Strategies for Mastering Speed Jigsaw Puzzling

Are you ready to take your puzzling skills to the next level? Whether you're a seasoned puzzler looking to up the ante or a newcomer eager to dive into the world of speed jigsaw puzzling, mastering the art of quick assembly requires a combination of technique, focus, and practice. In this blog post, we'll explore some effective strategies to help you become a speed puzzling champion.

Sort Smartly:
Before diving into the puzzle, take the time to sort the pieces by colour, pattern, and edge type. This will make it easier to locate and assemble matching pieces quickly, saving valuable time during the puzzling process.

Start with the Edges:
Begin by assembling the edge pieces to create the framework of the puzzle. Once the perimeter is complete, work your way inward, filling in the centre sections one by one. Edges provide clear boundaries and serve as a helpful reference point for placing interior pieces efficiently.

Divide and Conquer:
Break the puzzle into smaller sections or clusters based on colour or distinct features. Focus on completing one section at a time, then gradually connect the clusters together to form the larger picture. This approach allows you to maintain momentum and track progress more effectively.

Use Patterns and Shapes:
Pay attention to patterns, shapes, and subtle details within the image that can guide your assembly process. Look for recurring motifs or distinctive elements that repeat throughout the puzzle, making it easier to identify and place pieces accurately.

Stay Organised:
Keep your workspace tidy and organised to minimise distractions and maximise efficiency. Use puzzle trays or boards (if rules allow) to keep sorted pieces within easy reach and avoid cluttering your workspace.

Practice, Practice, Practice:
Like any skill, speed puzzling requires practice and repetition to improve. Set aside dedicated time for puzzling sessions and challenge yourself with puzzles of varying difficulty levels to hone your skills and build speed over time.

If you’re entering a team event, make sure you spend time puzzling with other team members so you can work on everyone’s strengths. Some may be stronger at identifying colours or patterns, others may be better at identifying piece shapes.

Practice with puzzles with piece counts that match your event. Speed Puzzling events generally use 500 piece puzzles for individuals and pairs, and 1000 piece puzzles for teams of four.

Stay Focused:
Maintain focus and concentration throughout the puzzling process, avoiding distractions that can derail your progress. Take regular quick breaks to rest your eyes and clear your mind, then return to the puzzle with renewed energy and determination. Listening to music on wireless headphones or earbuds is great for keeping the momentum going and blocking out distractions, but check that competition rules allow these.

By incorporating these strategies into your puzzling routine and embracing the thrill of the challenge, you'll soon find yourself completing puzzles with impressive speed and precision. So gather your favorite puzzles, put these tips to the test, and unleash your inner speedster on the path to puzzling greatness!

Speed Puzzling Events in New Zealand:

The New Zealand Jigsaw Puzzle Association hosts national and online speed puzzling events. 

The annual New Zealand Masters Games includes a speed puzzling event.

Read The Spinoff's article on Speed Puzzling at the 2023 New Zealand Masters Games in Dunedin 

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