Round 3

The third round began at 9:30 on Monday, September 2, at the direction of 3-dan referee Ryo Ichiriki of the Nihon Kiin. As on the first day, the AER complex was humming with activity. Outside the playing room, boards were being set up for Tetsuya Mitani, Wei-jen Wang, and Nao Mannami, three Nihon Kiin pros who were scheduled for simultaneous teaching games against local players. On the floor above, the room that had been filled with children the day before was more sedately filled with 144 adults competing in a team tournament.

In the playing room itself, the game between China’s Yuqing Hu and Hungary’s Csaba Mero ended quickly. ‘I missed a ladder,’ Csaba said. Soon after, Soni Shah and Zoljargal Tsetseg-Ulzil, representing India and Mongolia, scored their first wins by defeating Mario Miguel Aguero Obanda of Costa Rica and Asmad Muhammad Haziq Siddeq Bin of Brunei Darussalam.

The game between Korea’s Hyunjae Choi and Singapore’s Jia Cheng Tan ended in victory for Choi. The two players immediately went to the space reserved for game reviews and sat down to review their game with the assistance of Korean pro Hajin Lee, who had come to observe the proceedings in preparation for next year’s World Amateur Go Championship in Seoul.

At 11:20 Chinese Taipei’s Shin-wei Lin became the first of the top Asian players to lose to a non-Asian opponent, specifically to Russia’s Ilya Shikshin. ‘I didn’t do anything special,’ Ilya said. ‘At one point Shin-wei started trying tricky moves. I saw that all I had to do to get ahead was to play normally, so that’s what I did, and his position kept getting worse and worse.’

The tension was now highest at the front of the playing room, where Romania’s Cornel Burzo was playing Slovakia’s Pavol Lisy and Japan’s Kikou Emura was playing France’s Thomas Debarre. The Burzo-Lisy game turned into a huge fight that devolved into a ko, which the Romanian player won. Pavol’s attempt to regain honor in a new fight on the opposite side of the board failed, and he resigned shortly before noon. In contrast, the Debarre-Emura board was a scene of peace, but the players’ faces were not. The intense concentration that both sides poured into the endgame belied the final score, a comfortable 5.5-point win for Japan.

Switzerland’s John Walch and Finland’s Javier Savolainen concluded the round by defeating Germany’s Franz-Josef Dickhut and the UK’s Andrew Kay. Only seven players remained undefeated: an Asian bloc now reduced to China, Japan, and Korea, and a North American and European bloc consisting of Canada, the Netherlands, Romania, and Russia. The three Asians face the three Europeans in the next round.

– James Davies

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