At half past eight on May 28 two buses disgorged their load of go players and officials into the rain outside the Ecopa Arena. Umbrellas hoisted, the group made their way inside for the third round of the 30th World Amateur Go Championship, the Shizuoka tournament. Referee Seiken Takanashi gave the starting signal on the dot at 9.00 a.m. The top five Far Eastern players found themselves facing some of the st rongest American and European players. They all won, but there were a couple of close calls.
The first of these five games ended at 10:45 when Merlijn Kuin of The Netherlands made a critical mistake in a winning position and resigned against Shin-hwan Yoo of Korea. Soon after, Gheorghe Cornel Burzo of Romania resigned against Kang-ting Yeh of Chinese Taipei. Yuqing Hu of China and Moriei Kanazawa of Japan also won by resignation, beating Ondrej Silt of Czechia and Laurent Heiser of Luxembourg, respectively. The cliffhanger was the game between Naisan Chan of Hong Kong China and Juyong Koh of Canada. Koh, the 2008 Canadian champion, played impressively and had everybody, including his opponent, convinced that he was ahead. “Not good” was Chan’s terse reply when he was asked how the game had been. Nevertheless, as he often does, Chan found a way to pull it out, winning by 3.5 points.
The pairing system for the third round was switched over from the slicing system to the folding system, in which the top half of each block is matched in reverse order against the bottom half of the same block, as far as possible. This tends to produce closely matched pairings in the middle of each block. In the top block, the middle included Csaba Mero of Hungary, who beat Eric Lui of the U.S.A. by 16.5 points, Dmitriy Surin of the Russian Federation, who forced a resignation from Robert Jasiek of Germany, and Jia-cheng Tan of Singapore, who squeaked by David Wei He of Australia by half a point.
In the block of players on 1-1, the closely matched middle yielded a trio of victories by 3-dan players over 4-dan and 5-dan opponents: Miroslav Poliak of Slovakia beat Wankao Lou of Macau, Eitan Aharoni of Israel beat Jostein Flood of Norway, and Santiago Andres Tabares of Argentina beat Longyang Li of New Zealand. Those victories earned the three victors pairings against Heiser, Silt, and Koh in the next round.
– James Davies