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2nd Quzhou-Lanke Cup
By Stanisław Frejlak | International | 04.05.2024 14:35| Views: 1003
In the last week of April, the Quzhou-Lanke Cup took place, marking the second edition of this prestigious world competition. The city of Quzhou, known for its strong emphasis on go development, has been a host for various events in recent years. Followers of news on the EGF website may recall the 2021 European Grand Slam tournament, which was dubbed the "Lanke Cup", as well as the world team youth competition held in Quzhou last year. Additionally, in the past half year a group of European dan players participated in the CEGO program at the Ge Yuhong Academy in Quzhou.

The Quzhou-Lanke Cup is one of top events where European players have the opportunity to compete against top players from the Far East. While only one player from Europe was invited to the inaugural edition last year, this time, Europe got the right to send two representatives. Thanks to our good performances in last year's tournaments, Mateusz Surma, 3p, and I, Stanisław Frejlak, 1p, were selected. Similarly, the North American Go Federation sent two professionals: Ryan Li, 4p, and Alexander Qi, 1p.

I arrived in Quzhou on Monday, April 22nd, after my connecting flight was canceled due to a tornado. Fortunately, I had planned to travel two days in advance, so I felt refreshed and ready for the opening ceremony on Tuesday. Just before the ceremony, I met Mateusz, who had just arrived. He hadn't had any extra time to adjust to the time difference, having played in the Ing Cup in Jena just three days prior. You can read more about that competition in this article.

 
Drawing pairings for the 1st round...

During the opening ceremony, we got to know our opponents for the following day and enjoyed a traditional dance performance. What do you think, how do professionals spend a day before a competition? Try to relax? Actually, I found myself seated behind Yang Dingxin, 9p, and saw how he solves life and death problems in the 101weiqi app.
Mateusz Surma, 3p, playing against Gu Lingyi, 7p

World-class tournaments like these always pose significant challenges for Western players. They typically employ a knockout system and most often, we get eliminated after the first round.

This time, Alex Qi had the best prospects among us. Alex, a rising star who turned professional just two years ago, has already qualified for several top world tournaments. However, his game ended dramatically with his oversight in a very close endgame position.
Stanisław Frejlak, 1p, playing against Choi Myunghoon, 9p

Unfortunately, both Mateusz and I were also eliminated in the first round. Following our losses, we chose different continuations. Mateusz hurried back to Europe to participate in the Prague Tournament. It was an excellent choice as the field in Prague was exceptionally strong this year. On the other hand, I reached out to a teacher from the Ge Yuhong Academy in Quzhou. The teacher still remembered me from the times when I participated in the CEGO programs. He graciously welcomed me to stay at the school for a week.

Returning to the rigorous training regime I had embraced six years ago was a rewarding experience. I engaged in matches with strong Chinese kids, solved life and death problems, and attended lectures. For me, the highlight of my training was two lessons delivered by Yang Dong, 4p. As it happens, teacher Yang also competed in the Quzhou-Lanke Cup. Moreover, he was the opponent of Alex Qi in the aforementioned breathtaking match. In the second round, he faced Iyama Yuta, 9p, where he also managed to put on a fascinating fight. Unfortunately, teacher Yang lost this game, so on the next day he was back in the school, correcting pupils' life and death problems. Then, during the afternoon sessions, he reviewed both of his games for us, sharing his thoughts, judgements and the variations he read.

I think that participating in a top competition like the Quzhou-Lanke Cup provides invaluable learning opportunities. With longer time settings, we have the chance to truly try our best against stronger opponents. Unfortunately, this time, the disparity between European and Asian players proved to be significant once again.

You can see results of the tournament here. So far, the first stage of the competition has concluded. The final three rounds will happen in summer this year.
Participants of the 2nd Quzhou-Lanke Cup
2nd Quzhou-Lanke Cup
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