by John Power, EJ Japan Correspondent
Yamashita Wins Kisei A League: There are no play-offs in the Kisei Leagues, so there is an built-in bias towards upholding the status quo. When Yamashita Keigo 9P (right) scored his fourth win in the fourth round of the A League, he won the league. In theory, Yamashiro Hiroshi 9P and Kono Rin 9P could both draw level with him on 4-1 after the fifth round if Yamashita loses, but Yamashita is ranked higher, so they can’t catch him.
In the B League, the top-ranked player, Murakawa Daisuke 7P, on 3-0, is the only undefeated player; he also needs only one more win to win the league, so a repeat of the play-off between him and Yamashita to decide the Kisei challenger looks quite possible.(August 28) (A League) Yamashita Keigo 9P (B) beat Hane Naoki 9P by resig. (B League) Yuki Satoshi 9P (W) beat Cho Riyu 8P by resig.
(September 4) (A League) Yamashiro Hiroshi 9P (B) beat Ichiriki Ryo 7P by 2.5 points.
Iyama Defends Gosei Title: For the second year in a row, the Gosei went the full distance, though the course of the match was a little different. Last year, Kono Rin won the first two games and Iyama Yuta the next three. This year, in the 39th Gosei, Kono won the opening game again, but Iyama (left) won the next two before Kono evened the score in the fourth game. The fifth game was played at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo on August 29. When the players drew for colors (nigiri), Kono drew black. Kono took the early lead, but he played too tightly at crucial points in the middle game and allowed Iyama to get back into the game. Immediately after this, however, Iyama made one of his rare blunders, a mistake in timing that allowed Kono to win outright a capturing race that should have become a sente seki for Iyama. After the game, Iyama commented that he could well have resigned at this point, but ironically Kono slipped up soon afterwards, making a number of mistakes in what was some very complicated fighting with both players out of time. Iyama took the lead again and this time held on to it. Kono resigned after 220 moves. After the game, it was hard to tell from the players’ expressions who was the winner. Kono recovered his composure very quickly whereas Iyama looked unhappy for quite a while about his bad play. He commented that he had been outplayed by Kono in both this and the previous year’s matches and that he would have to do better in the upcoming Meijin title match. However, a win is a win, and Iyama has not only maintained his sextuple crown but also kept alive the dream of a grand slam next year.
Iyama Makes Good Start in Meijin Defense: The first game of the 39th Meijin title match was held at the Hotel Chinzanso in Tokyo on September 4 and 5. Taking white, Iyama Yuta Meijin won by resignation after 212 moves. Both he and the challenger Kono Rin 9P (right) were down to their final minute of byo-yomi. Kono, fresh from his narrow loss to Iyama in the Gosei title match, played positively in the opening, and Iyama admitted later that he had been a little dissatisfied with his position after the opening fight. To make up his lost ground, he launched an aggressive invasion of Kono’s moyo that brought the game back to even. Iyama then took the lead in the middle game when Kono made some moves that were not quite the best. In desperation, Kono set up a ko but did not have enough ko threats to win it, so he had to resign. This game shows how sharp Iyama’s perception is in the middle game: if the opponent slips up even a little, he will take advantage of it. The second game will be played on September 18 and 19.
Tomorrow: Members of the New Honinbo League; Korean Teen Wins Bingsheng Cup; Takao Becomes Tengen Challenger; Obituary: Hoshikawa Nobuaki 9P; Sasaski Promoted to 9P
September 14: Columbus, OH
2014 Chinese Moon Festival The 2nd OCS Cup Go Tournament
Dajiang He email@example.com
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The 41st London Open Go Congress will take place on 28th-31st December 2014. Registration is now open, details are available here.
Few charts deserve a page one feature article in The New York Times Arts and Leisure section, but pop sociologist Russell Lymes’ classic 1949 delineation of “highbrow,” “middlebrow” and “lowbrow” tastes has been “reproduced and imitated countless times,” the Times reports (see Go Spotting: The “High-Brow” Game and An Unlikely Place 6/19/2014 EJ). Russell suggest typical preferences for each group in various categories, such as clothing, reading, favorite causes — and games. To see how go placed, click here.
