American Go E-Journal

Eric Lui on the 2011 World Amateur Go Championship

Monday June 13, 2011

U.S. representative Eric Lui 7d placed third in the 2011 World Amateur Go Championship, the highest finish ever achieved by a U.S. player. Eric sent along this report on the tournament, as well as the exciting final-round game — with his comments — that clinched the 3rd-place win.
This year’s World Amateur Go Championship featured 57 players. The Japanese representative was 84-year-old Hirata Hironori who was playing in the WAGC for his eighth time, having won the tournament in 1995. The youngest player was 13-year-old C.H. Chan from Hong Kong, who is already well-known on KGS. The tournament venue was the Shimane Prefectural Assembly Hall, located right across from Matsue Castle, one of the last remaining medieval castles in Japan. Shimane is the birthplace of the great Honinbo Dosaku and Iwamoto Kaoru 9P.

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The pairing system used prevented the top four seeded players (China, Korea, Japan, Chinese Taipei) from being paired together before Round 4. Several exciting matchups, including Romania vs. France and Chinese Taipei vs. Canada, occurred as early as Round 2. Since there were an odd number of players, a ‘Dummy’ player was introduced. Each round, the one player paired against ‘Dummy’ gained a free win and played a teaching game against a professional.

The stakes were high in my final-round match against the player from Chinese Taipei. Both of us had lost only to China and Korea, and the winner would finish in third place while the loser would drop to 8th. The game itself was very exciting and was the last of the round to finish. While any go player is familiar with the thrill of winning, there are no words to describe what it felt like for me to achieve this victory.
- Eric Lui (shown at right in photo, playing John Karlsson of Sweden)
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