The seeded players in the 34th World Amateur Championship were the players from China, Chinese Taipei, Japan, and Korea. Being seeded meant only that these four were not paired against each other in the first four rounds. Since Wei-shin Lin (Chinese Taipei) lost in the third round, and the Japanese player lost to the Chinese player in the fifth round, the two remaining undefeated players in round six were from China and Korea. This situation has become familiar in recent years. In the sixth round China was paired against Korea, Japan against Russia, and Chinese Taipei against Canada. Referee Yuichi Sonoda announced the start of the round at 1:30.
Korea’s Hyunjae Choi is an extremely quiet person. Drawing the black stones, he played the first move of the China-Korea game on the 3-4 point without making a sound, then pressed the clock button, equally noiselessly. China’s Yuqing Hu followed suit, and the game continued silently in this way. In contrast, on the next board Japan’s Kikou Emura and Russia’s Ilya Shikshin played their moves with authoritative clicks of stone and shell on wood. Wei-shin Lin of Chinese Taipei and Bill Lin of Canada were playing with teenage enthusiasm on the next board. The atmosphere on the other two boards in the front row, where Hong Kong’s King-man Kwan was playing Sweden’s Charlie Akerblom and the Ukraine’s Artem Kachanovskyi was playing and Finland’s Javier Savolainen, was more reserved.
In the backmost row, Mikhail Savitski of Belarus and Argyris Fellas of Cyprus, who had one win apiece, were playing Suresh Bhakta Kayastha of Nepal and Asmad Muhammad Haziq Siddeq Bin of Brunei Darussualam, who were still winless. The reason for this pairing was that Mikhail and Argyris had already played each other in the fourth round. The Nepalese player, who had lost by some breathtaking margins in previous games, now lost again, but Haziq roused himself against Cyprus and scored his first victory.
Returning to the front of the room, the Lin-Lin game was close but it was won by the Canadian Lin, by a point and a half. The Japan-Russia game was not quite as close: it was won by 6.5 points by Russia’s Ilya Shikshin. And the crucial game between China and Korea was won by 4.5 points by Korea’s Hyunjae Choi. Tomorrow morning Hyunjae will face Ilya Shikshin, while China’s Yuqing Hu meets Canada’s Bill Lin.
The players from Chinese Taipei and Japan, who lost to Ilya and Bill in round six, are paired against each other in round seven, so one of these two seeded players will lose again and end up with no more than five wins. Artem Kachanovskyi, who beat Charlie Akerblom, is paired against Serbia’s rising star Nikola Mitic, who defeated Australia’s Hao-song Sun. Both Artem and Nikola currently stand even with Yuqing Hu, Ilya Shikshin, and Bill Lin (all have five wins and one loss) so the winner of their game will be in the thick of the fight for the championship cups.
– James Davies