March 7, 1983
I grew up in a small town in British Columbia, Canada. Most of the time we lived out of town and had a small farm, so I can milk cows and do the basics. My dad runs a roof company and my mom stays at home with a constantly changing number of children. (I have two natural siblings, five adopted brothers and sisters, and we used to foster one to eight other children at a time).
I only attended public school for my final year, the previous years being done through correspondence. Currently, I have just finished my second year at the University of Victoria, taking general sciences. During my first year I met a girl from Scotland, and convinced her to come back to Canada. As a result, I will be spending next year in Scotland.
Besides minesweeper, my other main interests in life have been music and insects. I used to play violin, then cello, but I have always played piano. As such, I have been sent from my region to the provincial finals seven times. (I haven’t played seriously for several years now). As for insects, I have a 169,000 specimen collection that took two years to collect and four years to catalogue.
Lately, I’ve been watching a lot of hockey (Canada just won the world championship again!), playing darts, and looking for work (what fun!)
Odd facts: most interesting books are This Wonderful Life by Gould and A Brief History of Time by Hawking; favourite hockey team the Vancouver Canucks; best solitaire score 45 sec with 16232 points; links I go to all the time bourque.org (Canadian news site) and sports.yahoo.com/nhl (hockey!)
PLAYING THE GAME
I began playing minesweeper on Windows 3.1 in 1995. Of course, I did not read the rules for the first year or so, but it was fun. Over the next few years I gradually achieved 9-42-130.
Serious playing began the summer of 1999, age 16. I started playing several hours a week, and by the end of summer I reached 5-29-116.
By this time I decided that I was obviously the best player in the world, so I went online to find the world records. The current records of 1-17-51 devastated me, and I quit in September when my brother started teasing me about being addicted.
A few months later at Christmas I started playing again. 116 had seemed unbreakable, but now it shattered and my scores descended rapidly. In the next 60 days I broke my record 20 times.
Just for fun, here is my score progression for the three levels:
1999: Exp: 128, 116, 107, 99, 98
Int: 41, 29, 25
Beg: 6, 5
2000: Exp: 97, 93, 90, 89, 87, 86, 83, 82, 80, 77, 73, 71, 70, 69, 64, 62, 61, 59
Int: 24, 23, 21, 19, 18, 17, 16
Beg: 4, 3, 2, 1
2001: Exp: 56, 53, 52, 51, 50
Int: 14, 13
2002: Exp: 48, 47
2003: Exp: 46
Along with the site, my playing has sufferred. I practically quit last summer due to full-time work, dropped off the active-ranking site for the first time recently, and am only now playing a game or two a day. In part, school has taken a lot of time, but also my mouse failed, and I became languid from the controversy over abuse of board cycles.
I have not compiled my stats for the last two years…maybe some time after the site gets updated I’ll do that. I can provide some of the following tid-bits:
- Best 3bv/s:
Beg: 4.5 (2 on a 9)
Int: 4.3 (19 on 81)
Ex: 3.7 (53 on 196)
- First got the dreamboard March 2000.
- 4th person to sub-50. (After Lasse, Sriram and Dan).
- I average 29 sub-20’s an hour.
- I average a 2sec beginner in 10 minutes.
- I have five, 1sec games….a world record until Jon Simonsen came along.
2001: May 25th: 1 (2), 2 (32), 3 (375), 4 (1282)
May 25th: 226 sub-20’s
July 31st: 661 sub-20’s
- I don’t know how many sub-20’s I now have…
- I did a 7 hour stint in 2002 and got 113 sub-20’s…
- March 22, 2003, I swept midnight to 7am, 204 sub-20’s
(including 19*54, 18*82, 17*29, 16*24, 15*10, 14*2, 13*2, 12*1).
What happened to the quest for sub-60? When I started the site, no one believed sub-50 was even possible! The only sub-60’s (the ‘Minute Barrier’) were Lasse Nyholm with 55, David Barry 59, and Scott Sukenick 59. The ‘hot’ players, all in the high 60’s or low 70’s were Paul Kerry, Gernot Stania, Dan Cerveny, Marc Schouten, Mike Lowder, Spencer Hamblen, and I.
Sub-50 became a possibility when Lasse set a world record of 50, June 9, 2001.
It was no surprise when Lasse got the first: 47, Jan 15, 2001.
David, Dan and I were the favourites to become the next to sub. However, while Dan and I had battled it all the way down from the 70’s together, it was an unheard of friend of David’s, Sriram Sridharan, who shocked us with a 49 on Mar 13, 2001, only two months later.
