Via Reddit following thread was posted.
The original can be found here.
EGC organisation appreciation thread
Last weekend I came home from two weeks of playing at the European Go Congress in Brussels. It was an awesome time!
I just wanted to say thanks to the organizers who surely invested a lot of their personal blood, sweat and tears (in the first week, mostly sweat?) in making the congress run as smoothly as it did. Without them it would not be possible so thanks!
The go congress for me started this time a few days earlier when I traveled to Brussels for the finals of the Pandanet Team Championship 2019.
During those few days, apart from being a scribe, I also helped in preparing for the main event, rearranging tables, taking out furniture, and building up the rooms for the main tournament and the EC.
Than came the day for registration, the moment when a volcano of stress usually erupts for the organizers, but unexpectedly everything remained rather calm.
Marie Jemine, main-organiser:
The Congress this year attracted 847 participants, which was a little bit above our expectations - although it's fewer than Pisa and Oberhof, which were two peak years. Our goal was to offer a very simple and Go-centered Congress with a limited amount of side events - for example, we hosted the Pairgo tournament as it is usually organized by the EGF and the World Pairgo Association, but we did not organize a rengo tournament. Most side events were organized by volunteers outside the core team, so we could focus mainly on the Open European Championship (Main Tournament), the Rapid Tournament and the Weekend Tournament. The Pandanet Team Championship and the European Championship were organized by the European Go Federation.
Similarly, we tried to keep the teaching schedule simple and clear, with a few very appreciated teachers in Europe such as In-Seong Hwang, Fan Hui, Guo Juan, Antti Törmännen; other teachers were invited to give game reviews in the review corner or to play simultaneous games. A special attention was brought to providing teachers of a lower rank than professional, but very skilled in teaching double-digit kyus, because we believe that this specific type of teaching requires different skills than higher-ranked players. These teachers told me that they were busy all the time with reviews, so I suppose that it was appreciated.
As a result of a very simple and modest schedule, I think that the rate of participation to the side events was slightly higher than usual - simply because the side events were less diverse than usual, but people were just as much interested in having fun. In parallel, I suppose that many people got the chance to visit and enjoy Brussels, as we were lucky to be perfectly located in the city center. That was also a wish of our sponsor VisitBrussels.
We received very positive feedback on a software developed by my husband Vincent to send an email at the beginning of each round to all players who agreed to receive these mails; the email stated the table number, color, opponent, and some other useful information such as time settings and where the boards were located in the building. That relieved the flow of players usually crowding around the pairing papers at the beginning of each round. The subscription process (online pre-registration, on-site confirmation, input of these info into MacMahon, and output for automated emailing) is open source and can be adapted to other activities, with a little bit of work. We hope that it will become an accessible feature for large tournaments in Europe in the future.
Thanks to the pairing expertise of Pascal Mueller, and the attentiveness of the whole volunteers team, rounds started mostly on time, and the general organization was quite relaxed. The team of volunteers was a mix of Belgian Go players who were doing this for the first time - many of them had never even attended a Go congress before - and very experienced European volunteers who have been doing this every summer for ages, and were the key to keep things running smoothly. Once again, I would like to thank all the people who took part to the organization in any way.
A downside was that the cafeteria, which is run independently, often decided to close in the evenings, which was vexing for many players who would have loved to play and review games or simply have a drink and relax. Luckily enough, the location was central enough and many cafes had been equipped with Go boards, so I hope that the inconvenience was limited.
It was my pleasure to add a Belgian touch to the welcome bag - a Gwaffle, with chocolate stones. We also had the idea to print 9*9 Go-boards on welcome bags, and For statistic purpose: I had planned 4000 black and white buttons to decorate them. Almost all buttons have been used (more black than white, for some reason).
I invite you to find pictures and game records on our website. They were mostly provided by Antonius Claasen and EuroGoTV, who did an awesome job of communication. I hope that you enjoyed this Congress and good luck to the organizers of EGC 2020 in Ukraine!
The preparations made by the Organizers Core Team were more than just good, and the day ended peacefully with a cold Duvel for me.
During the first week I was mainly occupied with my role as a scribe at one of the top 4 boards for the EC. You can read more about this in my daily articles about the EC.
Gabriel Mercier, the one for all:
More than one year ago, I was very excited that the EGC2019 would be organized in Brussels: what a great opportunity for me to participate to the whole event for the first time (I only went to one EGC -2017 in Oberhoff before this one)!
About 6 or 7 months ago I learnt the organizing team had some troubles and I proposed myself as a volunteer to help. However, the time was advancing and I got no answer to my proposal. A few months ago, at the beginning of April, the original organizing team was facing big troubles and resigned. A new team was created and as I proposed to help earlier, I got included in it. All of a sudden, I realized what a huge task it was and started to do more and more tasks to manage it. I organized visit of building and materials, recruiting and managing volunteers and naturally the logistic (tables, chairs, goban, building organization…). At the end, it turned out to be a full-time work and I could barely participate to the EGC activities. However it was quite fascinating to be “on the other side” of the event: I learnt how to organize material and logistic, set clocks, the arbitration rules and I met many nice peoples. I also had to manage a few small crisis during the event: cheating cases, clock disputes, people unhappy about the rules, Chinese kid having trouble to count with Japanese rules… I encounter there a completely different aspect of the game of Go, and did my best to preserve fair-play and best outcomes. Beside this, at some point I was managing up to 25 peoples at the same time and it was really strange and new feeling for me.
