Thursday, 25th May 2017
Although today was a sunny holiday, the atmosphere at the European Go Cultural Centre in Amstelveen was the total opposite of a holiday feeling. In the morning, a few dedicated go players were already preparing the equipment for the 60th Amsterdam International Go Tournament, the first round of which was going to start at 17.30. Meanwhile, I was playing the final game of the Dutch Female Go Championship playoff with Justyna Klęczar (2k, Netherlands). Yesterday I lost the first game by 0,5 and Justyna resigned the second one, so the deciding match was quite exciting. Luckily I could win it, and I was so happy that I do not even remember by how many points. We both got called onto the stage during the opening ceremony of the 60th Amsterdam International Go Tournament and received flowers in front of the players who came for the tournament.
Although the main tournament attracted some strong players, Oh Chi-Min was the only 7 dan, followed by three 6 dans, five 5 dans and nine 4 dans. He started the tournament with a short game, as his opponent Matthias Terwey (4d, Germany) resigned within 80 moves, after Oh has cut away his stones.
Friday, 24th May 2017
Today was going to be intense: two games in the main tournament and in the evening three rounds of rapid tournament. It felt even warmer than yesterday, and some go players have already been showing the first signs of sunburn from enjoying cool drinks while reviewing their games outside.
In the second round of the main tournament, one somewhat surprising result was Oscar Vazquez (4d, Spain) beating Sinan Depov (5d, Bulgaria) by three points. Meanwhile Chi-Min Oh (7d, France) has brought Cliff Huang (4d, the Netherlands) to resignation.
The third round was a very special game for Oh Chi-Min and Dominik Boviz, because when I ask them to write their impression about the tournament, they both chose to write about this game. It is so interesting to see the different points of view of the same game.
Oh Chi-Min: “I'd like to tell you something about my third game against Dominik. Until the beginning of the middle game, it was slow and boring and the recorder (Harry) felt asleep. At some point, black (Dominik) played a deep invasion. It forced me to fight back and after that, very complicated battles began. I captured a black dragon so I thought it was over, but I felt so relaxed and it led to my group being captured for free. I made another mistake so it might have been the second death of my big group, but I found a way to save it with a ko. By just one ko threat, I managed to save my group through a huge exchange, which was worth more than 150 points in total. After gaining sente, I began taking big points in yose, and became sure of my victory by a small margin.”
Dominik: “In the game with Oh Chi-Min I didn't feel too good in the beginning, I think I made an early mistake in the beginning by not playing tenuki after I played the kosumi in the upper right corner. Because of this, I had to play a running fight having a pretty weak group, which I didn't really like, but in the end I managed it kind of well, so I was happy with that. In the middle game, I played pretty well, I guess, so I had some small lead, but then started to play too fierce moves and so died in the end. Even though I died, I got some thickness during the fight so I tried to kill one of his three weak groups. After some messy byo-yomi madness from both sides, we ran into a ko, and then we made possibly the biggest trade I have ever had in a tournament. After this, I think I was ahead by something like 2-3 points, but the problem was that I already gave up inside, and then made some silly mistakes in the endgame to lose by 2,5.”
I was one of those opponents and he was right in his description. He has totally destroyed me when he played a throw-in tesuji, thereby saving his 5 stones. capturing 15 of mine and forcing me to connect my two cyclops on the 1st line in gote. I won the second game, but I did not make it to the final, because I lost the third one by half a point.
Saturday, 25th May 2017
This year Amsterdam International Go Tournament started a new tradition of having a female prize. The prize for the strongest lady was 100 euro, and the second and third ones would get vouchers sponsored by Go Shop Keima. Until now, I was counting on the main prize, so I was surprised *not to say disappointed) to suddenly see a female player closer to the first board. It was a great motivation for me to do my best.
In the fourth round, two so far undefeated top players Tanguy Le Calve and Oh Chi-Min had to face each other. It was a slow game, as each player has gone through 84 minutes of his time within the first 100 moves of the game. By then, a fight has emerged, but in the end Tanguy has captured some Oh’s stones in a complicated sequence. After a complex fight, Oh resigned.
