Grand Slam in Warsaw

It was, if I remember properly, in November 2016 when I got an information from the Polish Go Association that there is some sponsor from China, who “would like to have” a very big Go tournament in Poland and who asked the Polish Go Association for organization of this tournament.

Of course I was very interested, because there aren’t any big tournaments in Poland, but it would be good to have some. I had also some thoughts in my head that maybe it will be possible to encourage the sponsor, so he would also become a sponsor of the tournament, which I wanted to organize.

So, I asked the Polish Go Association about some more details and I got an e-mail address of the sponsor. I wrote, I received an answer. It turned out that this guy would like to have, in Warsaw at the China Expo, the largest Go tournament in Europe.

I thought – there is a chance, it can’t be wasted (and at that time the board of the Polish Go Association didn’t have much time for organizing tournaments, because they were working with that crowdfunding action with a book “Shapes of mind”) – and I decided to try to organize this tournament. I asked the Polish Go Association – I got a positive answer. And I wrote to the sponsor that I would organize this tournament. After a pretty big number of sent e-mails I had such information:
– The tournament must be held in Warsaw at the China Expo on 26-28 May 2017.
– It should be classified to the European Grand Prix.
– The prizes will be very high (allegedly the highest in Europe), but at that point I didn’t know how high.
– The tournament should advertise Poland, so that Chinese companies would start working in this country and the sponsor of the tournament would (if I properly understood) help these companies with entering onto the Polish market.

At the same time of when the tournament in Warsaw was going to happen, there should be also a big tournament in Amsterdam (which would be counted to the European Grand Prix, class B).

And I was writing to the EGF and to the organizers of the Amsterdam Tournament about the situation with sponsor of the tournament in Poland.
Of course I wrote a lot of e-mails (and it wasn’t so easy, because I had lessons from the morning to the evening; and I couldn’t do much at school while having breaks for food, because I didn’t have Internet access there).

Eventually the organizers of the tournament in Amsterdam didn’t agree for the change of the date of their tournament. I told the sponsor about it (I was very angry, because it would be a real pity if the chance for having the largest tournament in Europe was wasted). However, he told me that there will be another Expo in September and he asked me if it would be possible to organize this tournament at that time.

I was very happy that the sponsor didn’t stop to want to have this tournament.
And immediately I started to think about what to do to really have this tournament in September and to have it very well organized.

The date of the September Expo didn’t interfere with any tournaments, which would be counted to the European Grand Prix. So, somehow I could already try to reserve this date in the EGF. For the tournaments counted to the European Grand Prix it’s necessary to write the class of the tournament, so of course I asked the sponsor about it (by the way I explained him the difference in these classes).

Sponsor decided to make this tournament as the highest class (the so-called European Grand Slam). First tournament of this class was played in 2015 and since that time there was just one tournament per year (costs of this one tournament are covered by so-called CEGO – it’s a private organization, which is run by a few people from China – thanks to this organization there is inter alia the Professional Go System in Europe). This one tournament every year takes place in Berlin, the prize pool in 2018 is going to reach 23 350 euro (from which 10 000 euro is for the 1st place). But, if someone wants to organize another Grand Slam Tournament, he will need to pay a management fee of 10 000 euro to the EGF for having this class, there also must be at least 10 000 euro for the 1st place and the total budget can’t be smaller than 40 000 euro.

Later we were talking about the prizes – the tournament should be the largest in Europe, so the prizes should be bigger than at the Grand Slam in Berlin. The Sponsor wrote that the prize pool will equal 29 300 euro, with 12 000 euro for the 1st place.

The tournament was going to be “really big”, so I have also asked one friend (and a Go player), who works with new technologies about an opportunity of renting some software for video cameras that would automatically record the game on computer as sgf file and broadcast it live online (so that there was no need of human who would be clicking moves).

I asked another guy who is a computer scientist about costs of creating a website for the tournament.

I have given the sponsor the draft of budget and of the system of tournament – he accepted them, but he also asked me if I could send him some data: how many Go-related organizations work in every country in Europe, how many people play Go in every country in Europe (some suppositions) and how many people in Europe would watch the online broadcasting from the tournament. He said that the European Go Federation should have this kind of data, so that I can just ask EGF about them.

And I send an e-mail with these questions to the EGF. I’ve got an answer with a question if they can write me back in a week. I wrote “ok”.

I’ve asked the sponsor if he needs to sign an agreement. He told me that it’s not necessary.
I’ve asked the EGF if they need to sign an agreement. They told me that it’s not necessary.

So, I ordered the execution of the website. On the website I also wrote about many not-necessarily-important details, e.g. what lines of buses go from the Warsaw Central Station to the tournament’s venue and how much the tickets cost, I’ve put up a map with the marked venue of the tournament and some points of orientation, I’ve put up some graphics with the system of choosing players for the tournament and with the pairing, which would be done based on the collected Bonus Points (in the European Grand Prix) and the EGD rating.

Somehow I tried to advertise this New Grand Slam Tournament. I was going for many tournaments in Europe and inviting players for 14-16 September to Poland.
Of course some information also appeared on the Go tournaments’ calendars.

After a month since I’ve got an e-mail from EGF that they will write me in a week about these statistics, I asked them about it once more and I’ve got an answer with a question “what do you want?”. I wrote one more time what I want and I didn’t get these statistics anyway. However, on the next tournament, which I attended, I’ve received a few bulletins, where it was possible to see this kind of statistics.

After returning to Poland I was calling the sponsor, because I wanted to ask him for a logo on the website. I told him also that I have these bulletins.

I’ve got an answer that the sponsor doesn’t want to have this tournament anymore. He told me that he didn’t get these statistics and that he didn’t sign any agreement.

After this talk I didn’t know what to do.

I was really very angry on this sponsor and on the board of EGF.
I was also angry on myself that I’ve been tricked so easily.
And I started to think about where I made mistakes.

I came to a conclusion that I was the one who needed a signed agreement.
I should have been also writing more times to the EGF about these statistics. But I had no idea that it might be so important…

Posted in News.

One Comment

  1. I see it a different way. Imagine this – I am willing to spend multiple thousands of euro on a tournament. To make it the biggest one! And I did not do my homework of a simple research if it makes sense. It was not your job to make. It was theirs.

    But a signed agreement before would be perfect too. 🙂

    Thank you for your efforts anyway

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