GenCon Championship

Organization: GIPF Center
Place: Bouwcentrum, Antwerp (B)
Date: August 1, 1999
Format: Swiss system, 7 rounds, 20 min. player/game
Participants: 14

Yoshi Ikkai, the first to become a GIPF Master?

In spite of the extreme hot temperature and the extreme "wrong" date (who came up with the idea to organise a game event on a weekend that everybody thinks about either taking off or coming back?) no less and no more than 13 players showed up - who, apart from a registration fee of about 100 BEF, also had to pay 380 BEF to get in (who came up with the idea to ask an entrance fee of 380 BEF for a players event and, on top of that, a registration fee of 100 BEF to enter a tournament?).

Anyway, 13 is an odd number and before I continue I must express my gratitude to my sister Klara, who spontaneously volunteered to make something even out of 13. Whether she will be prepared to bring such a sacrifice a second time, that I doubt: she isn't really fund of abstract games to start with, and, secondly, now that she physically, mentally and spiritually experienced how it feels to go to the wall seven times in a row, I assume that she'll pass on that grail a next time.

Besides Sister Klara, there were two other remarked participants: Fred Kok, from the Netherlands, and Yoshi Ikkai, a young man from the land of the rising sun.
Fred, only for the second time participating at a GIPF-event, did surprisingly well with a score of 4 out of 7. Aksel, the Axe from Ghent who convincingly won the ranking tournament in Eindhoven, started with 3 wins, but then encountered Yoshi on his way. It was a tight match, but in the end Yoshi didn't leave much room for discussion. The Axe must have been a bit affected and two more games slipped out of his hands. Rita Pauwels remained faithful to herself and switched a few times from utter concentration to complete relaxation and back - a remarkable talent. André de Laet, surprisingly strong in Eindhoven, couldn't make it happen a second time. Stijn Pauwels, Werner Hanzen and Fréderic Van Aelst are probably playing just a bit too seldom to really catch the well-muscled Gipfers by the throat.

A pleasant surprise was the reappearance of Werner Dupont and Maurice Engelaer. Both put the GIPF board aside for an undefined while because of more urgent matters, but that didn't seem to have eroded their skills. Especially Maurice appeared to be in an excellent shape. He couldn't do much against the Octopus from Japan (I think Maurice, of all the participants, was most impressed by Yoshi's way of playing), but his game against Kurt Vandenbranden should have been rewarded with a win, unfortunately he didn't had enough seconds left to hit the clock after he captured Kurt's last GIPF-piece. Kurt recognized his defeat but, nevertheless, got a point on his account.

And then there were also the youngsters from Mechelen, Koen de Jongh and Karel Dalemans. Karel initially had problems finding a good rhythm and lost his two first games, but then accelerated and booked 5 straight victories. A fine performance, which resulted in a second place. Le Koen, although looking strong and healthy and playing well, wasn't as surprising as he usually is. The reason? I think that he was too eager, from the very beginning, to play against the new strong man in the arena: Yoshi, the Octopus. And the match between the Octopus and the Young Lion came true in the last round. A Le Koen, when charged with eagerness, is probably the most difficult player to encounter - and that is what Yoshi experienced. Halfway the game Le Koen took the lead with 2 pieces (5-3), but Yoshi struck back and went one piece ahead. Then it was Le Koen's turn to level the scores again (6 - 6) and, on top of that, established a positional advantage. Yoshi replied with what normally is Le Koen's trademark: he always took care of a save backdoor and, almost unnoticeable and with a lot of patience, prepared himself for the right moment to make the opponent run out of pieces. A great game - and it is regrettable that we don't have notes of it.

Yoshi Ikkai played an impressive series of games and that was straightforwardly acknowledged by all of the participant. It is the first time that a player wins a ranking tournament with a difference of 2 points. Quite a performance, especially when taken notice of the fact that it was Yoshi's first appearance in the GIPF arena. An Octopus, that he is, indeed.


1 Ikkai, Yoshi 7 20.0 28.0 28.0
2 Daelemans, Karel 5 20.0 28.0 15.0
3-9 Van Den Branden, Kurt  4 21.0 28.0 20.0
  De Jongh, Koen 4 19.0 28.0 17.0
  Engelaer, Maurice 4 19.0 27.0 16.0
  De Meester, Axel 4 18.0 25.0 19.0
  Pauwels, Rita 4 18.0 25.0 17.0
  Kok, Fred 4 16.0 22.0 12.0
  Dupont, Werner 4 15.0 22.0 17.0
10-11 De Laet, André 3 19.0 26.0 13.0
  Pauwels, Stijn 3 16.0 20.0 9.0
12 Hanzen, Werner 2 17.0 21.0 9.0
13 Van Aelst, Frédéric 1 17.0 22.0 4.0
14 Burm, Klaartje 0 16.0 21.0 0.0

Cross table

1. Burm, Klaartje 0 8:L 14:L 12:L 13:L 6:L 4:L 5:L
2. Daelemans, Karel 5 9:L 11:L 13:W 10:W 5:W 7:W 14:W
3. De Jongh, Koen 4 10:W 6:L 8:W 14:L 4:W 5:W 9:L
4. De Laet, André 3 11:W 9:L 7:L 12:W 3:L 1:W 10:L
5. De Meester, Axel 4 12:W 8:W 14:W 9:L 2:L 3:L 1:W
6. Dupont, Werner 4 13:W 3:W 9:L 7:L 1:W 11:L 8:W
7. Engelaer, Maurice 4 14:L 12:W 4:W 6:W 9:L 2:L 13:W
8. Hanzen, Werner 2 1:W 5:L 3:L 11:L 10:L 13:W 6:L
9. Ikkai, Yoshi 7 2:W 4:W 6:W 5:W 7:W 14:W 3:W
10. Kok, Fred 4 3:L 13:W 11:L 2:L 8:W 12:W 4:W
11. Pauwels, Rita 4 4:L 2:W 10:W 8:W 14:L 6:W 12:L
12. Pauwels, Stijn 3 5:L 7:L 1:W 4:L 13:W 10:L 11:W
13. Van Aelst, Frédéric 1 6:L 10:L 2:L 1:W 12:L 8:L 7:L
14. Van Den Branden, Kurt  4 7:W 1:W 5:L 3:W 11:W 9:L 2:L

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