From October 10th to 14th, Sao Paolo, Brazil was the host city of the 3rd Latin American Go Congress. The venue was Brazil’s Nihon Ki-in building which was founded by Iwamoto Kaoru 30 years ago. The atmosphere was very cozy and participants had the chance to play in a variety of events such as:
- The traditional 21st Ibero American Go Championship
- Final match of the 3rd Pandanet Latin American Team Championship
- 4th Latin American Pair Go Championship
- 3rd Latin American Youth Championship
The four-day event also came along with four professional players’ participation: Cho Hyeyeon 9p from Korea, Feng Yun 9p from USA, Mateusz Surma 2p from Poland and Zhao Yuhong 5p from China. It’s worth mentioning that this is the first time that a Chinese pro comes to a Latin American country.
On Thursday, October 10th, a welcome dinner was celebrated, hosted by Celso Scaff, Brazil Nihon Ki-in advisor. Traditional Brazilian music was played and this was the first chance for the players to meet and greet each other. Players from Mexico, Chile, Colombia, Uruguay, Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Japan, and of course Brazil were found.
On Friday the 11th the matches began. The first two rounds of the Ibero American Go Championship were played with a lunch break in between. After each round, very interesting game commentaries were given by the pro players. Later on, simultaneous games were arranged so that each professional would play five games.
On the morning of Saturday the 12th, the final match of the Pandanet Latin American Team Championship took place. The top two teams in the League, Colombia and Mexico, were facing each other. The team for Colombia was Felipe Burgos, Fernando Manrique, and Brandal Henao; and for Mexico, Abraham Florencia, Emil Garcia, and Sebastian Rios. The match went 3-0 for Mexico which makes them the champion for the third time in a row. After the match, Mateuz Surma 2p reviewed the first-board game between Abraham and Felipe for everybody.
Afterwards, another twp rounds of the Ibero Championship took place on the same scheme as the day before. In the evening, what has by now become a Latin American Go Congress tradition took place: Crazy Go, run by Terry Benson. Several kinds of boards and variations were on display, through which contestants could enjoy go in a relaxed and playful atmosphere. Afterwards, pro players and contestants got the chance to enjoy an exquisite Brazilian spades dinner buffet and toast for the beautiful job done by the Brazilian Go Association.
On the morning of Sunday the 13th, the 4th Latin American Pair Go Championship was played among seven couples of different nationalities. After three rounds there was only one undefeated pair, Cho Hyeyeon 9p and Theo Oliveira 12k. Even though their level difference was really big, they accomplished an almost flawless gameplay, so claiming the title.
Later on, the last two Ibero Championship rounds were played. On the fifth round, the top board match between Argentina’s Fernando Aguilar and Mexico’s defending champion Abraham Florencia brought together some of the best go in Latin America. It was a tense match in which Mexico´s Abraham Florencia managed to prevail. You can watch a video broadcast of the match here.
On the sixth and final round only two players remained undefeated, Abraham Florencia 5d and Yuichiro Shimawaki 7d from Japan, who had defeated Brazilian Wang Seng Feng on the previous round. The final game was highly attractive and many of the contestants who had already finished their games gathered to watch the live broadcast made on the Brazil Nihon Ki-in twitch channel. You may watch the video here. In the end, the Japanese player Yuichiro Shimawaki ended up as the reigning champion. You may view the final standings of the Championship through this link.
Rounding up, the congress turned out to be a fantastic experience on which the effort of Brazilian organisers such as Felipe Van Riemsdijk and Thiago Augusto among others is something worth to acknowledge. The next Latin American Go Congress in 2020 will take place in Buenos Aires, Argentina, so stay tuned for new updates!
Report by Emil García