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Gomoku World Championship 2009 - The QT2009-10-11 18:23:50
Gomoku World Championship 2009 – The qualification tournament


In this article I will mostly focus on my and other finalists’ performance in the gomoku world championship qualification tournament. First of all I should say that I really enjoyed being in Pardubice and taking part on this great tournament, so thanks for the organizers and congratulations to Czech Republic for organizing successfully this event!

The parameters of the qualification tournament: (Swiss system, 9 rounds, swap2 rule, 80min + 30sec/move time limit, the first 8 players go to the final)

The number of participants was 21, maybe a bit less than we expected, but the players’ average strength was much higher than in any gomoku competition before, so getting into the top 8 was not easy at all for anyone. In my opinion there were like 12-14 players who had almost the same good chance to qualify.
The games which are not attached can be watched on renju.net

Round 1:

Demján (106) – Eged (103) 0,5:0,5, R: +, 104 moves, 1=c4
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I always want to have a warm-up/relaxing game in the first round, but this time I was not lucky because of the lotting. I had a pretty uncomfortable opponent, and it was him who put the opening, so I really had to focus. I didn’t play so well at the beginning; I was very passive in the first few moves and gave away the tempo. I gave several opportunities to my opponent to make some dangerous and not that hard attacks (like after 5th move or 13th move or 15th move or 19th move) but he didn’t use my any of my gifts. After his surprising 22, it was my time to attack and I just did it until the last move. After 84, black’s position looks very strong, but unfortunately I could not manage to win. It was big time trouble for both of us already so the game ended with a fair draw. I think we both played rather bad than good.

Meanwhile:
- Tamiola beated Nipoti on such a lucky way, Nipoti had an easy win 20-22, 24-21, but somehow he did not see it. Both players played bad in my opinion.
- Tóth lost to Lu, and I still don’t know how it could happen. Lu just learned the rules right 5 minutes before the tournament and then could beat Gergő. I have to say that Gergő played very bad, but at least, we could know that probably there will be a Taiwanese player in the final. They both played bad in my opinion.
- Zukowski made a draw with Bielak in a quite boring game.
- Laube got an easier opponent; he won very fast over Kaufman.
- Nowakowski also had an easier opponent, Sakamoto. Nowakowski won without suffering.

My thoughts after the round: „Okay, 1 round passed and I am in the middle of the list. Since other players who earned 1 point played not so good, I am not worried, but I am warmed up! We still have 8 games to play; nothing is decided yet, let’s go on.”


Round 2:

Demján (72) – Nemec (88) 1:0, R: 2 more stones, Demján didn’t swap, 41 moves, 1=h8
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I played calm and safe at the beginning, I controlled the position, and nothing could threat me. I was just waiting for my opponent to pass the tempo and I can start my attack. 15 and 19 ensures the left wing and gives the opportunity to further attack. After 20 and 22, black had quite nice and long win. It was pretty hard to visualize if there is a win or not with 23-23, but after like 25 minutes, I could see everything, even 31-31, the key move. If 24-L6, then 25-g6, 27-L8 and white can not defend black’s strong base.

Meanwhile:
- Tamiola beated Purkrabek with giving him a nice puzzle.
- Tóth beated Kaufman from old-school, pro opening.
- Lu won his second game against Kostlivy with showing his very strange style, which seemed new for us.
- Laube and Nowakowski had an extremely nice and great battle. Finally Laube won the fight.
- Zukowski beated Eged, the reason of the result can be the lack of theory knowledge from Eged.
- Nipoti – BYE

My thoughts after the round: „Okay, 1,5 points out of 2 is acceptable, I don’t know so much about the tournament yet, just let’s continue playing.”


