Round 2 started just after 1:30 with all players present. This time the bye went to Mykhailo Halchenko of the Ukraine. The player with the bye receives a teaching game from one of the referees, so Mykhailo (5-dan) found himself playing Yasuhiro Nakano (professional 9 dan) at two stones. This was a tough challenge, and Mykhailo went down to honorable defeat by resignation.
In the real competition, six players now faced opponents of equal rank. The game between Thomas Debarre of France and Cornel Burzo of Romania, both 6-dan and hopeful of finishing in the top ten, was particularly intense. The winner, by 3.5 points, was Cornel Burzo, who earned a pairing against China’s Baoxiang Bao in the next round.
In another duel of 6-dans, Merlijn Kuin of The Netherlands triumphed over Franz-Josef Dickhut of Germany, and in a clash between two 7-dans, Chinese Taipei’s Tsung-Han Wu overcame Canada’s Jun Fan. These four players are also expected to contend for places in the top ten.
At the 5-dan level, Kanh Binh Do of Vietnam picked up his first win by downing former European champion Zoran Mutabzja of Croatia. At the shodan level, Francisco Pereira of Portugal overcame Michael Galero of the Philippines, and Aliaksandr Suponeu of Belarus bested Manitra Razafindrabe of Madagascar. At the 1-kyu level, Miroslav Smid of Slovakia scored a win over Mario Miguel Aguero Obanda of Costa Rica.
Unlike round 1, round 2 produced some upsets. In one of the most unusual games of the afternoon, Kamil Chwedyna (4-dan) of Poland used his patented second-line opening to defeat Viktor Lin (5-dan) of Austria. In the closest game Salvador Larios (1 kyu) of Mexico squeaked past Hock Doong Ho (shodan) of Malaysia by half a point, and in the biggest surprise of the day, James Hutchinson (1 kyu) of Ireland upended Torben Pedersen (3 dan) of Denmark.
The entire round ended well before five o’clock, but the rain that had been falling since the opening ceremony quenched any thoughts of enjoying Matsue’s scenic sunsets, and since it was now Sunday, many of the town’s shops were closed. The go-playing room in the New Auburn Hotel where the players are staying was open, however, so there was ample opportunity to practice for the next day’s competition.
– James Davies