Going to the 5th Ing Cup Semi-finals.

I have been invited to Guiyang City in Southern China, where I will attend the semi-finals of the 5th Ing Cup. Playing are Chang Hao 9 dan and Peng Quan 5 dan from China, and Song T'ae-kon 7 dan and Ch'oi Ch'eol-han 8 dan from Korea. The semi-finals are a best of three match, the games will be played on September 5, 7 and 9.

The reason behind the invitation is that during these semi-finals a first conference on the unification of go rules will be held. In that conference I will represent the European Go federation together with Matti Siivoli. Other details I do not have.

For the people that do not play go who read this: the Ing Cup is only held once every four years, in the year that the Olympics are held. With $ 400,000 as a first prize it is the richest go tournament in the world. It was established in 1988 by the Taiwanese industrialist Ing Chang-ki. After his death the money to hold this tournament and many other go related activities was put into the Ing Foundation. For instance there is a go schoool in Shanghai that is sponsored by this foundation.

The games are played according to the Taiwanese rules, that were drawn up my Mr Ing himself. He has always been interested in the unification of go rules worldwide, and this tournament is one of the vehicles to reach that goal. Interestingly the sponsor insists on the English spelling of go as "goe", to make also clear which rules are used.

2004-09-02: preparation

I have never been to China before, so I am a little bit nervous. After a confirming mail om Monday everything has been going rather smoothely until now, arranged the tickets on Monday, the Visa on Tuesday, and did some necessary shopping today. Told several people about the trip of course, so in return I got several shopping lists, some of them of a political nature, some of them "things". Funny :-) In any case I am not going to publish those lists here of course.

My son's car broke down yesterday evening. He (Niels) is on night shifts, so he has to use my car in the evening and bring it back early enough in the morning for me to use it during the day. I'll need it tomorrow for a meeting in the office in the morning, then will have to rush back home to kiss my wife (Sylvia) good-bye. My daughter (Tirza) then will drive me to the airport.

There is not much else to say about this Thursday. I cooked a risotto with fish that was inspired by a Jamie Olivier recipy (but is also very different from what he does). Sylvia said I should write it down, and I will do that, but not here.

2004-09-03: leaving

What should I write about this mornings meeting? It certainly was not short. We normally stop around 11:30, but even at 12:00 we could have gone on for hours. Maybe it did: I have no clue how long it went on. I just left then and went back home to get my stuff.

Tirza indeed drove me to the airport where I arrived around three hours before the flight would take off. Normal procedure for an intercontinental flight. I thought I would fly with China Southern Airlines, but to my surprise the first flight to Beijing is a code share with KLM, so I could use the electronic check-in: that takes only 10 minutes. So I had a lot of time to kill before the gate would open. I bought a new John le Carre novel.

We took off in time for a 9 hours and 20 minutes (7800 kilometers) flight to Beijing. Got seat 11c with nobody next to me on a flight that was almost booked full. Nice planning of the travel agency. Let's not talk too much about the average quality of the KLM service; it was okay this time. When we landed in Beijing it was after a very short night. I adjusted my watch: 8:30 local time.