EGOI 2023 Blog

The EGOI took place from 15.7 - 21.7 in Lund, Sweden. In this blog the participants recount the event.

Priska Steinebrunner

Saturday 15.7. (Priska)

We met at the airport at 13:50, because someone (me) had a bit panic that we could miss the flight and thought that we need 3h at the airport just to be safe. Naturally, we dropped of our baggage and got through security without any problems, so we ended up sitting at some gate for 2.5 hours playing codenames. Our flight had a slight delay and took a bit a weird route due to some bad weather in southern germany but we arrived safely in Copenhagen without further incidences, which for some reason surprised the people there (apparently they got the information that there is something wrong with our flight). From there we got to Lund, where we met our guide Adam. He brought us to the participants hotel and then to the game room, where we got some food. We got goodies from JaneStreet and as it was getting late, we brought the participants back to their hotel and then walked to the leader’s hotel.

Sunday 16.7. (Hongjia and Hannah)

On the first day of EGOI we started off with the opening ceremony. There was a band wearing white clothes and funny hats. The music they played was quite nice, but actually the show was way better. At one point they laid on the floor and continued playing like this. Also, some interesting things were said, like the fact that at least one country from every continent is participating. Then, the countries were announced and we had to clap a lot. The most remarking things about this part of the ceremony was, that we threw chocolate (even our guide threw it) and that some delegations were partly missing (like the polish one, where half of the delegation missed their connection). After that we went to lunch, where we discussed one of the problems for the practice contest with our guide and the greek delegation. We came to the conclusion that this problem is quite annoying. Sadly, we still had to spend three hours with this problem (and another one) in the practice contest. We got assigned to our seats and tested the environment. After those three hours were over, we went for dinner and then went to sleep, because we wanted to be ready for the first contest.

Monday 17.7. (Hongjia)

After waking up from a long sleep, we were prepared for breakfast and the first contest day. Some of us also packed sandwiches at the hotel restaurant since a 5 hour contest can be tiring without lunch. Walking to the contest hall was long and cold, but the smell of lavenders and the chat with other contestants compromised that. Once we arrived, we spent 5 minutes jumping and warming up. Since we already had a practice contest the day before, we had an idea of where our rooms are and how the computer system works. There are 4 problems, each of 100 points, which we can solve during the contest. Besides full scoring, partial scores are also appreciated. To motivate us the best, our leaders designed a formula for giving us candies in correspondence to the number of partial and full scores we have individually. The problems were very cool, but sadly the point difference was small (we were informed about our rankings directly after the contest), leaving us with hopes and fears for the second contest. After the contest, we all got our well deserved lunch. Even though it was already later than 2 in the afternoon, we weren’t extremely hungry (partly because we also could ask for snacks during the contest). We ordered pizzas (the original salad they offered was traumatizing) and invited other delegations to join us. After the lunch, we took a small walk in the surroundings (not forgetting about a small lake with a small tree in middle) and played Tichu (the famous swiss olympiad card game) in the park. Unsurprisingly, we saw rabbits again running through the grasses. Wanting to wait for our leaders, we played for very long, realizing that the leaders maybe already eating dinner. It wasn’t a large loss though, since the dinner wasn’t tasty enough anyways. We also went to the game room to socialize before heading back to the hotel and getting our sleep.

Tuesday 18.7. (Jasmin, Vivienne)

EGOI 2023 Excursion Zoo

At 9 a.m. we entered the bus to the Zoo. On the way we passed lots of windmills to which the back part of the bus always responded with an amazed “Woooww :o”. As soon as we got out of the bus it started raining. But this didn’t stop us from looking at all of the Nordic animals like elks, foxes and bears. We also decided to wait in line for the famous Shaun the Sheep Traktor Bana, a ride which is almost too fast see. Sadly the line was very long, so we passed time by completing one of the challenges that was given to us in the beginning of the excursion: Wrongly answer as many questions on the sheet as possible in one minute. This was actually more challenging than expected and very fun. Finally the time had come to get into the tractor. There we had to find all of the escaped sheep and shield ourselves from the mean pigs who squirted water at us. After a few group photos in Shaun the Sheep Land we went to the Dinosaur Park and saw some dinosaurs. Soon enough it was time for lunch, but it was unfortunately very hard to find some. After around 45 minutes we got our burgers, which were actually quite good, however Hannah had to wait another hour for her vegetarian lunch, which was only Fries because there was no other vegetarian food left. In the evening we went to Lomma Beach and appreciated the beautiful scenery as we were swimming in the freezing water. Afterwards we relaxed by lying on the grass, but because we soon got a bit cold, we decided to go on a quick jog along the shore. For the rest of the evening we played some UNO Flip and enjoyed the grilled Halloumi Cheese, chicken and salad. Luckily the bus ride back was not too long and we got to the hotel early enough to be well rested for the contest.

