The online adjunct to the upcoming SportAccord World Mind Games attracted 688 go players from 48 countries, ranging from Argentina to Zimbabwe. More than half were from Japan, which produced last year's online winner, but this year the recipient of a free trip to Beijing is Chinese: Sun Naijing, who hails from Hefei in Anhui Province.
Mr Sun started playing go at age nine and kept it up through university studies and subsequent employment. 'Go never leaves me,' he says. In a go career spanning nearly four decades he has won numerous provincial amateur tournaments in Anhui and has thrice finished among the top ten in the massive Evening News Cup, China's premier amateur event. In 1996 he defeated Chen Linxin (9p) in the pro-amateur part of that event. 'I learn a lot by playing go,' Mr Sun adds. 'I like it.'
Mr Sun will join winners of similar online tournmants in bridge, chess, draughts, and xiangqi in observing the world's best players in action in Beijing next month.