Yitien Chan (Chinese Taipei) snatched victory in the 35th World Amateur Go Championship, overtaking Korea by a single tie-break point. Chinese Taipei take home the trophy for the first time ever, and this is also the first time since 1986 (when Hong Kong won) that the winner was not one of the Big Three (China, Japan and Korea). In a tie-break lottery of sum of opponents’ scores, Chinese Taipei scored 46 taking first place, followed by 45 points for Korea and 43 points for China. The top 10 comprised of Chinese Taipei (1st), Korea (2nd), China (3rd), Hong Kong (4th), the Ukraine (5th), the Czech Republic (6th), Russia (7th), Sweden (8th), Japan (9th) and the USA (10th).
In the final round, Hungarian Pal Balogh had no fear of his Korean opponent, launching into the infamous taisha joseki then sauntering around the playing area as his time ticked down. ‘Balogh The Great’ (as he wrote on his score sheet) did not live up to his name however and was toppled by the Korean powerhouse Taewoong Wei.
Luis Enrique Boza Araya (Costa Rica) again put his money on tengen in a last stab at chalking up his first point, but was defeated by the Azerbaijanian Tahirbayov, who had awoken from his morning’s slumber (see Round 7 report).
In a tense showdown between Russia and the Ukraine, it was the latter who took control, fending off the Russian incursion into his territory. Despite a completely winning position against India, Mexico’s delegate Ricardo Quintero Zazueta was distraught to give away his game to Sonia Shah with a slip under time pressure.
The day concluded with the award ceremony, at which traditional Korean spoon sets were presented to Lucian Corlan (Romania) and Tiawattananont Thanapol (Thailand) for their fighting spirit, and the grand trophy was handed to its new owner, the young Yitien Chan of Chinese Taipei. Special prizes were presented by IGF director Martin Finke to Nhat Minh Vo (Vietnam), Rafif Shidqi Fitrah (Indonesia), Csaba Deak (Brazil) and Soni Shah (India).
– John Richardson