Gothenburg Open, 27—28 October

Long time no write! Last weekend, on Friday to be exact, I flew to Gothenburg to participate in the annual Gothenburg Open go tournament. I’d received a deal from the tournament organizers, basically getting my accommodation and flight expenses covered, in exchange for teaching players during the tournament. Benjamin Teuber 6 dan of Germany had gotten a similar offer. This year’s edition of the tournament ended up being the biggest one held up to date, with 68 participants.

I arrived in Sweden at Friday noon. One of the main tournament organizers, Robin, courteously picked me up from the Landvetter airport and drove me to the tournament venue along with Benjamin. The Swedes had rented a flat (probably) owned by a local chess club, and so the venue was very well suited for a go tournament as well.

Since it was my first time in the city, and I couldn’t be of much help with the tournament organization which was at the time under way, I ended up strolling around the city a bit. There were some nice sights around, but I ended up wondering why they have so many stairs in the city. It wasn’t only once, or even just a few times, that I had to walk up a long flight of stairs, only to find myself walking down another one the next instant.

Gothenburg, the city of stairs

As I was to hold a lecture to the tournament participants the same evening, during my walk I thought if I should make an allegory of stairs with some respect to go (you improve one step at a time, or something along similar lines) — but I ended up deciding that it’d be way too cheesy.

I’d prepared the content for the lecture beforehand, covering rarer topics such as endgame counting, and middle and opening game planning with endgame in mind. The more rarely-heard-of concept “privilege” was explained to the 30-or-so-headed audience as well. Although the lecture started up slowly, it seemed to be very well received, which is always nice.

On Saturday evening, we held another lecture with Benjamin, reviewing a game played by a 1 kyu and 1 dan player during the tournament. This time, too, we had a big audience, and the lecture was well-liked — although we probably got carried away with presenting all kinds of different sequences that have been played out in professional games.

After the lectures on both days, I quickly retreated to my accommodation to study for my Bachelor’s thesis, the theme of which also revolves around go to some extent. Once the thesis is ready, I may translate it to English and publish on this blog!

Tournament venue view on the first round

The tournament didn’t go exactly as planned. I’d expected to either win all my games or to lose one to Benjamin, and for us two to end up in the first two places anyway. We’d even calculated ahead that it would be inevitable that we play on the infamous “Saturday’s third round”, which is the timing when games of notably low level get played.

What happened, however, was that Benjamin abruptly lost to Martin Li 5 dan of Sweden on the second round due to an oversight. For a moment it seemed like we’d get to play our “deciding match” on Sunday on a better round. That is, until I too lost my second game, to Jannik Rasmussen 4 dan of Denmark, by 6 and a half points. Fate then had us play on the notorious third round anyway. As was to be expected, the game’s quality wasn’t very high; I ended up winning due to a more or less lucky kill. The kifu of that game is included lower in this post!

Jannik, then, unexpectedly lost his two games on Sunday, and so I ended up winning the tournament with only four wins, still without any kind of an SOS lottery.

Robin commencing the prize-giving ceremony. Note the go book display on the background!

My topmost impressions of the tournament, now, are the incredibly friendly organizers and players, and the otherwise really cosy atmosphere at the venue. This was in fact my first tournament experience in Sweden, if not counting the European Go Congress in 2008 — and the congresses are always something of a special case. At any rate, it appears I will have to return to Sweden for another tournament in the future!

Included below is the kifu of my game with Benjamin Teuber, with some comments along the way. The kifu of my game with Jannik, again, can be downloaded here.

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