The San Diego Go Club manned a go booth on May 8 at the 9th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park. “On a perfect San Diego sunny spring day in the 70’s,thousands crowded into the expanded garden,” reports club president Ted Terpstra. The club introduced go to the passersby and played demonstration games. Comments ranged from “What is that interesting game?” to “You play go in America! I am a Chinese level four player.” Several new members were signed up for the club.
Turns out the board position in episode 22 of Teen Wolf (EJ 3-12-14) is from a real game. “I had the pleasure of setting up the go board for this scene, and I got paid for it too,” reports 2012 AGF Teacher of the Year Joe Walters. “The empty triangle is a real move. The game was between Michael Redmond 9P and Chino Tadahiko 9P on March 15, 2012, in the B section of the Meijin. I set the game up for the scene sometime before Xmas last year, they provided the board and stones. I did it on the floor in the room where they shot the scene, but not on the tree stump where they used it in the final scene. Someone took pictures of the board, and they duplicated the setup when they shot the scene later on. They just wanted a game that looked real, so I selected that one because it was by an American 9 dan pro and had only a few moves,” said Walters.
The game itself had been offered as a commented record by Michael Redmond, and appeared in the members edition of the E-Journal. “The empty triangle, white 140, was just a normal endgame move,” Redmond tells the E-Journal. “Although good shape is advantageous even in the endgame, correct reading and calculation becomes much more important and as the board becomes crowded with stones, so-called ‘bad shapes’ become more likely and can often be the correct move, as in this case. Looking for good shape in this game, I would have chosen black 97 because, although I say it myself, it was an inspired and well-calculated move with which I forced the sequence that secured my win.” The timing in the episode of Teen Wolf is pretty good, as white actually resigns the move after the empty triangle, which coincides with Stiles sweeping the stones off the board, and also means the Nogitsune was playing Redmond’s moves. “I am glad to know that my games are getting this extra chance to be viewed by a non-playing audience,” adds Redmond. “It is great that go is now being used more in movies and other such media, and it is always exciting to see that reported in the AGA E-Journal.” This week, as a special bonus for non-members, the E-J is providing Redmond’s commentary on his game record. If you would like to receive exciting games like this in your e-mail every week, join the AGA as a full member here. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor
If you’ve been a subscriber to the Members’ Edition of the E-Journal, you’ve probably seen the occasional feature, “Lessons with Kaz.” I always liked the style of these features, how Kazunari Furuyama (right) often suggests different moves for players of different abilities, or rates the severity of mistakes by assigning a dollar level to them, so I recently began taking lessons from him online.
Kaz’s teaching methods appeal to me as an adult player, because he understands that the adult mind learns differently than that of younger players. This is not to say that adults don’t have the same potential to improve, and Kaz has seen many of his adult students progress from mid-kyu to dan level under his tutelage.
For the first lesson, Kaz has his students submit 11 games for review, 10 that he looks through to get a sense of the player’s strengths, weaknesses and habits, and then a game which he reviews with extensive commentary and variations. Accompanying this review is a set of 25-30 problems. Sometimes in place of some of the problems, Kaz will send a group of related problems that explain a concept in great detail. An example of this would be Kaz’s “Peeps” or the “On Fighting” series that have been recently featured in the E-Journal. For subsequent lessons, Kaz asks that students continue to send recent games, so he can keep track of the student’s tendencies and address any issues that come up.
This is precisely the kind of instruction that appeals to me. I have a shelf (and now IPad) full of go books that — with the exception of a few recent books — always seem to be over my head after a few pages; I feel they are often geared to professional players who don’t make kyu-level mistakes, and feature commentary that leaves me scratching my head. Instead, Kaz stresses basic, strong shapes that have broad application throughout the game, and repetition in various configurations that really allows the concepts to sink in. He avoids complicated josekis, choosing simpler ones that also teach good shape and tesuji, and have broad application throughout the game.
