Yitien Chan (Chinese Taipei) snatched victory in the 35th World Amateur Go Championship, overtaking Korea by a single tie-break point. Chinese Taipei take home the trophy for the first time ever, and this is also the first time since 1986 (when Hong Kong won) that the winner was not one of the Big Three (China, Japan and Korea).
In a tie-break lottery of sum of opponents’ scores, Chinese Taipei scored 46 taking first place, followed by 45 points for Korea and 43 points for China. The top 10 comprised of Chinese Taipei (1st), Korea (2nd), China (3rd), Hong Kong (4th), the Ukraine (5th), the Czech Republic (6th), Russia (7th), Sweden (8th), Japan (9th) and the USA (10th).
Full results here
Yitien Chan (Chinese Taipei) snatched victory in the 35th World Amateur Go Championship, overtaking Korea by a single tie-break point. Chinese Taipei take home the trophy for the first time ever, and this is also the first time since 1986 (when Hong Kong won) that the winner was not one of the Big Three (China, Japan and Korea). In a tie-break lottery of sum of opponents’ scores, Chinese Taipei scored 46 taking first place, followed by 45 points for Korea and 43 points for China. The top 10 comprised of Chinese Taipei (1st), Korea (2nd), China (3rd), Hong Kong (4th), the Ukraine (5th), the Czech Republic (6th), Russia (7th), Sweden (8th), Japan (9th) and the USA (10th).
In the final round, Hungarian Pal Balogh had no fear of his Korean opponent, launching into the infamous taisha joseki then sauntering around the playing area as his time ticked down. ‘Balogh The Great’ (as he wrote on his score sheet) did not live up to his name however and was toppled by the Korean powerhouse Taewoong Wei.
Luis Enrique Boza Araya (Costa Rica) again put his money on tengen in a last stab at chalking up his first point, but was defeated by the Azerbaijanian Tahirbayov, who had awoken from his morning’s slumber (see Round 7 report).
In a tense showdown between Russia and the Ukraine, it was the latter who took control, fending off the Russian incursion into his territory. Despite a completely winning position against India, Mexico’s delegate Ricardo Quintero Zazueta was distraught to give away his game to Sonia Shah with a slip under time pressure.
The day concluded with the award ceremony, at which traditional Korean spoon sets were presented to Lucian Corlan (Romania) and Tiawattananont Thanapol (Thailand) for their fighting spirit, and the grand trophy was handed to its new owner, the young Yitien Chan of Chinese Taipei. Special prizes were presented by IGF director Martin Finke to Nhat Minh Vo (Vietnam), Rafif Shidqi Fitrah (Indonesia), Csaba Deak (Brazil) and Soni Shah (India).
- John Richardson
Chinese Taipei’s Yitien Chan won the 2014 World Amateur Go Championship on July 9, narrowly edging out Korea’s Taewoong Wei and Ruoran Wang of China. The three were all 7-1, so the winner was decided by SOS (sum of opponents’ scores), with Taipei scoring 46 to Korea’s 45, and China in third at 43. This is the first time in nearly 30 years that a country other than the “Big Three” – Korea, China and Japan – has won the WAGC; the last time was 1986, when Hong Kong won, and in recent years, Korea and China have dominated. “The most important thing is to have a good mindset,” Chan (right) told the E-Journal, explaining the key to his victory. “When the situation is not good, just calm down and find a way out.” Past the age at which he could turn pro in Taipei, Chan is in his senior year in college, where he’s studying economics. The 2014 WAGC top 10 was filled out by Hong Kong (4th), the Ukraine (5th), the Czech Republic (6th), Russia (7th), Sweden (8th), Japan (9th) and the USA (10th). Click here for complete 2014 results and here for all WAGC winners 1979-2013.
