Ireland defeated Slovenia 3–1 in the second round of the Pandanet Go European Team Championships last night, while Spain went down 0–4 to a reenergised UK team, leaving Ireland one point clear at the top of League C. The UK and Norway are tied for second place.
Board 3 was the first to finish, with Gavin Rooney’s grand moyo proving a little too porous — after his opponent’s invasion lived, it was clear that Gavin was well behind on territory and he resigned before endgame. On Board 1, Karl Irwin’s unorthodox 6-4 point opening seemed to disconcert his opponent, and Karl retained the initiative throughout the game, his opponent accepting defeat late in endgame. Board 2 was decided in the middle game, when captain Philippe Renaut engineered a splitting attack on two eyeless groups. Though his opponent managed to connect his groups, he had to fight a ko to secure a second eye, with Philippe extracting generous compensation. Endgame swings weren’t enough to erase the deficit and Philippe’s opponent also resigned. That left it down to Board 4, still in middle game though both players were in overtime — the game hung in the balance as a messy ko fight seemed to leave John Courtney a few points behind on the board. But his opponent had burned too much time earlier in the fight, leaving him only ten seconds on the clock in which to make three moves. The flag dropped on his final move, to jubilation in the Irish camp and despair for Slovenia.
Ireland’s next match will be on January 24th, against Georgia.