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European PairGo Championships, April 19-21, Dubrovnik, Croatia
By Damir Medak | News | 24.04.2024 10:46| Views: 2382

Prelude

The decision about the host of the Europan PairGo Championships 2024 has been made by European Go Federation General Assembly during 65th European Go Congress in Germany in 2023. Croatian Go Alliance proposed Dubrovnik as the venue for two reasons: (1) the city itself is definitely the most attractive destination in Europe; (2) the congress hall in newly built Akademis Academia is perfect for playing go. A small, but experienced organization team prepared all necessary steps, starting with the logo and an interesting AI-produced design:

Opening Ceremony

Twenty pairs from 11 European countries gathered in the congress hall of Akademis Academia in Dubrovnik to determine European best pairs in 2024. Organizers and participants were blessed with the weather, both for journeys between different parts of Europe and Dubrovnik and for enjoying free time and organized social events in Dubrovnik. The second half of April seemed the best option to visit one of the most famous cities in Europe.
Opening Ceremony
Opening ceremony: 40 participants from 11 countries

Croatian Go Alliance organized the European PairGo Championships under the patronage of Croatian Olympic Committee and the City of Dubrovnik, with the strong support of Dubrovnik Tourist Board. European go federation was represented by the president Mr. Martin Stiassny, who is a very strong supporter of Pair Go activities for many years. The importance of the event was clearly visible at the opening ceremony, attended by Ms. Jelka Tepsic, the vice-major of the City of Dubrovnik, who expressed her view that “Go is more than a game”.

Tournament – first three rounds

The tournament was a five rounds McMahon. Participating pairs were ordered by the average rating and divided into three groups. The “Super Group” consisting of 8 pairs received “+2” McMahon score, the “Top Group” of 6 pairs received “+1” McMahon score, and the rest of 6 team had equal McMahon score, giving reasonable chances to all pairs to be placed according to the performance. Games were played using Fischer time increment: 30 minutes basic time plus 20 seconds per move from the move 1.

One game from each round has been broadcast using the electronic board to the Online Go Server. Tobias Berben and the team from German Go Federation prepared the script and the new dedicated website: gogameslive.eu, with viewable games from recent European go tournaments involving electronic boards and announcing future events. Another exceptional feature on the Board 1 was the deployment of Citizen Meijin-sen clock: the only “talking timer” supporting Fischer time settings.

The first round, played after the Opening Ceremony on Friday morning was quite dramatic: on the Board 2, Jitka Bartova and Ondrej Silt won a half-point game against Mirta and Stjepan Medak: on the Board 3, Lova Waahlin and Charlie Aakerblom from Sweden won a half-point game against Milena Bocle and Florent Labouret.

In the second round, Laura Avram and Denis Dobranis won the game against the top-rated pair Manja Marz and Johannes Obenaus. Jitka Bartova and Ondrej Silt won the game against the Swedish pair.

Electronic go board with Meijin-sen clock – Jitka and Laura in Round 3

The third round was played on Saturday. Laura and Denis won against Jitka and Ondrej to become the only pair in the Super Group with 3 wins. Milena and Florent inflicted the second loss to Manja and Johannes. Lova and Charlie made their second half-point win, again against a French pair Ngoc Cao and Antoine Fenech. Mirta and Stjepan won against the Dutch pair. The showdown for Sunday was ready: Laura and Denis with 3 wins, followed by 4 pairs with 2 wins: Jitka/Ondrej, Milena/Florent, Charlie/Lova and Mirta/Stjepan.

Cultural and historical programme

For Saturday afternoon we had the full programme which might be called “more than sightseeing”. A guided tour through the 1000 years of Dubrovnik history brought a lot of new information to all participants. Each stone had its own story, but we learned the basics about how a small Dubrovnik Republic survived between great empires of its time. Not only it survived, but it became the wealthiest city-state in Europe, thanks to profitable trade and diplomatic skills of its rulers.

Martina and Kris above Dubrovnik Old Town - in UNESCO World Heritage since 1979

Dubrovnik was famous for first sewage systems, pharmacy, medical care, forbidding slavery, inventing quarantine, hundreds of years ahead of other developed countries of its time. We continued with walking over famous Dubrovnik City Walls and finished with a nice dinner just above the Dubrovnik harbour. It was a good preparation for the last two rounds on Sunday.

Tournament – last two rounds

The fourth round saw another upset on Board 1: the leading pair from Romania lost to France. Czechia won against the Netherlands. Croatia won against Sweden. With one round to go we had 4 pairs with 3 wins: Romania, France, Czechia, and Croatia. On Board 5, the Polish pair won against Germany.

Milena and Florent taking the lead

Just before the last round, weather conditions allowed us to have a group photo in front of the Akademis Academia.

Naturally, the final standings have been determined in the last round: Milena and Labouret won against Jitka and Ondrej. Laura and Denis won against Mirta and Stjepan. France and Romania had the same SOS, but the direct score was the next criterion, giving the title of the European PairGo Champions for 2024 to Milena Bocle and Florent Labouret from France! Laura Avram and Denis Dobranis took the clear second place for Romania. Jitka Bartova and Ondrej Silt had one SOS point more than Charlie and Lova (fourth place) and two more SOS points than Mirta and Stjepan (fifth place). Ngoc and Antoine got 6th place with 3 wins as well.

The final standings are available as a PDF table or as the following image:

All games finished timely to prepare the prize giving at 5 PM. Just before the ceremony, we had time to watch the movie about the championships prepared by Martina and Kris – it became a special feature of all important tournaments in Croatia.

The trophies: vases and medals made of world-famous limestone from the Island of Brac

The three best pairs got medals and quite heavy vases made of famous limestone from the Island of Brac (the same limestone has been used to build the White House in Washington, parliament houses in Vienna and Budapest and many more).

Winners: 2nd place for Romania, 1st place for France, 3rd place for Czechia

Conclusion

It was a great Pair Go event, with all players fully concentrated during playing and quite relaxed outside the tournament hall. The time settings allowed many good games with opportunities to use lessons learned. The City of Dubrovnik was a marvellous place to visit, and we believe that it is going to be a new great location on the European Go Map. The famous city was built with stones, became even more popular due to the “Game of Thrones” and now becoming the scene for the “Game of Stones”.

Sponsors and supporters of EPGC 2024

Important links:

European PairGo Championships, April 19-21, Dubrovnik, Croatia
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