The weather had been gradually improving since the tournament began, and early risers on May 15 were treated to a sunrise. The bus brought the players to the Guangzhou Chess Institute by 8:30. The playing room was set up with boards 1, 2, 7, and 9 next to the computers that would broadcast the Korea-DPR Korea, China-Chinese Taipei, U.K.-U.S.A., and Czechia-Japan games on the Internet (sports.sina.com). Lee Hyunjoon, Qiao Zhijian, Zhou Yuan, and Lukas Podpera were in their seats at these boards by 8:50. Soon they were joined by their opponents Ri Kwang-Hyok, Chen Cheng-Hsun, Samuel Aitken, and Nakazono Seizo. Lee and Ri signed fans for their game recorder.
The round began on time at 9:00. Fang Xiaoyan, the second Chinese player, had drawn the bye against Morocco, so after starting the clock, she got up to watch the opening of the game between Leslie Perez, the Chilean player, and David Bofinger, the Australian, on the adjacent board.
On board 2, Qiao Zhijian chose a variation of the Dosaku opening and played his first ten moves in less than one second each, quickly constructing a huge black framework in the bottom half of the board. Unflustered by this blitz, Chen Cheng-Hsun took eight minutes to consider White 16 and countered by framing the upper half of the board. Black was the first to invade and a fight developed. White succeeded in killing the invading black group in the top right corner, but not in killing the larger invading black group that devastated the rest of the upper side. Black, for his part, converted almost all of his framework to territory, taking a clear lead. Once safely ahead, Qiao began to play more slowly and enlarged his lead by cutting off some white stones in the center. When the last neutral point had been filled, Qiao scooped up the white prisoners and, in the Chinese manner, returned them to their bowl, to the dismay of Sun Yuan, the observing referee. Since both players were familiar with Chinese counting Qiao suggested that they count the score in that way, but Chen said ‘Let’s not bother’ and conceded defeat.
There were fewer fireworks on board 1, but after a good opening and a bad middle game, Lee outplayed Ri in the endgame and then won the final one-point ko to prevail by 2.5 points. Lee will move on to confront Qiao in the afternoon. This has been the pattern in recent World Amateur Go Championships: the decisive game is played between China and Korea in the 6th round.
On board 7, Samuel Aitken (U.K.) used his fifth move to make a three-space extension from the third line to the second line, a new pattern that has been appearing in professional games. He and Yuan Zhou (U.S.A.) battled it out for the next two and a half hours, but in the end Samuel resigned and Yuan departed at a run to catch the 11:30 bus for the hotel. Yuan’s next opponent will be Ri Kwang-Hyok.
On board 9, Lukas Podpera and Nakazono Seizo also battled it out for two and a half hours, but today Mr Nakazono’s Japanese supporters had the satisfaction of seeing Japan’s amateur Honinbo score a convincing win.
The Czechia-Japan game was the longest of the round. The fastest was the game between Mongolia and Portugal, over in less than an hour and described as ‘an easy win’ by Portugal’s Daniel Tome. The most dramatic involved the players from Romania and Singapore.
‘I had the game in my pocket for at least 90% of the time,’ said Romania’s Cornel Burzo after it ended, ‘but with the clock counting the time, I got stressed and tried to shorten the process by killing a group. The moment after I played the stone I realized it was a catastrophic mistake. I went from something like a hundred points ahead to a hundred points behind.’ Singapore’s Lou Youxiang earned his fourth win, and a chance to take on Hong Kong’s Chan Chihan in the next round.
Elsewhere, Germany’s Benjamin Teuber became Chen Cheng-Hsun’s next opponent by beating New Zealander Longyang Li. In a European youth match, Slovakia’s Pavol Lisy defeated the Netherland’s Alexander Eerbeek. In other European matches, Austria’s Lothar Spiegl defeated Spain’s Pau Carles, Belgium’s Francois Gonze defeated Norway’s Pal Sannes, French seed Remi Campagnie defeated Luxembourg’s Andreas Gotzfried, Lithuania’s Albertas Petrauskas defeated Bulgaria’s Ivan Ivanov, Serbia’s Mijodrag Stankovic defeated Ireland’s Colin MacSweeny, Sweden’s Martin Li defeated Bosnia’s Dragan Paunic, and Hungary’s Pal Balogh defeated Jannik Rasmussen, the giant Dane. Pal and Pavol will meet in the four-win band in the 6th round.
– James Davies