DISASTER at the National Jigsaw Puzzle Championships
It is time for day two of the national jigsaw puzzle championships and I did uh pretty well that day, just wait, you’ll see. So this event happened this past October just a couple weeks ago, and I just put up another video All About day, one which was the teams event. So you can check out that video for all of the context. But as I talk about day two, I just want to mention again that this event was sponsored by ravensberger and they also sponsored me to attend the event and make these videos so okay day, two started off with a stretching session, which was definitely needed after five And a half hours of non-stop puzzling the day before. I really hope this lady was there because uh this position does not look comfortable.
Okay, Katie we’re about to start the Paris event. How are you feeling uh, hopefully a little better than you did a smaller puzzle and it’s just the two of us, so I think we’re gon na finish, I oh, I definitely think we’re gon na finish. My goal now is top 10.I’m putting it out there top ten we’ll see we’re sharing a table with gray and Melinda, who are very good, so I’m a little intimidated. They might get first and we’ll probably get like 12.
So we’ll see everyone. Are you ready to get started? Welcome everyone to the very first in-person USA, drinkside Nationals pairs competition. Thank you. So if yesterday’s teams event was a marathon, today’s events are Sprints for the pairs event.
All we had to do was one 500 piece puzzle in two hours. Now, if you remember from the world’s pears events, we were seeing top times of like 20-30 minutes, so this is gon na go really fast. There is no room at all forever. Five: four: three: two one go together: okay, great two pounds: foreign okay, a few things to unpack here, so I followed Gray’s lead and I realized that you are allowed to touch the bag before the time starts. So you want to get your hands on the opening of the bag, ready to pull it open as soon as they say go, and then you see that we had a little trouble getting the plastic off.
Look at this gray and Mindy is dumping out the pieces at eight seconds in meanwhile, it took us until 27 seconds and some of the finishes were within 20 seconds of each other, so literally every second counts. But okay, let’s take a look at the puzzle when we pulled this out of the bag. I was pretty happy with this one, even though I typically prefer illustrations to Nature photos. This one has a very clear break, which makes it perfect for a pairs event, because one person can do the sky and one person can do the ground and you’re, basically each doing a 250 piece puzzle. So, while we’re doing the Sorting, let’s take a look at who we’re competing against, obviously at our table is gray and Mindy from the jigsaw junkies.
Last time, gray was at the next table over and I was intimidated this time. She’S literally like a foot away from us, we’ve also got Yvonne teaming up with Sarah. They are such a Powerhouse team and here is a breakdown of how all of the top teams are divided up into pairs, because I think it’s a little easier to see visually foreign. So obviously we started by turning everything over and pulling all of the sky pieces towards me and the darker pieces towards Katie and that took about three and a half minutes. That gray and Mindy pulled out the edge first.
But I didn’t do any of the others. Sorting right at the beginning, so next I did a second sort where I pulled out all of the sky Edge pieces. And then I started putting those together at around four and a half minutes. And when I told you that I flew through the Sky, I was in the zone. You guys know that I loved the color pink.
I love gradients and this guy had just enough detail that I loved putting it together. Honestly, I was so focused on the sky that I wasn’t even aware of what Katie was doing, so it’s so fun and funny to watch it back now and actually see her progress. I really felt like I was getting peace after peace after peace. I was the wind and no one could catch me well, except for all of the other Elite puzzlers in the room. Okay.
So now we can’t really see their puzzle in this shot, but someone to keep an eye on are the sisters in the purple shirts. Just a little foreshadowing there for later I don’t know okay. So what happened there um earlier in the competition we found a piece on the floor. We weren’t sure if it was ours that may have come out of your bag, but it turns out it was so crisis averted and I told you in the last video pieces ended up on the floor in every single puzzle, foreign. So I kept glancing over and I could not believe that we were basically keeping up with gray and Mindy.
