WPF Zoom GA, 22nd November, 3 PM GMT


Attended by:

Members - Bulgaria, China, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Poland, Romania**, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia*, Switzerland, Turkey, USA.

* Personal Member

** Attended by proxy

Board – Will Shortz, Haijun Zhang, Jan Zverina, Zoran Tanasic

1.    Board Member Elections –
Since there were two candidates for two vacant spots, there was a quick check on whether anyone was opposed to Haijun or Zoran continuing on the Board. There being no opposition, both will continue for another tenure by unanimous vote. Zoran thanked everyone for the trust.

2.    Rules and Regulations Report –
The report shared with members on Rules & Regulations was brought up for discussion. Will Shortz asked Prasanna to give more details about his suggestion for the Board to convene every year to discuss the rules and regulations and decide upon rule changes.

Prasanna said that in the past there has been confusion about the WPF’s rules and regulations, as they haven’t been altered in years, and there is no clear process for updating them. He proposed four annual steps:
1) – Ask during the General Assembly (GA) if there are any rules that members would like to reconsider or add.
2) – The Director sends an email to all members after the GA with a poll on these topics, if any.
3) – The Board gathers feedback and decides if changes are required or not.
4) – The Director makes the changes, if any, and notifies members accordingly.

Prasanna also mentioned the importance of maintaining the guidebook and assigning someone to that task. Since the guidebook is just a series of suggestions and guidelines for future WSPC hosts, it does not need WPF approval. It is simply a public document that should be updated according to the experiences of each host. The person assigned to it can be from the Board or it can be any known member of the WPF community.

In general it was agreed that these were good points to consider moving forward.

3.    Update on WSPC 2021 and 2022 –
George Wang, speaking on behalf of Haijun and the hosts of the 2021 WSPC, said that their plans are largely unchanged. What had been scheduled for 2020 will happen in 2021, as long as the Covid-19 situation improves. One concern George mentioned is that people are still currently struggling to get visas for travel. That matter will need to be resolved before anything can be concretely decided.

George mentioned that the venue, Shanghai East China Normal University, will also have the competition hall, so there will be no need to travel between the lodging and the competition hall, as had been proposed last year.

George said that starting in January the 2021 organizing team is prepared to issue a monthly report about their progress, so everyone can be informed.

Will gave a short briefing on WSPC 2022. The hotel in Toronto that was set to host the Championship in 2021 will do so in 2022. Nothing has changed except that everything is shifted by a year.

4.    General discussion points –

- Prasanna spoke about his time as Director and requested that everyone support the person who takes over. To the members, he noted that they had been a pleasure to work with, but to remember that the job becomes more difficult if membership fees aren’t paid on time. To the board, he requested more participation in forum discussions and general public communication. For his own part, he said he has prepared a calendar of activities and other details that will be transferred to the next Director to ensure a smooth transition. He also promised to remain in a consulting capacity if the new person needs his input.


- The members and board agreed that there would be a follow-up meeting, tentatively scheduled for mid-February, potentially followed by more meetings, to discuss priorities for the new Director.


- Prasanna explained how the job is difficult in the sense that it is a “half job.” It’s not remunerative enough to be a primary source of income, but still it requires enough work that it’s hard to hold a full-time job simultaneously. Some months are very busy. He suggested that some of the Director’s tasks be delegated to others.


- There was talk about clarifying the Director’s job description regarding delegation of tasks. The description allows the Director to delegate, but it isn’t clear who will pay for the work. Will clarified that if it is a Director’s primary duty that is being delegated, then the cost would be taken from the Director’s salary. Smaller tasks can be handled differently. Will agreed with Prasanna that the difference between primary duties and other tasks should be made clearer.


- Will noted that the Director’s current job description includes looking for WPF sponsorship, which he said is really beyond the Director’s expertise. There was discussion about trying to find a marketing professional within the WPF community, working under the Director’s and the board’s supervision, and earning a percentage of any money the professional brings to the WPF.


- Regarding finances, Prasanna noted that the WPF has been operating in recent years at a modest loss. The membership fee has been the same since 2010, while at the same time the WPF’s expenses have increased. Since the GPs were begun in 2013-14, the WPF has been paying its directors, puzzle authors, and web admin. This, he said, should be reason enough to increase the membership fee.


- György Istvan (Hungary) said that as a matter of business, the financial report that Prasanna prepared should be approved by the members. After discussion, this was done unanimously.


- There was discussion that the position of WPF treasurer, which in the past has been filled by a board member, would be better filled by an outside person. Prasanna pointed out that Wei-Hwa Huang, in a paid role, has been handling the WPF accounts. Any transaction authorized by Prasanna was invoiced by him. Prasanna said that he might be a more natural person to serve as treasurer.