Since starting lessons with Kaz, I have felt more in control of my games, able to remain calm and play moves that I knew were solid, as well as take advantage of opponent’s mistakes, particularly in 3-3 corner invasions. This allows me to spend more time thinking about other aspects of my playing, and has greatly increased my enjoyment and fascination with this game that seems to be taking over my life.
- Steve Berthiaume is a 15-kyu who plays at the Milford Go Club in Milford, Massachusetts. Email email@example.com for details on studying with Kaz. photo by John Pinkerton
One of the most beautiful and romantic UK tournament locations must surely be the Isle of Skye in Scotland’s Western Highlands, which this weekend, March 15-16, hosts the 3rd edition of its two-yearly tournament (alternating with the two-yearly Isle of Man Go Week). Despite its remoteness from most of the UK, 30 have already registered including Britain’s strongest native player, Matthew Macfadyen 6d, who rarely competes these days but who also entered – and won – the first two Skye tournaments.
Although the island’s economy was formerly dominated by crofting, these days tourism is its key money-spinner. Tournament organizer Carel Goodheir tells us that, for reasons which are not entirely clear, about 6,000 Chinese visit every year now, which is approximately twice the population of the largest settlement, Portree, where the tourney is held. So far none of them have entered but he hopes to find a way to bring the tourney to their attention in the future.
Forty years ago, when Goodheir first moved to the island, he estimates about 80% of the inhabitants spoke the Scottish Gaelic as their main language, but nowadays less than 40% can speak it. Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, a public higher education college in Sleat, Skye, is the world’s only educational establishment using Scottish Gaelic as the medium of instruction. If you’ve never heard the language – which in 2000AD also had about 1600 speakers in the US, and currently has over 2300 in Canada – check out this short (2′ 15″) BBC Alba (Gaelic service) TV report on the 1st Skye tourney in 2010, featuring Neil Mitchison explaining the game in Gaelic, and believed to be the only BBC coverage to date of a go tournament. The clip opens with co-organizer John Macdonald at the board playing Aideen O’Malley, a director of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig.
Click here for full tournament details
Report by Tony Collman, British correspondent for the E-Journal. Photo: Carel Goodheir mooring his boat at Portree with Honey the dog, Old Man of Storr in background, by Ruth Goodheir
The third annual Jingdezhen exhibition match finished on March 9 with Choi Cheolhan 9p finally victorious over long-time rival Chen Yaoye 9p. Establishing territory was tedious but the game remained relatively even up to move 134. However, both Chen (black) and Choi (white) began to stumble shortly after, making a series of mistakes until Choi secured the winning move at 182. They played a perfect endgame and Chen never had a chance to recover.
Before this game, Chen had won over twice as many games as Choi in their individual matches (10-4). From 2007 through 2012 alone, Chen defeated Choi in 8 consecutive games. Choi’s record since 2013, though, has been comeback material. Since 2013, Chen and Choi’s head to head record (including this game) is 3-1 in Choi’s favor.
Also known as the Tianxin Pharmaceutical Cup, the first Jingdezhen match was played in 2012 in its title city Jindgezhen (located in China’s Jiangxi province). The winner’s prize is 150,000 RMB (approx. 24.5k USD) and the runner up claims 100,000 RMB (approx. 16k USD). For more information about this year’s Jingdezhen exhibition match including photos, 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
UK: The Trigantius tournament finished in Cambridge on March 9 with Jon Diamond 4d in first, William Brooks 3d in second, and Toby Manning 3d in third. Turkey: Hulya Colak 4k lead the 2014 Turkish Women’s Championship in Ankara on March 8. Behind her were Sebnem Gurbuzel 4k in second and Evren Bicakci 5k in third. (Photo: Gozde Taskin 5k, place 7 of 19.) Serbia: Also on March 8, Zoran Jankovic 4d dominated the Radnicki Club Tournament in Kragujevac while Mihailo Jacimovic 1k came in second and Dragan Stojadinovic 8k placed third.
