WOC 2012 Hall of Fame
The Best Of 2012
Seeded players, WOC champions and 25th jubilee
Karsten Feldborg, 25th World Othello Championship
The World Othello Championship playerslist shows a nice variety of seeded players (those that reached a semifinal in the last 10 years), first-timers and regulars. One of the regulars, is Karsten Feldborg from Denmark and this will be his 25th World Othello Championship. Enough reason to add him to this page. His best WOC result was a second place in Paris in 1994. He was 3rd after 13 rounds with 10.5 points and won the semifinal against Marc Tastet (who had 11 points). Masaki Takizawa (also 11 points after 13 rounds) proved too strong in the final and won 2 - 0. Karsten finished in the top 10 eighteen times, a fabulous achievement.
This year he won the Copenhagen Open, the Greve Cup, the Danish Championship and the Danish Grand Prix. He is ready for another top 10 result, though he seems to have doubts about it.
What I have always loved about the WOC is the special atmosphere which is surrounding the tournament and the chance to meet again with old friends. I have so many found memories from all the WOCs that it almost seems unfair to mention any at all. But obviously my best performance in Paris in 1994 sticks out and also the WOC in my hometown Copenhagen in 2000 was a special occasion.
Of victory dinners, the gaming hall in New York in 1991 was fantastic and also the karaoke bar in Tokyo 2006. Great was also Paul Ralle´s victory against Alexander Melnikov despite Paul being almost too drunk to stand on his feet after a huge consumption of Russian vodka, think this was in Stockholm.
This year my expectations are not so high. I don´t think my strength will place me in the top of the table but still hope to influence the result up there by beating some of the players up there.
Piyanat Aunchulee ปิยะณัฐ อัญชุลี, Thailand
WOC TOP 4 result: 2010 3rd., 2011 2nd. 2012 Thailand Othello Champion (1st national title)
I started to play othello 9 years ago. I did not expect then, that within a few years, I would be able to qualify for the semi final in the WOC. I had so little experience compared to other players who have been playing othello for much more than 10 years.
In 2008, I had the opportunity to join the WOC, because one of the players from the Thai team cancelled. My first time at WOC, I only obtained 7 points and that motivated me to train hard and practise a lot. The last game at WOC 2008, I completely lost to Takuji Kashiwabara, with no chance to defeat him. This has encouraged me to want to go to WOC again, so I could have a rematch with Takuji Kashiwabara. Only next time, I wanted to earn the spot on the team myself.
In 2009, I was third in both of Thai championship and Thai open. Of course, I was very disappointed not to participate, and Yusuke Takanashi won the World championship. This title made him my idol as it is not easy for someone to become World Othello Champion at such a young age. I look forward to play against Yusuke Takanashi again. I hope I will do better than before and I also wish that the Thai players will bring home more than 2 trophies.
Matthias Berg, Germany
WOC TOP 4 result: 2001 4th, 2007 and 2008 3rd, 2009 2nd, 2011 4th
2012 German Champion (11th national title)
I started to play online in 1999 and played my first tournament in 2000 in the Netherlands. Having good success at that tournament, I got motivated and started to play many more tournaments. I played every WOC since 2000 including the previous WOC in the Netherlands in 2002.
This year I'm not in a situtation that I could prepare a lot for WOC, but I managed to stay in a decent shape and I hope that the warm-up tournament in Cologne (http://cologne2012.othello-club.de/) will help me to get into shape to have a decent tournament. I have no big expectations regarding my own results, but I am looking forward to meet lots of players and have a very good time. I have had semi final results in years before in which I also did not have time to prepare, so everything is possible. But this year is certainly going to be one of the hardest WOCs ever.
Michele Borassi, Italy
WOC TOP 4 result: World Othello Champion 2008, 2010 2nd
2012 Italian Champion, (6th national title)
I have played my first Othello game against my old mobile phone, in 2001, then some months later I practised a bit with an application that came with Windows ME. The first step in my Othello career was when I found a tournament near my place: I asked if I could participate and there I met Donato, who tought me all the secrets of this exciting game! He's been a great teacher, and I have to thank him very much for all the time he spent playing with me.
Two years later, in 2005, I played my first WOC, and in the following years I always studied and played on www.kurnik.pl (now www.playok.com). My studies have been quite productive: in 2008 I won the World Othello Championship and in 2010 I got to the final.
At the moment I'm preparing WOC 2012: I play many games against myself, to decrease the number of mistakes, expecially the "avoidable" ones. I have to use all my time to think about the best move, and avoid thoughts like "if I win this game, then the ranking will be..." or "am I in advantage?" or "if I play this maybe my opponent doesn't see that move...". Playing with myself helps me a lot in using all my time for the right purpose.
I hope this training will be useful both for individual and for team trophy! Anyway, there will be a lot of very strong players, like Piyanat Aunchulee, Nicky Van Den Biggelaar, Matthias Berg and especially Yusuke Takanashi.
Good luck to everyone, and may the best man win!
Nicky van den Biggelaar, the Netherlands
WOC TOP 4 result: 2011 3rd
2012 Dutch Champion (5th national title)
About 10 years ago I started playing othello on the internet and in live tournaments. I started at a dutch website (www.spelpunt.nl). Later on www.vogclub.com, which was really fun with a lot of tournaments every day (8x8/10x10/reverse/blitz and more). And now I play on www.kurnik.pl / www.playok.com with nickname 'yourwelcome' ('evil_kid' before).
