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 Post subject: Re: EGC 2017
Post #21 Posted: Sat Dec 03, 2016 12:04 am 
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Another topic not discussed so far: There is the European Go Center in Amstelveen (near Amsterdam). Why could the Netherlands not offer themselves as another venue? The center may be too small to host all players of the main tournament simultaneously but surely part of the players could play in a different hall in Amstelveen or southern Amsterdam.

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Post #22 Posted: Sun Dec 04, 2016 3:56 pm 
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Seems there is some movement on the issue:. http://www.eurogofed.org/index.html?id=91

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Post #23 Posted: Sun Dec 04, 2016 11:42 pm 
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So they're going to reconsider their reconsidering? :razz:

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Post #24 Posted: Mon Dec 05, 2016 12:45 am 
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This gives the EGF member countries the possibility to better consider all aspects. Hopefully the time until the new "voting" is used well and the delay still enables a good congress.

Among the aspects insufficiently considered so far are:

1) Tournament organisation quality (if all countries cooperate, the quality might be similar in different countries).

2) Travel expenses for the average European using the default hotel (cheaper accommodation will also be available): Germany permits cheaper travel tickets, Russia permits cheaper hotel, visa costs differ for players from different countries. So on average, travel expenses of an individually travelling player might be similar. Except for groups, for whom travel by car is hardly any option in the case of Russia.

3) Time investment during travel: Germany incurs a bit delay because of 3.5h train travel from a typical international airport. Russia incurs delay because a safe flight connection requires some hours of waiting when changing planes at, say, Moscow or Vienna. So time investment during travel will be similar.

4) Time investment for visa: For players from several countries, up to 15 days of actual work must be invested to get a visa for Russia. For Russians, up to 15 days of actual work must be invested to get a visa for Germany (or another EU country). Clearly, players from more countries have much less (often no) time investment for getting a visa for Germany.

5) Same country twice in a row: this can be excused due to the emergency.

6) Tourist attraction: this is a side aspect. Both venues offer good tourist possibilities. I do not buy it that Sochi would offer sea and mountains. Either the hotel will be close to the sea or close to the mountains. For two Wednesdays, the other tourist aspects can be visited, but the same can be said for Germany: On Wednesdays, far excursions are also possible.

Apart from preferring Germany as a German, I see mainly one major difference: the time investment for visa. Russia means I would need to waste up to 15 days of my life just for getting the visa. I prefer a country for that I do not have to waste much time for a piece of paper.


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Post #25 Posted: Mon Dec 05, 2016 2:41 am 
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RobertJasiek wrote:
up to 15 days of actual work

What does this mean? Is "days of actual work" = calendar time or work time (only the first makes sense to me)?

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Post #26 Posted: Mon Dec 05, 2016 3:00 am 
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Quote:
Russia means I would need to waste up to 15 days of my life just for getting the visa.


I'm curious how you can spend that long. I can understand you may need to wait a fortnight between applying and receiving but that's not a waste. I understand also that queueing can be a nuisance, but 15 days????? In any event you can pay someone to queue for you, and even if you stand in the queue yourself you can use the time to read, watch or listen to something.

It's not an authoritarian regime thing. The greatest inconveniences I have ever found in getting visas were for the USA with queues to find out which queue you are supposed to be in, and the biggest queues outside embassies I see in London are outside the Indian Embassy (none outside the Turkish one), but I was impressed by a recent rather long snake outside the Zambian one. But nowhere have I seen people embassy-camping for 1 day let alone 15 days.

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Post #27 Posted: Mon Dec 05, 2016 3:17 am 
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John Fairbairn wrote:
But nowhere have I seen people embassy-camping for 1 day let alone 15 days.


I've done it, but for two separate days, though. (Applying for a work permit while in Japan, when the system was to apply outside the country, then come back a couple of months later to pick up the permit. The Japanese visa section in Seoul got very crowded so there were day-long queues. And the airlines loved it. But I got to see Seoul and surroundings in the snow in the extra days I'd allowed just in case it was a more-than-day-long queue (including watching outdoor games of go).)

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Post #28 Posted: Mon Dec 05, 2016 5:28 am 
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15 days of work (say 7 to 10 hours per day, then rest 5 hours) are easily accumulated for:

- 2 days for finding out whether the passport number contains a 0 or O (the font absolutely gives no hint whatsoever, so I had to visit a local German office for asking and learning that in German passports O does not exist) and reminding each involved person about the correct spelling several times and getting corrections of documents with corrected spelling,
- 2 days for confirmation of health insurance,
- 4+ days for reading embassy documents and finding out which things I would need to show,
- 3 days for filling out documents and fighting with buggy consular wegpages,
- ca. 3 days for visting embassy-related offices (they were kind to me but I have heard of others who actually needed to show all the detailed documents and spend more days at the office; in my case, it was almost sufficient to demonstrate a heap of papers with which I possibly could have proven the details),
- 3 days for digging out documents and information (such as proof of income, what is like a tax declaration including all individual receipts if you are a freelancer), photocopying and sorting everything.

Plus waiting ca. 7 weeks for several documents to arrive and free embassy-related dates becoming available. Not counting the time for congress registration, travel information, hotel registration and purchase of travel tickets.

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Post #29 Posted: Mon Dec 05, 2016 6:31 am 
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I looked up the procedure for the UK and it is certainly highly bureaucratic, but the procedure has been outsourced to a private company (common now with visas everywhere) and it seems that collecting the documents takes about an hour, you fill in the forms (looks tedious, I admit), then you wait five days for delivery. I see nothing about tax affairs or other arcana. Given the vast number of passports that exist with an o, it seems odd that no-one else seems to have raised this as a major 2-day issue. Were you also trying to avoid paying the small fee for a letter of support, or something like that, where most tourists just go with the flow (safely and happily by all accounts)?

