WPF Board Election

WPF Board Election

Postby JanZverina » Fri Sep 27, 2019 11:57 am

Hi,
I decided to candidate to the WPF Board so I would like to introduce myself and present some of my ideas.

I started playing sudoku and puzzles in 2011 and my first WSC appearance was in London in 2014. Since then I have not missed a single year. My greatest success is team gold medal at WSC 2016 and 7th individual place at WSC 2017). I am also a three-time domestic sudoku champion.

I regularly attend other competitions abroad (24-hour Puzzle Championship in Budapest, Sudoku Queen´s Cup in Bangkok, tournaments in Slovakia and occasionally other competitions - UK, Italy...). I mention this because I think that for a Board Member it is important to be in touch with the community during the whole year, not only for one week at WSPC. And it is also important for WPF to work on developing puzzle communities around the world.

I have a lot of experience with organizing competitions and constructing puzzles. I organized Czech Puzzle Championship twice and some other tournaments in Czech Republic and Slovakia. I constructed puzzles for some other competitions (Indian Sudoku Mahabharat, Korean and Polish sudoku championships). I was the main organizer of WSPC 2018 which was generally well accepted. I published two puzzle books. I also construct crosswords

Now I will describe some thing I would like to work on if I get elected.

1) Media Coverage
Given how popular sudoku is worldwide it is a pity only a very small portion of people actually know there is a World Sudoku Championship. (I am not saying WPC should not be promoted but sudoku has much more potential to address people). After a few years of void we managed to attract some medial attention in Prague but the potential is still much higher. The problem is that when you become a WSPC organizer, it is usually first time in your life you do PR (or you do it once in 8-10 years). On top of that, there is so much other work you have to do so you may just end up having not much time for this.

On contrary, WPF is involved in WSPC each year. So if it starts systematically working on promoting WSPC, it can have a huge impact over a couple of years. There are many large press agencies that have correspondents all over the world (Reuters, AP, AFP, UPI...) and I think WPF should try to establish long-term contact with them. WSPC organizers should then only be responsible for addressing local media (and WPF should guide them in the process).

There should also be a section on the WPF website devoted to media.

2) Ranking of Nations
The number of participants at WSPC is growing which is of course positive. I am not a huge fan of restricting the number of participants (mostly because having WSC combined with WPC creates a specific dynamics and also there are still many nations that dont even have their national championship so for many participating at WSPC is their only chance during the year to play a live tournament) but hotels and competition halls are not inflatable so we will now see organizers limiting the number of participants more and more strictly. Then the question becomes how to allocate the spots most fairly.

What you see in many sports is that there is a ranking of nations and based on that numbers of participant are allocated to the countries. I am not saying we should implement it now but the first step would be to create a ranking of nations. It would be based on individual results of A team members over the last say three years. The ranking can be interesting by itself and later we can decide how to use it in WPF competitions (or WSPC organizers can decide how to use it on their own).

I will also seek to abolish the division into official and unofficial participants. I dont see any benefit of having this dual system, it only creates confusion and from time to time prevents players from participating in play-off even if they reach top10. I am aware that this is not in the competence of WPF Board - Members GA decides about that. But I still think the pressure should come from the Board and maybe we should be able to come up with an alternative system - and allocating participating spots based on national ranking could serve this purpose.

3) European Championship
We miss a lot of potential from not having European Championship. Asian Championship has been successfully organized for couple years and it is ridiculous there is no championship on a continent with the most density of sudoku and puzzle players.

Having EC would be another great opportunity to promote sudoku/puzzles. With future restrictions on number of participants we need to come up with another competition. And though someone might say we now hardly get WSPC hosts so it would be silly to organize another event during the year, I think it can actually have an inverse effect. After WSC and WPC have merged, it is now more challenging to organize it. For many countries organizing EC could be an intermediate step toward organizing WSPC in the future. And it could be interesting for the players - just look how much joy Hungary puzzle team had after winning bronze medal in Prague and now with medal spots at WSPC being practically locked for the same 3-4 teams each year, the competition can be interesting in that many other countries will have an opportunity to fight for the podium.

