Sweden, Stockholm, December 1996 (12-26 - 12-29), RIF rule
The 3rd European Championship took place in Stockholm, Sweden, December 26-29, 1996. The tournament was well-organized. The new trend was the focus of organizers on discipline and good values of players. As a result, the tournament had a good atmosphere and everything was smooth.
This time there were more players in the tournament, among them several top players, which made the outcome hard to predict again. The Team World Championship was played half a year ago, and it was expected that the participants of that tournament were "warmed up" for this tournament. The expectations became true - most of the Team World Championship players were successful and proved that frequent practice of renju pays off. The rise of Oleg Fedorkin in the European Championship 1996 was rather unexpected, but as it usually happens, it takes one successful tournament to change the future of a player.
Fedorkin has played very well since that tournament, and later on even reached the title of e-mail world champion. Peskov proved that he is always a serious and strong player, and gets the stable result. Meritee and Reims finally got the compensation for the 1st European Championship failure, and got the two top places.
Igor Sinyov got the 3rd place, it was well done - each time in top 3 whenever he participated!
The Champion of 1994, Arnis Veidemanis could not not repeat the success from 2 years ago and ended up with 9th place. It was a pity that the Champion of 1995, Alexander Klimashin did not participate.
This was the last time the European Championship was held every year. RIF had decided that from now on, the tournament will only be held once in two years.
About the tournament rules: There were 20 players from 6 countries in this tournament. The players were divided into 4 groups, 5 players in each. 3 players from each group were qualified to final groups. There were two A-final groups, 6 players in each. The best two players from both groups played semifinals. The winners of semifinals met in final match.