Round 3:

Bielak (71) – Demján (54) 0:1, R: -, 54 moves, 1=e14
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It was not so easy but neither so hard game. I decided to play offensively from the start and try to push out my opponent. 8 and 18 are very offensive moves, I planned to win with connecting these 2 moves, but it seemed that Bielak can defend me well. So the game was like I attack, he blocks me, I attack, he blocks me…and I got a feeling that it will end with a bitter draw. His 37 seems good enough, but actually it isn’t, 37-j10 would be better. When I saw my position after 37, I felt that it is my last chance, cause if he can block me again, we’ll fulfill the board. After some thinking I found the perfect move 38-38. It was the key of my win, there was no good 39. Although his 39 and 41 is nice and logical they are losing. But if 37-j10, then white can not win on this branch and would have had a harder win probably.

Meanwhile:
- Nowakowski beated Nemec easily.
- Nipoti lost to Kozimor, playing very badly. Kozmior could surprise his opponent with a tricky swap2.
- Tóth beated Zukowski very nicely in the endgame of a big and hard war. This success was very important for him; I think if he would have lost this game, he couldn’t have made it to the final.
- Tamiola tied with Kopecky from corner game. Tamiola tried to attack during the whole game, but Kopecky could stop all his attempts.
- Lu defeated Laube in a nice and tough battle. The Taiwanese guy absolutely proved his skill.

My thoughts after the round: „I finished the first day with 2 wins and 1 draw. It is not bad, but the thing that I had quite hard wins is bad. I thought before that I will have easier games, but I must realize that on this tournament I won’t have an easy game at all. I should cheer up myself and get a better shape. I hope the coming days will make it true.”

Round 4:

Demján (33) – Kopecky (37) 1:0, R: 2 more stones, Demján didn’t swap, 29 moves, 1=h8
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This game doesn’t require much comment. Everything happened as I just planned before. I put a hard opening into the center; I knew that my opponent doesn’t really like to play from the center. I got the expected two more stones, chose my color and started to play calmly. I controlled successfully the whole game and got my point.

Meanwhile:
- Tamiola beated Lu very easily, Lu played very bad.
- Zukowski lost to Kaufman from his well known opening. It is so strange that a veteran who doesn’t have any knowledge about long pro theories can beat a well practiced player. At this point I was sure that Zukowski won’t be in the final cause he played like a beginner.
- Nowakowski played a draw with Fitzermann.
- Nipoti got his first win in the tournament. He beated the Japanese veteran, Sakamoto.
- Tóth beated Sviridov from a long pro opening. Gergő played well, he deserved the point.
- Laube made a draw with Kozimor after a long fight.

My thoughts after the round: “It’s okay now, I got 3,5 point out of 4 and I am leading. I am looking forward to continue the day and stabilize my position in top 8.”

Round 5:

Demján (61) –Tamiola (49) 0,5:0,5, R: +, 25 moves, 1=c12
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The two leaders of the tournament met in the 5th round. Since it was him who could put the opening, I had a little disadvantage, but it was okay cause it’s not the final. I knew that he had prepared with some tricky opening to this championship and I was sure that he won’t publish it until the final. He put me his traditional corner opening. The draw was okay for both of us so I didn’t want to risk, neither did he. We played a peaceful game and agreed in a draw soon. Long after the game, I realized that 17-g5 is maybe win, but after some analyze, it became clear that white has a nice potential defense afterwards, which means 17-g5 is not win.

Meanwhile:
- Lu made a draw against Fitzermann. The polish draw monster is losing precious points as the time passes because of his extremely passive playing style.
- Zukowski beated Nemec. Nemec made a tactical mistake cause he put an opening which his opponent knows much better.
- Nipoti beated Bialkowski easily.
- Nowakowski lost to Kopecky very fast from a balanced opening.
- Tóth beated Kozimor easily. Kozimor chose the swap2 option but he placed the extra stones on such a bad way. Tóth used his advantage and won fast.

My thoughts after the round: “The last game didn’t make me worried, rather made me feel stable. Draw was okay, Tamiola and me are leading. I got 4 points now and I think that 5 points is enough to be qualified. So I have to gain at least 1 point out of 4 games, I guess it’s not so hard.”