Since 2002 I started playing live-tournaments in The Netherlands as well and soon I started playing in some EGP's Back then we had tournaments with 50 players. Really fun to play at a real board with lots of different players which I had played on the internet before.
In 2004 I played my first WOC in London. I played every WOC since 2004. My best results are 8th/2008, 6th/2009, 5th in 2010 and a 3rd place in 2011. And this year I want to reach the top 4 again! Especially because this year's WOC is in Leeuwarden/The Netherlands. Too bad Hiroki Nobukawa cannot defend his title this year. And I wish I could have my revanche against him after my loss in the semis last year.
This year's WOC will be very tough. Probably the strongest field ever with former world champions Yusuke Takanashi (2009/2010) and Michele Borassi (2008) and lots of other great players.
My goal is to reach the top 4 again! I think Jiska can get a good result as well for the womens title. And Hopefully we will do well in the teamranking with my teammates Patrick and Albert but it will be very hard (as usual) to beat Japan for the team title.
Jian Cai, USA
World Champion Ladies 2011
2012 USA Champion (1st national title)
I formally started playing othello in 2006 when Matthias Berg introduced me to playok and many other things related to othello.
I like to play long games (10 min) and that is how I practice for WOC. I also enjoy watching Ben Seeley play 1 min blitz, his insightful, non-obvious moves accomplished within such a short time are awesome artwork.
I am lucky to have practiced with many strong players over the years: Julian (CA), Erez (IS), David Parsons (over the board), Song Yan (CN), Ed (US), Sebastian (FR), Michael (UK), Marek (PL), Johnas (SW), Johan (SW), Daniel (SW), Raphaels (US), and Jacky (CA).
Prior to 2011 WOC, I started to play with two new strong players from USA, Jerry and Paul (both are teenagers), I expect to see them rise soon in future WOCs.
I could not make prediction on who will win the woman's title, it seems to me half of them have a decent chance. For WOC title, I think Yusuke, Michele and Piyanat are the favorites, although another 10 players will also have a good chance.
Jiska Helmes, Netherlands
World Champion Ladies 2010
My brother Sido introduced me to the game Othello in 2005. Within no time I was joining live tournaments, but it took some years before I started to understand and like the game. It is as they say: the more you win, the more fun it gets ;-).
The best Othello experiences for me have been WOC in Rome and playing Meijin-Sen in Japan. I am really looking forward to WOC 2012, it will be fun to meet all players (again). And I am happy with the Dutch team -Nicky van den Biggelaar, Patrick Aubroeck and Albert Kortendijk, they are all real fun persons and strong players.
Takuji Kashiwabara, France
WOC TOP 4 result: 2002 4th, 2005 3rd. He has won the European Grand Prix series five times (2001, 2002, 2003, 2006 and 2012. French National Champion in 2011
WOC participations; 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2012.
I have played my first Othello tournament in 1996, and I won one for the first time in 1999, a "prequalification tournament" for the WOC in Paris. Since that year, I played regularly in WOC's.
Preparation for tournaments? Well, I try to have balanced diet, drink moderately, and sleep well. I also think it would be a good idea to do some physical exercises (Brian Rose went to a gym to win WOC 2001!), but...
The last time I played a WOC in Netherland, I lost the 3rd/4th playoff against Imre, a player against whom I have played often in European Grand Prix tournaments and whom I appreciate a lot. I hope to have a good occasion for revenge match :)
Imre Leader, United Kingdom
WOC TOP 4 result:1983 2nd., 1986 4th, 1988 3rd, 1994 4th, 2002 3rd, 2010 4th
Winner European Grand Prix in 1986, 1988, 2007 and 2010. 10 times British National Champion
I first played in a tournament in 1981, and my first Worlds was in 1983, in Paris. I still remember how amazingly exciting that first World Championship I went to was.
Nowadays, the World Championship is still very special. It is the only tournament where there are SO MANY good players, and it is thrilling to be there.
I love to play, but I also love watching games. Being a table judge is wonderful, as it gives one time to think in depth about a game from both players' points of view. My most memorable table judging was the Final of the World Championships 2005: in the first game, being present for Tamenori's sequence of moves from 35 to 39 was really incredible.
For this year's World Championships, my main hope is that Jan de Graaf or Tim Krzywonos (if he is coming) will give me some openings advice!
Dominik Nowak, Poland
WOC TOP 4 result: 2008 4th, Polish National Champion in 2008, 2009 and 2010
My othello history is funny for me, I started 9 years ago on Polish site www.kurnik.pl ( www.playok.com ). My beginning was not so bad cause after few months I was (sometimes ) able to win with polish elite players. This was the main reason to join live tournament in 2004. What was the most impressive, was the direct support from almost all players ( they didn't know me yet ), especially Roman Kraczyk. I was really suprised in a positive way and eager to play. The first really important tournament for me was in Stockholm were I was second after Imre Leader. This was my first tourney in foreign country and only because of Roman who gave me this chance taking me there. Now after few years with Polish players I know that every one is going for a tournament not only for playing Othello, but also to spend some time with friends.
The best period in whole Othello career was the year 2008. I won Polish Othello Championships what was really nice suprise for me. The second thing was my name in World Othello Championshpis finals, unfortunatelly I was 4th. This was absolutely unexpected, especially that I have not practise for these tournaments. I hope that this year will give me a chance to play in finals, however I have in my memory high level in such tournaments. I wish to play a good tourney and get top 3 with rest of Polish team.