Hi everyone, I became grandmaster today so I decided to go down memory lane and review every problem I have ever done in a CodeForces contest to look back and see every technique and algorithm I had to use to become a grandmaster. I am not sure how useful this is, I mostly think it's fun to look at all the old solutions I wrote and how different it was from how I write code now. The main takeaway is that, as many people have said before, you don't need to know or memorize a bunch of advanced algorithms to become grandmaster. As you will see, there are many problems where I just used "ad hoc reasoning," meaning there's not a standard technique I used to solve the problem and you just need to make some clever mathematical observations to solve the problem. Also, there are many popular algorithms that I have never needed in a CodeForces contest despite being a grandmaster:

- Sparse tables, Fenwick trees, and segment trees
- String algos, like rolling hashes, Knuth-Morris-Pratt, suffix arrays, and Aho-Corasick
- Shortest path algos, like Dijkstra's algorithm, Bellman-Ford, and Floyd-Warshall
- Flow algos, like Edmonds-Karp, Dinic's, and push-relabel
- Convex hull trick
- Fast Fourier transform and number theoretic transform

This isn't to say that learning algorithms is bad—I love reading cp-algorithms.com and learning new algorithms—and I have used many of these algorithms in other contests, like CodeChef, ICPC, and Google Code Jam, but practicing consistently and getting better at ad hoc reasoning and your general problem-solving abilities matter much more.

CodeForces Round #362 (Div. 2): Rating went from 1500 to 1504 (back then, default rating was 1500 instead of 0)

Codeforces Round #363 (Div. 2): Rating went from 1504 to 1536 (+36)

- Problem A: Brute force
- Problem B: Brute force
- Problem C: Ad hoc reasoning and basic bitmasks (there is a dynamic programming solution, but that's not how I solved it)

Codeforces Round #553 (Div. 2): Rating went from 1540 to 1566 (+26)

- Problem A: Brute force
- Problem B: Brute force and bitwise operations
- Problem C: Ad hoc reasoning and math

Codeforces Round #570 (Div. 3): Rating went from 1566 to 1732 (+166)

- Problem A: Basic number theory
- Problem B: Ad hoc reasoning and math
- Problem C: Ad hoc reasoning and math
- Problem D: Greedy and priority queue
- Problem E: Ad hoc reasoning with strings (there is a BFS solution, but that's not how I solved it)
- Problem H: Dynamic programming (I used the count unique subsequences of a given length algorithm)

Educational CodeForces Round 68: Rating went from 1732 to 1766 (+44)

- Problem A: Ad hoc reasoning and math
- Problem B: Brute force and row/column sums
- Problem C: Ad hoc reasoning with strings and subsequences
- Problem D: Game theory

CodeForces Global Round 4: Rating went from 1776 to 1807 (+31)

- Problem A: Greedy
- Problem B: Dynamic programming
- Problem C: Binary exponentiation
- Problem D: Ad hoc reasoning with graphs
- Problem E: Deques

Educational Codeforces Round 74: Rating went from 1807 to 1920 (+113)

- Problem A: Ad hoc reasoning and math
- Problem B: Greedy and sorting
- Problem C: Greedy
- Problem D: Ad hoc reasoning and combinatorics

Codeforces Round #600 (Div. 2): Rating went from 1920 to 1877 (-43)

- Problem A: Ad hoc reasoning and math
- Problem C: Sorting, prefix sums, and dynamic programming
- Problem D: Depth-first search and connected components

Codeforces Round #601 (Div. 2): Rating went from 1877 to 2005 (+128)

- Problem A: Ad hoc reasoning and math
- Problem B: Ad hoc reasoning with graphs and sorting
- Problem C: Ad hoc reasoning with graphs and permutations
- Problem D: Ad hoc reasoning with grids
- Problem E1: Greedy

Codeforces Global Round 14: Rating went from 2005 to 1877 (-128)

- Problem A: Ad hoc reasoning with sorting
- Problem B: Ad hoc reasoning with number theory
- Problem C: Greedy and priority queue

Deltix Round, Spring 2021: Rating went from 1877 to 1975 (+98)

CodeForces LATOKEN Round 1: Rating went from 1975 to 1974 (-1)

- Problem A: Ad hoc reasoning with grids
- Problem B: Ad hoc reasoning and math
- Problem C: Cycle decomposition and binary exponentiation
- Problem D: Ad hoc reasoning with trees

Codeforces Round #729 (Div. 2): Rating went from 1974 to 2132 (+158)

- Problem A: Ad hoc reasoning and math
- Problem B: Ad hoc reasoning with number theory
- Problem C: Ad hoc reasoning with number theory
- Problem D: Binary exponentiation and dynamic programming
- Problem E1: Dynamic programming and combinatorics (I used the count permutations with given number of inversions algorithm, the numbers of permutations with a given number of inversions are also known as Mahonian numbers)

Hello 2022: Rating went from 2132 to 2085 (-47)

Codeforces Round #765 (Div. 2): Rating went from 2085 to 2092 (+7)

- Problem A: Greedy and bitwise operations
- Problem B: Ad hoc reasoning and maps
- Problem C: Dynamic programming

Educational Codeforces Round 122: Rating went from 2092 to 2168 (+76)

- Problem A: Ad hoc reasoning with number theory
- Problem B: Greedy
- Problem C: Brute force
- Problem D: Dynamic programming
- Problem E: Kruskal's algorithm and binary search tree maps

Codeforces Round #808 (Div. 1): Rating went from 2168 to 2138 (-30)

Codeforces Global Round 23: Rating went from 2138 to 2239 (+101)

- Problem A: Ad hoc reasoning and math
- Problem B: Greedy with stacks
- Problem C: Ad hoc reasoning with permutations
- Problem D: Tree DP
- Problem E: Ad hoc reasoning, with inspiration from binary search

Codeforces Global Round 24: Rating went from 2239 to 2291 (+52)

- Problem A: Ad hoc reasoning and math
- Problem B: Ad hoc reasoning with number theory
- Problem C: Prefix sums and maps
- Problem D: Modular arithmetic, extended Euclidean algorithm, and combinatorics
- Problem E: Greedy, sorting, and binary search tree sets

Good Bye 2022: 2023 is NEAR: Rating went from 2291 to 2358 (+67)

- Problem A: Greedy and binary search tree sets
- Problem B: Ad hoc reasoning with permutations
- Problem C: Ad hoc reasoning with number theory (I did use Miller-Rabin, but only to generate the primes <100, which could have been hardcoded instead)
- Problem D: Disjoint set union, and I also used DFS trees for the intuition behind this solution
- Problem E: Tree DP and extended Euclidean algorithm

Hello 2023: Rating went from 2358 to 2331 (-27)

- Problem A: Ad hoc reasoning with simulations
- Problem B: Ad hoc reasoning and math
- Problem D: IntervalContainer and maps
- Problem E: Sorting and ad hoc reasoning with graphs and strongly connected components

TypeDB Forces 2023: Rating went from 2331 to 2416 (+85)

- Problem A: Ad hoc reasoning and math
- Problem B: Miller-Rabin, Pollard's rho algorithm, and number theory
- Problem C: Dynamic programming
- Problem D: Tarjan's SCC algorithm and DP over directed acylic graphs
- Problem E: Greedy and bitwise operations
- Problem F: Binary exponentiation, extended Euclidean algorithm, and cycle decomposition