The Chinese women’s team defeated the team from the Republic of Korea 2-1 to take the gold medal in the women’s team go competition at the World Mind Sports Games. As in China’s semifinal victory over Japan, it was Zhang Yan and Wang Xiangyun who got the job done, beating Kim Hyemin and Kwon Hyojun on boards one and two. On the third board Park Jiyun salvaged some honor for the Republic of Korea by defeating China’s Teng Yi. In the playoff for third place, the Japanese team won all three of their games against the DPR Korean team.
At the awards ceremony in the evening the audience gave a warm round of applause and two cheers as tournament director Wang Runan placed bronze medals around the necks of the white-jacketed Japanese trio and IGF director Thomas Hsiang handed them bouquets. The volume of the applause rose and the number of cheers increased as the silver medals and bouquets were awarded to the black-jacketed Korean team. Then the audience let loose with their full approval as the red-jacketed Chinese team and their coach Yu Bin received the gold medals. As the crowd left the Beijing International Conference Center, one member of the Chinese team was seen to be literally jumping for joy. A new generation has arisen in the world of Chinese go, and by taking both the individual and team gold medals, they have served notice that they are second to no one.
In the last preliminary round of the mixed pairs event, the Mongolian pair beat the Ukrainian pair to take first place in block D. The pairs from China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea finished undefeated in blocks A-C, while the pairs from Czechia, DPR Korea, Hungary, Mongolia, and the Ukraine finished with one loss apiece. The pair competition now moves into the knockout stage, which will be played in four rounds on October 16-17. The professional pairs drew lots to determine their amateur opponents in the first round. Chang Kai-hsin and Lin Chih-han of Chinese Taipei drew the strong Japanese pair (2006 world amateru go champion Hiraoka Satoshi and his wife Yuriko), while Lee Hajin and On Sojin of the Republic of Korea drew the strong DPR Korean pair (2004 international amateur pair go co-champion Jo Saebyol and WMSG individual gold medalist Jo Taewon).
These will be two matches to watch.
In the A block of the men’s team competition, the teams from Russia and the Netherlands lost 5-0 to the teams from the Republic of Korea and Chinese Taipei. In the seventh and final preliminary round they will face the north and south Korean teams. To proceed into the knockout stage, the Dutch or Russian team will have to score an upset over these tough Korean opponents. In other key matches in block A, the Australian team defeated the German team 3-2 and the Ukrainian team shut out the French team 5-0. In the last round the Australians will try their luck against the team from Chinese Taipei while the Ukrainian team is drawn down against Serbian team.
In block B, the team from Hong Kong China earned their fifth win by defeating the team from new Zealand 4-1. The Hong Kong team is now assured of a place in the knockout stage, unless the Canadian team can topple the undefeated Chinese team in the last round. Also watching the results of the Canada-China match will be the Japanese team, who likewise have five wins and will face the Hong Kong team in the last round, and the teams from Czechia and Romania, who both have four wins and will play each other in the last round.
– James Davies