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Kim Youwhan wins World Students Oza

Kim Youwhan, World Students Oza champion (Photo: Morimoto Yoshitaka)Kim Youwhan, World Students Oza champion (Photo: Morimoto Yoshitaka)Sixteen university students from five continents assembled in Tokyo's Ginza on February 26 and 27 for the 11th World Students Go Oza Championship. The tournament is sponsored by the All-Japan Students Go Association and the Nikkei newspaper, with the cooperation of the International Go Federation. Also cooperating was Pandanet, which organized the online qualifying tournament.

The first round matched the eight players from the four big powers, China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan (one male and one female player from each), against eight players from Australia, Chile, Finland, Romania, Serbia, Singapore, Thailand, and the U.S.A. (one player from each). All but one of these games were won by the big powers, but in losing, Finland's Antti Tormanen gave Korea's Kim Youwhan what he later described as his toughest match of the tournament. In the one game that the big four lost, Maojie Xia, formerly a student at the Southwestern University of Finance and Economics in Chengdu, China and now studying accounting at the University of Montana in the U.S.A., bested Ouyang Yizhuo, the Chinese female player.

In the next round Maojie Xia nearly did it again. His opponent Go Risa, a former Japanese insei of Korean ancestry, won by resignation but she had to come from far behind. 'A miracle' was how she described her victory. Meanwhile. Serbia's Dusan Mitic handed Ouyang Yizhuo her second loss. In the third round Maojie Xia was back in form, beating Japan's Yanagida Tomoya, who had won the Japanese Students Top Ten tournament last November. Go Risa lost to China's Su Guangyue, Kim Youwhan bested his teammate Chae Hyunji, and Antti Tormanen beat Dusan Mitic.

That left only Kim and Su undefeated. Kim won the deciding game between them in the fourth round to take the championship, while Su took second place on tie-breaking points. Antti Tormanen took third place by beating Lin Hung-ping. This was fairly remarkable, because Lin had started the year by winning the Five Kings Cup in Taiwan, thereby becoming only the second woman in the history of go in Taiwan to earn an amateur 7-dan ranking. Go Risa beat Chae Hyunji to take fourth place, and Lo Sheng-chieh, Taiwan's male player, beat Maojie Xia to take fifth.

The new World Student Oza Kim Youwhan is a student at Myongji University, majoring in baduk, that is, in go. He hopes to make a career of promoting the game after he graduates. 'I was suprised at the strength of the players from countries outside the professional zone,' he said. This sentiment was echoed by Go Risa, who added that she had enjoyed the tournament because it gave her a chance to speak Korean. Runner-up Su Guangyue is studying law at the Shanghai International Studies University and hopes to open a go classroom for children in the future.

Complete results are here.

World Students Oza contestants (left to right): front row, Lin Hung-ping (Taiwan), Lo Sheng-chieh (Taiwan), Antti Tormanen (Finland), Kim Youwhan (Korea), Su Guangyue (China), Go Risa (Japan), Chae Hyunji (Korea), Maojie Xia (U.S.A.); back row, Nuttakrit Taechaamnuayvit (Thailand), Ho Lam Tsang (Australia), Leonardo Sepulveda (Chile), Laura Avram Augustina (Romania), Dusan Mitic (Serbia), Zhang Xiang (Singapore), Ouyang Yizhuo (China), Yanagida Tomoya (Japan) - Photo: Morimoto YoshitakaWorld Students Oza contestants (left to right): front row, Lin Hung-ping (Taiwan), Lo Sheng-chieh (Taiwan), Antti Tormanen (Finland), Kim Youwhan (Korea), Su Guangyue (China), Go Risa (Japan), Chae Hyunji (Korea), Maojie Xia (U.S.A.); back row, Nuttakrit Taechaamnuayvit (Thailand), Ho Lam Tsang (Australia), Leonardo Sepulveda (Chile), Laura Avram Augustina (Romania), Dusan Mitic (Serbia), Zhang Xiang (Singapore), Ouyang Yizhuo (China), Yanagida Tomoya (Japan) - Photo: Morimoto Yoshitaka