perjantaina, heinäkuuta 30, 2010

54th European Go Congress Day 5

Four rounds of the main tournament have been played. The resultslook rather good for the host country. It is particularly noteworthy that Antti Törmänen, 6 dan, won Christian Pop, 7 dan, of Romania in the fourth round. Antti is now seventh. Törmänen already lost to the leader, Ilya Shikshin, 7 dan, of Russia, so he has to stage a few more upsets if he is to become European champion let alone win the tournament. Ilya is doing extremely well, having beaten one of the Korean 7 dans and Taranu Catalin, professional 5 dan from Romania. By the way, Ilya won the 13x13 tournament beating Korea's Kim Jung-Hyeop, 7 dan, in the final yesterday.

Today (Thursday 29th) was a very hot day in Finland. The highest ever recorded temperature in Finland was reached in Joensuu near the Russian border: 37.2 C. The maximum temperature in Tampere was nearly 33 C. It's going to get cooler tomorrow and during the weekend. The highest daily temperatures will be between 23 and 25 C.

There were no games in the main tournament on Wednesday. Two side events were held: a tournament on the 13x13 board and Man vs. Machine match, a meeting of Catalin Taranu, 5 dan professional, and a state-of-the-art program MoGoTW running on the Cray XT4/XT5 of the Finnish IT Center for Science. Catalin beat the program resoundinly on the 9x9 board where the real contest (if any) was to be. Human superiority on the 19x19 board is a given, so MoGoTW got a seven stone handicap. It won by 1.5 points. Both games are stored in Kiseido Go Server archives of the user "EGC2010".

keskiviikkona, heinäkuuta 28, 2010

Finnish beer

Before modern times, most water sources were often more or less contaminated and waterborne diseases were common. In Europe, it was customary to prevent the contamination of drinking water with small amounts of ethanol. Ethanol is made by fermenting carbohydrates. In all of Northern Europe and in Finland, too, the most readily available source of carbohydrates was grain. Barley is well-suited for our cool temperate climate. Finland's traditional beer is called sahti. Sahti is a top fermented, unfiltered beer made of barley malt, small amounts of rye malt, (sometimes wheat and oat malt as well), and water, spiced with juniper. Hops are not used - in fact hops became widely adopted in European brewing only in the 13th century. Sahti has a characteristic full, bananalike flavour with some bitterness from the juniper.

All mild, fermented alcoholic drinks in Finland are classified into tax categories according to alcohol content per volume. Category I consists of drinks having at most 2.7 percent alcohol per volume. Category III covers all drinks with 2.8 to 4.7 percent alcohol. Category IV includes those drinks that have more than 4.8 percent. (Category II is no longer mentioned in the law.) Only drinks in category I and III are sold in supermarkets or kiosks. Retail sale of category IV drinks is a state monopoly. All strong beer, wine, and liquor is sold in Alko stores. In the city centre of Tampere, there are Alkos in Sokos, Stockmann, and Anttila deparment stores. Anttila's Alko has a better selection of beers than the Alko at Sokos. Most of the other Alkos in the city are somewhat further away from the centre or in big shopping centres on the outskirts of the city. There are no public holidays during the congress, which means that Alkos are open at regular hours: at best between 9am to 8pm. It is also important to note that all retail sale of alcohol is allowed only between 9am and 9pm. Restaurants and pubs serve alcohol usually until half an hour before closing time.

According to, the five most highly regarded Finnish beers are: Sinebrychoff Porter, Siperia Imperial Stout of Plevna, Siperia Imperial Stout Hanniku of Plevna, Hollolan Hirvi Kivisahti (this one is a sahti), and Stadin Vintage Ale (a barley wine). Two of the beers at the top of the list are brewed by Koskipanimo at Plevna brewpub right here in Tampere on Satakunnankatu across the street from the northern edge of Keskustori, the central market square. Koskipanimo beers are available in several pubs in Tampere, the nearest one to the congress venue being Oluthuone Esplanadi with a terrace right in the middle of Hämeenpuisto (the park avenue next to the venue) just a hundred metres northeast of Aleksanteri school. In the evening, go players flock to Olutravintola Konttori at Verkatehtaankatu 5, our sponsor and the regular meeting place of Kanpai, the local go club. Konttori has got go sets, an excellent selection of beer (including Finnish and Scandinavian) and whiskey, and a very helpful and knowledgeable staff.

54th European Go Congress Day 3

Three rounds of the main tournament have been played. The results were published already yesterday evening. That's one thing I like about the organising team of this year's congress: the timely publication of results on the net. Seven more rounds in the main tournament to go.

The first of the sauna evenings was held yesterday evening from 5pm to 10pm at Varala sauna by Lake Pyhäjärvi. It was a paradise for the 15 people who participated: a good sauna, modern facilities, a magnificient view over the lake, swimming in refreshingly cool but not cold water, playing go, cold beer, grilled food and free snacks. All this for only 8 euros. We were a mixed company of Finns, Ukrainians, one Russian, an Austrian, a couple of Germans, and a few Frenchmen. Good times were had. The bike ride from the sauna back home was wonderful. I hardly even broke a sweat in the 20 C on the 12 km ride back to Hervanta where I live.

maanantaina, heinäkuuta 26, 2010

54th European go Congress Day 2

Everything is going smoothly. Perhaps not surpisingly because of the heat (daily maximum about 30 C), however, tomorrow's sauna evening at Varala by Lake Pyhäjärvi had proved to be rather unpopular. Only five out of twenty five of the tickets sold by today afternoon. With more agressive marketing we can perhaps sell the tickets to some more people. I had the organiser of the sauna evenings make a couple of dozen photocopies of the brochure and then delivered them to the tables at the rapid tournament. Hopefully, some more tickets can be sold tomorrow.

It's too early to say much about the main tournament after only two rounds, of which the results are now on the web. Dinerstein lost to Burzo which may make it difficult for him to beat all of the other Europeans and to win European Championship.

sunnuntaina, heinäkuuta 25, 2010

54th European Go Congress day 1

I played in Pyynikki school along with the rest of the dan players. Everything went smoothly except for one thing that took even me, an assisting organiser, by surprise: nobody was supposed to use Ing rules. Instead, everyone, not just those at the top 16 boards, was to use Verbal Japanese rules instead. Ing's rules were abandoned completely after Ing Foundation withdrew its sponshorship probably owing to the economic depression last year. The playing sets borrowed from European Go Center, however, were Ing's sets as usual. The rules were supposed to be announced in the first congress bulletin but owing to a mistake they weren't. Preparations to make the information known to the players should've been made immediately.

Because it turned out this morning just before the games were scheduled to begin that a lot of players in Pyynikki school where I was playing were under the impression that Ing's rules were to be used, it was clear that the correct information had to be delivered fast and to make sure everyone got the message. I got up and told the referee in the building that I would go and announce the rules to be used in the rooms on the 2nd floor. He covered the 1st floor and the ground floor. Afterwards, a friend told me that he had heard something in the canteen building but was not sure what it was. His opponent began counting Ing style until he was corrected. I wonder how being under the impression that he was playing with Ing rules affected his endgame.