World news

Medals for Korea, China, and Chinese Taipei

IGF Ranka - Mon, 16/12/2013 - 12:00

The men’s team competition came to a dramatic finish as China battled Korea for the gold medal. The games on the first two boards both ended in resignation after intense fighting, Korea’s Park Jeonghwan winning on board one and China’s Zhou Ruiyang on board two. On board three Korea’s Cho Hanseung, who had lost a game in the match against Chinese Taipei in the first round, faced China’s undefeated Wang Xi. The winner? Cho, by a fraction of a stone, and the Korean team takes home the gold medals.

The other two matches were also dramatic. Chinese Taipei defeated the European team to capture the bronze medal, and Japan defeated North America to finish fourth, but Canada’s Yongfei Ge ended the North Americans’ winless streak by beating a Japanese opponent on board three. The European team also won a game, and they very nearly won two; Chinese Taipei’s lead player Chou Chun-hsun was sweating profusely after a last-minute come-from-behind victory over France’s Fan Hui.

In women’s individual competition, Yu Zhiying defeated Wang Chenxing in the all-Chinese final match. Ms Yu takes the gold, Ms Wang takes the silver, and Korea’s Park Jieun receives the bronze medal.


Men’s team tournament, fourth round

Chinese Taipei 2-1 Europe
Chou Chun-hsun beat Fan Hui
Ilya Shikshin beat Wang Yuan-jyun
Lin Chun-yen beat Pavol Lisy

China 2-1 Korea
Park Jeonghwan beat Fan Tingyu
Zhou Ruiyang beat Kim Jiseok
Cho Hanseung beat Wang Xi

Japan 2-1 North America
Fujita Akihiko beat Huiren Yang
Hirata Tomoya beat Daniel Daehyuk Ko
Yongfei Ge beat Tsuruta Kazushi

Women’s individual tournament, seventh round
Yu Zhiying (China) beat Wang Chenxing (China)

Categories: World news

Designing a Tournament with Martin Stiassny

IGF Ranka - Mon, 16/12/2013 - 10:03

Martin Stiassny

Martin Stiassny, the President of the European Go Federation since 2009, discusses this year’s SportAccord World Mind Games and the new changes to look forward to in the go world.

Ranka: What has been your role in organizing this particular event?
Martin: I’m here as the team leader for the European players and as a member of the IGF board of directors. As a team leader, I look after all the players, helping with any problems they encounter and even sometimes getting them out of bed! In preparation for the event I helped to collect all the required information for the flights and visas, as well as coming up with an appropriate qualification system to find this year’s participants.

Ranka: Could you describe your planned changes to the qualification system?
Martin: At the moment we have a three-way qualification system designed to cover each of the three events. For the Men’s team event we held a special qualification tournament, inviting the players with the highest European ratings. We also thought it was important for pair go to select players who had performed well in pair go events. We were reluctant in the past to use the European Go Congress as a qualification tournament because many top players were unable to attend for the full two weeks. From 2015 we are planning to reschedule the congress so that the main tournament is only for one week, and this will allow us in the future to use the EGC to decide qualification for the SportAccord World Mind Games.

Ranka: How about the format of the games next year? Can we expect any changes?
Martin: Firstly let me explain the rules for designing the go events. SportAccord allocate us a total of 30 players to take part and 7 days to fill with events. 30 is not such a convenient number (32 would be better) and that makes it all the more complicated. Personally I like the team events and would like to see more Women’s games. We would like to keep the pair go, another important way of promoting women’s go. The next option to consider is the introduction of blitz events. We would need to adjust the schedule to fit them in, but the more the merrier! Reducing time limits would not be good for the quality of the games, but the increased entertainment value for spectators would more than make up for that.

Ranka: Does the IGF have any plans to update present rating systems?
Martin: My personal opinion (and I’m not the only one!) is that we need an internationally standardized system like in chess. Europe and America have their own rating systems and Japan and Korea have no amateur rating system at all. These need to be combined but it’s not so easy with the systems being so far detached. I can see problems with image – players from countries with relatively inflated rating systems will not be keen to lose their hard-earned ranks. One way I see of getting around this is to introduce a system a bit like t-shirts! When you buy clothes there are often a variety of sizes indicated – Japanese, European, … we could do the same with go. At least at the start players could keep their various local ranks and when an international rating is available we would use that for tournaments. It’s not the first priority of the IGF however, and we therefore have no immediate plans for implementation.

Many thanks to Martin for all his hard work.

- John Richardson

Categories: World news

Interview with Park Jieun

IGF Ranka - Mon, 16/12/2013 - 09:50

Park Jieun

Ranka interviewed Korea’s Park Jieun after she had taken the bronze medal in the women’s individual event at the World Mind Games.

Ranka: Congratulations on winning the bronze medal.
Park: Thank you.

Ranka: Please tell us about how you learned to play go.
Park: My father played go. When I was ten years old, by Korean counting, which actually means eight or nine, I thought it looked interesting, so I asked him to teach me. I then discovered that it really was interesting. After I had been playing for a few years I began going to a go school–a baduk dojang. It was operated by an amateur player, but professional players would come and teach, so I had many professional instructors. After another year or so I made professional shodan.

Ranka: Were you also going to school during this time?
Park: Yes, but I spent almost one hundred percent of my time on go rather than school subjects.

Ranka: How popular was go in Korea back then?
Park: Seoul was full of go players. There were go classes in my school, although I didn’t attend them because I was already studying at the dojang. There were also amateur tournaments, I guess, but I didn’t attend them either because I was completely focused on training to become a pro. Anyway, this was a golden age of go in Korea, back in the 1990s and the first few years of the 21st century.

Ranka: How has it changed since then?
Park: Over time we professionals have continued to make technical progress in the game, but some things have been lost. Go used to be not only a game but also a cultural activity, with a lot of aspects that are hard to define, but they were enriching to the players. Now it’s a sport, and it’s only about winning. Go is still played in Korean schools, as an extracurricular activity, and there are go clubs at most universities, but go may not be as popular as it was before.

Ranka: Besides competing, are you also teaching now?
Park: Yes, one of my friends runs a go school, and I teach there once a month. I play teaching games, I review games the students have played, and so on–whatever I’m asked to do.

Ranka: What does go mean to you?
Park: When I was young go was interesting, it was fun, and I was simply enjoying it. As I’ve gotten older it’s become more complex. Sometimes I feel confused about my own feelings about the game.

Ranka: Do you have a future goal?
Park: My performance lately has not been so good, so my short-term goal is to recover my previous performance level. I intend to train more.

Ranka: What has been your high point so far?
Park: Winning the Jeongganjang Cup in 2003, when it was a women’s individual championship. That was my first world championship.

Ranka: Do you remember the game you played against Yoda Norimoto in the first Toyota Denso Cup?
Park: Yes, I was still very young. I expected to lose, so I tried playing a territory-oriented game, which was unusual for me at the time. Surprisingly, it worked–I won, so I was very happy.

Ranka: Thank you.

Categories: World news

Japan’s National Team

IGF Ranka - Mon, 16/12/2013 - 04:25

From the left: Tsuruta Kazushi, Fujita Akihiko and Hirata Tomoya

Last April Japan took the unprecedented step, in Japanese go, of creating a national team. The members, drawn from Kansai Kiin as well as the Nihon Kiin, form the pool from which Japan now selects the players who represent it in international competition. Ranka talked about the team (nicknamed ‘Go-Go Japan’) with the five members who are in Beijing for the SportAccord Mind Games.

Ranka: Did you do any special preparation for the Mind Games?
Fujita Akihiko: I’m playing in the pair go section with Fujisawa Rina, so we played three games of pair go at our training group.
Fujisawa Rina: Aside from those pair games, I just kept up my usual individual study and group training program.
Hirata Tomoya: I also kept up my normal training and study, nothing in particular for the Mind Games.
Tsuruta Kazushi: Me too, but before this tournament I think that I spent a little more time studying than I usually do.
Yoshida Mika: I had intended to practice playing quickly and get used to playing in overtime, but my daughter got sick, so I had to look after her for two weeks and had no time for anything else.

Ranka: What about online practice games?
Hirata: That’s something the National Team started doing a little before we were chosen for this tournament. Every week on Friday and Saturday the team members play each other on the net. We arrange our own opponents. I’m online there almost every week.
Tsuruta: Living in Nagoya, I don’t get into Tokyo very often, so these online games have been a really valuable opportunity. My most frequent opponent is Yamashita Keigo.
Fujisawa: I’ve played about sixty-five games online, against several strong team members. It’s a very good way to learn.
Fujita: I play when I have the chance.
Yoshida: Before these weekly practice sessions I had never played online before. Going onto the Internet used to make me feel queasy, but now I’ve managed to stifle that reaction and I’ve played about ten games.

Ranka: What changes if any has the National Team made to your approach to the game? Has it provided any inspiration
Tsuruta: The online games are doing me a lot of good.
Hirata: I wouldn’t say that being on the the National Team has inspired me to try harder–I’ve always been trying hard–but the existence of this team is certainly a very good thing.
Yoshida: The only tangible change has been the online games, but they’re on a volunteer basis, so my methods of studying haven’t changed much. But there has been a psychological boost. This is important. To improve at go you need the right mental attitude.

Ranka: Have you been taking part in the preliminary rounds held in China and Korea for the big international cups, and will being on the National Team make any difference to this?
Yoshida: I took part before getting married, but once a woman has children, she’s tied down. A man can go off and leave the kids for his spouse to look after, but a woman can’t escape.
Fujita: I’ve been playing in about one international preliminary a year. That will probably be my pace in the future.
Tsuruta: I play in the international preliminaries almost every chance I get.
Hirata: I’ve been going overseas for those preliminaries ever since I became a pro, and I plan to continue.

Ranka: At your own expense?
Hirata: Sure, that’s what I’ve been doing so far, so there’s no issue there.

Ranka: What else has the National Team been doing and what would you like to see it do in the future?
Yoshida: This is a very important question. Aside from mental attitude, we need to study the separate parts of the game, the endgame, for example, more thoroughly. A strong coach to instruct the team would be a help. We haven’t done enough yet.
Fujisawa: There’s a four-day training camp planned for the under-twenty members at the end of the year, in Hamamatsu. Besides playing practice matches we’ll analyse games, and work on the endgame and on life-and-death.
Fujita: The National Team program is still just getting started, but I hope there will be more activities like this training camp in the future.

Ranka: Thank you all very much.

Categories: World news

Women’s Individual Round 4 – Yu vs Wang

IGF Ranka - Mon, 16/12/2013 - 03:57

Yu Zhiying

Women’s Individual – Round 4

White: Zhiying YU (China) 4p
Black:  Chenxing WANG (China) 5p


This game features a fairly complicated — and exciting — opening, but when the dust settles, Black fails to punish White’s bad position and loses the chance to gain an advantage.


Click here to start the game viewer.

Commentary by Michael Redmond 9p, transcribed by Chris Garlock.

Categories: World news

Fourth day of Competition

IGF Ranka - Mon, 16/12/2013 - 02:58

Huiren Yang (left) playing Park Jeonghwan

In the fourth round of the men’s team event at the 2013 SportAccord World Mind Games China rolled over Europe 3-0 to remain completely undefeated. Korea rolled over North America 3-0, but on the top board in this match, the USA’s Huiren Yang, the oldest player competing, played an outstanding game against Korea’s top-rated pro Park Jeonghwan. The Koreans following the action on the monitor screens outside the playing room praised Mr Yang’s opening and thought he had ample opportunity to win, even though Mr Park prevailed in the end. In contrast, Daniel Daehyuk Ko was completely hamstrung by Kim Jiseok on board two, and Yongfei Ge, who tried an unusual opening with a three-stone corner enclosure on board three, was quickly beaten by Cho Hanseung.

Attention now focused on the match between Japan and Chinese Taipei. The game on the top board, between Chou Chun-hsun (Chinese Taipei, black) and Fujita Akihiko (Japan, white) was played to a YouTube audience with live commentary from Michael Redmond. Black framed the lower side. When White made a capping invasion, Black jumped into the lower left corner. In the next twenty moves White let Black capture the corner but built a solid wall above it, reducing Black’s framework to thirty points of territory buried under the wall. ‘At this point I thought White had a slightly better position,’ Fujita said. After a black mistake in the choice of joseki in the top right corner and a favorable (to White) exchange on the top left, White had a taken over large area stretching from the left side into the center and had a clear lead. Black tried unsuccessfully to reduce White’s area, and then resigned. First game to Japan.

On board two, Hirata Tomoya (black) started well for Japan, but then made a life-and-death mistake and lost a big group. ‘This game was very tough for me,’ said his opponent Wang Yuan-jyun. ‘In the opening I made a mistake that let Black capture five stones and get a strong position. Then Black made a minor mistake and I caught up a little, but I made another mistake that let him thrust out into the center and I was then even further behind. My only chance was to attack one of his groups and try to kill it. This should not have been possible–there were many variations and none of them worked–but fortunately for me he overlooked a move and the group died.’ Second game to Chinese Taipei.

The result of the match now rested on the outcome on board three, where Japan’s eighteen-year-old Tsuruta Kazushi was playing Chinese Taipei’s fifteen-year-old Lin Chun-yen. Mr Lin described what happened this way: ‘I felt that I had the advantage in the opening–I may have been about ten points ahead–but I lost that lead in the middle game. Now I was behind and the game was quite unfavorable for me, but I managed to regain the lead in the endgame. At the point when my opponent resigned I was about ten or fifteen points ahead.’ Match to Chinese Taipei by a 2-1 score, putting them in a strong position to capture the bronze medals. They also won the bronze medal last year in men’s individual competition, after Japan beat them to take the bronze in mixed team competition two years ago.

In the fifth round of women’s repechage competition, played in the morning before the men’s team round, Wang Chenxing (China) was matched against Svetlana Shikshina (Russia) and Park Jieun (Korea) against Chang Cheng-ping (Chinese Taipei). Ms Park and Ms Chang played a classical opening, and their game looked close until Ms Chang (black) let Ms Park (white) isolate four black eyeless stones on the lower side. Black fought desparately to counterattack, and succeeded in slicing White apart, but could not kill the cut-apart pieces. Instead, another black group died and Black resigned.

Svetlana Shikshina (left) playing Chen-Ping Chang

In the Wang-Shikshina game, White (Ms Wang) forced a weak black group to live with just two small eyes. Both sides then made big territories elsewhere. White declined a chance to start a major fight and the game ended without incident, Ms Wang winning by 5-1/4 stones (10.5 points).

The final game of the women’s repechage was therefore played between Ms Wang and Ms Park. Their game proceeded until all the territories had been completed and only neutral points remained to be filled. At this point Ms Park counted that she was a bit behind and resigned to take possession of the bronze medal. Ms Wang will play China’s Yu Zhiying again tomorrow to see who gets the silver medal and who gets the gold.

While Ms Wang was defeating Ms Park, a playoff for fourth place was also taking place. Ms Chang and Ms Shikshina played a lively game that proceeded with lots of skirmishes but no decisive battles. White found herself increasingly on the defensive, however, forced to concede territory in order to keep her groups alive. Late in the endgame, when Black succeeded in capturing five white stones in the center, White resigned. Fourth place therefore goes to Chinese Taipei’s Chang Cheng-ping while fifth place goes to Russia’s Svetlana Shikshina.

- James Davies

Categories: World news

Men’s Team Round 3: Cho vs Lisy

IGF Ranka - Mon, 16/12/2013 - 01:54

Cho (left) playing Lisy

Men’s Team – Round 3

White: Hanseung CHO (Korea) 9p
Black: Pavol LISY (Slovakia) 7d

Lisy played well in this game, considering his late start (he showed up 15 minutes after the round began) against a top pro. He maintained his chances to win until a key point in the middle game, when an overplay gave Hanseung Cho the chance to take control of the game..

Click here to start the game viewer.

Commentary by Michael Redmond 9p, transcribed by Chris Garlock.

Categories: World news

Men’s Team Round 2: Lisy vs Ge

IGF Ranka - Mon, 16/12/2013 - 01:52

Ge (left) playing Lisy

Men’s Team – Round 2

White: Pavol LISY (Slovakia) 6d
Black:  Yongfei GE (Canada) 7d

Click here to start the game viewer.

Commentary by Michael Redmond 9p, transcribed by Chris Garlock.

Categories: World news

Bronze medals for Park Jieun and (probably) Chinese Taipei

IGF Ranka - Sun, 15/12/2013 - 11:47

Tsuruta (left) playing Lin

In the fourth round of the men’s team competition, the teams from China and Korea disposed of the teams from Europe and North America without dropping a game, but the match between Chinese Taipei and Japan was a show-stopper. Japan got off to a good start on board one: Fujita Akihiko dominated Chinese Taipei’s veteran Chou Chun-hsun nearly throughout the game. When Chou resigned it looked as if Japan was also in good shape on boards two and three, but Wang Yuan-jyun launched a desperate counterattack on board two that succeeded against all odds, and then Lin Chun-yen magically turned a middle-game deficit into an endgame lead and won on board three. Match to Chinese Taipei, two games to one. Tomorrow the Chinese and Korean teams will play each other for the gold and silver medals, and if Chinese Taipei can beat the European team, they will have a bronze medal.

The medals are also beginning to fall into place in the women’s individual competition. Chinese players will win the gold and silver medals. Yu Zhiying will play Wang Chenxing again tomorrow to decide who gets which. Park Jieun, who won in the morning but lost to Ms Wang in the afternoon, has the bronze medal. Chang Cheng-ping, who lost in the morning, won the afternoon playoff for fourth place.


Men’s team tournament, fourth round

Chinese Taipei 2-1 Japan
Fujita Akihiko beat Chou Chun-hsun
Wang Yuan-jyun beat Hirata Tomoya
Lin Chun-yen beat Tsuruta Kazushi

China 3-0 Europe
Fan Tingyu beat Fan Hui
Zhou Ruiyang beat Ilya Shikshin
Wang Xi beat Pavol Lisy

Korea 3-0 North America
Park Jeonghwan beat Huiren Yang
Kim Jiseok beat Daniel Daehyuk Ko
Cho Hanseung beat Yongfei Ge

Women’s individual tournament, fifth round
Wang Chenxing (China) beat Svetlana Shikshina (Russia)
Park Jieun (Korea) beat Chang Cheng-ping (Chinese Taipei)
Women’s individual tournament, sixth round
Wang Chenxing (China) beat Park Jieun (Korea)

Categories: World news

The Red-Faced King: An Interview with Chou Chun-Hsun

IGF Ranka - Sun, 15/12/2013 - 11:04

Chou Chun-Hsun (right) in his 4th round game with Fujita Akihiko

Chou Chun-Hsun 9p is a player that Chinese Taipei deserve to be proud of. Chou not only won the LG Cup in 2007, but is also one of their finest homegrown players in history. While many top players such as Chou U move to Japan or China to study, Chou Chun-Hsun is still at home and is now training the next generation of young hopefuls. Known as the ‘Red-Faced King’, Chou was inspired to aim for the top by Mikhael Gorbachev, who shares a similar red birthmark, and now stands as the King of Go in Chinese Taipei.

Ranka: How was your game this afternoon with Japan’s Fujita 4p?
Chou: I was content with my position from the beginning until my opponent played an unusual knight’s move, which caused some problems. In the end I lost by resignation. The young Fujita was a very strong opponent. Even though he lost to his Chinese and Korean opponents, I felt that he had a number of chances in those games.

Ranka: How did you start playing go? Do you play other sports?
Chou: My father, a 3 dan amateur, got me into the game when I was seven. In my free time I enjoying running and mountain climbing. I think it’s important to maintain good physical fitness for playing go at a professional level – the time limits are long and it’s important to have the strength to keep full concentration.

Ranka: Tell us about the Haifeng Weiqi Academy.
Chou: This is our top academy for training young children, and we currently have nine students. The academy is named after the great player Lin Haifeng (Rin Kaiho in Japanese), whose daughter married the son of the academy’s founder Lin Wenbo. Lin himself is a very strong amateur player (7 dan) and has acted as a sponsor, giving free tuition to the youngsters. I’m now the main instructor.

Ranka: Do you enjoy teaching go?
Chou: Actually I used to find it a bit of a chore, but now I see it as an important responsibility. There are so many strong young Koreans and Chinese that we need to create similar programs to train the next generation of players for Chinese Taipei. We are still a long way off and need to focus more on nurturing young potential.

