Saturday, April 20, 2002
By Adam Loss,TopCoder Staff Writer
Three times happened to be the charm for dmwright. After advancing to the semifinals in the 2001
Collegiate Challenge and the 2001 Invitational, dmwright finally came out on top and won the 2002
Sun Microsystems and TopCoder Collegiate Challenge on Saturday, April 20, at the University Park Hotel @ MIT.
Perhaps Stanford University should rename itself "TopCoder West". That's because Stanford's
jonmac was the champion of the 2001 TopCoder Invitational, giving the school two of the first
three TopCoder major tournament champions.
dmwright, the number two-ranked TopCoder member, started the championship match off by opening
the Level Two problem, while derkuci, Joe, and malpt all tackled the Level One problem. derkuci
was the first to submit his code and earned 228.56 points. malpt and Joe finished shortly
thereafter, gaining 227.96 and 223.09, respectively. derkuci, malpt and Joe all headed for
the Level Two problem next.
Meanwhile, dmwright took a good amount of time on the Level Two problem, shocking most
spectators, who were expecting a top score. "The Level Two problem was very technical,"
said dmwright. "I had to be careful because it was easy to make an error." dmwright
finally submitted the Level Two problem for 274.20 points, and opened the Level
Three problem. When asked about his strategy for opening the Level Two problem
first, and then going for the Level Three problem, dmwright responded, "Even if
it took a little longer to code, the Level Two and Three problems are worth more
points, so I figured I could outscore the coders who attempted to code the Level
One and Two problems in succession."
As the minutes passed the room became more animated as spectators watching soon
realized the difficulty of the problems that the competitors had been presented
with. Twenty-seven minutes into the match, derkuci abandoned his attempt at the
Level Two problem and moved on to the Level Three problem. malpt did exactly the same soon after.
Eighteen minutes into his effort on Level Three problem, dmwright made the decision
to move on to the Level One problem in an effort to secure points, as none of the other
coders had yet to submit on either the Level Two or Three.
After a brief effort, dmwright submitted on the Level One problem for 219.05 points.
As the "Coding Phase" ended, dmwright lead with 493.25 points. derkuci was second
with 228.56, malpt was third with 227.95, while Joe was fourth with 223.09.
derkuci kicked off the "Challenge Phase" with a successful challenge of the Level
One submission of Joe. Those additional 50 points gave derkuci a total of 278.56
points. derkuci then tried to break the Level One and Two codes of dmwright. If
he has been successful with either challenge, he would have won the championship.
To his dismay and the delight of dmwright, however, he was unable to, and after
everyone's remaining code passed the system test, dmwright was declared the winner
with 493.25 final points. derkuci finished second with 278.56 points, malpt was
third with 227.96, while Joe finished fourth.
"It's really nice to win after making the semifinals in last year's Collegiate
Challenge and Invitational," said dmwright. "My adrenaline was flowing, and I
really got absorbed in the problems. I was able to block out all of the spectator
activity, and finally submit code without any bugs in it. Bugs in my code have cost
me in past major tournaments."