11th European Pandanet Team Cup – Round 1

Last Tuesday was the first round of the Pandanet European Team Cup.
Ireland had a lot of pressure on their shoulders with a breathtaking one point miss last year to be promoted to league B, everybody was expecting them to start strongly in this year tournament. If you add to this the fact that, on the paper, Greece was supposed to be one of the weakest team of the league, all ingredients were here for a gigantic trap to swallow our team.

It started messy, our first board Karl being in Beijing, and usually there is no problem to reschedule the game at a different time, but here some communication issues + some time shift mistakes ended up with both players agreeing on their time and day at the last minute. May be this shook our champion’s mind, may be his opponent lured him into an easy-going pace, but Karl ended up loosing by 6.5pts.

Now the pressure was even worse, with all three of the remaining Irish players having to win to get the 2 winning points.

James played solidly and slowly turned an even game into a leading one and by taking all big yose moves a winning one by 9.5pts.

Matei and me both had dreadful starts.
Matei took a low position on the left handside of the board and his opponent ended up having a clear global positioning lead with no clear places for Matei to trigger some complexity. But suddenly a seemingly minor ko ended up with a big trade and Matei did look much better. He stroke the final blow by launching a tricky sequence in the center capturing in the end a big group and forcing his opponent to resign.

My game was even worse, after a peaceful moyo opening I ended-up dying in it…in gote! With what AI described as being 50pts behind, my only options was to shake the board (cirtually), I triggered a first ko, then a second, luring my opponent into a big chase. He escaped but by doing so he awakened my dead group and it was soon clear that this dead-now-alive group was in fact killing one of his. There were still a few sweat, including a broken ladder push, but in the end my opponent was forced to resign also. He probably won’t forgive me for pulling out a second lucky win (after the same kind of win last year against him).

In the endm Ireland did the job with a 3-1 victory and can now do A LOT of tsumego practice before their game on December 1st against one of the strongest team of the league : Lithuania recently demoted from league B.

I am confident our strong heart and team spirit allow us to try and succeed anything at this stage!

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