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The European Student Go Championship 2016
By Laura Avram | News | 28.09.2016 11:03 | Views: 1142
The European Student Go Championship took place this year on the 24th and 25th September in Amstelveen at the European Go Cultural Centre. Five rounds, each with a thinking time of 1 hour main time and 15 stones/5 minutes byo-yomi, were played in order to decide the European Student Champion.

On Friday evening the participants, as well as the rest of the players from the Amsterdam area, were invited to Catalin Taranu's (5p) lecture, whose subject was an analysis of one of the games that AlphaGo played against itself a few months ago. Rob van Zeijst (7d) was also present at the lesson and shared his own opinions regarding the reading skills of the computer programme. One of the things that both players seemed to appreciate about AlphaGo's style was the consistency with which it followed its plans - a trait that might not be a typical human characteristic. One of the things that AlphaGo has delivered to us is the new perspective which it gave to the game, by making professional players, as well as the rest of us, reconsider certain patterns that before might have been considered inferior for one of the players.

Only 10 students took part in the tournament, which was unexpected, since the prizes were high: on one side, 2 men and 2 women could qualify for the World Student PairGo Championship (WSPGC) 2017 (in Tokyo), where they'd have the accommodation and meals as well as half of the traveling expenses paid by the organizers, and on the other side, one participant could qualify for the World Collegiate Championship next year in Thailand with all of the expenses paid. So, in the end half of the players got a prize, which is something that almost never happens at a go competition.

After some very hard games, and a few surprising results, the top three places were decided:
1. Marko Peter (4d) from Hungary
2. Johannes Obenaus (6d) from Germany
3. Martin Ruzicka (4d) from Germany.

Apart from the Dutch representative, who played for the first time in a tournament as a 20 kyu and maybe Johannes, who is at least 2 stones stronger than the rest of the players, most of the players were of similar strength: 1k – 4d, so almost anything could have happened during the five rounds. The most impressive win, I believe, was Marko Peter's 1.5 point win in the final round against Johannes, which made him the European Student Champion for the 3rd time. Zacharias Fisches (1k) and Marieke Ahlborn (1k) won against Joanne Leung (2d). Because the first three players beat each other in a circle, their final position was ultimately decided by SOS and SOSOS. The second female representative was also decided by SOS.

On Saturday evening Judith van Dam invited all of the players, as well as a few other people, to her place for dinner. The delicious Indonesian food she cooked for us, the good company, and the nice games we played that evening were a perfect way for us to finish the tiring day on which we had to play 3 rounds.

After the tournament Catalin Taranu gave another lecture, this time a review of the game between Johannes and Peter. Martin Stiassny, the president of the European Go Federation, joined us for the announcement of the prize winners: Julia Seres from Hungary and I were the two women who qualified for the WSPGC; Peter Marko, the winner, chose to go to the WSGC, Johannes Obenaus chose to go to the same championship, so Martin Ruzicka was left with the last remaining prize: to represent Europe at the Collegiate Championship. Therefore the two pairs that will represent Europe in Tokyo in December this year are: Julia Seres and Peter Marko, Laura Avram and Johannes Obenaus.

The full results of the tournament can be found here:
http://www.europeangodatabase.eu/EGD/Tournament_Card.php?&key=E160924A&pin=12698620.

Weishan Zhang
Weishan Zhang, the Dutch representant
The European Student Go Championship 2016
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