The opening party for the second Globis Cup was held at the Globis University in Kojimachi, Tokyo on Thursday, May 7. The university consists of a graduate school in business and offers an MBA, which must make it unique among sponsors of professional go tournaments. It is located just a few blocks from the Nihon Ki-in in Ichigaya, a seven- or eight-minute walk up the hill toward Kojimachi; very convenient for the Nihon Ki-in players and staff attending.
The party started with some energetic wadaiko or Japanese drumming. The sound could have filled a stadium, so it was overwhelming in the reception hall. In his welcome speech, Hori Yoshito, the President of Globis University, welcomed the participants from around the world and reaffirmed his intention of keeping the tournament going for 30 years. After a speech by Wada Norio, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Nihon Ki-in, and a toast, the pairings were carried out and the players were interviewed on the stage, each one introduced by a drum roll.
The pairings placed the 16 players in four groups. They will play two or possibly three games with each other. When you win two games, you qualify for the next round, and when you lose two you are eliminated. That means you could advance with a 2-0 or 2-1 score. The players drew lots to decide not only their group but also their places in the group. The four groups are listed below; note that in the first game on Friday, the first-mentioned player plays the second and the third one plays the fourth. Also, in this round players from the same country are not matched against each other. (For the Korean names, I’m following the spelling in the official program, which may be a little different from my previous report.)
Group A) Ichiriki Ryo (Japan), Huang Yunsong (China); Yo Seiki (Japan), Lin Junyan (Chinese Taipei)
Group B) Fujimura Yosuke (Japan), Lee Donghun (Korea); Yang Dingxin (China), Pavol Lisy (Europe)
Group C) Motoki Katsuya (Japan), Li Qincheng (China); Shin Jin Seo (Korea), Lionel Zhang (USA)
Group D) Sada Atsushi (Japan), Na Hyun (Korea); Koyama Kuya (Japan), Krit Jamkachornkiat (Thailand).
In their speeches on the stage, the players all kept it quite brief, expressing their gratitude to the sponsor and/or saying they would try to play their best. Only one player came right out and said what the others were probably thinking. Na Hyun declared that he would make up for his bad performance last year [he lost to Ichiriki in the quarterfinal] and do his best to reach the final, which he would win.
There was a stir in the audience when Ichiriki and Yo ended up in the same group. Japanese fans would like to see this pairing in the final, so they will be hoping that they can both get through. If I understand the pairing system correctly, they won’t be paired in the second game in the opening round, but would have to be in a third game if they were both on 1-1. Incidentally, when I had a chance to speak to Mr. Hori, he expressed his appreciation of the coverage in the E-Journal. A number of other guests at the party were also subscribers.