2015 WPF General Assembly Minutes

Report on the 17th General Assembly of the World Puzzle Federation


Sofia, Bulgaria, October 15-16, 2015 by Hana Koudelková



GA meeting part 1 (Thursday)



The meeting was called to order on Thursday, October 15, at 9.30 a.m. by the WPF chairman Will Shortz. The second session was held on Thursday evening and was open to all World Sudoku/Puzzle Championship participants. The voting session was held on Friday.
The Board members present were: Will Shortz (Chairman, USA), Chen Cen (CHN), Vítězslav Koudelka (CZE), and Hana Koudelková (Director, CZE). Apologies received from György István (HUN), Alan O´Donnell (UK) and Hans Eendebak (NED). The countries present were Russia, Estonia, Germany, Czech Republic, China, Italy, Turkey, Japan and Belarus.



The General Assembly Agenda 2015 was approved unanimously as well as the minutes of the 2014 GA as printed in the WPF Newsletter 20. The financial reports, previously approved by the WPF Treasurer, were presented by Hana.
After approval of the reports, it was decided which points from the agenda would be saved for the open session in the evening.

World Junior Sudoku Championship


The presentation was given by Chen Cen and George Wang. All the members were given a CD with pictures from the first World Junior Sudoku Championship, where there were 39 official participants from nine countries. The venue was a big area in Beijing with a garden museum. Part of the program was a challenge to break the Guinness record in solving the world largest multi-sudoku at the same time. Some 150 local kids joined the official participants and together successfully broke the record.
After the review of 2015, Chen explained the plans for the future. The biggest issue was that there were not enough countries. According to Chinese rules, if there are not at least 15 countries taking part, it´s not possible to call an event a "world championship" — only an "international tournament." Will mentioned the main reasons why most likely there were not more participants this year: It was the first year of this event, it had been announced late, the WPF is more focused on adults, airfares to China are high, and adults need to accompany the kids who compete, adding to everyone´s expense. Will also summarized some ideas how to improve the situation next year: to announce the details sooner, for the WPF to publicize the event more, for all WPF members to help with promotion, and for the Chinese hosts to reach out to travel agencies to promote the event.
Other members were asked how they felt about attending. Vita (CZE) said that some parents would not allow their youngsters to travel to China. Johannes Susen (GER) mentioned that Germany would be hosting the 1st Junior Sudoku Championship in Germany and he hopes to have some players and sponsors for next year. This year money was the main reason why there was no player from Germany. Jaanus Laidna (EST) reported that in Estonia there had been a Sudoku Olympiad for two years with three age groups and many participants, but unfortunately none were interested in going to China. Andrey Bogdanov (RUS) confirmed that four Russian players were there and very much enjoyed themselves. Meishuku Ishimura (JPN) said they could not afford to send a team to China. Cenan Denizer (TUR) promised to try to send some players next year. Alida Cernogoraz (ITA) said that Italian youth were not greatly interested in sudoku. At the end of the discussion Vita asked Chen Cen if there was a chance that also an adult accompanying the kid could have no participation fee. The Chinese team will discuss this and let us know.

World Junior Puzzle Championship


Cenan presented a Turkish proposal to host a World Junior Puzzle Championship in Istanbul, for five years starting in 2017. For almost 10 years, Turk Beyin Takimi has been organising competitions in different schools in Turkey. These competitions appeal to the age group 8-18. The main competitions have been Math Symposium (510 students from 170 schools), Istanbul (puzzle competition for high schools, 900 students from 300 schools), Istanbul Sudoku competition for secondary schools (750 students from 250 schools), etc. Turk Beyin Takimi would take care of the whole organization of the championship. They have a sponsoring school for the championship – ISTEK College in Istanbul – and have been negotiating with Turkish Airlines about sponsorship. It was agreed that the Turkish team would prepare more details (dates, fees, age categories, types of puzzles) for future discussion.



Alida (ITA) said there was a chance for Italy to host the 2018 WSC/WPC in San Marino. They have started discussions regarding a venue there and would get back to us with more details.



Open GA meeting part 2 (Thursday evening)


Candidates for the WPF Board


This year there were two candidates for the one open position on the Board. The candidates were Gareth Moore (GBR) and Vladimir Portugalov (BLR). During the meeting Vladimir cancelled his candidacy, so there was only one candidate – Gareth. He gave a short presentation that included his experience, current job, and future plans for the WPF.

Number of Board positions


Vita proposed to reduce the number of Board members back to five as was the case prior to 2013 (starting 2016).

WSC/WPC 2016 Slovakia


The presentation was done by Matúš Demiger and Zuzana Hromcová, the WSC/WPC 2016 directors. The championships will be held on October 16-23, 2016, in Senec (30 km from Bratislava). The authors and organisers are Matúš, Zuzana, Peter Hudák, Blanka Lehotská, Matej Uher, and Ivana Štiptová. The official participation fees will be: WSC – 340 €, WPC – 400 €, WSC+WPC – 550 €.

Candidate for hosting WSC/WPC 2017 – India


For 2017 there was only one candidate – India. Amit Sovani and his team gave a presentation. First he introduced Logic Masters India, their activities, and contributions to the WPF and the puzzle community. As for the WSC/WPC the venue would be in the city Bangalore, and currently there are two offers for the hotel. The fees proposed were: WSC – 300 €, WPC – 400 €, WSC+WPC – 550 €. The core organisers would be Amit, Deb Mohanty, Prasanna Seshadri, Rakesh Rai, Rohan Rao, and Sumit Bothra. After the presentation there was time for questions. György István asked how many volunteers they would have for the championships. The Indian team currently has about 15 volunteers in their team.

