The fourth day of go competition in the 4th SportAccord World Mind Games started at 9:30 on December 14 with two games that would draw the line between the medal winners and non-winners in the women’s section. On one board Joanne Missingham (Chinese Taipei) was playing Kim Chaeyoung (Korea), to whom she had narrowly lost two days before. On the other board Cathy Chang (Chinese Taipei) was challenging the famed veteran Rui Naiwei (China). Chinese Taipei had two chances to upset the Chinese-Korean monopoly on women’s medals in years past.
But monopolies are not easy to break. The Missingham-Kim game was over in only 111 moves. Playing black, Ms Kim took a territorial lead in the opening, some white groups got into trouble, and Ms Missingham resigned.
Cathy Chang held out longer. In fact, her game was played out to the end, and if there had been no compensation, she would have won. Unfortunately for Chinese Taipei, Cathy was playing black, and after the 3-3/4 stone compensation had been subtracted from her score, she lost by 2-3/4 stones, or 5-1/2 points.
The medals, accordingly, would go to Yu Zhiying, Rui Naiwei, and Kim Chaeyoung. Ms Rui and Ms Kim would play in the afternoon round for a chance at the gold. Ms Missingham and Ms Chang would play for fourth and fifth places.
Shortly after the end of the Rui-Chang game, the fourth round of the mens team event began, with Europe playing Japan, Korea playing North America, and China playing Chinese Taipei. Once again China Taipei had a chance to upset the medal-cart; a victory over China would give any one of four teams a fair chance at winning the gold.
Chinese Taipei got off to a good start on board two when Lin Li-Hsiang, playing black, defeated Mi Yuting. Lin lost five stones early on, but turned the loss to his advantage, and then enlarged his lead in a late ko fight and won by resignation. Lin had lost three title matches in Chinese Taipei this year, but the stocky twenty-one-year-old looked impressive in defeating his eighteen-year old superstar opponent.
Chinese Taipei’s upset hopes were dampened, however, when their leading player Chen Shih-Iuan lost a tightly fought game to China’s leading player Shi Yue on board one, and were then dashed when Tuo Jiaxi convincingly defeated Chang Che-Hao on board three. China now has four straight wins, and their remaining match is against North America. While China was struggling past Chinese Taipei, the North American team lost to the Korean team 0-3, so China’s chances of completing a clean sweep of all their matches when they play North America tomorrow appear quite good.
Europe had no better luck against Japan than North America had against Korea. The Europeans fought hard, but Yuki Satoshi beat Fan Hui by a comfortable 7-1/2 points, Ida Atsushi beat Aleksandr Dinershteyn by 14.5 points, and Seto Taiki beat Ilya Shikshin by resignation.
While the men’s games were ending, the two women’s games, which had started at three o’clock, were still in progress, and both looked very close. Rui Naiwei had been behind in the medal game, but she had caught up and now seemed to be half a point ahead of Kim Chaeyoung. Unfortunately, in the final stage of the endgame she failed to play a one-point sente move in time, allowing her opponent to play it instead. This tilted the outcome to half a point in favor of Kim Chaeyoung, who will play Yu Zhiying for the gold medal tomorrow, while Ms Rui, who won the silver medal two years ago, now takes the bronze. This will be the first time that both the gold and silver medals have not gone to Chinese players.
In the contest for fourth and fifth places, Cathy Chang prevailed over Joanne Missingham by 1-3/4 stones (3-1/2 points). In this game she had never seemed to be behind. Although no medals were at stake, there is a substantial prize differential (5000 USD for fifth place, 8000 USD for fourth place), and perhaps it is fitting that the larger prize will go to the senior player.
– James Davies