Canterbury 1992 Reports
Canterbury 1992 Reports are Britsh Go Association reports generated after they hosted the 1992 EGC. They are published here with the permission of the BGA council as "useful information" for future organisers. This information comes in the category of General Resources and the information in it should be suitably edited into STL. It is not neatly formatted here, just roughly pasted. The organisation chart in particular needs attention.
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The British Go Association hosted the 36th European Go Congress from 25th July to 8th August 1992. The venue was the University of Kent at Canterbury. The previous European in Britain was in 1983 at Edinburgh and notes provided after that congress helped in the preparation and running of the Canterbury Congress. The reports that follow are attempts to note down some tips and advice learnt at Canterbury.
The first is a report on the business aspects of the congress. There then follows some tips and advice. These were both written by the main congress organiser. Another report from a full time organiser follows consisting of notes on five aspects of the congress that caused problems to the organisers. Then comes a report from a part-time organiser consisting of an alternative management report. The accounts of the congress complete the information in this document.
The first aspect of organising a congress is the marketing stage where the requirements for the event are identified and an attempt is made at finding a venue to suit the proposed product.
In 1987 the requirements for the venue were seen as:
south-east venue easy for travel holiday attraction campus location able to cope with 400 plus entrants
The projected numbers were based on projections from:
Terschelling 300 Budapest 325 Grenoble 330 Hamburg 350
No cost factors were considered.
Canterbury met the first three requirements, but were unsure about the playing space until the Drama and Grimond buildings were built. No other suitable or available location was found that met those three requirements. Canterbury actually seemed lower cost than some.
Accommodation was reserved with minimum numbers of 120 self-catering rooms (maximum 150) and 252 bed and breakfast rooms (maximum 280). Shortfall fees would be chargeable if these numbers were not met; the university actually doubled these from \5 to \10 per room per night (actually half this for the self-catering).
In fact numbers fell in 1989-1990, to below 200 at Vienna. East Europe was still poor and many go players are poor students. The short-fall fees on this number were a millstone. The numbers quoted were total figures in fact, but not everyone stays the full fortnight and so the numbers on a given night were a lot less.
The room hire charges were rather high for Drama and Grimond, and the university price increases were somewhat higher than inflation. This gave an entry fee of \70 and \19 per night for bed and breakfast. These prices are without sponsorship and although the good venue would count towards us, the millstone became heavier. No really cheap accommodation was available. Even camping was fairly difficult as the camp site was far away. The numbers (based on those prices) should have been: 50-60 bed and breakfast; 120-150 self-catering; weekend only 30-40 bed and breakfast; others 15-20. Still more would come and go. More thought should have been put into cheap accommodation (dormitory) and into luxury hotels for the Japanese; some made their own arrangements (for example with the County Hotel), but each party's requirements differed.
Of course the millstone was removed in the end through renegotiation and the costs were reduced too by sponsorship, though earlier large-scale sponsorship could have reduced them further. As it turned out the reduced accommodation was completely taken up and not so many Eastern Europeans came so financial worries on these counts were unfounded.
Because the first three requirements of the venue were met, the marketing can be judged as meeting its objectives.
A vigorous sales campaign was conducted. Two years before the congress a display was made at the European. One year before representation to the US and European Congresses was made with a provisional entry form. An amateur video of the British (held in Canterbury as a dry-run), and of Canterbury city, was shown in America. T-shirts with the congress logos were printed 18 months in advance and were worn (and sold) at these congresses.
The high prices displayed on the forms worked against us, but these prices were reduced later. During the last year a display toured the UK and was supported by articles in the BGJ. The entry form was redone glossy, but before the prices were reduced. Some rushed wording caused confusion to be put right by publishing updates; these also told of the changes to costs and conditions. The coverage by forms being sent out to associations and clubs was patchy (it had been delegated), but was pushed at GP Tournaments at London, Paris and Amsterdam.
Not enough effort was made in Japan - a translated form should be provided, but articles in Kido/Igo Club sparked interest and three tour parties and several individuals came, though one group was arranged through a personal contact.
As the revised number of entrants was more than exceeded, the sales campaign can be considered a success, even if the Cathedral was printed backwards on the form!
As the congress budget was over the VAT registration limit all the financial aspects of the congress were handed over to a limited company. BGA Books Ltd had been set up to sell books to non-members and its two directors are the BGA President and Book Seller. The BGA Secretary is also the Company secretary. There were thus no worries about a conflict of interests between the BGA and the Company.
