Kostenlos abonnieren

Werden Sie regelmäßig per E-Mail über neue Ausgaben der campuls informiert. Sie können Ihr kostenloses Abo jederzeit einfach online über den Abmeldelink im Newsletter kündigen.

Weitere Infos zu Datenschutz & Widerrufsrecht finden Sie hier.

Katharina Reiner: Computer science student and one of the best puzzlers in the world

For some, jigsaw puzzles are nothing more than crumbled cakes or a waste of time – but for Katharina Reiner, a fifth-semester computer science student at Hof University of Applied Sciences, they are a great passion. And the 19-year-old from the district of Hof impressively proved during her semester break that she is very good at putting together fairly similar-looking pieces: At the World Puzzle Championship in Valladollid, Spain, Katharina Reiner recently took an outstanding 7th place in the individual competition. In another discipline, she even set a world record together with others.

Katharina Reiner, a computer science student from Köditz in the district of Hof, is officially the seventh best puzzler in the world; picture: private;

Ms. Reiner, how long have you been doing puzzles and how does one qualify for a World Puzzle Championship?

“The passion for puzzles runs in our family. As a child, I often puzzled together with my grandparents in a normal way and without focusing on speed, only with my godmother I sometimes did “competitive puzzles”. I actually came to the World Cup in Spain by chance. A puzzle-YouTuber I follow shared a video about the last World Cup. The times achieved were first difficult to assess and only bare numbers. So I ordered the final puzzle and tried it out myself. And because my time was pretty good, I then signed up for the world championship, the World Jigsaw Puzzle Championship .”

…And received an acceptance letter…

“Yeah, more or less. There are no requirements at all – you can just sign up and you’re in. And then I started practicing. I put in about 200 puzzles from February to September, so basically one every day. I’m afraid that wasn’t always easy for my family either. My sister even cleared out part of her room so I could have more space for my puzzles.” *laughs*

So how exactly can you imagine the World Puzzle Championship?

“The World Championship has been held annually – with the exception of Pandemic – in Valladolid since 2019. The organizer is the “World Jigsaw Puzzle Federation” (WJPF). The whole thing is supported by the manufacturer Ravensburger, whose puzzles are of course also used. Young and old people from all over the world come together there, all united by their passion for puzzles – this creates a wonderful family atmosphere without a lot of competition – which is something you would expect at a world championship. There are then three categories: individual, pairs and team mode, each of which allows you to qualify for the finals through placement rounds and semifinals. Overall, of course, it’s always about finishing the puzzle as quickly as possible.”

So how long were you in Spain for that?

“All in all, I was on site for almost a whole week together with my sister and fortunately I was able to master round after round well. You can imagine it as in a small arena with many spectators. Round after round, about 100 to 180 participants puzzle against each other, supervised by volunteer “judges.” As soon as one finishes, they write down the final time. Plus, the whole thing is livestreamed on the Internet, so my family and friends could always be there, too. The fastest then move on.”

At individual tables, the participants fought their way through the elimination rounds of the World Puzzle Championship; photo: private;

And they actually made it to the finals of the 180 fastest puzzlers in the world. Did you expect that?

“Actually, I just wanted to participate in the competition for fun and take this as a once-in-a-lifetime experience. My goal was simply to be able to puzzle as much as possible, which means qualifying for all rounds. So of course I was very happy to make it to the finals in all categories. But I was even happier about the how – because in the qualifying round of the individual mode, I was only 16 seconds slower than the reigning World Champion. In the pairs competition, me and a puzzler from London finished 21st, and in the team we both even managed to finish 10th together with a Finn and a girl from Gibraltar. To be happy together about this great result was even more beautiful than in the individual mode.

Good mood before the team competition with Katharina Reiner (2nd from right); picture: private;

But it went even better in the individual: what was the task?

“The final puzzle consisted of 500 pieces and was supposed to result in a Greek village square with many tables and chairs as well as wine on the facades of the houses. That was rather a challenging puzzle, if only because almost all the pieces were blue, white, or green. Still, I was glad it was more of a scenic photograph than artwork – because that’s more fun for me. It took me 46 minutes to complete the puzzle, and the world champion only 38.”

Congratulations! And then there was the matter of a real world record…

“Yes, this year there was also a spontaneous world record attempt with a special Guinness World 2000-piece puzzle that has to be laid as quickly as possible. It does not matter how many puzzlers participate at the same time. However, too many participants are not necessarily always helpful, since this task also requires good coordination among the participants. We then formed a team of eight people among the faster puzzlers and completed the puzzle in 84 minutes. With that, we were able to set the world record.”

Where do you go from here?

“My mindset towards puzzling has changed a bit – many of the other participants have seen it as a real sport and the WJPF is even trying to make puzzling Olympic. So I’m definitely going to keep training a lot more and I definitely want to go to the WJPF again next year. That’s why I also want to take a Spanish class next semester so I can communicate at least a little bit. The World Cup was just really fun and a great experience!”

Thank you very much!

Weitere Themen