Hopefully, soon we can meet and play a game of Go again. Until that time comes, what we do have is online tournaments. Many of them are so bright, that I thought it's a nice idea to share with you some of the news about the biggest European online Go events.
Corona CupA tournament with 361 participants. Wonderful number, isn't it? Not only that this is extremely many players for a tournament, but also this number has to instantly trigger something in a Go player's mind. You know what I mean.
The Corona Cup took place on the KGS from 23 March till 3 May. The winner was Kim Youngsam 8d (South Korea).
The tournament was organized by a well-known European Go player - Lukas Podpera 7d (Czechia). I would like to say thank you to him for bringing us such a nice opportunity to play and at least meet online.
Tournament table in the EGD.
Pandanet Go European Team ChampionshipThe PGETC online league takes place from September till May on the Pandanet Go Server. Then the top four teams meet in the face-to-face Final.
The last round on 12 May was dramatic, as usually. France and Russia were already qualified for the Final. Czechia had 12 points, Ukraine and Romania both had 10 points. Czechia had to play Romania, while Ukraine met the team of Israel.
After we tied with Israel 2-2, it was only left to watch the Czechia-Romania encounter. If Romania won, then Ukraine would be out of the Final for the first time. Luckily, this time our friends from Czechia helped us.
Believe me, it was a worrying moment for me to observe how Lukas Podpera 7d (Czechia), playing against Christian Pop 7d (Romania), died during the endgame in the corner in which he had to kill his opponent...
Here is that moment. Black to play.
And here is what Lukas played. After move 173 white has a brilliant tesuji at 174, and nothing can save black anymore. That's a difference of more than 20 points.
What is the correct move for black instead? I will leave this question unanswered, I believe you can find it by yourself. Anyway, it seems like Lukas was so much ahead in that game, that he won it anyway by a few points.
In the end Czechia won 3-1, and here are the top four teams that enter the Final:
It's not yet decided if the Final will be face-to-face or not. We have to wait for that decision.
More details can be found at the PGETC webpage.
European Professional Online Go LeagueThis project is special. Usually it's EGF, or some private organizers, who are running the tournaments or Go events. And we, players, just play.
In this case it was an initiative of the EGF professional players. We had to wear several hats at once, being both: tournament directors, organizers, technical staff, players.
The idea was to play online, and at the same time to comment on the EGF Twitch channel: two pros play, while the third one comments the game live. This would let the obervers to enjoy both the game and the professional commentaries. The games had to be at a time that would be comfortable for the viewers to come and watch us playing: we would have to play regularly on the weekends, always at the same time.
If we ask what the purpose of this project is, then we can answer that there are several of them.
As we are professional players, Go is the way to make money for us. Naturally, this is one of the main goals. By creating a high-quality online Go content we hope to find a sponsor for our league. Except that, we give an opportunity for people to donate money: they can support us if they like the job we do. That is a kind of sponsorship as well. So, we started the project without any initial financial support, and the idea was to make the project as good as possible.
Except the money, of course we also get some playing practice. For us professional players it's very important.
One more thing is publicity, or advertisement: while people watch our streams, maybe some of them would get a wish to contact us for the private lessons.
Such goals as developing European Go, and providing educational material for the people, are reached along the way, naturally.
We had approximately 200 ~ 250 viewers during our streams, which seems to be good for a Go-related content. We got some financial support as donations from the viewers, but of course we hope for amount of this support to grow.
The first season of the League is now finished. We played a round-robin, after which there was a semi-final and final. In the final I won against Pavol Lisy 2p (Slovakia) 3 - 0. He was rather unfortunate in the games 2 and 3. Leading during most of the game, Pavol was not able to avoid complications, and lost those games.
Here is the last game of the final:
We plan to continue the project. Definitely we will make some changes, but it's not yet decided what exactly we will change. In the same way, athough we decided to have a second season, we didn't decide when it will start. Probably it will be in the second half of June. Of course, we have some new ideas after the experience of the first season, but please wait for all the information to be published.
One more plan is to create a youtube channel and to store our videos there. Then all the materials would be available for viewing at any time.
You can find all the details, including results table and the game records, on the League webpage.