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Ali Jabarin Wins Amsterdam International; Historic Euro-Korean Go Battle Remembered

Sunday June 8, 2014

Ali Jabarin 6d of Israel took the 2014 Amsterdam International Go Tournament main, centerpiece of Amsterdam Go Together 2014, with five wins out of six. It was played Friday May 30 – Sunday June 1 at the European Go Cultural Centre (EGCC), Amstelveen in the Netherlands (Holland) and Jabarin was only beaten by Zhao Baolong 2p of China who won all six rounds but, as a professional, took part out-of-competition. In second-equal place, with four wins each, came Pavol Lisy 7d of Slovakia, Yong-Su Yu 7d of Korea (pictured), Christian Pop 7d of Romania, Kim Paolo 7d of Korea and Csaba Mérő 6d of Hungary. Click here for full results, and here to connect with the EGCC’s Facebook account for more photos.

Pavol Lisy had also qualified as a pro the day before the main tournament after winning Stage 2 of the 1st Euro Pro Qualification (see Pavol Lisy First European Pro,- EJ, 7/1), a competition in which all the Europeans mentioned above have been participants, and for which Zhao has been professional coach, along with compatriot Li Ting 1p. Lisy’s new status will not, however, come into effect until August 1. Jabarin – along with Mateusz Surma 6d of Poland, Lukáš Podpera 6d of Czechia and Cornel Burzo 6d of Romania – is also still in the running to gain professional status by winning two further knockout rounds at Vienna on June 20.

Former Korean Amateur Champion Yong-Su Yu was a special guest at the event and well-known to the veterans there, as during the eighties he lived in the Cologne area in Germany and won the Amsterdam International every year from 1985-89. “I cannot [be] very content with the result in this Amsterdam go tournament,” he said, “but it’s not very bad. The top players in Europe are much stronger than I thought.” He also praised the hospitality he and his group, led by best friend Kim Paolo, had received and said, “Everyone in the Dutch Go Association [Federation] was so kind to us”.

In 1985 Yong-Su demonstrated the superiority of Korean amateurs in that era when he played a celebrated nine-game match, winning 7-2, against then Dutch and European Champion Ronald Schlemper 7d, a go prodigy who had come to dominate the game in Holland and who had won the European Championship twice already at that point (and has three times in all). The match, which featured games in the three Dutch towns of Leeuwarden, Arnhem and Tilburg, was sponsored by Dutch insurance company Interpolis, who published a book about it at the time, with game analysis by other Dutch amateurs.

Now one of Yong-Su’s party, Lee Kwang-Ku 3d, who is a journalist for Korean-language weekly Ilyo Shinmun and author of a three-volume book on modern Korean go, is also planning to write a book about the match with Korean professional commentary on at least some of the games. Schlemper, who these days lives in Japan, will be interviewed for the book too, which it is hoped will also be produced in an English-language edition. Photographer and sometime board member of the Dutch Go Federation Harry van der Krogt, now Financial Director of the EGCC, was the initiator of the match and following the Amsterdam tournament he has – by way of research for the book – traveled with Yong-Su, Kim and Lee to Arnhem to revisit the Hotel Groot Warnsborn (right), the only one of the match locations still standing. He told the E-Journal the hotel and surrounding park “made a great impression on me in 1985 [...] and now in 2014 it has not lost any of its charm“. It was also Yong-Su’s favourite location of the three: “Arnhem was the best place from three because maybe……..I could have a good time with Dutch go players…….drink….chatter. I could win all three games…..”.

Report by Tony Collman; photos by Harry van der Krogt: (from top) Yong-Su Yu at the Amsterdam International 2014; playing in the 9-game match with Schlemper in 1985; (L-R) Lee Kwang-Ku, Yong-Su Yu, Kim Paolo at the Hotel Groot Warnsborn.

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Pavol Lisy First European Pro

Sunday June 1, 2014

Pavol Lisy 1p (right)  of Slovakia has become the first-ever professional go player appointed by a European body, after adding two more wins at Amsterdam on Thursday May 29 to his two at Strasbourg the week before (see First Knockouts in Euro Pro Qualifications, 5/26 EJ) in the First European Pro Qualification Tournament.

The third and final stage of the tournament, which will see the appointment of a second European Pro, will be held in Vienna on June 20, where those who have only lost one game so far will compete in two further knockout rounds for the prize of professional status.

