The fourth and last day of the tournament began as smoothly as the preceding three days. The bus brought the constestants to the Guangzhou Chess Institute half an hour before the starting time. At board 1, China’s Qiao Zhijian and DPR Korea’s Ri Kwang-Hyok were in their seats 15 minutes early, Qiao to take a short nap, Ri to survey the playing area. At board 2, Korea’s Lee Hyunjoon, looking fully recovered from his defeat yesterday, sat waiting for his Hungarian opponent Pal Balogh, who was seated cross-legged on the floor at board 6, talking with Romania’s Cornel Burzo under the imposing gaze of Cornel’s Danish opponent Jannik Rasmussen. On the other side of the playing area, Bulgaria’s Ivan Ivanov and his Cypriot opponent Dimitris Regginos were in animated conversation, in Bulgarian, at board 27.
At 8:55 chief referee Hua Yigang began the daily litany: mobile phones must be off or muted, spectators must be outside the blue ribbon encircling the playing area by 9:20, the GAC Trumpchi World Amateur Go Championship will now start.
Play began with a demonstration of the tombstone tesuji by Qiao Zhijian in the bottom right corner on board 1. The resulting fight ended in a ko in the top right corner. Qiao won the ko but had to concede the top right corner territory and also give Ri the superior position in the center.
During the course of the intense fight on board 1, Spanish WAGC sophomore Pau Carles was defeating Croatian veteran Zoran Mutabzija on board 20. The next games to end were on board 26, where Brazil’s Nadeen Prem beat Mongolia’s Bayarjargal Shartolgoi, board 12, where Luxembourg’s Andreas Gotzfried beat South Africa’s John Leuner, and board 9, where Germany’s Benjamin Teuber beat Slovenia’s Leon Matoh.
The game on board 2 featured the avalanche joseki, again courtesy of Pal Balogh, but it was not enough to enable him to overcome Korea’s Lee. On board 3, the low-teen match between Chinese Taipei’s Chen Cheng-Hsun and Hong Kong’s Chan Chihan was won by Chen. Meanwhile, on board 1, Qiao was showing that he could win by the traditional method of taking corner and side territory and reducing his opponent’s center. Faced with a certain loss, DPR Korea’s Ri conceded the game by letting his time run out. Having disposed of Ri in round 7, Lee in round 6, Chen in round 5, and Chan in round 4, Qiao had given China a fairly firm grip on a second consecutive World Amateur Go Championship. Qiao had also beaten both remaining players with only one loss (Chen and Lee), so he was drawn down to play Benjamin Teuber from the two-loss band in the final round.
Elsewhere in the two-loss band, Finland’s Juri Kuronen, Japan’s Nakazono Seizo, Romania’s Cornel Burzo, Russia’s Igor Popov, Singapore’s Lou Yuxiang, and Thailand’s Saechen Panjawat all won their games. These six will join Chan, Chen, Lee, and Ri in competing for places among the top eight. Benjamin Teuber is also in contention, if he can topple China.
– James Davies