The first days of the congress were basically about running 15 hours per days, trying to fix all the problems. This urge to set everything correctly was strongly motivated by the passion and commitment to Go of all EGC participants: they were here to play and enjoy it, and this was a fulfilling feeling. This gave me the force to run and to manage everything. The second week was quieter and the terrible heat-wave was also over, so that the congress was much more enjoyable for participant. Still, I was very busy till the end, and all of a sudden it was over: “finally, it was very short” was my feeling. Nevertheless, I learnt a lot of things beside Go (but still related to it) and encounter many nice peoples. My experience here was very different from what I expected one year ago, when I wanted to participate to all activities but I’m happy I could experience it. Next time I’ll participate to an EGC, I’ll have a very different point of view: not only I will enjoy the activities but also I’ll be very grateful to the organizers because I know the efforts and Involvement it requires!
I would like to thanks all the participants, volunteers or players, for bringing their joy, passion and commitment for the game of Go.
As for the games themselves in the first week, well there were only a few upsets, and at the end we had the anticipated final between the two favourites - Ilya Shikshin 3p against Artem Kachanovskyi 2p.
The big surprise was the game for third place, because there were no professional players there. Here Stanislaw Frejlak faced Lukas Podpera.
All results and some of the played games can be found here.
Ceren Kalfa, one of the many volunteers:
I am 16 kyu female player and a member of my university go club in Ankara. I was volunteering in the European Go Congress in Brussels and at the same time participating the events during whole congress like I did last year in Pisa. I volunteered for almost all kind of areas and witnessed every phase of the Congress from the beginning to the end. This year, it was more efficient for me than last year in the sense of playing go and improving my relationship with people. I really enjoyed the Congress while I am volunteering. Everything was smooth and well designed. Only problem that I see is related to the congress place, it wasn’t that convenient for integrity of the events (too many floor and rooms) and air circulation (when the weather is so hot).
I joined both open and weekend tournament plus pair go. I was really satisfied with my games and won all of them in my heart. I get the reviews for each of my games immediately which helped me to improve myself a lot. I also really enjoyed playing pair go, I was lucky that my partner supported me a lot and gave me a positive perspective to play go.
During the congress as the main task of my volunteering, I was helping teachers in their lectures, reviews and simultaneous games. Wearing the orange t-shirt (represents the volunteers) was not only a thing about helping people but also gave me the chance of meeting a lot of people from all over the world. I understood more about how people passioned about go and what value it adds to their life which helps me to understand my relation and contribution to go game.
So… See you next year!
On the Monday after the EC, Klaus Petri and me organized the children's tournament which was a big success, with over 40 children playing in the tournament.
We ended it with only a small prize-giving ceremony, as the big ceremony would be on the final day during the closing ceremony, and lots of chocolate for all children.
Beachboy, Michele Piccinno:
I was the logistic and human resources manager in Pisa last year and the logistic manager and referee in Bruxelles this year. The two congresses were very different, especially because Bruxelles was very simple compared to Pisa, but still nice and enjoyable. In Bruxelles we had few resources, economically and voluntary speaking, so the number of the events had to be less. The location was nice, not the best you can imagine, but it is not easy to find something cheap in the very center of Bruxelles. Unfortunately, the first week the weather was too hot as well last year (is it because of me maybe?) and this forced us to try different solution in order to increase the players’ well-being. To split the players in different areas worked very well this year too: in this way top players play in a more focused environment and, at the same time, the not so top players can enjoy better the social soul of a Go congress.
We set the warehouse in the head quarter to better control the EGF material. From a logistic point of view, to have a tidy warehouse was fundamental to be quick in moving materials and solving any kind of problems. The decision to print and spread the instruction for the ING clocks was very good: it helped both the volunteer and the players in order to speed up the board setting process. DGT clocks are very easy to be set up instead and they don’t need to be taught.
The idea to have a simple congress permitted the players to enjoy the city of Bruxelles, not missing Go events. This could be both good and bad, but it was in line with the original idea, so I hope players liked it.
My other task was to be a room referee for the main and rapid tournaments and a member of the appeal commission. We had some troubles, but the commission worked united and it was not needed to “open the code”. This is good in my opinion because means that the go players are still for the fair play, independently of what happen. In some sense this is a rule of the code, but I prefer to take it as a principle that in Go is still valid.
As a player I enjoyed the beer and go tournament that was impossible to be missed in Bruxelles: they know how to make a beer!
The general impression is good: Bruxelles wanted to be a big tournament and a small and easy congress, but still enjoyable and that was. I liked to work as part of the local team and to be part again of this big machine and I hope to do the same in the following years.
Next came my time as referee for the main tournament and some new challenges for me.
I personally never met people trying to win a game by complaining over a possible mistake (moves that seem to be illegal) of their opponent. I found out that by just using common sense you know what the rules of the game are.
My favourite tournament was the Pairgo Tournament. A lot of teams international mixed and young and old in one team, here a small impression:
All result of the different tournaments played at the EGC2019.
Even on the website of the International Go Federation I found an article over the EC.
My motto as player is: After the game is before the game.
And now I can add a new motto as organiser: After the EGC is before the EGC.
I had a great time with an even greater team in Brussels, meeting old friends and a lot of new friends.
I hope to see you all in the Ukraine for the EGC2020.
Here you can find all the information for the EGC2020.