Pair Go

In Pair Go, the players of each team play alternate moves without consultation. So, compared to “normal” Go there exists the extra twist that you not only have to try to understand your opponent’s moves, but most and for all the moves of your partner!

Experienced pair go players will tell you that sometimes playing pair go feels like playing against three opponents at the same time. On the other hand, pair go is a wonderful opportunity to experience alternative ideas and strategies within your own games.

I personally feel that pair go is a very good learning opportunity, especially when playing with a stronger partner!

My positive feelings with respect to pair go are, of course, mainly due to Franz-Josef Dickhut, whom I played pair to with for many years.

Monika Reimpell / Franz-Josef Dickhut (Photo: Christoph Gerlach)
Monika Reimpell / Franz-Josef Dickhut (Photo: Christoph Gerlach)
German Pair Go Championship 2001 in Hamburg
German Pair Go Championship 2001 in Hamburg

I remember a game at the German Pair Go Championship 2001 in Hamburg against Lisa Ente and Benjamin Teuber, where I threw away the game three times, while Franz-Josef only managed to recover the game two times, so we lost – and the only person who did not blame me afterwards was Franz-Josef!

Franz-Josef Dickhut and I played pair go together from 1997 to 2007. We won the German Championships four times (1999, 2000 , 2006, 2007) and became runner-up another four times (1998, 2001, 2002, 2004). One of our major successes was winning the European Pair Go Championship 2000 in Brno, Czechia, where we won the decisive game against the much stronger pair from Hungary, Diana Koszegi and Gabor Szabics. Diana later continued her studies of go in Korea where she became a professional go player.

These successes owned us the opportunity to represent Germany at the World Amateur Pair Go Championships in 1999, 2002 and 2007. Each time, we managed to win three out of five games in the championship, including wins against pairs from Japan, which made us finish 13th, 10th and 13th place, respectively, in the field of 32 pairs from 21 countries and 12 Japanese regions.

World Amateur Pair Go Championship 2007-1
World Amateur Pair Go Championship 2007
World Amateur Pair Go Championship 2007-2

Pair Go in Germany

German Pair Go Championships were introduced about twenty years ago in order to decide about the German participants for the World Amateur Pair Go Championships (WAPC). Since 2004, the European Pair Go Championship is used to determine participating countries of the WAPCs through a country point system.

The strongest German pair go pair so far was Zhao Pei and Christoph Gerlach, both having a rank of 6 Dan. They participated in the German Pair Go Championship four times from 2002 to 2005 and won all their games!

Zhao/Gerlach vs. Ente/Teuber at DPGM 2004Zhao/Gerlach vs. Ente/Teuber at DPGM 2004
Zhao Pei / Christoph Gerlach at DPGM 2002
Zhao Pei / Christoph Gerlach at DPGM 2002
Pair Go is not only played in German Pair Go Championships in Germany. Some championships were accompanied by rengo side tournaments for weaker pairs and pairs of equal sex. Pair Go is also played in Go clubs quite often, as it is a good opportunity to guide
weaker players ... and because it is a lot of fun. Fathers play with their daughters, mothers with their sons ... and quite a number of friendships and even marriages develop through playing pair go together!
German Pair Go Championship 2005
German Pair Go Championship 2005
For more information on German Pair Go Championships, see the website of the German Go Association.
 

Pair Go in Europe

European Pair Go Championship

Natalia Kovaleva from Russia is the most successful participant of European Pair Go Championships so far. In 2003, she appeared for the first time, to finish second with her partner Alexei Lazarev. The title that year went to Hungary, where Rita Pocsai played with her father Tibor, a former European champion. Rita was just 14 years old, the youngest European pair go champion ever. In 2005, Natalia finished third with Timur Sankin. She became European Pair Go Champion with Oleg Mezhov in 2006 and with Dmitrij Surin in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010.

Rita Pocsai, Hungary
Rita Pocsai, Hungary
Kovaleva/Surin at European Pair Go Championship 2008
Kovaleva/Surin at European Pair Go Championship 2008

Pair Go has also a long tradition at other European tournaments like the European Oza in Amstelveen or the London Open. In particular, pair go is very popular at European Go Congresses. For the last couple of years, the significance of the congress pair go event has increased a lot through generous sponsoring from Pandanet. Unlike for European Championships, these tournaments are also open to Non-European participants, even professional players join these competitions. Pairs do not have to have the same nationality at European Go Congresses, so the events often see Asian-European alliances. In 2008, a female Korean professional even played pair go with a little boy from Germany, and they nearly made it to the final.