Round 6:

Tóth (89) – Demján (96) 0,5:0,5, R: +, 77 moves, 1=h8
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Before the World Championship I played 6 games in live with Gergő and I won all of them. This time the situation was much more serious than before. I really wanted to see my friend and country mate in the final but I didn’t want to push him in there, I wanted him to see in the final as a player who truly deserves the place. So I tried to play my best. It was me who could put the opening; I chose a long pro opening, hoping that he will offer me 2 more stones. He didn’t use swap2 option but chose black. This was my best game with him ever, he played good like never. I was attacking almost during the whole game but he could defend me well. The most interesting point of the game was after the 19th move. I was looking for win in the area of 12-14-16, but after 25 minutes I had to realize that I don’t have win there. So I had to figure out a new plan. I think that none would play 20-20, it doesn’t look the best at first sight, but I think it is a brilliant move (connections!). The reasons why I chose this move: - If I don’t have win in the left-down area, why should I waste my opportunities there, that area can be important at the end of the game, and I can make connections and even winning attack if I put there more material using some connecting stones from another area. – 20-20 controls black’s attacking possibilities and if black doesn’t defend well enough, I can build up a very strong base aswell. His 21 was good, but not the best in my opinion. 22-22 just proves my words; this move has a connecting function with the left-down area. I was lucky that he chose 23-23, cause I got the chance to make the long waited connection, if he would have played 23-24, then I couldn’t have connect the 2 areas. 27 was very surprising, it seems a bit risky. 28 is a magical move, it seems to be the key move. I thought that it is undefendable. Black must block white’s double three threat and white got an extra stone to the left-down area. I thought that I got win, but I had like 5 minutes left. After 29 I had to choose, 30-30 or 30-34. After the game I analyzed the situation and none of them is winning, 30-34 is a bit more dangerous. I tried my best afterwards, 39 saves black from losing the game. After 45 I offered a draw but he immediately refused. I had to hurry cause I almost lost all my time and the position looked much better for him. When he put 51-51, I saw that I might get a last chance; I got back the tempo and could start the endgame. 62-62, a new chance! He offered me draw but I refused fast :). It made me him a bit nervous, the game became very tense. Very nice defense after my 64, he could block my last attempt with an overline threat. After 77, we finally agreed in a draw. This was my best game with him ever, and the best game in the QT so far.

Meanwhile:
- Tamiola beated Sviridov confidentially and nicely.
- Lu beated Kopecky very easily from corner opening. Kopecky shouldn’t have lose this game on such an easy way.
- Zukowski beated Laube, Pavel didn’t know the theory so Zukowski had an easy game.
- Nowakowski luckily won over Purkrabek. Maciej put 2 more stones to Purkrabek’s opening, but he put a surewin for white. Purkrabek chose black! :) They played an unordinary theory and although Purkrabek had better positions during the game, Maciej won at the end.
- Nipoti beated Eged very fast and easily from Eged’s corner opening.

My thoughts after the round: “I am still in the top 3, I have better position as many others, so why should I be worried. I played a very nice game, but I still didn’t play with some strong opponents. Let’s finish the last day and see what happens.”

Round 7:

Demján (66) – Lu (77) 1:0, R: +, 37 moves, 1=f5
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I really wanted to put the opening against the friendly Taiwanese guy and have an easy game but unfortunately it was his chance now. He put an expected 50-50 opening, my plan was to play very offensively and forcing him to fail. 9 and 11 are a little bit risky, but if he doesn’t defend them well and start attack then I am good I guess. It just happened, he tried some strange attack which I could block, then take back the tempo and win the game. 21 was the key of my victory.

Meanwhile:
- Tamiola and Tóth made a draw. This was one of the best games of the QT, both players played very well, the game was very exciting. Nice job guys!
- Zukowski got a point from Nipoti. Nipoti played in straight style; he missed an easy win and finally lost. Zukowski had so much of luck on this championship.
- Nowakowski beated Bielak easily and nicely.
- Laube also got an easy point, against Sviridov. Sviridov made a stupid swap2 which Pavel used on the best way.

My thoughts after the round: “Good, I am in the final I think! I got 5,5 points and still 2 rounds left, there should be some magic happening to see me out of top 8. Although that I got my place already, I wanted to win the 2 last games.”

