2012 WAGC Report

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The world amateur go championship was held this year from 12th to 18th May in the city of Guangzhou, in the south of China.
I was the Belgian representative, among 55 represented countries. This is lower than in the Korean prime minister cup, due to the fact that the flight ticket has to be paid by the participants themselves or by local federations. Therefore, there were about 25 players less than in the kpmc, and the level was also much higher (as the missing players were from smaller federations, i.e. with a lower level). The pairing system was a Chinese special pairing, close to the Swiss one. The rules were IGF rules, with 6.5 points komi. As there was an odd number of countries, China was allowed to have one more participant, and chose a local 3rd dan player (who had quite bad results)
The participants arrived on the 11th of May, welcomed by a very hot temperature (around 30 degrees the whole week), and a quite humid weather. We were offered accommodation in a luxurious five-star hotel in the center of the city, the Bai Yun hotel, named after the mountain next to Guanzhou
On the 12th we had the morning to take some rest. During the afternoon, the drawing of the contestant numbers took place. This is very important as in the Chinese pairings people tend to play with players having numbers close to them. America, Korea, China France had number 1, 16, 31 and 46 to avoid playing with each other too fast, as they were the 4 best countries in each other’s contest. As for me, I picked the number 42. After the drawing, there was the IGF meeting, with the presentation of the countries, a report on the igf tournaments and activity, and the application of new igf members. On the evening we attended the opening ceremony, with a banquet and speech from town members and Igf important members.
The 13th was the first day of the contest. I played against the Canadian 6th dan in the morning, and lost only by very few, then against the Bulgarian 3Q in the afternoon, and won. That day the North Korea player played against the second China player and won. On paper, it seemed to be already a crucial game, but in fact the second Chinese player was not a top one, and Nord Korea won easily.
The 14th was the second competition day. I started against the Mexican player and won, and then lost against the English player. The first interesting game of the day was Japan-South Korea, won by Korea. In the afternoon, there was the USA-Japan game. The Japanese player was ahead on the board, however when he pushed on the clock, it didn’t work and unfortunately he fell out of time. After calling the referee, they discussed, and the victory of the American player was eventually announced. The Japanese player won all his games after that one, however 6/8 wasn’t enough, and he never came back in the run for the title.
The 15th was the third day of competition. I started against the Norwegian 4th dan, and won. I was quite happy to be at 3/5, since I aimed at 4/8. In the afternoon I competed against the Slovenian 5th dan, and lost after a very intense fighting game. In the 5th round there was the game North Korea-South Korea, which ended with a South Korea victory. In the next game, South Korea met China, which was the most important game of the competition. After a very hard game, the Chinese player won by 2.5 points. He was then alone with only wins.
The 16th, I was first paired with the Bosnia-Herzegovine player, who was 2nd dan (but won against a 4d the game before). He played very well, and managed to win. In the last game I was paired with the Argentine player, 5th dan. Again the game was close, but I lost. At the end I finished with only 3/8. There was no big surprise in the last day: China continued winning all his games, Korea too. The best European players were Pal Balogh and Yuri kuronen, with 6/8, ranked 6 and 7. Yuri played against the American player on the last round, and he tried to force the win, saying that Yuri had played a move and took it back, which wasn’t the case since he didn’t actually release the stone. This time, however, the referee said that it wasn’t a fault. Yuri won against USA by 9.5 points. In the evening, we attended the closing ceremony, with the price giving.
On the 17th, we had the first a cultural meeting in the morning, where we played with local go players. We had some free time in the afternoon. Some went to visit temples, others went to the hotel swimming pool. In the evening we did a cruise on the pearl river, which is the river crossing the town. It was really nice, as we saw all the big buildings of the city lightened in the dark.
Finally, we left on the 18th.
This competition was really enjoyable. Meeting so many players from other countries was just awesome. I wish good luck for the Belgian player in 2013.

François Gonze