After the two games, Roel van Kollem, a professional cook, prepared delicious barbecue and salads for us. While enjoying the meal, Dominik and Jonas were playing with just 1x5 seconds byo-yomi. They were fun and quick games. Sinan was commenting them live and one of his entertaining remarks made everyone burst with laugh: "Are you trying to sacrifice the board?"
After the barbecue, 8 best rapid players played knock-out finals. The first game, Jonas played with Gerard. Had I won by half a point, I would have to play with Jonas again, and at that moment, I was really glad that I had lost the previous day.
The second game, Jonas played with Sinan and they made it into a really spectacular game. This is how Jonas reported from it: “A special game for me was the one against Sinan 5d in the quarterfinal of the Rapid. The start directly was very messy and as we moved into the middle game I started playing more and more tesuji which were again and again worsening his position - at one point though he cut a big group of mine, and attacked it severely. As the crowd grew more and more silent and suspicious of all the bad exchanges I was doing , suddenly I started a forgotten ko possibility. The crowd was left in awe and broke their silence with loud ooh's - my opponent was hard pressed to find an answer. Later in the game I played some non-working ladder in order to kill another group and he resigned. This was probably one of the most adrenaline packed games in my career and the crowd, I believe, helped me a lot. And also this helped me regain some self satisfaction after a lacking performance in the main tournament.
Sunday, 26th May 2017
In the morning, Tanguy Le Calve (6d, France) was paired with Oscar Vazquez (4d, Spain). Oscar had a very good tournament so far, beating four 5 dan players in a row. Oscar had secured two big corners, and then managed to live in the corners of his opponent. At one point of the game, he seemed to be ahead, but then the fight emerged, in which he tried to save his group by capturing Tanguy’s wall. Oscar resigned when he realised he has less liberties and no chances to win the ko.
Meanwhile, to my delight, the female 4 dan player was not there today, so the best female prize was probably going to be mine, regardless of how I was going to play today.
In the last round, Tanguy Le Calve had to face the winner of the rapid tournament, Andrew Huang. Andrew had a difficult beginning, since Tanguy (playing with black) has built a moyo and launched an attack on Andrew’s group, forcing him to make two eyes. Although Andrew put up a nice fight, and has managed to capture some black stones, he still lost the game by 15,5 points.
During the prizegiving ceremony, the audience asked Tanguy Le Calve, the undefeated winner, for a speech. He said: “Thank you, everyone. I’m very tired.” Chi Min-Oh finished second, and Dominik Boviz third.
Outside the top three, there was just one player who has won 6 games: Cyrille Magnac (8k, France); and three players who scored 5 points: Jan Oostenwijk (1k, the Netherlands), Kevin Farrel (8k, Ireland), Frederic Berthomier (2k, France) and Pascal Wezenberg (10k, Belgium).
As for females, I got my best female price! After the tournament, Zoe Constans came to me to show me the drawing she made - she was present during the tournament and was creating hand-drawn pictures of players. Talking to her, and receiving her art was a perfect finish of the tournament!
Summarizing, the players seem to have enjoyed the tournament and the atmosphere, despite the results. Jonas Welticke (6d) says: “Overall the atmosphere in Amsterdam was very nice and the weather was marvelous, I met many new faces and had deep conversations about how perception may interact with the truth and how AI will interact with us in the future - which of course is not only interesting in the alphago context - and what whisky is fitting to which dress! The great food we had at Judith and Harry's place - which were lovingly caring for all of us, the magnificent picture Zoe drew for me, and the beautiful way in which Cesar passed on his joint, were all adding to my heart's content!”. Sinan Djepov (5d) shared: “I loved the tournament and the people, Amsterdam itself is one of the best places I have ever been, I played a very complicated game with Jonas Welticke but I ended up misreading a very tiny situation so I lost, I also lost to Oscar who is very young and strong, he is pretty good and won by 3 points, I was too greedy in the game. With American guy Andrew Huang I lost because I couldn't have killed a group, something that Oh Chi Min later showed me that is pretty easy actually.. About my wins you know, easy, killing and sharp reading… [considering the results] this is one of the worst tournaments for me ever.”
I hope you have enjoyed this article, and if you would like to share your impressions from the tournament, feel free to add a comment! For more impressions, visit Judith van Dam’s gallery on Eurogotv.
Thank you to organizers, sponsors and players for making this event possible!