10th International Amateur Pair Go Championship

12th - 15th November 1999, Tokyo

Pair Go Results

The International Amateur Pair Go Championship has celebrated the completion of its first decade by holding the biggest and most enjoyable Pair Go tournament so far. This year the tournament moved from its customary venue of the Edmont Hotel in Iidabashi, Tokyo, to the much larger Metropolitan Hotel at Ikebukuro to accommodate the large numbers of go fans who want to take part. As a special event to commemorate the 10th anniversary, a goodwill pair go match was held on November 12. Participants were the 64 players competing in the Main Tournament plus 36 other players. Players did not play with their regular partners but drew lots for partners. Among the participants were Korea's and the world's number one, Lee Chang-ho 9-dan, and China's number one, Chang Hao 9-dan, and two of Japan's top players, Kobayashi Satoru 9-dan and Ryu Shikun 7-dan, together with a number of Japanese women professionals, including Kobayashi Chizu, Hosaka Mayu, Nakazawa Ayako, Okada Yumiko, Osawa Narumi, and Kato Keiko. Some lucky amateurs drew these players as partners (professionals were not paired on the same team) and some unlucky ones were paired against them. Not really unlucky, though: how many amateurs get a chance to play Lee Chang-ho in an even game? This unique event was a lot of fun, judging by the smiling faces of the players. On the 13th, the first round of the main tournament was played. In a major and much-appreciated innovation, the Main Tournament has been changed to a Swiss system, so all the teams got to play in all five rounds of the Main Tournament. The remaining four rounds of the Main Tournament were played on the 14th, together with the three blocks of the Araki Cup pair go handicap tournament (a four-round Swiss). A total of 432 players in 216 teams participated in the Araki Cup, which surely makes it the largest-scale pair-go tournament ever. Despite the enormous numbers, the computer handling the pairings worked very efficiently and there were no delays in starting rounds. This year there were teams from 21 overseas countries and 11 teams representing different areas of Japan competing in the Main Tournament. Five countries were making their debut: Yugoslavia, Belgium, Chile, Malaysia, and Israel. The winner of the Main Tournament was the Kinki (central Honshu, including Osaka, Nara and Kyoto) area team of Goto Naoko and Taga Bungo, which scored 5-0. The decisive game came in the final round, in which they bested the only other undefeated team, Tanaka Yumiko and Komori Shoji, who represented Kyushu.

The top placings:

  1. Goto/Taga (Kinki, Japan)
  2. Tanaka/Komori (Kyushu, Japan)
  3. Kim Se-young, Kang Shin-young (Korea)
  4. Hiraoka Yuriko, Hiraoka Satoshi (Kanto Koshin-etsu, Japan)
  5. Takanashi Shoko, Nagai Masayoshi (Tokai Hokuriku, Japan)
  6. Shen Manrong, Du Weixin (China)
  7. Nakayama Chihoko, Iizuka Atsushi (Chugoku, Japan)
  8. Iwasaki Mutsumi, Iwasaki Yuichi (Kanto Koshin-etsu, Japan)

The tournament concluded with the usual lavish prizes at the party after the Awards Ceremony.

(Nihon Kiin report)

The tenth anniversary of the International Amateur Go Championships was celebrated by a change in format and a special friendship match. Gone was the special handicap group that countries played in if they lost in round 1 and in was a five round Swiss system that was welcomed by the participants. The special guests who formerly played in the special group either played in the main Araki Cup event or took part in the friendship match. The format of the match was a surprise on the day. Partners and opponents were drawn at random. I played with a go reporter in a very beautiful pink kimono against the girl from Thailand and a former Amateur Honinbo. This gave interesting games to many, as among the special guests were several professionals such as Kobayashi Chizu, Inori Yoko, Kobayashi Satoru and Ryu Shikun. Flown in specially were top Chinese player Chang Hao and top Korean player Lee Chang-ho, though it was not clear whether the latter was really enjoying the event like the rest of the players. The downside of splitting up the teams was that there was no chance to appreciate the National Dress (the British in pin-striped business wear), apart from as individuals. However it was the Czechs who made the most impression as they were selected to make the promise at the opening ceremony, still in their costumes. The man from Chile and the Russian girl also looked very good. After the game there was a chance to chat to the other players and the pros at the welcome party.

The following day saw round 1 of the tournament proper. 21 over seas teams joined 11 Japanese teams this time. Chile, Malaysia, Israel, Belgium and Yugoslavia were there for the first time, together with a selection of the other go playing countries. Gone was the need for a good draw in round one because of the system change, however drawing a Japanese side always meant you got off to a bad start. The UK nearly beat Taiwan and the Russians with young Dina Burdakova and Alexei Lazarev and also the USA team of youngsters James Chien and Louisa Chan got off to a good start.

The Sunday was the main day for the event and the day when 432 players turned up to play in the prestigious Araki Cup. As well as the three normal sections there was an extra section for beginners playing on 13x13 boards. As the event grows every year it has had to leave its traditional venue of the Edmont Hotel in Iidabashi and this time moved further out of town to the larger Hotel Metropolitan in Ikebukuro district. From the restaurant on the 25th floor a panoramic view of Tokyo and distant mountains could be seen and there were good facilities including the large ballroom where most play took part. Four rounds of Pair Go is very hard work if you are normally used to three and the Araki Cup time limits were slightly shorter meaning the room got very busy towards the end of the rounds. Also you had to be very carefully about how you placed your stones as you never knew whether the person standing behind you was a pro or was a man holding a very large television camera! The game to decide the championship was played in a separate room and a lecture hall was packed to hear the public commentary. The winners were from Osaka: Goto Naoko (wife of the professional) and Taga Bungo. They beat the Japanese pair from Kyushu, Tanaka Yumiko and Komori Shoji. Korea were allowed third and China sixth but otherwise the top 10 were all Japanese. Taiwan was 11, USA 12 and top Europeans were Monika Reimpell and Frans-Joseph Dickhut from Germany at 13. 14 was North Korea, 15 New Zealand, 16 Astrid Gaultier and Gilles Zemor from France (who beat UK in round 5) and 17 Russia. The other European teams were 22 Poland, 23 Czech, 24 UK, 25 Romania, 26 Belgium, 28 Yugoslavia.

The other hotly contested competition is of course that for the best dressed pair. Yugoslavia’s Slavica Stankovic and Dragan Mitic took a prize here, whereas Alison Jones and Tony Atkins were handicapped by the fact the wrong photo was placed on the finals board and by not acquiring a buttonhole flower until after Mrs Taki and Ms Ogawa had done their judging (though we are sure they got top marks from Umezawa Yukari). After the long prize giving ceremony, including a speech by the Israeli Ambassador, there was a minor banquet and then the infamous raffle, bringing an end to a tiring but very enjoyable day.

The final events for the overseas players was an introduction to IGS on Panda Net, which is run by the Pair Go organisation, and a lunch where Mrs Taki was able to hear the latest pair go news, such as the announcement of the first International Open Pair Go Championships to be held at the Mind Sports Olympiad in London next year: an event worth attending no doubt.

(Tony Atkins report)