Round 7: Early morning fog on the final day of the 2014 World Amateur Go Championship gave way to a clear sky and magnificent views of Lake Bomun. But news of the approach of Typhoon Neoguri left many WAGC players worried about their return flights, and there was turbulent weather on the go board in the 7th round as well, with numerous upsets and even a forfeit. Disappointed by his country’s shocking 7-1 loss to Germany in the World Cup semi-final, Brazil’s Csaba Deak earned an equally easy win over Azerbaijan when Bahadur Tahirbayov overslept and missed his morning match. Czech Lukas Podpera won comfortably against Japan’s Kiko Emura, a bitter result for Emura who was pulling out all stops after his disappointing 8th in last year’s tournament. A large Russian group was fatally encircled by China, leaving Dmitry Surin far behind, though the Russian stubbornly played through to the end of his 37-point loss. Korea forced a resignation from the US (click here for the game record) and Chinese Taipei defeated Thailand, leaving the three Asian go giants locked in a tight battle for this year’s title. At the end of the 7th round, Korea and Chinese Taipei had the same tiebreak score of 30 with China close behind with 28, which meant that, assuming that these players all won their final games, the overall winner would depend on the results of their previous opponents, so reporters were keeping a close eye not only on the top matches but on other key ones as well.
Other game records: Taipei-Thailand; Australia-Israel
Round 8: In the final round on Wednesday afternoon, Hungarian Pal Balogh had no fear of his Korean opponent, dubbing himself ‘Balogh The Great’ on his score sheet and launching into the infamous taisha joseki, neither of which impressed Korean powerhouse Taewoong Wei whose solid, powerful play soon forced Balogh’s resignation. After being mauled by Korea in the previous round, Jie Liang of the US fared no better at the hands of China (click here for the game record), coming up winless for the day when his time ran out, while Canada’s Yongfei Ge could not erase a 10-point deficit against France’s Antoine Fenech in the endgame and resigned. Costa Rica’s Luis Enrique Boza Araya once again put his money on tengen in one last stab at chalking up his first score, but Azerbaijanian Tahirbayov, rested from his morning’s slumber, prevailed. In a tense showdown between Russia and the Ukraine, it was the latter who took control, fending off the Russian incursion into his territory. Mexico developed a winning position against India but Ricardo Quintero Zazueta managed to give away the game to Sonia Shah in a slip under time pressure.
Other Game Records: Russia-China; Hungary-Korea; Singapore-Taipei
Random Notes: Hungary’s Pal Balogh uses almost no time on his clock yet he always seems to be up walking around the playing area checking out other games…Though most of the players either dressed casually or wore sports coats, India’s Soni Shah brought some welcome sartorial cheer with her colorful saris…No matter how much trouble his stones might be having on the board, eleven-year-old Rafif Shidqi Fitrah always had a bright smile and was clearly enjoying every moment of his time at the tournament…Long after the final game of the tournament had finished, Russia’s Dmitry Surin and the Ukraine’s Bogdan Zhurakovskyi were deep in a review of their game, a perfect example of the power of go to transcend political turmoil. Shah and Fitrah both won special prizes, as did Nhat Minh Vo of Vietnam and Brazil’s Csaba Deak, and Lucian Corlan (Romania) and Tiawattananont Thanapol (Thailand) won this year’s Fighting Spirit awards.
- Reporting by John Richardson and Chris Garlock, photos by John Pinkerton and coordination by Ivan Vigano. Thanks to Thomas Hsiang for translation assistance with the Yitien Chan interview. Click here for Ranka’s complete reports and here for complete results.
The World Amateur Go Championship (WAGC) took place in Korea this year, normally it is in Japan. Ireland’s representative this year was John Gibson. Every year the field seems to get stronger, and gone are the days when you could expect mark down an easy victory when you saw that you had been drawn against a certain country. John finished in 49th place from 54, picking up good wins against the South American giants Brazil and Argentina. Francis Roads from the UK finished in 44th place, and John Leuner (ex Dublin) from South Africa, took 45th. Japan, Korea, and Chinese Taipei were all tied at the top on 7 wins, but the latter had collected the most SOS to win the event. You can find full coverage of the event at the USGO and Ranka websites.