Round 8:

Demján (91) – Fitzermann (78) 1:0, R: -, 61 moves, 1=h8
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Many people waited this game for a long time, especially the average polish players from the most popular gomoku playing site. Everyone expected Fitzermann to be in the top 8 and I still don’t know why. I don’t think that a player with such style can achieve any great result. Nevermind, it is not important at all. Luckily I had the chance to put the opening. I knew my opponent well enough; I knew that he can not attack well; he defends even if he has win and that he really dislike playing from the center. Considering this all, I figured out my plan. I chose this opening because I was 100% sure that he will choose white. In this opening, white has the tempo first, white has the chance to make something, and black can defend. Since I wanted him to attack my plan was okay. I wanted to force him to make as much attack as he just can, until he obviously gives away the tempo. Everything happened exactly as I planned. His 8 was a big surprise, I have never seen this move. I became a bit worried, but soon I could became calm and focus to protecting myself. After 14 white has much better position, I was glad to see this on the board. I chose 15-15, this seems to be a strange move, but it just proves my tactic, I am waiting for him to attack, to show me some skill. 16-16 is very dangerous, 17 is logical. I was sure that he will choose 18-19, but surprisingly he chose 18-18. 19-19 is logical, 20-20 is another surprise. What’s the meaning of this move? At first I wanted to play 21-L8 and 23-55 but after some minutes I realized that 21-21 is much better. His 22 came as a sudden storm from the sky. He used like 15 seconds after 21, what the hell is this 22? How can someone be sure after 15 secs that there is no win for black after this 22? I felt now that I got win, I started to check my opportunities but couldn’t see any win. I used like 40 minutes to figure out what to do, there was so many ways to choose from. 23-23 is logical; he has to block it on the upper side. 25 and 27 are logical aswell, I secured that area and got a line with which I can connect 2 areas. After 28 I was in a little trouble. I had only 10-15 minutes and I couldn’t see any win. What to play? 29-31, 29-56, 29-40? There was only one winning way! The one which I chose. The VCT starting from 29 is extremely nice and was incredibly hard to figure out and visualize the whole attack. The teamwork of 31 and 33 provides the chance to make the base going down and gain more space with more material. 35 is logical, 37 is the key move, also logical. 39-39 is great aswell, although 39-40 is a shorter VCT. From 41 until 52 the moves are logical. With 50-50, my opponent made me overline and he maybe thought that it saves him from losing the game. Thanks to my gift 51, my win became even nicer than I thought. This game was very hard and my nicest game in the QT.

Meanwhile:
- Tamiola made a draw with Zukowski, it was enough for Artur, so he chose to save some energy in order to fight hard for the win.
- Nowakowski and Tóth played a draw aswell, which was okay for both of them.
- Laube beated Nemec and was hoping that he will win the last round aswell, cause if he doesn’t gain at least 1 point in the coming game, he is out.
- Nipoti beated Lu from his opening. Lu seemed to lose his chances to the final and Nipoti seemed the one who got back his chances.

My thoughts after the round:
“Damn, I have just finished one of the best games of my life and I am safely leading the tournament. What could make it better? I am fine, one game is left and I can finally take a rest.”

Round 9:

