European Team Championship, final round showdown

Last Tuesday, on May 24, was the ninth and final round of the Pandanet Go European Team Championship.  The final round was important in deciding which countries get to play in the European Team Championship tournament in the European Go Congress 2011 in Bordeaux, but it was also crucial in determining which team drops from the A league to the B league next year. The system is such that the last team of the league drops automatically and gets replaced with the winning team of the lower league, and the second to last team of the league plays a qualifying match with the second best team of the lower league. The ninth-round game between Finland and Serbia was to determine which team drops automatically, and which team gets to qualify.

The situation before the round was exceedingly exciting: Finland and Serbia were tied in both game points and board points. If a tie like this were to occur after the ninth round, too, the next tie-breaker would be the number of first-board wins; before the ninth round, Finland and Serbia were tied on this part, as well. In a sense, the first-board game of the match was worth two games. Having known about this situation well in advance, I had been training a lot during three weeks between rounds 8 and 9, my main methods of training having been doing tsumego and reviewing professional games.

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