American Go E-Journal » Europe

Family Power: Shikshins Win European Pairgo Championship

Wednesday May 15, 2013


The strongest pairs in Europe competed in Amsterdam, May 11 and 12,  for the European Pair Go Championship. The Shikshin siblings – Ilya and Svetlana, both 7d – who swept the Russian Pair Championship this February, were the clear favorites. Another interesting Russian pair featured Natalia Kovaleva 5d, the 2007 European Female Champion, playing with aspiring young player Alexander Vashurov 5d, who has won several European Youth Championships. Kovaleva has won the European Pair Championship five times, with her usual partner Dmitry Surin 6d, who could not come this year. Other strong competitors included Czech pair, Klara Zaloudkova 3d and Jan Hora 6d, and Hungarians Péter Markó 3d and Rita Pocsai 5d.

The tournament pulled in 24 pairs from 10 countries. The Shikshins won all of their games, capturing first place, in second were Zaloudkova and Hora, while third went to Kovaleva and Vashurov.  With their win,  the Shikshin siblings earned the right to represent Europe in pair go competitions at the next International Sport-Accord Games.

The Pair Go Championship was held  in conjunction with  the Amsterdam Rapid. The results here were not so predictable, as the tourney introduced handicap games and short time limits (30 minutes). Russia was also on top here, as the two players who made it to the final match were Ilya Shikshin and Natalia Kovaleva, both of whom were undefeated going in. The final match was held with reduced time-control (only 15 minutes) and Kovaleva, who had 2 handicap stones, was the victor.  For full results from the Pair Go Championship go here, for the Amsterdam Rapid go here.  Eurogotv also has game records from the Pair Go event here. -Daria Koshkina. Photo: Svetlana Shikshina 7d and Ilya Shikshin 7d, at right, playing Natalia Kovaleva 5d and Alexander Vashurov 5d, at left. Copyright Harry van der Krogt 2013, used by permission.

 

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A League Finalists Set in European Team Championship

Friday May 10, 2013

Hungary and Czechia have now qualified for the finals in the Pandanet Go European Team Championship A league, joining Russia and Ukraine, who had previously qualified. This is the second consecutive trip to the league finals for Hungary and Czechia, while Russia and Ukraine have not missed a final yet, with Russia winning both previous titles. The European Team Championship (ETC), now in its third year, is comparable to the German Bundes League but with national teams from thirty European countries divided into three leagues.

ETC games are played online using the Pandanet Internet Go Server. The top four teams in the A league are invited to compete for 10,000 Euros in the finals at the European Go Congress in Olsztyn, Poland in July, and up to five players per team receive support for their Congress travel costs.

Two-time defending champions Russia may be tough to dethrone, with European professionals Alexander Dinerchtein and Svetlana Shikshina and three-time European Champion Ilya Shiksin heading up the roster. Last year, with no team gathering more than one match win, Russia had to rely on tiebreakers to retain the championship. Germany’s last-place finish means direct demotion to the B league for next season, while Israel, promoted to the A league last season, managed to reach 9th place and need to win a playoff match against Austria to stay league A.

The B league team from Finland will be directly promoted to A league. UK will spend next season in League C, while 9th place Switzerland still hopes of staying in the B league through the playoff match. Their opponent will be Slovakia, Slovenia or Turkey. Slovakia will not leave one of the first two places so they get at least a shot at being promoted. The only team that can still pass them is Slovenia. Turkey must hope for Slovenia to struggle to get a chance in the playoff match against Switzerland.

The last matches in the C League will be played on May 14th. All results will be available on the ECT tournament page.
- Jan Engelhardt, German Correspondent for the E-Journal. Photo: Catalin Taranu (l) vs. Ilya Shiksin (r), from the EGC 2012 Website 

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Andrew Kay on Course to Retain British Championship

Friday May 10, 2013

Reigning British Champion, Andrew Kay 5d, has taken first place at the Candidates’ Tournament, with six straight wins. The tournament, held at Edinburgh University in Scotland this year for the first time ever, is part of the British Championship. Twenty-one contenders, selected on grade, were invited by the British Go Association (BGA); an ineligible player  also competed to even out the pairings.

