It was a chilly spring weekend in Helsinki, Finland. The date was 29th and 30th April. Players from 15 countries gathered in windy and rainy Finland. Many of those players come from countries with warmer weather. But who cares about outside weather when you can be inside and play a European Othello Championship? The warmth, the friendship, and many heated duels on the Othello board, made the 52 players forget the cold outside.
To finally be able to meet so many players again and play a tournament was a fantastic feeling. World Othello is not just fighting for medals and glory. World Othello is a social group of people with the same interest who love to meet and socialize. The joy of having the opportunity to meet old friends again was visible on the faces of the players.
It was also great to meet new players that we had not played against before. Players from new countries who recently joined the World Othello community. Players from Turkey, Estonia, Lithuania, together with the more well known countries as France, Italy, United Kingdom, and many others.
52 players from 15 countries, played together 301 games over the two days. There were many interesting games, surprising wins or losses, happy players and sad players. There were staff members and organizers who worked hard to make the EOC possible. The EOC was a great tourney, very friendly and positive.
The European Champion open category had 52 players from 15 countries. The ranking before the EOC showed Michele Borassi at the top. The Finnish 2022 World Championship winning pair, Katie & Lari Pihlajapuro, were ranked second and third, with Matthias Berg ranked fourth. In the discussions before the EOC, Tomoki Otaka, Austria, who had many good results in Europe during the spring, was also mentioned. Imre Leader who won the Barcelona EGP, was also one of the candidates.
That the EOC would be an open tournament, with an uncertain outcome, was clear even before the tournament started. In addition to the aforementioned players, there were many who could create a surprise at this EOC. The question was who would make it to the top 4 after the 11 rounds of qualifying games.
The standings after Saturday's seven rounds followed expectations. Michele Borassi and Tomoki Otaka at the top, followed by Lari Pihlajapuro and a bunch of players.
Day two followed the same process. Michele Borassi and Tomoki Otaka kept the other players at bay, and were ready early for the finals. The fight for the second final place, the match for third place, was exciting going into the last round. The players at the top defeated each other, so it was even for a long time. When the smoke cleared after round 11, it turned out that there were four Swedish players who took places 3 to 6. Two of them had the honor of playing the match for third place. Göran Andersson, who made a fantastic comeback after an eight-year absence from competition, won the match for third place.
Standings after round 11.
Unfortunately, the final was not as exciting as we had hoped for, as the challenger to Michele Borassi, Tomoki Otaka, had to leave after the first final game as he didn't want to miss the flight home to Austria.
Borassi won the first final game and the overall tournament. Borassi is the first qualified player for WOC 2023 in Rome, Italy.
The European Championship 2023 is Michele Borassi, Switzerland.
In addition to the EOC finals, three divisional finals were also played.
Sido Helmes, the Netherlands, won Division I.
Daniel Dufour, also the Netherlands, won Division II.
Mehran Farzanmehr, Finland, won the Division III.
Youth Champion was Daniel Dufour, the Netherlands.
Senior Champion was Marc Tastet, France.
Debutant price was going to Mehran Farzanmehr, Finland.
Female Champion was katie Pihlajapuro, Finland.
Full information on winners, results and standings.
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