Click to see one of John’s games from the world championships
[Embedded SGF File]
Credit to Ranka&AGA e-journal team for making this record available
This morning treated the WAGC players to a clear sky and magnificent views of Lake Bomun. But news of the approach of Typhoon Neoguri left many worried about their return flights. There was turbulent weather on the Go board too, with numerous upsets and even a disqualification.
The playing room swarmed with referees as Bahadur Tahirbayov’s flag was lowered signaling his disqualification from this morning’s round. The Azerbaijani was nowhere to be seen. Officials were sent on a search party to his hotel room, where it emerged that he had been unable to awake from a deep slumber that cost him his penultimate game.
Japan’s Kiko Emura suffered another defeat, this time at the hands of Czech Lukas Podpera, who played an excellent game winning comfortably with a tight endgame. This means that Japan will struggle to make the top 10, a bitter result for Emura who was pulling out all stops after his disappointing 8th in last year’s tournament.
Russia was dismantled by China. A large Russian group was fatally encirled, leaving Dmitry Surin many points behind. He went all in with a last ditch ko but Ruoran Wang cooly let the Russian take a few points, content with seizing the rest of the board. More wins for China and Chinese Taipei, leaving the three Asian Go giants China, Korea and Chinese Taipei in tied pole position.
Korea and Chinese Taipei have the same tiebreak score (sum of opponents’ scores) of 30 with China close behind with 28. This means, assuming that these players all win their final games, the overall winner will be down to the results of their previous opponents. We will let fate decide.
The anti-doping test will take place immediately after the final round and before the award ceremony.
- John Richardson
From top left: Jie Liang, Rafif Shidqi Fitrah, Amir Fragman, Nikola Mitic, Altan Kuntay, Ricardo Quintera Zaqueta.
More photos here.
Just as we had thought that the Chinese had it in the bag, Korean maestro Taewoong Wei snatched victory in this afternoon’s game, bringing his score to five wins and one loss, now equal to Chinese player. This throws the field open, as there are now six players sharing the lead. Chances are it will come down to the tiebreak (sum of opponents’ scores) and then only fate will decide whose earlier opponents can provide the points to take pole position. Currently Korea’s SOS is 26 compared to China and Chinese Taipei’s 24.
The tournament leader, Chinese Ruoran Wang, let out a huge yawn at the start of the 6th round (only two to go) of the World Amateur Go Championship 2014. Was it this fatigue that led to his downfall? The game turned into an early running battle with the Korean grabbing many points on the right side of the board. This proved to be too much.
As the tournament wears on the challengers are cranking up the pace, and many games are now reaching their conclusions before the one hour mark. Players are getting more experimental too, with Francis Roads (United Kingdom) taking two 5-4 points and a number of 3-3 sightings coming from the New Zealand and Swiss camps.
Dominique Versyck (Belgium) delighted over his defeat of India’s 1 Dan Soni Shah, taking apart a large central group that he “didn’t need to kill but, well, might as well”. While “perhaps not the politest solution”, this victory pushes him to a respectable three wins out of six. The 12 year old Nhat Minh Vo (Vietnam) steered his game into a huge central battle, culminating with a semeai where it was his stones, and not those of his Australian opponent Sang-Dae Hahn, that perished in the fight.
- John Richardson
After his 5th-round win over Chinese Taipei’s Yitien Chan on Tuesday morning, China’s Ruoran Wang (left, below) must have been eying the 2014 World Amateur Go Championship trophy a bit possessively. After all, he had just beaten the only other top undefeated player, and heavy favorite Taewoong Wei of Korea (at right) had lost by half a point to Taipei in the 3rd round on Monday. But when the dust settled after the 6th round on Tuesday afternoon, the top trophy was once more up for grabs, with China, Korea and Taipei all holding 5-1 records, though on SOS, Korea looks to have the edge.
