Round 1 began at 9:00 a.m. at the Guangzhou Chess Institute, a half-hour bus ride from the Baiyun Hotel. Chief referee Hua Yigang gave the opening instructions in Chinese, with capable interpretation into English by referee Yang Shuang, and with three exceptions, the games were soon under way.
Two of the exceptions were minor: the players from Canada and Chile had missed the bus and arrived a few minutes late. The referees decided to excuse this lateness. The third exception was the player from Morocco, who had still not arrived in Guangzhou and could not be contacted. His opponent from Macau sat patiently at the board for fifteen minutes, at which point the referees declared a victory by forfeit.
The games were played with basic time of one hour per player, followed by thirty-second-per move overtime, each player having three thirty-second periods to use, but the pace of play was comparatively rapid, and protracted overtime contests were few. Among the four seeded players, Qiao Zhijian (China), Lee Hyunjoon (Korea), and Yuan Zhou (U.S.A.) won handily, but Remi Campagnie (France) was upended by Pavol Lisy (Slovakia). This was a come-from-behind victory. ‘I was losing,’ Pavol said, ‘but my opponent made a big mistake, and after that I was winning.’ It was not an upset, however: both players are ranked 5-dan.
In the other battles of the 5-dans, Leon Matoh (Slovenia) defeated Igor Popov (Russia), Lukas Podpera (Czechia) won a close 2.5-point victory over Longyang Li (New Zealand), and Eduardo Lopez (Argentina) prevailed over Martin Li (Sweden) by 8.5 points. The two youngest contestants both won their games, Chen Cheng-Hsun (Chinese Taipei) beating Carlos Acuna (Colombia) and Chan Chihin (Hong Kong) beating Felicien Mazille (Switzerland). Nakazono Seizo (Japan) won by a comfortable margin against Saechen Panjawat (Thailand), and in a very short game, Ri Kwang Hyok (DPR Korea) defeated Fang Xiaoyan (the second Chinese player).
Last to end was the game between Pal Balogh (Hungary, 6d) and Andreas Gotzfried (Luxembourg, 4d). ‘I thought it was about even through the middle game, but I lost a lot of points in the endgame,’ Andreas said. He had turned in a creditable performance, against one of the strongest players in Europe. Pal’s victory earned him a pairing against Ri in round 2, while Andreas gets to test himself against Fang Xiaoyan, the player Ri beat in round 1.
Also coming up in round two are games between the players from Argentina and Slovenia, Slovakia and Germany, and Chinese Taipei the U.S.A.
– James Davies
文James Davies / 译陈婷婷