Minesweeper World Championship 2011 - Announcement

Thomas "tkolar" "Lothar Komas" "Tommy" Kolar, 2011-08-30


Doesn't count if you're taking part. Skip the parts about accomodation, travel, location and the tournament system if you must, but read the rest to avoid untimely nasty surprises.

In the context of this announcement, "I" refers to Thomas Kolar, and "you" to the participant in question, ie, you.


The Minesweeper World Championship 2011 will take place on the 10th of September, 2011 at 13:15 (local time) at ETH Zurich. Please be on-site at 12:30 - otherwise, your participation is not guaranteed (ie, if you arrive later than that and there is a problem that can't be fixed in time, it is considered your fault, and I won't provide support during the tournament). If you participate online, different rules apply (see below).

There will be a side event at 12:45. It will be used to test the tournament software one last time under the same conditions as the actual championship and cancelled if problems arise that need to be fixed.

Side event

If everything goes well, we will play a team blind championship from 12:45 to 12:55. This means that teams of two people will compete for the sum of their best three beginner games. The player playing the game must be blindfolded at all points in the game, and the other player may only give verbal instructions (ie, may not physically interfere in any way) to their teammate. Both players may talk freely.


The tournament will take place in the main building (HG/Hauptgebäude) of ETH Zurich, in rooms HG E 26.1 and HG E 26.3. See the links below for details:
HG E 26.1
HG E 26.3
See the link below for a Map of the area of the building:
Map of Surroundings
The address is Rämistrasse 101.

Public transport in Zurich

You will likely be using public transport in Zurich a lot. I will assume that you remain inside the city and buy second class tickets for the duration of your stay (except for trips to/from the airport) - otherwise consult
The ZVV Homepage
A single ticket is valid for one hour and costs CHF 4.10. It is highly likely that day passes are less expensive as they cost CHF 8.20 and are valid for 24 whole hours - ie, a day pass is better as soon as you make at least two seperate trips within 24 hours. If you are in Zurich for a few days, getting a multiple day pass or a multiple-journey ticket may be worthwhile, especially if you are less than 26 years old, as you can pay the reduced price then. These tickets are basically six of either a day pass or a single ticket. Multiple day passes cost CHF 44.40/CHF 32.00 reduced, and multiple-journey tickets cost CHF 22.20/CHF 16.00 reduced. You need a zone upgrade to get to/from the airport because it isn't inside the city - prices are the same as for single tickets/day passes for a 1 hour/24 hour zone upgrade. During the weekend, there are night busses and even regional trains, but you need to buy a night supplement for CHF 5.00 to use them. See Nighttime Network Map (PDF)
for a map of services.

Getting there

From Main Station

There are several options

Take tram number 6 to Zoo, get off at ETH/Universitätsspital. You will arrive in front of the main building of ETH.

Take tram number 10 to Zürich Flughafen or Bahnhof Oerlikon, get off at ETH/Universitätsspital. You will have passed the main building of ETH on your right side just before taking a left turn and getting off, and it will still be in plain view when you reach your destination.

Take any tram to Central, then take Polybahn. The main building will be to your right.

Walk. If you do so, I trust in your ability to use a map.

If you don't walk, you should make it in 10-15 minutes, otherwise it depends on how fast you are ;)

From the Hostel I recommend (see below)

There is a bus station in front of the hostel.

Depending on which bus arrives first, either

Take bus number 33 to Bahnhof Tiefenbrunnen and get off at Waffenplatzstrasse. Take tram number 5 to Kirche Fluntern and get off at Bellevue, then take tram number 9 to ETH/Universitätsspital. You will arrive in front of the main building (on the opposite side of the road).


Take bus number 66 to Sihlstrasse and get off at Waffenplatzstrasse. Take tram number 13 to Frankental and get off at Tunnelstrasse, then take tram number 6 to ETH/Universitätsspital. You will arrive in front of the main building.

Both should take approximately half an hour.

You can also walk to Wollishofen Train Station and take the train from there.

From somewhere else in Zurich

You can download a map of public transport services in Zurich from
Network Map (PDF)
use it to get to ETH/Universitätsspital or Polyterrasse.

Staying in Zurich

The cheapest hostel I found also seems to be the largest one, and seems to usually still have room. See
Youth Hostel Website
for details. Note that you get better prices if you already have a hostelling international membership.

Getting to Zurich

By train

Take a train to Zurich Main Station. You are in Zurich.

By plane

If you haven't booked yet, getting cheap flights may be tough. Consider flying to an airport nearby and taking the train to Zurich - the swiss railway system is excellent.

If you arrive at Zurich Airport, trains to Zurich Main Station leave frequently, and you will likely manage to get there within half an hour.

Alternatively, take tram number 10 - it will take longer, but you can get off at ETH/Universitätsspital without connecting.

