Einstein Finals: Curie (469, 1114, 2041) vs. Newton (67, 177, 294)

1114 in the near zone in both matches along with 2041 stuck in the goal easily cost them the finals as 294 saw the opportunity to block the other goal and prevent any score. 67 and 177 were left undefended in the middle and near zone with a decent supply of balls allowing them to score, score, score. Had 1114 been in the middle zone, I could have seen a Curie win as 469 would have been able to sink more shots with 1 less robot to redirect around and less balls for red, more balls for blue with 1114 scoring, moving them into their near zone.

Whatever the outcome or possible outcome, those were two intense matches! :slight_smile:

Tom is “Flippin The Greatest”
mike d

I think you severely underestimate the strength of the 67 294 177 alliance.

There was no strategy to not score the balls in autonomous. But, there was strategy to get into the mid-field and score balls from there, before scoring balls in the home zone. The thought was to limit the number of balls returning to the mid-field for 1114 to kick into their cycle. Eventually during the matches it became score balls from whereve and whenever b/c the Curie alliance was scoring like crazy.

With regards to the final matches…just because we won the first two matches, doesn’t mean that 1114, 469, and 2041 would not have been able to beat us if we kept playing. We were very fortunate in the last match that 2041 was stuck in the goal for half the match.

1114 was a scoring machine. 469 has a robot design that will go down in history as one of the most awesome designs ever. Not to mention both are great teams with awesome strategists. Given more time (one more match?), they would have figured out how to win. Then we would have had to adjust to those changes.

I’d like to say both alliances were evenly matched, but I’m not sure I can say that. I have been trying to figure out how we defeated them for 5 days now, and there isn’t one thing that really jumps out at me. I think we suprised them in the first match and had some luck in the second one. After that it was over.

But, you know what? We had a very balanced alliance, with lots of versatility. 67, 294, and 177 worked extremely hard to find a strategy that worked for us throughout the Newton eliminations, defeated Galileo with it, then adapted it to defeat Curie.

I know the HOT team is going to hold our heads high based on the fact that our alliance defeated the an alliance with the consensus top two teams in FIRST this season.

Watching that final video, I noticed that besides getting stuck in the goal, 2041 also blocked two consecutive shots from 469 towards the end. I can’t say that it was entirely 2041’s fault because even if both of those goals had been scored, it still would have ended up being 15-16 Newton. Who knows what else might have happened? I think 294 did an awesome job making a quick and effective decision to take advantage of a tremendous opportunity and block the other goal. Other teams with lesser drive teams may not have taken advantage of that situation.

Props to 67, 177, and 294 for taking down what may have been the most intimidating alliance this year!

As the coach for 294, I’d like to bring a little insight to the conversation…

Reading through the tread, I’m not surprised by some of the comments that 2041 and 1114 were blocking some of 469s shots, but I am surprised at the conclusion that it was somehow their fault. It was not a fluke that they were blocking some of their own shots. Nor was it a fluke that 2041 got stuck in their own goal… In fact, we were doing everything in our ability to ensure that these things happened.

To start off…

294, 67 and 177 were not purposefully missing shots in autonomous.  We did make a strategic change during Einstein semi’s match #3 that we carried over into the finals through.  294 and 177 could not automatically aim in autonomous.  Furthermore, 294 could not kick over 177 if they lined up collinearly.  Consequently, one of us needed to start offset.  Through much of the elims, we put 177 in line with the goal as their shots were more likely to go in, but after in losing semi match #2, we noticed that a number of 294’s shots ricocheted to the other side of the field and were easy pickings the defender.  Hence, we moved 294 in line and 177 offline to minimize this and to use 67’s position to help coral the balls in front of the goal.  We kept this arrangement through both finals matches.  As a result though, we didn't score as many in autonomous.

On to the strategy…
Prior to the finals our strategy was: (In order of strategic importance:)

  1. Jam up a goal. If an opportunity arose to jam either 2041 or 1114 into their own goal, stop everything and make it happen.

  2. Clear out as many balls as possible before they entered the cycle.

  3. Block shots within the cycle.

  4. Clear out any blocked shot.

  5. Jam up a goal.

2041 getting stuck in the goal was not a fluke.  They may have gotten hung up (1 wheel in the goal) in autonomous, but they definitely were not stuck (3 wheels in the goal) until we tapped them into the goal.  In the TBA video, you can see us rounding the corner to do so just before they cut to another frame.

