The first two rounds of the 40th World Amateur Go Championship were played on June 2. Chief referee Takemiya Masaki bade the first round to start at 9:30 on Sunday morning, and 59 players – some first-timers, some veterans of the tournament – started their fight for the world championship.
As the tournament is played on a Swiss system with eight rounds, with all players starting from even ground, some special preparations are made on the first round. Players are divided into phantom upper and lower groups, and the pairings are then done inside the groups, avoiding pairings where a potential winning candidate has to play against a lower-end player. This way, all participants also get more interesting games against players closer to their own level.
The results and pairings of the tournament can be followed here. After the first two rounds that were played on day one, the stage has been set for the players contending for the championship. The favourites for the win, the Japanese, Chinese, Korean, and Chinese Taipei representatives, all have two wins so far, as has also for example the 18-year-old Romanian representative, Ioan Elian Grigoriu 5 dan. The Japanese representative, Kawaguchi Tsubasa, is also impressively young at 16 years of age, but the award for the youngest participant goes to the 13-year old Brunei representative Lim Feng Yang. At the other end of the age spectrum we have the 62-year-old player from Azerbaijan, Bahadur Tahirbayov, with most players falling between in their 20s or 30s.