In fact, Kay did not even need to compete, as the current Champion qualifies automatically for the Challengers’ League, between the eight best players from the Candidates’, who also earn qualifying points for selection as the British entrant to the World Amateur Go Championship. The top two players will be pitted against one another in the Title Match itself, decided on the best of three games.

Also qualifying were Des Cann and Matt Crosby with five wins each, and Tim Hunt, Andrew Simons, Boris Mitrovic, Alex Kent and Alex Rix with four. Francis Roads will be the reserve player, Richard Hunter having stood down.

The location in the far north of the UK was deliberately chosen to encourage more Scottish entrants, a ploy which was completely successful, since more Scots (and indeed more women) attended than in any previous year.

The Challengers’ League is due to take place at the Fitzrovia Room, International Student House (ISH), 229 Great Portland Street, London, W1W 5PN between Friday May 24 and Monday May 27 and the Title Match is provisionally scheduled for Sunday June 30 in Cambridge.

Click here for full results of the Candidates’ Tournament.

-Tony Collman. Compiled from material on the BGA’s website. Photo: Andrew Kay, courtesy of his website.

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International Collegiate Go Tournament Deadline Extended

Friday May 10, 2013

The deadline for registration of the first International Collegiate Go Tournament (North American College Players Invited to July Tournament in China, But Must Act Quickly 5/2/2013 EJ) has been extended until May 31. The invitation has been extended to students in Europe as well. More details about the July 7-13 event can be found at the ACGA’s website.

Alexander Dinerchtein 3P’s Perspectives on Shikshin, Studying and the Need for More Europe-U.S. Play

Saturday May 4, 2013

Alexander DinerchteinThough he is a 7-time European Go Champion, the first Russian player to achieve professional rank and currently considered one of Europe’s finest players, Alexandre Dinerchtein 3p (“breakfast” on KGS) keeps his accomplishments in perspective.

Referring to his record against Ilya Shikshin 7d (“roln111″ on KGS), he told the E-Journal in a recent interview that “The official score is 24-8, but we cannot say that I am stronger.” Dinerchtein says he won early games against Shikshin because the distance in strength between them was much greater. For example, in their first match in 2001, Dinerchtein, the European Champion, played Shikshin as a 3-dan amateur. Their score in recent games has been more evenly matched, however, and Dinerchtein says he thinks Shikshin has more talent. “My score is not bad with him only because I know his go style well, his weak and strong points.” Citing strategy as a key Shikshin weakness, Dinerchtein said he forces Shikshin to solve more strategy-oriented problems. Shikshin “plays the same fuseki in every game for exactly the same reason,” says Dinerchtein, “he likes to avoid fuseki and joseki questions and start middlegame fights early.” These middlegame conflicts are Shikshin’s greatest strength and Dinerchtein’s biggest weakness. “I cannot fight as well as Ilya can and I hate any risk on the go board,” Dinerchtein told the E-Journal. Like his favorite professional Kobayashi Koichi 9P, Dinerchtein would rather games be as peaceful and risk-free as possible.

In terms of game study, Dinerchtein said that when he started playing go 25  years ago, “it was hard to find even a single go book, [a] single pro game record.” But now with many go books, game databases, and internet lessons (including his Insei League KGS go school), “it’s easy to find good partners online, so you can improve a lot without even visiting Asian go schools.” Dinerchtein emphasized the importance of studying professional games by using chess as an example. “Every chess grandmaster who wants to win tournaments spends a lot of time preparing new variations using go game databases,” he said, “I am sure soon we will see the same situation in go.”

