The semifinal rounds of the men’s team tournament and the pair go tournament were played on the morning of October 17 at the Beijing International Convention Center.
The winners, who will vie for the gold medals this afternoon, were from China, the Republic of Korea, and Chinese Taipei.
The Korean men’s team reached the final by beating the Japanese team 4-1. Hane Naoki, Japan’s current Honinbo, scored the only win for the Japanese, beating Korea’s Choi Chulhan by resignation on the second board. On the other four boards, Won Sungjin beat Yoda Norimoto by 3.5 points, Lee Younggu beat Takao Shinji by 8.5 points, teenaged Kim Jiseok beat Yamashita Keigo, Japan’s Kisei title-holder, by 2.5 points, and Korea’s superstar Lee Sedol beat Kono Rin, the Japanese Tengen title-holder, by resignation.
In the other semifinal match, the Chinese team defeated the team from Chinese Taipei 4-1. China’s lead player Chang Hao, a veteran at the age of 31, beat Chen Shih-Yuan by 2.5 points and Piao Wenyao, China’s youngest player at age 20, beat Hsiao Cheng-Hao by 8.5 points. The other three games were decided by resignation: Ding Wei (China) beat Lin Han-chieh; Kong Jie (China) lost to Hwang Yih-tzu, and Xie He (China) beat Pan Shan-chi.
In the pair go semifinals, Hsieh Yi-min and Chou Chun-hsun defeated China’s Li He and Yu Bin to ensure at least a silver medal for Chinese Taipei. This was no upset: Hsieh (age 18) currently holds the women’s Honinbo and Meijin titles in Japan, and Chou won the LG Cup, a major international tournament, in 2007. In the other semifinal match Fan Weijing and Huang Yizhong, China’s second pro pair, defeated Lee Hajin and On Sojin from the Republic of Korea, producing a final showdown between pairs from China and Chinese Taipei and a bronze-medal play-off between pairs from China and the Republic of Korea.
While the Japanese men’s team plays the team from Chinese Taipei for a bronze medal this afternoon, in another building, Japan’s senior contract bridge team will be playing the US senior team for a gold medal. At the World Mind Sports Games, somewhat surprisingly, Japanese bridge is out-glittering Japanese go.
– James Davies