French boycott Paris Open

The Paris Open took place in Neuilly this year. Over 100 players took part in a venue fitting to this competition of minds, the Lycée Georges le Georges. Both the participants and the organisers alike were taken aback to learn that not one single competitor came from France.

Once extolled as a model of excellence for Go tournaments, the Paris Open was for many years the final event in the European Grand Prix. Then one day Berlin was found to have replaced Paris, in the same year in which the EGF secretary had recorded the AGM minutes in pencil. Was it this change that caused feelings to boil over, and trigger this boycott? We asked those on the scene for their own opinions on the matter.

Tournament winner Kim Youngersome believed it could be a factor. “At first I did not notice, because none of those player are usually in the top room. Then on second day I realise that nobody is talking in French, and I am surprised.”

German player Lukas Von Kramer noticed earlier. “At first I was suspicious that everyone was talking in German, but then I understand it is because they are all German. I thought that the French must think that it is too expensive to travel there, but maybe this Grand Prix had something to do with it.”

Head organiser Clément Bendi, who was the first to notice the absence of any French players, believes not. “To my way of thinking, the problem is elsewhere. For example, the coffee was really bad this last year. Also the restaurant in Neuilly are not so good.”

Subordinate organiser François Lepêche was more direct. “The Parisans are the problem, always they are being rude, always they expect the other to do everything for them, always they complain, always a problem. Once the Grand Prix is gone, they find an excuse not to come.”

The French Federation itself did not respond directly to our request for comment, instead telling us through an intermediary that “they were not aware of any such tournament.”