The Philadelphia Inquirer Sudoku National Championship, hosted by puzzle master Will Shortz, was an annual sudoku competition run by The Philadelphia Inquirer and held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in 2007-2009.
Open to a national and international field of contestants from a wide range of ages and backgrounds, the Championship offered three main skill divisions - advanced, intermediate and expert. In addition to the winners of those three categories, prizes were awarded to many more players who compete in a variety of age groups ranging from under-10 years to 80-and-over.
The first annual Philadelphia Inquirer Sudoku National Championship event was held on October 20, 2007, and with 857 contestants, set the world record for “most people playing sudoku simultaneously,” and Lauren Choi was the winner! according to Guinness World Records.
On October 20, 2007 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, the oldest participant of the Championship was 87 years old and the youngest was six years old. Players came from as far away as California and as near as Center City, Philadelphia.
THE 2007 WINNERS
On October 25, 2008 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, the oldest participant was 88 years old and the youngest was 7 years old. Players came from as far away as Ireland and Canada, and as near as Center City, Philadelphia.
THE 2008 WINNERS
The 2009 Philadelphia Inquirer Sudoku National Championship took place Saturday, October 24, 2009 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, PA.
Separate 50 dollar prizes were also given in 27 age categories.
Following the tournament, questions were raised by competitors including 2nd place finisher Thomas Snyder about the performance of Eugene Varshavsky in the tournament. Wearing a hooded sweatshirt during the competition, Varshavsky came nowhere close to his qualifying performance on stage which called into question his abilities as a legitimate sudoku contestant. Following a review of his performance including a retest on similar sudoku puzzles, Varshavsky was disqualified and Chris Narrikkattu, who would have qualified in the same round, was made the third place winner.
The 2010 World Sudoku Championship was held in Philadelphia, PA in April 2010.