Istanbul Tournament Day 1


Tournament day has arrived!

We had an early morning, and lots for props to take to the tournament. 
Here's a picture of us as we were heading to the bus.

And no, that's not all our luggage we brought with us.  The suitcases
and boxes hold all the stuff the team will be using at the tournament. 
There's everything from the Circuit Wheel and Unicycle for the presentation, to
the cookies and decorations for the pit area.

As we arrived, they had posters up outside the conference centre.  The white text says,
"The Children of the World Meet in Istanbul".


As we entered the building, we had to go through airport like screening. 
Everything had to go through x-ray machines.  It must have been an
interesting day for the men viewing the screen images!  

Originally there were over 70 teams invited to the tournament.  First, the
tournament had to be rescheduled when the volcano in Iceland erupted in April,
and then there was a political incident involving Turkey during  the first
week of June.  Over 50 teams from all around the world did make it to the tournament. 
We saw teams from Singapore, Korea, all over Europe, South Africa, Brazil,
Mexico, United States, and of course, the Circuit Stormers were representing

Registration was very fast, then we were off to find our pit area.  

The notes said our pit area would be 3m square with 1 meter open space between us
and the other team, and would have 'tables'.  When we got there, it was 3m
long but about 1 m deep. 

The kids did some quick thinking and then came up an idea of how they could
create the space they had planned for.  They could use chairs to block out the extra space and put up their decorations.   We had collapsible tent poles that could be attached to the chairs to hold up our Canada and BC Flags.  The pit turned out pretty well.

At this point, we checked out the electrical plugs to make sure we could
recharge the battery pack for the robot.  Despite having, two energy
converters, a plug adapter, two battery rechargers and a power cord, nothing
seemed to work.  We finally went to talk with a team from the US to see if
they could help.  They were happy to let us recharge our battery packs
using their set-up.  Thank you to The Things from Minnasota.  

The coaches' meeting was long, detailed and surprising controversial. 
We are all suppose to be using the same rules, but it became clear that each
country has their own way of doing things and the same rule can be interpreted very differently around  the world.

The basic format of the tournament will be what we expected.  There will
be an interview for their Research Project where they do their
presentation.  Then there's a Technical Interview about the robot. 
Teamwork will be judged in the pit areas.  Each team will have 3 robot runs
with the top 8 teams advancing to the finals based on their highest

The first official event was Opening Ceremonies.  The costumes and noise volume was
unbelievable.  The team ahead of us in line had megaphone they they were
using to chant and that was just while we were waiting in the line-up! 
Another team used whistles to create different rhythms.  One team of Boy
Scouts brought their Marching Band.  The team from Germany had everyone in
wooden clogs to do lots of stomping.  It was amazing to see all the
different ways teams showed their spirit.

The actual Opening Ceremonies were a lot of fun.  There was everything
from a large children's choir to all the teams on the stage dancing the Macarena

We had a quick lunch and then our teamwork interview was at 1pm.  We
were their first team.  They came and visited our team in our pit
area.  Unfortunately, the noise level was so loud that the judges had to
cluster around close to the kids to hear them at all.  It was almost like a
football huddle!

Next up was our first robot run.  Poor Circuit had some challenges with
the lighting on the table in the Competition area.  It is a stage area, so
it is lit by spot lights.  They cast shadows in different patterns on every
table.  The table we were assigned today had the worst shadows.  The
light sensor kept finding the shadow instead of the black lines.  The final
score for that run was 140 points.

It was discouraging for the kids since they had scored 400 points at their
last tournament and then again in our practice at home.  But they know it
is only the first robot run and there will be two more tomorrow, both of them on
tables with fewer shadows!

After that, the kids had their technical interview which went much better
than the robot run.  The lighting was better so the light sensors worked!

One of the technical judges had a lot of fun watching some of the ideas the
kids had come up with.  He was laughing when the robot threw the loops back
to base.  Like always, the judges rushed to catch the robot as it went
across the bridge.  It looks like it will drive right off the table. 
At the last minute, it stops in the perfect position to score maximum
points.  That always impresses the judges. 

It was a very good interview and the team should have done well.

The team came up with an idea to put an extra shield around the light sensors
which might help with the shadows.  We'll see if they decide to use it
tomorrow or not. 

After all the events finished, all the teams went on a cruise on the
Bosphorous.  We saw lots of different landmarks.  Michael and Duncan
spent some of the time showing Michael how to pass when juggling.  Then the
other kids joined them and they played a game similar to Monkey in the
Middle.  After a few minutes, to of the officials joined them and they all
played for about 20  minutes. 

At one point, the officials all gathered for a group photo.  There are a
lot of officials at such a large event!  

This group photo doesn't even include the Technical, Project or Teamwork
judges.  It really is just the volunteers who help out with everything from
running practice tables to runners who make sure the teams are at their
interviews and activities.

When we arrived at the tournament, we were surprised to see the volunteers in
red and white T-shirts.  At the BC tournament, our shirts were almost the
same shade of green as the volunteers.  Here we are in Istanbul with our
new red and white shirts, and again, we had chosen the same colours as the
volunteer shirts!

Then we had a visit to the technical museum, dinner and the talent
show.  Duncan and Helen did a great skit that had the audience laughing
throughout it.

Our day started at 6am and it was after 9:30 pm when we got home.  It was a
great day, but very, very long. 


Read about Istanbul Tournament Day 2.


See video and pictures on the Smart Moves Istanbul website.