World Amateur Go Championship 2007

Quick links: Results Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Round 6 Round 7 Round 8

China won the tournament with a perfect score: 8-0

Shan Ziteng photoShan Ziteng, 13 - China

Best 10 places:

The 28th WAGC (World Amateur Go Championship) took place in Japan, between 28th and 31st May 2007.

WAGC is a major event in the amateur Go world: there is one representative from each Go playing country affiliated with IGF (International Go Federation) that is invited annually to this great Go event. Each participant's travel and accommodation expenses are fully paid.

There are 68 countries represented this year - the number seems to increase from year to year, thanks to the IGF efforts to promote Go worldwide. One notable absence this year is North Korea.

What I found great about WAGC (I represented Romania 3 times: in 1990, 1992 and 1999) is the fact that there are several professional players around all the time, and one can be sure to get a professional to comment on the games after each round.

According to AGA webpage, the legendary Go Seigen Sensei, 92 years old, attended the opening ceremony this year!

Time limits

Each player has 1 hour and 30 minutes basic thinking time, followed by 10 minutes for each 15 moves.

It is interesting to know when did the byo-yomi switch from Japanese style (it used to be 1 minute per move) to Canadian style.

Tournament history

The tournament history so far tells us that the only countries that have ever won are Japan, China, Korea and Hong Kong:

It is at first surprising to see the modest number of times that Korea won, given their dominant position in the international professional tournaments in the past 15 years or so. Actually it makes sense, since I believe that people started to get much more interested in Go in Korea after the first good international results of Cho Hunhyun, so if we only look at the past 15 years' tournaments, the results are closer:

Who's going to win?

There is no way to tell, but it's pretty sure to be one of Japan, China or Korea, of course.

Mori Hironobu photoMori Hironobu, 32 - Japan
Shan Ziteng photoShan Ziteng, 13 - China
Dong-Ha Woo photoDong-Ha Woo, 20 - South Korea

The more interesting question is what non-Asian countries are going to be in the top 8. There are several players that I consider favorites from that perspective:

Round 1

The first round is the least interesting one, normally: since the tournament follows a Swiss system, strong players are not matched together in the first rounds.

The top three Asian countries won their games. US won against UK - both of the the US player's games so far were relayed on KGS, under the USGO1 user.

Only one surprise: Victor Chow of South Africa, which is apparently a very strong internet Go player (he plays under the username "RoseDuke" and he eliminated 2 professional players in online games in the First Pandanet Open Internet World Rapid Championship, 2005) lost in the first round to Erik Ouchterlony from Sweden, the creator of the popular turn-based Dragon Go Server.

Round 2

After this second round there are only 17 players with 2 wins. There was no big clash this round, the winners were the ones one would normally expect. There was only one match between strong European countries with I imagine could have gone either way: Benjamin Teuber of Germany, ex-insei in Japan, defeated Lionel Fischer of France.

Round 3

No surprises: China won against Hong-Kong, Japan won against Hungary, Korea won against Singapore, Taiwan won against Russia.

US won against Netherlands (which is one of the strongest countries in Europe).

There are 9 countries with a perfect score so far.

China vs. Hong-Kong

(direct download)

Round 4

Bad news for non-Asian Go world: the only players with 4 wins out of 4 games are: China, Korea, Japan, and Taiwan.

There were several interesting pairings this round:

Also, Andy Liu of US, as the top placed player after 3 rounds (considering SOS and SOSOS) was matched against the bottom player with 2 wins - which happened to be Victor "Roseduke" Chow of South Africa - only to lose by half a point after 379 (!) moves. All the games of the US representative can be found in the news section of the AGA webpage.

Romania vs. Korea

Cristian Pop of Romania lost against Korea by resignation.

Here is the game record with Cristian's comments.

(direct download)

Czech Republic vs. Japan

Very interesting exchange too part early on in this game, after Ondrej started an early ko fight. Then another big exchange took part in the late yose, around move 208, but that one didn't change the winner. White won by 7.5 points.

