All eyes are on Mateusz Surma, who will face his third opponent in the Transatlantic Professional Go Team Championship coming Sunday 21st of April, 20:00 Central European Time.
The Polish 2 dan go professional defeated Andy Liu 1p, deemed by many as the strongest professional to come forth from the AGA pro-certification, in the first round of this new championship between the EGF and the AGA professionals. The match was a treat for the viewers, who could follow it live on the Twitch channel of the American Go Association and the Kiseido Go Server: complicated fights, many kos and a miraculous comeback formed the ingredients for a gripping go battle that nobody could fail to be rooted to the screen by.
The victory earned Surma the right to stay seated, pairing him against the next American challenger, Calvin Sun 1p. On Sunday 14th of April, the match reached its climax around the stroke of midnight, when Calvin Sun was forced to resign. The majority of the game revolved around a struggle in the centre of the board and had turned sour for Sun when he played a time-suji that turned out to be the losing move. Surma skillfully ignored it and cut off half of a giant group, leaving it with just one eye.
Mateusz Surma 2p will face Gansheng Shi 1p next. A prize money of 10.000 euros for the winning team is on the line. We talked to Mateusz about the tournament so far and his expectations for the next match:
Congratulations on winning two games in a row against the American team!
What did you expect from this championship and how do you feel now?
Mateusz: Thank you. I expected a tough and interesting tournament. I remember that a few years ago there were talks between the AGA and the EGF about the organisation of a tournament between the American and European pros with face to face matches, perhaps taking place on Iceland. Unfortunately this kind of tournament didn't happen, but I'm happy that a solution was found in the form of this online championship and that there are nice prizes (if the games were held offline, transport, accommodation and visas would haven taken up a big part of the budget). I feel good that I somehow managed to win the first two games and I will do my best to win the next games too.
What did you know about your first opponent Andy Liu 1p before the match and could you describe your match against him?
Mateusz: I knew that he is a strong player. We met during the preliminaries for the Sankei Cup in Osaka a few years ago, where Andy won all three games and qualified for the main tournament.
In our Transatlantic match I felt like I was losing after the opening. Then I thought I came back in the early middle game and that I was leading slightly, but when I analysed the game with Leela afterwards it turned out that I had just a 20% winning percentage. At the end of the middle game, when I started reducing his territory (move 136) and he tried to kill me instead of blocking, I felt like I would win the game.
Could you describe your second match against Calvin Sun 1p?
Mateusz: When I created the wall in the opening, on the right side of the board, I felt comfortable. Later some complicated fighting occurred and I thought I could handle it, but it was a close game. When I was able to jump into white's territory at the top (move 109), I was definitely ahead. When Calvin played a threat to gain thinking time in byo-yomi (move 114), I cut off his group from the other side: my aim was to kill the group, although I realised there was still aji in my position and I anticipated a possible X-step-ko for the entire centre. Fortunately, it turned out fine for me.
What do you expect of your next match against Gansheng Shi 1p?
Mateusz: I expect an interesting game and to hopefully win, of course! In 2012/2013 Gansheng and I studied in the same go school in Korea, the Choong-Am Baduk Dojang, for a few months. During that time we played in the same group and faced each other on several occassions. As I remember he played very well during fights. I don't know which of us won more games when we played against each other, but I think my chances are about 50-50.
Thank you. We wish you a great match on Sunday!
Transatlantic Go Round 1 - Andy Liu 1p vs Mateusz Surma 2pDownload Sgf-File
Transatlantic Go Round 2 - Mateusz Surma 2p vs Calvin Sun 1pDownload Sgf-File
Missed the live broadcast? The videos can be watched here:
Game 1 on YouTube - Andy Liu 1p versus Mateusz Surma 2p
Game 2 on Twitch - Mateusz Surma 2p versus Calvin Sun 1p
Video recap of the first two games by Hajin Lee 4p on Facebook
For more information, visit the official webpage of the Transatlantic Professional Go Team Championship.