European Go Congress: 1976
St Catharine's College Cambridge
Editors of tournament booklet: Brian Castledine and Brian Chandler (Dango Enterprises, 1977)
Round descriptions by Jon Diamond. Illustrations by Alison Cross.
Komi 5 points. In a play-off only, white wins jigo.
Time limits: 3 hours + 1 minute byoyomi.
Patrick Merissert-Coffinieres beat Tony Goddard in a play-off.
The number in each box indicates the round in which the game was played.
* indicates a commented game
St. Catharine's College, Cambridge was the idyllic setting chosen for the 20th European Go Congress, the third one to be held in Britain. As well as an orgy of go playing, the European Go Congress provides an excellent opportunity to meet old friends and rivals, and to make new ones, and this year was no exception. About 130 players, wives, and children took over Cambridge during the second two weeks of August, and they came in a bewildering variety of shapes and sizes, from the bulky Merissert to the wispy Goddard. Some came by air and stayed at the University Arms Hotel; some came by rail and slept in guest houses; some hitched and slept on the floor of the Maths Department. The tournament schedule left plenty of time to explore the local attractions, and after the obligatory tour of the colleges, stopping a while to gaze in wonderment at King's College Chapel, many people found that Cambridge had yet more to offer. Punting on the river proved to be a jolly afternoon pastime, while the evenings saw a general drift pubwards. "The Eagle" was adopted by the Congress as its local, and many tales of aji keshed and kikashi missed were told there late into the night. Those not familiar with Cambridge's more subtle traditions were soon introduced to the noble sport of wall-climbing.
The playing rooms themselves were arranged on a three-tier system. The stronger dan players lived in a bare but roomy attic - plenty of room to wander about and ponder knowledgeably over the mistakes made on the neighbouring boards. The weaker dan players lived in a rather more cramped and smoky room of the first floor. The kyu players had to survive rather spartan conditions on the ground floor, where the air was thick with the sound of ataris, and the shorter participants had some difficulty in playing well owing to the rather high tables. The players in the Championship, by contrast, lived in opulent luxury in the Old Combination Room - a grand name if ever there was one, where the slightest word from an unwary bystander could bring him dire consequences, and the unmistakeable form of Albert Schilp could often be seen hovering about.
And when, finally, the last stone had been quitted, the last shicho broken and the last ko threatened, all the competitors went home with the same thought in mind - to do better next year!
Well, almost all.
About 80 persons took part in the main tournament, which lasted for two weeks. The top division, for players of at least ni-dan strength was a keenly fought affair. At about the halfway stage, Hubert (F) was a point clear of the field. However, by the end four players had tied on 6/8 and when the tie-break system was used the following result emerged:
- Matthew Macfadyen (GB) 3 dan 6/8
- Golja (Y) 2 dan 6/8
- Ronald Schlemper (NL) 3 dan 6/8
- Bernt Wolter (D) 3 dan 6/8
- Jerome Hubert (Fra, 2d) 5/8
- Rob van Vulpen (Nld, 3d) 5/8
- Andrew Daly (Gbr, 2d) 5/8
- Jean Michel (Fra, 2d) 4/8
- T. Hall (Gbr, 2d) 4/8
- Koncer (Yug, 2d) 4/8
- Francis Roads (Gbr, 2d) 4/8
- John (Ger, 3d) 3/8
- Ger Hungerink (Nld, 2d) 3/8
Macfadyen thus gained a place in next year's European Championship. Other divisional results were as follows:
- Div. 2 (1 dan) Moussa (F) 5/8, Herve Dicky (F) 5/8
- Div. 3 (1 kyu) Christie (GB) 6/8
- Div. 4 (2-3 kyu) Amin (GB) 2 kyu 4½/8
- Div. 5 (4-7 kyu) Levine (F) 4 kyu 5½/8
- Div. 6 (below 7 kyu) Clark (GB) 14 kyu 7/8
Other notable performances were recorded by Zanin (2 kyu Y) 4/4, Skinner (13 kyu GB) 4/4 and Fearnley (3 kyu GB) 4/5.
