11th International Amateur Pair Go Championship

Photo Album

Pair Go Results

The 11th International Amateur Pair Go Championships saw Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cuba and Columbia there for the first time. As usual 32 teams from 22 countries took part. On the Friday evening a friendship match was held with local guests, including a few professionals. The overseas players were expected to wear National Costume. Highlights were: Rob Kok's too short trousers and lack of big enough clogs, Cuba and Columbia's cigars, East Europe's pretty skirts and hats, and Germany's 18 th century costumes.

Round 1 of the main competition took place on Saturday night. Some all-Western matches meant some Western teams would be unbeaten at the start of the Sunday. France (Marie-Claire Chaine and Farid Ben Malek) beat Germany (Ursula Harbrecht and Jens Vygens), Bosnia (Visnjica and Dragan Barisic) beat Cuba and USA (Gina Shi and Joey Hung - the youngest pairing) beat Thailand. Austria (Sieglinde Gruber and Helmut Wiltschek - the longest playing pairing at 76 years) beat Canada (Yimei Cao and Zhiqi Yu). China (Xi and Yang) beat Hungary (Diana Koszegi and Gabor Szabics), who were expected to do well, despite a game involving several move order errors. The Russians (Natalia Kovaleva playing with her school teacher Evgueni Panioukov) narrowly lost to a Japanese pair. Last year's winners from Japan, Taka Bungo and Goto Naoko, lost a very tense game against another Japanese pair, the Hiraokas.

Sunday's round 2 saw France and Bosnia lose to Japanese, Austria to Koreans and USA to China. The Germans, in their 18th Century dress after making the pledge, beat a Japanese pair. Netherlands (Renee Frehe and Rob Kok) beat Russia by 3.5. Round 3 saw the Latin American clash when Columbia (Giovanna Puerta and Jorge Sanz) beat Cuba (Ivonne Diaz and Rafael Torres). France beat Austria, Poland (Aleksandra and Jan Lubos) beat Germany, Croatia (Jasmina and her father Zoran Mutabzija) beat Canada, the Netherlands lost to Chinese Taipei (Chen and Yu) in a controversial game and China lost to Japan Hokkaido, Sato Momoko and Shimohashi Koichi.

Round 4 saw Austria beat Germany and Poland beat Croatia. The semi-final games saw Bae and Lim of Korea beat Sato and Shimohashi and Kwon and Rim of DPR Korea beat the Hiraokas. The final round was round 5. France did to Netherlands what they did to UK last year and beat them to score 3/5. Germany beat Thailand to score a second win only and Croatia failed to get third win losing to a Japan pair by 3.5. Poland lost to the Hiraokas to end on 3 and Hungary ended on three beating the Kanais from Japan. The final game was played in a closed room with a public commentary in Japanese. It was won by DPR Korea. Kwon Mi-Hyon and Rim Hyon-Chol, both students, took the title to the north of Korea for the first time.

So first was DPR Korea, then five teams on 4/5: 2nd the Hiraokas (Japan), 3rd Sato/Shimohashi (Japan), fourth Korea, fifth Chinese Taipei and sixth Goto/Taga (Japan), sorted by SOS. France were 13th, Poland 14th and Hungary 16th.

224 Japanese pairs took part in the A, B and handicap C groups of the Araki Cup. This was played alongside the IAPGC on the Sunday. Also 12 pairs in the beginners group, mostly in their 20s and 30s from a local club, played on 13x13. The crowds were further swelled by spectators (from as far away as the UK), reporters and cameramen, officials and some famous professionals. Ishida, Ogawa, Umezawa, Rin, Takemiya and Redmond were all present. With such a large number of people it was no surprise the food soon ran out at the closing party. For the overseas players, however, the last event was the lunch meeting with Mrs Taki where news and views on Pair Go around the world were exchanged. Finally some souvenir presents were handed out, thanks to the sponsors and organisers, and the players went away with happy memories of one of the top events of the international Go calendar.

Tony Atkins