– Annalia Linnan, based on reports from EuroGoTV, which include complete result tables and all the latest European go news; photo courtesy of EuroGoTV
Not long ago, on February 24 to be exact, sixteen globetrotting, go-playing university students gathered at the Hotel Monterey La Soeur Ginza in Tokyo for a reception to kick off the 12th World Students Go Oza (throne) Championship. Half of them, four young men and four young women, came from China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan, where go is a major intellectual sport. Another six young men and two young women came from Brazil, France, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Russia, Thailand, the Ukraine, and the USA. Ahead of them were two days of competition to determine the champion and put the others in their places.
If you imagine a typical go-playing university student to be slight of build, serious, studious, and quiet, then there was one who looked the part perfectly. That was the young man from China: Wang Chen. But for the past few years Mr Wang has also been one of the 'Four Heavenly Kings' who rule China's amateur rating list.
A native of Dalian, Mr Wang learned go at age seven and started taking part in the annual Chinese professional qualification tournament at age ten. After nine straight failures to make pro, he gave up and enrolled at the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, where he studies economic reporting and captains the university's go team. In the meantime, he had begun winning major amateur tournaments in China, at least one each year since 2009.
Chinese amateur tournaments have significant monetary prizes. When he won the Chenyi Cup in 2011, Mr Wang earned as much as a white-collar worker in China might make in two years. Essentially he was putting himself through college by playing go. Last July he won the first Chinese International University Weiqi (go) Tournament, and this year in January, after taking fourth place in the Evening News Cup, he beat one of China's top pros in the Evening News pro-amateur team match, so this unassuming economist-to-be landed in Tokyo with excellent prospects of winning yet another championship.
And that's what he did. In the first round on the morning of February 25 he downed Ken (Kai Kun) Xie, who had been New Zealand champion at age twelve in 2006. Playing black, Wang killed two groups of white stones and won by resignation in 175 moves. (When played out to the end, a typical game of go lasts nearly 300 moves.)
In the second round Wang faced Yamikumo Tsubasa, an Osaka University student who has consistently done well in the Japanese Students Top Ten Tournament. Playing white, Wang killed a black group at the 120th move. Mr Yamikumo conceded the game 44 moves later. Next morning Wang defeated the other Japanese player, Ritsumei University coed Go Risa. She came out of the opening badly and resigned after only 90 moves. Wang's last opponent, Chung Chen-En, a student at Taiwan's National Central University, put up more resistance than the other three, but in the end he too resigned, following a futile last-ditch attack on one of Wang's groups.
Yamikumo, Go, and Chung did not lose to anyone else, so they finished as part of the four-way tie for runner-up. Tie-breaking points put Yamikumo second, Chung third, and Go fourth. Taiwan's Hu Shih-Yun also lost only one game and came in fifth. The opponent she lost to was the USA's Maojie Xia, who had played the two Japanese and finished a highly commendable sixth.
In his championship interview Mr Wang said that all of his games had gone well. None of his opponents would argue with that. He added that after graduating he hopes to continue his amateur career and is particularly interested in coaching talented young players.
And what about the rest of the world? Viktor Ivanov (Russia, 9th place) and Kwan King-Man (Hong Kong, 10th place) matched Maojie Xia by winning two games apiece, and although Yanqi Zhang (France, 12th place) won only once, the opponent she beat was Zhou Shiying, the Chinese female player. At both the reception and the awards ceremony, officials in the All Japan Students Go Association, which handled all the organizational work (drinking party included), remarked on the rising level of play in countries outside the Far East.
Complete results and clickable game records can be found here.
