The European Professional Championship 2019 was held from the 6th to the 8th of March in Jena, Germany. It is a annual tournament for professional Go players living in Europe.
The tournament was organized by
in cooperation with the EGF. So before we start with the tournament itself, let me say a few words about JIGS.
JIGS stands for Jena international Go school. It's an unique project that aims to help players of any age or level to improve their go skills. Various kinds of
are offered. What is the most impressive feature for me is that children from abroad can come to Jena and combine studying at a regular school with studying go! At the time tournament took place there were 2 kids studying under this program: Elian Ioan Grigoriu 5d from Romania and Virzhinia Shalneva 4d from Russia. They study in a German school like all the other kids, meanwhile they also have an intensive program of go study.
JIGS students stay at the JIGS house. Some of the European Pro Championship participants including me stayed there for the duration of the tournament. My impression was: "this is such luxury". It's a 3-storey house with sleeping rooms, a living room, a spacious kitchen and even a sauna!
Usually we had a dinner all together. More and more players were coming each day, in the end we were around 20!
It was my pleasure to stay at the JIGS house. After the games, of course we players were tired, but still we could review our games with AI or play some multi-player Go just for fun (2 vs 2, 3 vs 3). On one of the evenings we used a projector and enjoy watching a Champions League football match on a big screen, almost like in a cinema.
Relaxing after a hard tournament day
For the moment there are 2 teachers in the JIGS: Manja Marz 4d and Kim Youngsam 8d. You can imagine it's not so easy to organize a project like that, and they also organized the pro championship and the weekend tournament. In my opinion they are doing a great job!
European Professional Championship This year it was only the EGF certified professionals who agreed to play in the European Pro Championship. So, here is the list of the participants:
Apart from rather good prize-money, this tournament has something else to fight for. The European Pro Championship is used as a qualification tournament to select 3 players for the european team in the Chinese C League . There will be 1 additional player who gets a wild-card from the chinese sponsors of the team. Last year it was Ilya, Pavol and me who were selected through the pro championship, while Mateusz got a wild-card. Me, Andrii and Mateusz arrived to Jena 2 days before the tournament, so we had a free day before the tournament to take a rest after the trip. During that day we had a walk. We randomly pointed at some castle on the map, and the road took us out of the city. For me it was relaxing to go up to the hill and then to go back to the city through the fields.
Jena is surrounded with beautiful hills. In the middle you can see a high building called Jena Tower - we played our tournament there!
The tournament started next day in the morning with the lottery for the order of the players. In the round robin system there is a standard pairing schedule. For example, with 6 players it's 1-4, 2-5, 3-6 in the first round. So we just had to decide who is number 1, 2, etc.
Pairing for the next 5 rounds was decided after the lottery
I felt like I got a tough pairing for the first day: Pavol and Ilya. They took first and second places in almost all of the major tournaments last year, so naturally I considered them as the hardest opponents. The first game in a tournament is usually the hardest one for me, because the mind is not yet running in "tournament" mode, you still need to get into the correct gear. Probably it's the same for other players too. Ilya started his game against me by getting a terrible result in the first fight. His corner was completely surrounded, and he even had to add a move there to survive. After that he fought a lot, but I tried not to give any chances. I think I managed the game well. At some point I played too confidently and he was able to create a large moyo. When I played at the edge of it, he managed to cut off my group, and there the real complications started. I felt like he had a chance in that fight, but probably didn't play the best moves. Luckily, my group was not only able to survive, but also to destroy a large part of his moyo. That was the final and deciding success, for of course he couldn't catch up after that. In this article I will post only my final game, as there are too many games played in this tournament. They are all interesting and you can find all of them at the tournament page . Just click on the intersection in the tournament table. By the way, there was a twitch broadcast this time, and it seems like the Grand Slam is planning to have one as well. In the other 2 games Mateusz won against Pavol, Andrii beated Ali.
Ali Jabarin 2p
The next round I played with Pavol. It was a typical game against Pavol: a complicated fight from the start, running groups, some ko. This time I managed to fight well. In the end I had a very good position, but I let my opponent start unnecessary complications again. A big group of mine was in real danger of dying, but fortunately there was a sequence to save it. After I survived with my group and killed my opponent's one, he resigned. In parallel Ilya won against Ali, Andrii beat Mateusz.
