After a lunch of fish and assorted kimchi, the players returned to the underground playing area, where they would continue to the second round of this year’s World Amateur Go Championship.
Within fifteen minutes Hungary’s Pal Balogh’s game had yet again finished in a flurry, but this time with victory over Khatanbaatar Tsend-Ayush, a hotel manager from Mongolia. Also quick to finish was the US-India game, both players playing very rapidly until the end. Soon after, South African John William Leuner was defeated by Danish postman Arne Steen Ohlenbuch when his group became entangled in a web of black stones.
This was not the only spectacular game this afternoon. A large crowd gathered around the Indonesia-Luxembourg match-up as semeais erupted and dead stones littered the board. The Malaysian representative Suzanne D’Bel launched a fierce attack on Brazilian representative Csaba Deak and, although he managed to avert this assault, another group came under fire, leading in decisive victory for D’Bel.
But the bloodshed didn’t stop there. An audible groan was let out by Francis Roads of the UK as he tried to find a way to save his group from Australian Sangdae Hahn’s onslaught. Not finding a solution, the stone in Roads’ hand was slammed back into the pot, followed shortly by resignation. The candidates from Costa Rica and Portugal joined the list of casualties as large groups were swallowed up by their Belarusian and Lithuanian counterparts.
No suprises again at the top. Korea, China, Japan and Chinese Taipei all won their games. A highlight was Korea-Canada, with Canada’s Yongfei Ge, back again from last year, putting up strong resistance in a relatively peaceful game. His 45-point lower side was not quite enough to overcome Taewoong Wei. Japan vs Singapore took the longest to finish but in the end Kiko Emura’s lead in territory sealed another Japanese victory.
- John Richardson
White: Merlijn Kuin (Netherlands) 6D
Black: Naisan Chan (Hong Kong) 6D
Click here to start the game viewer.
Transcribed by Chris Garlock. Variations and comments by Kuin & Chan.
Round 1 Reports, Game Record & Photos
There were no surprises for top seeds in the first two rounds of the 35th Annual World Amateur Go Championship in Gyeongju, Korea on Sunday, July 6. In the first-round Japan-Hungary match, the game reached an essentially lost position with only three minutes used on Pal Balogh’s clock. After a twenty minute deliberation, the Hungarian left the playing room but returned minutes later to choose the only possible continuation and struggle through a futile battle to the bitter end. In the Hong Kong-Netherlands game, Naisan Chan (at left in photo) enclosed the Dutch envoy’s central-right stones in another first-round battle but no amount of tsumego wizardry could save Merlijn Kuin’s (right) group from inevitable demise. “I thought W58 was good enough but to be honest I didn’t read it out very carefully,” said Kuin. “I should have taken more time to consider my options.” Click here for the Hong Kong-Netherlands game record.
Other interesting first-round games included Costa Rica versus Belgium, this year seeing a new player, the Costa Rican system engineer Luis Enrique Boza Araya, attempt a tengen-based strategy. He was unable to use the central stone, however, and suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of Belgian accountant Dominique Versyck. Suzanne D’Bel, known by the Japanese press as ‘Tengen Girl’, took white in her game against Andreas Götzfried of Luxembourg, so we have yet to see if she too will employ this unusual opening strategy.
Sweden-US: Jie Liang (US) let his advantage slip away in the middle game as Sweden’s Fredrik Blomback squeaked out a narrow win. Click here for a game commentary by Kim Seung Jun 9P of Blackie’s International Baduk Academy (www.bibabaduk.net), with assistance by Shawn Ray 4D.
Lithuania-Canada (click here for game record): As to be expected in a match-up between a 3-dan and a 7-dan, Canada’s Ge (below at right, reviewing the game) cruised to an early lead; the middle-game death of one of Petrauskas’ (Lithuania) groups simply hastened the inevitable.
Round 2 Reports, Game Record & Photos
After a lunch of fish and assorted kimchi, the players returned to the underground playing area for the second round. Within fifteen minutes Hungary’s Pal Balogh’s game had yet again finished in a flurry, but this time with victory over Khatanbaatar Tsend-Ayush, a hotel manager from Mongolia. Also quick to finish was the US-India game, both players playing very rapidly until the end. Soon after, South African John William Leuner was defeated by Danish postman Arne Steen Ohlenbuch when his group became entangled in a web of black stones.
