Tygem Correspondents

39th Paris international go tournament 2011


39th Paris international go tournament 2011

(Tournoi de go de Paris 2011) 

23rd ~ 25th April, 2011 at ¡°Centre Andre Malraux¡±, Antony, France


Writer : Noguchi Motoki (France)    


French Go Federation (FFG)


France is very dynamic in terms of go, despite the relatively recent introduction of the game, towards the end of the 1960's. Nowadays, the number of people who know how to play is estimated to be as many as 20,000. The translation into French of the Japanese cartoon "Hikaru no go ("Ghost baduk wang" in Korean") and the development of internet go servers have had a big impact on the young generation, among whom the French Go Federation (FFG) tries to spread the game in priority.


Many events are organized by local societies and there is at least one tournament, small or big, every weekend somewhere in France. Since 2006, the FFG has employed Fan Hui 2p from China as its national teacher to give numerous online and offline lessons to members. The federation's structure is certainly much smaller than its Asian equivalents and its organisation less professionalised, but the passion for go is similar.


(Young French players)


Paris tournament


The Paris tournament, also run by the FFG, is a place of pilgrimage for European go players. Held every year during Easter holidays in spring, the finals of the "Pandanet tour (series of tournaments in Europe sponsored by igs-pandanet, a Japanese internet go server)" is one of the most important competitions in Europe. In the mid 2000's, more than 300 players from every corner of Europe gathered in the vast and gorgeous "Celebration room" in the city hall of the 13rd arrondissement.


However, the weakness of European go is that it is managed almost entirely by volunteers. Without dependable organisers, the Paris tournament lost its dynamic. French go players got used to wonder whether it would actually take place, and the organisation of past several years was as miraculous as Cho Chikun's saving technique of weak groups which seem without life.


(People playing during the tournament)


Last year, the tournament left the center of Paris and found a new host in the city of Antony, south of the capital, near the Orly airport. The number of participants diminished to 167 this year, or half of the record crowd of 2005. It remains one of Europe's top competitions alongside the Kranich tournament in Berlin, the Kido Cup in Hamburg (Germany) or the Shusaku Cup in Romania.


In this gloomy situation, a veteran player, Antoine Roche agreed to supervise the organisation of this year's event, and to establish a permanent team to take care of future Paris tournaments. The organisation of next year's event has already begun. Let us hope it will regain its past grandeur.


(Main organizer of the tournament, Antoine Roche,)




The first tables abounded in interesting games. Many high dan players from Europe...stars on the European go scene...were disputing the tournament : Christian Pop 7d, Cornel Burzo 6d (Romania), Pal Balogh 6d, Csaba Mero 6d (Hungary), Ondrej Silt 6d (Czechia), Pavol Lisy 6d (Slovakia), Frederik Blomback 5d (Sweden), Dusan Mitic 5d (Serbia), Viktor Lin 5d (Austria), Lukas Kramer 5d (Germany). They were joined by improving young players from the host country, France: Thomas Debarre 6d, Antoine Fenech 5d, Benjamin Drean-Guenaizia 4d, Tanguy Le Calve 3d...



Serious players?(Csaba Mero 6d   /  Christian Pop 7d)


He seems very concentrated... (Frederik Blombak 5d)


The tournament was also honored by the participation of strong players of Asian nationality. The globalization of go has accelerated in the last few years and exchanges have become more widespread between the Western and Eastern world. Korean players, Cho Seokbin 8d, Kang Kyoungnang 7d and Oh Lhuis 6d, all currently living in Europe, are well known by the public for their rich teaching experiences. A big surprise came from China with the participation of three professionals studying at the Beijing University, Liu Yuanbo, Jin Jing and Xue Lei. It was not the first time that the Paris tournament received Asian professional players. Among the former laureates, we can find names such as Guo Juan (5p from China, living in Holland), Fan Hui or Nakano Yasuhiro (9p from Japan, Kansai kiin). But seeing three pros in the same tournament was highly unusual. Whether European players could threaten them was a very interesting question.


(Kang Kyoungnang 7d) in the search of a romantic move


(Cho Seokbin 7d and Ondrej Silt 6d)


In spite of the relatively weak number of participants, the variety of the nationalities involved was remarkable: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, China, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Japan, Korea, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine... This is one of the traditional character of the Paris tournament. There are no statistics about their age, but it is clear that young players currently predominate in Europe: as mentioned earlier, they belong to the "Hikaru no go and internet" generation, who started go after reading the manga and who play more games on web server than face to face. Behaviours have changed drastically, even the greeting: "Hi! My account on KGS go server is..."Oh, it's you! Mine is...! Nice to meet you IRL, lol!" It is not rare today to see a young player, who has improved very fast on internet, to join a tournament for the first time without knowing how to score a game in the end.




The games of the first tables were streamed in video on "Eurogo TV" in video and broadcasted live on two go servers, IGS and KGS. After three days and six rounds, the three Chinese professionals demonstrated their strength: they won a landslide victory and hoarded the top three spots, followed by three Korean players. The first European players were Csaba Mero 6d (Hungary), Ondrej Silt 6d (Czech Republic), Christian Pop 7d (Romania). Thomas Debarre 6d from France, who has just come of age, followed them and took the 10th place. There was no surprise in the result: "logic prevailed" as the French say.


(Lui Yuanbo, winner of the tournament)



Liu Yuanbo


6 victories


Xue Lei




Jin Jing




Kang Kyeongnang




Oh lluis




Cho Seokbin




Csaba Mero




Ondrej Silt




Christian Pop




Thomas Debarre




This summer, another big task awaits the FFG: the organisation of the European go Congress in Bordeaux with nearly 1000 players expected from all around the world for 2 weeks.
You can find more information about the Congress on the following site:







<Extra Photos>


(Tournament place 1)



(Tournament place 2)

(Bookstore at the tournament) 


(Fan Hui 2P is observing the game of Thomas Debarre 6d)




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