The fourth round was punctuated by a few drops of rain, but on the fifth floor of the AER complex nobody was thinking about the weather. All attention was on the confrontation between the three undefeated Asian players and the three undefeated Europeans. The TV crew focused in particular on the game between Japan’s Kikou Emura and Romania’s Cornel Burzo on the center board in the front row of the playing room. This was the first of the three games to end in victory for Japan. The players immediately began reviewing the game at their seats, in a tutorial spirit, Kikou playing the role of the tutor.
Next the game at the adjacent board ended, Korea’s Hyunjae Choi defeating the Netherlands’ Merlijn Kuin without apparent difficulty. The two players went over the game in the review area, with two Korean professional players assisting Hyunjae in the role of tutor.
At one end of the front row, Russia’s Ilya Shikshin held out longer against China’s Yuqing Hu, but Hu proved to be a tougher opponent than Chinese Taipei’s Lin, whom Ilya had trounced in the previous round. This time the Russian had to resign.
At the other end of the front row, however, the Ukraine’s Artem Kachanovskyi came from behind in the endgame to defeat Hong Kong’s King-man Kwan. European players have beaten opponents from the strong Asian zone on rare occasions in the past, but this year it has already happened twice, and the Championship is only half over.
While Artem was fighting his way to his third win, Canada’s Bill Lin was scoring his fourth win by defeating Slovakia’s Pavel Lisy. Next Bill gets to challenge Hyunjae Choi, while Kikou Emura squares off against Yuqing Hu. The large group with three wins apiece includes not only the players from the Netherlands, Romania, Russia, and the Ukraine but also those from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Chinese Taipei, Finland, Hungary, Poland, and Serbia. The pairing system is designed to match the players against their closest opponents, as determined by number of wins and sum of opponents’ scores. This should make for a very intense fifth round tomorrow.
– James Davies