This was not the only spectacular game of the afternoon. A large crowd gathered around the Indonesia-Luxembourg match-up as semeais erupted and dead stones littered the board. Malaysian representative Suzanne D’Bel launched a fierce attack on Brazilian Csaba Deak and, although he managed to dodge this assault, another group came under fire, leading to a decisive victory for D’Bel.
But the bloodshed didn’t stop there. An audible groan was let out by the UK’s Francis Roads (at left) as he tried to find a way to save his group from Australian Sangdae Hahn’s deadly onslaught (click here for game record). Not finding a solution, the stone in Roads’ hand was slammed back into the pot, followed shortly by resignation. The candidates from Costa Rica and Portugal joined the list of casualties as large groups were swallowed up by their Belarusian and Lithuanian counterparts.
Round 2 game records:
New Zealand-Ireland (photo of Ireland’s John Gibson at right)
No suprises again at the top, as Korea, China, Japan and Chinese Taipei all won their games. A highlight was Korea-Canada, with Canada’s Yongfei Ge, back again from last year, putting up strong resistance in a relatively peaceful game. His 45-point lower side was not quite enough to overcome Taewoong Wei. Japan vs Singapore took the longest to finish but in the end Kiko Emura’s lead in territory sealed another Japanese victory.
- Game reports by John Richardson, game records by Chris Garlock, photos by John Pinkerton and coordination by Ivan Vigano. Click here for Ranka’s complete reports on the first round and second round and here for complete results.
This morning at 9.30am representatives from fifty-four countries and territories placed their bets on odd or even and kicked off the 35th World Amateur Go Championship.
Unlike last year, where the first round pairings were announced at the Opening Ceremony, this year no preparation was possible for the competitors, who discovered their opponents only minutes before the clocks were started. The pairings for the first round avoid clashes between the top four seeds but otherwise are drawn at random, with players matched within two subclasses to avoid large rating differences.
The first game to finish was Korea-Denmark, with the local favourite Taewoong Wei off to an impressive start. There were no surprises for the other top seeds as China, Japan and Chinese Taipei all scored convincing victories.
In particular note was the Japan-Hungary match, the game reaching an essentially lost position with only three minutes used on Pal Balogh’s clock. After a twenty minute deliberation, the Hungarian left the playing room but returned minutes later to chose the only possible continuation and struggle through a futile battle to the bitter end.
The next game to finish saw Hong Kong’s Naisan Chan enclosing the Dutch envoy’s central-right stones. No amount of tsumego wizardry could save Merlijn Kuin’s group from inevitable demise. As the sound of byoyomi counting began to echo across the room, a flurry of games reached their conclusion, with more to follow in dribs and drabs until around midday.
Other interesting games included Costa Rica versus Belgium, this year seeing a new player, the Costa Rican system engineer Luis Enrique Boza Araya, attempt a tengen-based strategy. He was unable to use the stone and suffered a crushing defeat to the Belgian accountant Dominique Versyck. Suzanne D’Bel, known by the Japanese press as ‘Tengen Girl’, was White in her game against Andreas Götzfried of Luxembourg, so we are yet to see if she too will employ this unusual opening strategy.
The second round begins at 1.30pm Korean time.
- John Richardson
Why top players love go is as varied as the players themselves, but they all pretty much agree that in order to get stronger, “you must love the game.” So said Japan’s Emura Kiko at a brief press conference on the opening day of this year’s World Amateur Go Championship, echoed by Malaysia’s Suzanne D’Bel Low, Korea’s Taewoong Wei, China’s Ruoran Wang, Vietnam’s Nhat Minh Vo and the Czech Republic’s Lukas Podpera, who were selected to answer questions at the press conference.
“Go enables me to meet a lot of new friends, who become part of my family,” said Low. “Each game reveals my opponent’s style and personality,” added Podpera. At just 13, Vo is the youngest player at the WAGC, but already the game has enabled him to “meet a lot of interesting new people and travel around the world to share the go spirit,” he said.
