The Olympics of the Puzzle World: Speed Puzzling Championship
Written by SOONNESS / September 18, 2023 / Photo Credit: Screenshots from the World Jigsaw Puzzle Championships video by @guinnessworldrecords
Puzzles are relaxing? Think again.
Those humble yet captivating pastimes that have graced coffee tables and quiet afternoons for generations, are about to take center stage in Spain in a couple of days.
The World Jigsaw Puzzle Championship, often simply referred to as WJPC, is a thrilling annual event that brings together puzzle enthusiasts and experts from around the globe. It started in 2019 and it is currently held in Valladolid, Spain.
It's a celebration of the art and skill of jigsaw puzzle assembly. While the exact origins of the championship might be a bit hazy, its popularity has grown steadily over the years, making it an eagerly awaited fixture in the world of puzzles. The number of participants started at 531 in 2019, and this year it almost doubled to 978 participants from 55 different countries. So far, the Gold Medal Winners were from Spain, Czech Republic, and Russia.
Photo above: Alejandro Clemente (Spain), the Gold medalist (Individual) in 2022
So, what can you expect at the World Jigsaw Puzzle Championship? The format typically revolves around a series of puzzle-solving challenges. Participants are presented with puzzles of 500-1000 piece counts, each with its own unique design and level of complexity. The fastest person/team that completes the puzzle, simply wins.
Imagine sitting at a table with a pile of pieces in front of you, the clock ticking, and the excitement building. You're not just solving any puzzle; you're competing against others in a race against time. It's a test of both speed and precision. Now, let's look at the details.
It will consist of 3 phases; first round, semifinal and final. Players will have to assemble an 500-piece puzzle in a maximum period of 90 minutes.
In the preliminary phase, the pairs must assemble a 500-piece puzzle with a time limit of 90 minutes. In the final they will have to assemble an unpublished puzzle of 1,000 pieces (catalog 2024) in a maximum period of 120 minutes.
Teams must be composed of a minimum of 3 people and a maximum of 4. No changes will be allowed during the competition. The preliminary round will last 3 hours and the participating teams will have to assemble two 1000-piece jigsaw puzzles. Teams will have to choose 2 puzzles from the same 4 models that will be delivered.
The awards ceremony for all categories will take place on Sunday, September 24th, 2023 at 1:00 p.m (GMT+2).
The prizes by categories are the following:
- Individual: First classified € 1,000, 2nd classified € 500 and 3rd classified € 250. 4nd, 5nd, 6nd, 7nd, 8nd, 9nd and 10nd classified: Ravensburger puzzle
- Pairs: First pair classified € 1,000, 2nd classified € 500 and 3rd classified € 250. 4nd, 5nd, 6nd, 7nd, 8nd, 9nd and 10nd classified: Ravensburger puzzles
- Teams: First team classified € 1,000, 2nd classified € 500 and 3rd classified € 250. 4nd, 5nd, 6nd, 7nd, 8nd, 9nd and 10nd classified: pack of Ravensburger puzzles
The first three classified in each category will also receive a trophy.
* This information is from www.worldjigsawpuzzle.org (2023)
One of the most exciting aspects of the World Jigsaw Puzzle Championship is the international flavor it brings. Puzzle enthusiasts from diverse countries gather to showcase their skills and share their love for jigsaw puzzles.
The winners in 2022 were:
- Alejandro Clemente (Spain): Individual 500 pieces in 00:32:41
- Katerina Novotna & Tereza Koptíková (Czech Republic): Pairs 1000 pieces in 01:02:20
- Ana Gil, Ana Isabel Jimeno, Alejandro Clemente, David Caballero (Spain): Team 1000 + 1500 piece puzzles in 02:54:13.
This year, we are excited to see some of our favorite puzzlers from the puzzlegram participating at WJPC, such as @karenpuzzles, @jigsaw_jubie, @tammymcleodpuzzler, @pieces_of_the_picture, @sarahdoespuzzles, @puzzleproblem, @puzzlefreeordie
You can view the full list of 2023 participants by clicking HERE.
Social and Community Building
Beyond the competitive aspect, the World Jigsaw Puzzle Championship serves as a hub for puzzle enthusiasts to come together, share their experiences, and create lasting memories. It's a chance to bond over a shared love for puzzles, swap tips and tricks, and simply enjoy the camaraderie of like-minded individuals. Whether you're a seasoned competitor or a first-time participant, you'll find a welcoming community of like-minded individuals who are passionate about puzzles.
Photo above: The Misfits Team prepares for the World Jigsaw Puzzle Championship 2023 / Screenshot from @karenpuzzles channel
The World Jigsaw Puzzle Championship is more than just a competition; it's a celebration of a timeless hobby that brings people together from all corners of the globe.
The anticipation is building as we look forward to the 2023 championship in Spain, where participants will test their skills, make new friends, and create lasting memories.
So, mark your calendars and get ready to be a part of the excitement as Spain prepares to host the puzzle event of the year. It's time to piece together unforgettable moments and celebrate the joy of puzzles!
The event runs from September 20th to 24th, 2023 at Millennium Dome, Valladolid, Spain. You can find the schedule by clicking HERE.