20. viv001

The special point in the August Challenge, especially for the Indians, is the mark fellow compatriot djdolls made. By securing the sixth place on the final list of the Top Ten winners, with a score of 9.273, he gave the Indians another small reason to celebrate the month of Independence. In fact, the Indians seemed to have taken this Contest pretty seriously. Their presence was constant in the global top twenty or thirty from the start. As a result, apart from djdolls, we also have balajiganapath at the 15th place on the global rankings and quite a few on the 19th rank too.

As of the problem-set itself, the feedback suggests that it was on the harder side and might have required a little extra from the coders. The contest began with eight problems as we were still putting the garnishing on MAGIC and GTHRONES to make them perfect for serving. Most of the problems saw a healthy response to them in the number of successful submissions, with LEBOMBS garnering the first and maximum followed by HOMDEL. Our winner, ACRush, wrote back to express his appreciations for the set and especially for CHECKERS, our challenge problem. Have a look at the stats below to know how the August Challenge fared in terms of numbers.

Length of Contest Unique Participants Total Number of Submissions User who have solved at least one problem
10 days 2847 39410 2217
Country Total Participants Average Score per user
IN 2206 1.37
Rest of World 641 2.52

The stats are indeed intriguing :). We have seen the highest user participation till date on CodeChef!! Keep it coming along people.

For putting together a set that provided an interesting contest, I believe thanks are in order to our team of setters and our tester. The group that spent sleepless nights and labored days to come up with this set consists of Vitaliy Herasymiv, David Stolp, Khadar Basha, Kaushik Iska, Gennady Korotkevich, Shanjingbo, Vamsi Kavala, AnhDQ and Nikhil Garg. The person who was assigned the not-so-easy task of testing the works of all the above experts is Hiroto Sekido, an expert no less in his own right. We are really thankful to him for being such a solid rock that we depend on so often for problem setting and testing jobs. Hiroto has been taking on either of those responsibilities for the past two months and the upcoming August Cook-Off will see him wear the hat of the problem tester once again. We also extend our special thanks to Gennady for helping out Hiroto in testing process. Finally we again have Nikhil Garg doubling up as our Editorialist for the Challenge. From the words of the community it seems Nikhil’s last editorials for the July Long Contest were highly appreciated for being lucid and to the point. We are hopeful that you would find his Editorials for the August Challenge in the same league too.

So, it seems we are done with this long contest, doesn’t it? Well, not without our apologies for the minor glitches that the participants faced during this challenge. We had to update the test cases for MACGUN on the second day, followed by the updating of the statements of three of our problems for the better readability of the community. We faced further problems when coders started complaining of getting a compile time error for their solutions around 8th August. Thankfully, that was soon detected and corrected by the SPOJ team on the same day. We are sincerely regretful of the inconvenience caused to everyone. At CodeChef we always strive to provide our programmers a perfectly enjoyable and competitive experience and I hope such niggles won’t interfere with the same in the future. What would help us further in that direction is your valuable feedback. Drop in your thoughts, suggestions and complains alike. We are sincerely all ears. 🙂

I guess I have come to the end of this post on another long contest. For those who agree with me that the banner this time was perfectly befitting the occasion, lets put our hands together for Manasi. She has been coming up with brilliant and colorful themes for the banner each time. 🙂

What next, huh? As I write, there is quite  a bustle in the kitchen in preparation for the August Cook-Off which is scheduled for this coming Sunday, the 19th. I can hear the pots and pans clanging! Till we present you with the recipes for the coming Cook-Off, master the ways of our August Long Contest problems in the practice section at leisure.

Signing off now with hopes of returning real soon. Bye folks!

-Ankita
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