- John Richardson

Categories: World news

Third day of Competition: Yu Zhiying Clinches a Medal

IGF Ranka - Sat, 14/12/2013 - 15:47

Yu Zhiying

How does men’s go differ from women’s go? Aside from superficial matters such as the players’ average height, some have pointed to a temperamental difference: women tend to play more impetuously–to start a fight at the drop of a hat; men tend to play more patiently, laying deep strategic plans that only slowly mature into victory, sometimes with little or no fighting at all. Others find men’s go more coldly logical and women’s go more ‘human’.

Womanly qualities were on full display in the centerpiece game in the fourth round of women’s individual competition at the SportAccord World Mind Games on December 14th, and what a game it was! The two players, China’s Wang Chenxing and Yu Zhiying, the last remaining undefeated duo, came out fighting to kill from the word ‘go’.
Black (Ms Wang) laid out a loose group on the left side. White (Ms Yu) immediately surrounded it, with lethal intent. Black, with equally lethal intent, cut off and attacked some of the surrounding white stones. White defended them by attacking an adjacent black group–and so it went, both players carefully pondering their moves, with the life of their stones at stake. And then this battle royal had a heartwarming ‘human’ outcome. Every single threatened group lived. Peace descended on the board, the pace of play quickened, and in the end Ms Yu won by 2-1/4 stones or 4.5 points (click here to see the game record). She is now just one more win away from a gold medal, and is assured of at least the silver.

Park Jieun

In the repechage section of the women’s competition, the two women from Chinese Taipei staged another protracted fight that involved many groups and ended with them all alive. Chang Cheng-ping was the winner in this tale of war and peace. She was comfortably ahead on territory when Joanne Missingham resigned.

The two Russians put on a similar show in reverse, starting peacefully enough, but ending in a duel to the death between two opposing groups. The duel was won by Svetlana Shikshina, at which her opponent, go ambassador Natalia Kovaleva, tactfully resigned.

It was left to the two Koreans to show that an entire game can be played without any deadly combat at all. Although one small group died, it was not taken by force; it was essentially given away by its owner Oh Jeonga. The gift was given in hope of compensation that failed to materialize, and Park Jieun won by resignation. The repechage winners will join Wang Chenxing to compete for the right to contest the gold and silver medals with Yu Zhiying, and to compete for the bronze.

Huiren Yang (left) playing hun-Hsun Chou

The third round of the men’s teams event came to an end while the women’s fourth round was still in progress. After losing to powerhouse teams from China and Korea in the first two rounds, the men’s team from Chinese Taipei for the first time found itself facing lower-ranked opponents. The rankings held true and Chinese Taipei won on all three boards, while their North American opponents suffered their third straight shutout defeat. China also defeated Japan on all three boards, and the European team, exuberant after their victory over North America yesterday, were duly chastened, on all three boards, by the Koreans.

These games amply displayed the manly qualities of strategy and deliberation. The young Japanese team in particular seemed determined to make the most of their opportunity to take on three of the best players in China, and their games were among the last to end, even though they all ended in resignation. Two other players, both amateurs, who strove patiently and manfully against strong professional opponents were Daniel Daehyuk Ko, who lost to Wang Yuan-jyun by 6-1/4 stones (12.5 points), and Pavol Lisy. The latter’s effort against Cho Hanseung was broadcast live via YouTube, with commentary by deputy chief referee Michael Redmond.


Men’s team tournament, third round

China 3-0 Japan: Fan Tingyu beat Fujita Akihiko, Zhou Ruiyang beat Hirata Tomoya, Wang Xi beat Tsuruta Kazushi
Korea 3-0 Europe: Park Jeonghwan beat Fan Hui, Kim Jiseok beat Ilya Shikshin, Cho Hanseung beat Pavol Lisy
Chinese Taipei 3-0 North America: Chou Chun-hsun beat Huiren Yang, Wang Yuan-jyun beat Daniel Daehyuk Ko, Lin Chun-yen beat Yongfei Ge

Women’s individual tournament, fourth round

Yu Zhiying (China) beat Wang Chenxing (China), Park Jieun (Korea) beat Oh Jeonga (Korea), Chang Cheng-ping (Chinese Taipei) beat Joanne Missingham (Chinese Taipei), Svetlana Shikshina (Russia) beat Natalia Kovaleva (Russia)

- James Davies

Categories: World news

Benjamin Teuber Takes On Michael Redmond 9p

IGF Ranka - Sat, 14/12/2013 - 10:39

The promising young German, Benjamin Teuber, took on Michael Redmond 9p in a special match held this morning at the venue of the SportAccord World Mind Games 2013. Originally the match was planned for South African Victor Chow (‘RoseDuke’), the winner of the SAWMG 2013 Pandanet tournament, however Teuber was substituted at the last minute as Chow was unable to attend. The handicap was two stones, with a time limit of 30 minutes sudden death.

Benjamin Teuber (left) playing Michael Redmond

The game was calm with Teuber playing a very solid opening, but when he failed to use his thickness to attack, he slowly but surely fell behind. After an attachment on the lower side that proved to be a little too optimistic, Redmond was able to make territory in the center, tipping the balance into his favor. Redmond emerged the victor after Teuber resigned in the endgame. Click here to see the game record with commentary by Michael Redmond.

After the match we asked Teuber his impressions about the game.

Teuber: I thought the game was going well until White was able to build the center. White played more calmly than I had expected, but in the second part of the game I began to gradually fall behind. I was unhappy with a decision in the upper left, unnecessarily fearing a ladder situation that should have been no trouble.

Teuber is currently taking part in the first year of a new training program held in China for top European players. Each year five young hopefuls will be selected to participate in this intense program lasting for five and a half months. The camp is run by strong Chinese pros, including the main coach Wang Yang 5p.

Ranka: Can you tell us about your daily training regimen?
Teuber: We focus on game practice and in-depth reviews. At the start we mainly played in an internal league with the five European players and one guest teacher. But recently we have been taking part in a league held at possibly the largest professional level go school in the world (180 students). Each evening we are expected to solve tsumego as homework.

Ranka: We hear you have also studied in Japan and China in the past. How does your study program differ from before?
Teuber: The training here is much more intense. In Japan we only did one game review per week and were expected to take responsibility for designing our own study program. Now we have a teacher just for the five of us.

Ranka: And how do you find life in Beijing?
Teuber: Like anywhere else there are ups and downs. I like the food and culture of China very much, but we study for six days every week and even on the rest days usually end up playing go, so there has been almost no time for sightseeing. Perhaps the most fun I have had so far was a soccer match against a team headed by Gu Li!

Ranka: How do you see the future of European go?
Teuber: I think European go is making great progress at the moment, particularly with the introduction of the study program in China. We have secured a ten year contract, and so can only expect Europe’s top players to increase further in strength.

- John Richardson

Categories: World news

Going to the Max

IGF Ranka - Sat, 14/12/2013 - 09:51

As games wrap up each day in the playing room at the Sport Accord World Mind Games venue in the Beijing International Conference Center, the review room next door fills up with players, pros and fans who review their games while keeping an eye on monitors showing the games still being played. The rapid clicking of go stones competes with the excited swirl of languages from around the world. Eventually, as darkness falls outside, the game room will empty, the day’s results will be marked on the scoreboard, and even the most hard-core players will tear themselves away from the go boards. For now. Until tomorrow, when the cycle begins again.

- Chris Garloc

Categories: World news

Men’s Team Round 2: Kim vs Hirata

IGF Ranka - Sat, 14/12/2013 - 09:01

Jiseok Kim (left) playing Tomoya Hirata

Men’s Team – Round 2

White: Jiseok KIM (Korea) 9p
Black: Tomoya HIRATA (Japan) 3p



Click here to start the game viewer.


Commentary by Michael Redmond 9p, transcribed by Chris Garlock.

Categories: World news

Draughted In: Why Zhao Hanqing Changed Games

IGF Ranka - Sat, 14/12/2013 - 08:40

Zhao Hanqing

Once a fervent go player, the 19 year-old Zhao Hanqing began to study international draughts in 2008 and has already secured victory in the World Championship (Junior Girls). She is currently taking part in the SportAccord World Mind Games held in Beijing alongside this year’s go events. The Chinese star gives us an insight into the world of draughts in China.

Ranka: What made you give up go for draughts?
Zhao: I started to play go when I was seven and studied hard for six years. It was at that time by chance that the 1st World Mind Games was being held in Beijing. In those days almost nobody in China could play international draughts, and I was drafted in to help form a Chinese team. Now there are almost 20 million players in China, thanks mainly to the recent promotion of mind games. This includes not only international tournaments such as the SportAccord World Mind Games but also national competitions and the incentive to teach mind games in schools.

Ranka: How does your new sport compare with go? Could you transfer your go skills and experience to draughts?
Zhao: I think both games are interesting and certainly very different, although that doesn’t mean there are no transferable skills. Reading tactical sequences is important in both games and my calculation skills led to quick progress in draughts. Draughts is a very simple game and I think that’s what makes it so appealing. Go is far more complex.

Ranka: How do you spend your time these days?
Zhao: At the moment I am studying draughts and the Russian language at college in Irkutsk. It’s bitterly cold, but I try to get in a game or two of go when time permits.

- John Richardson

Categories: World news

Men’s Team Round 1: Zhou vs Ko

IGF Ranka - Sat, 14/12/2013 - 03:42

Ruiyang Zhou

Men’s Team – Round 1

White: Ruiyang ZHOU (China) 9p
Black: Daniel Daehyuk KO (USA) 7d

Daniel Ko, the 7-dan from Los Angeles, California acquits himself quite well in this game against a world champion. Zhou won the first Bai Lin Ai Tou Cup, was a finalist in the 18th LG Cup and a member of the championship Chinese team in the 13th Nong Shim Cup. This game features a modern-style professional opening and competing moyos that both players invade. This could have been a close game but in the key fight in the middle-game, white pulls ahead in territory while attacking black.

Click here to start the game viewer.

Commentary by Michael Redmond 9p, transcribed by Chris Garlock.

Categories: World news

Men’s Team Round 1: Hirata vs Shikshin

IGF Ranka - Sat, 14/12/2013 - 02:07

Hirata Tomoya (left) playing Ilya Shikshin

Men’ s Team – Round 1

White: Hirata Tomoya (Japan) 3p
Black: Ilya Shikshin (Russia) 7d

Shikshin had a good start, attacking most of the time but ultimately the attacks don’t yield profit and towards the end of the middle game, Hirata is able to pull ahead in territory.

Click here to start the game viewer.

Commentary by Michael Redmond 9p, transcribed by Chris Garlock.

Categories: World news

Men’s Team Tournament: 2nd Round

IGF Ranka - Fri, 13/12/2013 - 16:47

Wang Xi (left) playing Lin Chun-yen

The second round of the men’s teams event started at 12:30 p.m. on December 13, following the second round of the women’s individual event. China was matched against Chinese Taipei, Japan against Korea, and Europe against North America. Deputy chief referee Michael Redmond gave the opening instructions.

On the basis of international tournament results during the current century, China and Korea seemed likely to have the advantage in their matches, but Chinese Taipei’s near upset of Korea in the first round raised doubts about the size of that advantage. The match between Europe and North America was harder to predict. North America had won a similar match two year ago, but by a close 3-2 score, and this year the European team had the advantage of youth.

The results of all three matches were decisive. China beat Chinese Taipei 3-0, Korea beat Japan 3-0, and Europe beat Russia 3-0. Following the games, Ranka talked with Russia’s Ilya Shikshin, who had defeated North America’s (Hollywood’s) Daniel Daehyuk Ko, and Slovakia’s Pavol Lisy, who had defeated Canada’s Yongfei Ge.

Ilya Shikshin (left) playing Daniel Daehyuk Ko

Ilya Shikshin: ‘Our game started out with a complex opening pattern in which my opponent made several mistakes, so I got the lead. I think I was about twenty points ahead. After that I tried to play simple moves, and my opponent started to take risks, trying to draw me into an error, but in the end I killed a dragon and he resigned.’

Pavol Lisy: ‘I had a bad opening, but then somehow I caught up and even pulled ahead. At one point I thought I was going to win by about six points, nearly the size of the komi. Then something happened to a group of mine in the corner. At first it looked as if I was going to lose all my territory there. I was terrified, but I thought for ten minutes and found a way to rescue it, and after I did, my opponent resigned.’

Here’s the position that caused the terror.

Pavol is white. Yongfei invaded his corner with Black 1-9 in Diagram 1, and suddenly what had looked like 18 points of white territory began to look more like a double life. The saving move that Pavol came up with was White 1 in Diagram 2. After White 3, Yongei abandoned the black stones, played a few moves elsewhere on the board, and then resigned. If he had continued, he can only play as in Diagram 3, but the black group ends up in atari while White still has two liberties left.

Here’s a summary of the match results:

China 3-0 Chinese Taipei: Fan Tingyu beat Chou Chun-hsun, Zhou Ruiyang beat Wang Yuan-jyun. Wang Xi beat Lin Chun-yen

Korea 3-0 Japan: Park Jeonghwan beat Fujita Akihiko, Kim Jiseok beat Hirata Tomoy. Cho Hanseung beat Tsuruta Kazushi

Europe 3-0 North America: Fan Hui beat Huiren Yang, Ilya Shikshin beat Daniel Daehyuk Ko, Pavol Lisy beat Yongfei Ge

- James Davies

Categories: World news

Women’s Individual Tournament: 2nd and 3rd Rounds

IGF Ranka - Fri, 13/12/2013 - 14:33

Yu (centre) playing Yoshida

The second and third rounds of the Women’s individual event at the third SportAccord World Mind Games were played on Friday, December 13. The second round began at 9:30 in the morning. China’s Wang Chenxing and Yu Zhiying were paired against Japan’s Fujisawa Rina and Mika Yoshida. Korea’s Park Jieun and Oh Jeonga were paired against Chinese Taipei’s Chang Cheng-ping and Joanne Missingham. All players were in their seats in time for the opening instructions, which were given by deputy chief referee Michael Redmond. Time control was one hour per player, followed by three renewable 30-second overtime periods.

On the China-Japan boards, both Chinese players came out ahead. Neither Japanese player resigned, but eventually Wang Chenxing beat Fujisawa Rina by 4-3/4 stones (9.5 points) and Yu Zhiying beat Mika Yoshida by 2-3/4 stones (5.5 points). China has been very hard to beat in international competition this year.

The games between Korea and Chinese Taipei were split. Park Jieun, 9 dan, who has been winning Korean women’s titles since 2000, played Chang Cheng-ping, 4 dan, who made professional shodan in Korea in 1998 and then in Chinese Taipei in 2000. Park won by resignation. Joanne Missingham, however, defeated Oh Jeonga by 2-3/4 stones (5.5 points). Joanne is playing in her third SportAccord World Mind games, and has represented Australia and then Chinese Taipei in numerous international events. Oh Jeonga, for her part, played for Korea at this year’s Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games, winning an individual silver medal and a bronze in pair go.

After an ample break for lunch, the third round began at 3:00 p.m. Starting here, the women’s individual tournament was divided into an undefeated section and a repechage section. In the undefeated section Park Jieun (Korea) was matched against Yu Zhiying (China) and Wang Chenxing (China) was matched against Joanne Missingham.