- Roy Laird
Syracuse go organizer Richard Moseson’s cousin Bill Flarsheim saw this go-themed mosaic at a temple in Zhuhai, China, where he’s living and working.
Those interested in studying go in Korea can now get a discount of $100 off per person when they come to study at Blackie’s International Baduk Academy (BIBA). Shawn Ray, a student at BIBA who recently moved to Korea to do a series of lessons on BadukTV, has arranged with the BIBA instructors for this special deal. “BIBA is a school dedicated to giving international go – or baduk, as it’s known here in Korea — players a place to play and study in a dojo-like setting,” Ray tells the EJ. “Right next door to BIBA is a class of Younguseng (insei, or students) who are around 7-9-dan amateur level and BIBA students get to play league games with them. After playing League games, we get our games reviewed by Mr. Kim 9P, or Blackie as we call him, and get an in-depth analysis of our games.” In order to get this discount individuals must come as a group, so those interested should contact Ray at clossius.ShawnRay@gmail.com before coming “to see if we can coordinate students to come around the same time to be eligible for a group discount. Looking forward to seeing everyone in Korea!”
Correcting the Games Database: “I checked out the AGA game database from a recent E-Journal (AGA Game Database Test Version Online 8/12 EJ) and really liked it!” wrote Shawn Ligocki. “But I noticed that a tournament I participated in seems to be double counted. I went 4-0, so maybe I shouldn’t complain.” We got a number of emails like this, pointing out various errors in the database. Thanks for flagging these; the programmers are working to update and correct the American Go Association Game Database (AGAGD). Comments and corrections should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
Looking for Japan Go Tips: “I will be traveling to Japan next spring,” writes Ben Bernstein. “Do you have any advice, or can you point me to a source of information (about where to play go)?” He’s specifically interested in Tokyo, Nagoya and Kyoto; email your tips to email@example.com
A video podcast about esports that recently discussed randomness mentions go. “Randomness in Esports – How Chance Affects Competitive Play” discusses (at 1:03) how the selection of the first player in go has long been debated as a huge competitive advantage. “Just a passing reference, but definitely nice to see,” says Brad Edwards of the Wauconda Go Club, who passed this along.
Update: The Extra Credits team just did a follow-up to last week’s episode, First Move Advantage – How to Balance Turn-Based Games, “and mention go much more often in this week’s episode, commenting on how game designers should deal with first-turn advantage,” reports Edwards. “They also categorize chess as a ‘static resource game’ while go is a ‘developed resource game’. It’s just a short, but worthy of another look.”
Germany: Soeren Ohlenbusch 3d bested Bernd Lewerenz 3d at the Schweriner Turnier on August 31 while Christopher Lieberum 3d was third. Romania: Alexandru-Petre Pitrop 3d (left) took the 5th Radu Baciu Grand Prix in Vatra Dornei on August 24. Cristian Cobeli 1d came in second and Adrian Nedan 1k placed third. Sweden: The Stockholm Open finished on August 23 with John Karlsson 4d in first, Mingyu Chen 5d in second, and Charlie Aakerblom 4d in third.
– Annalia Linnan, based on reports from EuroGoTV, which include complete result tables and all the latest European go news; photo courtesy of EuroGoTV
Guo Juan’s Online Go School Fall semester group class starts up on September 27th. “If you want to study go with experienced pro teachers for a good price, we have a fun place for you” Guo Juan promises. “Make friends, meet pros and improve your play.” Teaching pros include Mingjiu Jiang 7P and Jennie Shen 2P. Register here.
The Belfast Open took place on the 30th and 31st of August at the now traditional venue of Belfast Boat Club. Continuing this year’s theme of French dominance was Ngoc-Trang Cao (1-dan), who won with a perfect score of 5/5. Congratulations to her! Coming second and third, were James Hutchinson (1-dan) and Peter Kasko (4-kyu). Then tied together in 4th place came Tiberiu Gociu (4-kyu), Louise Roullier(5-kyu), and Piotr Gawron(6-kyu). For those of you who missed out on the tournament, you can view the photo album from Tibi, and the full results.
