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Darmstadt Go Days

The Oetinger Villa, a leftist alternative cultural center in a green area in Darmstadt, Germany, is a place for meetings, parties, art projects, and environmental activities, and above all a place to eat, drink, and listen to music by local bands with names like Nerdsmasher and Fear the Beard. On June 7-10, however, the sounds of rock music gave way to the quieter click of go stones. There were three events. A seminar for beginners and advanced players, up to about 2 dan, was held on June 7. It was followed by two parallel tournaments on June 9-10: a five-round MacMahon that drew 57 players from Germany, Luxembourg, and Switzerland; and the German Youth Go Championship, a round-robin among the top six German players under 18.

The MacMahon tournament was won by Matthias Terwey, who was also one of the seminar leaders. Matthias is proof that a player can excel at both chess and go. Up until the age of twenty he was an active chess player, with an ELO rating that peaked at 2104 at the end of 2003; then he shifted into go. He has been competing in about twenty go tournaments a year since 2006, and has won at least one tournament every year since 2008. At 4 dan he was the top-ranked player in the Go Days MacMahon field, and he won all five of his games. Second place went to Andre Staedtler (3d), who won four. Both Matthias and Andre beat Thomas Kettenring (3d), who finished third. Complete results are here.

The German Youth Go Championship was won, for the second straight year, by Jonas Welticke (4d). Like Matthias, he was undefeated. Although only half as old as Matthias, Jonas has been playing go even more intensively, competing in about one German tournament every two weeks since January 2011. In an October 2011 interview he said he was also playing three or four hours a day online, against opponents from all over the world. This is the kind of training that pays off: the German Youth Championship was his fourth tournament victory of 2012. His closest competititor was Niels Schomberg (1d), who won three games to finish second. Complete results are here.