Towards the end of the go congress, I started to lose the speed I had at the start. Maybe an additional reason was that Jeff returned to Finland after the main tournament’s seventh round, which suddenly left me without a physical coach (we communicated via the internet after Jeff’s departure). Be the reason what it may, in the last three rounds I did significantly worse than in some of the earlier main tournament games, and I only managed to get one win out of three games. This left me at the sixth place in the European Championship tournament. On the positive side, my overall result still wasn’t bad, and since I didn’t reach my goal of either the third place or seven wins out of ten, I have something more to achieve next year.
Definitely one of the best things at the congress this year for me was the chance to meet again many of the people who I’d grown fond of while I was an insei in Japan. This included English class professionals, and just like in Japan, I continued to get my games reviewed by them. We did use the opportunity to go touring together a bit, too, and had a few restaurant evenings together as well. I did my best to introduce the professionals to Nikola Mitic of Serbia, who is becoming an insei this October (and who’ll likely be the next person who’ll get his games commented by them).
Due to the amount of material, I’ll be spanning my congress stories over three blog posts.
This year’s European Go Congress was held in Bad Godesberg, Bonn, Germany, from 21 July to 4 August. A good 600 players participated, and several hundred more came by as spectators (or in order to participate in some of the side tournaments). Contrary to the earlier years, I concentrated on the main tournament, and participated in only a few side tournaments — a lot of my free time I poured into sightseeing and other more relaxed activities. You could say that this decision paid off, seeing how I placed sixth in the European championship tournament.
In a sense, my experience from this year’s congress was the exact opposite from last year’s, at least when looking at the congress venue and accommodation: in the EGC in Bordeaux in 2011, accommodation was incredibly cheap and of high quality, but the congress venue was lacking. This year in Bonn, the congress venue was just superb, but we’d booked relatively low-level accommodation from far away from the congress venue — the trip took about one hour, one-way.