Feb 22 David got 51…May 31 I got a 52…Jun 30 David got 50…July 27 Dan got a 52…Nov 8 Dan got 50…Nov 18 I got 51…Dan wins the race with a 49 on Dec 23 and a 46 on Jan 5. I got 50 feb 25, and a blessed 47 mar 1. David retired on 50.
Lasse subbed-50 with 200+ sub-60’s, Dan with 180+, and I was well into the 300’s when my chance came. I always seem to have to work harder to get places.
In the Spring of 2000, when I started my site, there were only a few minesweeper webpages, and none of them were still being updated. Here is a brief timeline:
1989: Robert Donner (Canada) writes Minesweeper as his first Microsoft project.
1996, May 15: Wachirin Wichiramala (Malaysia) begins an Expert World Record list, with Peder Skou (Norway) designing the format.
1996: Alex Perel (USA) starts a small site with his scores and a frequented guestbook.
1997: Brian Chu (USA) starts a personal site with strategy tips and guestbook.
1998, Jan 20: Wachirin does last update to Expert list with 145 sub-100’s
1998, Jan 20: Chris Paradise (USA) begins an Intermediate Hall of Fame site.
1998: Perel abandons his site, but the guestbook stays online.
1999, Feb 12: Chris quits updating his site with about 30 players listed under 40 seconds.
1999: Brian quits updating and takes his site offline (e-mailed me the contents).
1999: Frank Wester (Germany) starts the first comprehensive strategy site.
2000, Apr 6: Damien Moore (Canada) begins the ‘Authoritative’ Minesweeper Site with records for all three levels.
2000, Aug 29: Wester does last update to “The Minesweeper Page” strategy site.
Wachirin had created the first online minesweeper list, for expert only. He quit because he believed all the scores below 70 on his list were fakes. The record holder, Paradise with a 51, started an intermediate hall of fame but quit soon after. All we know about him was that he was involved in chemistry at Harvard. Alex Perel’s site was useful only for its guestbook, which contained a few hundred entries. The real gem of the web was Chu’s guestbook, with over a thousand entries. Wester's strategy site was another mainstay. (There was a list of 50 players, created by Ryan Gazder of India: I found his site afterwards, but he erased it that year).
I started the ‘Authoritative Minesweeper’ to create a current list of records for all levels. As the above list shows, all the record sites had died. First, I emailed all the current addresses in Chu's and Perel's guestbooks, and among the first to respond were Dan Cerveny, Lasse Nyholm, Marc Schouten, Paul Kerry, Mike Lowder, David Barry, Spencer Hamblen, Khor Eng Tat, and Gernot Stania. The site has since grown from there, and there are 800 sweepers listed, with another 300 in my email.
The site was up-to-date for the first few years…then, as some may remember, my parents grounded me from the internet the summer of 2002. Soon, I was behind a month, then three, and when university began I became eight months behind. You may notice the lists are currently in spreadsheet form…this is part of a major makeover that I will need programming help for.
GOALS: I would like a form for automatic submission for approval, a program to automatically sort lists on my computer into gender/country/level lists, I would like to incorporate Georgi’s best-ever list, update links and downloads, redesign the site, put up a section for player histories and bios, re-write the tips and faqs and add new ones, include a comprehensive history of 3bv/dreamboards/websites/players/clones/etc, and update the scores.
I apologise for being out-of-date…I expect to fix this progressively to Christmas.
This week I found a copy of my site from May of 2000…it is embarassing to look at J
We all owe a debt of gratitude to Marc Schouten for videos.
In December of 2000 he wrote me, introducing Camtasia, a video-recorder he had discovered on the net. This began the video craze, which developed into Yoni Roll's and Benny Benjamin's 'Minesweeper Board Reader' videos, Sorin Manea's 'Recorder' and 'Player' videos, Stefan Pettersson's 'Global Mine' replays and now, Rodrigo's clone video options.
We owe Stephan Bechtel and Benny Benjamin
The first person to start counting left-clicks and mention it in the guestbook was Stephan Bechtel, along with Lasse Nyholm, Matt McGinley and Vincent Yeh. Around the same time, Benny Benjamin started writing a program that would count a board's 3BV. When he mentioned the first finished version on June 2nd, '02, he suggested his Minesweeper Reader's count being called "Bechtel's Board Benchmark Value."