Wednesday 19.7. (Hannah)

The second contest day started quite similair to the first one. We again had four problems that were sorted by difficulty and had five hours to solve them. The problems were quite difficult, even Petr couldn’t figure out the fullscore for the last one. Because the contest was very exhausting and the food they offered for lunch didn’t seem that nice, we ordered pizza. We then had a sponsor event where they talked a lot. As we all still were very tired, we did not do the challenges that they gave us after the talk but we went outside to lay on the grass and relax. While me and Hongjia enjoyed that, Jasmin and Vivienne decided that they would go running. When they came back, they still weren’t satisfied with their sport activities and decided to do some arobatics stuff. My favorite was when Vivienne stood on Jasmins shoulders. It actually looked really good and they managed to not hurt themselves (which I find quite impressive). But as our guide didn’t learn enough about Swiss culture yet (he still did not believe us that you put chocolate onto bread) we culturized him by showing him some swiss memes. We were suprised that he actually somewhat understood swiss german. We then had dinner and after that went to the gameroom. We played connect four against our guide and won (this is important as some of us are still a bit traumatized from last years EGOI, where Brian Dean watched us lose a lot against team USA). After this huge success we were confident that we could beat the fastest time for the challenges room. In there it had about seven puzzles which (if we wanted to beat the fastest time) had to be solved in 7 minutes. We of course managed to do that, but the person that put our time on the board somehow put ten minutes too much. We then searched for some other people with which we played codenames. As we didn’t have to get enough sleep anymore, we played until late into the night.

Thursday 20.7. (Jasmin)

On this day we woke up quite tired because we had stayed up a bit longer after the competition part of EGOI was finished. After the usual good hotel breakfast we were sitting half asleep at the sponsor events of Google, Quantco, and Oracle. There we listened to some more or less interesting talks about machine learning video analyse, internships and free breakfasts. At the event from Quantco we were offered some very cool mocktails, which helped to wake us up. Then it was already lunch time. As our leaders were at a brunch we decided to shift our plan to eat Swedish Köttbullar to the next day and go to the cafeteria. Apparently they had heard our wish for pasta from the day before, because the menu was penne with tomato sauce and salad on top. Sadly, the sauce was spicy again… Then we had to go get our red SOI shirts and headed to the center of Lund where the closing ceremony took place. We applauded the medalists and looked back on EGOI 2023. There were 52 countries, 189 participants, and 384 people in total. The event was awesome thanks to the 688 muffins but mostly thanks to the great organizers, and to our amazing leaders! They had to stay up until 4:45 am for a translation session (one minute before sunrise), bought us candy, and gave the best motivational speeches. Unfortunately, we got annoyed by our great leaders after the ceremony because of the photo session. There we were also almost hit by an overturned flag. Then everyone went to the city hall for the banquet, where we got some alcohol free champagne. The comedian moderating the dinner and the served chicken were a bit questionable but the great ice cake with a firework on top made up for that. The banquet endet with the enthusiastic musicians from the opening ceremony who got everyone dancing! We wanted to continue dancing at the afterpary but we didn‘t like the music, so we went to the game room with a big group of people to do karaoke and play games. There we even found some of the leftover muffins!

Friday 21.7 (Vivienne)

At around 12 a.m. we finished setting up the Karaoke in the game room and started adding songs to the queue. We then sang as loudly as we possibly could and many ABBA, Coldplay and Rihanna songs later, we noticed that our voices were getting horse, so we decided to join the others in a game of Codenames. This turned out to be very difficult because we were all incredibly tired and could barely read the cards (the word Moscow was almost tipped on because it was read as mosquito) and we also in general started making very far fetched word conntections. So we decided it was time to go outside into the cold to play some Volleyball to wake up. Although the ball was very hard (a blood vessel may or may not have popped) it was really fun and definitely did wake us up. However we were also starting to get cold, so a Slovakian girl suggested we should play a game of Plank Chonk, where the actual rules of the game are more or less negligible and you basically just have to stay in a plank position until you collapse. Most of us didn’t last very long and we went back to playing volleyball. At 3 a.m. we entered the building again and started to play a card game. It involved mostly being attacked by countless cards, then picking them all up, trying to somehow hold them all in your hand and then attacking the next person with those cards. As the end of the game didn’t really seem to be in sight, some of us moved over to the room with the piano and played around a bit, as well as tried to improvise together, which was really fun. At 4:30 we saw it slowly getting brighter outside and some of us went back to the hotel at that point, while others decided to stay until the sun had fully risen. After a good night’s sleep of maybe three hours, it was sadly already time to leave Lund. We first bought some candy and cinnamon buns, before saying goodbye to our great guide Adam and getting into the train to Copenhagen. We spent the flight sleeping and writing blogposts. However our journey wasn’t over yet when we arrived in Zurich. Since we still hadn’t eaten the Swedish national dish Köttbullar after being in Sweden for a whole week, we thought we still needed to get some. So after we got our luggage we all embarked on a quest to the IKEA, which was very successful. We finally got our yummy meatballs and it was soon time to say goodbye and part ways.