A Very Brief History of the WOC

The first World Othello Championship (WOC) was organised in Tokyo in 1977. The Japanese champion Hiroshi Inoue went undefeated to become the first Othello world champion. It was clear from the start that the Japanese were much stronger than anyone else in the world. However three years later, the American champion Jonathan Cerf created history by becoming the first non-Japanese world champion defeating Takuya Mimura in the 1980 London finals.

Despite a number of wins by Americans and Europeans over the last four decades the game is still dominated by the Japanese who have won more individual titles than all other nations combined.

For more information on past WOC tournaments you can check out the archives WOC history.

Australians at the WOC

The first Australian to play at the World Othello Championships was Paul Fuller when the event was hosted in Australia for the first time in 1984 in Melbourne. The following two years Australia was represented by Simon Jones in Athens(WOC 1985) and Tokyo(WOC 1986).

Then for nearly ten years there were no Australians at the WOC until the event returned to Melbourne in 1995. By then the rules allowed for teams of three players and Simon Jones, Geoff Hubbard, and George Ortiz made up the first Australian team to play at the WOC.

Geoff Hubbard holds the Australian record for most WOC participations as he represented Australia on 14 occasions between 1995 and 2010. Geoff was also the first Australian to reach a “winning record” (more wins than losses) at the WOC earning 7 wins (from 13 rounds) at the 2003 WOC in Stockholm (which stood as the best Australian individual performance until 2014).

In 2014 at the 38th WOC in Bangkok, Joanna William won the Women’s World Othello Champion title, Australia’s first world title. Joanna went on to win a second women’s world title in 2019 at the 43rd WOC in Tokyo.

Best Australian individual performance at the WOC
Bangkok 2014 joanna Joanna William 8.5 wins (from 13 rounds)
Best Australian team performance at the WOC
Bangkok 2014 team2014 Matt Vinar (7),
Scott Hughes (7),
Sam Milankov (5),
Joanna William (8.5)
 22.5 wins (best 3 scores)