A big crowd had formed outside the chess pavilion, trampling a few wild plums.
Many people were on their way to come over. It was chaotic on the Chess Board Mountain.
He Zhan had already left the bank of the brook, then came to the front of the chess pavilion.
Se Se had been by his side the entire time. "Don't you have a game of Go to play?" she asked He Zhan out of curiosity.
"No, I'm not going," replied He Zhan while shaking his head.
As this more interesting event was unfolding, watching the game became more important than playing it.
Se Se was concerned, asking, "Aren't you afraid of being disqualified?"
"The rules can't be used to punish everything."
Pointing to the two people in the chess pavilion, He Zhan said, "They've pulled such a stunt; who would be in their right mood to play the Go game right now?"
This was the most anticipated match at this year's Plum
People had thought that either this match would occur a few days later or it would never happen at all.
Nobody had anticipated that this match would begin at an unexpected moment.
It was like a story where the climax came at the very beginning. It was so exciting.
Soon the Cultivation practitioners who were here to observe the chess tournament had crowded around the chess pavilion so tightly that it was impossible for anyone to get through.
The participants of the chess tournament themselves couldn't keep their emotions under control any longer.
Shang Jiulou was the first one to leave his pavilion, followed by Gu Yuanyuan and Queniang. Then, more and more participants walked out of their pavilions.
Even those practitioners who were in the middle of playing had halted their games.
At the moment, there was only one chess game on the entire Chess Board Mountain.
After hearing his subordinate's report, State Duke He said helplessly, "So be it. The games that have already started should be properly put on hold, and the rest will have to wait until this game is over."
"What if this game last three days and nights; what should we do then?" a subordinate expressed his concern.
State Duke He responded with a laugh, "It shouldn't take too long for a highly achieved Go player like Tong Yan to defeat Jing Jiu, so long as Jing Jiu doesn't use his shady tricks to prolong the playing time."
The subordinate wasn't so sure. "I heard that those important figures of both the Center Sect and the Green Mountain Sect are really upset now. In case Jing Jiu is actually prolonging the game, what should we do?" he asked again.
State Duke He waved his hand while saying, "It's not likely since Jing Jiu is the personal disciple of Immortal Jing Yang."
The subordinate thought that if Jing Jiu acted like the Immortal Jing Yang, why would he come here to participate in the Plum Meeting and contend with others in full view of so many people?
Guessing the playing order in the chess tournament of the Plum Meeting was the same as with other regular chess games.
The only different part was that the players at the Plum Meeting were the Cultivation practitioners, so they would attempt to employ their heavenly awareness to see through the opponent's hand to find out how many Go pieces were in that hand.
Of course, the opponent could also employ his own heavenly awareness to shield his hand. In the end, the results would depend on whose heavenly awareness was stronger than the other's.
In some sense, it was another type of fairness, and meanwhile it meant the competition actually started even before the beginning of the Go game.
Countless gazes fell on Tong Yan's hand.
Yet none of them dared to land their heavenly awareness on that hand. It was because such an act would be considered extremely rude, a nearly challenging intent.
Even though it was over thirty feet away from the crowd, they could still perceive the white milky flame ball in Tong Yan's hand.
This flame manifested a very powerful and pure zhenyuan energy, showing the highest level of the Heavenly Magic Power of the Center Sect.
At this moment, Jing Jiu asked an unexpected question: "Which color do you want for your Go pieces?"
Having heard this, Tong Yan's eyebrows slowly rose, causing a mild commotion in the crowd.
Was he really able to tell whether the actual number of the Go pieces in Tong Yan's hand were odd or even? This was truly an arrogant gesture.
Tong Yan didn't get angry, but the look he gave Jing Jiu grew even colder. "I'll use the white pieces," he said.
Choosing the white pieces on his own could be understood as Tong Yan's preference for attacking afterwards, or as a way of belittling his opponent.
Though sticking to your opponent's Go pieces was one method of playing chess, the majority of the players still preferred the first move advantage.
Jing Jiu called out the number of the Go pieces in his hand directly.
There was no need for guessing odd or even numbers.
A commotion occurred again in the crowd, though it became quiet soon after.
Tong Yan squinted at Jing Jiu without uttering a word.
Jing Jiu's expression remained unaffected, as if it was all obvious.
He reached out his hand and put down a black piece on the Go board.
A barrage of sighs could be heard outside the pavilion.
It had nothing to do with this move.
This was the most common square occupied by the first black piece.
However, the crowd had such a high expectation for this chess game, so it was inevitable that they had hoped to witness some special moves, the so-called shocking effects.
Of course, they were fully aware that this was simply an opening move and that Jing Jiu couldn't do much unless he put the Go piece directly on the Tianyuan square or the corner square.
Without much thinking, Tong Yan put down a white piece right by Jing Jiu's black piece.
Jing Jiu reacted quite quickly as well, putting down the second black piece on an empty square near the upper left corner.
It was quiet all over the place, and the only sound one could hear was that of Go pieces landing on the Go board.
The Go game expected by so many people had started in such an ordinary way.
The speed of placing Go pieces was neither too fast nor too slow. A piece would be put down once in a while.
The number of black and white pieces on the Go board had been slowly increasing.
At the moment, nobody was stupid enough to compliment on the game, or to question their moves.
This situation on the Go board was ordinary and the squares occupied by the black and white Go pieces looked fairly ordinary as well. Nobody could tell whether these placements were good or bad.
However, the crowd felt it was somehow a bit odd because the opening of the game was really too ordinary, devoid of any unexpected or surprising moves.
Currently the situation was plainly simple. They weren't fighting over a particular square, and the placements of their Go pieces didn't reveal anything profound.
The way they were playing the game was like two opponents standing apart and facing each other, their own sword moves separately, without wielding their swords toward each other, or hurling their magic treasures at each other.
The most confusing part was that they didn't sense in these two players any restored sword energy and zhenyuan for later major campaigns.
Zhao Layue didn't know that much about Go playing, so she didn't feel anything different about the game.
Se Se knew something about Go playing, so she had a hard time to understanding this particular game.
This game was indeed too common.
It was totally unsuitable for the fame Tong Yan and Jing Jiu enjoyed.
The crowd in the distance started discussing in hushed voices.
"What is going on?"
"These moves really look quite ordinary."
"Is it possible that the young master Tong Yan holds back a little in order to save some face for the Green Mountain Sect?"
Nan Wang and the disciples of the Green Mountain had already arrived on the Chess Board Mountain; but they didn't get close to that chess pavilion, instead they stood further away in the forest.
Upon hearing the discussions, some disciples became somewhat worried and instinctively looked at Nan Wang.
The disciples of the Green Mountain Sect didn't know so much about the zither, chess, calligraphy, or painting, so they had no idea whether those discussions were true or not.
"A bunch of idiots."
Nan Wang grunted, "If you don't know Go playing, then look at those who know."
The people on the Chess Board Mountain that day were either the young disciples taking part in the chess tournament, or their masters and colleagues observing the games; they were all Go lovers.
If they didn't know Go, who would be qualified then?
Some people noticed something odd going on.
It was occurring the chess pavilion.
Looking at the Go board, the expressions on Shang Jiulou's and Queniang's faces were exceedingly solemn, as if facing a powerful enemy. They looked more nervous than when they played the game themselves.
The look on Gu Yuanyuan's face was even more terrible. He opened up his eyes like two round balls and breathed heavily like a windpipe.
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