Lisy, who was a 7d amateur Slovakian Go Champion 2010-2014 and twice European Under-20 Champion, started playing go at age five. He previously had a hobby collecting beer bottle caps, of which he had thousands, mostly brown and white ones, and his father made a paper go board and used the bottle caps as go stones to introduce his son to the game.

The tournament is the result of an agreement (pdf, 6.85Mb) between the European Go Federation and the Beijing Zong Yi Yuan Cheng Culture Communication Co. Ltd. (“CEGO”), who describe themselves as “investors who themselves are Go friends [who] believe on (sic) the future development of European Go and are willing to commit themselves to promote Go [...] in the West“. The agreement is aimed at the establishment of  a full professional European go system and at enhancing the popularity of, and increasing the audience for go in Europe.

Click here for full tournament details, including results table, player profiles and the rules and constitution, and here to see the record of Lisy’s fourth round, clinching game with Cornel Burzo 6d of Romania.

Report by Tony Collman, photos by Harry van der Krogt: (lower left) Cornel Burzo 6d (right) congratulates Lisy on the  7.5 point win that secured him professional status.

Alex Kent to Challenge Andrew Kay for British Championship

Saturday May 31, 2014

Reigning British Champion Andrew Kay 4d (right) and Alex Kent 3d (below left) will meet in the final of the 2014 British Championship after taking top places at the Challengers’ League, held over the bank holiday weekend, Friday May 24 to Tuesday May 27, at the International Student House in London. The Challengers’ is a round-robin between the eight top players from the first stage of the Championship, the Candidates’ Tournament (see Ge Bei Lead UK Challenger, EJ 5/10), with 105 minutes each main time, and overtime of 15 plays in 5 minutes. Kay won all seven rounds, while Kent won five. Click here for full results.

As it transpired, four of those who qualified to contend for a place in the final in fact did not:  Sandy Taylor 2d, Tim Hunt 3d and Bruno Poltronieri 3d all found they had other commitments which clashed while, most unfortunate of all, Ge Bei (below right) did not confirm his entry in time. Ge had come first in the Candidates’, beating all his opponents, including reigning champion Kay who had once again waived his right to bypass the first stage of the Championship.

The British Go Association’s (BGA) Championship organizer, Jenny Radcliffe explained that Ge “failed to update his contact information with the BGA and didn’t or couldn’t check the email address to which the invitation was sent. We tried to track down alternative modes of contact but failed to find any so eventually, since we really needed to be sure we had eight players, had to call up another reserve. By the time Bei got in touch, the reserve had already booked non-refundable travel and accommodation, and rearranged his personal life.”

BGA Rules state, “It is the responsibility of the qualified players to determine their eligibility for entry to the Candidates’ Tournament and the Challengers’ League and submit their entries to these events.” At the time of going to press we had been unable to contact Ge for comment.

In the circumstances, reserve Alistair Wall 2d was called up along with the next three highly-placed in the Candidates: Alex Rix 3d, Kiyohiko Tanaka 2d and Harry Fearnley 2d.

Radcliffe added “We hope that this will be a reminder to everyone that it really is important to keep the BGA informed of your contact details!”

Details of the final are yet to be arranged, but it will be a best-of-three (or five if so agreed between the finalists) with 180 minutes main time each and is likely to be broadcast live on KGS with professional commentary.

Report by Tony Collman, British correspondent for the E-Journal. Photos: Andrew Kay celebrates retaining the Championship in 2013; Alex Kent, both courtesy of the BGA website; Ge Bei at the Candidates’, by Tanaka Kiyohiko.

EuroGoTV Update: Russia, Romania, Poland

Thursday May 29, 2014

Russia: Ruslan Dmitriev 5d took the Championship of Moscow on May 18 while Vjacheslav Kajmin 4d placed second and Vadim Khavin 4d was third. Romania: The Romanian Championship Semifinal also finished on May 18 with (left) in first, George Chirila 1d in second, and Liviu Oprisan 4d in third. Poland: Stanislaw Frejlak 4d championed the Turniej w Ozarowie Mazowieckim on May 18. Behind him were Kamil Konieczny 5k in second and Dawid Libront 7k in third.
– Annalia Linnan, based on reports from EuroGoTV, which include complete result tables and all the latest European go news; photo courtesy of EuroGoTV