A new tournament for California students, the West America Student Go Championship, is being organized by Clement Wong of the Riverside Go Club, and Yunxuan Li of the Diamond Bar High School Go Club. The tournament will be held on September 27, from 11 AM to 8 PM at the University of California, Riverside. “We sincerely hope students of all age can come and compete with each other and develop a friendly bond,” says Li “There will be many great prizes, such as trophies for winners, and other awards, and pizza for lunch, at a small fee, along with other refreshments. We really hope this will be a competitive and fun event for young people to enjoy”. The registration form is here, and there is no fee to participate. Direct any questions to Yunxuan Li at YunxuanL@Live.cn.
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Lee Sedol 9p (left) secured a solid lead against Gu Li 9p after winning Game 7 in their ten-game match on August 31 in Tibet’s capital Lhasa, widening his lead to 5-2 and putting him just one game away from winning outright. Gu’s back is against the wall now and must win the next three games just to draw the jubango. As has happened in most games throughout the match, Gu was ahead in the opening and established what seemed like a sure win. At 130, though, Lee (playing black) cut off Gu’s center group and killed white’s dragon on the right side (see below for game). Gu could not recover and now faces a kadoban, or potentially match-deciding game, next month (September 28) in his hometown of Chongqing. For more information on Game 7 or other games in the MLily Gu vs Lee Jubango including photos and game analysis by An Younggil 8p, please visit Go Game Guru.
–Annalia Linnan, based on a longer article by Go Game Guru; photo and game record courtesy of Go Game Guru
Players Wanted in Gainesville, FL: email firstname.lastname@example.org
Players from China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and the U.S. gathered in Qingdao, China on August 26-28 for the group stage of the 19th Samsung Cup. However, the stand-out competitor was Chinese player Rui Naiwei 9p (left), the only female player make it through to the next, or knockout, stage. Rui is one of only two women to ever make it to the knockout phase of the Samsung; she’s not only done so seven times, but made it to the quarter finals in the 5th and 6th Samsung Cups. This year, she is already off to a good start with two wins against Taiwan’s Xiao Zhenghao 8p (left). Rui will join Park Junghwan 9p, Lee Sedol 9p, and the 13 other knockout finalists in Daejeon, Korea on October 14-16 to compete for this year’s quarter finals. For more information on this year’s Samsung Cup including photos, game records, and pairings for the next round, visit Go Game Guru.
–Annalia Linnan, based on a longer article by Go Game Guru; photos courtesy Go Game Guru
The Bay Area Go Players Association and the San Francisco Go Club got a jump on Learn Go Week at the August 22-24 Japan Expo, which attracted thousands of fans of Japanese culture to San Mateo, California. The BAGPA and SFGC were on hand to teach the constant stream of attendees who wanted to learn to play go.
report/photo by Steve Burrall; photo: (front to back on the right): Matthew Burrall, BAGPA president Jay Chan and SF Go Club VP Eric Branlun, all teaching beginners.
Game 7 in the MLily Gu vs Lee Jubango will take place Sunday, August 31 in Lhasa. Live online coverage is being provided by Go Game Guru’s An Younggil 8p on Baduk TV Live starting at midnight, Sunday morning (9pm 8/30 PST), and by Myungwan Kim 9P on Pandanet starting at 10pm EST (7pm PST). The score currently stands at 4-2 in Lee’s favor so this will be a critical match for Gu. Already down two games, Gu’s back would really be against the wall if he loses this round, as he’d have to win three straight games just to tie. “Let’s see how Gu Li will do,” Kim tells the E-Journal. “As a go fan who wants to enjoy more exciting games, I support Gu Li for this next game.” Click here for the latest version of Pandanet and here to read more about the match on Go Game Guru. You can also check out GGG’s commentary on Round 6 here.
