July Cook-Off 2020 – Swift, Enthralling And Intense

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It is that time of the month again when we prepare for one of the most enthralling coding contests, the Cook-Off! With almost 10,000 participants and 35,000+ submissions, one could say that the July Cook-Off 2020 was an intense rush hour (read two and a half hours). The contest ended with some big rank shuffles for some coders, particularly for the Indian participants who showed impressive programming acumen across both Divisions.

The elite battlefield, Division 1, was topped by 6-star Canadian coder ksun48, who was the only performer with a perfect score of eight. ksun48 has shown a steady rise in his rating recently, going from 1853 to 2316, over just four contests – a feat rather commendable. 

Competing closely with ksun48 was 7-star coder, icecuber. icecuber, with a score of seven, and an increased rating of 147, has now taken his final tally to 2612. The Norwegian coder has been giving us some memorable performances over the past few contests with notable increments in his ratings. Entering the 7-star category with the match, his July Cook-Off ranking has been his best so far. 

icecuber secured the second spot by a narrow margin, going head to head with 7-star Indonesian coder, iafir. The Institut Teknologi Bandung student had the same number of correct submissions as icecuber but had to settle with the third spot because of the total penalty. toloraia from Georgia, uwi from Japan, and Ukrainian coder anton_trygub claimed the fourth, fifth, and sixth spot respectively with six submissions each. 

Division 1 saw some noteworthy performances by Indian coders, with five of them making it to the top twenty global rankings. raghav_19 from Motilal Nehru National Institute of Technology secured the seventh spot, his best yet. Two more names worth a mention in the July Cook-Off are maesterr and knandy

Heading over to Division 2, ivandasfs from Croatia secured the top spot with a perfect score of six, the only one in Division 2 to do so! After obtaining a rank of 7261 in the July Long Challenge, ivandasfs was back with a strong show for the Cook-Off. With his rating increased by 183, ivandasfs took his total to 1875, thereby entering the primary playground, Division 1. The second position was battled out between the American coder rappel, and port_13 from Georgia. Both had five successful submissions each, but the former beat the latter based on Total Penalty. This duel was the highlight for Division 2!

Division 2 was dominated by Indian coders. With a total of fifteen Indian participants in the top twenty-five, it was a top-notch show from our Indian programmers. The best Indian performance came from hvr2804 of Manipal Institute of Technology, who had a score of four and secured the fifth spot. Two more Indian coders, what_is_coding and andanarchist1729, also put themselves on the map with their performances at the recently concluded contest. 

There have been several neck and neck competitions in both the divisions – evident from the number of similar scores we had. With only one perfect score from each division, it’s safe to say that this Cook-Off has been a tough one for most participants. There has been a lot of effort put in selecting the problems so that the coders could be tested on different paradigms. The problem EXTREME has been the toughest for this month’s Cook-Off, with merely two successful submissions. Problem setter Shahjalal Shohag told CodeChef that the problem was one of his favourites from the set.

“I like this one a lot. Initially, I had no proof of the solution, and I had to stress test over small inputs to verify the solution. The solution is quite easy but needs more thinking. It is my second most favourite problem for the set,” said Shohag. 

The most talked-about problems on our Discussion Forum have been BOJACK and ORTHODOX with BOJACK being more popular of the two. Shohag, who is also the mastermind behind BOJACK, seemed rather impressed by the problem he had set. 

 “It is my favourite problem from the set. The initial version had larger constraints. As the problem name suggests, I tried to create a problem which would be a crossover of some known ideas. The performance on the problem has not been as I expected. It should have had more green verdicts. But I think most of the participants liked this one, and I am proud of myself for coming up with this problem,” said Shohag on his problem, BOJACK.

Even though the contest was a tough one, there have been several commendable performances from the coders who tried their level best to come up with the solutions! With so many close finishes and such incredible comebacks all in mere 150 minutes, the July Cook-Off 2020 was anything but uneventful!

Did you find the July Cook-off problems tough as well? In case you’ve faced any hurdles in getting the solutions, please go through the Post-Contest Discussion.  

This is CodeChef correspondent, Ashutosh Pandey inviting you to post your comments on this match report and stay tuned for more. 

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