European Congress

British Go Journal No. 60. September 1983. Page 4.

Ian Meiklejohn describes his view of the action.

On paper this years European Championships held on native soil at Edinburghs Pollock Halls of Residence seemed to hold out reasonable prospects of a home victory. In the absence of previous champions such as Mattern, Isele, and notably Schlemper, it looked as if our own ex-champion Matthew Macfadyen, or Terry Stacey would have a good chance of stopping the foreigners moaning about our gradings once and for all.

Alas, however, it was not to be. A black horse, in the form of 29 year old Pole Janusz Kraszek, swept through the field to record a perfect 9/9 and put Polish Go firmly on the map. For the first time in recent years, the tournament was run on the MacMahon system, an experiment which a number of the 2- and 3- dans eagerly exploited to discomfit their seniors. It also ensured that Kraszek played and beat almost all his nearest rivals.

In fact British hopes were to take an early knock when Terry only just contrived a jigo with Frenchman Jean Michel in the first round, and Matthew lost to the lone German representative Stefan Budig in round 2 ("falling asleep while killing a group").

Budig, incidentally, who finished with a respectable 5 points, played all his games listening to rock cassettes on his Walkman. Our own Mark Hall tried the same approach substituting baroque cello music, but with rather less success.

The other pre-tournament favourite, Robert Rehm, also lost an early game, to his compatriot Peter Zandveld, whilst the French Champion, Moussa, had a disastrous start and had to wait until he met a shodan (me) in round 4 before notching his first win.

In the meantime Kraszek was continuing to dispose of his opponents with alarming ease and regularity. When in rounds 5 and 6 he beat Terry and Matthew it was all over bar the prize-giving. Terry subsequently had a second jigo (with Rehm - the game is later in this issue), whilst Matthew, who seemed bent on turning all his games into whole board semeais, lost most of his groups against Pierre Colmez.

Thus, when the smoke cleared, Kraszek was a handsome 2 points clear of Terry, with Matthew and Pierre Colmez tied for third place on 6 points, and Rehm and Michel sharing fifth on 5.5 wins.

None of the other British dan players managed exactly to set the heather on fire, though Harold Lee, Piers Shepperson and I did manage 6 wins. Local 9 kyu Jim Cook scored a noteworthy 7 wins, in between operating the results service on a word processor, whilst a certain Austrian 3 kyu called Mueller was only stopped in the last round by a 2 dan - you have been warned.

Outside the main tournament there were two lightning tournaments, both won by Robert Rehm, and an occasional handicap tournament in which Mark Hall scored the highest number of wins (18) and 8 kyu John Owen had the best percentage (8/10)

The weekend tournament was won by a formidably strong Korean called Yoon, one of a party from Korea which included two professionals, and some of whom played a few games in the main tournament as well. The tournament was further graced by the presence of three Chinese professionals, but the star instructor was without doubt Mr. Noriyuki Nakayama 5 dan from the Nihon Kiin whose amazing game commentaries, delivered in a witty farrago of different European languages, did much to enliven the tournament.

In between teaching games, the professionals staged what is believed to have been the first ever match between Chinese and Korean professionals (actually the Chinese were not technically professional, but it comes to much the same - Ed.). The two round double header ended in a diplomatic 2-2 draw.

Andrew Grant and Richard Granville performed Herculean feats in running the event virtually unassisted, although they should surely have been afforded greater help, and the organisation did occasionally creak at the seams. Harold Lee also deserves a mention in despatches for arranging some highly satisfactory cheap alternative accommodation.

A book consisting largely of games from the tournament is being compiled by the BGA, and may help to recoup some of the financial losses. Details of this will follow.


This article is from the British Go Journal Issue 60
which is one of a series of back issues now available on the web.

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