They are such fast puzzlers. This was giving me such a huge confidence boost. I also have Yvonne’s time lapse again and it looks like she’s slightly ahead, but really not by much but uh take a close look at where we are right now and then we cut over to Jean and Kathy the sisters in the purple shirts and they are Absolutely crushing it that is so much progress for 21 minutes, so we were actually on the live stream too. At this point, you can really see the progress of both pairs here and note how Gray and Mindy actually switched places part way through so Yvonne finishes the sky at 25 53 and then this is so smart. She joins Sarah on the other side of their table.
So I’m going to talk more about this in just a sec. Meanwhile, two minutes later I finished the sky at 28 minutes. So I was feeling really good about myself at this point and I moved on to finish the bottom Edge, but this is where our biggest mistake happened. What we should have done was either both be on the same side of the table, or we should have switched spots right then, because the bottom half of this puzzle is so dark that, from the angle, I was leaning over it with the glare from the overhead Lights, I couldn’t see any of the detail and since I’m the stronger Puzzler, it would have made more sense for me to have the better view of the puzzle. So I could make progress more quickly, someone else’s piece.
You want to steal someone else’s puzzle piece. Okay, I need to not get distracted now I wasted so many seconds on that piece that I found on the floor. I knew it wasn’t ours because we had already finished the sky, so I should have just pointed it out to a volunteer and then gotten back to my own puzzle, but I was so sure that it had to be from the table behind us and I wanted Them to have it back, I’m too nice. I need to be more ruthless. This is a competition anyway, at half an hour.
Here’S where we are – and here is Jean and Kathy just looking at them. This is like Alejandro level puzzling. They are so fast. Here’S a look at Yvonne and Sarah a minute later doing really well but they’re not in the lead. So at 33 minutes I’m just finishing the edge and then – and I think we’re about – but we’re about to finish – we’re at table 10 Gene and Kathy Ryder.
Look at that we’re at 33 10.So. I think that was Brian’s. Guess it was 33-30 or was it me? Oh okay, I think I might win this.
You guys look at that. I think I’m gon na win it you guys so Gene and Kathy finish at 33.26, and they are the winners. It is incredible that literally no one else was even close foreign, so I checked in with everyone else. Uh this pair Jennifer and Katie are doing really well gray and Mindy have definitely pulled ahead of us. By now I did the sky so quickly, but then I had so much trouble with the bottom half of the puzzle.
Just because, as I said, I couldn’t see any of the detail in 36 minutes, we finally resorted to sorting by shape, because it was the only way that we were going to make any real progress. I think it’s really wrong. She picked it up and said it’s not hers and gave it to them, they’re done with their Sky. I can’t get yours. Thank you um.
So remember that piece that I found on the floor earlier and gave to the table behind us. Well, it turns out. It was gray and Mindy’s. Luckily they got it back before they finished their puzzle, so they didn’t have to take a penalty. I still don’t know how it ended up on the far side of our table, though I guess puzzle pieces are just flying everywhere.
So at 37 minutes the race Begins for second place, foreign foreign, and it is gray and Mindy who gets second place at 39.56, but wait 11 seconds later, Jennifer and Katie finished for third place. That was so close, literally 11 seconds and then 38 seconds. After that, Sarah and Yvonne finished in fourth place, so second, third and fourth place were all within one minute of each other.
That is so wild. So at this point at 41 minutes I finally decided to switch places with Katie and, oh my God, it made such a difference. I could finally see what I was putting together. I think we definitely would have finished a lot faster if we had switched places a lot earlier. So while we finish that up, Andrea and Dawn get Place Sophie and Max get sixth place, it wasn’t shown on camera, but Mary and Robin gets seventh place and then finally, at 45 minutes we’re closing in on the end, the live stream actually stayed on us for Quite a while Katie said that she thinks that they expected us to finish a little more quickly than we did, but one thing to notice: the live stream camera had this bright light attached to it and it actually illuminated the puzzle and made it way easier to See all of those dark details, so whenever the live stream camera was on you, you had a big advantage over the other teams, which I don’t think was necessarily fair, but I mean in the moment we were happy about it.
