Despite a good opening, the United States’ Yuan Zhou 7d became the second seeded player to suffer defeat when he lost to 13-year-old Chen Cheng-Hsun 7d (at left) of Taipei in just 152 moves. “I wasn’t prepared to play such a tough player on the first day,” Zhou confided to the E-Journal. “But it’s great to see such strong young players.” When Cheng-Hsun competed in the WAGC in Hangzhou in 2010 he was thinking of going directly from primary school into a professional career. Instead, he took the more normal course of entering middle school, but his playing strength has continued to improve and he would already be serious competition for a lot of professionals.
The game between Nadeem Prem 3d (Brazil) and Leslie Perez 4k (Chile, at right) developed into a contest worth watching, despite the wide disparity in listed rankings. Overcoming the six-stone ranking difference, Perez won handily by 17.5 points to score the tournament’s first win by a woman; her Chinese counterpart, Fang Xiaoyan, the tournament’s only other female player, had already lost her second-round game to Andreas Gotzfried of Luxembourg.
In the Japan-Netherlands game, an early mistake by Mr Nakazono gave Alexander Eerbeek the lead, and he did not seem about to give it back. As the game progressed Mr Nakazono’s expression became increasingly grim, but in the end he managed to kill a large group and Alexander resigned. Japan had had a close call, but had earned the right to face Korea in the next round.
In the Czechia-Germany game, Czechia (Lukas Podepera) launched a fierce attack on a large German group, forcing it to struggle for a minimal life with just two eyes, and kept the pressure up relentlessly until Germany (Benjamin Teuber) resigned. Ten minutes later, Slovenia (Matoh Leon 5d) prevailed over Argentina (Eduardo Lopez Herrero 5d). The winners of these two games will meet in Round 3.
The last game to end, at 4:55, was the one between the North Korean and Hungarian players, Ri Kwang-Hyok (at left) and Pal Balogh. ‘My opponent made a mistake in the opening and I got the lead,’ said Balogh, ‘but I quickly matched him with a mistake of my own. After that I think I was still ahead, but I gave him a chance to attack and he took it.’ Balogh persevered to the end but lost by 9.5 points. Ri Kwang-Hyok, a veteran of the 2010 Asian games, is another player who would be serious competition for many professionals. Although Balogh looked shaken, his final comment was, ‘I feel happy with the way I played.’
- adapted from James Davies’ report on Ranka Online; click here for latest results; Click here for online game records for the following Round 1 games: Finland-UK; Hungary-DPRKorea (Commentary by So Yokoku 8P; Taipei-US (Commentary by So Yokoku 8P); photos by John Pinkerton