Located in the Latin Quarter of Paris, the Lycée Louis-le-Grand is a secondary school with a long list of famous alumni (Degas, Poincare, Lafayette, Voltaire,...). From March 30 to April 1 it hosted a long list of European go talent: a total of 213 players, 50 of them dan ranked, who were competing in the Paris Go Tournament. The schedule included a 6-round McMahon main tournament and an evening blitz tournament on March 31. Most of the contestants were from France, but the top ten finishers in the main tournament also included players from Austria, Romania, Czechia, and Spain.
The undefeated winner was Junfu Dai of France (formerly China), who also won in 2010 and 2012. He clinched first place by defeating Europe's top rated player Hui Fan in round 5. Junfu has been a major force in French go for the past five years and is the author of a French go book about the middle game. Working as a financial director at Ascendeo has not slowed down his go activity; this year he was undefeated in large tournaments in Antony in February and Levallois in March as well. Photos of him playing in Paris can be found here.
Three more players would have been undefeated if they had not lost to Junfu Dai, and they took the next places. Finishing second was Lluis Oh of Barcelona, Spain (formerly of Seoul, Korea), who lost to Junfu in round 3. Lluis came to Spain as part of Korea's overseas baduk promotion program. He tells his own story in English and Spanish here.
Third and fourth places went to Cristian Pop (Romania) and the former Chinese 2-dan pro Hui Fan (France), who were making strong returns to major competition after periods of inactivity. Fifth to seventh places fell to Czech Go Baron Ondrej Silt, Romanian go instructor Cornel Burzo, and French youth champion Tanguy le Calvé, who won the blitz tournament. Eighth and ninth places were taken by a pair of Austrians, Hamrah Schayan and Viktor Lin, who might also have been undefeated if they had not encountered Junfu, Cristian, Hui, Ondrej, and Cornel. Tenth place went to France's Antoine Fenech, winner of the European Youth Masters' Cup in 2007, who downed Hungarian star Pal Balogh in round 5.
There was one other undefeated contestant. France's Kévin Trouilleux (1 kyu) upset Jean-Loup Naddef (3 dan) and Romania's Lucretiu Carlota (5 dan) in the last two rounds to earn 35 McMahon points and finish 26th. Full results are available here.
The tournament to select the player representing Chinese Taipei in the upcoming World Amateur Go Championship was held at the Ta-an Junior High School in Taipei March 16-17. The entry requirement was an amateur ranking of 6 dan or higher. The 65 participants included several insei and, at the other end of the spectrum, Chen Shi, winner of professional titles in the mid-1980s, who took a decade out to earn a PhD in chemistry in the United States, later retired as a professional go player, and now competes as an amateur.
Dr. Chen was one of sixteen who survived the initial rounds played on the 16th. About half of the other survivors were insei, but most of them fell in the next two rounds, which narrowed the field down to just four players. All four were junior high-school students: Wang I-nan, the local favorite since he attends Ta-an Junior High; Huang Tao-lung of Yuang-lin Junior High; Tseng Ping-sin, who attends Yung-an Junior High and played for Chinese Taipei in the International Amateur Pair Go Championship in 2011; and Lin Hsin-wei of Fushan Junior High in Kaohsiung. Lin was the only insei left and he was in good form; he had posted the best record (12-2) in the February Southern Taiwan Insei League. In his last game on the 16th he had beaten Lo Sheng-chieh, men's bronze medalist at the World Mind Sports Games in Lille last August.
In the afternoon playoff among these four, first Tseng defeated Wang and Lin defeated Huang; then Lin decisevely beat Tseng to win a place at the WAGC, plus a first prize of 30,000 Taiwan dollars (about 1000 U.S. dollars). Wang beat Huang to take the third prize (10,000 Taiwan dollars).