Thank you. Thank you. Um. You guys have top 10 really yeah the world. This is so exhausting, oh, my God that was literally like sprinting a mile. I’m out of breath, but I think we made the top ten okay.
Okay, it’s up. Where are we eighth place? A top tab, like all the top ten you guys, we made the top 10
We got eighth place and this time, instead of being 13th out of 33 teams, we were eighth place out of 93 pairs. I am just so happy with that result, especially for my first puzzle, competition. So, okay, you know what time it is.
Let’S take a look at the data. Okay, so here are the top 10 finishers. Look at this Jean and Kathy were a full six and a half minutes faster than second place. That is like Simone biles level of domination, it was fun and what did you do to uh practice for this, so just having fun and they didn’t compete in the teams event and they’re not competing in individual, so they literally just came in and swept everyone away In this one event, they said that they don’t want to do individual because they don’t like competing against each other, which is fair enough. I actually asked them afterwards.
I was like. Are you gon na do uh the individual? They said no, we’re too competitive, they’re twins. So they were like No And um. I forget which one, but one of the twins was like I am so competitive.
I would feel really bad. I would rub it in her face. If I want they’re very self-aware, it was very sweet, but yet very aggressive. I know within one minute of each other and look at ninth and 10th Place. It was only a five second difference.
So what I said earlier about every single second accounting like it’s so true, so out of 93 teams, 78 finished their puzzle. So here’s a look at everyone’s times: 24 teams finished in under an hour, 61 teams finished in under 90 minutes and the final finisher had literally 40 seconds to spare, and can we just look at how beautiful that curve upwards is Valerie? One of the organizers said that she was worried. Everyone would finish at the exact same time, but it really is very evenly spread out over the 90 minutes when people are finishing. So if you want to watch the entire competition, I’m gon na put the live stream link right down below. It’s only two hours, this time, so it’s a little easier to digest than the team’s event and they interviewed all the top finishers, including me and Katie.
Thanks for having me, this has been so fun, I mean it’s like running a Sprint versus a marathon. I honestly feel like I just ran a mile right now, yeah, I feel a little bit winded. This is nuts doing a puzzle this fast, and how are you feeling about the individual competition coming up? A little nervous, we’ve already established Karen is going to do much better than I am. But as long as I finish, I will be happy, which I think is a very reasonable goal.
Michael I mean it depends on the puzzle, but my initial goal is under an hour, so we’ll see yes, I did do some training Karen and I practiced great you’ve. Like on Zoom or something like that for practicing, no, we uh saw each other a couple times in the last year, and so we did. Maybe I don’t know – maybe five puzzles together to practice for this. So I guess it worked all right. So, as I said, the full interview is in the live stream, which I’m gon na link down in the description, but now it is time for a lunch break, but then the final event of the competition, the individual round.
It is about to get even more intense. Thank you. Oh man. Okay in this bag is the individual puzzle 500 pieces. This is all on my own, no matter how I do it, it’s all on me.
I’M gon na count down from five four three two one go: whoa, okay, okay. I need to learn. Gray’S plastic technique: oh fun. Okay. I think I had a piece on the floor already, but if he’s followed the floor, oh my God already had a piece on the floor foreign, so another sort of dramatic beginning.
So I was sharing a table with gray and first off. I would just like to apologize to her for all of my commentary, but once again she got the box open way faster than me. She was dumping out the pieces at nine seconds and it took me until 22 seconds so just like the pairs round, all we had to do was one 500 piece puzzle in two hours. So, let’s take a look at the puzzle, this was actually made using ravensburger’s custom puzzle printing service and I had just done a video about all those custom puzzles. So I recognized this box design immediately, of course, but that didn’t really help.
