The tournament table can be seen here.
Now, who better to tell us about the tournament than the participants themselves? So I decided to ask Ilya and Ali to answer a few questions about the tournament, and added in a few general questions which, in my opinion, would be interesting for the readers.
- What are your general impressions about the tournament?
It was the 7th time I took part in the final stage of a professional world championship. All of them had single elimination system. So for every participant it's very important to get a good draw. Unfortunately this time I was not lucky. I ended up getting one of the favorites of the championship - Shin Jinseo 9p.
It is a normal Chinese international tournament, played in China Qiyuan, with the usual opening ceremony with speeches and a draw for pairing, it feels like the only difference from Bailing Cup earlier this year is the name.
- How was your game? What do you think about your opponent and his style?
Shin Jinseo is 18 years old. He is one of the strongest pros in the world (in the top 3 according to goratings.org, and the top 2 in Korea). Currently he has a nice winning streak - 17 wins in a row after winning in the second round. I watched some of his recent games before my match with him, and I can say that Shin doesn't have any weaknesses. He is strong and solid at the all stages of the game, he doesn't make any noticeable mistakes, and even if the situation should not go well for him, he is quite sharp and skillful enough to find a way to make a comeback.
In our game I decided to start fighting from the very first moves. I thought I might have more chances this way. But Shin successfully avoided all the threats.
I tried to play active in the opening because I thought my best chance lay in getting a good result early on, and then trying to run away with the game, the initial fight was interesting and we reviewed it for quite a while (and also later on with computer programs) however white 34 was a big mistake, after failing to seal black in I tried to overplay a bit hoping to fight for a chance in a complicated game, but Jiang Weijie didn’t give an inch.
- Did you prepare for the game in any special way? Did you study the games of your opponents before the game?
- (no answer)
No special preparation, I watch most top pro games anyway, so I have already seen all of Jiang Weijie’s recent games.
- Did you watch the games of the other players? Who are your favourite players from this tournament?
I watched all the games of this tournament. My favorite players are Park Junghwan 9p, Shin Jinseo 9p, Gu Jihao 9p, and Gu Li 9p. Gu Li won in the first round and came very close to winning in the second round. He made several sad mistakes in the late yose.
I watched all the games, my favorite players here are Chen Yaoye and Kim Jiseok.
- Did you communicate with the other players (besides the europeans)? Are you friends with any of the top players?
We communicate with the American players quite well. About top Asian players - it's hard to communicate with most of them for me since we speak different languages. Actually Koreans have the same problems in communication with Chinese. They are talking with gestures.
Since I spent a couple years living in China I got to spend time with some of the Chinese pros, haven’t really talked much during this tournament though.
- How would you estimate this year in your go career? Are you satisfied with your results in the tournaments?
This year was okay for me, but I am not really satisfied. I think I can do better.
I won a couple of tournaments in Europe this year, But I didn’t win either of the big 2 (EGC or Grand Slam) or beat any strong Asian pros, so while it wasn’t terrible I cannot say that I’m too happy with it either.
- How do you study go in general? Do you teach any players?
I watch top pro and AI games, and play on Internet with strong opponents. I don't really feel like teaching someone since I have much to learn myself.
Recently I’m just using computer software to check openings and review my games, I think it’s a good opportunity for European players to improve and catch up. I do some teaching at go events like the French summer camp and the upcoming British Go Congress.
- What are your next go plans for the future?
It was my last big tournament this year. So my immediate plans are to get prepared for the next season.
Let's wish them good luck in their upcoming competitions!