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Seok-Bin Cho Sweeps Vienna

The first annual Vienna International Go Tournament drew 90 players to Austria to enjoy a mid-June weekend of go at the edge of the Vienna Woods, and to compete for prizes ranging from €70 for tenth place to €1000 for first place. Five McMahon rounds were scheduled, with starting points assigned according to the European rating system. The top group consisted of fourteen players rated over 2500, led by Germany's Seok-Bin Cho (2795) and including Ilya Shikshin (2735) and Alexander Dinerchtein (2717), who dominate Russian go and have won ten European Championships since 1999.

The first round started at a leisurely 11:00 on June 15th, with the top fourteen paired against each other. The seven winners included the above three, two from Czechia (Ondrej Silt and Jan Hora), another German (Benjamin Teuber), and one Spanish player (Lluis Oh). In the second round the two Germans kept winning but the Russians were upended: Benjamin beat Ilya and Lluis beat Alexander. Seok-Bin was drawn down against Czechia's Vladimir Danek, whom he beat, and Jan defeated Ondrej in an all-Czech match. In the third round Seok-Bin and Lluis bested Jan and Benjamin to end the day undefeated.

The climactic game was the next morning's confrontation between Seok-Bin and Lluis, both of whom grew up in Korea. Victory went to Seok-Bin, who then downed Ilya in the final round to win the tournament with a perfect 5-0 score. This was Seok-Bin's fourth unbeaten triumph of the year, following Madrid, Amsterdam, and Strasbourg, and it sent his rating over 2800. Meanwhile, Ondrej beat Benjamin and Lluis in the last two rounds to take second place with a 4-1 score. Jan and Lluis tied for third with 3-2 scores and equal SOS points. Also finishing in the money were Benjamin (5th), Ilya (6th), Pavol Lisy (Slovakia, 7th), Pal Balogh and Csaba Mero (Hungary, tied for 8th), and Alexander, who split the tenth-place prize with Austria's Viktor Lin.

Below the McMahon bar, Austrian champion Schayan Hamrah came in 18th; three kyu-ranked players from Czechia (Ondrej Jurasek, Tereza Salajkova, and Petr Kratochvil) earned two books apiece and raised their ratings substantially by winning all their games; and many others earned single-book prizes by winning three of their first four games.

Complete results, pictures, and a firsthand report (in German) are here