Here is the game, with commentaries by Alexander Dinerchtein


(direct download)

Round 5

Korea defeated Japan, and China defeated Taiwan. So next round we'll see the match between China and Korea, which will most likely decide the winner of this world championship.

Besides China and Korea with a 5-0 score, there are 11 players with 4-1: Canada, USA, Romania, Taiwan, Japan, Poland, Netherlands, Germany, Singapore, Russia and South Africa.

One of my original favorites, Fernando Aguilar, has 3-2 (after loses to Taiwan in round 4 and Germany in round 5).

Japan vs. Korea

(direct download)

China vs. Taiwan

(direct download)

Round 6

Ziteng Shan of China won against Dong-Ha Woo of Korea and became the only player with a perfect score after 6 rounds.

Mori Hironobu (Japan) won against Benjamin Teuber (ex-insei from Germany). It was officially a win on time, but a huge group of Benjamin's looked dead anyways.

Some other results among the rest of the group of players on 4-1 after round 5:

China vs. Korea

(direct download)

Japan vs. Germany

The German player had a territorial lead with White, but Black took advantage of some weakness (and maybe time shortage too) and attacked and killed a huge group during what looked otherwise like early yose.

(direct download)

Romania vs. South Africa

Victor Chow's unusual opening moves weren't that effective against Cristian Pop's calm moves.

Here is the game, with commentaries by Alexander Dinerchtein


(direct download)

Round 7

China defeated Netherlands and leads undefeated: 7-0.

Three countries follow with 6-1: Korea (defeated Canada), Japan (defeated Taiwan) and Romania (defeated Russia).

There are 12 countries with a 5-2 score: Taiwan, US, Canada, Czech Republic, Russia, Netherlands, South Africa, Singapore, New Zeeland, Argentina, UK, Denmark.

China plays Romania in the next round; Korea plays Denmark, and Japan plays UK.

China vs. Netherlands

Nice tesuji-looking move by Netherlands at move 111 - but he was just looking for a place to resign, I think, because it didn't work.

Here is the game, with commentaries by Alexander Dinerchtein


(direct download)

Japan vs. Taiwan

(direct download)

Round 8

China defeated Romania in this last round and won the championship with a perfect score: 8-0. What's the secret behind 13 years old Ziteng Shan? Something to do with the number 13, apparently: he studies Go 13 hours a day.

Korea defeated Denmark and finished second with 7-1. One point behind the promise he made in the press conference before the game, when Dong-Ha Woo reportedly declared: "I came here to win all my games". This one point may make a lot of difference for Dong-Ha Woo, since he had to stop being an insei (because of age limit) and winning the WAGC would have been another way to qualify as a professional in Korea.

Japan won against UK, and made 7-1, but because he played with opponents that made less points in the end, Mori Hironobu was placed 3rd. This was some strange pairing system, since Japan was never paired against China - maybe the organizers should consider adding one more round in the future, since there are so many countries now.

I am very proud of my countryman's result: Cristian Pop of Romania placed 4th, leading the 6 players group with 6-2 score. Cristian only lost to China and Korea.

Taiwan followed closely, tied with Romania at SOS (sum of opponents' scores), but with a lesser SODOS (sum of defeated opponents' scores).

What about the other non-Asian favorites that I mentioned before the beginning of this tournament? Fernando Aguilar of Argentina placed 18th with 5-3 due to losses to Taiwan, Germany and US. Andy Liu of US placed 8th with 6-2, he only lost to South Africa and Russia.

About ex-insei results: besides Cristian Pop which I already mentioned, Ondrej Silt of Czech Republic placed 9th with 6-2 (only lost to Japan and South Africa), and Benjamin Teuber of Germany placed 15th with 5-3 (lost to Canada, Japan - after a game where he looked like having good chances - and UK).

China vs. Romania

Cristian commented only on move 82 - his losing move.

(direct download)


The official tournament page



Interview with the Japanese representative, Mori Hironobu, by Pieter Mioch

Interview with the Romanian representative, Cristian Pop

Very nice series of articles about the previous, 27th WAGC, by Pieter Mioch