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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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Korean representative started first round without any trouble

12 year old Nai San Chan (Chinese Hong-Kong) versus Yiming Guo (Australia) The player from Korea already has passed the pro test and in half a year will make his official pro debut. He just barely made it to the WAGC and for a moment there seemed to be the possibility that the organization would have to disqualify him. It has been decided, however, that this is not necessary since the Korean participant did have amateur status the moment he registered for the WAGC. The next point of interest to which we can expect an answer in a few days: is a fresh Korean pro able to win the World Amateur's?

As many participants already had arrived in Japan Saturday the 20th they were more than happy to finally start with the first round on Tuesday the 24th at nine o'clock. After a 30-minute delay due to a printing error in one of the announcements the participants did the "Nigiri" to determine black and white. Then finally the Kisei title holder and head referee officially started the games. Nigiri, by the way, is only done in the first round. After round one the computer program, which runs the tournament (three operators) will tell people what color they have to put up with (this was at least the intention but due to unforeseen computer trouble the players found themselves doing nigiri all 8 rounds).
The referee started Romania's representative clock although he had not yet shown up. He started his game with over 30 minutes less when he did arrive, unshaven but well showered, a little after ten. His opponent from Sweden, Martin Li, turned out to be quite a player although he is not well known.
This was about the same time the first game of the 26th ended the clash between Uruguay and Canada. None other than the famous James Davies (live and death, tesuji) had actually tipped Canada's representative as being a very strong player who might even cause an upset or two. I had the honor to be the game recorder of the match between Armenia's Ashot Margaryan and Israel's, Eitan Aharoni. figure 1: (1-18)
Event 26th WAGC, round 1
Date 2005 May 24
Place Nagoya, Japan
Black Eitan Aharoni, Israel
White Ashot Margaryan, Armenia
Commentary Hikosaka Naoto, 9p
Game record

Figure 1: 1-19
There is nothing wrong with the fuseki, of course there are other ways of going about it but there is no move played by either player which is questionable or wrong. The first move at which Hikosaka sensei's expression changed a bit was white 18. The move does not solidify white much, if black plays like this (dia. 1) he is in trouble.
diagram 1

Diagram 1
In Diagram 1 black does not do anything fancy, just capturing one stone is, however, huge. Black takes profit and the white stones are still unsettled. White still has to add a few moves which will automatically mean that black gets more territory.
diagram 2

Diagram 2
In Diagram 2 Hikosaka 9p explained that this way of playing is both more attractive and more solid for white. White 1 makes almost certain life and white 3 is a counter measure to not get locked up easily. Now white has created time to play an approach move at 5 and the game is open again.
figure 2: (20-39)

Figure 2: 20-39
White 20 is better played directly at 22. Black 25 is not good, directly capturing at 27 is the move here because?.
diagram 3

Diagram 3
In diagram 3 it can be seen that if white first plays at 1 and black answers at 2 the cut at 3 is most severe. After white 5 there are ways left for black to make eyes at the right and running away with his two center stones too. This line of play is, however, completely unattractive for black. If white keeps his cool and doesn't slip somewhere along the line there is no way he can get a bad result. After white 5 he has a promising game

White 34 is an overplay. However, it was very interesting to see during the game that the Armenian player put it there with much confidence and the representative from Israel reacted quickly with a pure defensive move. Although it is clear that go is not a game of luck there is more to it than just putting stones on the board. Reading you opponent's state of mind and influencing his emotional state by the way you sit behind the board certainly have to some degree an influence on the outcome. Playing online does not have this so much but for example speed of play still can influence the opponent.
diagram 4

Diagram 4
In diagram 4 the variation is shown what happens as black does not buy the white overplay and moves out immediately with 1. Sacrificing the lonely white stone will mean an instant big loss, (influence, power, and later on points), but if white were to run away with 2 black three attacks both the upper side and the two stones. The game from this point on would be extremely difficult for white indeed.

In the game white continued to invade the right side, a dangerous mission. After black 39 white is in trouble. Further moves are omitted in the end black won by resignation.

This tournament is the second for Eitan Aharoni from Israel and his third time in Japan. "The first time I came as an official, that was in 1997 when the world amateur championship was held in the Sapporo. In 2000 I participated for the first time myself and it was a great experience, although I did only win 3 games out of 8. For this tournament I would be extremely satisfied if I could get 5 wins but only bettering my previous result by one and getting 4 wins too will make me a happy man"
Aharoni graduated from the University of Tel Aviv where he studied philosophy and psychology. "Does the knowledge you gained while studying these difficult subjects actually help you to become a better go player?" I asked this question expecting to be answered something like "yes of course, it helps tremendously that I can see in to people's mind and hearts?" but as it turned out my runaway imagination was not in sink with reality once again. "No, my studies did not help me with go. However, there are many aspects of go which touch on my field. I think that you can tell a great deal about a person by looking at the patterns which arise in a player's game. I myself can tell that I have difficulty controlling myself when I feel that I am ahead. It often is the moment that I start to make the big blunders and I am well aware of this and try to prevent them from happening.
When the Israeli Go Association got off the ground about 10 years ago two pro's from Japan also came over for a week to help go enthusiasts a bit further along the road. It was about that time when I started to play for the first time. I knew the game through two friends with whom I played a game every now and then. Half way the nineties I started teaching at a school for gifted children and although there is not that much money in it I find it a wonderful and rewarding job.

Good luck to you Mr. Aharoni!

Copyright © Pieter Mioch May 2005

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