Istanbul Tournament Day 2

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Another day at the tournament, and our last day!

If you missed reading about our first day, you can read about Istanbul Tournament Day 1.

It wasn't quite so early this morning, which was a nice change.  The bus driver didn't know how to get to the tournament site.  The first time we saw the venue, but it was across the river.  The driver didn't just head for the nearest bridge, he turned around and went back to the first bridge.  Then he tried to follow the river to get back to it.  After asking directions a few times, driving up small, winding roads that may never have seen a tour bus before, we finally got back to the venue.  Then the driver missed the turn for the entrance.  He went up a ways, turned around and then finally got us to the tournament.  It was a good thing we started out early!

At 9:30, the kids had the project interview.  The skit went well, and the judges seemed to enjoy it and they asked some good questions.  One of the judges really thought the kids should patent their idea for an innovative solution.

After that, they had some time at the practice table.  We never did find our downloading cable, so we borrowed one from another team.  Michael had been talking with the guitar player from Team Integra (Turkey), so he asked if he could borrow their cable.  They worked on the programs, mostly adjusting turns and light sensor check points.  

Their second robot run was at 10:45.  It went better, but still only 240 points.

One consolation is that lots of teams were having trouble with the light sensors.   There were a large number of teams who had scored 400 at the their tournaments, but their robots were scoring under 150.  The shadows on the tables were terrible.  In the practice area, there were skylights running the length of the room.  Every time the sun came out, it completely changed where the shadows fell and it was nothing like the actual tournament tables.

In the tournament room, the light was all stage lighting with a series of overhead spots.  The bridge managed to cast three shadows on the table, one to the one to the east, one to the west and a third one under the bridge.

There were letting teams test on the actual competition tables.  But each team only got 2 minutes.  Basically, you could identify the first point when the light sensor didn't work, but that was about it.  And, of course, the spot lighting caused different shadows on every table.

Some teams did have robots that were working successfully.  About 4-5 teams had scored 400 points by the end of the second round.  During the coaches' meeting, it seemed like about half the coaches thought their teams would be scoring 400 points!

One of the most interesting was the team from Singapore.  They had very, very large attachments.  There were about 5-6 different items, each one was almost the size of base.  Each one used a variety of different mechanisms.  For example, one had a long arm that reached out behind the truck.  When it hit the far side of the table, it knocked loose an extension that fell at a right angle.  Then they used gears to draw the extension closed to the arm, collecting the four loops around the horseshoe.  The robot and most of the attachment were still in base, so the could just pick up everything and move the loops to base by hand.

Another team had an interesting idea where they went straight down the table, then shot the cannon to the left to down the access marker at the far end of the table.

It was interesting to see all the different ways the teams solved the challenge.

Today felt much different at the tournament.  By lunch time, the interviews were all over, and all the teams only had one robot run left.  Everyone was more relaxed and the the teams had more time to talk, play and make music together.    The team across from us was Integra.  They had everything from guitars to drums and started playing music.   Kids from all different teams would wander over and sit-in for a couple of songs and then wander off.  Lots of kids just gathered around to listen.  You would never know they were all competing against each other in a robot tournament!

Our team was very excited about their final run which was right after lunch.

The first 20 seconds went fine, then something went wrong and the robot got stuck by the ramp.  They had to rescue it and decide if they should re-run the robot, or just move on.  They decided to move on to Fling, but a chunk of time had been used up. Fling worked perfectly and they started Access.  All their changes paid off and the robot turned perfectly and went right under the bridge.  Circuit got over the dynamometer and knocked down the first access marker, and then time ran out.  

The team was disappointed that the robot hadn't scored higher.

We headed back to our pit area, and there was a volunteer waiting for us.  We had a call back for the research project!  

It was the first time any of our teams had ever received a call back so we had no idea what to expect.  But it was a good sign that the judges wanted to see the team again.  Given the level of competition at World events, it's fantastic to even get a call back.

The kids quickly got all their props together, changed into their costumes and headed back to the project room.  For the first round of evaluations, there were 3 different rooms with 4 judges in each.  For the call back, all 12 judges were in the room.  The skit went well, and the judges asked a few questions, but not really a lot which was a bit of surprise.

Now there was only waiting.  It was about 2:30 and the finals were scheduled for 4pm.  The kids went outside and started a game of Capture the flag.

For the Closing Ceremonies, they had all the teams line-up and introduced the teams as they entered similar to Open Ceremonies. 

The finals were fun to watch, but even here there were teams having problems.  One of the top teams in the tournament only scored 85 in the quarter final.  All four teams that made it to the semi-finals had 400 points.  They had talked about how they would handle ties but it wasn't need.  In the final round, one team scored 365 and the other team scored 370!  The team with the highest score was Integra from Turkey.

For each of the awards, they announced the top three teams that were considered, and then announced who won.  Circuit Stormers were nominated for the Against all Odds, and Most Creative Presentation.  Unfortunately, we aren't bringing home a trophy, but we all have some wonderful memories.

The team got to meet other teams from around the World, see lots of new ideas, and have the experience of a big tournament.  

I asked the kids what was their favourite thing at the tournament.  The answers included the noise, the Technical Interview, the lunch, and being nominated for two awards.

When asked what they would do differently, general consensus was to bring noise makers.  Some teams were very effective at getting lots of attention to their team using everything from stomping with wooden clogs to blowing whistles.

Another idea was to be more prepared for different conditions, like the lighting. 


They all had a great time!


Read about Istanbul Tournament Day 1.

See video and pictures on the Smart Moves Istanbul website.



Shelly Author Profile Page said:

The ambience of the "European Open Tournament" was one of a humungous party! Lots of noise makers, colorful costumes, dancing, flags waving, booming music, shouts, laughter, and smiles. For our quiet little team it was all so surreal!

Although "Circuit" didn't fair well in the robot runs, the team persevered with troubleshooting and seeking solutions to improve the robots performance. The Circuit Stormers performed exceptionally well in all other categories as they were well prepared and rehearsed in these areas.

As one of two people on the cheering team who was placed amongst 100's of others in the audience I felt my cheers/shouts were unequivocally drowned out by the volume of noise in the auditorium. Clearly I needed a megaphone to extend my vocals and an air horn from a tractor-trailer truck to scream above the World Cup bazooka horns and canister air-horns that overpowered noise makers and ones sensitive ears.

Many exciting highlights to the tournament that we can all say will remain in our memories for a very long time. Other than the obvious tournament competition I would say for myself that interacting with children and families from all over the world was the absolute most thrilling part of the tournament. Language was not a major barrier as we clearly were able to exchange information with ease. Sometimes this meant a friendly smile and demonstrative gesture of interest or goodwill.

Towards the end of the tournament there was trading of pins, badges, hats, and tokens. Lots of interesting souvenirs to take home including fascinating literature to learn about other teams and their countries.

I'm certain the Circuit Stormers team has learned a great deal from their experience at the European Open. The trek to Turkey was a memorable journey for each family.

All the best to each student in their future endeavours!

Shelly (Liam's mom)