BirkerÝd, July 2nd, 2004

Martin Toft Madsen

 

About me

 

I was born the 20th of February, 1985 in HÝrsholm, Denmark. I have lived all my life in the same house in BirkerÝd (~20.000 citizens), 20 km (about 13 miles) north of Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark.

I have just graduated from the gymnasium (high school) MKS in Farum (4 km from where I live) with special interest in physics and math, and I am probably going to study physics and nano technology at DTU (the Technical University of Denmark) in Lyngby (10 km north of Copenhagen) from fall this year.

I have played table tennis for about 6-7 years, but havenít played the last year (but maybe I am starting again soon). I also like to bike. The last couple of years I have biked about 16-17.000 km (about 10.000 miles) each year. Last year I biked to Paris (1600 km, 1000 miles) in 16 days with 3 of my friends, and right now Iím considering buying a decent racing bike (all I have had until now is a city bike because I havenít had enough money to buy a racing bike yet). And hopefully in August, this year, I am going to bike to the Alps with one or two of my friends (with my new racing bike ;) ).

Of non-minesweeper related stuff I do at the computer, I can mention video and sound encoding as one of the mayor things. Therefore I often visit www.doom9.org, which has a lot of guides and news about that subject. A site I also often visit, which is probably more useful to many of you, is www.imdb.com (the Internet Movie DataBase), which has taglines, plots, ratings, etc. of almost every movie you can think of. Give it a try before watching your next movie ;)

 

Minesweeper

 

The very first time I tried minesweeper was when I was about 9-10 years old, as I recall. I didnít know the rules back then, so I just made the board as large as possible with 10 mines on it, and see how fast I could finish it. Sometimes it only took one single click :) I think I was seeing some other play the game, but Iím not sureÖ

The first time I ďreallyĒ played the game was in 8th grade when I was 14 or 15 years old. It was in late 1999 or maybe early 2000. Two of my friends were playing together on a board (intermediate I think) at a computer at my school. They were really slow, discussing whether or not there were a mine here and there. Anyway, I asked what the game was about, and they told me the rules. I remember my record on intermediate was 73 not long after.

Then I started playing regularly. I donít know exactly how much I was playing, but I think it was a couple of times a week or so, mostly when I was doing something else at my computer, i.e. copying files or something similar so I couldnít do much else on the computer. I havenít got any records of my best times, but I remember bragging about my expert record of 145 to my cousin at a Christmas party, so I think that was my record at Christmas 2000. In 2001, when I started in the gymnasium, my records were around 100 for expert and 35 for intermediate. I donít know about beginner, since Iíve never played that level much, and I donít know exactly when I broke the 100 barrier on expert.

I got my best after installing Windows XP on my computer late 2001, the 23rd of March 2002 which was a 91. Iím not sure that was my record at that time, but I think it was just about the same as my prior record on my Windows Me.

Here are a list of what I think was my records after that (some of them may not have been my records, since I havenít any 100% evidence; Iím just looking at screenshots dates and trying to remember what my records were):

 

88, April 27, 2002

84, June 18, 2002

81, July 23, 2002

 

As I remember my records were: 92 -> 89 -> 84 -> 81, but I canít find any screenshots of a 92 or a 89, so it could just be my memoryÖ

Meanwhile I had got a new intermediate record: a 27 on the 16th of May, 2002. I havenít got any screenshots of intermediate games prior to that, since I thought that expert were the only important level, but nevertheless I was very proud of my 27 (I think it was my first sub30), so I took a screenshot of it, and have taken screenshots of intermediate games since then as well.

After the last expert record (81) I (like many others) thought I was the best in the world (so did some of my friends Ė the one of the two friends that taught me the rules were at about 200 at that time, as far as I rememberÖ heís gotten to about 140 by now, but very seldom plays). Therefore I started to search on the web to find out if there were anyone out there that were at least almost as good as me ;) The only page I found were Wacharin Wichiramalaís expert record list, which wasnít updated anymore (I donít know why I didnít found Damien Mooreís site). The expert world record on that list were a 51 by Chris Paradise, so I was a little bit devastated, but at least I would be on the list as number 68 in the world. A few months passed and I didnít break any of my records, though I got a 82 the 8th of September 2002. The 4th of November 2002 I finally broke a record: It was on intermediate, on which I improved my record by 5 seconds, to 22.

