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.
This year is going to be a busy tournament year for me, both in terms of Finnish tournaments and tournaments abroad:
This week, tomorrow in fact, I’ll be going to Bergen, Norway, in order to participate in the Bergen Open go tournament. Bergen Open is going to be a relatively small event, but I’m looking forward to seeing some old friends from China there — and the small holiday trip is quite welcome, too! You may expect some photos from there, next week.
In July, there is of course the European Go Congress in Bonn, Germany. There’s going to be another reunion there: just in terms of Japanese professionals, there’ll be six English class participants present there! And that’s only for starters, as there’ll still be many many more friends and acquaintances present (I find this to be one of the best characteristics in go congresses). Lately I’ve been training both my German and Japanese in order to be able to function as an interpreter. Also in July, I’ll be participating in one tournament in my home town of Oulu (where I’ll likely get to play another game with Jeff), and possibly in another tournament in Turku, also in Finland.
Since I missed out on the Finnish championship tournament last year, I’m going to have to restart there all the way from the qualifiers this year. The second qualification tournament will be in early October, probably one or two weeks after the Hans Pietsch memorial in Germany, which I will also be attending. Finally, I also already registered to Gothenburg Open 2012, 26.-28. October. Seeing how this probably still isn’t all in terms of tournaments for me, I’m probably looking at well over a dozen tournaments for this year!
It’s well past the European Go Congress already, and I myself am back from a short holiday. Even if it’s a bit late, I thought it’d be nice to write about the topmost impressions of my second trip to France, and my fifth go congress.
The congress was situated in a suburb of the legendary city associated with wine, Bordeaux. The suburb, Talence, itself seemed to be a large university campus. The organizers had arranged for several university buildings to function as the congress area — a common solution, if a bit cumbersome. Comparing to all the other congresses I’ve been to so far, the general distance between the congress buildings was the longest. The congress in Villach, 2007, was remarkably good in the sense that everything was under the same roof; it was incredibly easy to find all sorts of activity in case one got bored. In Bordeaux, although the setting was functional enough, many evenings felt somehow hollow. Luckily it was easy enough to get on the tram and travel to the downtown of Bordeaux, which was full of things to see and do. Indeed, Bordeaux provided for some really nice sightseeing: