And then there were three. Calvin Sun, Jianing Gan and Bill Lin are the finalists to be the next U.S. professional go player. Sun and Gan play each other Sunday morning (the game will be broadcast live on KGS) to determine the top-bracket winner, who will then play bottom bracket winner Lin. Click here for pairings, results and game records.
Promotional League Round Four results: Calvin Sun defeated Jianing Gan (top bracket); Bill Lin eliminated Andrew Lu (bottom bracket).
Round Three results: Jianing Gan defeated Calvin Sun (top bracket); Bill Lin eliminated Ryan Li; Andrew Lu eliminated Eric Lui.
Round Two results: Jianing Gan defeated Eric Lui (B+r); Calvin Sun beat Bill Lin (B+r); Ryan Li eliminated Daniel Gourdeau (B+r); Andrew Lu eliminated Ben Lockhart (W+2.5).
Exhibition League: 1/4 morning session (winner in CAPS): 1) Aaron Ye vs. DANIEL KO; 2) Yixian Zhou vs. BEN LOCKHART
1/4 evening session: 1) ERIC LUI vs. Daniel Ko; 2) RYAN LI vs. Ben Lockhart; 3) Yixian Zhou vs. DANIEL GOURDEAU; 4) François Gourdeau vs. AARON YE
- photo by Dennis Wheeler
Both West Coast NAMT points qualifier tournaments are coming up soon. The Northern California Ing Cup – sponsored by Ing’s Goe Foundation – is set for Saturday, January 18th, while The Dado 2014 Southern California Go Championship – organized by the Orange County Go Club and the Dado Cultural Exchange Association – will be held on Saturday and Sunday February 8-9. The 1-day, 4-round Ing Cup features Jiang ZhuJiu and Rui NaiWei, who will lead a team of 20 players from China, and is hosted by Legend’s Game Store. The Southern California Championship, a 2-day, 5-round event, has $2,500 in cash awards, with $600 to the open section winner; registration deadline is Feb. 5. Winners in both events qualify for the 2014 North American Masters Tournament (NAMT). photo: 2013 NorCal Ing
Aoki To Challenge For Women’s Kisei: For the third year in a row, the Women’s Kisei title will feature a clash between Aoki Kikuyo 8P (right) and Xie Yimin. The play-off to decide the challenger was held at the Ryusei Studio, a TV studio for the cable TV go and shogi channel located in the basement of the Nihon Ki-in at Ichigaya in Tokyo, on December 16. Taking white, Aoki defeated Ishii Akane 2P by resignation after 256 moves. Aoki won this title from Xie in 2012, but lost it back in 2013. The best-of-three title match for the 17th title will begin on January 23.
Iyama Keeps Grand Slam Dreams Alive: Iyama Yuta played an important game on December 17. If he is to have a chance of scoring a full-fledged grand slam next year, he first of all has to become the challenger for the Judan title, the only one of the top seven not in his keeping. To do this, he needed to win two more games. The first was the semifinal, held on the 17th. Taking black, he defeated Mizokami Tomochika 8P by resignation, so he has reached the play-off to decide the challenger. His opponent will be the winner of the other semifinal, Takao Shinji 9P.
First Round Of Meijin League Completed: Two games in the 39th Meijin League were played in mid-December, completing the first round. On the 16th, Takao Shinji 9P (B) defeated Yuki Satoshi Judan by resignation. On the 19th, Kono Rin 9P (W) beat Ko Iso 8P, also by resignation.
Honinbo League Update: On December 19, two games were played in the 69th Honinbo League. Cho U 9P defeated league newcomer Ida Atsushi 7P (left) by just half a point to secure a plus record. He and Ida are both on 2-1. The other league newcomer, Yo Seiki 7P, picked up his first win after starting with two losses. Taking black, he beat Sakai Hideyuki 8P by 3.5 points.
Women’s Meijin League: One game was played in the 26th Women’s Meijin League on December 19. Ishii Akane 2P (B) beat Okuda Aya 3P by resignation, but both players have lost their places in the league. The top four keep their places, but four players already have three wins, so Okuda, now on 1-4, can’t catch up. Ishii is on 2-4 and has played all her games; she has a bye in the final round. Kato Keiko 6P leads the league on 4-1.
Korea Wins New International Tournament: Yet another new international tournament has been founded in China (there are so many now that it’s hard to keep track). The latest arrival is the Zhugang Cup World Weiqi Team Championship, organized by the Chinese Weiqi Association and the Guangzhou City Physical Education Congress. Presumably Zhugang is the name of the sponsor, but I have no information about this. The new tournament is for three-player teams, who play one-on-one games up to the final.
The first Cup was held from December 20 to 25, starting with a preliminary round on the 20th, followed by a ranking tournament from the 22nd to the 24th to decide the 16th to 5th places. The top four teams met in semifinals and the top two played a final, all on the 25th; uniquely for an official tournament, the final took the form of a consultation game, with the players on each team conferring about their moves. There were some famous consultation games in prewar Japan, but they were not in official tournaments. Another novel feature of the tournament is that Japan, China, and Korea each fielded a second team, made up of players who had won international tournaments. These are the teams with “W” after the country’s name (“W” seems to be short for “wild cards”).
First of all, here are the placings in the ranking tournament (ties were broken by win totals).
1. Korea 5-0
2. China: 4-1
3. China W: 4-1
4. Korea W: 3-2
5. Japan W: 3-2
6. Japan: 3-2
7. Chinese Taipei: 3-2
8. Hong Kong: 3-2
9. Thailand: 2-3
10. USA: 2-3
11. Germany: 2-3
12. Australia: 2-3
13. Ukraine: 2-3
14. Czech Republic: 1-4
15. Canada: 1-4
16. Macao: 0-5
In the semifinals, Korea beat Korea W 3-0 and China beat China W by the same margin. In the final, the Korean team of Kang Tong-yun 9P, Ch’oe Ch’eol-han 9P, and Pak Cheong-hwan 9P (B) beat the Chinese team of Shi Yu 9P, Zhou Ruiyang 9P, and Chen Yaoye 9P by resignation. Presumably in order to allow for the extra time required for the players to consult, the time allowance for this game was four and a half hours per team, followed by byo-yomi of 60 seconds x 5 times. This is probably the longest time allowance for an international tournament so far. (For the other games, the time allowance was two hours 45 minutes, with the same byo-yomi.)
In the play-off for third place, held on the same day, China W beat Korea W 3-0. The individual results here were as follows (all players are 9P): Gu Li (B) beat Cho Hun-hyeon by resig.; Chang Hao (W) beat Yu Ch’ang-hyeok by 7.5 points; Kong Jie (B) beat Yi Ch’ang-ho by resig. Just for the record, the Japan W team, which ended above the regular team, was made up of Kobayashi Koichi, Cho Chikun, and Takemiya Masaki. The members of the regular team were O Meien, Ryu Shikun, and Mizokami Tomochika.
Over 500 hundred fans watched online Friday morning as the opening round began for the second AGA Pro Qualification tournament. The games are being held at the historic Hotel Normandie in downtown Los Angeles, and broadcast online on KGS. Games began at 9:30 am (PST) Friday, January 3. Players who lose in the first round will still have a second chance to continue on into Round Two in this double elimination knockout event. Round Two started at 4:30 pm (PST) today (Jan. 3).
Round 1 results: Eric Lui defeated Daniel Gourdeau (W+12.5); Jianing Gan defeated Ryan Li (W+r); Bill Lin defeated Ben Lockhart (W+14.5); Calvin Sun defeated Andrew Lu (B+1.5).
Before the games started, each player was given a portable go set from the Korea Baduk Association (KBA). The winner will not only be certified as the AGA’s third professional player, but will also win a $1,500 cash prize, and each finalist will receive $800.
Jeff Shaevel is the tournament director, Myungwan Kim the referee, and the E-Journal’s game recording team includes Andrew Jackson, Richard Dolen, Dave Dows, Dennis Wheeler and Joe Cepiel. Also on hand are AGA president Andy Okun and Executive Vice President Ted Terpstra.
- report by Dennis Wheeler
At least seven out-of-town players are coming to the Jin Chen Memorial Tournament in Seattle. “Registration is on the morning of the tournament, Sunday, Jan. 5 at 10 a.m., so we don’t know about everybody who is coming,” reports manager Brian Allen. “But we expect the open section to be very competitive.” Xingshuo Liu, 7d and Ran Yan, 6d are traveling to the games for a second year. A young Chinese pro, Ximeng Yu (Simon), 1P, who is now a local college student is also probably coming. ”We also have five amateur dan level players who are visiting from China. Their instructor, Xiaomin Yao, 4P, will provide game analysis. Ms. Yao was a colleague of Guo Juan and Yilun Yang when they lived in China and this is her first trip to the United States.” Photo: Xingshuo Liu (far left) and Ran Yan (far right) at the 2013 Jin Chen Tournament. photo by Brian Allen
Starting this Friday, eight young North American go players will battle it out to be the next American go professional (8 Young North Americans Want To Be Next AGA Pro 11/21/2013 EJ). The second AGA Pro Certification Tournament will take place January 3-7 in Los Angeles and the E-Journal will broadcast top-board games live on KGS in the AGA Tournaments Room. Click here for the schedule and pairings.
Two teams representing the ancient British universities of Oxford and Cambridge met over the board on the evening of Monday, December 30 as a side event to the London Open, with neither coming out on top. The two rounds constituting the match, in which each team fielded two alumni and two students of their respective universities, were both drawn 2-2. Accordingly, all players shared the champagne earmarked for the winners as well as each taking a £40 cash prize and the team sweaters worn during play. Both teams also took away a set each of the five-volume Learn To Play Go series of books by Janice Kim and Jeong Soo-hyun.
Playing for Oxford were alumni Matthew Macfadyen 6d and Alex Rix 2d and students Jiang Junnun 4d and Stephane Thao 4k (who was given three stones) and for Cambridge, alumni Andrew Simons 4d and Chris Bryant 1d and students “Tony” Lou Yusiang 5d and Jamie Taylor 1d. Rix and Lou were the only players to win both their games. Games were half-hour main time, plus five minutes Milton Keynes overtime then five minutes sudden death.
The match, which was broadcast live on the WBaduk site with the help of four volunteer BGA game recorders, was the first in what it is hoped will be an annual event, the WBaduk Varsity Match, and was sponsored by WBaduk — a South Korean government-backed website for the promotion of go worldwide — and organized in cooperation with the British Go Association (BGA). As well as the prizes, the sponsors also donated magnetic go sets, beginners’ books and T-shirts to both universities’ go clubs. The total budget for the event was $5,300. Organization on the ground was by Toby Manning of the BGA and Lee Semi, wife of London Open guest, top European-rated Korean player Hwang In-Seong, on behalf of WBaduk. For further details, including player profiles and game results, visit WBaduk’s event page.
Tony Collman, British correspondent for the E-Journal. Photos – top: Tony Lou Yusiang (Cambridge, on the left) v Matthew Macfadyen; bottom: Andrew Simons (Cambridge, on the left) v Jiang Junnun. Banner graphic courtesy of WBaduk.
What better way to wish our membership a happy new year, than to remind them of the upcoming Annual General Meeting (AGM) in January. It will be taking place on January the 18th during the Top 8 tournament. Due to the ongoing strategic repositioning of the executive membership, this year all of the top posts are up for grabs. You are therefore very much encouraged to turn up and take part in the meeting to shape the Irish Go Association.
Date: Saturday 18th January Time: 5:30pm Place: Leeson Lounge (148 Upper Leeson Street, Dublin 4)
The following positions are open for election (incumbent in brackets)
President (Rory Wales, who is standing down)
Secretary (Eoghan Barry, resigned due to relocation)
Treasurer (Acting – Rory Wales, not restanding)
Committee Member (Noel Mitchell, Arthur Cater, Justyna Kleczar, Ian Davis (webmaster), James Hutchinson, John Gibson, Rich Brennan)
The following motions are known
Motion 1, proposed by Ian Davis: The current selection process for the Top 8 is proving overly complex to administer (multiple emails & delays etc).For reference we currently have: (1)The Top 8 is composed of the four top finishers from the previous year who intend participating in the current championship and four additional qualifiers. (2)The four additional qualifiers are determined by the Irish Ladder tournament (3)Where a player qualifies for, but is unable to take part in the Top 8, then the next player in line from the same qualification route will be chosen to take his place. I propose to change this as follows (1) The four top finishers in the Top 8 from the previous year earn the right to a qualification spot in the current Top 8, which they may accept or decline. (2) The remaining places are filled from the Irish Ladder tournament
“The kids at our school, Gimnasio de Go, had a very busy December with three tournaments at different places,” reports Mexico City organizer Siddhartha Avila. ”On December 4th Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México ran the El otro Tesuji tournament organized by college and high school students. We sent four elementary school representatives, Paula Corona, Valeria Gonzalez, Mariana García and Omar Zavala-who got 3rd place, pictures here. On December 7th, our group played in the Biblioteca de México, Torneo de Go 2013, a children’s tournament organized by myself, in collaboration with Biblioteca de México José Vasconcelos, a library where we are offering free go workshops on Saturdays. Winners report: 1st place: Fernanda; 2nd place: Diego Alí and Akira; 3rd place: Naohmi and Kairi. Pictures here. Finally, on December 13th, we played in the Torneo de Go Invierno 2013, this was our winter elementary school go tournament, which was divided in two brackets.” Winners report: 20kyu-25kyu division: 1st place: Sebastián; 2nd place: Marcos; 3rd place: Diego Alí; 10kyu-19kyu division: 1st place: Omar; 2nd place: Diego Armando; 3rd place: Valeria, pictures here. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Photo by Siddhartha Avila: At Biblioteca de México José Vasconcelos
Get the latest go events information.
The final round of pair go at the 2013 SportAccord World Mind Games was played in the morning of December 18th. The pairs from China and Chinese Taipei took their seats at board one to play for the gold medal, under the TV cameras in a screened-off corner of the playing room. The pairs from Japan and Korea sat down at board two to play for the bronze medal. Two European pairs took their positions at board three to play for fifth place. At 9:30 chief referee Wang Runan directed them to begin. The games were followed on monitor screens in the spectators’ room next door by the remaining members of the teams from Chinese Taipei and Japan and several of the European and North American players.
In contrast to the drama of the games yesterday afternoon, which had held the spectators enthralled, the games that decided the medals were both relatively quiet. On board one, Chinese Taipei’s Joanne Missingham and Wang Yuan-jyun launched a series of ko fights, but China’s Wang Chenxing and Zhou Ruiyang simply conceded the kos and took territory. Halfway through the endgame it was clear that the Chinese pair was safely ahead, and the pair from Chinese Taipei resigned. The players then immediately began discussing the game, the Chinese pair all laughter and smiles, their opponents somewhat more solemn. Ms Wang and Mr Zhou had added gold medals to the silver medals they had won in women’s individual and men’s team competition. The silver medals won by Ms Missingham and Mr Wang were a new high for Chinese Taipei in SportAccord World Mind Games competition.
In a brief postgame interview, the Chinese pair said that cooperation had been the most important element in their victory. They added they had never felt behind, in distinct contrast to their game against the Japanese pair the previous day.
On board two, the Korean pair (Park Jieun and Kim Jiseok) answered a Japanese ko challenge by splitting some of their opponents’ stones into two weak groups. That gave them lots of ko ammunition, which they used to win the ko fight, and from then on the Japanese pair (Fujisawa Rina and Fujita Akihiko) was playing catch-up. The final margin was 1-1/4 stones (2.5 points) in favor of the Koreans; they had captured the bronze medals.
On board three, for the second straight day the Russian brother-sister pair (Svetlana Shikshina and Ilya Shikshin) faced European opponents. Yesterday they had been triumphant. Today, playing Russia’s Dina Burdakova and Slovakia’s Pavol Lisy, they were not.
Pavol: ‘I think we won because Dina played very well. Another reason was that we avoided complications. She played moves I could understand and I tried to play moves that she would understand, even if they weren’t the best moves. But it was scary at the end. At one point Ilya wanted to resign. That made me think we were were at least five points ahead, so after Svetlana decided to keep playing, I made some careless mistakes. The final margin was only half a point.’
The medals for pair go, and for individual bridge, Basque system chess, super blitz draughts, and xiangqi, were awarded at a ceremony in the evening. There were also cash prizes for all eight competing pairs of go players, ranging from $24,000 for first place down to $2000 for seventh and eighth places. A huge banquet followed the ceremony, bringing another Sport Accord World Mind Games to a very successful conclusion.
- James Davies
Pair Go – Round 2
White: Wang, Zhou (China)
Black: Fujisawa, Fujita (Japan)
Click here to start the game viewer.
Commentary by Michael Redmond 9p, transcribed by Chris Garlock.
Pair Go: Final
White: Wang, Zhou (China)
Black: Missingham, Wang (Chinese Taipei)
Pair Go is now played at a very high level, as we see in this game featuring top professionals. Good Pair Go players must work as a team and succesful pairs practice and come to their games with fairly well-developed plans, which is quite different than most singles games.
Click here to start the game viewer.
Commentary by Michael Redmond 9p, transcribed by Chris Garlock.
At 9:30 a.m. on December 17th deputy chief referee Michael Redmond greeted the sixteen contestants taking part in the pair go competition, reviewed the time control and other details, and gave the instruction to start the first round. On board one the draw had matched the Korean pair (Park Jieun and Kim Jiseok), who had already won medals in men’s and women’s competition, against the North American pair (Canada’s Sarah Jin Yu and California’s Daniel Daehyuk Ko).
‘Tomorrow it’s my turn to win,’ Daniel had said the day before, after seeing Yongfei Ge (Canada) defeat Lin Chun-yen (Chinese Taipei) in the men’s team event. For a moment it looked as if these words might come true. He and Sarah Jin swallowed up two white stones in the bottom left corner, putting the medal winners at a disadvantage early in the opening. Some black overplays in the bottom right let the Koreans catch up, however, and get ahead, then further ahead, and still further ahead–the North American pair was about ten stones behind (20 points behind) when they resigned.
On board two the pair from Chinese Taipei (Joanne Missingham and Wang Yuan-jyun) was matched against the first European pair (Russia’s Dina Burdakova and Slovakia’s Pavol Lisy). Gone were yesterday’s red jackets; Ms Missingham was dressed in black and Mr Wang was sporting a purple T-shirt. The dapper duo from Chinese Taipei began the middle game by forcing a black group to live in ko, and used their ko threats to invade a framework that Black had built in the bottom right. Their position then looked quite good until Mr Lisy found a knight’s move that both threatened the invaders and broke a ladder. Mr Wang took twenty minutes to consider his reply. Unfortunately for the European pair, a mistake by Ms Burdakova soon allowed White to reach a favorable exchange. Eventually the Europeans, behind in territory and burdened by two weak groups, took one risk too many, lost one of the weak groups, and resigned.
On board three, the Japanese pair (Fujisawa Rina and Fujita Akihiko) and the second European pair (Svetlana Shikshina and Ilya Shikshin) both held steady to the end. The Russian brother-sister pair played well, but the Japanese pair played a little better. Shortly before noon, with the game almost over and the Japanese pair comfortably ahead, the Russians resigned.
The game on board four ended more quickly. The Chinese pair (Wang Chenxing and Zhou Ruiyang) constructed a large black framework. Their European opponents (Russia’s Natalia Kovaleva and France’s Fan Hui) tried a surprisingly deep invasion, initiated by Ms Kovaleva. This lead to a ko exchange, and already the Chinese side had the lead. Abandoning all thoughts of a peaceful territorial victory, the European pair plotted a comeback in a double attack, but the Chinese refuted it in another ko and won by resignation.
In the second round, played in the afternoon, the Chinese pair played the Japanese. An adventurous move by Ms Wang in the opening led to a fight that turned out well for the Japanese, and Ms Fujisawa and Mr Fujita seized the lead. Their one worry was a large baseless ‘dragon’ group in the center. Big groups are hard to kill, but by harrying the dragon the Chinese pair gradually diminished their opponents’ lead, and then reversed it. The Japanese pair staged an honorable resignation by sacrificing the dragon.
While this drama was unfolding, the pairs from Korea and Chinese Taipei were engaged in an even more dramatic running battle that eventually morphed into a ko fight. Korean players are noted for their prowess in fights and battles, but players from Chinese Taipei like them too, and when the ko stage was reached the lead was unclear. The remaining endgame was not simple, but Ms Missingham and Mr Wang came out clearly ahead, whereupon Ms Park and Mr Kim resigned.
While the second round was in progress, a first playoff round was being held to determine which pairs would advance into tomorrow’s playoff for fifth and sixth places. The game between North America (Ms Yu and Mr Ko) and Europe (Ms Burdakova and Mr Lisy) was televised. The North Americans started out very badly, but they recovered in the middle game and may have even led briefly. At the end, however, the soft-spoken Europeans were ahead by 1-1/4 stone (2.5 points).
The all-European game between Ms Kovaleva and Mr Fan (black) and Ms Shikshina and Mr Shikshin (white) was won by Ms Shikshina and Mr Shikshin. By capturing a scattered assortment of black stones they gained enough territory to make the game even on the board, and won by size of the compensation.
The entire Russian contingent then gathered around one of the monitor screens outside the playing room to watch the outcome of the second-round games, but the keynote remark of the day had already been uttered by Dina Burdakova after her pair’s loss to Chinese Taipei. ‘I enjoyed the game,’ she said. ‘Pavol Lisy played good moves.’
- James Davies
Pair go is a little like contract bridge with stones instead of cards, and with your partner sitting beside you instead of opposite. The pair go competition at the World Mind Games began with the pairs from the Far East beating the pairs from Europe and North America in the morning, and then they tackled each other in the afternoon. The Chinese and Korean pairs were favoured to win, but both met with stout opposition.
Matched against China, the Japanese pair made a good start and led for most of their game. The Chinese pair, however, gradually crept up on them and got slightly ahead near the end. The Japanese pair lost in style by offering a sacrifice of a huge group of stones, which the Chinese pair of course accepted.
The Korean pair had an even harder time with Chinese Taipei. In fact, Joanne Missingham and Wang Yuan-jyun beat them, after an extended running battle and a big ko exchange. Tomorrow Ms Missingham and Mr Wang will play Ms Wang and Mr Zhou for the gold and silver medals, while the Japanese and Korean pairs duel for the bronze and two European pairs vie for fifth place. No predictions are offered for the outcomes of these matches. In pair go anything can happen.
Pair knockout, first round: Park Jieun and Kim Jiseok (Korea) beat Sarah Jin Yu and Daniel Daehyuk Ko (North America), Joanne Missingham and Wang Yuan-jyun (Chinese Taipei) beat Dina Burdakova and Pavol Lisy (Europe), Fujisawa Rina and Fujita Akihiko (Japan) beat Svetlana Shikshina and Ilya Shikshin (Europe), Wang Chenxing and Zhou Ruiyang (China) beat Natalia Kovaleva and Fan Hui (Europe)
Pair knockout, second round: Ms Missingham and Mr Wang (Chinese Taipei) beat Ms Park and Mr Kim (Korea), Ms Wang and Mr Zhou (China) beat Ms Fujisawa and Mr Fujita (Japan)
Pair knockout, first playoff round: Ms Burdakova and Mr Lisy (Europe) beat Ms Yu and Mr Ko (North America), Ms Shikshina and Mr Shikshin (Europe) beat Ms Kovaleva and Mr Fan (Europe)
The much anticipated SAWMG school visit took place on Tuesday afternoon. This was a chance for a lucky few Beijing schoolchildren to meet the top players and officials from the World Mind Games taking place this December in Beijing.
The school selected was Huajiadi Experimental Primary School, known for its cutting-edge approach to teaching and for boasting 956 junior grade go players. The visit began with a tour of the school’s go facilities, including a classroom clad in go-related pictures – from photographs of famous players to prints of Hikaru no Go. On the walls of the corridor outside hung posters of go proverbs and manners.
The guests were greeted by two rooms of children buzzing with excitement. In the first classroom, a hands-on lesson on nakade grabbed the children’s attention, and in the second the pupils quickly settled down and answered questions about the history and rules of the game. The guests were then taken downstairs to the gymnasium, where boards had been set out for the 40 kids who would take on top professionals in nine-stone handicap games.
Matsuura Koichiro, the former Director-General of UNESCO and now President of the International Go Federation, gave a speech expressing his support of the event. “We hope that you not only learn about the game, but also develop skills in strategy and planning. I only started to learn the game when I was 18 and am very glad that you have encountered it at such an early age.”
We chatted with two of the participants, Xiaotong and Jialin, both seven years old, after their games with Kim Soojang 9p. They told us how much fun they have playing go, spurred on by a very enthusiastic teacher, and how happy they were to play with Mr Kim.
At the farewell ceremony, everyone who took part was given a goody bag containing a SAWMG official t-shirt and watch from the sponsors (Swatch Group). We hope that this unique event has helped to inspire the next generation of go talent in Beijing.
- John Richardson
White: Chenxing WANG (China) 5p
Black: Zhiying YU (China) 4p
Click here to start the game viewer.
Commentary by Michael Redmond 9p, transcribed by Chris Garlock.
“Let’s have dinner! We drink vodka!” Not the first words you would expect to hear after the tense final of an international go final. But this is how bridge superstar Fulvio Fantoni greeted the rival Polish team at the conclusion of yesterday’s Pairs Open at the 2013 SportAccord World Mind Games. “We’re all good friends,” Fantoni told Ranka. “We’ve known each other for many years.”
Even during games you can see players chatting with their opponents. “We sometimes share a joke,” says Fantoni. “It doesn’t affect the game but it is very important for bridge players to get on – even with our rivals.” At the all-important bidding phase a barrier drops down to separate the players from their partners – so in bridge it’s adversaries who sit on the same side of the wall.
Because bridge is played with partners, relationships are important. Fantoni says that his partner Claudio Nunes is technically stronger, but that Fantoni has different qualities to bring to the table. “There are no particular roles in a team – both players have the same importance. But you need to balance your qualities, you need a good rapport.”
To become a top go professional it is usually necessary to start at a very young age and to study relentlessly for many years. While of course an immense level of commitment and thousands of hours of hard graft are also necessary to reach the top in bridge, Fantoni explains that the situation is not as clear cut as in go. “There are some things you can only really absorb when you are young, but that is no reason not to take up bridge later in life. There are millions of situations that can appear in a game, so ideally you need to get familiar with as many as possible. There’s always something you can learn, but finding unknown territory gets harder the more you play. I think that at the top level it is concentration that becomes the most important, and that is something that can mature with age.”
With a jovial atmosphere and promise of drinks over at the bridge camp, we ask ourselves – are we playing the wrong game?
- John Richardson
The fifth and final round of the men’s team event at the 2013 SportAccord World Mind Games began at 12:30 on December 16th, with chief referee Wang Runan presiding. Excitement was in store in all three matches. In the match between Chinese Taipei and Europe, for example, after Chinese Taipei’s Lin Chun-yen had beaten Slovakia’s Pavol Lisy by resignation on board three, Russia’s Ilya Shikshin struck back for Europe by defeating Wang Yuan-jyun on board two. Ilya’s summary:
‘The opening was even. I got a little behind later, but after I invaded his main territory and captured some of his stones inside it, I was far ahead. Then I played a very bad endgame, so I only won by half a point.’
On board one France’s Fan Hui also seemed to be winning, but he made a few small mistakes in the final stages of the endgame and Chou Chun-hsun eked out victory by the narrowest possible margin. Both players came out of the playing room in states of high agitation. This result secured the match and the bronze medal for Chinese Taipei, but it had been an awfully close call.
Not to be outdone, the North American team also scored a win, its first of the tournament, in a game against Japan. The winner was Canada’s Yongfei Ge, who defeated Tsuruta Kazushi, likewise by the narrowest possible margin, on board three. Yongfei’s summary:
‘I actually played well in the opening, and I got a chance to take a big lead in the middle game, but I missed it. The fighting after that was very close. We traded the lead back and forth, and I was the lucky one in the end. Thank goodness, because this is the only game I’ve won here!’
The other two North American players both lost, so Japan won that match. As a result, Japan finished fourth, Europe fifth, and North America sixth.
In the meantime, the fight between China and Korea for the gold medal was looking promising for the Chinese team. Zhou Ruiyang had defeated Kim Jiseok by resignation on board two, and Fan Tingyu and Wang Xi also seemed to be winning their games. On board one, however, Park Jeonghwan found a wedging tesuji (diagram below) that no one else had seen, gaining a ko for a black group that Fan thought he had killed. Park had plenty of ko ammunition, and when the ko fight ended with the black group alive, Fan could only resign.
Wang Xi’s opponent on board three was Cho Hanseung, who had won a place on the Korean team by beating last year’s gold and silver medalists (Choi Chulhan and Kang Dongyoon), but had then lost his first game to Chinese Taipei’s Lin. Cho now constructed a large framework that enveloped the right side and much of the center. Wang invaded and lived inside it. Advantage–Wang, but there followed a lengthy endgame in which Cho came from behind to win, once again by the narrowest possible margin. Match and gold medals to Korea; silver medals to China. Overall lesson: the endgame may be the least exciting part of the game, but it is the most important part.
Here’s the tesuji that Park Jeonghwan found. The complete game record, with Michael Redmond’s commentary, is here.
Still to be determined was the fate of the gold and silver medals in the women’s individual competition. China’s Wang Chenxing and Yu Zhiying began playing the deciding game at three o’clock. Ms Yu, with black, took the initiative from the outset, constructing a large framework and grabbing territory as well. Ms Wang spent much of the opening reducing Ms Yu’s framework from above, without gaining much territory for herself. Ms Yu’s lead held up through the middle game and endgame, and when she won a late-endgame ko fight, Ms Wang resigned.
An awards ceremony was held in the evening. Following the awarding of medals for pair bridge and blitz chess, the men’s go teams from Korea, China, and Chinese Taipei took the dais to receive their medals and witness the raising of their flags, accompanied by the playing of the Korean national anthem. The Korean team placed their hands on their hearts. The team from Chinese Taipei added color to the pageant with the bright red jackets that they had also worn throughout their matches. Next three women took the stage to receive their medals: the gold for Yu Zhiying, the silver for Wang Chenxing, and the bronze for Park Jieun. Two Chinese flags and one Korean flag were raised and the Chinese national anthem was played. Ms Wang adds the silver medal to the Bingsheng women’s world championship cup she won in September; Ms Yu adds the gold medal to the Bingsheng runner-up cup. These two would seem to have displaced last year’s gold and silver medalists (Li He and Rui Naiwei) as the leading ladies of the go world.
The medals carry with them substantial monetary prizes, ranging from $120,000 for the gold-medal men’s team to $10,000 for the women’s individual bronze. There are also monetary prizes, in gradually diminishing amounts, for the teams and individuals who finished fourth and below. Everyone gets at least something.
And what if Europe had won that game on board one against Chinese Taipei? It would have made no difference to the final results. Chinese Taipei, Europe, and Japan would have been tied with identical 2-3 match scores, but the tie would have been broken on the basis of total games won. Thanks to the victories by Lin Chun-yen in the first round and Yongfei Ge in the last round, and to Japan’s shutout of Europe in the first round, Chinese Taipei would still have finished third, Japan fourth, and Europe fifth. But in any case, the last-round heroics by North American and European players give the North American and European pairs tremendous encouragement in the pair competition that starts on December 17th.
- James Davies