The good weather continued on the second day of the World Amateur Go Championship, and many of the players took advantage of it to start the day with a fifteen-minute walk from the Green Palace Hotel, where they were staying, to the Nihon Kiin. All of them made it in time for the third round, which started at 9:30.
The 7-dan opponents faced by the undefeated B-group players in this round were the big four from China, Chinese Taipei, Japan, and Korea, plus Yongfei Ge from Canada. Yongfei is a veteran of many international tournaments, including the 2012 Korea Prime Minister Cup, where he took third place. Today he and the big four all came away from their morning encounters victorious.
The game between Polish champion Stanislaw Frejlak and Czech champion Jan Prokop was a closer contest. Both players are ranked 6 dan and both scored five wins in the WAGC in 2016 in Wuxi, China. Stanislaw had beaten Jan there, and now he did so again, by resignation, in a game broadcast live on the Internet.
At the shodan level, Hordur Thordarson, a cheerful weather forecaster from New Zealand, picked up his second straight WAGC win, at the expense of Mongolia’s Temuujin Bataa. By the end of the round, only seven players remained undefeated: the big four, and the players from Canada, Germany, and Hungary.
In the afternoon round, the big four continued to roll over the opposition. Korea’s Kim Sangcheon was drawn down against the USA’s Aaron Ye, who had already met and lost to China’s Wang Chen in the second round. Kim played as if he knew he was going to win, answering most of Aaron’s moves after only a few seconds of thought. Describing the game later, Aaron said, ‘Kim started out pushing and created a lot of influence in the center, so I tried to counter it by creating groups here and there. He attacked them, but I managed to live. Nevertheless, I think he was still a few points ahead going into the endgame, even after he made a blunder that let me gain a couple of points on him. But then in the last twenty moves or so I misread a position, resulting in a ko, and one of my large groups died. Then I tried to kill one of his groups the same way in return, but I couldn’t win that ko, so I resigned.’
Mr. Wang’s opponent in the fourth round was Hungary’s Csaba Mero. In a state of visible excitement, Csaba dramatically won a capturing race in the middle game, only to watch aghast as his opponent calmly built up his remaining territories and finished 16.5 points ahead. ‘According to the chief referee,’ Csaba said later, ‘when I captured those stones I already had a lost game. I was tricked.’
Germany’s Benjamin Teuber came a little closer in his game with Chinese Taipei’s Chan Yi-Tien: he lost by only 14.5 points. At least he forced his opponent to think hard until well into the middle game. Canada’s Yongfei Ge came closest to upsetting one of the big four. Japan’s Murakami Fukashi beat him by only 4.5 points, though it should perhaps be borne in mind that Mr. Murakami was the one who advised the stronger players in the tournament to take it easy on weaker opponents.
At the other end of the field Malaysia’s Cheng Khai-Yong, who had received a bye in the third round after losing to opponents from Czechia and Slovakia, notched his first real victory by beating Turkey’s Hakki Guner. Three other winless players also scored their first successes: Brazil’s Thiago Shimada defeated Swedish 2-dan Kim Johansson, who had lost to one 3-dan and two 5-dans in the preceding rounds; Macau’s Tang Chan-Fai defeated Luxembourg’s Jeremy Hertz, a 4-dan beating a 1-kyu; and Bulgaria’s Teodor Nedev (2 kyu) had the honor of playing Celeste Abat (5 kyu), the Philippine player and the only woman competing this year. Celeste politely lost and received a bye in the next round.
– James Davies