Since I didn’t know what the image was going to be – but I remember thinking, that’s interesting – that they printed a custom puzzle instead of using an unreleased, regular puzzle anyway, as soon as I saw this design, I was so happy. Oh fun, okay, I love colorful flat illustrations like this. It is my favorite type of image to do as a puzzle. One of the organizers was telling me that at every single puzzle competition, as soon as everyone opens the bags, they always hear a chorus of both yay and no because everybody just likes different types of puzzles. So this is a stock photo illustration of San Diego.
That they just put their logo onto and what I love about. Images like this is that it is so clear how to separate the pieces, because this bright, yellow is very different from this bright red, but as we got started, I actually remember being a little more stressed out than I would have been if it was a harder Image and that’s because when it’s an easier image there is no wiggle room, everyone’s gon na get through it quickly, so there is no room for mistakes, so who are my main competitors? Of course, I’m sharing a table with Gray. We’ve seen how well she’s done in all of the competitions. So far, we’ve also got Yvonne at the next table over and she actually took video of her entire solve as well. So I can do a true comparison between the two of us.
Of course, Sarah is one to watch and Robin has also done really well in all of the events so far and of course, Katie was there, but she was at a table sort of in the middle behind me. So I could not see what her progress was. Foreign, so since the colors are so distinct, I decided to turn everything over and only separate the edges, since once it’s all turned over, I can quickly go back through and just grab each color, so that took me until about four minutes in oh – and I had Also grabbed all of the San Diego text pieces and I started trying to put them together, but for some reason I was convinced that this Edge piece on the side was gon na go on the top, and I just could not wrap my mind around how these Text pieces fit together, so I quickly abandoned that and I put the logo together instead, so now you can see how quickly I could grab all of the yellow pieces, but then, instead of working on them, I hopped back over to the edge. I really felt like I was all over the place in this puzzle constantly just switching between sections, so when I finished most of the edge I decided to leave all of those solid blue pieces in the corner for last. At the same time, Yvonne has that the logo done the San Diego text and she’s working on the orange building, so a very different order than I went about it.
The next thing I decided to work on was the Sun. A few people left this until the very end, but I think that having a large section in the middle gives you a lot to work off of so here’s a look at where Sarah is in the live stream and also Yvonne. It’S a little hard to compare at this point since we’re all working on different sections. I think I’m the only one who didn’t start with the orange building but after I finished the Sun, that was the next section that I went to and then at just under 20 minutes. Look at how close my puzzle is to the edge of the table.
I can’t believe this. I can’t believe this disaster struck. Somehow my hand knocked into the bottom Edge and half of my Edge ended up on the floor. Remember what I was saying before about there being no room for mistakes. I really thought this was going to cost me the entire competition. Luckily, since ravensburger pieces Stay Together pretty well, I was able to rescue most of the edge in sections, but I did have to fully get down on the floor and pick up probably about 10 pieces and then rebuild the edge.
But okay after I got that done. There was no time to get flustered. I just had to get right back to it foreign, so one thing you might not think about is that for the individual competition it was silent in that room. It was actually kind of eerie like for Pairs and teams. Everyone is talking amongst themselves, but for individuals it was literally just pieces clicking into place.
That’S all you could hear and once again I felt like I was all over the place. I pulled out the tree pieces, but then I put together this building. I pulled out the purple pieces, but I couldn’t get them in place, so I abandoned them. But this is what I’m talking about with doing a puzzle on your own. If I was in a pair or a team, someone might grab those pieces and move them around, but doing it on my own.
I know that when I’m ready to get back to it, they’ll be right where I left them, it’s one less thing you have to focus us on and for me I feel, like I’m a much faster Puzzler on my own, so at half an hour, here’s where I’M at and here is Yvonne, so she has pretty much all of the buildings done, but not the Sun or the trees. So it’s hard to tell who is further ahead at this point, but I kept glancing over at Gray because I felt like she was my Pace Setter, like how he’ll run faster if you’re next to a fast runner. I figured if I could keep up with her. Then I’d be doing okay and I was definitely keeping up with her. This was giving me so much confidence, so you would think that I would do the buildings next, but for some reason, with all the adrenaline pumping, I just couldn’t get myself to focus on the individual details. Instead, I was going for Big Blocks of color, so I decided to do this dark gray cloud, which was actually smart, because I got the two big sections connected and then I had an outline to fill in the buildings really quickly and remember.