But basically you are right about the hassle, and I must admit the costs look horrendous, and would be a very big hurdle for family groups.

When I was a student in Moscow, many problems could be eased with things like a Beatles LP. I presume it's very different now, and I have often been tempted to go back and see. But looking up the visa information just now has made me dump that idea.

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Post #30 Posted: Mon Dec 05, 2016 6:37 am 
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No, I did not try to save a few bucks.

Figuring out the 0 spelling and ensuring correct spelling of my name in the invitation were necessary because, as expected, these were the two most carefully checked dates. They are essential for identifying the correct person.

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Post #31 Posted: Mon Dec 05, 2016 7:24 am 
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RobertJasiek wrote:
15 days of work (say 7 to 10 hours per day, then rest 5 hours) are easily accumulated for:

- 2 days for finding out whether the passport number contains a 0 or O (the font absolutely gives no hint whatsoever, so I had to visit a local German office for asking and learning that in German passports O does not exist) and reminding each involved person about the correct spelling several times and getting corrections of documents with corrected spelling,
- 2 days for confirmation of health insurance,
- 4+ days for reading embassy documents and finding out which things I would need to show,
- 3 days for filling out documents and fighting with buggy consular wegpages,
- ca. 3 days for visting embassy-related offices (they were kind to me but I have heard of others who actually needed to show all the detailed documents and spend more days at the office; in my case, it was almost sufficient to demonstrate a heap of papers with which I possibly could have proven the details),
- 3 days for digging out documents and information (such as proof of income, what is like a tax declaration including all individual receipts if you are a freelancer), photocopying and sorting everything.

Plus waiting ca. 7 weeks for several documents to arrive and free embassy-related dates becoming available. Not counting the time for congress registration, travel information, hotel registration and purchase of travel tickets.

Lots and lots of Finns who live near the Russian border regularly visit Russia just to buy cheap petroleum. I doubt they would repeatedly renew their Visa if it took even tenth of that time (1,5 days).

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Post #32 Posted: Mon Dec 05, 2016 7:37 am 
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Visa regulations differ greatly from country to country, from time to time and per visa type.

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Post #33 Posted: Mon Dec 05, 2016 7:46 am 
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RobertJasiek wrote:
Visa regulations differ greatly from country to country, from time to time and per visa type.

Sure they do. That's why I used division by ten. I might have used 50 (~2 hours) as well. The point is that I believe you are either (greatly) exaggerating the time required, or you need way more time to do this than (practically) everyone else.

I don't disagree with the original point, though. I agree that on average it is more time consuming to prepare to travel to Russia than to Germany. I just disagree on how much so.

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Post #34 Posted: Mon Dec 05, 2016 7:55 am 
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I might have done it naively, like probably many. Then they would have found 1 or 2 missing papers, I would have needed to come 1 or 2 times more but overall saved some days. The problem with this approach: If they are strict, they can use any missing paper as pretence not to issue me a visa at all. I wanted to minimise risks to maximise the likelihood of getting the visa. So I abided by all their rulings strictly and prepared meticulously so that I could have shown them all those documents they might want to see.

For any other travel purpose, I would simply not travel to Russia, but EGCs are a joy of my life and do not want to miss any. Therefore I am ultra-defensive in my visa preparations.

I am not exaggerating the days. Maybe by 1 day margin of error, but hardly more.

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Post #35 Posted: Mon Dec 05, 2016 10:47 am 
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Last time I had to ask for a Russian visa, it must have taken me ~20 hours in total, accounting for the mails and places I had to go to find the requested documents (hand-signed travel insurance certificate and, iirc, original criminal record were major offenders with a two-week delay).

The private company that received the visa applications had a full agenda and the delay to get an appointment was three weeks. No online applications. This had to be done about three weeks before the actual flight or else the consulate didn't have time to do its job. In the end I got an appointment too late and didn't get the visa; my fault, I didn't realise the waiting period was three weeks.

I'm not blaming Russia (EU countries probably have similar requirements) and this wasn't my worst visa experience (Vietnam and esp. Myanmar comes to mind). I just wanted to chime in my personal experience relative to the 15 days claim.

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Post #36 Posted: Mon Dec 05, 2016 10:59 am 
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In 2002 and 2003, getting Russian visa was very much easier: 10 minutes plus 80 to 130€. Since 2004, matters became increasingly tougher for Germans.

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Post #37 Posted: Sat Dec 10, 2016 8:49 am 
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Russia and Germany have updated their application documents with some relevant changes of contents and voting has started:
http://www.eurogofed.org/index.html?id=92


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Post #38 Posted: Wed Dec 21, 2016 1:18 pm 
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The EGC 2017 will be in Oberhof, Germany! "27 of 37 members voted and with the proportional voting power the final result is 47 votes for Oberhof and 9 for Sochi."

http://www.eurogofed.org/index.html?id=95

Votes:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/ ... 1d5f#gid=0

Note that the EGF Committee then had to decide with a 2/3 majority.


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Post #39 Posted: Wed Dec 21, 2016 10:15 pm 
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Let's hope attendance is high and everyone has a fun and safe time.

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Post #40 Posted: Thu Dec 22, 2016 4:48 am 
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I am happy (in a purely egoist manner) since it means that I will be able to participate. My second congress since Sibiu, Romania.

There seems to be a lot of natural beauty around and I am particularly interested by this:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rennsteig

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