Below are draft texts for
(a) a letter to send to all national go associations in Africa, Oceania and Rest of Asia (i.e. all Asian countries except Japan, China, Korea and Taiwan) and (b) a letter (to be attached to (a)) directed at the Nihon Ki-in for which the idea is to solicit signatories.
Letters to be sent to:
- Africa: Madagascar, Morocco
- Oceania: Australia, New Zealand
- Rest-of-Asia: Brunei, D.P.R. Korea, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam
Dear Go Associations of Africa, Oceania and Rest-Of-Asia,
As you are aware, we are all fortunate to be invited, on a regular basis, to send players to participate in the biannual World Oza Championship organised by the Nihon Ki-in. This happens first through continental championships (separate for Africa, Oceania and Rest-of-Asia) and then, for the winners of these championships, through a playoff with the winner qualifying for a spot in the main competition.
However, there is some unhappiness concerning the structure of the tournament that awards just one qualification spot for our three regions, compared to those allocated to the other regions outside of the large go-playing countries: in the last Oza Championship, the other 31 slots in the main tournament were allocated as follows: Japan 10, Korea 7, China 7, Taiwan 1, North America 2, South America 1, and Europe 3. (Note that the separate slot for Taiwan was secured after they protested against sharing two slots with Africa, Oceania and Rest-of-Asia in the first World Oza.)
In the history of the competition, the only players outside of Japan, China and Korea to have progressed beyond the first round were Fernando Aguilar (South America) and Yang Shi-hai (Rest-of-Asia). Mr Yang Shi-hai is an 8-dan professional and has managed to progress to the second round of the main event on two occasions. So we can see that it is not fair for our three regions to have to compete in a play-off, especially Rest-of-Asia who have shown that they can compete successfully at this level (while regions such as Europe and North America have not).
I have heard from more than one source that the Nihon Ki-in treats the play-off as an unprofessional event; played in a back room with no publicity, no referee, no game recorder and at "amateur level" time limits, almost as if it were a nuisance to clear out of the way before the main event can start. Both Victor Chow and Guo Yiming (respectively the African and Australian representatives in the first three competitions) have expressed displeasure at this.
In the light of this, we would like to petition the organisers to establish a fairer qualification system, ideally one that would give at least one slot to each continent. We feel that our best chance of success would be if it is undersigned by as many Associations as possible from within our three continents. We therefore ask you to consider the draft letter attached and let us know if you would be willing to be a signatory.
Kind regards, Chris Welsh President, South African Go Association
Dear Nihon Ki-in,
As National Go Associations from Africa, Oceania and the Rest of Asia, we would like to thank you for organising the biannual World Oza Go Championship and for inviting us to participate in it. The opportunity to compete in an international event at the highest level is an incredible source of inspiration for our players.
However, our continental representatives have expressed some concern regarding the qualification structure of this competition. As you know, our three continents have to play a play-off to compete for a single slot out of the 32 available in the main competition. Compared to the other regions outside of the large go-playing countries, this does not seem entirely fair: in the last World Oza, Europe, North America and South America each had their own slots, with Europe having 3 and North America 2. We notice that, in the history of the competition, the only players outside of Japan, China and Korea to have progressed beyond the first round were Fernando Aguilar (South America) and Yang Shi-hai (Rest-of-Asia). Mr Yang Shi-hai is an 8-dan professional and has managed to progress to the second round of the main event on two occasions. So we feel that it is not fair for our three regions to have to compete in a play-off, especially Rest-of-Asia who have shown that they can compete successfully at this level (while regions such as Europe and North America have not). In addition to the results of Mr Yang Shi-hai, we might also point out that the Oceanian representative for 2008, Joanne Missingham, is a 2-dan professional in China, while the African representative for the first four events, Mr Victor Chow, reached the last 16 in the 2005 IGS World Rapid Championship, beating Japanese professionals Yahata Koichi 6-dan and Sasaki Tsuyoshi 5-dan along the way, which also shows that the representatives from Africa and Oceania can compete against professionals.
In the light of this, we would like to request that a qualification system be used in which each continent has its own slot. Failing this, the results of Rest-of-Asia seem to indicate that at least they deserve their own slot. On the other hand, if you feel that the players outside China, Korea and Japan are not strong enough, then it would be fairer to have a qualification event including the qualifiers from all of these countries, rather than giving slots to some of them while others have to share. We feel that implementing one of these suggestions would result in a fairer system and ultimately a stronger lineup for the main event.
(list of various representatives of national associations)