Andrii Kravets 1p
So, the first day of the tournament turned out to be a succesful one for the players from Ukraine. Both me and Andrii got 2 victories from 2 games, and the next morning we had to play each other. In my game with Andrii, he built up a lot of real territory at the start. To counteract this I tried to create as much territory as possible from my side that was still untouched. When Andrii approached my side, he did not play in the best way, ending up with gote and an overconcentrated position. Later he also invaded incorrectly and I managed to close a large territory on the remaining part of the side. Later in the endgame I was ahead, and he didn't manage to get closer. In the game between Mateusz and Ali all the time it seemed like Mateusz was leading. But when I came by at the end of the game, Mateusz's group was somehow dead. Seems like he gave away a game that was promising. In the game between Pavol and Ilya it was a complicated fight all the time, no surprise! I estimated that for most of the time it was good for Ilya, but somehow Pavol managed to fight back and at some point it became good for him. I guess that later Pavol made some mistakes in the early endgame, and so Ilya won by 2.5.
Ilya Shikshin 3p
My next opponent was Mateusz. I played very thick in the opening and he was definitely ahead on points. At some point he had a weak group right next to my thickness. I felt like it was necessary for him to protect it, and then I could reduce his large territorial framework. Like this I imaged that the game was fine for me. But he made a kind of move that I think is one of his favourites: he left the weak group defenceless and protected his moyo, which now resembled instead a huge territory. I launched an attack, but he was able to survive. IT seems like the game was still not lost for me, but I didn't manage to break into his moyo, and it ended up being a huge territory. Later he played better endgame and I resigned. Andrii lost his game against Ilya, because he got himself killed at the start of the game. Pavol won his game againt Ali in a dramatic fight.
Pavol Lisy 2p
So, there was just 1 game left to play for us next morning. Me and Ilya had 3 wins, Mateusz and Andrii had 2, whilst Pavol and Ali 1. In my game with Ali I created a large moyo and attacked a group to enclose it. I think we both made mistakes, but in general the game was going well for me. At some point my moyo got too deep, and Ali invaded. I think I reacted not in the best way, and so he got a good chance to settle right inside my moyo. But at that time both of us were running out of time already, and he didn't play well. He didn't die with the group that invaded, but died with the neighbouring corner in order to save that group. Then he ran out with his group from my moyo, but in a really heavy manner. He tried to cut off my group, but it was a desperate try and the position got only worse for him. Soon after that he resigned.
Artem Kachanovskyi 2p (me)
In the game between Andrii and Pavol it was a mess from the start, and Pavol got into trouble early on. He died with the stones that were cutting 3 groups of Andrii's, if I remember well. After this he tried hard and was catching up, but Andrii somehow hung on to win just by halfpoint. The game between Mateusz and Ilya I didn't really follow, but Mateusz won that one.
Mateusz Surma 2p
So the winner of the tournament was me, the only player with 4 wins after the 5 rounds. Places 2-4 were shared by Ilya, Mateusz and Andrii as they all had 3 wins. Pavol and Ali had 1 win in the end. Pavol took 5th place because he beat Ali in their game.
White circles are victories, black ones are defeats
The only problem was that we had to nominate 3 players for our team in the Chinese C League. It means that among players who took places 2-4 we needed to choose only 2 of them. For such situation there was a solution prepared in advance - blitz games! First one was played between Ilya and Andrii. Ilya won. Then Andrii played Mateusz, and Mateusz won. So now it was clear - Ilya and Mateusz join the C League team.
Having some fun in 2 vs 2 game while waiting for the closing ceremony
President of EGF (Martin Stiassny) with a happy winner Artem Kachanovskyi 2p
(photos by Harry van der Krogt, Martin Stiassny, Antonius Claasen).
Weekend tournament At the weekend me, Mateusz, Ali and Pavol kept playing - there was a weekend tournament called " Jena tournament ". Kim Seongjin 8d and Kim Youngsam 8d joined the tournament too, so it was not easy for us - especially after playing one tournament right before. Nevertheless, Mateusz continued to put in a great performance. In the semi-final he beat Youngsam. In the final game against Seongjin, Mateusz was doing really well. He was ahead on points as usual, and all that was left for him to do was to reduce the center. It seemed like he didn't even have to reduce it that much, but he went too deep and suddenly Seongjin found a way to cut off Matesz's invasion through ko. That was too bad for Mateusz, and he could not catch up after that.
Winners of the Jena tournament
Photoalbum (photos by Harry van der Krogt).