The opening ceremony of the 40th World Amateur Go Championship was held today on June 1 in Matsue, Shimane prefecture, Japan.
In the press conference held in the afternoon, Takemiya Masaki of the Japan Go Association stressed how go doesn’t know countries or borders, being a universal game and way of communication for all humankind. Later in the opening ceremony in the evening, various tournament officials and sponsors echoed this notion; 59 players from all over the globe have gathered in one place to play go, and now it is time to get to know people from different cultural backgrounds with at least one common denominator.
Five players were also present at the press conference: the ‘top three’ representatives from Japan, China, and Korea, as well as the French and Chilean players. When asked how they prepared for the tournament, all five modestly said that the think they did not train nearly enough, and that they simply hope to do their best in the tournament. The Chinese and Korean players said they often train with the AI, while the other three players leaned towards the traditional methods of playing with other humans or solving tsumego.
In the opening ceremony, local officials of Matsue city recommended the participants to do sightseeing around the tournament place: the city centre of Matsue city is small and packed with impressive sights such as the Matsue castle (a copy of Matsumoto castle). Additionally, local food and drink was recommended, with the Matsue city being well known for its clean water. Matsue city is located right next to Lake Shinji, one of Japan’s biggest lakes, which is famous for its clams and fish as well as its use in tea water. Finally, the opening ceremony ended in the reenactment of the slaying of Yamata-no-Orochi, an eight-headed dragon in Japanese mythology. The battle supposedly took place near Matsue city, with the slain dragon’s blood causing the local river Hi to run red forevermore.
As of the time of writing, the pairing for the first round is still not known. Stay tuned for more tomorrow!