About that time I started to look after other sweepers on the web again. The first thing I found was Lasse Nyholmís site. D*mn! I was shocked. Only 42 seconds to finish an expert game?!?! That was almost twice as fast as me! I didnít know if I dared to believe it, but after all he had tons of videos so I couldnít easily rejct him as a cheater. Not long after (I actually think it was the same night) I found Damien Mooreís site with all the ďfamousĒ players as Lasse, Damien, Dan, Matt, Owen, etc. I slowly began to realize I wasnít that fast after all.

At that time I found out about the double-clicking technique. All my records were done with marking mines and clearing empty spaces as two separate things. I couldnít really get used to the double-clicking. One of my friends (one of the two who taught me the rules Ė not him with the 140 on expert, but the other (who also has gotten better in the last couple of years and has a 39 on intermediate as his best)) suggested I shouldnít place any flags at all. I thought about it, but quickly rejected the idea as simply impossible if one was going to be among the fastest in the world. A little later some weeks I think, I saw a non-flagger video by Stephan Bechtel: a 66 on an easy board (about 120-130 3BV, but I didnít knew anything about 3BV before a little later, so I didnít knew it was an easy board), and I thought it didnít look that fast, so if he could do it, so could I! It was then I became a non-flagger (NF), November (or maybe December) 2002. Not long after I found the Yahoo! Group, learned about 3BV and also found out that Stephan Bechtelís record wasnít the 66 that was placed in the list at Damien Mooreís site, but 55. Later (I donít know exactly how long after, but maybe a few weeks, maybe some months), I found out that the NF world record was 50. Nevertheless, I knew that I was able to do as good as Stephan Bechtel in his 66 video, and I would also be able to do a 55 if he was able to. So I practiced and practiced and this is my NF expert record list:

 

75, January 14, 2003 (160 3BV)

70, January 24, 2003 (146 3BV)

63, February 18, 2003 (137 3BV)

59, June 22, 2003 (136 3BV)

57, September 19, 2003 (135 3BV)

55, September 20, 2003 (130 3BV)

 

Now I had reached my old goal of 55. All of 2003 I had played almost every day from half an hour to several hours a day. I kept playing that much for the rest of the year, but I didnít get any new expert record.

Since my 22 on November 4th, 2002, I had improved my intermediate alongside:

 

19, December 18, 2002 (I donít think this was playing NF yet)

18, February 7, 2003 (39 3BV) (First NF intermediate record, I think)

17, April 5, 2003 (37 3BV)

16, June 14, 2003 (43 3BV)

15, June 21, 2003 (36 3BV)

13, December 30, 2003 (40 3BV)

 

So this was all up to 2004. Since the start of this year (2004), I havenít played nearly as much as I did in 2003. In the first half of 2004 I think Iíve played an average of 2-3 times a week and about Ĺ-1 hour each time and with about the same amount of intermediate playing as expert playing (in 2003 I think I played about double as much of expert as of intermediate).

The desire to play minesweeper decreased during the last half of 2003, and thatís why I didnít play much in the beginning of 2004. Luckily for me, the Minesweeper Clone was developed by Rodrigo Camargo, and that has given me some more desire to play again, tough not as much as it was one and a half year ago. My current record of 51 was made using this new clone, and it was set the 29th of March, 2004 on a 141 3BV board. Iím very glad that Iíve gotten this record, since it brings me alongside in the world ranking with the other great NF players Stephan Bechtel, Eduardo Cros and Vincent Yeh.

My goals for the future will be to sub 50 (hopefully as the first NF) and then, if I still have the urge, it would be nice to go sub60 total :)

 

 

Now, if I had more time I would read it through and correct it and maybe write a little more, but because Iím late (which I always am) I have to stop here and hope you all can forgive my typing errors :)

 

Happy sweeping! Ė And remember: itís just a game, although many of us (including me) probably often forgets this ;)

 

 

- Martin Toft Madsen