European go congress 2013, days 3-4

The congress continued well on my part after the first weekend. On round 2, I faced Alexej Lazarev 6 dan, who I had also played against in the Takapotku tournament in Helsinki recently, and on round 3 I got to play my first tournament game against Artem Kachanovskyi 7 dan of Ukraine. Both games were quite eventful, but I was able to wrap both of them up in my favor—the game records are included below with short commentaries.

Similar to last year’s congress in Bonn, I’m not really participating in the congress side events; instead I’m using the spare time to relax, in order to better concentrate on the main tournament.

On Tuesday, after having won against Artem, I met up with Kuma-sensei and Ginny (acquaintances and friends from my insei time in Japan—Kuma, real name Shiung Feng, is a 6 dan professional who has given me great guidance on how to improve further at go). Mitani-sensei (Mitani Tetsuya, 7 dan professional) was present as well, though I’d already met him one day earlier. We went off to a local restaurant not far from the congress venue and had a really fun dinner together.

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European go congress 2013, days 1-2

Starting with this post, I’ll write about my experiences in the European go congress 2013 in Olsztyn, Poland in a diary-ish fashion.

I left for the congress on Saturday morning, July 27, just after getting done with the NGA summer camp that we were holding for the first time. The camp lasted for two weeks, and while the time was full of go, I didn’t actually really have time to get any studying in for myself. “Getting done” with the camp is a bit of a stretch as well, as the schedule got so busy near the end that I didn’t exactly have time to stay around to help with the final cleaning of the camp site, which I’m feeling quite bad for now.

I met up with my travel companion, Ilkka, in the bus on the way to the Helsinki airport. A bit later we were joined by several more Finns, and in the end it turned out there were 17 Finnish go players boarding the same plane. Juri, one of the three NGA teachers, almost didn’t make it in the airplane because of the flight company’s attempt to overbook, but in the end he did fit in—while me and Ilkka were moved into business class. We of course didn’t mind! After that, the flight to Warsaw passed by neatly while drinking free champagne.

We had to wait around a bit in Warsaw, and met one of Ilkka’s Polish acquaintances while at it. Some three hours later, a bus trip organized by the go congress staff took off. The outside temperature was about 30°C at the time, and the lack of air conditioning in the bus didn’t exactly make the trip light. Still, I managed to catch some sleep on the bus, hopefully paying a bit off of the huge sleep deprivation I incurred at the NGA camp.

Some four hours later the bus, filled with go players, arrived at the congress venue—a Polish university building in the city of Olsztyn. As far as I could see, the organizers were in good control of everything, and while the registration process wasn’t exactly smooth (one had to go through some 5 different registration booths before the process was done with), things in general went well. I also bumped into Mitani-sensei (one of my insei-time teachers at the Nihon Ki-in English class), and exchanged some words with him. By the look of things, my Japanese has gotten quite rusty by now.

After checking the congress venue around, we had a quick look in the vicinity, which is quite scenic with its forests, hills and lakes. Later in the evening we heard that the train that Jeff and some other Finnish players were taking from Gdansk was several hours late (and even the normal running time would be at best about as quick as taking the bus).

The following day, we had a remarkably good breakfast at the hotel, and took a cab to the congress venue (ridiculously cheap by Finnish standards). Unexpectedly, the first round of the main tournament was on time; its being late had kind of become a kind of a tradition during the last several years. My first game was with Ondrej Kruml, a Czech 5 dan—the game record is included below. I didn’t exactly hold much control over how the game proceeded, but I did get to plan a huge kill in the later part of the game. If white had defended a bit more carefully, it would have been difficult to say who wins.

Some unexpected results popped up already on the first round. For example, two major Russian opponents, Alexandr Dinerchtein and Ilya Shikshin, both lost to Dusan Mitic and Viktor Lin, respectively. I’ll have to be more careful tomorrow as well.

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