Team and pair competition got into full swing on the afternoon of October 13, with the first two rounds of the preliminary pair tournament being played in parallel with the sixth round of the women’s and the second round of the men’s team events.
The contestants in the preliminary pair competition are thirty amateur pairs, grouped into four blocks. After seven rounds, the top two pairs in each block will join eight professional pairs for a four-round knockout that will determine who gets the medals.
Scoring two wins in the first two preliminary rounds were the amateur pairs from China, Czechia, France, Germany, Mongolia, Russia, the Republic of Korea, and the UK. The pairs from Chinese Taipei, Hungary, Japan, and the Ukraine are also undefeated, having gotten one win and one bye each. The pair from DPR Korea is 1-1; they lost to the pair from the Republic of Korea.
The sixth women’s team round produced no surprises, but although Germany lost to DPR Korea, their expatriate leading lady Zhao Pei notched a 2.5-point win over DPR Korea’s lead player Kim Solhyang. Heading into the final round China, Chinese Taipei, Japan, and the Republic of Korea have already clinched places in the knockout.
In the men’s team event the big five from the far east (China, Chinese Taipei, DPR Korea, Japan, and the Republic of Korea) rolled over teams from Hong Kong China, Denmark, Sweden, New Zealand, and Serbia, again with the loss of only one game. This time it was Sweden’s Olof Fridh who picked up a default win against DPR Korea.
In other men’s team matches, Romania defeated Hungary and Russia defeated the Netherlands, in both cases by 4-1 scores. The lone Hungarian victory was a win by Pal Balogh over Romanian pro 5-dan Catalin Taranu. For the Netherlands it was Frank Janssen who averted a shoutout by beating Alexei Lazarev. The third round will see the first clash among the big five, with DPR Korea matched against the Republic of Korea.
– James Davies