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goama om EM, frågan om toppgruppen

Posted: 14 Jul 2008, 21:46
by henric
Alexandre Dinerchtein har skickat ett goama special issue om EM i Leksand ( http://gogame.info/ ):

Dear friends!
We are glad to present you the special issue of the Goama newsletter - EGC #1

1. European Go Congress on Sweden. Who will start from the Super group?
An article by Alexander Dinerchtein
2. A reply from Robert Jasiek, the head of the EGF Rules Commission
3. Commented game: Li Ting vs Ilya Shikshin, EGC-2007 in Austria

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European Go Congress on Sweden. Who will start from the Super group?

It's always a big question for EGC organizers. In the past we saw several wrong decisions. For example, Park Jongwook, former Korean 1st class insei, was not included to the super group few years ago and was not able to get the 1st place, even after beating his main opponents.
The maximum number of non-European players in the super group is 8. Others must join lower Mac-Mahon groups, which means, that they have almost no chances for winning the tournament, because of bad SOS-SODOS and one game handicap.

We can read the rules here: http://www.eurogofed.org/egf/longterm.htm
"A super group should be formed of up to 32 players. Up to 8 of the 32 players may be chosen for particular reasons by the EGC Organisers (for instance for publicity, strong youth-players, visiting strong players). Otherwise the group is chosen by the Rules and Ratings Commission in consultation with the EGF Executive."

This time it will be a really big problem for some Asian players.

Who will join the congress?

We can check the names of registered players here:
http://egc2008.eu/en/registration/regis ... l=1&sort=4

Let's talk about the Asian players, first of all.

1.Sun Yuan, 3p (China) http://www.go4go.net/v2/modules/collect ... hp?pid=384
Not an active Chinese pro, but he has some victories against top Chinese and Korean pros, Paek Hongseok, for example (Paek is currenly in best 20 in Korea)
2.Noguchi Motoki, 7d (France-Japan), EGR 2651
3.Lai Yu-cheng, 7d (Taiwan), 3rd place in the 22nd World Youth Goe Championship under 18 group (2005)
4.Park Chimoon, 7d (Korea) - One of the best Korean amateurs around 1970-1980, he cannot play in the super group, because he will not stay till the end of the tournament. He is the older brother of Park Chinsoo, the winner of the EGC in Italy. I remember that Park Chinsoo said that his older brother is about 1 stone stronger than him.
5.Kim Joogsang, 7d (Korea) - Former 1st class insei. He did not play in any European tournaments yet.
6.Hong Seukui, 7d (Korea) - Last year winner
7.Hong Seulki, 7d (Korea) - 6th place last year, EGR 2738
8.Park Jongwook, 7d (Korea) -2nd place last year, former 1st class insei
9.Takao Yoshida, 6d (Japan) - He often plays in EGCs, 23rd place last year, but sometimes he is in top 10
10. Ting Li, 6d (China) -7th place last year, EGR 2619
11. Matsumoto Yasuo, 6d (Japan) - no information available
12. Kay Nayoki, 6d (Japan), famous in Europe and is usually in top 10 in EGCs, but cannot play in the super group this year, because he will not stay till the end of the tournament
13. Lluis Oh (Korea-Spain), EGR 2598
.

I am not a member of the Rules and Ratings Commission, but I think that it's necessary to include these players to the super group: Sun Yuan, Noguchi Motoki, Lai Yu-cheng, Kim Joogsang, Hong Seukui, Hong Seulki, Park Jongwook. Last place may go to Ting Li or Takao - I am not sure, who is stronger.
All of them, maybe except Noguchi Motoki and Ting Li have chances for getting the 1st place in the tournament. I think, that Kim Joogsang, 7-dan has the highest chances. He is my former classmate and was one of the best students in my club. My score against him is around 0-5 or 0-7. He was only few games away from becoming professional around 2002-2003. It will be a very big mistake to exclude him from the super group, just because he did not play in Europe yet and has no EGF rating available.
If the super group will be large - 32 players, I see another problem. Park Chimoon, 7-dan and Kay Nayoki, 6-dan, who cannot enter the super group, according to the current rules, will play most of their games with European 4-5 dan players. The problem is that they can give them 3-4 stones handicap! I am pretty sure, that both of them will score 5-0 and will not match any good opponents.
There are 2 solutions:
1. Allow Park and Kai to enter the super group
2. Make the super group smaller - 16 or 24 players, so the next group will be quite strong too and they can meet some strong opponents.
In my opinion, the second solution is better. Also it may allow holding more games between top Europeans. With 32 players it's possible to see the situation when European champion will not meet European #2 and #3. He can become the champion just by showing better results against Koreans.

