Even though Odessa is not an easily accessible destination for most European countries, due to the large number of Ukrainian players who joined the tournament, it ended up being, to my knowledge, the most popular European Women's Go Championship so far.
The tournament was one full of surprise. Let's start with one of the smallest ones and then move to the big one.
Natalia Kovaleva and Rita Pocsai, who are among the strongest European female players, got to face each other. That might not sound so interesting, but if you take into account the fact that they have both been active in the European go scene since 1996 and 1997 respectively, and that they have played together in tournaments only three times around 20 years ago (in 1997, 1998 and 1999), then it is a little bit of a surprise. After this last game, Natalia still has a perfect record against Rita.
Now, getting to serious things, the winner of the tournament came as a surprise to most people. Manja Marz, 3d from Germany, succeeded in defeating all of her five opponents, including the better rated Natalia Kovaleva 5d, Rita Pocsai 5d and Elvina Kalsbersg 4d. If you scroll down you can see her games.
1. Manja Marz
2. Natalia Kovaleva
3. Rita Pocsai
I first met Manja at the European Go Congress in 2007 in Villach and I have been meeting her again ever since at different European go tournaments. What I always liked about her was that she seemed always eager to learn. A junior professor herself, her thirst for knowledge on the go board seems only to have grown since I first met her. She started playing go 14 years ago and has since then not only played in go tournaments, but also taught the game to others (maybe most notably, her oldest son is an eager go player) and organized go tournaments herself. She was part of the organizing team of this year's go congress in Oberhof.
You can watch here a brief report in German about the tournament. According to the video, Manja's next big tournament will be the World Women Go Championship in December, which will take place in China.
The results of the tournament can be found here and photos here.
Next year's European Women Go Championship will take place in Helsinki, Finland.