Stephan Bechtel




Active Ranking: Today, we're going to interview Stephan Bechtel. Stephan, please tell us some facts about your person!

Stephan Bechtel: Iím a 26-year-old guy from Germany. At the moment, I live near Stuttgart. Iíve nearly finished my studies in economics, currently writing on the diploma thesis. Iíll leave the university in the end of March.

How did you get in contact with Minesweeper?

My father got a PC in 1991, I think, a wonderful 80386/33 with 40 MB hard disk and Windows 3.1! There were only a few games, thus, I checked out Minesweeper as well. Of course, it needed some time until I finished my very first expert board in 353 seconds. My times in 1993 were at 10-85-326...

And when did you find out about the existence of some community?

In September 2001, I searched the web for minesweeper sites as Ė like everybody else Ė believed that my records (3-25-96 then) must be the best on earth. Finally, I discovered the website of Damien and got addicted again. I developed some ambition to get some decent scores to climb up the rankings, what made me play regularly now.

So, you were just in time for the AR?

Yes, I got a member of the yahoo group just in time so that I didnít miss anything. Thatís why I was able to be listed in every AR period since its beginning.

Maybe you should tell the others what your function within the AR crew is!

Sure. Since May 2002, the AR files have been on my server space as my university provide some free space to each student. Iím also making the statistics as I like statistics very much. Finally, I could reserve the nice domain for free.

Can you provide some information about your way down to your current records and your playing style? Maybe some statistics as well?

When I started, there was no (or I didnít know of) double-click feature. I flagged all mines, even the unnecessary ones, and came down to 138 in expert with this technique. My former math teacher told me that he doesnít flag at all, so I learnt how to do that. Since then, I always have been playing non-flagging (nf). Most likely, this is the main reason for my unusual record development in expert: 95-88-83-73-65-55-52. I donít finish many games, but if I finish a fast board, a large gap is possible. By now, as far as I know, Iím #3 in the world of non-flaggers. In intermediate, Iíve always played nf, and my non-DB 12 seems to be one of the fastest nf times around.

What system do you use? Any special mouse? Only with music?

Iím playing the old 3.1 version on an Athlon 1800+ XP computer. Itís good enough for playing smoothly while Camtasia is recording. About my mouse: I probably have the crappiest mouse on earth with a nearly destroyed left button. But this is the main advantage of this special Mitsumi Classic Mouse, as it allows to click without any noise and, even more important, with little pressure. Sometimes, I listen to music, sometimes to TV, but I always concentrate only on minesweeper.

So, you said you like statistics. Can you give us some examples?

Er, I donít know what might be of special interest. I can only recommend watching the minesweeper section of my website ( where lots of statistics are available, including frequencies, 3BV, and 3BV/sec. Thanks to Sorin, Benny, and Yoni who did a lot of influential work that was and still is helpful for statistics freaks like me.

Finally, please tell us a link to any non-minesweeper website that others might find interesting!

Thatís difficult as most of my favourite sites are German ones. So, maybe might be interesting, even for fans of google. Itís a search engine, but the results are clustered by keywords. Other sites that I find interesting are as itís a nice site for passive sportsmen that like statistics ;-) Also, not to brag, but I know that Minesweeper isnít the only standard Windows game, so I have created a Solitaire ranking website. You can find it at

Thanks, Stephan!