MTV drama Teen Wolf again wove go into the latest episode, making two weeks in a row where the game has been featured prominently. Co-star Dylan O’Brien, as Stiles Stilinski, has been possessed by a dark fox spirit, the Nogitsune, who is controlling his mind and body. Go is alluded to about twelve minutes in, when two werewolves are discussing strategy. One is trying to use a chess board to figure out what Stiles would do, but the older werewolf observes “Chess is Stiles’ game, it’s not the game of a Japanese fox”. Later, using psychic werewolf powers, Stiles’ friends are able to enter his mind, where they find him engaged in a game of go with the Nogitsune. Like all good go players, he is immersed in the game, and deaf to the cries of his friends. It appears that while his mind is trapped in the go game, the Nogitsune has complete control of his body. We see the board from multiple angles, with Stiles playing white. Unfortunately, the only move he makes on the board is an empty triangle, although the board position is at least reasonable. The spell is broken when Tyler Posey, as Scott McCall, transforms into a werewolf and his howl gets through to Stiles. Suddenly realizing what is going on, Stiles looks up at the Nogitsune, and then sweeps all the stones off the board. Just as well, nothing good would have come from that empty triangle anyway. The go match appears at the 35 minute mark, and the entire episode can be viewed on the MTV website here. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Photo from the MTV website.
The Irish team were full of the joys of spring, as they totally dominated the Spanish team in a 2-2 draw on IGS last night. In what was a marathon match, with all 4 games entering overtime, and with multiple disconnections to boot, the squad never looked troubled. Ireland once again are proudly holding onto 8th position in the league.
Austin Freeman 2k, is looking for players in the Vancouver, WA, area. “I want to be able to play others in person instead of only over the computer, and I know there are others that feel like this too,” says Freeman. Interested parties can contact Freeman at his e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org , or on KGS, where he plays as AffyTaffyC.
Popular go teacher Yilun Yang 7P will teach a two-day weekend workshop in Berkeley, California on April 5th and 6th. Author of many go books including Whole Board Thinking in Joseki and Fundamental Principles of Go, Mr. Yang is also a regular participant in the U.S. Go Congress, Cotsen Open, and other major go events.
The workshop is open to go players of all strengths; Mr. Yang’s unique teaching format enables students at all levels to get a lot out of the workshop. Mr. Yang will present a series of lectures addressing such topics as how to fight, when to invade versus reduce, how to determine the biggest point in the opening, how to handle crosscuts and many other situations that occur in every game you play. These algorithmic approaches are integrated with games, game analysis, and problem-solving sessions.
More information is available on the Bay Area Go website. Register early as capacity is limited, and advanced registration is required. Photo by Lisa Schrag.
March 16: Burlington, VT
Queen City Go Tourney Spring 2014
David Felcan email@example.com 802-860-9587
March 16: Portland, OR
Hikaru No Go Child and Youth Tournament
Peter Freedman firstname.lastname@example.org 503-242-4203
Get the latest go events information.
The American Collegiate Go Association (ACGA) — in conjunction with the Ing Foundation — is hosting its second annual Spring Go Expo on March 29 at MIT in Cambridge, MA, featuring simuls with professional go players. “Events include go variants and a brief history of go outreach around the world,” reports organizer Cole Pruitt, as well as “donation of several unique Ing Foundation-commissioned ‘trick boards’ to US universities, simuls before and after lunch, and a 2-3 person simul with Chang Hao 9P against American mid-dans with live commentary.” In addition to former world champion Chang Hao 9P, Hwa Xueming 7P and US pro Andy Liu 1P will be on hand, along with a delegation from China. “And as a special bonus, everyone who pre-registers will receive a fan signed by Chang Hao 9P upon their arrival at the Expo!” Pruitt adds/ “We still have slots available for the simul, so if anyone is interested in playing a serious game against Chang Hao, they can contact us for more info.” Lunch will be provided, and the entire event is free of charge.
Read about the first Expo here: “Something For Everyone” at First Spring Go Expo 3/27/2013 EJ
photo: Chang Hao 9P (left) with ACGA co-founder Mike Fodera, one of the Expo’s main coordinators
Lukas Podpera 6d (left) of the Czech Republic won the Under-20 division of the 19th European Youth Go Championship (EYGC) held in Bognor Regis, England Feb 28 – Mar 3, thereby securing himself a place in the GLOBIS Cup World Youth Go Championship to be held in Japan on 8 – 11 May 2014 (see Nihon Ki-in Announces New Under-20 World Tourney, EJ 11/30). Jonas Welticke 4d of Germany was runner-up and Frenchman Tanguy LeCalve 5d took third place. In the Under-16s, the top three places went to Alexandru-Petre Pitrop 2d of Romania and Russians Grigorij Fiorin 4d and Viacheslav Kaymin 3d, in that order, and the Under-12 category was won by the only dan player in his age group, Spaniard Oscar Vazquez 2d, with Denis Dobranis 2k of Romania runner-up. 89 took part in all. Click here for full results. Click here also for the results of the pair-go and doubles, held on the Sunday evening, March 2.