This time it will be a very hard tournament for European top players. The first time in history the European Champion may not enter best 10. The 6-4 score and good SOS-SODOS must be enough for becoming European Go Champion in 2008.

Top boards games will be broadcasted on KGS and commented by Alexander Dinerchtein on Go4Go.
We plan to make 2-3 special issues of Goama, describing the congress.

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A reply from Robert Jasiek, the head of the EGF Rules Commission

> In the past we saw several wrong decisions. For example, Park
> Jongwook, former Korean 1st class insei, was not included to the super
> group few years ago and was not able to get the 1st place, even after
> beating his main opponents.

This example of Park Jongwook in Prague was not a wrong decision but a
correct (and generous) application of the valid rules. The rules for the
supergroup should be criticized though because the maximum of 8
non-Europeans in the supergroup is not appropriate any longer since
great numbers of strong Asians have come in some years. Regardless of
what one might want to say about the rules, let me explain the specific
example case and its handling by the three tournament supervisors:

We noticed that enough strong Asians were there to make it doubtful to
consider some local (Czech) 4d or young Europeans. So we gave the legal
maximum of 8 supergroup places to non-Europeans. In that year, those
were all Asians.

The next decision was about how to compare Korean and Japanese strengths
of their present top players. We were aware that most of the strong
Koreans would be stronger than the strong Japanese. But the question was
how many places to give to either nation. We considered 6:2 (Matti
Siivola's and Geoff Kaniuk's opinion) or 7:1 (my opinion) in favour of
the Koreans. (I think that was justified in particular by the ratings as
far as they were available, but also for some other reasons.)

At that time, we had 6 seemingly particularly strong Koreans (plus some
more unrated 6d, which we skipped in view of the unrated 7d). So a 6:2
split would have made some sense. However, the deadline for applying to
the supergroup had already been closed (and luckily I had noticed a
spelling mistake / variation of the previous European Open Champion;
otherwise he might have been missed from the supergroup...) but then
Park Jongwook and a translator appeared and wanted to be in the
supergroup as well. We took notice of that, declared to make a decision
about whether to include him (BTW, in 2007 Ilya Shikshin and Andrei
Kulkov were admitted despite their delay as well; and later Ilya became
the European Champion on SOS-SODOS...), and considered the new
situation. We then made the vote for 6:2. This had consequences (which
we were aware of) because we also had to make another vote:

There were four unrated Koreans 7d, some more EGF-rated Koreans 6d and
5d, and 2 rated Japanese (clearly in front of the remaining rated
Japanese). So the question was which fraction of the 6 allowed Koreans
should be chosen from unrated / EGF-rated players. With Korean ranks in
Europe, it is always hard to guess whether those are Korean ranks indeed
or already translated European ranks. (We didn't have the players next
to us, the tournament site was 1km wide, and we had had great trouble
even confirming the presence of two or three of the top Koreans by
sending around some organizers to meet them. So we could not get any
more reliable information without possibly delaying the round 1 start by
several hours.) Thus we made a reasonable decision: Allow 3 unrated
Korean 7d and 3 EGF-rated Korean 6d.

Now, with Park Jongwook's arrival, we had 4 unrated Korean 7d but would
allow only 3. So we had to draw a lot whom to exclude. The bad lot was
drawn for... Park Jongwook!

One might criticize our decision for various reasons like
- not allowing 4:4 Koreans and Japanese
- not allowing 7:1 Koreans and Japanese
- allowing unrated players at all
- not allowing all 7d and throwing out one more rated 6d
- possibly allowing a delayed supergroup entry at all
etc.

But, given the knowledge about the Asians we had at that time, the
judgement on our decision will depend on one's view and could go either
way. Just one criticism ought not to be made: A request for bending the
valid rule of the maximum 8. If the rule is disliked, then not the
executive should be criticized for applying it but the legislature (the
EGF Annual General Meeting) for having set it and not having changed it
in time.

> because of bad SOS-SODOS

Up to 2007, SOS-SODOS was used. Since 2008 (and until a more fundamental
reform of the EGC tournament system), only SOS will be used.

> and one game handicap.

It is more than one game handicap because a starter in a lower MM group
is more likely to get less SOS as well.

> I am not a member of the Rules and Ratings Commission, but I think [...]

Reliable background information such as yours will be considered by the
tournament supervisors. In fact, yours is by far the best such
information I (as a tournament supervisor) have received so far. In
previous years the best we could hope for was being given just a
walllist a few hours before round 1. Needless to say, the rules about
organization quality before round 1 could be improved as well; so far my
initiatives in that direction have been discarded. The tournament
supervisors can make their decisions only as good as the information is
that is available to them at all.

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Commented game: Li Ting vs Ilya Shikshin, EGC-2007 in Austria

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Enjoy the newsletter!
The IGN "Goama" editor's team

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