Meanwhile, the US and Russia, also 5-1, are looking to break back into the top five and Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Canada and the Czech Republic are battling it out for a top 10 finish. The final two rounds on Wednesday will settle things; top pairings for Round 7 are Korea-US, China-Russia, Taipei-Thailand and Hong Kong-Canada. Click here for latest results.
It was Korean maestro Taewoong Wei who derailed China’s march to the title by snatching victory in his 6th-round game Tuesday afternoon against China’s Ruoran Wang, who had taken the lead just that morning with a win against Taipei (click here for the game record). Wang let out a huge yawn at the start of the afternoon round and the game turned into an early running battle with the Korean collecting points on the right side of the board that in the end proved to be too much (click here for the Korea-China game record).
Meanwhile, Jie Liang (US, below right) edged out Yongfei Ge (Canada, below left) by 1.5 points in a North American showdown Tuesday morning that was one of the last games to finish (click here for the game record). Perhaps drained from his hard-fought 4th-round win against Japan on Monday afternoon, Ge fell behind early and Liang was able to maintain his lead into the finish. Liang then drew the Czech Republic’s Lukas Podpera in the 6th-round. Podpera had fought gamely but vainly against Korea in his morning round (click here for the game record) and threw himself into the battle with Liang, winning three fierce ko’s but coming up short in the end and resigning gracefully (click here for the game record).
As the tournament wears on the challengers are cranking up the pace, and many games are now reaching their conclusions before the one hour mark. Players are getting more experimental too, with Francis Roads (United Kingdom) taking two 5-4 points and 3-3 sightings coming from the New Zealand and Swiss camps. Dominique Versyck (Belgium) was delighted with his 6th-round defeat of India’s Soni Shah 1D, taking apart a large central group that he allowed he “didn’t need to kill but, well, might as well.” While “perhaps not the politest solution,” Versyck’s victory pushed him to a respectable three wins out of six. Twelve-year-old Nhat Minh Vo (Vietnam) steered his 6th-round game into a huge central battle, culminating with a semeai where it was his stones, and not those of Australian opponent Sang-Dae Hahn, that perished in the fight.
Other Round 5 game records: Sweden-Russia
Other Round 6 game records: Thailand-Slovakia; ChineseTaipei-Ukraine
Shigeno Passes the Torch: This year’s WAGC marked the retirement of Yuki Shigeno (at right) from her post as the Secretary General of the International Go Federation (IGF), where she’s served since 2006. Hajin Lee (left) of the KBA is the IGF’s new Secretary General. Shigeno and her husband Ivan Vigano, who edits Ranka, have been longtime friends and supporters of the E-Journal’s WAGC team; we deeply appreciate the many kindnesses she’s shown us over the years and wish her the very best as she continues her work promoting go at the Nihon Kiin. Click here for Ranka’s complete report.
- Game reports by John Richardson, game records by Chris Garlock, photos by John Pinkerton and coordination by Ivan Vigano. Click here for Ranka’s complete reports and here for complete results. Matches are broadcast live each round on WBaduk.
China has taken the sole lead with Ruoran Wang’s decisive victory over Chinese Taipei’s Yitien Chan in the fifth round of the 35th WAGC. The game itself was relatively uneventful but it was clear that Wang was in the driving seat throughout. It remains to be seen whether Korea can level the score with the Korea-China showdown this afternoon. Other players still with a chance include Bogdan Zhurakovskyi (Ukraine), Dmitri Surin (Russia), Peter Jadron (Slovakia), Lukas Podpera (Czech Republic), Jie Liang (USA), Merlijn Kuin (Netherlands) and Tiawattananont Thanapol (Thailand), all with four wins and one loss.
The fifth round of the World Amateur Go Championship began at the usual time of 9.30am this morning. A late arrival from Austria helped German Bernd Rainer Radmacher speed to victory, and the Serbian star Nikola Mitic quickly took down Belgium accountant Dominique Versyck, killing a large group just before the clock struck ten. Zhijie Bei (New Zealand) and Khatanbaatar Tsend-Ayush (Mongolia) both had corner groups captured but it was the Kiwi who was able to fight back and win his game against Altan Kuntay from Turkey. A strong performance from Spanish sales manager Carlos Pau brought him victory against the tough opponent Australia’s Sang-Dae Hahn, a surprise to many.
