tks to sandmann for this historical docu (via EuroGoTV (1) 20:38 Thu 23 October 2014 / (2) 17:10 Mon 27 October 2014)
(1) Exchange Match Japan vs. Europe
Major newspapers are covering the exchange match between [Pavol Lisy] and [Ali Jabarin] (the first two members and 1PDans of the [new European Go Pro League] who qualified in 2014) and young Japanese professionals from [Kansai Ki-in]. Many questions were asked and the press conference exhausted everyone involved. (*Rec.:* You find 4 top games of the 1st qualification round of European Go Pro League being played on 23rd May 2014 [here on OGS].)
Pavol secured a lead early in the game, but it was an unreliably small lead that could be turned around easily. He succeeded, however, in cornering his opponent, Hashimoto, into the last byo-yomi period early on, but then he left ajar a fatal loophole that enabled Hashimoto to kill him. All the spectators and commentators believed the game to be over for Pavol and turned to Ali’s game.
Ali performed sub-par in fuseki, but caught up gradually in middle-game. The game became close and promising for Ali, but his opponent, Takashima, got the upper hand in endgame and Ali’s defeat was a matter of time.
Suddenly everyone noticed that Hashimoto did not kill Pavol when he had the chance. This led to a close game, but Pavol’s lead could not be overturned anymore and Hashimoto promptly resigned.
In the end the Japan-Europe exchange match resulted in a draw. Both the Japanese media and the Kansai Ki-in professionals were curious about European Go and watched the game closely.
Even Yuki Satoshi 9p attended the games to spy on his opponent in the upcoming 11th Sankei tournament (see following (2)). In this tournament, 8 pros and 8 amateurs will qualify independently to the final rounds. In the pro preliminaries, Pavol was paired by lottery against Yuki Satoshi 9p, and Ali will face Saito Tadashi 8p.
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(2) 11th Sankei tournament… (Mon 27 Oct 10:00 am in Japan (2:00 am CET/GMT+1)
In this tournament, 8 pros and 8 amateurs will qualify independently to the final rounds. In the pro preliminaries, Pavol was paired by lottery against Yuki Satoshi 9p, and Ali will face Saito Tadashi 8p.
Pavol and Ali have both been eliminated from the Sankei tournament and they will go back to Beijing tomorrow. Their performance exceeded everyone’s expectations, possibly even their own, and their Go has been acknowledged by the Japanese pros.
Pavol, besides defeating Hashimoto in the friendship match, has won several games in study groups with young local professionals. According to their judgement, Pavol would have no problems (of age and of playing strength) starting a pro career at Kansai Ki-in. In the tournament, however, he faced one of the strongest pros of Japan, who is also currently a title-holder.
Yuki Satoshi 9p defeated Pavol, albeit not without getting in trouble. After the game he admitted that Pavol was stronger than him at certain points in reading, but sometimes Pavol’s direction is completely off. Yuki took the lead early on in the game, but to his surprise, Pavol fought back step by step. Eventually Pavol caught him off-guard and punished an overplay by killing a corner. Later, at the crucial moment, Pavol couldn’t bring himself to make the game chaotic, much to Yuki’s relief, and couldn’t win the game anymore.
Ali has not won any games yet in Japan and was generally considered not as strong as Pavol. For this tournament, however, he accumulated all his strength and achieved a complete victory against Saito Tadashi 8p. Perhaps Saito was nervous and concentrated excessively on the 3rd line throughout the game. Ali simply let him and took the centre, which was more than enough to win. In an interview, Ali admitted that he usually neglects the centre, but his opponent forced him to take it.
And thus Ali advanced to the second round, where he faced Nakano Yasuhiro 9p, a player dreaded by many and strong enough to beat Yuki in 1 out of 3-4 games. Nakano exhibited his strength and got an early lead. However, in a Pavolesque fashion, Ali caught up and reclaimed the lead, maintaining it for a long time. The pros in the reviewing room started discussing the formalities if Ali qualified to the main rounds, as nobody was prepared for this. This possibility crumbled away step by step in endgame, when Ali started losing points here and there.
At that time, Pavol, who was watching pros analyising the endgame in Ali’s game, came to the realisation that **European Go, although good at comebacks after a disadvantageous fuseki, lacks an enormous part in endgame skills**. He learned many many new endgames he had never seen before, and was particularly moved when Yuki asked him to review his 2nd round game with him.
Overall, Pavol and Ali enjoyed their trip to Japan a lot, as everyone treated them genuinely nicely. They left Japan very pleased, and sure to have left a long-lasting impression of European Go; they will focus more on endgame in their training in Beijing.
Pro preliminaries 1st round:
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