Following round 1 the players were bused back to the Baiyun Hotel for lunch, which was punctuated by several subtropical bursts of rain. Then they were bused back to the Guangzhou Chess Institute for round 2, which started promptly at 2:30. This time it was Aliaksandr Suponeu of Belarus who won by forfeit against the still-absent Moroccan contestant.
Round 2 featured some tense games between high-ranked players. On paper, the game between Yuan Zhou (U.S.A.) and Chen Cheng-Hsun (Chinese Taipei) looked the most tense since it matched two players with 7-dan ranks, but as the round developed it became apparent that the games between Ri Kwang Hyok (DPR Korea) and Pal Balogh (Hungary), between Nakazono Seizo (Japan) and Alexander Eerbeek (The Netherlands), between Benjamin Teuber (Germany) and Lukas Podpera (Czechia), and between Eduardo Lopez (Argentina) and Leon Matoh (Slovenia), would also be high-tension affairs. The game between Nadeem Prem (Brazil) and Leslie Perez (Chile) was also developing into a contest worth watching, despite the wide disparity in listed rankings: 3 dan for Nadeem vs 4 kyu for Leslie.
The first of these games to end, at around 4:00, was the 7-dan showdown. Despite a good opening, Yuan Zhou became the second seeded player to suffer defeat. When Chen Cheng-Hsun competed in the WAGC in Hangzhou in 2010 he was thinking of going directly from primary school into a professional career. Instead, he took the more normal course of entering middle school, but his playing strength has continued to improve and he would already be serious competition for a lot of professionals.
The Brazil-Chile match lasted longer, both players playing carefully, taking their time even in the late stages of their endgame. Overcoming a six-stone ranking difference, Leslie won by 17.5 points to score the tournament’s first win by a woman. Her Chinese counterpart, Fang Xiaoyan, had already lost her second-round game to Andreas Gotzfried of Luxembourg.
In the Japan-Netherlands game, an early mistake by Mr Nakazono gave Alexander Eerbeek the lead, and he did not seem about to give it back. As the game progressed Mr Nakazono’s expression became increasingly grim, but in the end he managed to kill a large group and Alexander resigned. Japan had had a close call, but had earned the right to face Korea in the next round.
In the Czechia-Germany game, Czechia (Lukas) launched a fierce attack on a large German group, forcing it to struggle for a minimal life with just two eyes, and kept the pressure up relentlessly until Germany (Benjamin) resigned. Ten minutes later, Slovenia (Leon) prevailed over Argentina (Eduardo). The winners of these two games will meet in round 3.
The last game to end, at 4:55, was the one between the North Korean and Hungarian players, Ri Kwang-Hyok and Pal Balogh. ‘My opponent made a mistake in the opening and I got the lead,’ said Pal, ‘but I quickly matched him with a mistake of my own. After that I think I was still ahead, but I give him a chance to attack and he took it.’ Pal perservered to the end but lost by 9.5 points. Ri, a veteran of the 2010 Asian games, is another player who would be serious competition for many professionals. Pal looked shaken, but his final comment was, ‘I feel happy with the way I played.’
- James Davies; photos by John Pinkerton
文James Davies 图 John Pinkerton/ 译 陈婷婷