Hong Seok-ui, the Korean-born go player who moved to Japan in 2011 and promptly won the Japanese Amateur Meijin tournament, has now won his fourth straight Amateur Meijin title and his second straight Amateur Honinbo title. For good measure he also owns the Amateur Dragon Star title, making him a triple title-holder.
The Amateur Meijin was held in July. Since it is run on the challenger-defender system, Hong has lately been able to relax while the rest of the Japanese amateur go world competes for the right to challenge him. This year the challenger tournament came down to a game between two 21-year-olds: Ka Hyo and Tsunoda Daisuke, both of whom had formerly trained for pro careers. The game between them was a thriller that Tsunoda won by half a point on July 21.
Tsunoda, who is now studying for his university entrance exams, thus got to take on Hong in a best-of-three title match, played in high style at a hot-spring resort southwest of Tokyo. Hong, who has never dropped a game in Amateur Meijin competition, won the match 2-0. He took the first game on July 26 by killing a large group, and the second game on July 27 by outfighting Tsunoda in the opening. 'I tried to play aggressively, but it didn't work,' Tsunoda said after losing. 'I have no regrets. I just wasn't strong enough.'
Four weeks later Hong journeyed to Tokyo to compete in the Amateur Honinbo tournament at the Nihon Kiin. This is not a defender-challenger affair; Hong was seeded into the round of thirty-two, and would have to win five straight games to keep his title.
In his first game he defeated Tanaka Masato, who won the Amateur Honinbo twice in the 1990s. Beaten by resignation on the board but unconquered in spirit, Tanaka immediately starting a lengthy and vociferous post-mortem discussion.
In his second game Hong defeated Iba Yuji by resignation. Hong and Iba both work as instructors at first-class go clubs, Hong at the Ranka club in Osaka, Iba at the Shusaku club in Tokyo.
Hong's quarter-final opponent was Ka Hyo, the challenger he just missed facing in the Amateur Meijin. Again Hong won by resignation.
In the semifinal round Hong was paired against Emura Kiko, who represented Japan in the last two World Amateur Go Championships. Emura played tenaciously and the game was close, but Hong won by a point and a half.
In the final round, Hong faced Hiraoka Satoshi, World Amateur Champion in 1994 and 2006 and Amateur Honinbo in 2005, 2009, and 2012. Chang Hsu (Cho U), who was professional Honinbo and Meijin ten years ago, gave a public commentary on the game. Chang mentioned that he had recently played Hong in the Agon-Kiriyama tournament, which is open to amateurs as well as pros. Before encountering Chang, Hong had beaten seven straight professional opponents, including two nine-dans. 'The amateur go world is no place for him,' Chang said.
Although Hong lost to Chang, he justified Chang's praise in his game with Hiraoka. The pace of play was fast, both players avoiding pitched life-and-death struggles. After fifty moves Chang thought that white (Hong) had a commanding position, and the rest of the game bore him out. Hong managed his stones expertly and won by 12.5 points (here is the game record in sgf format).
In a smiling post-victory interview, Hong said, 'It was just luck that I came out on top, because I played badly in most of my games. In the final it wasn't until the endgame that I realized that I was ahead. I'm still working every day to improve my skills in go, and my language skills.'
The third-place playoff was won by six-time Amateur Honinbo Nakazono Seizo, who defeated Emura Kiko by 3.5 points.
This fall, viewers of Japan's Go/Shogi TV channel will get to see how Hong does against further professional opposition in the Dragon Star Open. Already, he has beaten four pros in the preliminary rounds.
- James Davies
UK: Aja Huang 5d took the MSO Open on August 25 in London. Francisco Divers 2d placed second and Andrew Simons 4d third. Sweden: John Karlsson 4d bested Mingyu Chen 5d at the Stockholm Open on August 23 while Charlie Aakerblom 4d was third. Netherlands: The Zomergo 2014 finished in Lunteren on August 20 with Matthias Terwey 4d (left) in first, Rene Aaij 4d in second, and Zeno van Ditzhuijzen 5d in third.