Jyun-Fu Lai 7d (Chinese Taipei) and Changhun Kim 6d (Korea) remain the only two undefeated players at the end of the second day of the 36th WAGC in Bangkok, Thailand. Lai and Kim defeated their Japanese and Chinese opponents respectively in two closely fought duels running long into the afternoon. Chan (Hong Kong), Balogh (Hungary), Mitic (Serbia), Koh (Canada), Ko (US) and Kachanovskyi (Ukraine) join them in the top 10.
Action commenced just moments into the start of Round 3. Within five minutes, Jie Hui Kwa (Singapore) and Pal Balogh (Hungary) had blitzed out 40 moves, while the Argentinian and Serbian representatives were yet to appear. Argentina’s David Politzer arrived relatively quickly, however Dusan Mitic was nowhere to be seen for 18 minutes. Despite beginning with only 24 minutes on the clock (taking a 36 minute penalty) and spending most of the game in byoyomi, he fought sharply and was able to defeat his opponent, the Dutch representative Merlijn Kuin 6d. Then came a big kill for Portugal, as Pedro Carmona 2k snapped up a fistful of stones from Sandeep Dave 5k of India. Representatives of Japan and France were locked in intense thought, with Hiraoka and Papazoglou almost bumping heads as they leaned far across the Go board. The game was taken by Hiraoka.
In Round 4 the spotlight was on the top two boards, China vs Korea, and Japan vs Chinese Taipei. First, China and Korea. Both players mean business – Korea’s Changhun Kim 6d has received a special training programme before the competition, and China’s Aohua Hu 6d is being accompanied in Bangkok by his personal trainer, a 7 dan professional. In the third round, Hu had dispatched Ukrainian superstar Artem Kachanovskyi 6d, and Korea’s Kim steered a complicated fight to victory against Canada’s Juyong Koh 7d. The final result was a victory for the Korean. In the Japan-Taipei clash, Jyun-Fu Lai 7d (still only 12) pulled ahead of Japan’s Hiraoka Satoshi 8d, twice winner of the WAGC (1994 and 2006), in a tense battle culminating in a 1.5 point victory for Chinese Taipei. Lai is said to have defeated recently last year’s WAGC champion and fellow countryman Yi-Tien Chan, further evidence of the youngster’s strength. This year’s tournament, just as the last, will see a Korea-Taipei showdown that will likely decide the champion.
Fu Kang Chang 5d (Malaysia), also 12 years old, was defeated by Hungarian ex-insei Pal Balogh 6d, a veteran of the WAGC. A catastrophic joseki error made by the Malaysian is shown in Diagram 1 (click here for the sgf file). After playing 1 and 2, White must first push at 3 as in Diagram 2 (the correct way) before continuing to push on the other side to prevent his five central stones becoming captured unconditionally, leading to instant disaster. In the game Balogh chose a less effective variation than Diagram 1 but was nonetheless able to seal the victory.
A valuable point was taken by Dusan Mitic 6d (Serbia) against Khanh-Binh Do 5d (Vietnam). White (Do) was behind after responding to Black’s kakari at 1 in Diagram 3 with the lukewarm 2, when instead playing at 3 would have been the correct direction (click here for the sgf file). Vietnam’s fate was sealed when Do chose the heavy (and very risky) connection at A. Here Hiroshi Yamashiro 9p recommends the counter-atari at B.
Other results in Round 4 included Chan (Hong Kong) beating Silt (Czech Republic), Kachanovskyi (Ukraine) defeating Papazoglou (France) and Sankin (Russia) losing to Burzo (Romania). Click here for the full standings after Round 4.
– John Richardson, with game comments by Hiroshi Yamashiro 9p and Michael Redmond 9p