The WMSG is above all an immense organization capable of gathering all the best players on the planet, amateurs or professionals, to compete for medals that will be rewarded to the ones who deserve them best.
However, beyond competition, it also creates a great opportunity to forge friendship and relationship among the participants from all over the world. So far it is shaping up to be a very successful event!
Surely some players will take this chance to visit the Great Walls, Forbidden City or Hutongs, etc. But a great majority of them have chosen to stay at the Convention Center to chat and play with each other. This is a particular feature of Go compared with other mind sports in the WMSG: everyone is still eager to play after the tournaments. Since the first day of the WMSG, the participants have enjoyed and still enjoy playing Go, with pleasure, simplicity and serenity.
This success has reached a new climax in the last few days. The three individual tournaments of the first period are drawing to an end; many of the participants who have been pushed out of the playing rooms quickly congregate in the central hall. Yesterday, in the IGF office, a group of defeated Japanese players and their friends watched and commented on the men’s individual final on the computer. Today a goban on the table in the center of the room has replaced the computer screen.
The small VIP room which houses the Go “stars” has become a meditation sanctuary—ideal place to produce the best games. First the spectators were “chased” out, followed by the journalists. Now they have nothing to do but to wander around among the friendly games in the hall, trying to collect any valuable information: a German baby playing with stones; federation officials predicting the future; a couple of professional players on holidays…..
The professionals are more than available now. Last night Zhang Wendong 9p (China) gave a public commentary to dozens of spectators in the main playing room. Some of the strongest amateur players like Aguilar 6d (Argentina) played improvised simultaneous teaching games among the Go boards in the central hall.
This area is becoming a very lively place. In one corner, the game of the day is projected onto the big screen. There is a crowd of spectators mixed in with people playing games. This morning, Rui Naiwei 9p (China),Yu Bin 9p (China) and Hua Xueming 8p (China) studied the game together on one go board near the screen, surrounded by many spectators. Small groups of players scattered everywhere: some were playing friendly games; some commenting the game just played by his/her team mate; some watching the latest results of the day or the impressive moves of a very young Chinese girl, others analyzing carefully some sequences or chatting about life in general.
Along one side of the hall, some players use their computers to watch online games, read more go materials or exchange news with their families or friends. Some prefer to stay in the free rooms playing games after games. Some friendly volunteers are performing a tea ceremony a few days ago a good quality coffee machine was installed on the other side.
Drawing and results bulletin boards provide a colorful decoration all around of the hall with the flags for each player. The staff member who updates the scoreboards using stamps in black and red ink makes his way along the boards slowly aligning the numbers with perfect accuracy.
The WMSG may have more focus on competition than for example the European go congress, but there is no lack of active night life. In the first days, the center remained open late in the night. However, recently somehow the committee decided to close the hall at 22:00. Players had to move to other places to continue to play and have fun together. Some stay in the restaurants near the Center. Others gather in the apartments. Perhaps because space is limited in these meeting places, so far these parties tend to be among those who already know one another?rather than mixing up the players from different countries.
In the middle of this WMSG, all is going well. The arrival of the teams for the second part of the event can only increase the atmosphere of friendship and happiness.
– Max and Chen