The events were organised on behalf of the British Go Association (BGA) by – mainly – Toby Manning, Tony Atkins and Sue Paterson, and ran alongside the British Go Congress (see Double Victory for Cornel Burzo at British Go Congress, 3/3 EJ) at the Butlins Holiday Park, where competitors had full access to the many facilities and entertainments available for youngsters there. Japanese professionals Minematsu Masaki 6P and Kobayashi Chizu 5P (right) were in residence throughout, teaching and reviewing games. Kobayashi told the EJ she was impressed by the talent of the young Europeans, but stressed that to reach the highest levels it will be important for them to get good professional tuition, the earlier the better.
Report by Tony Collman, British correspondent for the E-Journal. Photos courtesy of the British Go Association: Lukas Podpera proudly displays his trophy and national flag alongside Kobayashi Chizu; pro guests Minematsu Masaki 6P (left of photo) and Kobayashi Chizu 5p take time out by the sea.
What do you get when you cross the world’s oldest game with the newest form of currency? A bitcoin go tournament, such as the ones being organized online every week at Bitcoingo.io. “Bitcoins are an ideal currency for an international game like go,” founder Steven Pine told the EJ. “It allows students and teachers to connect and transact without concern for currency exchanges or waiting on a check or wire transfer to clear. The same is true for tournaments. I think the currency has lots of potential to transform the go community in many positive ways.”
Anyone can sign up, enter a tournament and begin playing on Bitcoin’s own Python/mySQL-based server. Komi is 6.5 points, and each player starts with 15 minutes; there are five 30-second overtime periods. Territory counting is used but no full rule set has been formally adopted. A tournament win earns the victor at least one point, depending on how many points their opponent has. A new tournaments starts, and the old one finishes, at midnight each Saturday. The self-paired “most points” format favors active competitors, so if you plan to play to win, you may need a comfy chair. The winner of the February 10 tournament had 78 points.
Bitcoins are notoriously unstable – last week it was discovered that as much as 5% of the total bitcoin money supply had been stolen from a prominent exchange without detection several years ago; the exchange declared bankruptcy. (NY Times 2/25/14) If you plan to convert your winnings to real-world money you may face a challenge. The weekly pot has been 6,000,000 “satoshis” but before you start planning your retirement, you should know that it breaks down to about $40 depending on the bitcoin’s daily value relative to the USD. (On 3/1/14 one bitcoin was valued at $556.85 on Coindesk, which monitors exchanges, down more than ten percent from just ten days before.) “Although the ‘satoshi’ – the smallest fraction of a bitcoin that can be transacted, currently .00000001th of a bit coin — is not well-known, we decided to use it as a base unit to drive home the point that bitcoins are easily divisible and can facilitate micro payments,” Pine said. “Some services talk about ‘millibits,’ but we thought it would be more fun for people to win like 1,000,000 satoshis.” Pine and cofounder Jonathan Hales are underwriting the prizes themselves, hoping that tournament and teaching fees will make the site revenue positive.
If you check it out, bear in mind that it’s a work in progress. Traffic is very low; a private room on an established server would probably bring in more users. But if you enjoy checking out new servers, Steven and Jonathan will appreciate your visit!