In my other practice video when I kept forgetting to look at the Box well, I learned from that. I definitely remembered to look at the Box this time, foreign. So at 45 minutes I’m finishing up the bottom of the puzzle and then all that’s left is the white cloud and the sky. Yvonne looks like she’s a little further ahead, but she still has to do that solid, colored, Sun, but remember in a competition. You are so focused on your own puzzle that you have no idea what anyone else is doing. I thought for sure a bunch of other people were doing this super quickly, so it was really surprising watching the live stream back and realizing that I was right up there with Yvonne in the lead.
This is right around the time when I started thinking I’m getting close. Why has no one else finished yet? Like am I missing something? It’s like when you take a test, and you finish way earlier than everyone else and you’re like okay. I have to have missed something I remember starting to think uh. Could I maybe uh win this, but I immediately shut that down in my brain, because I knew that as soon as I got my heart set on winning like six other people would finish before me.
So, at 48 minutes all that was left was the Blue Sky. I started with the edge and then from there. I could finally fill in that San Diego text and then finish with all of the solid blue pieces and at this point totally unbeknownst to me, it was literally just me and Yvonne Racing for first place. Thank you, foreign get it. Meanwhile, I literally only have 11 pieces left, I don’t know down and there it is finished.
Oh my God that was so intense. Oh I’m absolutely shaking okay, so I got second place out of 99 puzzlers. This was honestly so validating. I honestly didn’t know how I would stack up next to these top puzzlers in a real life competition setting, and it is really validating to know that, on top of being a puzzle influencer, I’m legitimately like a really fast Puzzler. So I was 34 seconds after Yvonne and then 27 seconds after me, Sarah finished her third foreign, so a minute and a half later, I’m so sorry Kelly.
There was like no good footage of you puzzling and I’m so sorry that it looks like you’re missing a piece, but Kelly Walter gets forth 22 seconds after that gray gets Fifth and two minutes after that Robin gets. Sixth, now I know what you’re all wondering if I hadn’t knocked all of those pieces onto the floor, would I have won well from the exact frame where I knocked into the pieces to the point where I finished putting the edge back together. It was 40 seconds and Yvonne finished, 34 seconds ahead of me, so maybe but honestly like who knows, you can’t go back and play them? What if game like you, just have to go with what actually happened and, but speaking of me and Yvonne, I heard from a viewer named Greg, who put together this chart, showing the exact number of pieces Yvonne and I put in like the second. So you can see that when we have about 25 pieces left, we are exactly tied, but after that she pulls ahead.
Okay, so after all of that, I went and checked in with how Katie was doing and she was doing well, although not gon na finish anytime soon. So I went and I got interviewed on the live stream second place finisher in the individuals. Congratulations! Thank you. I was not expecting that at all, so how did you feel when you’re coming down to the end, then?
Oh, my God, nobody had finished and I was almost done and I was like what’s happening. Am I missing something like what’s happening? Did you do any shape? Sorting, no, actually, I thought when I got to all this blue at the top. I thought I would have to, but I just sort of organized them into a grid, but not by shape.
Okay and then I could see everything well enough that I didn’t have to, and I got back from my interview just in time to watch Katie finish: go Katie, go Katie and done. How do you feel alright? So you know what time it is time for the charts here is the top ten. You can see that no one was right on top of each other. There were at least 20 seconds between each finish, so out of 99 competitors, 81 people finished and again it is a very steady rise upwards.
There really weren’t any outliers in this competition. So there were six of us who finished in under an hour and 52 who finished in under 90 minutes and then just for fun. I thought I would compare the times between the individual versus the pears puzzle since both were 500 pieces in two hours. So after 17, faster pairs finish, the rest are all pretty evenly interspect first. So next we had the awards ceremony.