In order to raise capital for the deposit some 15000 preference shares were issued. 9500 of these were sold to members and in fact only 8000 pounds was needed for the deposit, so some of this was left for working capital. A free congress T-shirt and free entry to the congress, together worth 66 pounds, were offered as an incentive to those buying 1000 or more shares; not all of this offer was taken up though. The shares will be bought back after the congress accounts have been settled. If however the congress had made a loss then they would be repaid over the following years.
The company adopted a trading name of Canterbury European Go Congress and so to the players' view there was no difference between the BGA and the company. Congress cancellation and public liability insurance were taken out in the company's name. VAT registration allowed money to be refunded to the company in the periods before the entries arrived, which also helped cash flow. The money was held in a high interest account (at the Royal Bank of Scotland), also increasing funds (especially when the University were late presenting bills). About four months before the congress a cheque account at Canterbury Barclay's was opened, so the University Branch night safe was available for use during the congress. This earned no interest and was subject to bank charges and so only limited funds were held in this account apart from monies deposited during the congress.
Operating as a company means audited accounts have to be produced. Several of the organisers were accountants and a friendly auditor was enlisted, so this was not too much of a problem and had the advantage of ensuring the accounts were handled correctly. Whether a company is used next time will probably be decided by the VAT issues. It would be better to devoid the congress of handling accommodation money as this will take the turnover below the VAT registration limit.
The original forms had two contact addresses, the later sensibly one. The few that came to the wrong location did not cause a problem. What was a problem was the absence of one of the two entry processors for a while. This lead to a backlog of processing entries and acknowledging them. Also the system was incomplete and so a lot of rework and extra effort occurred.
On the whole few processing errors were made, but confusion over the first and last day verses number of nights occurred. The entry form could have been improved with hindsight. Payments to the congress account were on the whole were made correctly, though there were a couple of untracable bank transfers and Dutch Post Giros (luncheon vouchers) were not acceptable.
The biggest headache was grouping fives for the self-catering houses. Mr. A wanted to be with B - E, but F - H wanted to be with A too, say. Also matching up the number of nights within a house to avoid empty rooms penalty was difficult especially when people changed their requirements.
Computerisation would have helped but as it was the draw computer and the name list computer were incompatible and data had to be entered twice, as well as in the manual system. The name list was mainly useful for cross-referring player name to number, but little else as the accommodation details were inaccurate and unchangeable. Accounting would have to be done on a third system, so a single or a compatible systems is a must.
The entry processing system must be set up before entries arrive, but the problem was managed to satisfactory conclusion.
Though only informal project plans existed these worked fairly well up until 14 days before the congress. Each side tournament had been subcontracted to a club or individual. Equipment was counted and planned. Sales items has been bought. Journal and bookshop arranged. All outstanding tasks were identified.
Then came the sponsorship.
With only eight days to go \10000 was obtained and lots of changes had to be made as a consequence. Hours of telephone meetings scrapped project plans completely and many of the things to be organised during that last week were not.
The welcome pack took a lot of time and effort to produce and all its planning time had gone. The rough professional activity plan was not firmed up to match late pro information. Responsibilities, reporting lines and the general management structure were not determined.
In general the committee were aware of what was going on. However due to the entry processing over load, entry figures were often out of date. No up to date budget was available, which meant redrafting the budget for the sponsorship money was difficult. Because the committee management structure was not clearly defined decisions were often made by different individuals or without full consultation. Individualist attitudes from some members caused friction and problems of lack of consistency. More frequent committee meetings may have helped but would have meant less time for working. However the congress happened so the committee system was adequate from the congress view if not the organisers'. The breakdown in information flow, that was typified by the publicity officer not knowing the congress carried the sponsors name, was in most cases not a problem. However an incorrect notice on the office white board did mean the organiser was late for the EGF meeting.
From the players' point of view the congress was run very smoothly. The only area that worried players was tournament disputes. Large disruption at the start of at least one round was not adequately dealt with. The appeals and complaints procedure and strategy was not decided in advance, but the referees decision was final.
Because of the lack of responsibilities and so on, things often just happened. The director's role was to ensure they did, but often had his hands full and something slipped. Organisation of pros was a big hole; it took four days to work out a system, by which time one of the organisers had become overloaded and had to withdraw which meant something again slipped. Management was coping with the staff crisis and did not spot the organisational hole that the withdrawal was causing.
