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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 representative from Spain, Cesar Sanchez Munoz

Pieter Mioch and Cesar Sanchez Munoz

"I started to play when I was twelve years old. I already played chess but my brother told me about this game, it was supposed to improve your mind or something. So, I got interested and when two guys from the Barcelona go club showed up at our elementary school to teach go I joined immediately. We started out with 32 kids I think but in the end I was the only one left. I don't think that the others didn't like go or something. The problem was that once we learned about go we only could play at the Barcelona club which at that time was opened at eight o'clock, one evening in the week. That was too late for most parents. Fortunately for me and my go career my parents trusted me and allowed me to play there as long as I promised to be back by 10. When I befriended some older go fanatics on motor bikes who promised to safely deliver me back home my deadline was moved to midnight. This was about when I was 15 I think. My go level was about 10 kyu then.
From that (tender) age on my go level improved bit by bit, in a steady line. My friend and I made a competition out of who would be the strongest fastest. We were about the same level so it was a fierce competition. He, however, leveled out at about 4 kyu and I kept on going. It is interesting though that this very same person, Pau Botill, now teaches at a university and started the credited courses Igo 1 and Igo 2. I think that what he doing is called telecommunications or something. I hear him talk about neural nets and experiments; we are still good friends.
This is my fifth visit to Japan. First I was here back in 1994 to participate in the Kyoto WAGC, next was 1996. Japan really did and does a wonderful job of spreading go throughout the world and it has the guts to really promote it which is a great thing, of course.
I have to say though, and this is not meant as criticism it is just an observation, I got the feeling that the budget available for the WAC has been decreasing through the years. I remember staying at extremely luxurious hotel rooms and playing at a place looking like a palace. Now the accommodations are a bit more down to earth as is the playing venue but in a way it is better for me I think. It is easier to relax this way.
My favorite pro is Otake Hideo. We met years back and have been friends ever since. As a matter of fact 3 days ago I was staying over at his house. I met Mr. Teramoto, Go Seigen's manager and the cute looking pro Tukuda too. I replayed quite a number of Otake's games and I feel that I really could learn a lot from them. I like his style a lot and that too helps, I think.
I thought the winner of this 26th WAGC was going to be Korea. I mean, Korea seems to be the country of the moment, doesn't it? Some years ago China was unbeatable but just when I thought that the Koreans had taken over the WAGC now it looks very much that the Chinese representative is going to win again. He is after all the only player with 6 points and has already beaten Japan, D.P.R. Korea and Taiwan, all very strong go, of course.
Oh, the interview is already over? Well, in that case it is maybe interesting to tell you before you go what I do for a living. I am a Manga and Anime specialist. (Gasp!)
My official title is Product Manager and what I do is check out loads and loads of Manga which the company can move. Talking about Manga 95% is Japanese and that is a reason too why I am happy to be here! Figure 1: 1-20
Event 26th WAGC, round 5
Date 2005 May 26
Place Nagoya, Japan
Black Ben Gale, South Africa
White Cesar Sanchez Munoz, Spain
Commentary Inagaki Yo, 3p
Game record

Figure 1: 1-20
The fuseki looks difficult but is fair enough, the pro didn't have anything to say. Black 13, however, he liked better played one to the left. If white plays as shown in diagram 1 and black defends at two it feels that white has gained a little. Compare for instance diagram 2. Inagaki sensei liked black 1 better than the game move if now white would play 2 and black 3 the exact same situation would arise. However, black will not play at 3 since it is the fuseki and there are bigger points to be had! Even without black the single white stone is too weak to right away try to do something with. Maybe it can escape but that endeavor will not bring in a lot of cash, for sure.
Diagram 2 Diagram 1

Cesar regretted white 20 a lot, after the game he made clear that this move should've been played on space lower. In the game the black pincer combines nicely with the top thickness. Figure 2: 21-71

Figure 2: 21-71
Black 23 is a little slack. Just because the top is strong black would like to see what happens if he plays at a shown in diagram 3. Cesar Sanchez Munoz
Diagram 3

Diagram 3

Black 37 is better played directly at 1 shown in diagram 4. If white 2, black has 15 to aim at and capture white. So, because diagram 4 is good for black white cannot play at 2 but must player slower, at 17 for example.
Diagram 4

Diagram 4

Cesar felt that white 70 was too slow, but played it anyways and it cost him the game. Inagaki sensei needed some time but eventually decided that Cesar's suggestion to play 70 at 1 in diagram 5 was probably best.
Diagram 5

Diagram 5

In the end black won by 5.5 points. It was a good and close game fought over 3 hours and more.

The scoreboard after 6 rounds

6 wins - China
5 wins - Korea, Taiwan, Japan, D.P.R. Korea, USA, Czech Republic and Germany
4 wins - 15 others countries

Some grumbling going as China did not meet Japan and Korea yet. It seems unlikely China'll get to play them both tomorrow during the last two rounds

Copyright © Pieter Mioch May 2005

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