Pandanet European Go Team Championship has been held in Europe since 2010. There are two stages in this competition: online league and face-to-face final. The online league is open to all European countries. It lasts from September till the May of the following year and consists of several separate leagues: A, B, C, and D. Each league has 10 teams participating in it, and round robin system is used. According to the final results of each league, two top teams go one league up in the next season, while two teams which finished last go one league down. Naturally, in league A top teams do not go up, as there is no next league. Instead, four top teams from the A league meet in the face-to-face final in July. The final is held right before the European Go Congress at the congress venue. The winner is announced the European Team Champion. Of course, there is also generous prize money for the participants of the final. You can find more information at the competition webpage.
This year it was the first time when the organizers changed the structure of the competition. The qualification to the face-to-face final was different. There were two separate qualification tournaments, held live. Half of the A league teams participated in one tournament, while the other half participated in the other. Additionally, two top teams from the B league joined the competition. Teams which finished higher in the online league started with more points in the qualification tournament, thus having an advantage. From each of the qualification tournaments, two teams with the highest score were selected for the final.
The first qualification tournament was held in Palic, Serbia on June 14–16. France and Hungary started the tournament having two points, as they finished second and third in the online league. Romania and Israel started with one point. Austria and Serbia were the two top teams from the B league and started with zero points. The teams played each other in round robin system. France was undefeated and finished first, having drawn against Hungary and Serbia. Romania was second with three wins, having one draw against Israel and one loss against France.
The second qualification tournament was held soon after the first one in Kostelec nad Ohri, Czechia on June 19–21. Russia and Ukraine started with 2 points, as they finished first and fourth in the online league. Czechia and Poland started with 1 point, while Germany and Italy had zero points as the two teams finishing last in the online league. Same as in the previous qualification tournament, round robin system was used. Ukraine finished first, having four wins and only one draw against Russia. Russia was second, having draws only against Ukraine and Poland.
From the qualifications, four teams qualified to the final: France, Romania, Ukraine, and Russia. The final will take place in Brussels, Belgium on July 19–20.
Report by Artem