A family reunion put me in Ireland right during the US Go Congress; luckily, the European Go Congress lined up perfectly. I arrived in Brussels without jet lag, and definitely did better than two years ago in Oberhof.
I entered as 2 dan instead of 3 dan, knowing that European ranks are tougher than US ranks. However, 1 dan might have been the right rank, as that’s where I ended up (see my EGF ranking). I won half my games in the main tournament, but I was 1-4 in the first week and 4-1 in the second week, a clear sign of being overrated.
The weekend tournament didn’t go as well: I lost all five games. Each game was winnable, but somehow I managed to mess up. I regrouped and analyzed the games, and paid more attention to taking care of my weak groups instead of going for big points, and won the next four games.
A few other observations:
- I got to practice my Norwegian hanging out with a dozen players from Norway. And it was great to get to know players I’ve long known through Twitter, such as Marcel Gruenauer.
- I really enjoyed the longer time limits: with two hours per player, games are often four hours long; definitely valuable to spend that much time thinking intensely about the game.
- Many players stayed only for the first week and the weekend tournament, so that’s certainly an option if you can’t stay for two weeks. Looking at the registered participants, there were 571 players for the first week, 702 for the weekend tournament, and 397 for the second week.
- Brussels was a great place to have the tournament, with lots of places to eat and explore (more on that below). They had go boards in nearby pubs; maybe playing rengo until 1 am was not conducive to optimal play the next day?
- The playing space was okay, except for lack of air conditioning – temperatures in Brussels reached 40° C (100° F) during the first week.
Next year, I plan to be at the US Go Congress in Estes Park, Colorado – hope some of the European players will be able to make it.
At the US Go Congress, there’s usually a group of us touring the nearest Frank Lloyd Wright buildings. Brussels has a lot of beautiful old buildings, but I found some nearby places that were more to my liking.
I had seen the Atomium before, so I just went to take pictures of this fun structure this time.
Reading Between the Lines
Reading Between the Lines (Doorkijkkerk) is an artwork out in the green, well worth the train, bus, and hike from Brussels.
I love the Stadelhofen station in Zürich designed by Santiago Calatrava, so when I found out his train station in Liège is only an hour from Brussels, I knew I had to check it out. I was blown away by the size and openness of that space, and the light coming in.
Maybe one of these will inspire you to visit beautiful Belgium. If not, there’s always chocolate.