The 43rd World Amateur Go Championship was held in Shenzhen, China, on 14–19 December. The 2023 World Amateur Champion is Kim Jung Seon from South Korea, sweeping the field with a 7-0 scorecard. Chinese player Yang Chukun placed second with 6 wins. Lai Yu-Cheng (Chinese Taipei) came third. Players from 3rd to 11th place all had 5 wins and were separated only by SOS and SOSx tiebreakers. Full results are shown below (click on the image to open a larger version).
The host city’s stated aim is to be a leading hub for Weiqi, simultaneously staging the 3rd GBA Cup Chinese Master Championship in the same impressive venue, the 1990 Bao’an Cultural Center. The Cup is a major pro tournament in China, attracting many professional players who dropped in to observe the amateur games. Winner of the qualifying tournament Yang Kaiwen defeated Defending Champion Ding Hao to take the CN¥500000 first prize.
A notable feature of the amateur event was the youth of some of the players, with 6 of the players under 21 years of age. Yang Chukun is only 14 and is clearly destined for stardom. Sornarra Pongsakarn (Thailand), who took 6th place, is just 16. The youngest player was 10 year old Barcza Bende (Hungary). His fighting style caused problems for all his opponents and netted him four victims.
There were more new faces than usual, players who will be going home freshly inspired and at least one stone stronger.
For all players present and visiting officials, the organisation and hospitality provided was exceptional. The level of support, particularly from the amazing team of volunteers from Bao’an weiqi clubs and universities, was unprecedented: it seemed there were helpful young people in yellow vests on every street corner making sure no-one got lost!
The International Go Federation held its Board and Annual General Meetings under the chairmanship of President Chang Hao. Regrettably missing was Vice President Thomas Hsiang, long a guiding hand for the IGF, who has had to retire for medical reasons; Professor Hsiang will continue to assist the IGF in the role of Counsellor. His position as Vice President will be assumed by Martin Stiassny, President of the European Go Federation. New members countries admitted to the IGF are Kyrgyzstan and the Dominican Republic, bringing the total number of countries to 79. An innovation of particular note was agreement to provide financial assistance for countries outside the ‘3 Powers’ China, Japan and Korea, to host the WAGC — to date only Bangkok and Vladivostok have done so. The intention is to enhance the international status of the IGF, and incidentally to lessen the constant burden on the original three countries as finding sponsorship becomes increasingly difficult.
Next year Japan takes the rotating Presidency of the IGF. The WAGC will be held in Tokyo, on the occasion of the celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the founding of the Nihon Ki-in.
Report by Neville Smythe