The young Polish student Stanislaw Frejlak was drawn against Japan’s Kiko Emura. Against the Japanese’s sanrensei, Frejlak responded with an unusual trick-play (white A in diagram 1). But Emura was quick to churn out the book-line refutation (see diagram 2) and subsequently won the game.
Yet more byoyomi drama ensued with Hungarian Pal Balogh blaming a broken timepiece for his loss on time to Dutch legend Merlijn Kuin. His opponent was too deep in thought to have seen what happened, so the decision went down to the referees. Heated discussion led to the final verdict of victory for the Dutchman.
- John Richarson
The 35th World Amateur Go Championship marks the retirement of Yuki Shigeno from her post as the Secretary General of the International Go Federation (IGF). We look back at all she has contributed to the Go world since she began her work in 2006.
Yuki Shigeno’s career began in 1986 when she joined the Nihon Kiin as a professional Go player. In 1994 she moved to Italy, where she would stay for just over ten years teaching and popularising go across Europe. In 2006 she returned from Italy back to Japan and in the same year became the Secretary General of the International Go Federation. This was accompanied by the task of organising the 2006 World Amateur Go Championship, a responsibility that she has continued until 2014, which will be her 9th WAGC.
The WAGC was held solely in Japan for 30 years, thanks partly to sponsorship from Japan Airlines that secured flights for participants for a number of years. Many of the veteran players at this year’s WAGC remember the ‘good old days’ when they did not have to shell out for their trip. It was held for the first time outside of Japan in 2010, when Hangzhou (China) hosted the 31st WAGC. Yuki Shigeno was instrumental in this move towards internationalisation and is delighted that this year’s tournament is being held in Korea, with Thailand on the cards for 2015. Furthermore, the period of her activity saw the inauguration of the first non-Japanese IGF President.
The toughest point in her career was the 2008 World Mind Sports Games, at that time not yet governed by SportAccord. Six hundred participants and a further hundred guests and officials descended on Beijing to take part in what has been one of the largest events to date. Yuki Shigeno, as the IGF technical delegate, was responsible amongst other things for all of the players, including their registration, flights and accommodation. With so many people, flight problems, last-minute cancellations – you name it – the work was so intense that she had enough of the job and wanted to throw in the towel, but thanks to Ruinan Wang’s (former IGF Vice-President) motivation she made it past this gigantic hurdle.
Since then she has been responsible for much of the work behind the scenes keeping the IGF climbing ever onwards and upwards, in particular with organising tournaments across the globe. Her retirement from the post was announced at the IGF Annual General Meeting that kicked off this year’s WAGC.
I am very grateful to all who have helped along the way, especially my husband, who has always been willing to lend a hand. It is wonderful that the young Lee Hajin is taking over and that next year’s WAGC will be held for the first time in Thailand. Fate has brought us here and I believe that same fate will take us forward.
IGF is a platform for friendship and integrity between Go playing nations. We need to keep our fights to the board and act as a family to promote the development of the game across the World. It’s not about who wins. I believe in the future of the IGF and hope to see many splendid achievements in the coming years.
She is looking forward to spending more time with her children’s class in Nagoya alongside her many duties at the Nihon Kiin.
- John Richardson, photo by John Pinkerton
White: Yongfei Ge (Canada) 7D
Black: Kiko Emura (Japan) 7D
Click here to start the game viewer.
Commentary/variations by Yongfei Ge. Recorded by Chris Garlock
Photos by John Pinkerton. From top left: Nhat Minh Vo, Kiko Emura, Taewoong Wei, Merlijn Kuin, Suzanne D’Bel, Niccolò Sgaravatti, Zoran Mutabzija and Dmitry Surin.
More photos here.
White: Yitien Chan (Chinese Taipei) 7D
Black: Taewoong Wei (Korea) 7D
Click here to start the game viewer.