In one half of the repechage section Natalia Kovaleva (Russia) was matched against Dina Burdakova (Russia) and Svetlana Shikshina (Russia) against Sarah Jin Yu (Canada). The Canadian and the three Russians were now in effect engaged in a knockout to select one player to meet the last player to lose in the undefeated section; the winner of that meeting would proceed into the playoffs for the medals; the loser into the playoff for fourth and fifth places.

Joanne Missingham (left) playing Wang Chenxing

Moving into the other half of the rerpechage section were Yoshida Mika (Japan), who was matched against Chang Cheng-Ping (Chinese Taipei), and Oh Jeonga (Korea), who was matched against Fujisawa Rina (Japan).

The results were a complete triumph for the two Chinese players, a disaster for the women from Japan and North America, and a mixture of wins and losses for the women from Korea, Chinese Taipei, and Russia. Wang Chengxing beat Joanne Missingham; Yu Zhiying beat Park Jieun; Chang Cheng-peng beat Yoshida Mika; Oh Jeonga beat Fujisawa Rina; Natalia Kovaleva beat Dina Burdakova; Svetlana Shikshina beat Sarah Jin Yu. The six winners remain in contention. Joanne Missingham and Park Jieun, who recorded their first losses, are also still in contention. The two Chinese, Wang Chengxing and Yu Zhiying, will contend for the final undefeated position in round four.

- James Davies

Categories: World news

Interview with Svetlana Shikshina

IGF Ranka - Fri, 13/12/2013 - 11:46

Ranka: Please tell us about your present life in Canada.
Svetlana: I moved to Canada in late June last summer. We’ve been living in a village with my husband’s parents, and I haven’t really gone anywhere for the last sixth months. I’ve been to only one tournament, the Canadian Open in Toronto in August. I played simultaneous games and saw many players. They had men’s, women’s, and children’s tournaments running at the same time. The winner of the Open was a young Chinese player. Most of the strongest Canadian players came originally from China, although there are a few Caucasian 5- or 6-dan players. I also met some professional players who were visiting from Korea and had a chance to speak Korean with them. It took three hours to get there, so I stayed there for the tournament, but I can’t do that type of thing often.

Svetlana Shikshina

Ranka: And what were you doing before you came to Canada?
Svetlana: I was living in Russia, and I was doing many things, teaching in schools and playing in tournaments, but I can’t do that in Canada yet. We need to move to a bigger city first.

Ranka: Since you have Korean professional qualifications, will you continue to play in Korean professional tournaments?
Svetlana: In 2007 I moved back to Russia to have a baby. In January 2008 I got a letter from the Korean Baduk Association in which they told my they had promoted me from shodan to 3 dan, but I had to sign some papers agreeing to work to spread the game in Russia and other countries, and not to participate in Korean professional tournaments in the future–only in international tournaments.

Ranka: Are you now teaching Canadian go players?
Svetlana: No, there are very few people in the village where I live, and our house is far away from everything else. Even to go shopping you need a car, but I don’t have a driver’s license, so I just stay home. I only teach on the Internet.

Ranka: Please tell us more about your Internet teaching activities.
Svetlana: I have six or seven students. They’re from Russia or other European countries, but one of them is from Canada.

Ranka: Are you and your husband planning to live in Canada permanently?
Svetlana: Yes, but we intend to travel to Russia every summer, or at least I would like to take my son to Russia every summer, so that he won’t forget how to speak Russian. After going to school in Canada for six months, now when he speaks to me, sometimes he puts in English words when he can’t remember the Russian word.

Ranka: To change the subject, we’d like to ask you how you rate your brother Ilya.

Svetlana: I think he is as strong as the shodan women professional players in Japan and Korea, but still weaker than the shodan men professional players in those countries. But when he won the European championship a few years ago he was the strongest European player, and he is still one of the strongest.

Ranka: Can you tell us anything about the plans to start a professional system in Europe?
Svetlana: There is talk about this, but there was also talk about it a few years ago and nothing has happened yet. I’ll believe it when I see it.

Rank: Please tell us about the time you won the European Championship.
Svetlana: That was in 2006. That was my best tournament ever. I lost only two games and won the other eight. One player I lost to was Professor Lee Kibong, amateur 7 dan, my teacher at Myongji University in Korea. The other was to a Japanese player. The European Championship was an open tournament so anyone could participate. One of the eight players I beat was my brother Ilya. I beat him twice, in the European Championship and in the Masters’ Tournament, which I also won. Because of winning those two tournaments I was able to come to the Fujitsu Cup for one last time in 2007.

Ranka: Finally, what would you like to do to spread the game of go in the future?
Svetlana: If possible, I would like to start teaching children in Canada. When I was in Russia I taught at a chess club. Besides chess, they taught draughts and go. I was teaching primary school children. They liked my lessons, and when I had to leave they were all sad–some children even cried–they didn’t want me to stop teaching them. So I would like to teach children in Canada too, but I need go sets and a big demonstration board. I’ve already talked to the director of the school my son attends. They say I can teach there on a volunteer basis. The parents would probably approve of go lessons, because I wrote a paper about how go makes you smarter. Maybe next spring I’ll be able to start teaching at that school, if we can get the equipment.

Ranka: Thank you very much.

Note:  be sure to check out Svetlanas website.

Categories: World news
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