Registration on the first day went well. The system was so smooth that the ticket numbering system for calling entrants was not needed. Only occasional lapses occurred in the recording of transactions and these could be verified later. However the front desk developed from an information and contact point into a full time shop. Of course there was no proper accounting and forms were not available until several days after the start. Money came and went from the main cash box without record and some sales were not recorded. The accountants were already overstretched so a decision was taken not to force a system out of them. The price of not having proper accounting for this was paid later.
Only one accountant was full time and other jobs were taken on as well. Because the accounts side covered accommodation details and changes there should have been two people full time on this. Because of the overload before and during the congress no P&L account was available until the last day, and then only a rough one. There was also no system for authorising expenditure and so more than was necessary was spent on some items, but with the sponsorship this should not be a problem.
However none of this impacted on the players, and the service on changes to accommodation requirements was excellent and all the alterations were dealt with speedily and as required.
Other problems arose. The journal is definitely a full time job and overload here caused a problem. A relief team came in at short notice to produce an issue over the middle weekend. This should have been arranged before hand. The problem was solved, without the Director's intervention, by the diversion of resources.
The spare crew that took over the organisation of the weekend tournament were invaluable in relieving the main committee. However a proper schedule of rest days, desk rota duties and the like should have been drawn up. Together with the responsibilities /management structure, these would have relieved overloading and saved problems.
Entertaining guests is a job in itself, too. Especially this is true when guests arrive unexpectedly, have to visit the mayor or be fetched from the airport. We were lucky to find people to do this without much bother, though this often meant great personal sacrifice of time and effort.
Equipment should have someone in charge. Maintaining equipment status and location is quite a lengthy task at the start and end of day. Also the playing rooms get cluttered with rubbish, such as score sheets that a cleaner would not remove, and stones get dropped. Hence it is suggested that clean up gangs be organised. At Canterbury this was left as light relief to the main organisers, but friction arose as one organiser started rearranging rooms that had already been set out.
A list of recommended job holders and management structure is suggested below. A deputy is suggested for some roles, allowing time off or doubling of effort when needed. At the top level one of the sub-managers should deputise for the manager. Some roles can be doubled up so that 8 can cover 12 full time posts. Only 5 full time organisers were present at Canterbury.
- = Full time
Manager* I -------------------------------------------------- Tournament Finance Media Services Director* Director* Director* Director* I I I I I ---------------------- I ------------------------------ I Accounts* Accomm* Shop I Front Guests Pros* Equip- I I I I I Desk* I I ment I Dep Acc Dep Asts I I I I I I I Desk Taxi Welfare Tidy I I Staff Drivers Events Gangs ---------------------------------- I Draw Referee* Weekend Side -------------------------- Computer I TD Events PO* Journal Artist I Dep Ref I I I Editor* Results Weekend Various I I Crew Teams Press Sub Ed Liaison I Reporters
The \10000 obtained eight days before the Congress was a financial life-belt. Before, with a \2000 write off, there was still to be a \1000 to \2000 loss provided expenditure was contained. Already \2500 of sponsors had been obtained and the members raised \1000 for the East European fund. This money was necessary because of the large room hire charges, though these were trimmed at the expense of a 23.00 shut down which had been forgotten about.
The week before the tournament was a hectic time: re-engraving trophies, buying more and larger trophies, redesigning and printing posters and other material, and redoing budgets. As said previously this could have been time better spent, but luckily a full-time organiser was available to do these tasks. Coincidentally this was the same person who secured the sponsorship in the first place.
Having sponsorship should have raised the profile of the event in press releases, but without the sponsor's name in the congress title getting the sponsor mentioned was difficult. It is suspected most of the gain will come from coverage of the tournament in the east. Having a sponsor looked good at the opening ceremony and prize giving but the presence of the Lord Mayor set the official Canterbury stamp and the embassies of China and Japan sent representatives too. This made the ceremonies rather glitzy, but they were kept very short.
In summary, sponsorship is a must, but a year in advance not a week.
Although individual objectives were not set as a consequence of the lack of responsibilities/management structure, overall objectives had been set when planning started. "To be the biggest and best European ever in Britain and to have everybody going away having enjoyed themselves." This objective was achieved thanks to the hard work of the organising team, the weather and the choice of venue.