- Roy Laird
In “a nice little follow-up” to the recent New Jersey Open, organizer Rick Mott reports that “We got 22 new members and 34 renewals, for a total of 56 memberships out of 135 total attendees.” Of those, Mott notes that “almost half – 26 — were youth memberships.”
photo by John Pinkerton
“We are making good progress toward bringing a group of Cuban go players to this year’s U.S. Go Congress,” (Cuban Delegation Invited to US Go Congress 1/20/2014 EJ) reports Bob Gilman, who has been organizing the project. Three Cuban players have accepted the invitation to attend, and fundraising for the project is nearly complete. “Go has been the bridge for us to learn about many cultures, places, and especially good people, for whom friendship and respect are most important values,” says Rafael Alberto Torres Miranda 2D (at left in photo), one of the invitees and President of the Academia Cubana de Go. The other players invited are Carlos Alberto Perez Palacio 5D and Roilan de la Torre Marrero 5D. The Cubans have their passports now and are working with the Cuban Sports Ministry to obtain US visas.
The visit will return the hospitality the Academia extended to a group of US players who played there in February 2013. Because the Cubans cannot afford the travel costs themselves, Gilman, working through the American Go Foundation, has been raising money to sponsor the visit. There is a brief video on the project here. “We estimate we will need about $6,000,” says Gilman, “and we are nearly there, but still need some additional donations.” Those interested in supporting the project can make out a check to the American Go Foundation (with “CC2014” in the memo field); include your email address so that Gilman can acknowledge donations as they are received. Send checks to: Robert D. Gilman, P.O. Box 40020, Albuquerque, NM 87196-0020. “I will hold them uncashed until the Cubans have their visas, probably in April. At that point I’ll inform contributors and send the checks on to the AGF for cashing.” For more details on the project, email email@example.com.
photo by Andrew Okun
Lee Sedol did not need this kiss for luck from his daughter before the first game of his historic jubango with Gu Li, but perhaps it carried over to the second, where he was fortunate to come from behind. Five out of six of you who ventured into the scary world of no multiple choice did not need luck either, correctly identifying the other pro in last week’s photo (left). “Easy.” comments Brian Kirby,” That’s Cho Hanseung (Hansung) 9P. He’s the current Kuksu, recently beating out Lee Sedol to defend his title. Mr. Cho doesn’t get as much press as Mr. Sedol, but he actually became pro the same year (1995).” Congratulations to Dong Wei of Austin, Texas, our winner this week, selected at random from those answering correctly.
THIS WEEK’S QUIZ: Congratulations to Paul Mathews and Rick Mott for their wildly successful 55th New Jersey Open, attracting a record 125 players March 1-2 in Princeton (including 22 new members and 34 renewals). The oldest continuous tournament in the US (second oldest is the Maryland Open: the 41st is coming up on May 24-25; see you there!), the NJO gathered go players from all over the East Coast. An informal but 99 44/100% accurate poll of this year’s attendees taken by your quizmaster confirmed the answer to this week’s question: of all those playing in this year’s New Jersey Open, one player held the record for the earliest NJ Open appearance. Did he play in his first NJO in 1973, 1975, 1977 or 1986? Click here to submit your answer; bonus points if you name the player correctly.
Go Game Guru has just published an excellent detailed game commentary by Younggil An 8P on the second game of the MLily Gu vs Lee Jubango, which was played on February 23 on the outskirts of Shanghai. “Many people expected that Gu Li (right) would have something of an advantage in this match,” says An, “because most of the games will be played in China. However, it doesn’t seem like Lee Sedol is affected by that so far…Actually, it looks like Gu Li is under quite a bit of pressure from his fans and the Chinese media.”
MTV’s popular drama Teen Wolf features go prominently in the latest episode The Fox and the Wolf. Part of the episode is set in a Japanese internment camp, during the second World War, and a character named Satomi uses go throughout the episode, to help control her emotions. ”You take too frequently, and you take too much,” Satomi tells a younger woman, in a conversation at the go board that is as much about stealing supplies for sale on the black market as it is about the game. “The young fox always knows the rules so she can break them, the older wiser animal learns the exceptions to the rules,” says Satomi as she captures a stone. The entire episode can be streamed on the MTV website here, go first appears in the episode at the 9 minute mark. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Photo: Satomi studies the board, from Teen Wolf Episode 21.