Insei League KGSThough go resources have expanded, the thing Dinerchtein would like to see most in the future is more “serious” interaction between top European and U.S. players. Except for his game with Michael Redmond 9P in 2001, he has never played any top U.S. players in an official event. As for recent U.S.-European events, he said, “I saw the matches between Lee Sedol and U.S. pros (and European pro Taranu), but I don’t think that they were interesting enough” because they were “novelty” fast games. He’d like to see the European Go Federation (EGF) and American Go Association (AGA) sponsor tournaments with big titles and prize purses, like those organized by the Chinese Weiqi Association, Korean Baduk Association and the Nihon Ki-in in Japan. Find out more about Dinerchtein on his homepage, KGS, OGS, DGS, or sign up for the GOAMA newsletter.
- Annalia Linnan

Karl-Ernst Paech, Influential European Go Leader, Dies at 90

Monday April 29, 2013

Karl-Ernst Paech, former president of the European Go Federation (EGF) and the German Go Federation (DGoB) — and one of the most influential leaders of European go in the last century — died on April 16 at the age of 90.

After growing up in different German cities Paech (left, in blue shirt) spent most of his life in Munich. He first came across go in 1937 when he discovered a telegraphically-played game between Fritz Dueball and the Japanese Farming Minister. In 1964 Paech founded the Bavarian Go Association (BGoV) and became it’s first president. In 1966 he was elected president of the German Go Federation. One year later he also became president of the European Go Federation for two years and after that served as EGF treasurer. He was a member of the EGF board and DGoB president for ove 15 years. He was appointed Honorary President by both organizations after his retirement. Even after retiring he regularly attended yearly meetings of the the Bavarian Go Association despite being more than 80 years old.

Paech’s proudest honor was the 1988 award of the Japanese Okura prize, the highest award by the Nihon Ki-in for spreading go in the world. Aside from his success in building go federations he was also a proficient player. At his first trip to Japan in 1965 he received a Ni-Dan diploma from the Nihon Ki-in and in 1982 he received a 2-dan amateur diploma from the Korean Baduk Association.

Paech had a major influence on establishing the administrative structures and tournaments that exist in Europe today and he was responsible for numerous activities fostering go in Germany and Europe, including four European Go Congresses which took place in Germany during his leadreship tenure. He also initiated the introduction of the Japanese ranking system in Germany.

- reported by Jan Engelhardt, German correspondent for the E-Journal

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Remembering German Go Professional Hans Pietsch

Friday April 26, 2013

by Jan Engelhardt

While a number of western countries have begun hosting professionals from Japan, Korea and China to teach and promote go, westerners who have become professional go players are still very rare. So rare that thus far it’s only happened eleven times.

The only German who ever became a professional go player was Hans Pietsch, who became a professional 1-dan at the Nihon Ki-In in 1997. Born in 1968 in Bremen, Germany, Pietsch discovered go at the relatively late age of 12 but after great sucess in German and European tournaments he decided to try to become a professional in Japan. In 1990 he started as an Insei at the Nihon Ki-in Go Scool in Chiba, studying with Kobayashi Chizu, who supported him a lot from the very beginning. After seven long years he finally made pro and was promoted to 4-dan in just three years.

Pietsch’s most famous game was his 1997 half-point victory against Yoda Norimoto. An Youngil 8P recently published a very detailed commentary  about that game.

Tragically, Pietsch’s blossoming career was cut short when he was murdered 10 years ago during an armed robbery while on a promotional tour for the Nihon Ki-In in Guatemala. He was posthumously promoted to 6-dan. The German go community honors his memory annually at the ‘Hans Pietsch Memorial’ tournament, a team tournament in which schools from all over Germany take part. This year there will also be a large international tournament in Budapest. The main goal of the organizers around Csaba Mero is to keep the memory of Hans Pietsch alive

It’s impossible to know that the German go scene would look like today if it had a native professional. We can just try to follow his example in realising our dreams, keeping in mind that the time to do so can be much shorter than you think.
- Jan Engelhardt is the E-Journal’s German correspondent.Click here to see more photos.

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UK Faces Relegation to C-League in Online European Championship

Friday April 19, 2013

The UK is likely to be relegated next year to the C-League in the 30-nation Pandanet Go European Team Championship, after another poor result in the  eighth round match on April 15 against Belgium, which resulted in a draw.

