In the wake of current contests, observation has become very crucial in every problem, thinking from the problem statement and trying to reach the solution is no longer easy, because the crucial observation is no longer easy to arrive from the problem statement alone, I think we have to start from random points and see if we can reach solution from there.
Let's take today's C (Edu round 99), the crucial observation here is Bob can't win more than y matches, and there is a way for him to always win y matches, this was not easy for me, I saw the high number of AC's lowered my thinking scope, saw the sample, observed the pattern then tried to justify it. If there had been no sample, and I had not seen the submissions, I probably would have taken more time.
And unpredictability factor has increased, sometimes you get the observation in a few seconds, and at times you never get it, this definitely has impacted the ratings.
Any suggestions or comments on this are welcome.
EDIT : Some have misinterpreted my post, I am not complaining nor am I urging the problem setters to change the format, my post is more about how to tackle these kinds of problems, before screaming practice, add me as your friend have a look at the number of problems I have solved in the standings. And regarding unpredictability, I think it makes sense, even experienced coders at times have a blind spot, and relatively young ones may get that observation immediately, that's why I said it's more about the thinking style.