From Friday 20 to Sunday 22 October the European Go Cultural Centre in Amstelveen, the Netherlands, celebrated its 25th anniversary. For this occassion, many special guests were invited. Not just for a for a European Go Teachers' Day and an evening reception, but also for a celebratory go tournament.
On Saturday 21 October, the EGCC Anniversary Go Tournament kicked off at 11:00 AM. When entering the playing room, one could not escape the shine and smell of freshly waxed wood and the clicks of clean, fancy go stones filled the air.
A total of 87 go players from 15 different countries, of which no less than 38 were dan players, traveled to Amstelveen to compete for the title. After five games, the top six finishers would be rewarded with money prizes up to 750 euros. Additional money prizes of 125 and 75 euros were awarded to the top two female finishers of the tournament. Schaak & Go winkel Het Paard from Amsterdam was present with a stand of go books and go equipment on site and kindly sponsored the tournament with book prizes for players that scored 4 or more wins; Marianne Diederen 2k, co-owner of the shop, could not resist playing a few tournament games herself. On top of that, players that did well could win vouchers for Guo Juan's Internet Go School.
EuroGoTV live broadcast the top two boards on KGS. After two rounds, the favourites for the title were still undefeated: Seong-jin Kim 8d (South Korea), who played one AlphaGo inspired opening after the other, proved too strong for Sinan Djepov 5d and Geert Groenen 5d. Artem Kachanovskyi 1p (Ukraine) was victorious over Schayan Hamrah 5d in the first round and went on to defeat Dominik Bővíz 6d in a very tight second match, closing it out by just 2,5 points in his favour. Two other players in the top group joined Kim and Kachanovskyi on two points and were still in the race: Lukáš Podpěra 7d (Czech Republic) and underdog Michiel Tel 5d (the Netherlands).
On Saturday evening, all participants enjoyed an Indonesian style dinner and could afterwards take part in several fun side events. Artem Kachanovskyi 1p, who was invited by the EGCC to be the tournament's official EGF professional, and Cătălin Țăranu 5p, representing the Nihon Ki-in (Japanese Go Association), provided simultaneous teaching games. Many participants had pre-registered for the simultaneous event, so to make the professionals' lives easier, Seong-jin Kim 8d and Stanisław Frejlak 6d joined as extra teachers.
Simultaneously with the simultaneous, a small poker tournament also unfolded, on the ground floor of the building.
Saturday evening was all fun and games, but on Sunday morning everyone was back to business. In the third round, Seong-jin Kim 8d faced fellow two-pointer Lukáš Podpěra 7d in a thrilling match. Perhaps the best match of the tournament, as Podpěra came the closest of anybody to an upset over Kim. After most of the opening had been played out, it seemed like the match slowly slowly shifted in Kim's favour, until he played move 70. This was a questionable peep by Kim, threatening to cut off seven of Podpěra's stones, which were only worth about eighteen points of territory. It was a rare slip by the Korean, which Podpěra confidently exploited, and played tenuki.
During the rest of the match, a close game unfolded and the audience remained unsure who had the slight lead. In endgame it was Kim, however, who turned the game to his hand: a masterful tesuji combination allowed him to decrease Podpěra's territory by a few points in sente, which turned out to be just enough: Kim won by 1,5 points.
Artem Kachanovskyi 1p won his third round against Jonas Welticke 6d, leaving only himself and Kim with three wins in the super group. The fourth game was deciding for the outcome of the tournament, when the two titans clashed. At move 8, Kim played an AlphaGo-esque attachment to Kachanovskyi's ogeima shimari, and followed it up with a shoulder-hit on the other side of the board. Artem Kachanovskyi responded in his own characteristic calm style of play, resulting in what appeared to become a moyo game.
Kachanovskyi invaded Kim's moyo and made life with his group. Kim's territory on the left side, however, became rock solid. Kachanovskyi's own territory proved more vulnerable and his opponent optimised any aji he could find to reduce the area. In an attempt to capture Kim on a large scale, Kachanovskyi set up an all or nothing ko to salvage his territory, but it turned out to be futile. In the end, Kachanovskyi was about 20 points behind and resigned. Kim was sure of the title!
The fifth and final round was important for places two to six, as four players had three points each. After defeating Sinan Djepov 5d (just 17 years old from Bulgaria) in a spectacular match that saw huge swings back and forth, Artem Kachanovskyi 1p claimed second place on SOS-points. He was closely followed by Lukáš Podpěra 7d on third place, who had defeated Jonas Welticke 6d in his final game. Both Kachanovskyi and Podpěra had four wins and had only lost to the number one. Places four to seven were all shared by three-pointers, with their order decided by SOS-points as well: Stanisław Frejlak 6d, Sinan Djepov 5d, Dominik Bővíz 6d and Schayan Hamrah 5d.
The first prize for best female player went to Tereza Kotowski 1k (Czech Republic), who had an excellent tournament with 4 wins out of 5 games. Second place in the women's category went to Marika Dubiel 2d (Poland).
The 25 Years EGCC Anniversary Tournament was the last event of the 2017 European Grand Prix and counted as a Level C Bonus Tournament. The prize giving ceremony was ended by EGF president Martin Stiassny, who officially declared the end of the 2017 European Grand Prix and announced its winner: Artem Kachanovskyi! He received the symbolic gift of a 2016 European Go Yearbook, and more importantly the right to represent Europe in prestigious Asian go championships.
All in all, the tournament was a great success. Many players complimented the organisers, Harry van der Krogt and myself, and enthusiastically expressed their interest in the next international tournament in Amstelveen, which will take place from 10-13 May 2018. So save the date!
The pictures used in this article were taken by Judith van Dam (EuroGoTV) and Harry van der Krogt.
You can find a more extensive report, including game records and photo albums (more than 200 photos altogether) on the website of the EGF, here.
Final standings of the tournament can be viewed in the European Go Database.
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