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Extremely unbalanced short contests


It has been my observation that CodeChef's short contests like monthly Cook-Offs and Lunchtimes have become extremely unbalanced in difficulty level.

The best example I have is of COOK101 (December Cook-Off). Being in Division 1, I could not do a single question from that contest (thankfully I made no submissions). I understand Division 1 is meant to be hard but among 5 questions at least 1 should be on the easier side (greedy algorithms, implementation problems, etc.).

But the true problem occurs with Division 2 (COOK101B). Their first question was easy, and the next 4 questions are common with Division 1. Look at the fall in successful submissions, 2080 to 85. That means for more than 95% of participants, acing the Cook-Off meant doing the easy question fast. That was the end of the contest for them.

And usually also, if there are 5 questions in a Cook-Off or Lunchtime, the last 3 have successful submissions in single digits, compared to >100 submissions for the first two problems.

Now, I understand that having hard questions is good for learning. But still the contests are so unbalanced, it's not fun at all. And Division 2 contests are not appropriate for Division 2 level at all. Division 1 also feels like as if its for rating >= 2100.

I think that many other users might also be disappointed with the current difficulty distributions.

asked 13 Jan, 00:54

swapnilrustagi's gravatar image

accept rate: 28%


@vijju123 @admin Any comments on issue?

(14 Jan, 19:40) swapnilrustagi4★

Its true. Remind me after this cookoff again please. I will see whatever I can do. :)

(19 Jan, 20:10) vijju123 ♦♦4★

Isn't the first problem of Div 1 just implementation though.

(20 Jan, 11:03) ducpro6★

Agree Agree

(20 Jan, 12:39) souradeep19996★

@ducpro At least in COOK101A, the first problem was hard for me. COOK100A's first problem is appropriate as a first question, but not COOK101A, in my opinion.

(20 Jan, 19:06) swapnilrustagi4★

@vijju123 I hope problem setting for Feb Cook-Off and Lunchtime isn't finished yet, so just a reminder to keep balanced difficulty level between questions. In my opinion, 30-40% of participants who solve the first question should be able to solve the second one. Div. 2 should not be reduced to a speed test.

(02 Feb, 17:01) swapnilrustagi4★

Acknowledged. In discussion with @admin for this, lets see.

(02 Feb, 18:24) vijju123 ♦♦4★
showing 5 of 7 show all

But the true problem occurs with Division 2 (COOK101B). Their first question was easy, and the next 4 questions are common with Division 1. Look at the fall in successful submissions, 2080 to 85. That means for more than 95% of participants, acing the Cook-Off meant doing the easy question fast. That was the end of the contest for them.

Yes, I absolutely agree with you. People with both rank<100 and rank>2000 solved only 1 problem- the cakewalk one. And solving a cakewalk problem has basically the following prerequisites-

    A desktop/laptop
    An internet connection
    Fingers (to type the code)
    A human brain and basic literacy (to read the problem statement)
    Basic syntax of a programming language

which I believe almost the entire CodeChef community has. Though fast typing is one of the qualities which comes in very handy in a short contest, given the number of cp and problem-solving fans in the CodeChef community, I believe that a typing-speed contest is one of the last things that the community wants.


answered 13 Jan, 11:28

dbhatt_10's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

Even I Agree With You @swapnilrustagi. In Div 2 Problems It Has Become Like Solving The 1st Question As Fast As You Can.


answered 15 Jan, 11:08

vishal__21's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

dear CC you host just two short contests per month and that also of worst possible quality(number of problems, difficulty gradient) as compared to codeforces,atcoder contests. is CC's administration sleeping?, how is it possible that you make such bad contest one after another. Although cook off, lunchtime have very good quality,challenging problems but your policy of not revealing the test cases(upto an extent) and lack of editorials make upsolving even harder... so please don't make your Go_For_Gold initiative a joke , wake up :|


answered 21 Jan, 00:10

arjun_9426's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%



answered 16 Jan, 16:53

thakur_manish's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

I also agree on that @swapnilrustagi.Codeforces contests are not that unbalanced. personally, I know people in my friend circle(including me) who do not participate in Codechef short contest because sometime we couldn't solve even one problem and it drops our rating drastically. We do long contest here and short challenge on Codeforces. I think Codechef should host balanced contests. We are given 5 problems in Codechef short contest in div 1 and we can only solve one problem and sometimes not even one problem. It's not helping us to be a better programmer.

Please, @admin @vijju123 do something on this issue.


answered 19 Jan, 18:00

vikram_91's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

The above fact shows up quite vividly in January Cook Off 2019 (both in div 1 and div 2). There were thousands who solved the first two problems, but less than 20 who solved the third one, and none for the last two (in div 2).

All ranks from 18 to 1525 have exactly 2 points (in div2 ranklist). Is it fair enough to judge this way?


answered 21 Jan, 00:47

codeup_nil123's gravatar image

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edited 21 Jan, 00:51

Completely agree with the your points. Been facing the same myself ever since I entered Division 1


answered 26 Jan, 12:02

codeking98's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

yes, i do agree. this should not be like just a typing test to us(div 2)


answered 15 Jan, 17:21

pranshu1999's gravatar image

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The same scenario was repeated in COOK102A as well. The first question was solved by 393 people while only 68 students could solve second question!


answered 21 Jan, 00:28

sj_cool's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

Yeah this issue really shows up. Most of the people in Div 1 only did the first 2 probs of COOKOFF 19. One of my friends solved 2 probs in no time and got ranked in the fifties and I took a bit longer time and was placed at 200


answered 21 Jan, 11:20

satyankar_2005's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

Agree with you completely. January cookoff Division 2 was like this too. The first 2 questions were damn easy and the rest were very difficult. So its like a typing test, the person who types faster and has IQ more than that of an 8th grader will get better ranks. Also, the questions did not require any algorithms/ data structures to solve. If you get the logic, its just a looping problem. Its really bad for beginners (like me) as they would start giving more importance to practicing these mathematical questions over actually learning some data structures and algorithms.

The January challenge division 2 was also similar to this. The questions did not require a good level of programming language. If you could find the pattern, it was just a matter of putting 2 loops and you are done.

I really used to like codechef before but now I am thinking of moving to codeforces.. atleast I will get to learn some Computer Science from the contests, no matter how tough it would be.


answered 23 Jan, 17:15

rohittuli's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

include <iostream>

using namespace std;

int main() { int n,k,r,c=1,a=0,b=0; cin>>n>>k>>r; while(n>0 && k>0) { a=k; b=rc; k= k-rc; c++; n--; } //cout<<n<<" "<<b<<endl;="" if(a="">=b) cout<<n<<endl; else cout<<n+1<<endl;

return 0;



answered 24 Jan, 23:01

shubham_99348's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

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question asked: 13 Jan, 00:54

question was seen: 6,116 times

last updated: 02 Feb, 18:24