Demján (75) – Zukowski (51) 1:0, R: 2 more stones, Zukowski swapped, 47 moves, 1=i8
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The last round, my opponent is a player who in my opinion doesn’t deserve a place in the final. In spite of I am already in the final, I wanted to make one last fight and see a nice game. It was him who put the opening and as I saw what he chose, I thought that he is a bit brave. I know this opening very well and guess I know more theories than him. Before he put his opening I was walking around the other tables and saw this opening on 2 more boards! Laube and Fitzermann played this and also Nipoti and Tóth. Since I wanted to play from this opening in the final and show some new theories plus 2 more pairs played it in the same time, I thought it will be better to play a new, never seen outcome, so I chose the swap2 option. I put 2 more stones; the situation became much harder and a bit gambling. After 6 and 8 it seems that white has much better position, maybe even winning, that’s what I though. After some thinking I chose 9-9 which seems not logical, but in fact, this is a very good and safe move. After 12-12 I was not thinking about losing already, moreover I got the tempo soon. After 24 it was my turn to show something. I had many ways to choose from. From 25 to 31 my goal was to force him to fail, but it didn’t happen. Nevermind, my position is still promising; it’s time to make something on the other side. After 33 and 35 I was thinking what to do when I realized that I have win. If someone would show me this situation (after the 36th move) I would say “Are you stupid, how it could be a winning position?” A very nice combination comes now. 37-37 ensures the upper part; it avoids the chance of white to take my tempo away afterwards. But the most important, the key move is 39-39! A magical pause move which is undefendable. White can not win with 16 and 36; neither can stop the black win. I thought that he will try but maybe he didn’t even think about it. He answered with a powerless 40 and I didn’t have a hard task left, I won the game thanks to 39-39. This was also a very nice game, a performance which is worth to finish the tournament.

Meanwhile:
- Laube beated Fitzermann easily and soon. This game was a very decisive one, cause both players had to win. Fortunately (at this point I thought that it is good for me that Pavel comes to the final :)) Laube made it.
- Tóth lost to Nipoti, but it didn’t matter at all, both players secured their place already.
- Lu made a peaceful draw against Bielak and for his luck, this half point was enough to get into the final.



As the tournament finished, we got the 8 finalists:

1. Attila Demján 7,5 p, Hungary
2. Artur Tamiola 6,5 p, Poland
3. Vladimir Nipoti 6 p, Czech Rep./Italy
4. Gergő Tóth 5,5 p, Hungary
5. Pavel Laube 5,5 p, Czech Rep.
6. Maciej Nowakowski 5,5 p, Poland
7. Michal Zukowski 5p, Poland
8. Lu Wei-Yuan 5p, Taiwan
The final result of the Qualification Tournament:

name pts mbuch buch 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
1 Attila Demján HUN 7,5 34,5 45 11 14 10 9 2 4 8 13 7
2 Artur Tamioła POL 6,5 36 46 3 19 9 8 1 12 4 7 6
3 Vladimír Nipoti CZE 6 31,5 40,5 2 - 15 18 21 11 7 8 4
4 Gergo Tóth HUN 5,5 36,5 47,5 8 16 7 12 15 1 2 6 3
5 Pavel Laube CZE 5,5 32,5 41,5 16 6 8 15 11 7 12 14 13
6 Maciej Nowakowski POL 5,5 31,5 40,5 18 5 14 13 9 19 10 4 2
7 Michal Zukowski POL 5 37 48 10 11 4 16 14 5 3 2 1
8 Wei-Yuan Lu TAI 5 37 47,5 4 17 5 2 13 9 1 3 10
9 Jan Kopecký CZE 5 36 47,5 15 13 2 1 6 8 11 10 -
10 Jan Bielák CZE 5 32 42 7 18 1 11 19 13 6 9 8
11 Igor Eged SVK 5 32 42 1 7 20 10 5 3 9 15 18
12 Andrey Sviridov RUS 5 28 37 13 21 19 4 16 2 5 20 15
13 Adrian Fitzermann POL 4,5 34,5 45 12 9 17 6 8 10 15 1 5
14 Tomáš Němec CZE 4,5 29,5 39,5 21 1 6 17 7 16 - 5 20
15 Michal Kozimor POL 4 33 41 9 20 3 5 4 17 13 11 12
16 Victor Kaufman RUS 4 29 37 5 4 - 7 12 14 20 18 21
17 Radim Kostlivý CZE 3,5 24,5 32 20 8 13 14 18 15 21 - 19
18 Hirouji Sakamoto JAP 3 29 37 6 10 21 3 17 - 19 16 11
19 Jan Purkrábek CZE 3 28 37 - 2 12 20 10 6 18 21 17
20 Piotr Małowiejski POL 3 26,5 34 17 15 11 19 - 21 16 12 14
21 Lukasz Białkowski POL 3 25 33 14 12 18 - 3 20 17 19 16

Attila Demján, October 10, 2009

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