Naturally, this made our job easier. I was constantly on the look out for this opportunity. While it never came up in the first match, it certainly did in the second and we didn’t hesitate. 2041 had about 1 second to get out before we were there.
2. Clear out as many balls as possible before they entered the cycle.
Once the balls are in the cycle, they’re 10x harder to stop. Why wait? In each match we cleared 1 ball before trying to block shots. While it gave 1114/469/2041 an easy couple of redirects, it reduced the total count by one and put it in the hands of 67/177.
I feel this is where 217 went wrong in MSC. At the start of the match, they positioned themselves and waited for the cycle to start - allowing precious balls to enter the cycle.
3. Block shots within the cycle.
While I studied the motion of 469’s redirecter during the semi’s, we paid no attention to it during the match. In stead, we wanted to force them into a decision. We sought to push 2041 (and 1114) to one side of the field forcing 469 to choose the open side. Then, at the last moment, we shifted into high gear and darted to block the shot. As the balls tended to travel in waves, we sought to block the first shot and use 2041 and 1114 to block the second. During the brief moment of chaos, 2041 and 1114 were momentarily out of position and blocking their own goal before they could recover. This meant 469 didn’t have a clear shot to either goal when the second ball hit their chute.
4. Clear out any blocked shot.
If we blocked a shot, we immediately tried to clear it. One less ball in the loop. While this left the goals exposed I return to my observation that the balls tended to travel in waves. 2041 did an excellent job in preventing our clear. By the time we had the ball, we were T-boned by 2041 and caught in the corner of the field. In both matches, we found that we had no other choice, but to abandon to the midfield and then return.
If all went to plan, 294 blocked the first shot and 1114 or 2041 blocked the second - forcing 1114 to collect it and score it again. As a result, I feel 1114 felt the need to stay in the home zone.
Why we were successful?
There’s a couple of things that come to mind as to why we were successful in defending the 1114/469/2041 alliance.

  1. Our driver has been on the drive team for 4 years - 3 of which he was driving. He also loves playing D!
  2. Out codriver has been on the drive team for 3 years - 3 of which he was the co-driver to the driver.
  3. For the previous 3 years, our primary role was defense during the eliminations - with the occasional offensive flare. We definitely know how to play D!
  4. Before our robot was an offensive threat, we played 1.5 full elimination rounds as the defender.
  5. We used current sensing and a heads up display to inform the driver/co-driver when we had a ball in possession.
  6. We mounted the camera under our bumpers so we could see balls hidden behind the bump. (From the driver team’s perspective, you can’t see balls immediately behind the 2nd bump).
  7. Our ball control device had an iron grip on the ball. We stole multiple balls out of the grasp of other teams with our intake.
  8. Our kicker could clear both bumps (and occasionally score).
  9. We had a 2 speed transmission. Nothing new, but I’d put us up for the fastest robot as well as the strongest robot with the design we fielded.

I apologize for being long winded, but I had a lot to contribute. I hope this gives you an “insider” perspective to the final matches.

On a side note: I’m a little disappointed in the videos thus far as they absolutely don’t capture the excitement of those matches. As I was focused on our robot, I missed much of the rest of the match. I was really hoping to get to watch the whole match for the first time! :]

Finally…whole field Einstein videos surface!

Match 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wYdbNMGT-r0
Match 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOWmn4fBVCQ

I have been waiting so long for this. Match 1 had the best end to a match I have ever seen and I’ve been known to watch some match video. Kind of upset they missed the majority of 67 pulling up in this video too.

"Originally Posted by akeisic View Post
Finally…whole field Einstein videos surface!

Match 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wYdbNMGT-r0
Match 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOWmn4fBVCQ"

Hi I am the guy who took the videos referenced above. This was not my best work. Unfortunately I came over from Curie. By the time Curie finals were over all the seats and good video positions were gone in Einstein. There was no place for the tripod and the camera kept getting bumped or people were standing in the way. I uploaded some more videos of the Einstein Semi finals as well and still have a lot more videos to upload from the whole event. A selection of Einstein Field videos can be seen here http://team573.com/FirstRoboticsChampionshipAtlanta2010FRCEinsteinVideos.html (youtube embeds)

David Web Master for http://team573.com

Hi I am the person who filmed those videos. It took so long in Curie that by the time I got over to Einstein, there was no place to set up the tripod. I kept getting bumped by people as well. I only wish I had had the same type of position to film from that I had during the Michigan District events. I have uploaded some of the Einstein semi final videos and I will be uploading more once I sort through them.

David R.
WebMaster for http://team573.com

Thank you for the insight! I had not realized that you forced 2041 the rest of the way into the goal. Further, I’m impressed by your strategy (namely how developed it was). Do you usually go that deep into strategy?

Also, it seemed that part of your strategy included getting 1114 and 2041 to get in the way of 469. I’m guessing if 1114 had played midfield, fighting against 177 and/or 67 for additional balls, leaving you alone with 2041, you would have had more trouble?

That said, kudos for an amazing match!

I wouldn’t say so. If it was just 2041 in the front, they are either scoring misses, which leaves 294 to play the clearing game, or they are defending 294, which leaves misses unscored and not cycling.

