American Go E-Journal

HANDICAPPING THE WAGC

Tuesday May 25, 2010

Sixty players from 60 countries and regions. Eight rounds over four days. For 31 years, the World Amateur Go Championships (WAGC) have assembled a global gathering of top amateurs to compete, meet and spread the game of go around the world. This year’s WAGC is being held this week in Hangzou, China, organized by the China Qiyuan, the Chinese agency responsible for board and card games, under the supervision of the International Go Federation, and co-organized by the Hangzhou Branch of the China Qi-Yuan (Chinese Go Association). After arriving on Monday and participating in the IGF General Meeting and opening ceremonies on Tuesday, the tournament proper commences on Wednesday morning. This year, DPR Korea, playing in the WAGC for the first time since 2006, joins China and the Republic of Korea as top contenders for the title. China’s Chen Wang is just 17 years old but won the Chinese Evening News Cup. Taewon Jo of DPR Korea, a veteran at age 21, won the individual amateur event in the World Mind Sports Games in 2008. And Hongsuk Song, a year older at 22, has been doing well in the Republic of Korea, winning the international Korean Prime Minister’s Cup last October and more recently taking the amateur Kuksoo title and the Korean Sports Cup. Two more 17-year-olds who bear watching are Nai San Chan of Hong Kong, China, and Thomas Debarre of France, who finished third and eighth, respectively, in the World Amateur Go Championship last year. Also hoping to place in the top eight are newcomers Cheng-hsun Chen (age 11, at left) of Chinese Taipei and Yohei Sato (29) of Japan, but they will be vying with a group of twenty other players ranked 5 dan and above, including established stars such as Ondrej Silt (23) of Czechia.
- Based on James Davies’ report on Ranka Online; photo (top right): panel in front of the WAGC playing site with signatures of the players (photo by Ivan Vigano); photo of Cheng-hsun Chen by John Pinkerton

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