A thriller that ended in sensation – the surprise winner of 16th Ljubljana Open is Srečo Čamernik 2k, who captured this traditional tournament with four wins out of five rounds, edging four other players with the same final MacMahon score thanks to superior SOS and SODOS criteria. Exciting, drawn-out tournaments seem to be the norm in Slovenia these days: SOS points already decided top-three places at this year’s Maribor Open, and the same thing happened in recently finished National Championship. In this respect, the tournament was extra-drawn-out, but Čamernik’s win was well deserved, since he also beaten the second-placed Gregor Butala 4d and Ruben Belina 1d, who finished third.
Čamernik’s triumph also set a historical landmark: namely, this was the first time that this traditional tournament, who is nowadays held as a memorial to late Peter Gaspari, was won by a kyu player. Čamernik took good advantage of the fact that this is a handicap tournament, but he also showed that he knows how to use his recent great form – he had also done well in Ljubljana Oza, where he scored some big wins and reached the play-off. Of course, this is the first tournament he won and his biggest success so far; he promptly received 1k rank after his great achievement.
Nevertheless, the field of 18 players from Slovenia and Italy provided some great games and apart from the top duels, it was interesting to see various match-ups in the lower ranks, which were well represented. It is worth to mention Maja Logar and Miha Zaletel, who successfully made their debut in official competitions.
Leon Matoh 5d (Go club Novo mesto) took advantage of superior SOS points to win 17th Slovenian championship, traditionally held from November 9th to November 11th 2007 in hotel Barbara, located in an attractive sea-side village Fiesa. This is already 10th title of Slovenian champion for Matoh, but it didn’t come easy. Actually, this was one of the most drawn-out championships in the recent years: Matoh scored five wins out of six rounds, just like the former champion Gregor Butala 4d (Go club Ljubljana), who finished second, and Milan Zakotnik 5d (Go club Kranj), who had to be satisfied with the third place. All in all, twelve players took part in the tournament, including one woman, Vera Rupel 2k (Go club Kranj), who was awarded the title of 2007 Slovenian woman champion.
The first day of the competition didn’t bring any major sensations: top positions after two rounds were occupied by Matoh, Butala and Timotej Šuc 3d (Go club Ljubljana), who were still undefeated and were counted among the main favorites anyway. But the drama was yet about to start: on Saturday, after Butala had beaten Matoh in the 3rd round and scored another win against Aleš Pogačnik 3d (Go club Kranj) in the next game, it seemed that he’s well on the way to defending his title; but when he got overpowered by Goran Šiška 4d (Go club Ljubljana) in the ultimate game of the day, the situation got extremely complicated. Before the final round, four players with the same number of points (Matoh, Butala, Zakotnik and Šiška) emerged as potential winners with more or less chances of a final success. However, Matoh, who was already ahead on SOS, allowed no surprise in his last round game against Mirko Rupel 4d (Go club Kranj) and therefore successfully reclaimed the top position in Slovenian go.
The results of the championship also decided the participants who will represent Slovenia in next year’s World Amateur Go Championship in Japan (Matoh) and 3rd Korean Prime Minister’s Cup (Zakotnik). In the future, the representatives for these top events will be selected by the newly adopted point system.
After an exciting finale, 16th Maribor Open was won by Andrej Kralj 3d (Ljubljana) with four wins out of five rounds; he came ahead on SOS points of two other players with four wins, Leon Matoh 5d (Novo mesto) and Gregor Butala 4d (Ljubljana), who tied for the second place. The tournament was held in hotel Tisa on Pohorje mountains and attracted 35 participants from four countries.
Best kyu player was young Croatian prodigy Matej Zakanj 1k (Velika Gorica), who won four of his games and is probably only a step from his shodan promotion. Debutant Tina Štabuc 16k (Maribor) was the best woman player; she scored very respectable three wins at her first official tournament.
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