The contestants in the GAC Trumpchi 33rd World Amateur Go Championship did not come to Guangzhou just to play go. Going over their games with the Chinese pros acting as referees was another part of the tournament. The room that the Guangzhou Chess Institute provided for that purpose was just as large as the tournament playing room, and it was much used. For the contestants who did not speak Chinese, referee Yang Shuang, who is making a determined effort to learn English, was particularly helpful. In addition, some of the contestants themselves are go instructors, and they too helped out, notably Romania’s Cornel Burzo.

Ceremonies are an important part of any international go tournament. On May 12, after the General Meeting of the International Go Federation, there was an opening ceremony and lavish banquet at the Yue Xiu Hotel, attended by the contestants, officials of the Chinese Weiqi Association and the International Go Federation, local government officials, sponsors, organizers, and tournament staff. After introductions and speeches and large quantities of excellent Cantonese food, there was also a birthday cake for IGF vice president Otake Hideo.

Banquet at the closing ceremony

On May 16, following the final round, there was a closing ceremony and another lavish banquet, this time at the Baiyun Hotel where the contestants were staying. After opening speeches in which the 33rd World Amateur Go Championship was described as a springboard to a stronger sports culture in Guangzhou and praised for contributing to the cialas cause of friendship, the top eight finishers received awards and bouquets amid much applause. The top three also received medals. IGF secretary general Shigeno Yuki placed the bronze medal around the neck of Chen Cheng-Hsun. Wang Yi, director of the Weiqi Department of the China Qiyuan,

Guangzhou TV Tower

placed the silver medal around the neck of Lee Hyunjoon. The affable Wang Runan, president of the Chinese Weiqi Association, placed the gold medal around the neck of the new world champion Qiao Zhijian. Wang Yi then invited everyone present to enjoy a good dinner, and that is what they did.

On May 17 the contestants once more boarded the morning bus that carried them from the Baiyun Hotel to the Guangzhou Chess Institute, but this time it was for a goodwill match with local opponents. The Guangdong Chess Culture Promotion Association took this opportunity to donate several works of art to the museum on the first floor of the Institute, including terra-cotta statues from the Han Dynasty, and to present the Institute with eight Hainan yellow pear trees, which will form a WAGC memorial grove. The contestants were not left out; they received limited-edition woodblock prints with a go motif. After the presentation of these gifts, the players were introduced and play began. The contestants ranged in age from 13 to 67, but the local team outdid this age range at both ends. Some of the players had time for more than one game, and all of them appeared to enjoy themselves, both playing go and socializing.

In the evening of May 17, the contestants, referees, and tournament staff boarded an excursion boat for a cruise on the Pearl River. Besides another excellent dinner, they got to enjoy the fantastic nighttime illumination of the shoreline buildings, the bridges, and the other excursion boats. This made a perfect ending to what had been just about a perfect world championship.

– James Davies

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