Participating online

It will be possible to participate in the Minesweeper World Championship 2011 online from home, under the following restrictions:

  • You are not eligible for the title of "Minesweeper World Champion 2011". You are, however, eligible for the title "Online Minesweeper World Champion 2011".
  • You are not eligible for prizes, trophies or certificates (for logistics reasons).
  • There will be a scoreboard displaying only those players that took part on-site. Also, the main scoreboard will highlight players that took part on-site.
  • Participating on-site grants a large amount of credibility - watching someone play in real life is the only way to be sure that they do not cheat. If you participate online, you don't get this credibility boost.

If you participate online, you will need to download and install the tournament client on your computer. It is highly recommended that you test whether everything works all right beforehand - this is a requirement in order to be eligible for support during the tournament. There will be test tournaments that can be used to test your installation. If the system works for you during one of the test tournaments and fails during the championship, you are eligible for support during the tournament itself.


Anyone wishing to participate is eligible for support until up to two days before the tournament. On-site participants are eligible for in-tournament support if they arrive on time (see above). Online participants are eligible for in-tournament support if they have already taken part in at least one tournament using the tournament software, and have uploaded at least one intermediate game and one expert game using it. Support is subject to availability - this means that I cannot completely guarantee a response even if you are eligible, as this is a one-person operation. However, if you are eligible and need help, I guarantee that I will sacrifice an unlimited amount of my tournament time to help, unless it is determined that the problem can't be fixed (network outage or similar). In order to guarantee your ability to fulfill the above requirements, there will be several test tournaments, and I will be online on the minesweeper IRC channel (see below) to help with any problems that may arise.

Support channels

In order to receive support, either:

Contact me via email

My email address is thomaskolar90[_AT-]gmail.com
Please make the subject something meaningful to increase the likelyhood that I read it as soon as possible.

Go online in the minesweeper IRC (internet relay chat) channel

Server irc.newnet.net
Channel #minesweeper
If you are new to IRC, just visit
I guarantee that I will be online there during all of:

  • the test tournaments
  • the world championship
  • fairly often in general
Also, even if I am not online, other sweepers will likely be willing to help. During the championship, I will be distracted, so message me (by saying something containing "tkolar").

By phone

Before the world championship starts, I will send my phone number to all confirmed participants in case of emergency or inability to find the tournament site.


Apart from the tournament mode, the following rules apply:

  • Attempts to cheat will lead to disqualification. Cheating is defined as normally in the minesweeper community, with the following addition:
    It is considered cheating if a player tries to submit a game that was not played during the alotted time.
Additionally, the following applies for players participating on-site:
  • Players should not be disruptive. Announcing scores is allowed, but permanent real-life mic spam is not appreciated. By permanent I mean permanent; celebrating highscores is very much allowed :)
The house rules of ETH apply, and I need to enforce them. Apart from common sense stuff, this, unfortunately, means:
  • No eating or drinking during the tournament (or, in general, in the computer room) whatsoever.
The last point is written in bold letters in my permit. So, while I regret that this is the case, I will need to be strict about this rule. If possible in any way (no software problems), there will be a break where you can get something to eat before the championship starts.

Participants may leave their seats to take a break as they wish at any point in time.


The on-site participant that has the lowest score at the end of the world championship may claim the title "Minesweeper World Champion 2011". The participant (on-site or online) that has the lowest tournament score at the end of the world championship may claim the title "Online Minesweeper World Champion 2011". It is possible for one player to claim more than one title. The second participant of each of the respective rankings may claim the title "[Online] Minesweeper World Championship 2011 Runner-Up".

Tournament Mode

The tournament format will be the standard format used by most world championships until now, using realtime and thousandths.

That is, every player has three hours to complete intermediate and expert games. The sum of the realtime scores of the fastest (least time) five intermediate games and the realtime scores of the fastest (least time) five expert games of a given player is that player's tournament score. Game and tournament scores are measured in thousandths. Should a player not manage to complete a sufficient number of games for any level, a 999.999 second penalty will be added in place of the unfinished game.


Tim the Enchanter takes part and completes the following games:

On Intermediate

  • 18.234
  • 19.123
  • 22.432
  • 21.543
  • 17.717
  • 20.404
  • 42.420

On Expert

  • 65.432
  • 54.321
  • 58.085

Only the best five intermediate games are taken into account


As only three expert games were completed, two penalties of 999.999 seconds are given


The total tournament score of Tim the Enchanter is therefore



The comparatively bad intermediate game doesn't affect the ranking at all, but had Tim had two games less, it would still have been much better than the 999.999 penalty.

Also note

The tournament takes three hours; this is a Long Time. A fairly consistent player capable of getting scores that are as good as Tim's would likely have no problems finishing many more expert games in that time, so the example is slightly contrived in that respect. Playing at least one three hour session in private to get a feel for one's consistency capabilities is considered a very good idea. As a rule of thumb, if you are a beginner or very inconsistent (as some non-flagging professional players are), it is advised to play for completion, otherwise, trading consistency for speed is probably a very good idea.