Commentary/variations by Chan & Wei, with assistance by Chengping Chang 3P (Taiwan team leader), Chihyung Nam 1P, Thomas Hsiang and translator Hana Lee.
Transcribed by Chris Garlock
Aji’s Quest, the popular online comic about a quoll who plays go, has published its last panel, author Colette Bezio announced on July 5th. Her comic strip was launched two years ago and has grown to 180 pages, and attracted an international audience of kids and adults. Fans followed the witty adventures of a quoll named Aji, on his long quest to become a go master. On the way he encounters a huge variety of go playing animals and creatures, all of whom illustrate different aspects of the game, and provide some kind of lesson to help Aji along the way. “A sequel is possible… I even have a couple of ideas,” said Bezio, “but I have to get back to some other projects before I even think about it seriously.” The strip can be read on Bezio’s website here, and was also featured on Tigersmouth. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Drawing by Colette Bezio: Aji confronts his worst nightmare, the evil white stones monster.
Get the latest go events information.
After the drama of this morning’s course of events, we expected a less exciting offering this afternoon, but that was not to be the case. China, Korea and Chinese Taipei pushed ahead with their victories against the Ukraine, Hong Kong and Sweden.
Malaysia’s Suzanne D’Bel finally got the chance to employ her trademark tengen strategy, picking black for the first time so far in the tournament. A fight erupted in the first few moves that engulfed the board, eventually leading to the demise of her Portugese opponent Pedro Pereira. See here the game record. Costa Rican system engineer Luis Enrique Boza Araya tried again to mimic D’Bel’s winning strategy but was clinically dispatched by his Swiss adversary Sylvain Gasana Praz.
Canadian Yongfei Ge snuffed Japan’s Kiko Emura’s ambitions once and for all in an exciting game in which Ge built a gigantic central moyo. Emura went all in with a desperate invasion but it was not enough to shake Canada’s WAGC veteran (game record here).
Elsewhere crazy fighting led to the downfall of Israeli Amir Fragman, and Austrian student Matthias Frisch’s skilful handling of a gigantic semeai dealt him victory against Mexican mathematician Ricardo Quintero Zazueta.
- John Richardson
Korea and Japan, two of the favorites to top the 2014 World Amateur Go Championship, both lost by half a point to their respective opponents from Chinese Taipei and China in the third round of the WAGC on Monday morning. China and Chinese Taipei then solidified their status as clear favorites by handily winning their 4th-round games Monday afternoon, with the Czech Republic’s Lukas Podpera (left) the only other 4-game winner, while Japan’s dwindling hopes were dashed by Canadian Yongfei Ge. Korea, meanwhile, kept their hopes alive with a 4th-round win over Hong Kong. Click here for complete results.
Korean star Taewoong Wei (at right), the clear favorite to win the first WAGC to be held in Korea, felt he had a comfortable lead coming out of the fuseki in the 3rd-round game, but young Yitien Chan (at left in photo) from Chinese Taipei came up with an unexpected play at move 98 that both agreed in their review later (click here for the commented game) gave Chan a winning position, although fierce and complicated play continued for another 200+ moves.
Japan’s Kiko Emura, hoping for victory after a disappointing 8th place in last year’s tournament, also lost a half-pointer to China’s Ruoran Wang; their 3rd-round battle kept fans on the edge of their seats as the two players tussled over an intense endgame in which Emura was constantly under time pressure. As it turned out, the pressure extended to Emura’s clock button, which finally broke, allowing Emura’s time to expire, and bringing play to a halt as a crowd gathered around the board awaiting the referees’ decision as to how to continue the game. It was decided to keep playing with a new clock, giving the Japanese player one final byo-yomi period. “I was happy with how things were going,” said Emura, “but before I knew it I wound up half a point behind. I’m used to fast time limits but this clock business added to the stress of this important game.”