The tournament is played online in three leagues of ten teams each on the Pandanet (IGS) server in the EuropeanTeamChamps room. So far, the UK team has not won a single round, with five losses and three draws to date. The ninth and final league round is to be played against Italy on Tuesday May 7. Unless the UK can pull a win out of the hat then, they will be automatically relegated to the bottom league next year.

The top four teams will face off in over-the –board finals at the European Go Congress in Olszystn, Poland later this year. Click here for full results to date, and here for British Go Association President Jon Diamond’s report.
- Tony Collman

 

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Cambridge Wins London International Teams Trophy

Friday April 19, 2013

Cambridge took the open division of this spring’s London International Teams tournament without losing a single game on Sunday April 14. The twice-yearly event was held at the Nippon Club in central London, UK.

Four teams of three played three matches each and the winning team comprised Andrew Simons 4d, David Ward 4d and Jonathan Chin 2d, who each won all their games. Click here for Simons’ game against the Nippon Club’s Shinichi Nao 6d*.

The second (handicap) division, also comprising four teams, was narrowly won by the South London Go Club, with Twickenham a close second.

Further details in Tony Atkins’ report for the British Go Association. Click here for full results. Click here to see Kiyohiko Tanaka’s photo journal of the day.

* Simons reconstructed the game from memory and apologizes if dame, gote yose moves or ko threats are in the wrong order: the main body of the game and final position are as on the day. Simons, the Cambridge captain, said of this game (round 2 of 3), “I’ve played Nao a a few times in this tournament before and he likes to play san ren sei and make centre moyos so my jump of white 8 is my favoured anti-san-ren-sei tactic recently. His p10 jump was a mistake and should be n14 instead as my block at o14 was successful: the way he cut in the game was bad shape and I got a good result. His r7 invited complications as he felt behind and I resisted and was happy enough with the result of that fight on the right. Q2 was a big mistake from which I knew wasn’t really sente and he noticed too which led to messy fighting on the lower side but at least I won the ko on the left. He caught up a bit later but I maintained enough of my early lead to win (and not run out of time).”

- reported by Tony Collman

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Love is the Victor in St. Petersburg Go Consul Cup B League

Friday April 19, 2013

While the clash of titans in the final match at the St. Petersburg Go Consul Cup League A (Dinerchtein’s “Water” Douses Shikshin “Fire” at St. Petersburg Go Consul Cup  4/14/2013 EJ) naturally generated the most general public hullabaloo, the Cup’s B League — consisting of 86 players ranging from 6d to 15k — offered plenty of excitement and surprising results as well.

Thousands of go events around the world routinely show that the game can unite people and draw them together. Shared common interest in go can create the most loyal friendship and, it turns out, love. This is the case of Igor Burnaevskiy 4d and Dina Burdakova 5d, the young Russian married couple who took the two first places of the League B event; Igor managed to defeat Alexey Lazarev 6d, the first Russian player who won European Go Champion Title in 1991, thus leaving him in the 3rd position in League B.

This success is quite unique. We’ve heard of Asian pro marriages but Dina and Igor (at left) are the first and only European high-dan married couple. Dina Burdakova has been playing go since childhood and is an acknowledged Russian go-star, three times Russian Female Champion, winning this title for the first time in 1999 at the age of 12. Husband Igor Burnaevskiy, in contrast, can be called “the dark horse” of this tournament. He started playing go about 6 years ago after watching “Hikaru no Go” and reached 5d on KGS without playing in any major go competitions. He appeared in real tournaments only in 2011. The couple’s secret lies not only in go training but in shared experience and merging the strong points of their different styles. The drama of the Go Consul Cup League B sprang up in the final round when they had to face each other in a match to determine the winner. Here Igor showed his stronger side – the feeling of fuseki – and drew the game to the victory. In any case, the result allowed both spouses to pass to the League A (top 8 with rotation system) and we’ll see them competing with Russian top players at the next Russian grand event.

Click here for photos by Mikhail Krylov (A, B, C Leagues), League B prizegiving
and results (A, B, C leagues, in Russian)
- Daria Koshkina

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