World Junior Sudoku Championship


Will summarized the output from the regular GA meeting and again asked the country representatives about their feelings and asked them to publicize this event.

World Junior Puzzle Championship



The idea was presented to the players, and some familiar puzzle types were mentioned, like jigsaw puzzles, mazes, find the differences, etc.




Vita presented the idea to have an official document for future WSC/WPC hosts. The draft version was prepared by Vita and posted on the WPF forum. All the participants were invited to go through it and add comments and proposals. Methods of forcing the hosts to follow the rules were discussed. György suggested having an emergency backup plan if a host was not following the rules, such as having the championship prepared by the WPF in an inexpensive country on short notice. This could also work as a tool to motivate a host to follow the rules. He also expressed his dissapointmnetdisappointment with the course of this year´s major WPF event and regretedregretted the WPF did nonot prevent the occuredoccurred situation.




Will thanked Deyan Razsadov for hosting the WSC/WPC 2015, Alan O´Donnell for his service in the WPF Board, Hana Koudelková for several years as the WPF Director, and Wei-Hwa Huang and Thomas Snyder for running the WPF Sudoku/Puzzle GP.
There being no further business, the meeting was closed on Thursday October 16.



Voting Session (Friday)



The Board members present were: Will Shortz (Chairman, USA), Chen Cen (CHN), Vítězslav Koudelka (CZE), György István (HUN), Alan O´Donnell (UK), and Hana Koudelková (Director, CZE). The countries present were: Romania, Korea, China, Czech Republic, Finland, Greece, Slovakia, Japan, United Kingdom (also voting on behalf of Canada), Poland, Estonia, Germany, France, Switzerland, USA, Italy, India, Hungary, Serbia, Netherlands (voting by email), and Serbia (voting by email). Ballots were distributed with the following topics:
1. Board member: There was one candidate – Gareth Moore (GBR). The vote was unanimous, and Gareth was elected as a new WPF Board member.
2. Number of Board members: The proposal was to reduce the number of Board members back to the original number (five) starting in 2016. There were 18 votes in favour, no vote opposed, and 4 abstentions. So starting next year the WPF Board will consist of five people.
3. Candidates for hosting WSC/WPC 2017: There was one candidate – India. The vote was whether to select India as the host country for 2017 or to delay the decision. The vote for India was unanimous, and India will host the WSC/WPC 2017.



Board Meeting (Tuesday)



The meeting was called to order on Tuesday and the Board members present were: Will Shortz (Chairman, USA), Chen Cen (CHN), Vítězslav Koudelka (CZE), György István (HUN), Alan O´Donnell (UK), and Hana Koudelková (Director, CZE). Apologies received from Hans Eendebak (NED).

WSC/WPC 2015 - Update


Deyan Razsadov (BLG), director of the WSC/WPC 2015, was invited for the first part of the meeting. Some issues were discussed, help offered by the WPF, and next steps and deadlines agreed.

The Board went through the GA agenda and discussed all the topics.

WSC/WPC Host - WPF´s support



The Board discussed ways to help expensive countries to host the championships. Alan proposed establishing a reserve fund, by increasing the fee for an "inexpensive" country, for instance, from 400 to 600 EUR, with 200 EUR of that being saved. Then a host from an "expensive" country that might need to charge 800 EUR could charge just 600 EUR, with the remaining 200 EUR coming from the fund. This was not discussed further. Will emphasized that there is no limit for the participation fee. Each host can propose any fee it wants, and members are free to choose any site they wish, taking all factors, including cost, into consideration. Vita suggested not subsidizing the championship, but to find a mechanism for having greater diversity in championship sites.

National qualifications



Alan suggested making it compulsory for members to hold national qualifier competitions each year. Will proposed only to encourage them.

Online platform



Hans suggested that the WPF provide an online platform for members that have online competitions. It was agreed that this was a good idea and could be a nice benefit for members. Alan promised to talk to Wei-Hwa and see if this is possible and, if so, what needs to be done to make it happen. Alan offered his UK platform for this purpose, too.
On a related topic, György suggested preparing a program for future WSC/WPC hosts that would include a timing system, countdown, online results on the WPF web page in a constant format, and eventually software for the playoffs. This was approved. Hana will prepare a list of requirements and ask all the members if there is anybody willing to help with the work.




It was decided that the WPF Guidebook draft would be available on the WPF forum, and everybody will be asked to check it and add comments or proposals.



Board Meeting (Friday)


The Board Meeting took place immediately after the voting session. Gareth Moore was welcomed as a new Board member.
György proposed having a set of goals for the WPF Board to achieve during the coming year. It was agreed that the top priority is the WPF Guidebook. The guidebook has now been published online in the WPF forum, and members are asked to go through it and add their comments. The comments and suggestions will be collected by the end of January. After this date Vita is asked to sum up all the points and provide the Board with an updated version of the guidebook. The deadline for the final version to be approved by the Board is March 31. In terms of requiring WPC/WSC hosts to follow WPF rules, Gareth suggested that WPC/WSC registration fees should be paid to the WPF so that the WPF would hold some financial leverage over hosts, releasing money only when evidence of completing various stages was given. This would also require teams to register and pay further in advance, which would allow hosts to plan for precise numbers sooner, given that they can vary by about 50 people from year to year, and more easily pay the various deposit amounts required by hotels. It was instead agreed that the WPF should simply encourage hosts to follow the rules, but there should be no financial enforcement of this, and that there was no need to encourage people to register early. It was agreed to prepare a schedule outlining things that need to be done by the host during the one-year period before the championship. György was asked to prepare a proposal by the end of January. This material will be added to the Guidebook. Later on the officers were selected. Will Shortz was re-elected as the WPF chairman, Hans Eendebak as treasurer and Vítězslav Koudelka as the competition director for 2016.