And while all the selected players said that lots of play and study is necessary to improve, Podpera was the most specific, noting that “In Europe we are failing at life and death (tsume-go) so that’s what we must study to improve.” Wei was even more succinct, saying that the three things necessary to get better at go are “Will, confidence and concentration.”
- Chris Garlock
Why top players love go is as varied as the players themselves, but they all pretty much agree that in order to get stronger, “you must love the game.” So said Japan’s Emura Kiko at a brief press conference on the opening day of this year’s World Amateur Go Championship, echoed by Malaysia’s Suzanne D’Bel Low, Korea’s Taewoong Wei, China’s Ruoran Wang, Vietnam’s Nhat Minh Vo and the Czech Republic’s Lukas Podpera, who were selected to answer questions at the press conference. “Go enables me to meet a lot of new friends, who become part of my family,” said Low. “Each game reveals my opponent’s style and personality,” added Podpera. At just 13, Vo is the youngest player at the WAGC, but already the game has enabled him to “meet a lot of interesting new people and travel around the world to share the go spirit,” he said. And while all the selected players said that lots of play and study is necessary to improve, Podpera was the most specific, noting that “In Europe we are failing at life and death (tsume-go) so that’s what we must study to improve.” Wei was even more succinct, saying that the three things necessary to get better at go are “Will, confidence and concentration.”
- Chris Garlock; photo by Ivan Vigano
The International Go Federation Annual General Meeting was held this afternoon at the site of this year’s World Amateur Go Championship, the Hyundai Hotel in Gyeongju, Korea. The lush green grounds of the hotel overlook the beautiful Bomun Lake, a scenic backdrop for the main highlight of the amateur Go calendar.
To begin, some big news: Bangkok has been selected as the location for next year’s World Amateur Go Championship. Thailand’s selection marks the first time this important event will be held outside the Go stronghold of Japan, China and Korea. A promising move towards the internationalisation of the game.
The meeting continued with a roundup of the year’s Go events and report of the IGF finances, all the healthier from the recent slump of the Japanese yen. The main events of last year were the World Amateur Go Championship in Sendai, Japan; the Amateur Pair Go Championship in Tokyo, Japan; and the SportAccord World Mind Games in Beijing, China.
The SAWMG will be held again this year in Beijing (December 11th-17th), and Ranka will provide full coverage of the event. The format will be similar to previous years, combining Go, Chess, Bridge, Draughts and Xiangqi events. Poker applied again this year to join, but was denied for the second time. This year’s WAGC will see the continuation of anti-doping tests in order to keep the game of Go in line with sporting regulations, a step on the path towards Olympic recognition, a common goal for the mind games at the SAWMG.
Another exciting piece of news is the birth of the Student Pair Go Championship, which is to take place for the first time this October in Tokyo. This new event will be held together with the standard Pair Go Championship, which itself will be particularly special marking the 25th anniversary of Pair Go. The student championship is planned to be run as a separate event from next year.
We conclude with an announcement of changes to the IGF Board of Executives. This year will see a rotation of roles from Japan to Korea. The new IGF President will be Seokhyun Hong, previously the Korean Ambassador to the US, taking the reins from Koichiro Matsuura. “I will try my best but my work alone is not enough. We need everyone’s input and initiative to bring our plans to a successful creation.” Jae-ho Yang, the Secretary General of the Korean Baduk Association, takes up the role of Office Director, resuming the hard work of Hiroshi Yamashiro. Yuki Shigeno, the long serving Secretary General, gave a tearful farewell, passing the post on to Hajin Lee, the main organiser of this year’s WAGC. Norio Wada, the chairman of the Nihon Kiin, will also join the Board of Directors.
