China’s Baoxiang Bai was also seated early for round 6, looking relaxed in a pink sweatshirt, hooded white trainer, bluejeans, and tennis shoes. Four minutes before the 1:30 starting time he was joined by Chinese Taipei’s Tsung-han Wu, today wearing a black shirt and gray jacket with his jeans and tennis shoes, and looking somewhat less relaxed despite his blitzkrieg win in the morning. One of these two was about to lose his unbeaten status. When all the other players had taken their places, referee Shimpei Kuwamoto gave the signal to start and the round began.
Next to Bai and Wu, Korea’s Woo-soo Choi was paired against Poland’s Kamil Chwedyna. One of these two players was about to lose his second game of the day, after four straight wins in the first half of the tournament. The Polish player drew white and placed his first three stones on the 9-10, 11-10, and 4-2 points, while the Korean occupied three corners.
On three other boards in the main playing room, Japan’s Hironori Hirata was playing Spain’s Joan Flos, Thailand’s Choltit Rattanasetyut was playing Vietnam’s Kanh Binh Do, and France’s Thomas Debarre was playing Eric Lui of the U.S.A. The winners of these games would still be very much in contention, provided one of them could manage to beat the winner of the Bai-Wu game.
In the outer playing area the Ukraine’s Mykhailo Halchenko had been drawn down against Romania’s Cornel Burzo. A win for the Ukranian would leave him in contention for the championship too. A win for the Romanian would mean a good chance at taking one of the top ten places, conditional on a strong performance tomorrow. Sixteen other players with 3-2 records were also playing for chances to finish in the top ten.
With the stakes becoming increasingly clear, the pace of play slowed. Only a few games finished in less than two hours. Two of these ended in victories for Japan and Korea. At the two-hour ten-minute mark the Southeast Asian showdown between Thailand and Vietnam was also over, and in this game victory went to Thailand, by 9.5 points.
By this time a crowd of over thirty onlookers had gathered around the game between the unbeaten duo from China and Chinese Taipei, Baoxiang Bai and Tsung-han Wu. The situation on the board was becoming increasingly uncomfortable for Chinese Taipei, and after another ten minutes Wu resigned, leaving China’s Bai in undisputed first place, at least for the present.
Thomas Debarre and Eric Lui are both relatively slow players, and their game lasted longer. The winner was Eric Lui. His reward: a pairing against the Chinese player in round 7.
In the outer playing area, the drawn-down game, another lengthy affair, was won by the drawn-up player, Cornel Burzo. Tomorrow he will first face Kanh Binh Do in a quest to restore Romania to a place in the top ten. In other pairings for round 7, Korea is matched against Chinese Taipei and Japan against Thailand.
After the round ended, some of the players took advantage of the improved weather to prepare for the next round by taking an evening and cruise on Lake Shinji, one of the main scenic attractions in the city of Matsue, and although they did not get to see one of Matsue’s famed sunsets, they did get a good dinner.
- James Davies