Success points were:
- Pleasant environment of the university
- Sunny weather (Olympic fortnight by coincidence)
- Adequate playing areas
- Many side events
- New non-go events
- Leeds Castle trip
- Song Party
- Bruce Wilcox lectures
- Other pros
- Pair Go
- Touristic location
- Multi-national attendance
- Congress Journal
- Souvenirs and shop
- Cheap food available
- Good quality equipment on top boards
- Media coverage
The list of bad points was much smaller and ran something like:
"The light's (TV) in our opponents eyes and his chair is much too small" and "Make him play on a plastic go ban"
Here are some useful tips gained from experience in planning and executing the congress:
Have a dry run at the venue. The British in 1991 was at Canterbury using the same playing rooms and bed and breakfast accommodation. This allowed organisers to familiarise themselves with the town, university and layout of rooms.
A phone and FAX was available in the congress office. These were invaluable in publicity and making contact with the congress from outside, not to mention ringing the accommodation or conference offices internally. The pay phone in the playing hall foyer only took phone cards so some of these were made available for sale to the players, though in emergency they were allowed into the office.
Equally responsive was the purchase of towels when players in the self-catering complained they had none. The congress mugs also came in handy as only cups were provided. The needs of another congress will be different but should be endeavoured to be met.
Presents must be available for visiting guests and orientals. They should be purchased and wrapped before the guests arrived. It is very embarrassing to be wrapping presents when a guest is around and then they may not be ready before the guest's departure. Scraping around for gifts during the last day is also not satisfactory.
Registration worked very well. A four point system with name badge, accommodation details, balance calculation and payment kept the queue moving smoothly. Welcome packs were on the counter to be removed by the registrees, though these were often hot off the press (literally). Registration at the desk then took place at ad-hoc moments during the congress. The low numbers involved meant this was not a problem.
Ceremonies were kept short. The opening speeches less than half an hour and the closing prize giving to 45 minutes. The week one prizes were presented in under two minutes in an outside ad-hoc ceremony. Keeping the Fujitsu and Hitachi sessions separate at the end helped here and allowed people to wander around in between.
Receptions and barbecues help to keep the atmosphere pleasant, though it is worth making sure the caterers know the requirements correctly (such as the start time). These were paid for or subsidised by sponsorship.
Ensure all your equipment is going to turn up and ensure there is plenty spare for teaching. Probably 20% more than the total number for the tournament is needed. This will also cover for clock breakages and possible fluctuations in playing number. If purchase is intended ensure the supplier can meet the potential demand. Also do not forget that computers need go boards and clocks as well as humans.
Make sure enough transport is available to take equipment to and from the congress. The main organiser made an extra journey at the start and another organiser an extra journey at the end, returning at the end of the day after's packing up session.
Do not hire cheap old photocopiers. They are smelly, hot, slow, break down, mangle paper and are generally a nuisance. It is worth getting a machine that will speedily and efficiently do double sided printing over large periods of time without problem. A photocopier should also be available for players to use - this can be fairly cheap and old, but will probably also function as a back up, so watch out.
Guests always need fetching to and from airports. So sort out some willing volunteers and a mileage rate in advance so that this aspect runs without hitch.
Ensure there is enough playing space available. 1.5 square metres is the normal minimum amount of room required per board, however fire officers may see differently and insist on 2.0 or more. Luckily fine weather meant simultaneous displays could be outside, but indoor space for this should be available without disturbing play. Of course space is also required for computer go, an office or two, shop, lecture rooms and so on. A room to take children into out of the way of others is probably needed too.
The budget for looking after pros was set at five hundred pounds each. Most pros wanted pocket money to spend rather than meal tickets and so the cost of this was somewhat higher per person. Of course not all pros stayed the fortnight so overall cost remained about right. The great advantage of pocket money was that the pros could buy as and when they wanted, buy drinks and make tourist visits, and could maybe end up with a surplus; the Chinese pros blew all theirs on a party at the end. Whether individuals entertaining pros to meals out should be on expenses or not should be decided before hand so no disputes over cost can occur.
A well stocked book shop can raise money at the congress. A joint shop with Ishi Press International Ltd was run. Their presence helped with manning and increased the number of lines available. Congress T-shirts, mugs and pens were available as souvenirs. Also liar dice and playing cards were sold.
Refreshments in the playing area should be provided. At Canterbury the university provided the sales. This meant they got the profits, but running it yourself would be hard work. At least the university were convinced to stock a lot of beer and a special licence was arranged for sale of alcohol. This cost nothing as an extension was already arranged for the song party night.
Never organise anything else for while Bruce Wilcox is lecturing.
Disputes have to be handled correctly. The current EGF appeals system may change in the future, but it is worth knowing what level of intervention the EGF can and will take when needed.
This report is from another of the main full time organisers. It covers five areas of the congress organisation that caused strain on the full time organisers of the congress.
