Stefan Zweiker about the Vienna IV and the lessons it holds for EUDC 2015

Datum: Mar 22nd, 2014
Category: International, Turniere

The Debattierklub Wien (DKWien), host of the European Universities Debating Championships 2015, has looked back on their experiences with the Vienna IV 2014. Chief Organizer Stefan Zweiker published an article titled “Lessons Learnt: A Résumé on Vienna IV 2014” reflecting the experiences with the tournament and what the DKWien learned for Vienna EUDC 2015.
Achte Minute publishes Stefan’s text. The full article including all of the photos is available on the website of the European Universities Debating Championship (EUDC) 2015.

“Lessons Learnt: A Résumé on Vienna IV 2014

From 7th to 9th March 2014, DKWien hosted the largest IV that ever took place in continental Europe. Vienna IV 2014 had a cap of 100 teams, with 96 (or 97?*) of them showing up. In many ways this tournament was a test-run for Vienna EUDC. I dare say it was quite successful and I hope that everyone who was part of it is as proud of it as I am.

VIV 14 was a tournament we did not run because it’s easy, but because it’s hard. Indeed, the circumstances surrounding the tournament were a lot more challenging than at the Vienna IVs the years before:

  1. It was the first major tournament on the new WU Campus. This meant on the one hand that the runners did not know the buildings as well as in the years before. On the other hand there were still a couple of technical problems with the brand-new buildings.
  2. VIV ran in parallel to early Vienna EUDC preparations, which put an extra strain on the VIV Org Com.
  3. We had less funding than in 2013 as we were not able to attain support by the European Union. As a result, the amount of money spent per participant was significantly lower.
  4. With 100 teams, the cap was 40 teams higher than the year before. In other words, Vienna IV 2014 was as big as VIV 13 and VIV 12 put together.

So, true, it might have been a little bit crazy to pull off such a massive tournament. It would have been a crying shame if we hadn’t, though.


Vienna IV 2014 was larger than any Vienna IV before. (c) DKWien

Firstly, of course, we learned lessons about problems that we would otherwise have been unlikely to face. With a tournament of this size, every flaw becomes apparent. At previous VIVs, the Org Com would have been easily able to solve minor hiccups. With a large scale tournament, the urgency of problems multiplies according to the number of participants. While at a 60 team tournament a few teams missing a round would not necessarily cause a delay, it requires quite a bit of work in the tab room to match the draw with the teams that appeared. We were lucky enough to have Katharina aboard, who ran the pre-registration for VIV very smoothly.

Secondly, the constraints on Vienna IV 2014 meant that more preparation than in the years before was necessary. Indeed, I had the impression that the 2014 edition of Vienna IV was in many regards more thoroughly planned than before. Melanie and Regina really made the most of every single Euro they spent on the participants. Volunteers had individual schedules, we had more swing teams on call than before, and there were detailed calendars for almost everything. Yet, due to the tournament’s sheer size, this was also highly necessary. Unlike in previous years, the Org Com, despite being 20 people strong, were in action 24/7 and rarely found time to watch a round.


Many of the amenities for the participants at VIV 14 were made possible by the dedicated work of DKWien volunteers. Here the sandwich factory on Sunday. (c) DKWien

Thirdly, many members of the Org Com were new or played different roles at VIV 2014. Not only was I, for the first time, involved in CA-ing Europe’s biggest Intervarsity (quite a brutal roller coaster, on a side note), but many of our dedicated Org Com members as well took on new roles compared to previous IVs. There are two reasons why I think this was a great idea: Firstly (and this is really important for me as a Vienna EUDC convener), the number of people at DKWien who actually know how to run a tournament doubled with VIV 14. Secondly, Vienna IV was run differently. The organizers applied many new approaches that helped in solving all issues that came up during the tournament.

In addition to these general points mentioned in this article, we will spend the next few weeks brainstorming more on how we can improve for Vienna EUDC. First and foremost, I hope that this analysis will help us figure out how to run tournament processes more smoothly and reduce time and work pressure for the Org Com. Vienna IV showed us that our capacity is not unlimited. It might have been easy running a relatively small tournament, but the number of stress factors increases exponentially with the size of the event. Many of us got to experience their physical limits in terms of sleep deprivation on this VIV14 weekend. The DKWien crowd gave their best. I am thankful to have been part of this crowd that organised VIV 14. It’s been a hell of a lot of work – but at least equally as much fun. Looking forward to 2015 now!”


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