|Name:||European Youth Go Masters League|
In 2006 we organized an event we called the European Youth Go Masters League. Twelve players participated in an online round robin tournament and the best eight were invited last November to live person-to-person finals held in Strasbourg. Ondrej Fidrmuc, 4-dan, from the Czech Republic won those finals.
Our internet league has also been a great success with hundreds of spectators watching us play every week. We received lots of positive feedback and support from European strong players such as Guo Juan, who would sometimes drop by and comment our games. Furthermore we received many messages from young players that wished to take part in future leagues.
Based on this success we have improved our concept and opened our doors for a wider public, inviting all European players born after 1983 that are 3-dan or stronger.
In 2007 our efforts have already resulted in over sixty players coming from twenty-two different European countries. Separating the players into individual playing groups, in order of strength, has left us with six groups of ten players each. Having started a month ago, already three rounds have been completed. Naturally there have been a few problems, but everything is being taken care of. We have dedicated players lead their playing groups to lift some workload off our back.
Thanks to financial aid from our sponsors in 2006, we were able to offer partial travel and accommodation compensation to the eight players coming to the finals. Given the amount of players in 2007 league has five-folded compared to last year, we have decided to organize finals again, however doubling the amount of players invited. Basically it comes down to sixteen players instead of eight, of which surely a good share of eastern European players.
Through this tournament, the players are given a great opportunity to meet and play with each other, something that might otherwise be impossible given the distance separating them. The competition provided by this league will be a big stimulant for the youngsters to improve their game, and one day fight for the top of the European go ladder.
Our main objective is helping the young European go players, the future of our go world, connect with each other while creating a positive atmosphere in the process where everyone is eager to learn and compete.
Considering success in 2006, we have already realized our goal on a small scale: a handful of young players have had a great time coming to Strasbourg, meeting each other casually, and playing serious games of go. In 2007 again we succeeded in connecting many young players that had never heard of each other before, and turning that connection into a great friendship.
Human resources: A lot of manpower and time has gone into the realisation of this project. Managing a website, keeping track of game records and keeping in touch with the players are just a few of the many tasks involved in running this league. Thankfully we have a dedicated base of contributors. Aside from Antoine Fenech and me, we have Vit Brunner who created our website and six team leaders responsible for resolving problems that might occur.
Additionally, we have received numerous offers for help. For the most part strong go players willing to review and analyse some of the games that have been played. For example, Csaba Mero, Hungarian 6-dan, organized a study group at his apartment strictly for league players, free of charge, in the week prior to the Brno tournament. Besides being a great addition to the league in many ways, supporting our cause provide the strong player in question with name awareness, and possible future students.
Financial resources: We have support from a few sponsors. In 2006 we received a contribution from the Strasbourg Go Club to organize the league finals there and provide players with travel compensation. In 2007 we have received contributions from Guo Juan and again the Strasbourg Go Club has agreed to give support.
Our project is already international. In fact, that’s the whole idea. We have support and contact with go players in all European countries. We spread our name and objectives through mailing lists, forum posts, Wiki pages and of course on internet go servers such as KGS.