All information about the Pro Qualification can be found here.
Special thanks to Harry van der Krogt for the majority of the photographs, more can be found here.
16 Players started in the first round playing a Best of Three match to qualify for the quarter-finals.
The pairing was decided according to the rating of the players.
Stanislaw Frejlak 7d from Poland was paired against Alexandr Muromtsev 5d from Russia.
Stanislaw was able to beat the European Under 16 Champion two games to nil, and so managed to qualify for the next round.
Oscar Vázquez 6d played against Viacheslav Kaymin 6d in the first round.
Oscar, who is the European Under-20 champion, needed 3 games to beat Viacheslav 2-1 and so enter the quarter-finals.
Anton Chernykh 5d from Russia faced Benjamin Teuber 6d from Germany in the first round.
Anton only needed 2 games for a place in the quarter-finals.
Benjamin Drean-Guenaizia 6d from France got to play Lucas Neirynck 6d from Belgium.
Benjamin also needed to play just 2 games to win his match against Lucas.
Rob van Zeijst 7d from the Netherlands met Amir Fragman 6d from Israel.
Dominik Boviz 6d from Hungary was paired with Remi Campagnie 6d from France.
Cornel Burzo 6d from Romania faced Jonas Welticke 6d from Germany
Lukáš Podpěra 7d from Czechia got paired against Elian Ioan Grigoriu 6d from Romania.
The games from the first round were broadcast on KGS and commented on Twitch.
6 matches ended in 2-0, resulting in 2 games being played the next morning to decide who would complete the top 8 players.
Results and games can be found here.
The location was in my opinion perfect. Close to a lake, with te opportunity to enjoy a lovely walk in nature, or to visit Leksand, was a really good place for this tournament.
The whole week was a mixture of tense challenges on all boards.
I saw some very good games with all players on an extreme high level of stress and and concentration.
Even though not all games were played on the same high level, the fighting spirit was huge in all, resulting in many close games.
I was lucky and able to be scribe in some exiting games and specially the final between Lukáš and Stanislaw was a real challenge and energy destroyer.
On the first day 2 games were played resulting in a nine hour fight over 2 game with just a break of little over one hour.
The first game saw a match of five hours, many kos being played. resulting in several exchanges and 397 moves being played.
The second game took a little over 4 hours and a lot of fighting resulting in a 0.5 point result.
After the smoke had cleared, and the match score now being 1-1 the scene was set for a decisive third game.
The final game played saw some fighting and Lukáš being forced into a game position he does not like so much, and slowly Stanislaw was able to improve his position move by move and Lukáš had to resign after a big fight for liberties.
And so our new Pro is Stanislaw Frejlak.
After the Match I was able to have a small interview resulting in following ask and answer game:
How relieved were you winning the game best of 3 final and become a pro?For me the crucial moment of the tournament was after losing the first game in the final and playing the second one knowing that if I lose, all is finished.
At that point of the tournament I already had an experience of losing the first game to Oscar in the quarterfinal. I was very disappointed and sad after it. However, I took the whole evening to come to peace with my emotions. When I laid down in bed, I already felt a will to counter-attack Oscar on the next day.
After losing the first game to Lukas I had just one and a half hours before the next round. I had lunch and took my time to walk slowly at the lake shore. When playing the second game I was full of tension but managed to not think about anything else than a position on the board. In the endgame I knew I was behind so I tried to complicate the position a little bit. Lukas didn't manage to stay concentrated and answered a bit inaccurately. This way I got a half point lead. After the game I was exhausted, happy and relieved that I stayed in the final. Whoever wins, the result will be 2:1 which means that it was not a one-sided match.
On the last day I felt much lighter. Also, the game just went pretty well for me from the beginning. I didn't really expect it. When Lukas's position was becoming gradually harder and harder, I just felt unusual. It was difficult for me to internalize the thought that I will become a professional. And also, that Lukas will not make it this year.