Tuesday, July 10, 2007

River cruise Moscow –S.Petersburg

Go boat trips are holding in Russia since 1991. Alexey Vasilev, the first president of Russian Go Federation, invented this idea and organized them. These tournaments were really popular and gathered together more than 100 players every time, including top Europeans such as Matthew Macfadyen, Hans Pietsch, Vladimir Danek and others. We also invited Asian professionals to play and teach Go during the trips. Cho Hunhyun, Lee Changho, Ma Xiaochun, Hashimoto Suji, Chun Poongjho and other famous masters visited our tournaments.

Unfortunately, Alexey Vasilev passed away in the middle of 90's and the tournaments stopped. He was an outstanding organizer and it was very hard to replace him. Recently the Russian Go Federation decided to continue the tradition and few days ago we organized a new tournament on the Russian rivers from Moscow to S-Petersburg. We hold two tournaments during the 5-days long trip: Russian cup and European Pair Go Championship. I took part in both tournaments and decided to describe them in our magazine.

Russian cup
I bet that you never saw such an unusual tournament. 33 players from 42 were dan-level holders, including eight masters of 6-dan and stronger and seven 5-dans. Even the European Go Championship is usually not much stronger. All top Russian players took part in the competition, excluding Ilya Shikshin ("roln111" on KGS), who was passing the university entering exams and Rustam Sahabutdinov, 6-dan ("Am" on KGS), who was one of the organizers. Also, some foreign masters were presented on the boat, including Lee Hyuk, 7-dan (European Ranking number 6).

I thought that Lee Hyuk, 7-dan will be the most dangerous opponent and my feelings were correct. We were both undefeated before the last round and of course, we played on the first board during the last one. We regularly meet each other since 1999. I cannot remember the total score, but it must be around 5 wins – 5 loses or so. Lee Hyuk, 7-dan never won Korean amateur tournaments, but he regularly played for the university team and was even invited to play for the Korean student team in the beginning of 90's. Nowadays he lives in Russia, speaks Russian well and has a business here. It seems, that he has not enough time for studying Go, so he did not get any advantage by playing black stones in fuseki. Kim Seungryung, 9-dan was right! He said that it's easier to play as White, if you are not prepared for the game. If you play as Black, you have to play active modern fashions, trying to compensate the big komi. You saw our game in the last issue of the Goama magazine.

Today you can review the game I played with Alexey Lazarev, 6-dan, 2-times European champion and 11-times Russian champion. This time he got the 3rd place. It seems that he has no time or desire to study modern fashions, so I tricked him easily by using new Chinese joseki. This variation was explained by me in one of the KGS Plus lectures. It's rather complicated, and it's hard to find the best plan during the real game. After the game Alexey told me that he never saw it before. The European Go Championship is coming soon, so it was probably better to keep it in secret :)

European Pair Go Championship
Our pair with Natalia Skobeleva, who was about 15-20 kyu before the tournament, was not able to fight for prizes – it was clear from the beginning. We were the weakest pair, according to the shared rating. Finally we won 2 games from 5 and everyone called it a big success. She was playing better and better with the each round! Even if we did not compete for prizes, I saw another pairs and their games and can write my impressions. Russian pairs were much stronger! Dmitrij Surin, 6-dan and Natalia Kovaleva, 4-dan pair was officially the strongest one and they were the current Russian Pair Go champion. But even such a strong pair had some problems in that tournament. Finally they won 5 games from 5, but the last game against Artem Dugin, 5-dan and Aigul Nureeva, 2-dan pair was very dangerous for them. They won it because of luck. The pair who got the second place – Victor Bogdanov, 5-dan and Elvina Kalsberg, 2-dan was also close to the victory. Unfortunately, Elvina was not able to play in full power, because of two young daughters, who were traveling together with her. I rarely saw her thinking deeply about the current position – she was mainly solving daughter’s problems. It was not my first pairgo tournament.

I played few pair cups during the past European Go Congresses, but that time the girl was much stronger and we competed for prize places. This time I got even bigger pleasure from my games, although we lost first three of them. I never thought, that pairgo can be so attractive! It's especially interesting to play, if the pairs have big difference between male and female players! We missed snapback, ladder, geta, some cutting points … Some blunders were punished, others are not. The opposite pairs also made funny mistakes and it were a big pleasure for us to take such presents :)

I hope, it was not the last pairgo tournament, I played!

Alexey Lazarev(6a) - Alexander Dinerchtein(1p) - W+R
Lee Hyuk(7a) - Alexander Dinerchtein(1p) - W+R

Alexander Dinerchtein

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