A quick tournament was held during the middle weekend, which again attracted an entry of about 80. Divisional winners were as follows:
- Div. 1 1st Ronald Schlemper (3 dan NL) 2nd Brian Chandler (1 dan GB)
- Div. 2 Ambagts (2 kyu NL)
- Div. 3 Sue Paterson (3 kyu GB)
- Div. 4 Jim Barty (7 kyu GB)
- Div. 5 Clive Fraser (16 kyu GB)
Several other casual tournaments took place during the congress.
- Div. 1 1st Rehm (4 dan NL) 2nd Diamond (5 dan GB)
- Div. 2 1st Simmons (1 kyu GB) 2nd Korving (1 kyu NL)
- Div. 3 1st Hunter (5 kyu GB) 2nd Clark (14 kyu GB)
The first division of the Handicap Tournament developed into a race between the Frenchmen. Michel and Hubert got 83%, while Dumont and Moussa were close behind with 75%. Michel beat Hubert in a play-off to win the division. Other results were:
- Div. 2 1st Goodey (1 kyu GB) 69% 2nd Benson (3 kyu USA) 62½%
- Div. 3 1st Clark (14 kyu GB) 88½% 2nd Suck (5 kyu D) 67%
There was also a prize for the most number of games won, which went to Bizjak, who managed to win 18 of the 39 games he played when not involved in the rigours of the Championship. Hall, with 17/26 games came a very close second.
Round One - 9th August
The European Championship opened on the 9th August, with a total of nine players. Michael Kitsos of Greece had been expected but did not arrive. This led to a slight dispute as to whether another player should be included, but the rules for this Championship stated that each country could only send two players. Thus nobody else was eligible to play.
As usual, the Championship was arranged as an all play all, with Mr. Schilp acting as chief arbiter. Not only were Jurgen Mattern and Manfred Wimmer missing, but also the 'old faithfuls', Max Rebattu and Henk de Vries. It therefore promised to be one of the most open competitions for years, and so it proved.
In the first round, players from the same country are matched against each other as far as possible. The Dutch and British players played each other, with the Germans playing each other in the second round. Three of the games went as expected. Bizjak let Katscher form a moyo in the centre as well as three corners but failed to get a large enough side in compensation. His moyo invasion died. Hasibeder formed a weak group with 58 etc. and Merissert (never addressed by his unpronounceable full name) gained a large territory in chasing it. Hasibeder then created an inadvisable ko at 129, and after his ko-threat 130 failed to kill, he resigned. The Rehm-Muller game was characterised by a double-edged attack by Cas on his opponent's weak stones. Unfortunately, after Robert secured all his stones with 99, effectively capturing 98, the central white group seemed unable to make two eyes.
The fourth game was the only close one. Tony played much more carefully than he usually does, a characteristic of most of his games on the Championship, and after some mishandling of the right side, I lost by four points. Although I have beaten him regularly in British Championship matches, he wins more of the European Championship games.
Round Two - 10th August
Television Day! The cameras from Anglia Television came to the Championship room just before lunch, in time to film the end of the Bizjak-Merissert game. Although Igor could have saved his group by playing 83 at 85, and following up with 95, his position was lost anyway. In the evening a large crowd watched the television to see a one minute exposition on go, sandwiched between a woman showing off her pet python and the weather.
Isele spent too much time attacking a group to no purpose and Katscher never lost the early lead gained out of this. Hasibeder verses Rehm was a game of confused fighting, but the closest game of the tournament was the remaining one. With exactly five points komi, jigo occurs in about 2 percent of European amateur games. In this case, the result spoilt both players' chances of winning the Championship, but was satisfactory for Cas Muller.
Round Three - 11th August
This round produced the shortest game of the Championship:- 68 moves between Goddard and Muller. Tony played in an unusually passive style, letting white get secure territory by playing 30, and securing his corner with 35, rather than extending into the centre with 60. He made an overplay at 31, which should have been at 52 and after 68 was about 15 points behind. Tony had obviously given up psychologically, since this is certainly not a conclusive advantage in amateur games!
