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Dutch Championships report with a wink ;)

January is a busy month on the Dutch Go scene as Dutch Go players occupy the EGCC for two whole weekends. This year they participated in the Dutch Championship, the Female Championship, the Youth Championship and two side tournaments.

The main championship can be described in three words: surprising, fun and creative. The most surprising were the results of the first round, in which the Dutch champion 2012 Alexander Eerbeek (5d) lost to Erik Henselmans (3d) and Zeno van Ditzhuijzen (5d) lost to Andreas Drost (4d). The fun comes from the presence of three plush toys: Michiel’s frog, Zeno’s Miffy and Merlijn’s tiger. Especially the frog brought a smile to many faces. And the creativity! Of course each game is unique so all the players are being creative and original, but there’s one game that deserves to be mentioned: in the 7th round Sjoerd Kuperus (3d) and Andreas Drost (4d) started a game in the middle of the board and followed in such a fashion that according to a bystander there was still not a single stone placed on lines 1-5 after more than 50 moves (if you have seen a more creative game, please share it in comments!).

Next to the main championship two side tournaments were played. The first one was won by Annemarie de Putter (2k) – her very first  1st place! The victory was by all means deserved: Annemarie learned a very useful trick from and managed to successfully implement it in her games. She would have probably won the second side tournament too if she played in it, but luckily for the absolute winner Rudi Verhagen (5d) she decided to participate in the Female Championship.

The Female Championship is always little smaller and therefore cozier than the main one. But it is only cozy if you look at it and not if you play yourself, because everyone knows how aggressive females can be if they want something. And in this case they all wanted to win (or at least most of them), which resulted in horribly complicated and challenging games. But there is one female very good at this kind of games and it is Marieke Overbeek (3k) who scored four points and finished second. The first place went to Marika Kuin (2d), but that was just pure luck.

If you think the story ends at two championships, you are wrong because the youth also had its own championship, in the age groups up to 12, 16 and 20 years old. The respective winners are Colin Christiaans (7k), Marcel Riedeman (8k) and Alex Ketelaars (2d).

And this would have been the end of story if two Dutch players were not thoughtful enough to get the shared first place: Zeno van Ditzhuijzen (5d) and Merlijn Kuin (6d) both won 7 out of 8 games. They will fight for the right to represent the Netherlands at the World Amateur Go Championship in a 3 rounds play-off, date still to be announced. Who will win two games?

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