I just got back from the 2002 Cotsen Tournament in Los Angeles, California. This annual tournament was sponsored by Lloyd Eric Cotsen (pronounced KOH-tzen) and the Ing Goe Foundation. Here are some photos I took at the tournament.
The Open section of the tournament, for players 6-dan and stronger, helps determine the U.S. representative to the Fujitsu Cup. Jie Li won the Open section, to nobody's astonishment. (I don't know if lack of U.S. citizenship will be the same issue in the Fujitsu that it was in the Toyota Denso Oza tournament.)
The Handicap section of the tournament had several divisions -- 1st Dan, 2nd Dan, 3rd Dan, 1st Kyu, 2nd Kyu, 3rd Kyu, and 4th Kyu. The labels are a little misleading: 1st Dan refers to a range of dan rankings (5d - 6d). Similarly, the 2nd Kyu Division included players from 5k through 8k. Prizes and plaques were available for the top few finishers in each Division.
There were also prizes for solving tsume-go problems, judged by Yi-Lun Yang 7p; and a $1000 check for the go club with the strongest representation (measured by number of participants and number of wins). All in all, there were a lot of prizes.
116 players competed, including a small handful from Europe. Chuck Robbins was flown in from the East Coast to be tournament director (bringing a selection of books from his company, Slate and Shell, for sale and for prizes). He did an excellent job as TD, attesting to his years of experience with large tournaments. There was a glitch with the pairing for the first round, because of a large number of late registrants, but the players tolerated the small delay in good cheer.
And why wouldn't we be cheerful? There was free food, coffee and soft drinks, and a ton of friendly folks with whom to play Go while we waited, not to mention the trio of roving masseuses who provided skilful free neckrubs on request. And the lunch buffet was free too. Having a wealthy patron to provide such amenities certainly helps create a jovial tournament atmosphere.
The tournament used equipment from the Ing Foundation, and the Ing rules and counting. The komi was 8, with Black winning ties (in other words, equivalent to 7.5). The Ing Ko Rules were in effect, but they didn't come up in any of my games (luckily for me, since I don't understand them).
The Open players got 60 minutes per game, plus 5 byo-yomi periods of 45 seconds. The Handicap players got 40 minutes per game, with the same 5 overtime periods of 45 seconds. There were a few problems with the Ing clocks, which mostly seem to have been caused by players setting the byo-time before setting the main time. Apparently, if you set the byo-yomi parameters first, they get cleared from the microchip when you then set the "basic" time period.
We played 3 games on Saturday, and 2 on Sunday, for 5 games total. This is a good number and pace of games, and decent time limits -- not too exhausting, yet a quite satisfying bit of Go.
After the tournament prizes were given out and the entry fees were refunded, Mr. Yang played a game over the internet. An assistant displayed the game on a large magnetic board for the spectators. Mr. Yang took Black against Yigang Hua 8p, and won by about 5 points, after a couple of spectacular ko fights.
All in all, the tournament was superb. The location was within walking distance of the Los Angeles International Airport, which made it quite easy to fly in for the weekend. The large number of players meant that everyone had opponents within a low handicap (my first 4 games were even; my final game was at a 2-stone handicap). The price was right (free!), and the generous amenities pleased everyone. There were plenty of prizes, so almost everyone had a shot at winning something; and the top prizes in the Open section were lucrative enough to attract very strong players. Plus, it was nice to have a friendly pro like Mr. Yang on hand. Kudos to Mr. Cotsen, Mr. Robbins, and Mr. Larry Gross, who organized the whole thing!
Any way of seeing how the European players did? Not so many chances like this of comparing AGA and EGF ratings.