- Will thanked Prasanna for his long service to the WPF.


- The meeting concluded.


WPF Zoom Board Meeting, 6th December, 2:30 PM GMT


Attended by:

Board – Will Shortz, Haijun Zhang, Jan Zverina, Zoran Tanasic, Vladimir Portugalov

1.    WPF Officials –
- Will was elected to continue in his role as WPF Chairman.
- Jan agreed to continue in his role as WSPC Liaison as the organizers remain the same.
- Prasanna suggested that the WPF revisit the role of Communications liaison to help with general communication and officially assign someone to be a second official link to the members and public beyond the Director. After some discussion, Will said that this fits best with his role as Chairman and he will try to do more himself.
- Zoran confirmed that he is unwilling to continue as treasurer. Prasanna brought up his suggestion from the GA that the treasurer should be an independent entity outside of the Board. Prasanna said that Wei-Hwa, who handles the WPF’s transactions, wasn’t interested in this added duty. After some discussion the Board suggested that Prasanna is actually the best person to assume this responsibility, as he has been handling the accounts in the recent past. Prasanna agreed to do so on a voluntary basis for the time being.

2.    Discussion on WSPC 2021 and 2022 –  
[Already covered in the GA]

3.    Initial Discussion on candidates for WPF Director –
- Four candidates submitted applications to be the next WPF Director: Matúš Demiger (Slovakia), Rishi Puri (India), Tawan Sunathvanichkul (Thailand) and George Wang (China). The Board decided to hold interviews, via Zoom, for all the candidates to get a better idea of their visions for the WPF. The interviews are summarized below.

4.    Marketing of the WPF –
It was suggested that one of the candidates above could be hired to a marketing job, as one or two of them were qualified.
- This idea was tabled until after the new Director is selected. However, a note was made to ask each candidate if they would be willing to be involved with the WPF even if they aren’t selected to be the Director.

5.    “What Is A Sudoku?” report -
- Prasanna said he would send his analysis on the WSC 2014 and 2015 soon. Afterward Vladimir will review it. Then the Board will finalize a range of percentages for Classics-Variants-Hybrids to be added to the WPF Guidebook.

6.    WPF Website -
- Vladimir noted that certain parts of the WPF website are already out of date since he built it. The Board decided that it would be best to get the new Director’s input before finalizing the site. The Board also decided that Prasanna may continue populating the new site, as it stands, with content from the old one.

7.    Old business -
- The Board discussed updating the rules and maintenance of the guidebook. Prasanna reiterated his suggestion that during each year’s GA, the Board should ask members for their suggestions, and then incorporate the ones they agree with at the end of the year. This will not only keep the WPF rules up-to-date but also keep members more involved in the process.
- Vladimir informed everyone of his continuing work on a results database, which will have its home on the new WPF website. So far he has compiled all the results for the WSCs and WPCs back to 2011.


Summarizing the Candidates for WPF Director

1. Matúš Demiger: Matúš is a journalist, editor, and web editor in Slovakia. He directed the 2016 WSC and WPC. His primary goals as WPF Director would be to increase the WPF’s presence in both social and traditional media, as well as to update and enlarge the WPF’s website. He said he would like to start a WPF publication, operating within the scope of the rights that the WPF has to WSPC puzzles. If he is selected, his cousin, Anna, will assist with day-to-day administrative duties, so that he can focus on publicity and marketing.


2. Rishi Puri: Rishi is a retired human resources professional in India. He has been involved in Indian Sudoku competitions for many years as both an organizer and participant. He is currently focused on building his own website, YouTube channel, and social media presence for Sudoku and other logic puzzles. He would like to bring these plans to the WPF, with the support of sponsors. He suggested working with a small team so that major decisions can be acted upon quickly.


3. Tawan Sunathvanichkul: Tawan is a physician in Thailand. He would like to expand the Director's role to include editing puzzle publications and holding casual contests, in order to connect with more ordinary puzzle enthusiasts around the world. He is very motivated for the job. Before applying, he spent considerable time researching the minutes of past GAs as well as correspondeing with Prasanna and Jan Zverina in order to understand the nuances of the position.


4. George Wang: George has a background in journalism and business. He currently lives in London. He has had considerable success in promoting Sudoku and KenKen in China. He wishes to appoint a network of assistants in China, supervised by himself and Haijun, to take up the day-to-day administrative tasks of the WPF, while he focuses on publicity and marketing. He proposed China as a main target market. He offered to waive his salary as WPF director for two years, if he is selected for the position.