ALTERNATIVE CONGRESS MANAGEMENT REPORT CONGRESS ACCOUNTS
APPENDICES - PRESS RELEASES, LETTERS AND UPDATES
1992 CANTERBURY EUROPEAN ACCOUNTS =================================
BOOK SHOP ---------
INCOME: Ishi Cheque/Credit Cards 1827.91 Prizes Bought by congress 616.29 Sets Bought by congress 187.00 Prize Vouchers 243.90 BGA Cheques/Cash 4158.90 Commission on Ishi Sales 274.90 ------- 7308.90 -------
EXPENDITURE: Ishi Sales 2749.90 BGA Stock 629.90 Ishi Stock 2081.26 Congress Stock 334.65 ------- 5795.71 -------
SURPLUS: 1513.19 Gross 1287.82 Net =======
MISC CONGRESS SALES ===================
Photographs 65.09 84.17 Euro Go News 402.00 na Barbecue 825.53 1433.96 Tshirts 696.71 633.34 BGA Stock 99.35 0.00 Mugs 180.00 239.40 Gavrilov Badges (29.00) 0.00 Go Moon 158.00 72.00 Chocolates 7.00 0.00 Go Draw Program 20.00 0.00 Pens 31.44 76.00 Towels 17.02 23.53 Phone Cards 38.00 38.00 Dice/Playing Cards 24.76 23.71 Score Sheets/Numbers 82.04 na ------- ------- 2657.94 2626.11 ------- -------
EAST EUROPE FUND (\1015 RETAINED BY BGA) ========================================
Poles Expenses 76.00 Croatia !2x14x7.86+20 240.08 Czech !5x14x7.86/2 275.10 Russia 4x110.04 440.16 Airport trips 43.20 London fares 30.00 (Payment) (46.00) (Sets/Clocks) (54.00) ------- 1004.54 -------
MATERIAL GAIN TO THE BGA (APPROX) =================================
East Europe Fund 1000.00 Non-completion of Video 1200.00 Sets Purchased 800.00 Sticky Numbers 1000.00 Computer 1500.00 Go Press Money 1500.00 ------- 7000.00 -------
Profit/Loss: Income 63391.07 Expenditure 61866.70 Provision for Video Completion * 0.00 Donation to EGF? 500.00? -------- Surplus 925.37 ========
( * = Item cancelled - was 1200.00)
SPONSORSHIP BUDGET ==================
East European Players 1000.00 Video 800.00 Closing Booklet 1000.00 Entertaining 400.00 Score Sheets/Numbers 1500.00 Prizes 3000.00 Pros Expenses 1200.00 Pros Accommodation 500.00 Receptions 800.00 Organisers Expenses 1000.00 Go Sets 1000.00 Printing Costs 300.00 Remote Game Broadcast 200.00 Day Out 300.00 Loan Cost 800.00 Completion of Video * 1200.00 -------- 15300.00 --------
(* = Item subsequently cancelled)
BALANCE SHEET =============
All values shown are net of VAT and are in Pounds Sterling.
INCOME: Entry Fees 9188.05 Bed & Breakfast 11739.00 Self Catering 18774.68 Over Payment 2584.73 Bank Interest 1862.05 Donation/Sponsors 15296.80 Book Shop Surplus 1287.82 Sales 2657.94 -------- 63391.07 --------
EXPENDITURE: Bed & Breakfast 14348.77 Self-Catering 17178.28 Refunds 3205.04 Playing Rooms 5372.95 Receptions & Bar 798.48 Prizes 4219.78 Computer Costs 1556.02 Pros Expenses/Meals 1206.23 Go Sets 1003.00 Score Sheets/Numbers 1456.06 Welcome Pack 318.21 Euro Go Cover 469.00 Photocopy 404.45 Printing 39.40 First Entry Form 246.50 Second Entry Form 491.00 Hitachi Entry Form 77.49 Posters 234.00 Stationery 260.37 Miscellaneous 45.00 Postage 348.67 Phone 480.95 Travel 335.60 Audio-visual 160.00 Entertaining 364.71 Publicity 108.40 Insurance 195.00 Till Hire 42.56 Football 20.00 Leeds Castle Coach 260.00 Video Filming 800.00 East Europe 106.00 Closing Booklet 966.00 Closing Book Postage 156.96 Audit/Company 1992 113.00 Audit/Company 1993 280.38 Company 1994 16.00 Bank/Admin 123.83 Loan Cost 800.00 Tax 632.50 Cost of Sales 2626.11 -------- 61866.70 --------