The 33rd International Amateur Pair Go Championship!
By Milena Boclé | International | 07.12.2023 20:47| Views: 4425 | Comments: 1
The International Pair Go Championship is an outstanding event! It takes place in Tokyo, Japan, in a beautiful hotel, with pairs from all over the world and from all regions of Japan.
This year from the EGF, Poland, the UK, Czechia, Spain, Germany and Israel were participating, as well as a European Finnish-German student pair.

In fact, several events were organised at the same time: the 33rd International Amateur Pair Go Championship, the 8th World Student Pair Go championship and the Araki cup handicap  tournaments.

But, you may wonder, just what exactly is this “pair go” thing?

+ Yes I wonder, what is "pair go"

Imagine reading a great sequence leading to victory, playing the first move, seeing the opponent answering accordingly, and suddenly someone else plays instead of you the following move...and wrong! Didn’t get your plan at all! Nooooooo catastrophic.
Well, that’s more or less what often happens in pair go and rengo, a game with two players against two other players. In the case of pair go, the team is made of a woman and a man.
It is usually said that you have three opponents: the two in front of you and your partner, because it’s not always easy to understand what goes through each other’s mind.
But that’s also what makes it challenging and so amazing, right? As states the wonderful proverb, brought by I've no idea who, but certainly some Swedish buddies "in
pair go, winning doubles joy, losing halves sorrow", or something like this.

+ No, I already know what is pair go. everyone knows what is pair go. More drama faster please, chop chop.

Hey, watch your tongue! But – fine. Let’s get going.

Most of the EGF countries have a national tournament that helps to determine who will participate in the International tournament in Japan, if the country is invited.
There is also a European Pair Go Championship: whose champions are automatically qualified for the International championship. If you have a 1p memory, you can easily recall this year’s summer go scene events: the Germans Manja Marz 4d and Johannes Obenaus 6d won that championship in Leksand, Sweden, thus earning their entry to Japan.

Cool setup
The type of Summer drama you actually dream of...:pair go in Leksand this summer.

cool setup
Is it even legal to have such a great place for this kind of tournament?! That's what you missed by not playing the european pair go championship.

cool winners
Summer winners, of course!
 But ok, let’s virtually fly to Japan and take a look at who and what! 

Big thanks to Caha Frantisek for his help in forcing players to in helping to gather a couple of sentences from the European representatives and for sharing his own impressions of the tournament, and pictures.
Welcome! Let's go!

cool pair go
Adriana and Lukan from Czechia trying to sync to each other optimally to win the game with a pretty nice sequence.

Lukas Podpera (7d) and Adriana Tomsu (2d) from Czechia got the best result among westerners, taking the 14th place with 3 wins and 2 losses.
“We really enjoyed playing Pair go together. Considering our strong opponents, our 3:2 result is very good and we are happy about that.” said the man.

cool Germans

Manja Marz (4d) and Johannes Obennaus (6d) also got a result of 3-2.
“We were very happy to go to Japan and fight for the best results. Overall we are happy with the 3:2 score, but we hoped that maybe we could get even a better result ^^. However, the competiton was quite strong this year and it was a very nice tournament and experience." said the woman.

Let’s sit as Caha (left), who came to Japan as an observer in this story.
cool observer
Observing and playing. An artistic picture with the dark stones drawing a line towards Caha, like the fate uniting both teams over the goban. The hands of his opponent mirroring his own, a shade of hope as the white stones await their chance to become something powerful. The atmosphere is warm but the creepy frozen arm move of the woman in the background lets us understand that anything can happen in the room. On that board. A terrific scene, a happy one, a disaster, perhaps? A damezumari unpleasantly forming in front of mesmerized eyes? The lone black stone, next to the bowl, lies in pain, a chilling reminder of the lonelyness floating in your brain as you wait for your opponent to grasp your thoughts and follow your magic.

“I really enjoy observing games and cheering for others, I wish this could be a paid job :) I was impressed by the tournament organisation, because everything ran perfectly on time. This was of course a bit easier because of the 45 min sudden death/absolute time rules, but still was very impressive.”

But, dear readers, a pair go event is much more than that. Friendship and multi cultural exchanges are at the heart of it. And for that reason, the tournament features a “goodwill game” with all invited pairs wearing the national clothes of their country and being mixed up together with other players.
As a side note, that national clothing question is interesting because it appears to be very "easy" for some country to find the national clothes, if they don't already have it in their wardrobe. But for others, it's a real difficulty - what to wear? Because the country doesn't have a national cloth, or only has regional ones that could be seen as a way to promote a region's independance! So this triggers creativity and philosophical self assesment. One more bonus of this pair go event.

Marianna and Marcin from Poland clearly mastered the topic. Beautiful pair! 

cool pairs
A startling example. the USA girl on the left: how to dress as an American? And our UK friend on the right, Bruno, forced to get the british umbrella as a prop! Not easy!

cool pair
Mexico also doing very well in this dressing contest!

cool student pair
And here are our German Niels 4d and Finnish Liina 9k in the student championship, with their nice costumes!

The best outfit receives a prize during the ceremony, many other prizes are distributed, and side events organised because it’s about sharing a nice time and meeting others, and not only about crushing everybody in everything.

“Some of the pairs had really nice costumes, which were awarded later during the ceremony. There were also some side pair go tournaments. the youngest and oldest pair of the Araki handicap cup were rewarded, standing next to each other on the podium. It was nice to see both generations sharing the happiness!”

But, despite all these good impressions and the high level of organisation of the tournament, it’s not that easy. Motoki Noguchi, French open champion and international coordinator at the Japan Pair Go Association, explains a bit how the situation changed during the past years.

cool guys
Motoki standing on the right; disturbingly facing Amir Fragman (Israel representative) on the left, both looking up and down at each other as two friends not sure they actually recognized each other and calculating the probabilities they actually meet right now, before saying "oh hi!!".

" It’s been a few years now that I help to organise this International Amateur Pair Go Championship. My role is to be like a “bridge” between Japan and Europe, and I do my best for the players to feel great at the event.
Players who took part in previous editions of this championship may have noticed – this year in 2023, the tournament was much smaller regarding the number of participants and the organisation. This is due to the significant drop in the sponsors, as an impact of the COVID19 pandemics and the actual economic situation. But at the same time, the crisis forces us to innovate: I’m quite happy that the Fischer system has been introduced for the friendly games (goodwill-friendship games) and the length of ceremonies shortened
This championship is not just a simple go event: its goal is also to promote international exchanges, and that’s why I like it very much and would like this tournament to maintain its existence.
Recently, we initiated a new approach aiming at using the networks of go and pair go players in order to find more sponsors, which will help us to organise more international pair go tournaments. One mid-term objective is to organise a very big amateur championship during the Universal Exhibition in Osaka, in 2025!
Go players, pair go players, we need your support! :)"

If you never played pair go, then you should! It's always very interesting to try to be on the same side as another player, be they weaker or stronger, and to find moves accessible for both levels. It's a great way to improve as well.
Remember, if you're the strongest one, be nice! It's not obvious, what's in your mind!

By the way, you can already register for the next European Pairgo championship, in Dubrovnik, Croatia on April 19-21 2024. Let's make it big!

All results and players of the championships:
The 33rd International Amateur Pair Go Championship!
09.12.2023 10:46
Hopefully next year a prize for the most sinister arm in a photograph will be introduced. RIP Elliot Erwitt.
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