The field is set for the 2nd SportAccord World Mind Games, to be held in Beijing in mid-December. Sixteen men and twelve women representing the best of Asia, Europe, and the Americas have been selected to participate. Men and women will compete separately on an individual basis, instead of as teams and pairs.
The surprise is that nearly 80% of the field is new: the only returnees from last year are Li He (China), Choi Chulhan and Park Jeonghwan (Korea), Mukai Chiaki (Japan), Joanne Missingham (Taipei), and Vanessa Wong (Great Britain). This reflects the astounding rate at which young players have been rising to the top all over the world during the past year or so. Nearly one-third of the contestants are under 20, and all but five of the rest are under 30.
In the Asian zone, China used its internal rating system to select its two best women and two best men, and added LG Cup-winner and world meijin Jiang Weijie as its third man. Korea and Chinese Taipei held qualifying tournaments in which young players did conspicuously well. Japan followed their lead by entering five of its best young players. In the European zone, three men selected in a special qualifier held in Lille in August are joined by the top three finishers in the recent European Women’s Championship. In the North American zone, two young Canadians won the men’s and women’s qualifiers, shutting out the United States. Only in South America was youth denied: Argentina’s famed veteran Fernando Aguilar rebuffed five rivals from Argentina, Mexico, and Chile to become the first South American go player to compete in the SportAccord World Mind Games.
List of contestants Men China: Chen Yaoye, Jiang Weijie, Tuo Jiaxi Korea: Choi Chulhan, Kang Dongyoon, Park Jeonghwan Japan: Fujita Akihiko, Murakawa Daisuke, Uchida Shuhei Taipei: Lin Chi-han, Lin Chun-yen Canada: Tianyu (Bill) Lin Czechia: Jan Hora Hungary: Csaba Mero Russia: Ilya Shikshin Argentina: Fernando Aguilar Women China: Li He, Rui Naiwei Korea: Choi Jeong, Park Jieun Japan: Mukai Chiaki, Okuda Aya Taipei: Joanne Missingham (Hei Jia-jia), Su Sheng-fang Canada: Irene Sha Great Britain: Vanessa (Lok Ying) Wong Hungary: Rita Pocsai Russia: Natalia Kovaleva