- John Richardson
The 35th World Amateur Go Championship got underway Saturday morning in Gyeongju, Korea with the traditional Friendship Match between local go players and the WAGC players from around the world. Gathered in the main playing area on the first floor of the Hotel Hyundai, the WAGC players’ places were marked as usual by their nation’s flags and the locals eagerly joined them for a spirited round of friendly but intense matches. At the head of the room were pro Kim In 9P (at right in photo at lower left) playing a teaching game with a local luminary beneath the WAGC banner. Gyeongju City, along with the Republic of Korea, is hosting the WAGC in this scenic resort in the Bomun Lake resort area. In the back of the room, professional Hyun Wook Lee (at right in bottom right photo) played a 10-on-1 simul while Ms. Yun Jin Bae gave some three dozen avid youngsters a go lecture. After an opening ceremony and banquet on Saturday night, the tournament will begin Sunday and run through Wednesday, with games scheduled each morning and afternoon. The E-Journal and Ranka are teaming up again this year to provide full coverage of the WAGC, including updates on each round, player interviews, game commentaries, photos and final daily results at the end of each day.
- report/photos by Chris Garlock
July 15 is the deadline to reserve the lowest hotel prices for US Go Congress attendees at the Hotel Pennsylvania. “After July 15, we cannot guarantee room availability or prices, so you’d have to book rooms at the hotel’s normal rates instead of our special discounted rates,” says Congress Director Matthew Hershberger. “We’ve negotiated incredibly low rates with the Hotel Pennsylvania for go players, so don’t miss out!” Late fees for Congress registration will also go up after July 15. The US Go Congress runs August 9-17 in New York City.
Local organizers are looking for volunteers to help teach go at the final weekend of the Smithsonian’s Folk Life Festival on the National Mall in Washington, DC this Saturday and Sunday. Local players Julian Erville (left) and Juan Pablo Quizon were joined by fellow DC-area club members Todd Heidenreich, Ed Hsu, Sam Lee, Mike Pak, Yi Weng, Justin Teng, and John Goon last weekend “as they taught weiqi/go to some promising young talent,” says Goon, who coordinated the effort reaching more than 200 each day. China and Kenya are the centerpieces of the festival, which ends on Sunday. Contact John Goon at Spineyone@yahoo.com for details on how to volunteer.
-photo by John Goon
Ballots for the 2014 American Go Association Board elections have been sent to chapters and members, reports Arnold Eudell. “If you have not received your ballot and believe you should have, first check your spam folder,” Eudell says. “Then send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org.” Note that only one ballot can be sent per email. If an email is duplicated, such as for a child’s membership, only one voting code will be sent. Contact the email address above with a unique email to receive all ballots. Also, comments sent through Ballot Bin are anonymous; if you want a response send comments to email@example.com. Voting closes August 8.
Impressive Ge: “7 Dan is impressive,” writes Chris Uzal about our profile of Canada’s Yongfei Ge (2014 WAGC Player Profiles: Americas & Oceania 6/29 EJ). “Playing go in the womb is even more impressive: ‘Yongfei Ge 7D is a 30-year-old software architect from Scarborough. He’s been playing for 30 years…’”
That would be impressive indeed! In fact, Ge is 45 and has been playing since he was 15.
Looking for Spanish Go News: Uzal also asks “Where can I find go news in Spanish? I work for a local Spanish newspaper. I have enough influence to get go stories published. I’d like to see more on the Latin American players.”
Send your tips on where to find go news in Spanish to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll pass it along.
In the late 20th century several European go players earned professional rankings in the Far East, but now Europe has its first home-grown pros: Pavol Lisy (Slovakia) and Ali Jabarin (Israel). And they are young -- 19 and 20 -- which is a good sign for the future of European go.
Pavol and Ali won their professional spurs in a three-stage 16-player qualification tournament held in Strasbourg on May 23, Amsterdam on May 24, and Vienna on June 20. In the first two stages, Pavol beat opponents from Germany, Czechia, France, and Romania to finish with a perfect 4-0 record and earn the first European professional ranking. Ali lost to Sweden's Fredrik Blombak in the first round, but came back with three straight wins in the next rounds to qualify for the final in Vienna, where he defeated Czechia's Lukas Podpera to gain the second professional ranking. Complete results and information about all sixteen players can be round here. Pictures and further details are here.
The qualification tournament was organized and sponsored by the European Go Federation and the Beijing Zong Yi Yuan Cheng Culture Communication Co. Ltd., better known as CEGO. CEGO is a group of Chinese go players with the will and the financial resources to invest in the future of go -- in Europe. Next September, Pavol, Ali, and four other young European players will journey to China under CEGO sponsorship to begin five and a half months of training there, followed by three more months of online training after they return to Europe next year.
