If we could get extra budget I would like to have the WOC as it is, and to create another tournament to determine the best player in the world. The new tournament should be held six months after the WOC, once every year in Japan, and consist of top 50 Japanese players (selected from the Japanese rating list) and 14 top finishing non-Japanese players at the immediate WOC. Of course the players selected by the above criteria could decline to play, and the second player in line would then get the right to play. It would be better if the host country (Japan) could provide some financial help to the non-Japanese players. (Osamu Kamemoto)
I think we should avoid having two or more world championships because it would make it difficult to answer the question “Who was the strongest player in the world that year?” To me the present WOC seems to be organized well enough to determine the number-one player. On the other hand, the present WOC has little function to determine the best 100 players in the world that year. Players who finished 60th or 80th at WOC for example may not be among the top 1000 if he or she were playing in Japan. And I think this is what is causing the “indefinable frustration” that Murakami thinks many Japanese players are feeling toward the WOC.
The Japanese players could simply endure and live with this quality of the present WOC (i.e. winner of WOC is the strongest player in the world but others may not be among the best players in the world). If this sounds too conservative I may suggest that we make WOC a tournament where anyone who wishes to participate can participate. A certain number of players living in an “overly competitive country” like Japan would welcome this change. And what would be the drawbacks of such a change? “Allowing to compete the players who are not strong enough to deserve to compete at a world championship” would perhaps be a problem. But then, does the present WOC efficiently reject the “unworthy players” from playing? Or on the contrary would it be better if we excluded these players even more efficiently than today? I think getting answers to these questions is what is needed to advance this discussion on WOC. In any case I personally hope that this discussion will be concluded by listening to not only the voices of champions and high-ranking players but also those of as many players as possible. (Kunihiko Tanida)
Probably the same discussion has been done for the Olympic Games and world championships for various games and sports. After all these arguments in the past, are there today any international competitions where a country with many strong players or athletes can send many representatives to the competition? I would presume very few such world championships exist.
We should never forget the original “raison d’être” of WOC, the reason for which WOCs are held. It is not “to win” but “to participate”. It is important to have players from as many countries as possible.
>The main goal of Olympism is to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of humankind, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity.
The main goal of WOC is probably the same.
This discussion should never be reduced to one with a one-sided goal of making it easier for Japan to win. (I am afraid it is indeed the direction which the discussion is taking.) (Akira Hasegawa)
I think WOC should stay the way it is today. Murakami’s idea to create another tournament would reduce the special presence and value of WOC. It would also reduce the function of WOC to determine the strongest player of that year, as Tanida pointed out.
If we want more Japanese players at WOC, we simply could invite strong players from abroad to Japanese big tournaments (such as Meijin-sen) with the same effect.
Is it the “only” purpose of WOC to have strong players and determine the world best player? Isn’t it also important to promote Othello as part of our culture by spending time with players from many countries? I think these other aspects of WOC make it such a wonderful tournament.
Japanese players can play against strong players in many tournaments at home. Players in many countries cannot. Many of them play against strong players only at WOC, and they feel and learn a great deal from that experience. They will then bring back the experience to their home countries and spread what they have learned to players around him or her. This is how Othello expands and develops as part our culture.
Japan is the leading country of Othello and for that very reason we should make effort to promote Othello and to increase the number of players outside Japan. (Kenta Saito)
Some people have pointed out that creating another tournament will make it difficult to determine who is the number-one player of the year. But if we look at other competitions such as tennis or golf there are several major tournaments (grand slams).
If we invite top players from overseas on Japan Othello Association’s expense, they will have the opportunity to play against many Japanese players and to enjoy sightseeing. And the experience would probably lead to the promotion of Othello when they return to their home countries. (Osamu Kamemoto)
I favor model 6. It may also be a good idea to change the number of players allocated to each country according to the number of players that country has and the result of the previous WOC. I mean you can send more players to WOC if your country has more players, and if the representative of your country finishes higher in the previous WOC. Maybe we can raise the entry fee according to the number of players you are sending, i.e. the more players your country is allocated the more expensive the entry fee becomes. This will improve the budget of WOC. I hope many players express their opinions and OWC will be a better tournament. (Takeshi Fujita)
It is a world championship and so we should never change the basic format, where the representatives of as many countries as possible gather and compete for the supreme title. Japanese representatives are special players: each the winner of major Japanese tournaments. Such special players are those who should play at WOC. Even if WOC became an open tournament where low-ranked players like I can participate, I wouldn’t want to participate.
The biggest problem is the large disparity of skills between Japan and other countries. We will never have the optimal format of OWC unless this disparity diminishes. (Horiatsu)
First of all I am very glad that this discussion is going on at World Othello Federation. I am also infinitely grateful to Murakami’s effort to be the bridge between Japanese players and those outside Japan. That said, I would like to express my opinion below.