Uh the prizes for pairs were the exact same as the prizes for teams. Fourth, through sixth place, get a medal while first through third get a trophy. So we have Sophie and Max Andrea and Dawn, and Sarah and Yvonne getting medals in third place was Jennifer and Katie in second place was Mindy and gray and in first place of course, were Jean and Kathy. I feel like they should get an extra big trophy, since their lead was so huge, but as the first place finishers, they also each win a zako puzzle board and then the individual Awards. We had Robin Gray and Kelly in sixth, Fifth and fourth, each winning a medal in third place with Sarah, and then I got to go on stage to get my second place trophy.
I still can’t believe I brought a trophy home from my first puzzle, competition and then, of course, in first place was Yvonne. So, in addition to a trophy and a zacko puzzle board, she also won a small cash prize and her entry fees will be covered for the world jigsaw puzzle championships in Spain next year. So here is a closer look at the trophy and the certificate that all of the winners got. All of them were signed by the North American president of ravensberger. He was at the event and as far as I can tell, I think he loved it and I just want to say that I’m kind of glad there weren’t additional prizes for second place.
I think taking home a trophy and a certificate is fine. But since I was being sponsored by ravensburger to be there, I wouldn’t have felt comfortable accepting an extra prize. I would have just passed that on to the next winner, but uh. Luckily that just wasn’t an issue. I also want to clarify that getting second place in this one contest does not mean that I am the second fastest Puzzler in the country like Tammy is objectively a faster Puzzler than me, but she wasn’t competing because she was organizing the event and there are tons Of fast puzzlers, who couldn’t come to the event or where this isn’t their preferred puzzle style the times in these competitions are so close that whoever ends up actually winning is kind of arbitrary.
All that approves is that I can hold my own against some of the top puzzlers in the country, so uh uh. I got second place. I don’t know how that happened. How did that happen? You’Re really good at puzzles.
I can’t believe I got second place. So before I go, I just want to show you a clearer look at the two puzzles. These are great for competitions, because, even if you have dark or solid colored sections, the piece cut is unique enough that you don’t have to worry about false fitz and the pieces stay together enough to be able to move sections around or pick up your edge off Of the floor, so ravensberger also sent their own correspondent Joel to the event and he participated unofficially in all of the events, and we actually made a little video together, hey Joel, what’s wrong! Puzzling is hard. I didn’t even get a prize. Well, the real prize in puzzling is friendship.
Also, I got you. This has a little consolation prize and also I got you this to practice for next time. So if you want to keep following Joel’s puzzling Adventures, you can follow ravensberger on Instagram and on Tick Tock and then finally, I just want to give a huge round of applause to all of the organizers of this event: Valerie Tammy, Ally and Faith. It was really the four of them who put this on and they did such an amazing job for a first time event. It was incredibly well organized. Everything happened on time when it was supposed to, they kept going on about how great all of the volunteers were.
As well that everyone was just so smart and resourceful like I don’t think they could have asked for a better first time, puzzle, competition and someone who spends most of my time alone in my apartment, doing, puzzles or editing puzzle videos, I’m just so thankful to have Become a part of this real life Community. It is a really weird thing to get a hundred people together to race jigsaw puzzles in a hotel Ballroom, but we all worked together to make it happen and I’m just so happy to have met so many people who love puzzles as much as I do. But okay, I know you all have one last question: did we finish the 18 000 piece puzzle? Unfortunately, no, this is how far we got, and I say we because I put in a good like 20 pieces. In the end, the puzzle was taken apart and raffled off and luckily the person who won it lived locally, so they could just drive it home instead of having to ship it or take it on a plane.
So that was it for the national jigsaw. Puzzle championships don’t forget that at the Karen puzzles, Puzzle is available on Amazon right now. I’M gon na have the link down in the description. Let me know in the comments um, which puzzle: would you most want to do out of the five that we did at this event, and your code word for the comments will be second place. All right.
I need to go to uh polish. My trophy thank you for watching and happy puzzling. Thank you.