Robert Rehm got one of Bizjak's groups into trouble, and then attacked another weak group. His own group in the middle got cut off and died. The Merissert-Isele game was even for the first hundred moves. When white let the black group live, having previously played 94 and 96 to capture, he had no further chance.
In the final game, after my overplay of 65, which should have been at 66, the game was close. 109 should have been at 110, bit I failed to see that the central stones were left floating after 113. The rest of the game in which I tried to kill the lower right corner is best forgotten.
Round Four - 13th August
The previous round was followed by a rest day, giving the players a chance to recuperate. The obvious favourites were now Katscher and Merissert, neither player having lost a game. Rehm and Goddard were following closely. The Katscher-Merissert game was as the players' positions promised - Patrick attacked a black group early, but failed to profit from it. A bad invasion gave white absolutely secure territory, and the game hinged on the fighting on the right side. Black eventually came out ahead, helped by a very strong play at 135.
My game with Bazjak ended soon after lunch with a comfortable win, while Robert Rehm, surprising the spectators by his gentle play, resigned when about seven points behind.
The final game was the longest of the tournament, with both players in byoyomi after move 120, a total of six hours play up till then! When it finished, just before supper, Tony was somewhat relieved to find that he had won.
Round Five - 14th August
the interest in this round stemmed from the game between Muller and Hasibeder. Cas started the game with the intention of playing on all 10-3 points, to the great amusement of the other players and spectators. His plan was thwarted on the fourth side, but after weathering a series of fights, he came through to win.
Tony Goddard showed how much he likes the san-san joseki 10-15. Igor failed to answer 15, letting Tony make a 65 point territory on the right after 57, to leave white with no chance. Isele made too many errors in fighting in his game with me.
The fourth game was actually played on the spare day after the seventh round in a different room. Rehm had good chances in the game with Katscher, gaining a large corner on the right and taking both corners on the left. Had he played 129 one point to the left of 126, or 143 at 151 he would have made the game closer.
Records are somewhat confused, but the first European Go Congress seems to have been held in Germany before the war. There was then a long break, and the holders of the European Championship since 1958 are listed below.
Year Place Champion Nationality 1958 Altenmark Dr. F. Dueball Germany 1959 Oberwarmsteinach Dr. F. Dueball Germany 1960 Oud Poelgeest G. Ciessow Germany 1961 Baden W. v. Alvensleben Germany 1962 Garmisch-Partenkirchen W. v. Alvensleben Germany 1963 Barsinghausen W. v. Alvensleben Germany 1964 Scheveningen W. v. Alvensleben Germany 1965 Mnisek Pod Brdy J. Mattern Germany 1966 London J. Mattern Germany 1967 Staufen Z. Mutabzija Yugoslavia 1968 Berlin J. Mattern Germany 1969 Ljubljana M. Wimmer Austria 1970 Vienna J. Mattern Germany 1971 Bristol Z. Mutabzija Yugoslavia 1972 Enschede J. Mattern Germany 1973 Sprendlingen J. Mattern Germany 1974 Zagreb M. Wimmer Austria 1975 Krems J. Mattern Germany 1976 Cambridge P. Merissert-Coffinieres France
Round Six - 15th August
Katscher, having beaten Merissert two rounds previously, was now the favourite. However, he failed to make further progress in this round by losing a close game to me. The moves around lunch nearly cost me the game, but I recovered later on in the afternoon.
The rest of the games ended in clear wins. Igor Bizjak made the same mistake in approaching the san-san corner for the third game! After Cas invaded the upper right corner the game was affectively over. Isele also made a mistake in joseki when he played at 19 rather than 26; Goddard gave Wolfgang a chance by playing 62, giving the opportunity to attack. However, after 100 Tony had an easy victory.
