Round 2 of the SportAccord World Mind Games began at 9:30 a.m. on December 12. Outside, the ground was still covered with snow, but the temperature was pleasantly warm within the playing venue at the Beijing International Convention Center. All 16 men were competing, eight in the main section, eight in the repechage. Eight of the 12 women were competing, including the four seeded players who had byes in the first round and the four who had won their first-round games.
In the men’s division, two games promised to be particularly noteworthy. One was the match between China’s Jiang Weijie and Korea’s Kang Dongyoon. Jiang’s triumphs so far this year have included the LG Cup, the Dachongjiu Cup, and the China-Japan-Korea Mingren-Meijin-Myung-in playoff. Kang won the men’s individual event at the 2008 World Mind Sports Games in Beijing, the 2009 Fujitsu Cup, and the 2009 Korean Chunwon title. The other particularly noteworthy game was the match between Czechia’s Jan Hora and Hungary’s Csaba Mero in the repechage section. The winner of that game would advance to the third round and at least double his monetary prize. Csaba, a former insei in Japan, played this game seated cross-legged in his chair.
In the women’s division, the two Chinese players were playing the two Japanese, and the two Koreans were playing the two from Chinese Taipei. All four of these games were well matched.
In the men’s repechage section, Russia’s Ilya Shikshin, Argentina’s Fernando Aguilar, and Canada’s Tianyu (Bill) Lin had no luck against China’s Tuo Jiaxi and Chinese Taipei’s Lin Chi-han and Lin Chun-yen. For the losers of these games, the tournament was now over.
In the men’s and women’s main sections Japan’s magnificent fortunes of the first round suffered a total reversal. First Okuda Aya lost to China’s Li He in the women’s division. Li He is in good form, having won the Mt. Qionglong Bingsheng Cup in November. Next, in the men’s division, Fujita Akihiko lost by a wide margin to China’s Chen Yaoye. Chen is a leading prospect for a medal, having recently won his way into the final of the Chunlan Cup by beating Park Jeonghwan and Jiang Weijie. Soon afterward Japan’s Murakawa Daisuke lost by resignation to Korea’s Choi Chulhan. The last Japanese players to lose were Uchida Shuhei, by resignation, to Korea’s Park Jeonghwan, and Mukai Chiaki, by resignation, to China’s Rui Naiwei.
Elsewhere in the women’s division Korea’s Choi Jeong, women’s Myung-in (Meijin) at age 15, defeated the go ambassador of the Games, Chinese Taipei’s Joanne Missingham, by resignation.
The last two games to end were the Jiang-Kang men’s game and the women’s game between Park Jieun (Korea) and Su Sheng-fang (Chinese Taipei). The women’s game was not close. Park Jieun, bronze medalist at Beijing in 2008 and winner of the Bingsheng Cup in 2010 and 2011, beat her oppononent by a double-digit margin (by Japanese counting). The Jiang-Kang game, however, turned into an exciting three-hour marathon littered with dead stones, ending in victory by Kang Dongyoon by 3/4 stone (1.5 points). After two rounds, the five Koreans are still undefeated.
And the repechage contest between Csaba Mero and Jan Hora? The winner, by 3-3/4 stones (7.5 points) was Hungary’s Csaba Mero. He now proceeds into the third round, where his opponent will be Lin Chi-han.
– James Davies