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October 16th, 2006

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WC Meijin Challenger’s League yields upsets galore

This weekend was the Western Cape Meijin Challenger’s League, and upsets were definitely the specialty of the weekend. In a tournament of 10 games, only one game saw a higher ranked player actually beat a lower ranked player.

That game was the first one completed in the tournament, with Lloyd having a narrow lead but little time in the endgame in his first game against Steve. Steve looked like making it a 1 point game either way until a blunder cost him 7 points, and he ended up losing by 8.5. A while later, the other game of the first round provided the first upset with something even more unusual: Reinhardt claimed a win on time after an unusual opening and a strong attack against one of Bernard’s groups. This also gave Reinhardt a well-deserved promotion back to 3k.

In the second round, Andrew developed a strong position against Bernard after what seemed a decisive victory in a complex fight, but Bernard countered by trying to develop a moyo. Andrew decided (perhaps incorrectly, he conceded later) that the moyo would be too large, and went in deep, allowing Bernard to create considerable complications. In the end, Andrew went down on time. In the other game, Reinhardt managed to secure territory while reducing Lloyd’s moyo to claim a comfortable 25.5 point win.

Interestingly, all of the games so far had seen both players in byo-yomi, and two losses on time, despite some players indicating they thought the time allowance was too liberal!

In Round 3, both games were decided by resignation, with Reinhardt losing to Steve (a tight battle until Reinhardt missed a endgame clamp sequence under time pressure) and Andrew going down against Lloyd.

That signalled the end of the day’s events, and at this stage, the tournament was still wide open: any player could still win the tournament; meanwhile, Lloyd and Reinhardt had secured their positions in next year’s league with two wins each.

The next morning, Steve faced off with Andrew. In a very tense game with both players scurrying to look after weak groups, Steve finally had to prevent Andrew scoring more than 10 points in the centre in the endgame. The final count gave Steve a 5.5 point victory, and a promotion to 2 kyu. This game secured Steve his position in the 2007 league. On the other board, Lloyd forced Bernard to resign, claiming a third win, and by virtue of his seeding in the league, the right to challenge Konrad for the title of 2nd Western Cape Meijin.

The last round was all about who was to be relegated. With Bernard on one win and Andrew on zero. Andrew had to beat Reinhardt, Steve beat Bernard for Andrew to avoid relegation. However, things began to look bleak for Andrew early in Steve’s game, when Steve ended up with two weak groups in Bernard’s sphere of influence. A skillful attack (or perhaps poor defence) cause Steve to weaken the one group too much trying to save the other, and Bernard seemed to have a huge group captured. In the attempt to rescue it, a misread or two worsened the situation, and academic interest was the only thing that caused the game to be played out to the end, with Bernard scoring a huge 128.5 point win. This left Reinhardt playing Andrew, but taking the seeding into consideration, the final positions were already determined. A look at the board revealed a corner group of Andrew’s to be dead, and he was about 30 points behind. After he resigned, a post game analysis showed that, had he played differently, the result in the corner would have been a seki, potentially leading to a very tight endgame indeed.

Full results and the tournament table are available at the Western Cape Closed page. Once again, thanks to Andrew Davies for being willing to host the tournament at his house. Hopefully, I’ll be able to add some pictures from the tournament later this week.

Posted by Steve in Articles, Rank Changes, Tournaments, Western Cape

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