Vitaly Novikov

The fifth season of the Sherlock Mahjong Mysteries Solving Contest is over. It is the most successful mystery solving contest so far. Twenty-seven contestants from seven countries tried their best to get prizes. Thanks to all participants and congratulations to the winners!

Here is an attempt to look behind the scenes of the contest, to show it from author's eyes.

And we kindly ask that you post comments about your participation in the contest, how did you feel solving mysteries, what was good, what was not. Your ideas can help to make next contest even better.

As the author of the mysteries and as the coordinator of the contest, I must answer several questions after the contest is over. The first is "Will we do it again?" -- well, I will try my best for the new season to take place.

This year the scheme was copied from the previous season. Yet, it became a trap for unexpected reason: there were so many participants so that any relieving of their participation within contest has lead to situation of multiple winners. Even timestamp rule did not help a lot since the winner has been selected based on the LAST mystery only. For instance, some other participants had better "average place" then winner of the 5th season contest.

Ideas for the next season

Two main drivers have lead to multiple standings: too long time for solving mystery and attitude of the author allowing contestants to send their second and third tries of replies. As a consequence all active contestants have managed to solve most part of mysteries.

    Proposal for the next season may look like:
  • to reduce solving time from six to four or five days,
  • 1 SHP "early bonus" will be given ONLY to the first three contestants who will send PERFECT answers for the current mystery,
  • the second and further attempts will be accepted only after "early bonus" will be distributed.

Comment: surely, since the contest is mutinational and hence multilingual any explanations will be given if mystery text has ambiguity.

Your comments are welcome!

Dear contestants! Please leave your comments on the 5th season Sherlock contest. This is not an official poll. Simply express your ideas and feelings trying to cover the following points:

  • why did your participate in contest?
  • were mysteries too difficult/ too easy/ just about right?
  • how many mysteries would be an ideal contest?
  • why you did not participate (or leave the contest in the middle of it) -- prizes quality/ mystery quality/ it's difficult to write in English/ too lazy to write answers?