They will be the second such group of Europeans brought to China by CEGO, and CEGO is committed, in a contract with the EGF, to continue the training program in future years. But CEGO's and the EGF's plans do not stop there. Next year they will organize a Grand Slam Tournament in Europe with substantial prizes, open to the new European pros and a few more players who qualify by earning bonus points in other European tournaments.
CEGO's training program also includes a pair of Chinese player-coaches, Zhao Baolong and Li Ting, who take part in the on-line training leagues. Mr Zhao is a young 2-dan Chinese pro. Ms Li is a Chinese-born player who earned a 1-dan pro rank in Japan, and is now working toward a PhD in 'comparative go' at the University of Vienna. Ms Li is a diminutive and quiet person, but she was instrumental in putting CEGO together.
All this recalls the Big Dragon Project that got chess rolling in China in 1975 and turned China into a major chess power, particularly in women's chess, by the end of the century. So far, several Europeans have devoted most of their lives to playing and teaching go -- the UK's Matthew MacFadyen and Romania's Cornel Burzo (Pavol Lisy's final opponent) come to mind. Nor is there any lack of young players who dream of making this game their life. With a European pro system in place, more of these dreams can become reality. Europe still has a long way to go before challenging Far Eastern domination, but the fuse has been lit.
- James Davies
Last of a series of profiles of players in the 35th World Amateur Go Championships, which will be held July 4-11 in Gyeongju, Korea. Fifty-seven players from a like number of countries and territories are scheduled to make the trip to Korea to compete in the four-day, eight-round Swiss system. Many will be veterans of previous tournaments held in Japan and China, some drawn back to WAGC competition after a long absence, perhaps by the chance to be part of the first WAGC held in Korea. As usual, the largest contingent will come from Europe (30 players) and the youngest from the Far East (15 players, including an 11-year-old fromIndonesia). Click here for Ranka’s June 24 WAGC preview.
Argentina: Haroldo Brown 3k (right) is a 54-year-old development consultant from Buenos Aires. Career accomplishments Include “17 years of working with an outstanding humanitarian organisation (Oxfam) and at least 15 years in the theatre world.” His favorite thing about go is “The different paths one goes down in each game and, of course, the chance to meet people from many walks of life.” Hobbies include screenwriting. He’s not married, but says he “’adopted’ three daughters while I lived in Nicaragua.” He adds that “Go keeps my mind thinking strategically and this includes analysing with an open mind the different alternatives paths I can take in the face of whatever challenges come my way… And this has proved most useful in my development work as well as in the screenwriting world.”
Canada: Yongfei Ge 7D is a 45-year-old software architect from Scarborough. He’s been playing for 30 years, winning the Canada Open Championship in 2007, and the US Open Championship in 2001, 2007 and 2011. His favorite thing about go is to “Win after hard fight.” Hobbies include PC games, novels and running. Career highlights include the Horizontal Award, “signed by Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft.” He’s married, with one daughter.
Costa Rica: Enrique Boza Araya 7k is a 52-year-old systems engineer in San Jose. He’s been playing go for 11 years and says his favorite thing about the game is “The depth of the game despite its simple rules.” His hobbies include strategy games – he’s a 5-time champion at the Banco Central de Costa Rica’s annual tournament — writing fantasy stories, and movies.
Mexico: Ricardo Quintero Zazueta 5D is a 63-year-old mathematician and full time researcher at Cinvestav in México City. He’s been playing go for more than 40 years and has been Mexican champion eight times. His favorite thing about go is “Making lasting friendships through go and the depth of the game itself.” His hobbies include Kendo. He’s married, with three children.
United States: Jie Liang 7D is a 43-year-old software engineer from Nashua, New Hampshire. Working with the same company for over 16 years, he says “I am doing well in the work so I have spare time to play go.” He’s been playing for 30 years, won 4th place in the 2010 KPMC and says his favorite things about go are “comfortable, brain game, concentration, competitive, friendship.” Hobbies include photography and fishing. He’s married, with “one 2-year old lovely boy, full of energy who likes placing stones on board in some patterns.” He adds that “I can still find great interest in playing go. Also I try to improve my games through online resources. There are some strong young players and Europeans are getting better too. I hope I will have better luck this time in the WAGC.”