I think WOC should stay the way it is today. My idea of the goals of WOC are:
1. to deterimine the number-one player of the world of the year.
2. to promote Othello all over the world.
It is true that the player who finishes 8th at the present WOC is not the 8th strongest player of the world. And this disparity between the final standings at WOC and the real rankings in the world become larger as the final standings of WOC go down. But I think this cannot be helped when the main goal of WOC is to determine the number-one player. Also, the second goal of WOC above suggests that decreasing the number of representatives of “weak countries” to increase the number of representatives of “strong countries” is a wrong path. If we can agree on the exact “goals” of WOC, the optimal format will naturally follow.
On the other hand, I understand that there are players like Murakami who want another world-level tournament. However, I think having two or more world championships would bring more problems than merits. Unlike Japanese representatives whose travel, meals and accommodation costs are paid by JOA, many players overseas attend WOC on their own expense. Would they then attend another tournament even if we created it?
I think inviting a certain number of players as wild cards to the present WOC would be more realistic, although we should be careful not to select only Japanese players. How do we select the wild cards? Using the World rating list is an idea but I don’t think it would gain the support of majority of players. I personally feel that the reigning world champion should be allowed to play in the next year’s WOC. (Nobuaki Mitsuya)
We could adopt a few ideas from the selection of teams who play in the final tournament of Japanese High School Baseball Championship. It works as below, with the minimum change to the present system:
All Japan Championship
Winner (from eastern Japan) → WOC
Runner-up (from eastern Japan)
Third player (from western Japan) → WOC
Winner (from western Japan) → WOC
Runner-up (from eastern Japan) → WOC
Third player (from western Japan)
We could select more representatives by dividing Japan into more than two blocks. (Sou Nakamura)
World Championships is a tournament for deciding the number-one player in the World. And for this very reason it should accept anyone who wants to compete. If such were the case the player who finished 8th at WOC would truly be the 8th strongest player in the world. No one would be frustrated of not being able to compete. (Anonymous)
I am a novice. The beauty of Othello is that anyone can participate, regardless of age and sex. I am impressed with the young champions like Akihiro Takahashi and Keisuke Fukuchi. I am also impressed with the excellent performance of Japanese representatives, who won all the four divisions of last year’s WOC. Most champions seem to be in their twenties.
I am physically heavily handicapped. I believe people like me have the potential to one day win a major tournament and qualify to play at WOC. I feel that the present tournament rules of Japanese tournaments are not good enough to allow us to compete equally with unhandicapped players. Maybe what I am telling is irrelevant to the discussion here, but I have the feeling that the discussion here (how to select the players who are allowed to compete at WOC) and the discussion on handicapped players have something in common. (Tamachan in a wheelchair)
I prefer the model 1. I also propose a change to realize the models 2,4,5,6,7,8. It is to hold another tournament one day before the WOC to select a certain number of extra players to play in the next day’s WOC. Anyone can take part in this tournament. We could set up the rules so that players from the same country would not play too often. This will allow a certain number of high ranking players who did not qualify in his home country to play in the WOC. They will also have the opportunity to play against players from around the world even if they didn’t perform well enough to be extra players. (Eishi Kanou)
I propose to add the following three changes to the present WOC.
1. The reigning world champion is invited to play, not constituting a part of any team of any country.
2. The country which won the team championship in the previous WOC is given an extra spot.
3. When a country sends more than three players because of the above change, it should nominate beforehand the three players whose result will count for the team championship.
World Othello Federation should above all make clear the goals and principles on which WOC are organized, and in this regard I agree with Nobuaki Mituya who stated that WOCs are held “to determine the number-one player of the world of the year” and “to promote Othello all over the world.”
Murakami’s observation that “Japan has an overwhelmingly large number of expert players and many of them have never been given the opportunity to compete at WOC” is true. I am one of those players and am glad that such situation is discussed at WOF.
However, I do not think that Japanese players are mistreated. We can play against best players in the world almost every weekend. We can play hundreds of high-level games a year.
And what about players living outside Japan? However skilled they are they have few occasions to play against world’s top players. It might well be the case that the 13 games they play at WOC is the only such occasion.
I think an important goal of WOC is to “continuously send the message to the world that Othello is an international game”. WOC should never be filled with a disproportionally large number of players from one country. I think more opportunity to play at WOC should be given not to Japanese players but to players around the world. The important thing is that they continue to play Othello. If I am given the opportunity to play at WOC, I would like to play and spend time together with players from many countries, rather than to play against strong Japanese players.
It is true nonetheless that Japan is brimming with expert players. The above suggestions of mine seems to me to be about the limit of increasing Japanese representatives without undermining the principles of WOC and without looking too selfish on Japan’s part. I would like to at least see the reigning world champion in action at WOC. (Tetsu Satani)