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Amsterdam Go Together

Dutch go organizers took advantage of a four-day weekend to stage no less than five tournaments in and around Amsterdam on May 8-12, drawing players from all over Europe to celebrate Ascension Day on the go board. There were six different winners, representing the Netherlands, Germany, and Russia.

The action started with a five-round handicap blitz for early arrivers, held on ther evening of May 8 at the Cafe Batavia in Amsterdam. The victor was Kim Ouweleen, who works at the Het Paard Chess and Go Bookshop, which sponsored the event. Niels van den Bogaert shared second place with a pair of players from Finland: Olli Pukkinen and Johannes Laire.

The largest event (81 players) was the 42nd annual Amsterdam International Tournament that began the next day. German players have done well in this tournament for the past few years, and this year they did so again. Seok-Bin Cho, a former Korean insei who moved to Hamburg in 2005, won in all six rounds to take first place for a third time (he also won in 2006 and 2012). Lukas Krämer (Bonn) finished right behind him in second place. Bernd Shütze and Matthias Terwey finished eighth and ninth, giving Germany four of the top ten spots. This was Seok-Bin's second triumph in eight days: he also won the Madrid Tournament in Spain on May 4-5. Full results are here.

In parallel with the Amsterdam International, the European Pair Go Championship was played at the Natalia KovalevaNatalia KovalevaEuropean Go Cultural Centre in Amstelveen, with 24 competing pairs. Ilya Shikshin and Svetlana Shikshina, the brother-sister pair from Kazan, Russia were the unbeaten winners; they will now represent Europe at the SportAccord Mind Games in December. Alexander Vashurov (also from Kazan) and Natalia Kovaleva (Chelyabinsk) led the group of seven pairs with 4-2 results to take third place. Czechia's Jan Hora and Klara Zaloudkova defeated Alexander and Natalia to finish second. Complete results are here.

May 10 was given over to the DNM Amsterdam Rapid, a five-round handicap tournament with 30-minute sudden-death time limits. As in the pair championship, two Russian players proved unbeatable, but this time it was Ilya Shikshin and Natalia Kovaleva who won all their games. Natalia had defeated Seok-Bin Cho with a two-stone handicap in the second round, and she did likewise against Ilya in an extra playoff game to win the tournament. Full results are here.

The fifth tournament was the Kunwa Children's Tournament, which was held on the last day of the Go Together. Although most of the six contestants were from the Netherlands, the winner was a guest from Germany: Ferdinand Marz. Pepijn Joost Jacob took second place.