David Lee Wins Scottish Open

Tuesday May 27, 2014

David Lee 3d of Dundee scored a perfect six wins to take the Scottish Open Championship 2014, which ran Sat May 24 to Sun May 25 at the Gilchrist Postgraduate Club, University of Glasgow. Runner-up was Francis Roads 1d of Wanstead with four wins. Bob Scantlebury 8k of Sheffield distinguished himself with five wins and Joseff Thomas 10k of  Glasgow and Carel Goodheir 9k of Skye also won four of the six rounds. Twenty-five took part in all, ranging from 3d to 17k. Click here for full results.

The tournament benefited for the first time this year from generous sponsorship from the University’s branch of the Confucius Institute, so as well as the Champion receiving a trophy and a pewter quaich (a shallow two-handled drinking cup or bowl), all 14 players on three or more wins selected a book from the British Go Association (BGA) bookstall and everyone took away a bottle of Isle of Skye Go Beer or a box of chocolates.

The event was organized on behalf of the BGA by Michael Comerford (venue and sponsorship) and Donald Macleod (tournament direction).
Report by Tony Collman, British correspondent for the E-Journal; photo (right) courtesy of Joseff Thomas: David Lee (right) is presented with the trophy by Donald Macleod. photo at left: Joseff Thomas (left) against Michael Comerford, by Gwenllian Thurstan

First Knockouts in Euro Pro Qualifications

Monday May 26, 2014

The first two rounds of the European Go Federation (EGF) / CEGO Pro Qualification Tournament were held on Friday May 23 at Strasbourg, with four of the 16 who started in this double-elimination Swiss tourney no longer in the running to achieve professional status this year: Viktor Lin 7d of Austria, Timur Sankin 6d of Russia, Dusan Mitic 6d of Serbia and Juri Kuronen 6d of Finland, who all lost both games.

One of the four who won both their games at Strasbourg and who goes on to win both games at Amsterdam on May 29 will become the first-ever European Pro (under this EGF/CEGO procedure). Those four are: Pavol Lisy 7d (left) of Slovakia, Thomas Debarre 6d of France, Mateusz Surma 6d of Poland and Cornel Burzo 6d of Romania.

The remaining eight, who have so far won one and lost one, all still stand a chance of becoming the second new European professional. That could be one of those eight who wins both his games at Amsterdam (where four more will be knocked out of the running) and then both games at Vienna on June 20. Those eight are: Benjamin Teuber 6d of Germany, Fredrik Blomback 6d of Sweden, Lukáš Podpera 6d of Chechia, Csaba Mero 6d of Hungary, Jan Hora 6d of Chechia, Cristian Pop 7d of Romania, Ali Jabarin 6d of Israel and Jan Simara 6d of Chechia.

The games are all being broadcast live with professional commentary by Korean website WBaduk. For full details of the tournament, including results table, player profiles and links to tournament rules and constitution, visit the EGF’s European Pro Qualification webpage.
Report by Tony Collman. Photo courtesy EGF/CEGO website.

Correction (5/27): In the 3rd paragraph, second sentence, “That will be the one of those eight” has been corrected to  “That could be…” It could also be one of the four who won two games at Strasbourg the other day.

Regan and Cocke Regain British Pair Go Championship

Wednesday May 21, 2014

Natasha Regan and Matthew Cocke of Epsom (right) regained the title of British Pair Go Champions at the 24th British Pair Go Championship on Saturday May 17. They had lost it last year to Kirsty Healey and Matthew Macfadyen, but the 2013 Champions were unable  to defend the title due to a prior diary fixture*. The clinching game of the three-round tournament was against Ingrid Jendrzejewski and Alex Selby and ended with both pairs having less than two minutes left of their allocated 45 before sudden death could decide it. Nevertheless Regan and Cocke won by a comfortable margin.

A separate handicap competition was won by Jil Segerman and Pat Ridley, four pairs contending. Fighting Spirit prizes went to Edwina Lee and Charles Leedham-Green (main) and siblings Roella and Edmund Smith (handicap). The latter pair’s sister Kelda and father Paul Smith won the quiz, and local pair Sam McCarthy and John Collins took the prize for Best-Dressed Pair. The prizes (below, left) were paired items of Japanese handicraft from the Japan Centre, the prize-winners being invited, in order, to make a selection from amongst those remaining.