Missing: Brazil (probably too busy with the World Cup!).
Australia: Sang-Dae Hahn 7D is a retired professor who just turned 73 and lives in Sydney. He’s been playing go for 48 years, and is a 12-time Australian Champion (1978~1993) and won the 2012 Korean Ambassador’s Cup. His favorite thing about go is “creating my own aesthetic world” and his hobbies include “singing, traveling, and people.” Career highlights include teaching at Yon-sei Uni, Sydney Uni, Myongji Uni and 10 times Singing Recital. He’s married, with one child.
Missing: New Zealand
Africa: missing Madagascar & South Africa
Last week’s Quiz was inspired by EJ reader Vernon Leighton who thought he spotted an error in a May 13 Wired article on go. “It said that Michael Redmond (far right) was the first American go professional and that James Kerwin (near right) was the second. I believe that Kerwin was the first.” As the vast majority of respondents knew, Kerwin was indeed the first American pro, but the real answer is a bit more nuanced. The Wired article correctly said that “The charismatic Redmond, an American… remains the only Westerner to ever reach 9-dan, the game’s highest rank” and that “James Kerwin…(became) the second-ever Western professional Go player” which is what created the confusion. Manfred Wimmer 2P (left) of Austria was the first Westerner to achieve professional status in 1978 at the Kansai Kiin; Kerwin 1P, from the United States, became a professional later that year at the Nihon Ki-in, the first westerner to do so there. Redmond was the first Western professional to achieve the rank of 9P, in 2000. Michael Goerss of Scottsdale, AZ is this week’s winner, chosen at random from those answering correctly.
This Week’s Quiz: Most of the registrants for the upcoming US Go Congress are from the United States; which country has the second-highest number of registrants? Click here to submit your answer.
AVE-KONTAKT s.r.o., PromoGo o.s., and the Czech Go Association will host the 13th International Czech Open on July 11 through July 13. Cash prizes will be awarded to the top five players, the top five EGF players, and players with five and six points. Additionally, material prizes (3000 CZK value) will be awarded to those with four points, the best female player, and the best youth players who accumulate at least three points. Starting fee is determined by rank, with the maximum fee as 17 EU. For more information including a full schedule and accommodations, please visit the official Czech Open 2014 website.
Love the Czech Republic? Coming this fall: the 2014 annual international tournament BRNO. An official video trailer (preview below) is currently being featured by our friends at EuroGoTV.
—Annalia Linnan; for complete listings, check out the European Tournament Calendar
Capital One has informed its Card Lab Connect partners that it is ending the program, under which AGA members could apply for go-decorated VISA cards whose fees were shared with AGA, according to AGA President Andy Okun. ”I am quite disappointed, as the program was a nice addition to the AGA budget and the cards a nice conversation piece,” he told the E-Journal. New applications are no longer being accepted, although spending on existing cards will generate revenue through the end of September. After that the cards will be replaced with ordinary Capital One cards, which members may keep or cancel as they please. The AGA will make good on its offer of a $50 cash rebate for New York Congress attendees showing the card. “We promised,” Okun said (U.S. Go Congress Registration Opens with Special Rebate Offer 3/30/2014). Capital One cited declining business in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis as reason for leaving the affinity card business. There are a few similar other programs out there, but Okun said he would like feedback at email@example.com before deciding on whether to go down that path.
United Kingdom: The Welsh Open finished in Barmouth on June 22 with Alistair Wall 2d in first, Toby Manning 2d in second, and Christian Scarff 1d in third. Bosnia and Herzegovina: Also on June 22, Mijodrag Stankovic 5d dominated the 10th Open Zelenkovac. Mihailo Jacimovic 1d came in second and Daniel Zrno 2k in third. Austria: Ali Jabarin 6d (left) took the Wien 2014 Vienna International Tournament on June 22 while Cristian Pop 7d took second and Hui Fan 8d 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