There is some exciting news for us at PartnerTap. One of our engineers, Pranav Kamesh, is heading to the World Puzzle Championship in Poland this week. He’ll be representing his home country India and competing against the top puzzle solvers in the world.
Machine Learning Engineer
Pranav is living in New Jersey and studying for his Master of Science in Computational Science at NYU. He is also building machine learning software that will improve the accuracy of PartnerTap’s account matching capabilities.
Oftentimes account information is entered incorrectly in two CRMs or spreadsheets. This results in missed matches, but the new machine learning software finds matches that would otherwise be overlooked. Companies often miss matches this way, so they end up losing money on a potential opportunity. Our ML solution will make our matching even better than it already is.
International Sudoku Champs
When Pranav isn’t building machine learning software or studying for his Master’s, he practices solving complex Sudoku. The competition at the World Sudoku Championship is fierce. There will be around 35 countries competing and there are a few competitors who are super-human and solve at lightspeed. Winning requires a combination of talent and hard work.
Some people are born with natural skills, but they still have to practice often if they want to be great competitors. Pranav is fastest at solving classic Sudoku because he started with that when he was young. It took him years of practice to get good at all the other types of Sudoku.
This year will mark Pranav’s fifth appearance at the World Championship. The best he’s ever done was in 2019 when he placed 32nd in the world. There is still room for improvement, but for now, his goal is to place in the top 20 in the world.
When You’re Little, Solve Big
Pranav was exposed to Sudoku at the tender age of five years old. He used to watch his parents and grandparents solve the Sudoku puzzles. Naturally, he wanted to try solving the puzzles himself. In the beginning, he wasn’t that good. He couldn’t solve anything difficult, and he couldn’t solve anything too quickly. It took him some time to become proficient.
When he was in high school, Pranav participated in his first competition which happened to be held at his school. He then went to a regional competition in which he did well enough to qualify for the national championship. There he placed in the top three, which allowed him to represent India at the World Junior Sudoku Championship in 2015.
The World Junior Championship is restricted to school-aged students only. So, it wasn’t until the following year that he placed high enough in the National Championship that he qualified to represent India at the World Sudoku Championship.
No Excuses Play Like a Champion
Most people know what Sudoku is, but as mentioned before, it requires a lot of practice to compete at the international level. It’s important for a competitor to see the logic behind the puzzles. The patterns within the puzzles repeat over and over again. Eventually, someone begins to recognize these patterns and they get better.
There are different kinds of Sudoku and at the World Championship, the competitors will face all of them. It’s essential to be able to solve the puzzles quickly. You will only get faster if you practice regularly. Pranav practices a little bit every day, but he never spends more than 90 minutes solving because he becomes mentally worn out.
The Pandemic postponed the last two championships, which had some negative effects on Pranav. He was getting into his best solving form right before The Pandemic happened. When the world went into lockdown, everything went online. Only a few events were scheduled to be in person, which were eventually canceled. He felt a loss of motivation, so he wasn’t practicing as much as before. After the 2022 championship was announced to be in-person, Pranav was once again motivated to start solving again.
The Pandemic wasn’t all bad for the Sudoku world. Many new people started watching Sudoku on YouTube when it went online. Cracking the Cryptic is a channel that came into prominence during The Pandemic and brought a lot more people to the puzzle world. So the number of solvers expanded because things were, in a way, more accessible.
The Sudoku World Championship will take place from the 16th to the 19th of October. We wish Pranav all the best and hope he reaches his goal of placing in the top 20 in the world.
Pranav ended up finish 32nd at the competition, which was the best he has ever done. Congratulations, Pranav!
You can check the standings here.