Other Round 3 Game Records
Norway-Sweden: Includes comments/variations by Thomas Hsiang, Hajin Lee & the players
Lithuania-Denmark: Comments/variations by the players, plus Pal Balogh (Hungary) & Fredrik Blomback (Sweden), in photo at left.
Uncommented game records: Japan-China; Vietnam-Ukraine.
In the 4th round, Malaysia’s Suzanne D’Bel (below, right) finally got the chance to show why the Japanese press call her “Tengen Girl”, drawing black and deploying her trademark tengen strategy. A fight erupted in the first few moves that engulfed the entire board, eventually leading to death and destruction, and the defeat of her Portugese opponent, Pedro Pereira (click here for the game record). Meanwhile, Costa Rican system engineer Luis Enrique Boza Araya once again tried again to mimic D’Bel’s winning strategy but was clinically dispatched by his Swiss adversary Sylvain Gasana Praz.
Canadian Yongfei Ge snuffed Japan’s Kiko Emura’s ambitions once and for all in an exciting 4th-round game in which Ge built – and defended — a gigantic central moyo. Emura went all in with a desperate invasion but it was not enough to shake Canada’s WAGC veteran (click here for the game commentary).
Previous Round Updates: Yesterday’s WAGC report has been updated to include the Japan-Netherlands Round 1 game and we’ve also added the following Round 2 games: Belgium-Czech Republic; Taipei-Hong Kong; Korea-Canada.
- Game reports by John Richardson, game records by Chris Garlock, photos by John Pinkerton and coordination by Ivan Vigano. Click here for Ranka’s complete reports on the third round and fourth round and here for complete results. Matches are broadcast live each round on WBaduk.
“I think it’s great that so many countries are getting together for an international competition!” were the words of Chai Hui Lim, the second President of the Brunei Darussalam Go Association, on her first visit to the World Amateur Go Championship.
“Go is hardly known at all in Brunei. It’s a real challenge to get people interested in Go but like many other countries we are striving hard to popularise the game,” she continued, with a glimmer in her eye. Miss Lim wants to be a schoolteacher in the future.
Korea and Japan, two of the favourites to top the tournament, both lost by half a point to their respective opponents from Chinese Taipei and China in this morning’s play. To heighten the drama, a broken clock disrupts the Japan-China face-off.
The clocks began to tick at 9.31am this morning, marking the start the crucial second day of the World Amateur Go Championship in Gyeongju, Korea. The pairings included two decisive match-ups whose results will play a large part in deciding the top places in this year’s tournament. Korea versus Chinese Taipei and China versus Japan. Neither game was a disappointment; we were treated to two half-point wins, both gathering large crowds of players, press and officials.
The first result in was a shock to the locals. The young Yitien Chan from Chinese Taipei pushed ahead of Korean star Taewoong Wei to place in great stead for the remainder of the tournament. Wei had been the clear favourite and this could be seen from his dominating posture, but his shoulders began to sink as he realised that victory had slipped between his fingers.
Japan’s Emura, hoping for victory after a disappointing 8th place in last year’s tournament, had his hopes crushed by China’s Ruoran Wang, who snatched a half-point win in this morning’s battle. Both players flailed their fans from side to side as they tussled over an intense endgame where Emura was constantly under time trouble.
But the drama did not stop there. The Japan-China game turned into Whack-A-Mole as Emura slammed his clock button into submission, eventually rendering it unusable. When finally the clock ceased to respond and Emura’s time ran to zero, a crowd gathered around the board awaiting the referees’ decision as to how to continue the game. It was decided to keep playing with a new clock, giving the Japanese player one final byoyomi period. After the game, chief referee Cho Hunhyun had some stern words with Emura but it is unclear whether it was the clock or the Japanese’s enthusiasm that was to blame.
I was happy with how things were going, but before I knew it I wound up half a point behind. I’m used to fast time limits but this clock business added to the stress of this important game.
This turn of events leaves China and Chinese Taipei as clear favourites for the overall winner. Other countries with three wins are the Ukraine, Russia, Sweden and the Czech Republic.
- John Richardson