Tasked with writing a glamour report about the VIP dinner and completely new to the Go community, I definitely was out of my depth. This is my scatterbrained recollection of a great evening. Enjoy!

A select group of players, VIP guests, officials and Gold EGC Friends concluded Day 1 of EGC with an exclusive dinner.
Everyone invited met at “Möncherei”, a German restaurant near the tournament venue offering a variety of beers and home-style cuisine.

As a special appetizer, EGF president Martin Stiassny gave a brief speech and honoured several EGF members as well as Hans Zötzsche for their dedication to the community before everyone started indulging in food and drink. Afterwards, EGC Friends were presented with their complementary Friends t-shirts. Anyone can become Gold EGC Friend by pledging a certain amount to support making this EGC possible.

Personally, I first came in touch with the Go community less than a year ago through René Scheibe, congress director. While the event seemed to be a big reunion with their friends for anyone else, to me it was a sea of unknown faces at first – with a few exceptions of course.
Swiss 3-dan Flavien Aubelle, still upset about his first-round defeat in the Open Tournament, was kind enough to give me a much appreciated who’s who. Supplying cigarettes to smoking attendees proved to be an invaluable conversation starter.

I first talked to Kim Geonhoe, an official of the Korean Baduk Federation responsible for international cooperation. The KBF is keen on learning from European organizers to improve the quality of their domestic events even further. More generally, the KBF wants to strengthen Korean-European relationships as a means of growing the entire Go scene. Naturally, Mr. Kim is very happy to gather impressions of the most important Go event in Europe.

Participants discussed everything EGC: organization, players, results and the Go scene in general.
While eating, 8-dan Hwang In-Seong gave attendees an exclusive sneak peek at his brand-new book “Trouble Master”, featuring a lot of exciting problems. It focuses on exploiting aji and will be for sale at EGC starting Friday. I can’t wait to snatch up my copy!

Ali Jabarin, 2-dan professional, shared the following insight: “Just like when playing Go, the European community needs to learn patience to succeed.” Asked about his thought process during fuseki, he had this insight to share: “I think about where to play.” (Thank you, Ali, for being tremendously quotable).

Small downer: Shortly before 10pm, the Möncherei staff denied us a last round of drinks, so the remaining participants scattered.

When Martin Stiassny gave a ride to Antonius Claasen (president of the German Go federation DGoB), Martin Bussas and me, I got a glimpse into the politics of Go. We discussed how institutional structures in German Go might change to become more European. Currently, every state has their own Go federation with the DGoB acting as a governing body – a status quo that is not uncontroversial.

There were many more special guests, so it was impossible to catch everything going on. But one thing was obvious: It was an exciting evening of dinner and conversations as well as a good time for everyone involved.

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