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June 5th, 2007

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WAGC roundup

Well, the WAGC came to a close last Thursday, with China’s 13-year old wonderboy claiming victory with an 8-0 sweep. Once again, the format of the tournament was criticized – this year because Japan’s representative didn’t get paired against the Chinese representative.

In any case, it was no surprise to see Korea and Japan taking 2nd and 3rd spots with 7-1 records, but Romania’s Cristian Pop, an ex-insei performed impressively to finish overall fourth, top of the players with a 6-2 record. His tournament losses were to Japan and China – the rest of his draw should mostly have been fairly straightforward for a player of his calibre, except for his pairing against our Victor Chow in the 6th round. However, he played really well in this game to handle Victor’s influence-oriented game, playing calm thick moves throughout to secure a large 10.5 point win.

With the website being down for the second half of last week, we have not reported how the second half of Victor’s tournament went yet. In the fifth round, he scored a victory over Chech ex-insei, Ondrej Silt, and it looked as if he may yet obtain a top 5 finish. However, his disappointing loss to Pop in the sixth round meant only a top 10 finish if he could win his last 2 games. Victor’s last day began well with a victory over Austria’s Michael Szabo, but he must have been bitterly disappointed to lose to Canada’s Jing Yang (who finally placed 6th) in the final round. Victor’s final 5-3 record scored him 12th place in the tournament, equalling his result from 1999. Despite Victor’s likely disappointment at not achieving a 6-2 record as in 2002, when he placed fifth, this is still a great result for South Africa, since no SA player besides Victor has yet scored more than 4/8 in the WAGC.

We are also proud to note that Morocco was the source of one of the 3 biggest upsets in the tournament, with 1-dan Hatime Araki scoring victory over the Spanish 4-dan, Dimas Cabre Chacon, in the fifth round. He also upset a 2-dan, and was finally positioned 37th, despite an initial seeding of 57th among 68 players. Indeed a great result for Morocco. Madagascar’s Mamy Rakotoarisoa finished in 50th position.

Another top player who had a disappointing tournament was Fernando Aguilar, the Argentinian representative. His 5-3 performance left him placed 18th, with losses against Chinese Taipei, USA, and Germany’s Benjamin Teuber.

By the way, North Korea did not participate this year. This was due to political differences between North Korea and Japan, where Japan’s international ministry placed demands on the North Korean representation which the North Korean’s were unwilling to accept. The number of participants stayed at 68, though, with the new entry being Costa Rica, who finished 56th.

Finally, I’d like to point those interested to Sorin Gherman’s report on the World Amateur Go Championship. Sorin is a Romanian ex-insei, and has a website containing plenty of useful Go material at 361points.com. His report also includes the game between Victor and Cristian Pop. Another interesting bit of trivia I picked up at that site was that the Swede who defeated Victor is the founder of Dragon Go Server.

Posted by Steve in Links, SAGA, Tournaments

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