Round 4 began at 1:30 with referee Yasuhiro Nakano giving the signal to start. With only seven undefeated players remaining, the competition was beginning to tighten up.
Two of the three games among those undefeated players ended quickly. Choltit Rattanasetyut of Thailand made an early and serious mistake against Baoxiang Bai of China, and Morten Ofstad of Norway made a major mistake in the middle game against Tsung-Han Wu of Chinese Taipei, giving Bai and Wu easy wins. Wu, who said he had never played a European opponent before this tournament (“except possibly on the Internet”), rated Ofstad as fairly strong. Rattanasetyut was rated by Yuan Sun, a 3-dan Chinese professional player who had been a referee at the World Amateur Go Championship in Hangzhou last year and is assisting the Ranka staff this year, as considerably stronger than the Thai player who finished with four wins last year.
The third game between undefeated players, Woo-soo Choi of Korea against Eric Lui of the U.S.A., proceeded much more slowly but ended without an upset. Choi said he was satisfied with having won a difficult game, and rated his opponent’s level as not much different from his own.
Another undefeated player who won what he described as a difficult game was Poland’s Kamil Chwednya, who had been paired down against Belgium’s Jan Ramon. For the first time in this tournament, the Polish player played conventional opening moves. “Every opening has its own logic,” he said.
In the next round, the undefeated Chinese and Korean players will face each other in what is generally expected to be the deciding game of the tournament. Shortly after round 4 ended, Baoxiang Bai was seen to be going over the game record of Woo-soo Choi’s victory with Choi’s defeated opponent Eric Lui. In a different room, Choi was being interviewed for Japan’s Go & Shogi TV channel. When asked how he intended to play against Bai, Choi said he had no special plan: “I’ll just do my best, same as always.”
Undefeated Tsung-han Wu and Kamil Chwednya are also paired against each other in the next round. Eric Lui, Choltit Rattanasetyut, and Morten Ofstad join eleven other players with three wins, including Japan’s Hironori Hirata, who redeemed his honor this afternoon by defeating Jun Fan of Canada by 9.5 points, and Aliaksandr Suponeu of Belarus, who so far is having the best World Amateur Go Championship of his long career.
And outside the Shimane Prefectural Assembly Hall the drizzle continues, giving the players a fine view of Matsue castle in the mist.
- James Davies