American Go E-Journal

SportAccord World Mind Games Set for Dec. 12-19 in Beijing

Sunday November 18, 2012

The second SportAccord World Mind Games (SWMG) will be held December 12-19 in Beijing, China. The multi-sport event is intended to highlight the value of mind sports and features five games: bridge, chess, draughts (checkers), go and xiangqi (Chinese Chess). Coverage will be provided on the SWMG website, Ranka Online and in the E-Journal.

The SWMG go tournament is held under the auspices of the International Go Federation (IGF), and 28 players — 16 men and 12 women — will participate. The competition format includes Men’s Individual and Women’s Individual events and a Pair Go event. The Individual events feature a double elimination in seven rounds, a time limit for each side of 1 hour, with three 30-second byo-yomi periods. Eight pairs will compete in the Pair Go event, a single elimination with two rounds each day and three rounds in total. The time limit is 1 hour each side, with three 30 second byo-yomi periods.

The surprise this year is that nearly 80% of the field is new: the only returnees from last year are Li He (China), Choi Chulhan and Park Jeonghwan (Korea), Mukai Chiaki (Japan), Joanne Missingham (Taipei), and Vanessa Wong (Great Britain). This reflects the astounding rate at which young players have been rising to the top all over the world during the past year or so. Nearly one-third of the contestants are under 20, and all but five of the rest are under 30.

In the Asian zone, China used its internal rating system to select its two best women and two best men, and added LG Cup-winner and world meijin Jiang Weijie as its third man. Korea and Chinese Taipei held qualifying tournaments in which young players did conspicuously well. Japan followed their lead by entering five of its best young players. In the European zone, three men selected in a special qualifier held in Lille in August are joined by the top three finishers in the recent European Women’s Championship. In the North American zone, two young Canadians — Tianyu Lin and Irene Sha — won the men’s and women’s qualifiers, shutting out the United States. Only in South America was youth denied: Argentina’s famed veteran Fernando Aguilar rebuffed five rivals from Argentina, Mexico, and Chile to become the first South American go player to compete in the SportAccord World Mind Games.

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