Czech woman hoping to defend title at Sudoku World Championships in Prague
Sudoku has become hugely popular in many countries around the world, a fact reflected in the holding of the logic-based puzzle's first World Championships in Italy's Lucca last year. The 2006 winner was a Czech woman, economist Jana Tylova from Most in north Bohemia. She'll be in action again when this year's world championship gets underway on Wednesday. But she won't have to travel too far - the event is being held right here in the Czech capital.
"The competition will be a lot higher. So far 82 countries have signed up. I know that last year half the best Dutch and German players missed the World Championships in Italy. For instance the German national champion didn't even know that there was a German qualification tournament to get to Italy...So I know it'll be harder than last year."
The Sudoku World Championships are held once every twelve months. During the rest of the year competitors spend a lot of time training.
"I do two different puzzles that are on the internet and which have monthly and yearly league tables. Altogether I usually solve four puzzles a day, though I am currently doing more ahead of the championships, whenever I have any free time. As for how I first got into it, I started doing crosswords with my dad when I was a child, and I've been doing puzzles in magazines for 10 or 15 years now."
If Jana Tylova does succeed in defending her title the prize will be international prestige, not a huge trophy.
"I think the prizes will be pretty much symbolic. Last year we got a poster and a Sudoku Playstation game. I also received some lovely flowers and a bottle of Italian wine. But there was no financial prize, or any big prize."
The Sudoku World Championships take place from Wednesday to Sunday at the Top Hotel in Prague 4. For more information: www.sudoku07.com