Foreigners “invade” Ireland to play Go


During the first weekend of December the UCC Go club (Cork, Ireland) organized the UCC December open Go tournament. Having enjoyed the 2009 Belfast tournament I decided I would go to Cork this year.

Upon arriving on Cork airport I found out that I had actually been in the same plane as Kim Ouweleen. He was being picked up by Rory, Who I had met in Belfast last year, together with Willem-Koen and Karen, who were already in Ireland for a couple of days.

There were a total of 28 players between 20 kyu and 5 dan. 12 ½ of them from outside Ireland. Besides 5 ½ Dutch people, there were several people from Poland and the UK as well as a one from France and one from Taiwan.

The ½ is because there was a Dutch guy at the tournament who has lived in Ireland for quite a few years and never played Go in Holland. He therefore played as Irish in the tournament.

The reason for the high percentage of foreigners might be because due to the bad weather several Irish people canceled their trip to Cork at the last minute. It was freezing cold. There was a lot of black ice on the roads in Cork and snow in other parts of the country. This kept several people from Dublin an other places in Ireland from coming to the tournament. The Cork tournament seems to attract bad weather. in 09 there was massive flooding and in 08 gale-force winds. I wonder what the weather will do next year...

The tournament location was at the UCC (University College Cork) where we had a good sized classroom as the playing location. This was nice with lots of light. The added bonus of playing in a classroom was that there was a beamer present which they used to project the pairings and score tables. This worked absolutely great (much better than printing the list all the time, and everyone crowding around it to look at it). For Board 1 they had a very nice table GoBan. But for some of the lower boards there were very thin fold-able boards. There was a small shop at just a couple of minutes walking from the building. Here you could get a nice lunch.

My Games:
In the first round I was pared against a strong 3 dan from the UK who used to be 4 dan in the past. I played too carefully and at two points in the game this cost me a lot of points, and also the game.

The second game was against a 1kyu guy from Cork after I killed some stones of him in the opening I thought to get an easy win, but I let him build too much thickness in the centre. After a really nice looking splitting attack I did not manage to kill either of the groups I was attacking, and was therefore behind. I made a complicated situation in the centre and my opponent was too greedy. Because of this I managed to kill some of his stones saving my own. After this my opponent resigned this long and tough game.

My third opponent was Javaness, aka, the squirrel, aka Ian Davis. 1 dan and current Irish champion. After a good opening I should have won without problems. But after being a bit greedy, trying to kill a big group I ended up misreading something that cost me 4 stones and nearly cost me the game. I did eventually manage to win with 1.5 points.

In the evening the organisation had arranged that we all could go to a pub to eat pizza and have a drink.

My first game on Sunday I have to play against a very strong 1d from Poland. After setting up a nice attack I forgot to play a critical move, this caused me to lose the attack and my opponent got very thick in the centre. I was quite a few points behind. But I did not want to give up that easily. Therefore I tried to complicate the game. This forced my opponent into a mistake allowing me to capture a bunch of stones and get back into the game with a small lead. After that my opponent ignored a forcing move trying to play something else to get back in the game. but this was a bad idea as I followed up on my forcing move by killing a big group. He then resigned.

In the last round I got to play Willem-Koen. I had a good opening and was feeling like I was doing well, but then I stared to mess up. Willem-Koen was also making mistakes, making it a rather bad game in general. After I managed to kill a huge group getting a solid lead, he found a very nice tesuji killing a few of my stones. That put him just ahead with not much more left on the board. Therefore I decided it was finally time to resign.

This made Willem-Koen the undefeated champion of the UCC December open. Tong-Yu Cao, playing for Ireland, took second place with 4-1. Next were three people with 3-2. Kim took 3rd place with 3-2, I ended up being 4th on sos. And Ian took the 5th place. Karen was best kyu player getting 11th place with 2-3.

All in all It was a very nice tournament.