here.The Irish Go Congress, held on the first three days of March at the Teachers Club in Dublin, began with a handicapped five-round Swiss System rapid tournament played on the evening of March 1. Sixteen players participated, bearing six nationalities and ranks ranging from 4 dan to 10 kyu. Chinese 4-dan Yuanbo Zhang took first with a perfect 5-0 score, beating Zebin Du, another Chinese 4-dan, in the final round. Thomas Shanahan (7-kyu) and Irish champion Roman Pszonka (3-dan) scored 4-1 results to take third and second places, while Du Zebin finished fourth. Full results are
Next came the main event, the 2nd Confucius Cup, a five-round McMahon tournament played on March 2-3 with sponsorship from the Confucius Institute for Ireland. The field now expanded to 48 players of 11 nationalities, ranked 6 dan to 20 kyu. In the first round Roman Pszonka lost to the 6-dan, Hungary's Csaba Mero, who had won the 1st Confucius Cup last year. Csaba then beat the eventual 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 6th placers -- Zebin Du (China), Antoine Fenech (France), Brunner Vit (Czechia), and Renaud Julien (France) -- in succession to take first place, while Roman placed eighth. The key game was Csaba's half-point victory over Zebin Du in round 2. Two kyu-level players, Roger Daniel (UK) and Mikulas Kubita (Czechia) also finished unbeaten. Full results are here.
This year's European Youth Go Championship, held at the Budai Sport Hotel in Budapest March 8-10, was again dominated by Eastern European players. As last year, they won all three divisions: under 20, under 16, and under 12.
Seventeen youths from ten different countries competed in the U20 division. Slovak champion Pavol Lisy (6d) started out by beating Germany's Jonas Welticke (4d) and Israel's Ali Jabarin (6d) in rounds 1 and 2. Then he disposed of last year's winner and runner-up Lukas Podpera (6d, Czechia) and Aleksandr Vashurov (5d, Russia) in rounds 3 and 4, and finished by beating Frantisek Caha (5k, Czechia) and Dominik Boviz (3d, Hungary) to win the championship with a perfect 6-0 score. His opponents came in 5th, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 9th, and 6th, respectively.
The U16 championship was contested by 47 players. Nearly a third were Hungarian, but it was Stepan Popov (3d, Russia) and Silvestru State (1d, Romania) who ended on top with identical 5-1 scores. Stepan had beaten Silvestru in round 2 and took first place on tie-breaking points despite losing his final game to Vjacheslav Kajmin (2d, Russia), who took third place. For Stepan it was a case of coming through on the third try: he had finished second in 2011 and 2012.
The U12 division had 64 contestants, with large blocs from Russia, Hungary, and the Ukraine. Valerii Krushelnytskyi (1d, Ukraine), the only dan-ranked player, defeated five Russian opponents and one Romanian opponent to finish first with a perfect 6-0 record for the second consecutive year.
By winning the U16 and U12 divisions, Stepan and Valerii earned berths in the World Youth Go Championship scheduled for August in Praha.
There was also a U99 McMahon side tournament, won by the Ukraine's Viktor Redila (8k).
Complete results, pictures, and further information are available at the tournament website.
Will some future history of go in the Netherlands refer to this decade, and perhaps several decades to come, as the Kuin dynasty? This year Merlijn and Marika Kuin, the Netherlands' outstanding go-playing couple, won both the Dutch Championship and the Dutch Women's Championship, as they also did in 2011. This was Merlijn's fifth championship and Marika's third.
The Dutch Championship was an 8-round Swiss system with 16 contestants, played at the European Go Cultural Centre in Amstelveen over a span of two weeks in January. Reigning champion Alexander Eerbeek and 2010 champion Geert Groenen got off to bad starts by losing their first games. So did Zeno van Ditzhuijzen, whose victory over Merlijn Kuin last year had given the 2012 championship to Alexander. Zeno then made a splended recovery by winning all seven of his remaining games, including another victory over Merlijn in round 5. This was Merlijn's only loss, so he and Zeno finished in a 1-2 tie with seven wins apiece while Frank Janssen took undisputed third place with six wins. Since the Dutch Championship is not awarded on the basis of tie-breaking points, a best-of-three playoff between Merlijn and Zeno was scheduled for mid-February.
While the championship rounds were finishing up on January 26-27, Marika Kuin sailed undefeated through the Dutch Women's Championship, as she also did in 2011 and 2012. Marieke Overbeek took second place with four wins in this 5-round, 8-player Swiss system. Please read Marika's perspective here. The championship playoff was held with live coverage on EuroGoTV. Merlijn won the first game, played at the EGCC on February 16, by resignation. Next day the playoff moved to the Hotel Theater Figi in Zeist and Merlijn won again, this time by 2.5 points. Full results of both championships, with clickable game records of the playoff (bekijk partij), are available here.