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Checkers on a Sumo Ring

Complete Rules:

In Brief

  • The player is called to the ring and given a chance to try the timer if it is unfamiliar.  The timer is then reset to zero.
  • Contest officials prepare the sumo ring by placing six red checkers at various locations on the black part of the ring.
  • The player places their robot in the center of the sumo ring.
  • The player presses the timer start/stop button to start the timer.
  • The player causes the robot to move the checkers to the white part of the ring as quickly as possible, then stops the robot.
  • The player presses the timer start/stop button to stop the timer.
  • Contest officials look at the final locations of the checkers to determine what penalties (if any) should be added to the time on the timer.  The robot’s penalty-adjusted time is recorded.  After all robots have gone, the robots with the three shortest penalty-adjusted times are awarded 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes.

Robot Requirements:

  • The robot must fit within an 18″ x 18″ x 18″ cube at the start of the run.  It may expand after the start as long as it continues to abide by the rules about not endangering people, not touching the floor, etc.
  • The robot must weigh no more than 10 lbs.
  • Whether the robot is radio-controlled, semi-autonomous or fully-autonomous is up to the player.  Using a base station such as a laptop computer that communicates wirelessly with the robot is allowed.  The base station may be equipped with a camera that looks at the sumo ring.  The setup of the base station would take place during the 3-minute period between when the robot is called to the ring and when the robot should be ready to start its run.

Contest Details:

  • Entrants will be called to the ring in random order.
  • After being called to the ring, the player must be ready to begin their run within 3 minutes.
  • The player is responsible for starting and stopping the timer.  If the player double-clicks the button, presses it too lightly, slaps it in such a way that it bounces or knocks it off of the table, causing the timer to run longer than the player intended, that’s tough luck; the time counts.  If the timer malfunctions through no fault of the player, the run will be restarted.  Before their run, the player will be given a chance to try out the timer and see how the button feels.
  • The exact locations in which the checkers will be arranged will not be disclosed before the competition.  Within each round, the arrangement of checkers will be the same for all robots.  The arrangement of checkers may vary from round to round.  Robots should not be given information about the checker locations before they are called to the ring.
  • If a run is still ongoing when the timer reaches 3 minutes, the run will be ended, and the robot’s time will be 3 minutes plus whatever penalties have been incurred.
  • If time allows, contest officials may elect to do multiple rounds, in which case each robot’s best run will be used in determining the final standings.

More Details:

  • Safety first!  Anything that endangers people (players, officials, spectators) is not allowed.
  • The equipment (sumo ring, checkers, timer start/stop button, timer display) and venue (carpet, furniture, building) must not be damaged or altered.
  • Creative solutions are encouraged, but exploiting loopholes in the rules is not.  If you want to know whether your solution will be allowed, please contact CIRC in advance.
  • CIRC’s large sumo ring will be used.  The outer diameter is 154 cm.  The white ring is 5 cm wide.  The surface is 5 cm above the floor.  The surface is made of painted wood.

  • The robot must not touch any checkers before the timer is started.
  • The robot must not move before the timer is started or after the timer is stopped.
  • The robot must not touch the floor.  A robot that touches the floor will be disqualified.
  • The player must not touch, step on or attempt to jump over the sumo ring.  (If you found yourself on the opposite side of the ring from the timer button after positioning the last checker, you might be tempted to take the shortest feasible path to the button, which might include chords of the circle, and that would be too likely to result in an injury.)
  • The player must not touch the robot while the timer is running except to press a button to start or stop an autonomous robot at the start or end of the run.
  • The robot is allowed to stack the checkers.  All of the checkers in a stack will be scored the same as the bottom checker in the stack.
  • Each checker that still covers any of the black part of the ring after the timer is stopped will result in a 30-second penalty being added to the robot’s time.
  • Each checker that is touching the floor after the timer is stopped will result in a 30-second penalty being added to the robot’s time.
  • Each checker that is touching the robot after the timer is stopped will result in a 30-second penalty being added to the robot’s time.
  • A checker that touches the floor is out of play and may not be returned to the ring.
  • Each checker the robot hides from view after the timer is stopped (preventing contest officials from determining whether the checker is touching the black part of the ring) will result in a 30-second penalty being added to the robot’s time.
  • How strictly or leniently the rules will be enforced is at the discretion of the contest officials, but the rules will be applied consistently to everyone.

Summary of Penalties

+30 seconds for each checker covering any of the black part of the ring

+30 seconds for each checker touching the floor

+30 seconds for each checker touching the robot

+30 seconds for each checker hidden by the robot