Song Ronghui has just lowered to sixteen the age at which a girl can be recognized as a world go champion. Facing two tough Korean opponents in one day, she defeated both of them to bring China the gold medal in the women’s individual event.
Playing black in the afternoon game, she took territory in all four corners, large territories in the top corners and smaller territories in the bottom corners, and defended all of them while also whittling down white’s holdings in the center. After being hand-tied for 233 moves, Lee Minjin heeded the proverb (“If your opponent has four corners–“) and resigned to accept the silver medal.
In the playoff for the bronze medal, Park Jieun survived a late-game ko fight involving the life of a gigantic group of her own stones to win by resignation against Mannami Kana of Japan. Once again, the Republic of Korea had won two medals in one day.
At the awards ceremony, after applauding two Chinese and one Vietnamese xianqi medalist, three pairs of chess medalists from Ecuador, India, and the Ukraine, and the two Korean go medalists, the audience erupted in shouts and cheers when Song shook hands with Park and Lee, then mounted the platform to receive the gold medal from Wang Runan and a bouquet from Hua Yigang of the China Weiqi Association. Song responded to the cheers with broad smiles and spoke readily with television reporters in the interview that immediately followed. Once again, China is on top in the world of women’s go.
Earlier, however, in the knockout stage of the amateur open event, the Koreans had been having a field day. Lee Yonghee eliminated former world amateur champion Hu Yuqing (China), while Ham Youngwoo ended the hopes of American Jie Li. These two victories give the Republic of Korea a shot at another pair of medals tomorrow, and Jo Taewon defeated South African Victor Guang Chow, so DPR Korea is also in the medal race. Competing against these Koreans will be China’s Wang Chen, who defeated Canada’s Yongfei Ge.
– James Davies