Francis Roads organized the event on behalf of the British Go Association (BGA) and it was held this year at a new venue, the function room of the Red Lion Public House – also the home of the Welwyn Garden City Tournament. Roads bemoaned the fact that none of the pairs who had previously complained of the difficulty of reaching the old venue by public transport had in fact taken advantage of the easy accessibility of the Tournament’s new home. With so few attending, Roads made an ad hoc adjustment to the rules so only six pairs competed for the title, not the full eight qualified pairs who should have. Reporting this deviation to the BGA Council, Roads wrote:

“The entry was disappointingly low at ten pairs. I decided to deviate from the official rules and draw only six pairs in the even game section. To have done otherwise would have led to even games between grossly mismatched pairs, and only two pairs in the handicap division. I suggest that the rules be revised to allow for such a possibility.”

Click here for full results, and here to see our correspondent’s photo album of the event.

*Happy Birthday!

Tony Collman, British Correspondent for the E-Journal. Photos: British Pair Go Champions, (L-R) Matthew Cocke and Natasha Regan, play round 3; Prize table. Thanks to John Collins for loan of camera.

Dylan Zhu-Dong New British Youth Champion

Tuesday May 20, 2014

Dylan Zhu-Dong 10k of Leamington Go Club beat Oscar Selby 6k of Epsom to become British Youth Champion 2014 at the King Edward VI School, Aston in Birmingham, England on Sunday May 18.  Zhu-Dong, who also took the Under-14 title, defeated the favorite after successfully taking advantage of Selby’s misreading in a fight. Selby did, however, take the Under-12 title. Melchior Chui 9k from Cambridge won again in the Under-16 section and Hilary Bexfield 26k of Letchworth won the Under-10s. Andreas Ghica 35k from Newmarket won the Under-8 at his first go tournament. There were no entrants in the Under-18 division and 19 entered in all. Click here for full results.

Tony Collman, British correspondent for the E-Journal, from a report by Tony Atkins for the British Go Association; photo by Tony Atkins, courtesy of the British Go Association website.

EuroGoTV Update: Ukraine, Norway, Serbia

Saturday May 17, 2014

Ukraine: The Victory’s Day Tournament finished May 11 in Odesa with Yevhen Kolodin 5k in first, Valerii Liverinov 1k in second, and Oleh Folomiiev 12k in third. Norway: Also on May 11, Jakob Bing 3d took the Oslo Open while Paal Sannes 3d placed second and Micael Svensson 2d came in third. Serbia: Nikola Mitic 5d (left) bested Dusan Mitic 6d at the 17th Serbia International Cup on May 11 in Nis. Mijodrag Stankovic 5d was third.
– Annalia Linnan, based on reports from EuroGoTV, which include complete result tables and all the latest European go news; photo courtesy of EuroGoTV

Upcoming European Tournaments: Wien 2014, European Women’s Go Championship

Saturday May 17, 2014

European Women's Go Championship 2014Wien 2014, Vienna’s annual international go tournament, will be held June 20-22 at the Vienna Waldorf school. The top ten players will receive cash prizes with additional cash prizes for the best female player and the best player under 18. Book prizes will be awarded to players with 4 or 5 wins. Discounted fees are available for group rooms at the Jugendgästehaus Hütteldorf youth hostel (500 meters from the playing site) for players who register before May 21. In addition to the main tournament, Wien 2014 will be the final stage of the European Professional Qualification and a bonus point tournament, in which top players can accumulate bonus points used as qualification for future higher-level tournaments. There will also be a free tour of the city on Friday evening. To register or for more information, please visit the official Wien 2014 website.

The Russian Go Federation will host this year’s European Women’s Go Championship in Kazan on June 27 through June 29. European Go Federation players are welcome regardless of title or rank and there is no limit to the number of participants per country. However, one representative from each country (EGF rank 5k or stronger) will have compensation for travel expenses and free accommodation at Hotel Regatta. In addition to the main tournament, this year’s EWGC is a qualification event for the SporAccord World Mind Games in Beijing. To register or for more information, please visit the official EWGC 2014 website.

—Annalia Linnan; for complete listings, check out the European Tournament Calendar; photo courtesy of the European Women’s Go Championship