After the bustle of the mixed team event, the playing room seemed unnaturally empty in anticipation of the mixed doubles competition. Only three tables were set up, in the middle of the room, and one of them was empty. The crew of schoolboy and schoolgirl game recorders was reduced to just two, one boy and one girl, befitting a mixed doubles event.
The girls from London and Taipei, Vanessa Wong and Joanne Missingham, were the first two players to take their seats. Ms Missingham wearing the same pink outfit she had worn on the first day of the team event. Ms Wong was wearing a black sweater and black slacks with a purple shawl. The four men all arrived wearing white shirts with black coats and trousers. Yamashita Keigo and Jie Li also sported neckties; Chou Chun-hsun and Catalin Taranu left their shirts open at the neck. Mukai Chiaki wore the same black suit in which she had received her bronze medal the evening before. Feng Yun wore white. Chief referee Hua Yigang stood joking in Chinese with the players from the USA and Chinese Taipei, then proceeded to the front of the room to give the starting instructions. Play started on the dot at 9:30 a.m.
For the first time, the players chose colors by guessing even and odd. At the Europe-Japan table Vanessa Wong guessed wrong and the European pair got white. At the USA-Chinese Taipei table Joanne Missingham guessed right and the American pair also got white. The atmosphere was relaxed. Neither game would be televised.
As gold and silver medalists in the mixed team event, the Chinese and Korean pairs had a bye in round one. In the afternoon, the winner of the Europe-Japan game would face the Korean pair and the winner of the USA-Chinese Taipei game would face the Chinese pair. Tomorrow all six pairs compete in the final round to decide the full order of finish.
The Japanese pair, Mukai Chiaki and Yamashita Keigo, started with another low Chinese opening. Their game lasted until noon. Vanessa Wong and Catalin Taranu put up valiant resistance, even turning one of their opponent’s groups into a double life. This earned them an extra point because Chinese rules recognize territory in double life, but in the end they lost by 4-3/4 stones (9.5 points). The other game ended a little earlier, the American pair (Feng Yun and Jie Li) resigning in the face of a monstrous black territory that included a lifeless white group.
Afterward both pairs stayed to discuss the games in true mixed doubles style, all smiles on both sides, no trace of any anguish or ill feeling. The pairs from Chinese Taipei and Japan move on to the afternoon round.
– James Davies