Next came my first challenge a Menu full of unknown dishes and I just picked one to start my daily challenge in the restaurants with good food and beer.
Of course the best part was doing this with lots of friends from all over the world.
Before I start to give you my impressions of the tournament I would like to express my gratitude to Lanke Culture and CEGO for sponsoring this tournament and making it possible to have an event like this.
Also I want to thank Da Hua Yuan Group for supporting this tournament and European Go.
Furthermore I want to say thank you to CEGO for supporting European Go for so many years.
Last but not least, I want to thank the Courtyard by Marriott (especially Stana Djuran, the operations manager, who was so nice as to give us an interview after the tournament) for supporting us so well during the four days that we were guests in the hotel.
The first day of the tournament is of course the day the organisers start to set up the playing site.
For this day the challenge was to set up 8 tables for the players, together with 4 places for the scribes and some extra equipment for the live streaming of the tournament and the games on various different platforms like Instagram and YouTube.
And like always when we suggest that something could go wrong, by the powers of self prediction, it does go wrong. The big board would, as Natalia had suggested, fall on the head of Ilya. So after some loud laughter, the first round was now ready for serious business.
Impression of day 1 for the organizers:
The first day of the Grand slam was very exciting - beside good games, and some organizational problems (e.g. no lifestream broadcasting) - it was, for most of the players, the first opportunity, after a long time, to be in one place together. There were no great surprises regarding the results, all the favorites took a win. All the games finished by resignation, and 4 games were scribed on KGS. Two games were especially interesting - Tanguy vs Dinerstein (the longest game of the first day) and Ben0 vs Ali, where one of Ali’s groups was questionable in the early stage of the game, but Ali managed to get a huge territory in exchange after that, so the game was decided. So, 8 players remain in the game for money prizes, they will all play two more games to decide the winner and final placement. Also, special thanks to our Twitch streamers Andrii and Lukas, they did some great work for more than 4 hours.
Impression of day 2 for the organizers:
The second day of Grand slam finds things slotting into their routine concerning the organisation, but on the boards things couldn't be more different. Clashes left observers speechless looking at totally different styles fighting for prestige. The second day also brought us the first game that had to be counted, but as we go into the semi-finals we expect the clashes to be even more intense with counting needed more and more often. Rest well for tomorrow as tomorrow's games will require as much strength for observing as for the players who will create these new masterpieces for us.
Impression of day 3 for the organizers:
Half of the tournament is now under o,ur belts and only a quarter of players who started are still in the running for the great prize. It was the perfect moment for the biggest upset of the Grand Slam. First seed Ilya Shishkin came to the table with a runny nose but came away with a “bloody” one. In a period of less than a week Tanguy Le Calve came from facing insurmountable difficulties in coming to Belgrade to becoming a finalist! Where he will face Artem Kachanovskyi who played a near perfect game as someone who was watching the game through the eyes of the AI said. One more day to go. One more great game away from knowing who is our new champion. One more day till we go back to practice and remember and smile at the memory till we come again.—---------------------------------------------------Today was the semi final day, but also when matches in group for the 5-8 place started. The players were well familiar with the venue, and the whole system - so it was the point when they could commit themselves fully to the games. It was very tense in the quarter-final group, winning there was a pass to final and to minimal award of 5k euros. A bit of surprise for observers was Tanguy's win against Ilya. Ilya is well known as probably the strongest European player to date (he recently won his 8th title of European champion), and was expected to have easy wins up until the finals. But Tanguy had different ideas - after a very impressive win against Pavol Lisy in the quarter final, he played probably the best game of the tournament - fully in control and with such confidence. Later analysis showed that Tanguy was always couple of points ahead, so Ilya was in need to play a bit risky in later stage of the game - unluckily, the game ended in miai position where Tanguy could capture a group with at least 5 points - which lead to resignation of Ilya. Next to them in the room, there was another semi-final pair: Mateusz Surma and Artem Kachanovskyi. It seemed from the beginning that Artem was dominant, and the result was obvious from the half-way point of the game - the huge moyo was hard to compensate for Mateusz. In the end, Artem won by resignation. Pavol and Lukas qualified for the battle for the 5/6 place. Even if those games were kind of comforting ones - we saw some great moves and games there also.
Impression of day 4 for the organizers:
Artem won!Tournament is over. Repeating his performance from earlier rounds Artem managed to overcome Tanguy who had an amazing tournament so far but who will not be going home disappointed. And not only him. Thanks to our sponsors, Lanke culture, all players go home with prizes. And all of them deserved it. In the end, the biggest surprise of the tournament was that there were so few surprises but there was no surprise that all participants had a great time.Closing ceremony went in the same merry, even if sometimes serious, tone. Phrases like “great food”, “beautiful city”, “welcoming natives”, “good times”, “great food” “definitely coming back soon” were repeated. Some goodbyes were said but several people decided to stay a day or two longer.We also had a great time and enjoyed preparing all this for you. Hope we gave you a smile to keep you going until we meet again. Soon!—---------------------------------------------------The final day - all stakes were in. Two major prizes (for the 1st and 3rd place) waited to be won. In the final match, for the 1st and 2nd place - Tanguy made some mistakes early in the game, and lost one group. It turned out, it was impossible to compensate for that mistake, so after a few tries to get back to the game - he resigned, and Artem won his 2nd Grand slam title. Match for the 3rd place lasted much longer, and Ilya seemed more recovered from the loss in the semi final - there was a huge ko fight for the central part of the board, and Ilya managed to get a winner from that fight. All Mateusz’s attempts after that were unsuccessful - so he needed to resign. In the match for the 5th place - Lukas Podpera, the only player without a pro title in the second part of the tournament, managed to take a win against Pavol. And in the match for 7th place Ali has won against Stanislav. All in all, the tournament was very successful with few mistakes and some blunts from an organizational perspective. The more important part is the satisfaction of players, and in that part it seemed that hosts in Belgrade did a decent job. The Courtyard by Marriott hotel was really nice and there location in Belgrade provide easy access to all side activities - shops, restaurants and places for night life.
Thanks to a group of scribes Marta Prelić, Ivana Stojanović, Luka Stojanović, Miloš Stojanović and
Vuk Dušanić supporting the organising team Mihajlo Andjelic, Dragan Dubakovic and Natalia Kovaleva we were able to broadcast all the games via KGS and we were able to make some livestreams as well. All interviews and livestreams can be found in the Instagram account of the EGF.
Here you can find all results and kifu of the tournamement.