The 21st European Go Congress

23.07.1977-06.08.1977, Rijswijk, Netherlands

The Congress in Rijswijk was a Congress for Go players who wanted to play Go. It was almost rainy and gloomy weather every day. The nearby park was nice and quiet and the food sober. The closest pinball machine was at least two kilometers away and pubs with terraces were nowhere to be found. The apres-Go mainly consisted of more Go. The participants, around 150, could participate in many tournaments and other events. The emphasis was clearly on the Main Tournament and the European Championship. Both tournaments were smoothly organised and were played under ideal conditions.

Championship Group

This year the European Championship was surprisingly won by Wolfgang Isele from Germany. In the end he appeared to be the strongest in an eleven-man strong competition with players from Germany, Netherlands, France, Austria, Yugoslavia, England and for the first time ever, Russia. Initially the favourites for the title were Helmut Hasibeder and Michael Katscher. Also people expected a lot from Valery Astasjkin from Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) and at least one Dutchman expected Robert Rehm to win the trip to Japan (first prize).

After a few rounds it was clear that of these four people only Hasibeder was a strong contender for the title. Katscher never recovered from an unnecessary loss in the first round against Isele. Rehm spoiled his chances by losing to Schlemper in the first and to Isele in the second round. Astasjkin didn't appear to be as strong as expected. Especially, the fast pace of three hours per person per game Astasjkin couldn't handle (in Russia six hours per is usual).

Of the other contenders it were mainly Isele and Ronald Schlemper who played very well. Schlemper only lost against Hasibeder and Moussa, while Isele's only defeat was against Schlemper. However, the lead was in firm hands of Hasibeder, with two rounds to play. Isele was one point behind and Schlemper one more behind.

Everybody expected Hasibeder to win the title and that Isele and Schlemper had to play a decider for the second place. However, Rehm got back to his old form in the penultimate round. He totally outplayed Hasibeder, but, after a series of severe endgame mistakes, Hasibeder just barely managed to turn the game into a jigo. Isele simply won, which meant that the last round would be decisive. Of the two Isele better dealt with his nerves in that and thus became champion. With his third place, Schlemper, who just was promoted to four dan, lived up to his expectations. Rehm was disappointing and finished with Astasjkin on a shared 6th place.

 Pl Name                 Str Co    1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9    10   11  Pt 
  1 Isele, Wolfgang       4d Ger   9+   7+  11+  10+   4+   8+   3-  --    5+   6+   2+  9  
  2 Hasibeder, Helmut     5d Aut   5+  10+  --    9+   3+  11+   6+   4+   8+   7=   1-  8.5
  3 Schlemper, Ronald     4d Nld   7+  --    5-   6+   2-   9+   1+  11+  10+   4+   8+  8  
  4 Macfadyen, Matthew    4d Gbr  10+   6+   8+   7+   1-   5-  --    2-   9+   3-  11+  6  
  5 Moussa, Andre         4d Fra   2-   8+   3+  11=  10+   4+   9-   7-   1-  --    6+  5.5
  6 Astasjkin, Valery     5d Rus  --    4-   9+   3-  11+  10-   2-   8+   7+   1-   5-  4  
  7 Rehm, Robert          4d Nld   3-   1-  10+   4-   8=  --   11+   5+   6-   2=   9-  4  
  8 Bizjak, Igor          4d Yug  11+   5-   4-  --    7=   1-  10+   6-   2-   9+   3-  3.5
  9 Katscher, Michael     5d Ger   1-  11+   6-   2-  --    3-   5+  10-   4-   8-   7+  3  
 10 Castledine, Brian     4d Gbr   4-   2-   7-   1-   5-   6+   8-   9+   3-  11+  --   3  
 11 Wolter, Berndt        4d Ger   8-   9-   1-   5=   6-   2-   7-   3-  --   10-   4-  0.5

Main Tournament

The Main Tournament was one big MacMahon tournament with hundred participants, ranging from three dan to 25 kyu. The winner of this tournament qualifies for next year's European Championship.

In the first group (2 dan - 3 dan) Jerome Hubert of France was the strongest. His supremacy was unchallenged, after eight of nine rounds, he already was certain of winning. In the second group (1 dan) Willem Knoop (Nld) won (7-2) ahead of Rob Koopman (6-3). In group three (1 kyu) the dutch were almighty. In the lower sections some people look as if they make a sport of claiming a lower level than their real strength. A striking example in the group of 7 kyu, which was won by a German 11 kyu.

Other events

In the first weekend a match between Japan and Europe was won by Japan. In the second weekend the European Team Champion was held, but almost all players prefered to spend the weekend in Amsterdam. It was won by Netherlands I, consisting of Rob van Vulpen, 3d, Rob Koopman, 1d, and Adam Pirani, 1d from... England! Adam Pirani is twelve years old and one of the most promising players (1 dan within one year).

In the afternoon and evenings games were played for the continous handicap tournament. Rehm and Bizjak challenged everyone who they could find to play a handicap game. Eventually it was Rehm who the first prize for most won games and Peter Zandveld won the prize for the best percentage.

Two lightning tournaments were held, the first was won by Hasibeder and the second one by Schlemper. Last but not least, a 'gezellig' rengo tournament was held which was won by the 'Keima Kunstler' (Katscher, Wolter, Isele).

The Rest

Further there were some seminars; the most interesting was by Astasjikin about Go in Russia. Amongst other things, he told that it was common to play once every fortnight a game of six hours per person, with the obligation of making an extended commentary after the game, which had to be typed on at least two sheets of paper. About strategy: most common in Russia is to play for large territories.

The closing ceremony speech was made by president of FIDE (International Chess Federation) Max Euwe, former world chess champion. Euwe stressed in his speech the necessity of coorporation between the different mind sports, after wich the prizegiving followed with loads of fine prizes.

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