Round 8

The starting instructions for the eighth and final round were given by the youngest referee, Ryo Ichiriki. On each board, the players chose colors by the even-odd guessing procedure. On board 18, Brazil’s Thiago Shimada threw up his hands in mock alarm when he guessed wrong and had to take white. His opponent Sebastian Mualim of Indonesia promptly played the first two black stones on symmetrical 7-10 points. Thiago countered countered by playing the first two white stones in line with them on the 3-10 points, after which the game settled down to a more normal course. On board 14, Malaysia’s Suzanne D’Bel opened once again on the 10-10 point.

In the first front-row game to end, Yuqing Hu of China defeated Shin-wei Lin of Chinese Taipei. As it turned out, this victory secured second place for Yuqing and consigned Shin-wei to ninth place. On the adjacent board Hyunjae Choi of Korea completed a perfect tournament by defeating Artem Kachanovskyi of the Ukraine. Hyunjae became the 34th World Amateur Go Champion, and the sixth Korean to win the championship. Artem finished third, by far the highest finish by a Ukranian player so far, and the highest finish by any European player in over twenty years..

The game on the next board was decided by half a point, and had to be recounted before both players were satisfied with the result. Ilya Shikshin of Russia defeated Bill Lin of Canada to take fourth place. Bill finished tenth.

Elsewhere, Pavol Lisy of Slovakia defeated Javier Savolainen of Finland to finish fifth, King-man Kwan of Hong Kong defeated Cornel Burzo of Romania to finish sixth, and Nicola Mitic of Serbia defeated Albert Sanchez of Spain to finish seventh. Eighth place went to Kikou Emura of Japan, who scored his fifth win by beating Csaba Mero of Hungary, and edged out Shin-wei Lin by one SOS point.

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Left to right: Hyunjae Choi, Yuging Hu, Artem Kachanowsky and Ilya Shikshin

All in all, half of the top eight places went to Far Eastern players and half went to Europeans, and players from Europe and North America defeated strong opponents from the Far East in four games, an unprecedented number in this tournament. In his championship address at the closing ceremony, Hyunjae Choi remarked on the rising level of play in Europe and America.

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Left to right; Pavol Lisy, King Man Kwan, Nikola Mitic and Kikou Emura

The closing ceremony was also an awards ceremony, from which the Korean champion departed loaded down with gold and silver cups and at which he received an 8-dan diploma from the Nihon Kiin. In addition, his victory pushes his score in the new Korean amateur point system over the 100 mark, meaning that he can now become professional shodan in Korea. The other place-getters received certificates, plaques, and trophies, and two special prizes were awarded. Kazakhstan’s Alexandr Bukh received the Asada Fighting Spirit Prize for manners and sportsmanship, and Malaysia’s Suzanne D’Bel received a special prize for originality and good sense from chief referee Masaki Takemiya. Mr Takemiya further cited Soni Shah, the last-minute player from India, for her ‘cosmic’ style, heaped praise on all the players, and said he hoped to meet them all again.

- James Davies

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