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Jan Simara, European Go Champion 2012The European Go Congress was held at Bonn, Germany from July 21 to August 5. Among the over 600 participating players, three 7-dan visitors from Korea stood out. In the 10-round main tournament, Song Jun-Hyup finished first (undefeated), Kim Young-Sam second (losing only to Song), and Ryu Seung-Hee fourth (she lost only to Song, Kim, and Germany’s Zhao Pei). In the five-round weekend tournament, Song finished first (again undefeated), Kim second, and Ryu fifth. Song also won the six-round rapid tournament and the 13 x 13 tournament, and Kim won the lightning tournament, while Ryu took third place in the rapid and second place in the lightning event. In addition, Song and Ryu teamed with Korean 5-dan Choi Woon-Sub to win the rengo tournament.

But that is not the whole story. There were two team tournaments: the Pandanet team tournament, which the Russian team of Ilya Shikshin, Alexander Dinerchstein, Dimitri Surin, Oleg Mezhov, and Alexei Lazarev won by edging out the Czech team of Ondrej Silt, Jan Simara, Jan Prokop, Jan Hora, and Lukas Podpera on tie-breaking points; and the Itemis team tournament, won by a Polish team led by Mateusz Surma. And there were two pair tournaments: an open tournament won by German 4-dan Manja Marz and Chang Huai-Yi, a 3-dan pro from Taipei; and a handicap tournament won by Russians Marina Popova and Alexey Kholomkin.

Returning to individual competition, German 4-dan Jonas Welticke won the handicap tournament and the Sanjang Baduk tournament (go with traditional Korean rules), and German-Canadian 4-dan Oliver Wolf (age 13) won the youth and children’s tournament.

In man-machine competition, Romanian 5-dan pro Catalin Taranu gave Crazy Stone a four-stone handicap on a 19 x 19 board, winning one game and losing another, while Japanese 6-dan amateur Noguchi Motoki, playing even against Zen, split two games on a 13 x 13 board and lost twice on a 9 x 9 board.

Throughout the congress, Catalin and a host of professional attendees from the Far East, including the legendary Chinese star Nie Weiping, were busy giving lessons and lectures and commenting on games. But that is still not the whole story.

For top European players, the most important event of all was the European Championship, a three-round playoff among the eight European players with the best scores at the end of the seventh round of the main tournament. The eight qualifiers were Ilya Shikshin (Russia), Cornel Burzo (Romania), Ondrej Silt (Czechia), Thomas Debarre (France), Antti Tormanen (Finland), Pavol Lisy (Slovakia), Jan Simara (Czechia), and Mateusz Surma (Poland). Thomas, Pavol, and Mateusz are still in their teens, and Ilya and Antti are in their early twenties, but youth did not prevail. The winner was Jan Simara, who defeated last year’s champion Ilya Shikshin in the final game after having lost to him in the seventh round of the main tournament. Pavol Lisy beat Thomas Debarre in the playoff for third place.

An interview with Jan Simara can be read here. Fuurther results and photographs can be accessed through the EGC website.

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