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Pieter Mioch, Go journalist from the Netherlands, is living in Nagoya, Japan, the very same city which hosts the 2005 World Amateur Go Championships. Pieter will cover the tournament with a series of articles, especially but not only focussing on the Western participants from Europe and America.


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The evening before

The evening of the 22nd May, two days before the start of the 26th world amateur go championship most participants have arrived in Nagoya, central Japan. Usually the venue for the WAGC is chosen from more rural locations but this year's venue was picked because the 2005 world exhibition is held in Nagoya and the surrounding area.
Perhaps in order to make it easier for the contestants to concentrate on the games 100% the gathered go players were taken to expo 2005 to participate in a friendship match with local go fans whose lot was drawn in a lottery the ki-in had organized.

There certainly is no lack of points of interest in a tournament held over 8 rounds and with well over 60 countries participating. To single out a few,

  • Does the Japanese representative at the advanced age of 75 still have the stamina to go the whole 9 yards and play two games a day, 4 days a week? In spite of him being an experienced 8-dan player, the last time Yasuro Kikuchi came out for Japan during the 24th WAGC he looked exhausted after most of his games. However, he actually made runner up and he still, without a doubt belongs among the top three of the field. This time finishing at such a high place will take an almost super human effort.
  • The participant from D.P.R. Korea's strength is often unclear. There is little known about the level of the 17-year-old student Tae Won Jo. However, D.P.R. Korea representatives, having laid hands on the 2nd and 3rd places in the past, have made it clear that they are not to be taken lightly.
  • The last time the representative of Ukraine took part in 2003 he was the only player who caused the Chinese participant (who eventually won the 24th WAGC with a perfect score) any trouble. As a matter of fact during the after game commentary pro's gathered were of the opinion that Dmytro Bogatskyy had a solid win.
  • Last year the representative from France ended in fourth place, one place above the representative from Japan. Will this year again bring about such a stunning upset?
  • It also will be interesting to see how the youngest contestants will do from Tuesday to Friday during the 8 nerve wrecking rounds. Both the representative from Hong Kong, Nai San Chan and the representative from Brazil, Fabio Kenji Sakata Martinez, are only 12 years old.
  • The last point of interest is the question to what degree the 8 round tournament will eliminate the element of luck from the pairings each round. Ideally speaking players who end in the top-9 all get to play each other but as far as I know this has never happened yet.

Copyright © Pieter Mioch May 2005

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