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 Post subject: ALF
 Post Posted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:42 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 29, 2016 2:19 pm
Posts: 13
After today's' regional competition, there were 2 problems I wanted to bring up.

1. The tape that was used to attach the cups to the wall was very different than the duck brand tape the teams were using for practice (many teams were coding this task using the tape that was mentioned in this forum). Instead, the judges used mounting tape. Almost no teams attempted the task (we did, unsuccessfully, but there was no way our robot could even attempt to get the tape and cup off the wall). The tape was too strong and almost 50 hours of coding/practicing for the ice task came to a waste.

2. The opposing team placed adhesive tape with the sticky side up on our ALF area. Our students talked to the judges about it because it left a residue and their robot could not pick up tape that was clearly stuck to the mat. Both judges said the ALF from the opposing team was acceptable. The head judge was called over to make a final ruling and she too said the ALF tape was OK. Later(after the 3 rounds were completed), we showed the rule manual to the TCEA director and he mentioned we should have gotten the +50 pts since there was no way that was an acceptable ALF. At that point, it was too late and they couldn't reverse the ruling and we ended up losing 50 pts.

It cost us a spot in state but I bring this up so that other teams going to state are aware. The rules didn't seem consistent and the definition of what an ALF should be(or shouldn't), how much tape to use for the ICE was very arbitrary.

Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: ALF
 Post Posted: Sun Jan 14, 2018 9:53 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 15, 2017 10:59 am
Posts: 4
It is ridiculous that there is not a system built in to fix obvious errors in the refereeing. These are not judgement calls for the most part, they are straight up misunderstandings of the rules. We too missed out on a place in state due to a judge’s error on the mystery task rule (which Kate said was an error on another post in he forum). And the director said it was too late to fix it, even though he initially said they could look into it if it affected eligibility for state.

I recognize the judges are volunteers, but their training was not good enough. Even the director couldn’t answer questions that had been answered in this forum. You would expect that the person in charge of running the competition, as well as the judges, be as familiar with the rules as possible. They should all have been required to go through this forum. There should be an appeals process where the mistakes of inadequate judges can be rectified. The refs clearly needed more time to be trained on the mystery task (receiving it 15 minutes before the competition starts is not enough time). It is a great shame that months of work of these kids can be negated due to these foreseeable errors.


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 Post subject: Re: ALF
 Post Posted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:59 am 
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Joined: Fri Dec 01, 2017 10:32 am
Posts: 7
That is very interesting/concerning since at our competition, it seemed that the tape they used was the duck brand so we did not encounter that.

However, we also had an issue with the construction of the game boards. we had two tables at our competition so four teams were competing at a time. One of the boards had metal L-brackets on the corners (I can't figure out why the two boards weren't made the same). This became an issue for about four teams, including ours, because they placed the brackets on the INSIDE corners. Any taller robot would hit these and it would throw them completely off course. Our team missed out on 100 more points because of these brackets. In the construction manual, it specifically shows these on the outside of the board, not on the inside. My kids tried to explain this to the judges, but either they didn't seem to understand or they didn't care.

Luckily we still won a spot to state, but there were others teams that did not who were hurt by this. I just want to know that the state competition will be more uniform in how it is run, as far as things like board construction and tape material goes.


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 Post subject: Re: ALF
 Post Posted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 10:16 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 29, 2016 2:19 pm
Posts: 13
Completely agree with your comments.

Our team found it very frustrating that the judges did not have a clear understanding of what is an acceptable or unacceptable ALF. Any time an opposing team puts adhesive tape as an ALF, it's playing foul. Not only did the judges award them points, they took away our 50 pts-there is no way many robots could pick up an adhesive tape placed as an ALF, and that should never have been allowed.

Regd. the grey mounting tape that was used, we were told the judges couldn't find DUCK brand tape at any store, so they used an alternate tape. There were probably 3 teams(out of more than 100) in our region that tried to attempt the ICE task. We had an excellent claw construction with strong torque that could easily take off the cup with duck tape. But not with the strength of mounting tape. In the first round we even got the cup, but the mounting tape was too strong and the cup was squashed against the wall with a good amount of mounting tape. After the competition, we even showed the judges how the claw was supposed to work with DUCK tape (vs. mounting tape) and successfully pulled off the cup. I also gave the the wad of DUCK tape and told the judges to keep it, so other teams are not penalized the way we were. Our students spent a significant amount of time perfecting the ICE task - to see their hard work go to a waste was disappointing because not being able to attempt this task in the 2nd/3rd rounds cost them a spot in state.

I hope there is a better understanding of the rules and game manual in the future. The judges seemed ambiguous about some of the finer points and our kids challenged them bc they had read the forum and the rules several times. At the end of the day, it was crushing to the students who worked incredibly hard to earn a spot at state.


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