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 Post subject: EGC 2015 Venue
Post #1 Posted: Tue Aug 11, 2015 7:48 am 

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The European Go Congress 2015 was held in Czechia, Liberec, Babylon Centre. This former textile factory is situated in between the station and the city center. Now, the gigantic building is a hybrid of hotel and a tiny Disneyland mainly for children. The missing sunlight in the conference halls and rooms used for playing was compensated by airconditioning, which allowed to ignore any heat outside. However, the free playing and casual pro commenting areas were dry and hot. There was an ugly sun roof (on floor 6 and not, as described in the congress information, floor 5) with useful furniture and barbecue but without any view on the environment.

The large top playing room had up to 40 boards. Reaching it was an adventure: walk in floor -2, lift A upwards to floor 1, walk (instead of taking the next available lift), lift B downwards to floor -1. But what was "floor 1"? If you took the green lift, as recommended by congress organisers, you ended in a dead end of a parking deck. Choosing "H1" was the tesuji (H for hotel, 1 = P1 for parking).

The major playing hall ("Expo hall") on floor -2 had about 250 boards. Nevertheless, the acoustic architecture had been designed so well that you would never be annoyed by too much noise. The ceiling with anti-acoustic installations caught much of it. Instead, the Expo hall suffered from a very different problem: There were three doors, of which the largest was almost always closed and the smallest but still important door was closed half of the time. Those doors were indicated as emergency exits. When, early during the congress, only one door was open, I suggested to an organiser that they all should always be open. He was unwillingly, complaining about not having the keys. So on average, 1.5 doors were open (without my intervention maybe even less) but the largest door was always closed during the tournaments and "secured" by a closing rope around the handles. For a room with hundreds of players this was totally irresponsible. A fire could have meant hundreds of dead people instead of only a few casulties. Whatever an event is - there never can be any excuse for locking any emergency exits at any moment. Event organisers (go, music or whatever) are responsible for the lifes of people even if the organisers need to organise key management. Nothing is more important at a go congress with several hundred of participants (762 players in the main tournament). Organising the go tournaments is of only secondary importance. The life of people always is the most important. There have been tragic incidents at big events or in big hotels around the world before and there simply is no need to learn this afresh. Every congress organisation, amateurish in organisation or not, ought to know the basics: if you run a big event, you are responsible for its participants.

The double digit kyus played in the "Registration hall / Conference hall". A small other announced room was apparently never used. There was a relatively small lecture room next to the top playing room.

This post by RobertJasiek was liked by 2 people: Bonobo, EdLee
 Post subject: Re: EGC 2015 Venue
Post #2 Posted: Tue Aug 11, 2015 9:04 am 
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Well done for making yourself heard on the fire door issue. I was not at the EGC, but I entirely agree with your point on fire doors. It is the kind of thing that is tough to bring up, makes you unpopular with the organizer, and is unlikely to let you be proved right, because accidents are rare. So you don't get the credit, but you have tried to do the right thing. Incidents that need to use the doors aren't just fires.

So, congratulations to you, and commiserations that it wasn't immediately recognized that you were right.

This post by PeterHB was liked by: Bonobo
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