If I were 1114, I would have spent more of the middle of the match in the midfield. 67 and 177 should have only had 3 or 4 balls to work with. I’d be less worried about starting a cycle until about the 45 second mark, and a lot more worried with getting balls out of 67 and 177’s hands (even if they’re not scored, 2041’s defense ensured they were not leaving the zone)

Perhaps in my head… I try and keep the strategy as simple as possible for the drive team to keep them focused. We talk before hand to our general strategy and then I make the calls from there. My drivers may not understand the strategy at first, but they trusted me and executed. In one case (Einstein Semi #3), we let our opponets score so we would be in position to block the hang. For the finals, we broke it down exactly as I stated. As for executing the plan, I give credit to the drivers.

For the qualification matches, we knew we needed to be super aggressive to succeed and our strategy reflected that. In every match but one (against 67), our auto kicked 3 and went over the bump. Against 67, I saw that they were going to kick 3, go over and kick 2. The balls were not going to be in the middle and I knew some would miss, so we ran our kick 3 and stay auto. Sure enough, 2 balls came rolling our way and we cleared them both before advancing.

Furthermore, we spent some time Wednesday inputting the entire schedule into Excel. We then used 1114’s scouting database and ranking system to get an idea of the strength of schedule and strength of match. While it wasn’t perfect, it gave us a sense as to what matches were going to be difficult or not. We’d then talk to our partners and have a game plan before we left for the field.

Our scouting team did a great job in providing me with a pre-match break down on the teams and what to watch out for. I knew which teams could hang and which we needed to defend against. We planned accordingly.

Another interesting strategy that we developed during the eliminations was advancing from the far zone to the midfield through the tunnel. Originally, we simply went over the bump, but going through the tunnel offered 2 advantages…1) balls tended to collect there and we’d easily pick one up and 2) it prevented our returning balls from heading over to our opponents home zone. You can see us executing this here:

Writing all this, I guess the simple answer to your question is: Yes.

Here’s a video of exactly what we were trying to do in the finals. Seconds 5-26 demonstrate our game plan: Push 2041 out of position, block a shot, clear it.

Had 1114 played more in the midfield who knows what might have happened. Yes, it would have slowed down 177 and 67, but, I feel, it would also have slowed down the 469 cycle. With two robots in the home zone we needed to give attention to the biggest threat. Having one might have left us more time to clear. Remember, 1114, 469 and 2041 needed to be up at least by 2 to counter our double hang threat. And 1114 needed to hang from the home zone to stay out of the way of 469.

Either way, it wouldn’t have changed our strategy. Either way, the outcome was going to be close. I’m just glad we pulled it off in two.

My only question after watching the first match, was why not start from near the middle and go straight into the tunnel. Why kick the balls out first, since it seemed that you folks got there what seemed like, a tad bit late?
I asked some of your team members this past weekend at the VEX tournament, and some said that’s exactly what they wanted to do.

And did anyone else notice that the balls looped from 469 were slightly off when unopposed to the goal?
If that was the case, why play defense on the defender, but instead have both 2041 and 1114 focus on scoring?

I’d have to agree that having 2 front bots that can hang was vital to advancing on Einstein. 294 impressed me the most because they could do 3 things effectively. Defense on the line of the looped balls, kick from far zone to near consistently, and move quickly.

I obviously can’t explain the choices made by 254 but in my opinion the autonomous they ran was perfect aside from the fact that 469 managed to push them out of the tunnel. 254 managed to get inside the tunnel at the right time they just weren’t pushing 469 and keeping them out.

Also I think in almost every single match this year it was very crucial to clear those 3 balls out of your opponents home zone in autonomous mode. My only exception would be if you are against a weak alliance in qualification matches and you want to give your opponent a shot to score. This way you can build up your seeding score.

Yup. It got there in time. It just didn’t push back hard enough.

If that’s the case, it would have been exciting to see what would have happened if 469 couldnt loop the balls.
Being that 469 was a good robot even without the looper, it would have been great to see both alliances adjust on the fly and try to win!

The problem with our autonomous is that it was effectively worthless.

Had we stopped 469 from getting in the tunnel we’d have needed to stay there the entire match, or they would go right back in. We’d be taking our best robot out of the game completely. We might be able to win 2v3 if we had our two best robots out of the tunnel, but there’s just no way it would have worked if we were in the tunnel. At some point we would have to come out and score. We might have bought 15-30 seconds of no looping, but it would ultimately still have happened.

Particularly when you consider that 469 is still a VERY good midfielder.

In that case why have your autonomics bring your robot to the tunnel? It doesn’t seem like your strategy from the start was to stay there and stop 469 from entering so why even run that autonomous?

I thought if 469 couldnt get in there because you folks did, then you could proceed to play defense with them, making it a 2 vs 2. If they hung around the tunnel just in case you folks came out, they’d be hard-pressed to try to score also.