Another question is how EC should look like and I personally lean towards starting with sudoku only as is the case of Asian Championship. Firstly there is a serious question whether it is sustainable to have another one-week competition during the year. With travel costs being lower there is no more need to merge these two competitions. It should ideally be a 3-day competition (1st day arrivals only, 2nd day competition, 3rd day competition and departures) which is just quite about to have 5-6 individual rounds and 2-3 team rounds. It would ideally run from Friday to Sunday.

With WSPC 2020 being held in China, it is a great opportunity for us to start running EC in 2021 because many people from Europe will not be able to attend WSPC due to travelling costs. So we should ideally now start looking for candidates to host EC. I spoke to Vitězslav Koudelka and Matúš Demiger and there is possibility we will have interest in hosting it either in Brno or Bratislava.

4) World Junior Sudoku Championship
In 2015 World Junior Sudoku Championship was held in China. It should have been held in China for the next two years too but it was eventually cancelled.

I think organizing it in Asia was not optimal. There were only a few participants from other continents. I think we should give it a try organizing WJSC in Europe. What I was really excited about during organizing WSPC in 2018 was that many European countries were interested in sending youth players and even creating the whole U-18 team. If it is held in Europe, I think many Asian countries are still able to attend in large number (China, Japan, Korea).

5) Database of puzzle types
I think we should create a database of most common puzzle types. It would include rules and an example puzzle. Anyone would be then free to use it. It would be helpful not only for WSPC hosts where creating IBs is time-consuming but also for other international tournaments (or domestic tournaments with international participants) and online competitions.

6) WSPC Liaison
WPF should be more involved in WSPC. The current state is that the WSPC Liaison is chosen one year before the championship. And from what I experienced in 2018. There was not much communication during the year. I think the Liaison should be chosen immediately when the host country is confirmed and WPF should give better service to WSPC hosts during the process. Also, WPF is ultimately responsible for WSPC, so it should make sure everything is prepared and there are no major problems.

7) WSPC Host Selection
I think there should be more initiative from WPF, not only waiting for e-mails from potential candidates. It is really challenging to host WSPC. You need to be able to find a hotel with affordable price which is a huge problem in many countries. You need tens of volunteers to organize such an event, most of communities are not that huge. You need many good puzzle constructors - and what is important - both for WSC and WPC. And last but not least, you need strong financial background. The risk of losing money can be discouraging.

It is currently hard to find countries that can put all those four things together. But WSPC does not necessarily need to be organized by a single country, it can be a join venture of more countries. WPF should be more active in arranging this. There should also be some sound rules on how WPF can help financially.

8) Web Page and Scoring Software
WPF needs a better web page. From what I heard WPF was working on this so before coming up with some ideas I will wait to see what is already done.

The situation around the scoring software was really embarrassing for WPF. Since a Czech company was involved in this matter, we have strong interest in resolving this issue. I was trying to help before the WSPC in Prague. The software is working but it is not working optimally. Now I learned that Germans have their own software and they will have a presentation about it during the Open GA and the Members GA so I would like to first wait to learn about this alternative before making an opinion on what to do. But it is one of my priorities to resolve the issue. Because having reliable software would ease the job of future WSPC organizers.

There is a powerful puzzle community in the Czech Republic. We have six live tournaments each year and we also have a large network of student tournaments. Czech Republic has also always been very active on the international field and since the very beginning of world puzzling has helped to form the world community. We were one of the founding fathers of the WPF, we organized four world championships, we had a lot of iniciative on creating WSC and WPF GP. It was mainly thanks to tireless work of Vítězslav Koudelka and now I would like to continue to work on what he started 25 years ago.
JanZverina
 
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2016 4:10 pm

Re: WPF Board Election

Postby Detuned » Mon Jan 13, 2020 1:54 pm

Hi Jan,

Congratulations on your election to the WPF board back in October 2019.

I wonder if you had any further thoughts on what you have posted above? It would be interesting to hear about how some of these ideas begin to develop.
Detuned
 
Posts: 20
Joined: Fri Oct 23, 2015 8:03 pm


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