This year the annual Bulgarian Go Championship was held outside the Bulgarian capital for the first time ever. Bulgaria's second largest city of Varna, also known as its maritime capital during the summer months, hosted the 9th edition of the event on the 9th and 10th of June. Twenty-seven players gathered from all over Bulgaria and one special guest came from Romania, the first player from outside Bulgaria ever to participate in the Bulgarian championship. This was the greatest number of players in a single event in the history of organized go tournaments in Bulgaria so far.
The games were played at a four-star hotel in the Sunshine, Magnolia & Spa complex, a short walk from a beach on the Black Sea. Boyan Alexandrov 1k, winner of the 2009 championship, managed to cling to the top after a very fierce battle with a couple of dan-level players, in which everyone lost at least one closely contested game to a closely matched opponent. Boyan beat Alexander Savchovsky 1d, Bogdan Sburlea 1k -- the guest from Romania -- and Svilen Pavlov 1k. Runner-up Magdalena Mladenova 1d, winner of the last two championships, lost only to 5th place finisher and former champion Nikolaj Aleksandrov 1d, and Milena Metodieva 7k took a surprising third place.
A brief history of go in Bulgaria can be found here.
Report and photos courtesy of Tsvetomir Varbanov