- Autumn/winter 2013 5 European players were sent to Beijing to participate in the CEGO Academic Programme.
- They returned in spring 2014, and in accordance with the contract with CEGO, they received further online training from March to June under supervision of Chinese pro Zhao Baolong 2p. This training was rather elitist, only inviting a few European top players besides the 5 who went to Beijing.
- In autumn/winter 2014 again 5 players participated in the CEGO training programme in Beijing.
- The online training programme has been blown up to what is now the EGF Academy, in order to accommodate young players with a lot of potential, even though they are not European top players (yet). They now train together with the players returning from Beijing. This was made possible by a MOU between EGF, CEGO and Ge Yuhong Go Academy. The latter is the biggest Go school in China where the CEGO Academy Programme is held. Ge Academy provides sponsorship to EGF Academy for 2 years guaranteed and pro teachers from China.
- (In September 2015 8 players left Europe to train in Beijing. The EGF Academy continues operating even in their absence.)
The goal of the EGF Academy is to become an institution that provides training for young and talented players. It includes kids as young as 10 years old that have the potential and ambition to become the next generation of Europe's top players, while also training top players (around 6 dan level) that are one step short of becoming the next EGF pros. It mimics the "insei" training from Far East, consisting of a league system that offers regular games and lessons from Monday to Friday to the students. The top leagues are taught by powerful pros from China, while the others are taken care of European veterans Catalin Taranu and Alexandre Dinerchtein.
At the time of writing this article, the EGF Academy is holding the 2nd Cycle of the 2nd Season. (Each Season consists of 4 Cycles.) There are currently 36 participants in 5 leagues.
The total number of individual participants throughout Season 1 and the ongoing Season 2 is 68 players, from 16 different EGF member countries.
Even though the Academy is far less elitist than the previous online training, not everyone will be accepted. For example, in the current Season the average age of students is 16.6, starting from 10 years to 26 years old, and they are ranked on average 2d, from 4k to 6d. Only the players falling in this spectrum with an ambition to become stronger are accepted as students.*
However, the Academy holds a vast amount of teaching material that would be a waste to keep private. We are planning to gradually open the material to the public, starting from Season 1 Cycle 1. There you can find 100 league games played by the students, and each game is reviewed (in a video or in an .sgf file). As a bonus, some recordings of lessons and tournament games discussed during lessons have also been uploaded.
As an experiment, we ask for a donation of 20€ to gain access to the material of Season 1 Cycle 1. Please look at the Academy pages to see further details.
*To conclude the statistics, I calculated the rating change of the players who applied to both Season 1 and 2: In a duration of 5 months, they gained on average 39.5 EGD rating. The most remarkable gain was +265 rating in the kyu ranks, and many of the dan players have improved their rating by half a rank. This is a proof of the ambition on the side of the students, and surely the teaching of the EGF Academy contributed to their rapid progress.