The go competition at the third SportAccord World Mind Games began with the first round of the men’s team round robin, which started at 12:30 p.m. on December 12, and the first round of the women’s individual tournament, which started at 3:00 p.m. First to arrive in the playing room were the referees (nine Chinese amateur and professional players from four Chinese cities) and the game recording crew (thirteen amateur and near-professional players from the Ma Xiaochun Daochang). The first player to arrive was Pavol Lisy (Slovakia), the youngest member of the European men’s team. He was quickly followed by Fan Hui (France) and the red-clad men’s team from Chinese Taipei. By 12:28 all the men’s teams were complete and Wang Runan, the chief referee, delivered the opening instructions: mobile phones off, Chinese rules, 3-3/4 stones (7.5 points) compensation, two hours per player followed by five 60-second overtime periods, and then, ‘Begin!’
The Korean team was matched against Chinese Taipei. In the first round of the men’s team event in the first SportAccord World Mind Games two years ago, Chinese Taipei had given Korea a bad scare by winning on two of the five boards. This year, with only three boards, Korea could not afford two losses. Both sides played deliberately from the outset.
In the match between China and North America, the game between Wang Xi (China) and Yongfei Ge (Canada) was played at contrastingly a rapid pace. Ge challenged Wang to an early ko fight. Wang won the ko and captured five white stones in the center, then used his central power to attack and capture White’s largest group. Ge resigned. The game was over in less than an hour. The other two North American players held out longer, but Huiren Yang resigned to the 17-year-old Ing cup-winner Fang Tingyu in less than two hours, and Daniel Daehyuk Ko, after playing his game out nearly to the end and seeing that he was more than ten points behind, resigned to Bailing cup-winner Zhou Ruiyang. The Ko-Zhou game was broadcast to a live YouTube audience with a running commentary by Michael Redmond.
The European team put up more stubborn resistance in their match with Japan, but Ilya Shikshin lost by 2-1/4 stones (4.5 points) to 19-year-old Hirata Tomoya; Fan Hui managed to rescue a beleagured group in a ko fight but eventually had to resign against New King (Shinjin-O) title-holder Fujita Akihiko; and in a battle of 18-year-olds, Pavol Lisy struggled to a 14-1/4 stone (28.5-point) loss to Tsuruta Kazuya. The winners comments:
Fujita Akihiko: ‘The ko was a two-step ko, so by the time White had spent three moves winning it he had lost the game.’
Hirata Tomoya: ‘The opening was difficult, but I felt that I got the lead in the middle game and then I played safe in the endgame.’
Tsuruta Kazushi: ‘There were many difficult situations in the game, much was unclear, but I never felt that I was in danger of losing.’
While these matches were ending, the tension was winding up in the match between Chinese Taipei and Korea. Around four o’clock it looked as if the younger player might win on all three boards, and two of the younger players were from Chinese Taipei. Two of these predictions held up: Park Jeonghwan (Korea, age 19) defeated Chou Chun-hsun (Chinese Taipei, age 33) by 1/4 stone (half a point) on board one, and Lin Chun-yen (Chinese Taipei, age 15) defeated Cho Hanseung (Korea, age 31) by resignation on board three. On board two, however, Kim Jiseok (Korea, age 23) fought back to overcome Wang Yuan-jyun (Chinese Taipei, age 17) by 3/4 stone (1.5 points). This was the last of the men’s games to end. Kim’s comment:
‘I was behind from the opening. I finally managed to catch up in the endgame, but because of the large number of prisoners it was hard to calculate the score accurately. It wasn’t until I won the ko on the right side that I thought I might be ahead.’
In the women’s individual competition, Yu Zhiying (China), Chang Cheng-ping (Chinese Taipei), and Oh Jeonga (Korea) defeated Dina Burdakova (Russia), Natalia Kovaleva (Russia), and Sarah Jin Yu (Canada) by resignation, and Fujisawa Rina (Japan) defeated Svetlana Shikshina (Russia) by 6-1/4 stones (12.5 points). Fujisawa’s comment: ‘It was a difficult opening, but I got the lead in the middle game.’
Summary of the first day of competition:
Men’s teams: China beat North America 3-0, Korea beat Chinese Taipei 2-1, Japan beat Europe 3-0.
Women’s individual: Yu Zhiying beat Dina Burdakova, Chang Cheng-ping beat Natalia Kovaleva, Oh Jeonga beat Sarah Jin Yu, Fujisawa Rina beat Svetlana Shikshina.
– James Davies