The Merissert-Rehm game had a very interesting and difficult fuseki. Merissert stakes a lot on the ko at 54 - if he loses then white us clearly ahead. Black 93 threatens the big white group, but Robert makes a fatal mistake in not playing 94 at 103. Black must block in the corner and then white plays 98. He then has an eye on the edge and is some 10 points ahead. After the 103 played in the game, white is lost.
Round Seven - 16th August
This was the fourth consecutive playing day, and obviously a crucial round, with the four top players playing each other. The Goddard-Katscher game was very close, with Michael having the better fuseki and retaining his advantage throughout the middle game. It was quite a good game, but not very rousing for the spectators. White missed his opportunity with 122 and 124, and after Tony played 125 to capture three stones, the game was even. In the other major game, Patrick took advantage of the bad move 19, but his 38 was very risky. he should have played 39, let black live, and then played 50. After 51, white had two groups which were subject to attack, and black managed to neutralise the centre. 119 effectively finished the game, just capturing the six stones. The Muller-Isele game had an almost classical fuseki style. Cas played too loosely in the upper right, giving white the better position. However, Wolfgang played too passively in the fighting, giving black a comfortable win after 91.
The last game was one of big territories. Hasibeder had the better position up to 70, despite his failure to attack the big white corner. The fighting in the centre swung the game several times, finally favouring black.
Round Eight - 18th August
After the rest day, five of the players were still in with a chance. The game between Patrick and Tony was extremely interesting, being the fourth double san-san fuseki in the Championship. Despite an early reverse, Tony gained the advantage in the middle game, but eventually lost in yose.
Cas Muller's game with Katscher was fairly even, but he could not afford to defend the middle at 76. He should have played 109 and then 76 to defend all his territory. After 89 white was ten points behind, tried too hard to attack black and paid the penalty. In the Isele-Hasibeder game black was too ambitious with 39, but eventually lost the game when most of one corner disappeared. In the final game, Robert made an ill-advised move at 59 to create a running group. It died, then lived, then died again. The second death was final.
Round Nine - 19th August
Before the final round of the Championship, five players were still in with a chance - Goddard, Katscher and Merissert with 5 points, Diamond with 5½ and Muller with 4½. Since I had played all my games, both Muller and I only had a chance if the other three all lost. Bizjak and Isele fought over the wooden spoon in the other match. Bizjak gained the advantage after 78, but played two disastrous moves at 99 and 101. After 117, the game depended on the life of the black group. Both players left the group for moves 146-151, but white killed it in ko with 152. Black ignored the ko and just died. The other games were proceeding at different paces, with Goddard-Rehm being the slowest. Hasibeder gained the advantage from his initial joseki with Katscher, but 106 was an overplay, and after the forced sequence to 155, black had a ten point advantage, which he just succeeded in holding on to. This was the second game to finish and placed a strain on the other players as the spectators crowded round.Merissert was forced to stake all on the life of his big group, but Muller and all the onlookers missed the nice tesuji at 126, and Cas had to resign. This put the onus on Goddard to win to force a play-off with Merissert. The game with Rehm was full of scattered stones, with Robert having the advantage by move 68. If white had saved his five stones on the upper side, he would have been clearly ahead. However, despite some poor moves in the upper left, Tony managed to pull the game back and eventually won by two points.
The Play-off - 20th August
The play-off was played under the same conditions as the other rounds on the last full day of the Congress. It was rather a disappointing game, but due to the pressure on the players this was not really surprising. It was certain that the Championship would go to a country which had not previously won it. Merissert played double san-san, thus reversing the fuseki style of the previous game between the players in round 8. Perhaps he liked the way Tony played in that game! The game focussed on the position arising from 21 and 24, which are errors = they strive too hard too early to reduce the opponent's territory. Black should have turned white by playing at 79 as soon as possible after 33, and then the fight would have been much better for him. 51 provokes a fight which is not good for black. A simple play two points to the right of 24 would have been better overall. Black is now struggling, but to play 77 was too small - he should have defended to the right of 7. The ko fight at 98 was started as a matter of desperation; black came out the worse and the rest of the game sees him looking for a good opportunity to resign.
Game: Goddard - Merissert