by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the American Go E-Journal
After losing two games in a row in the 51st Judan title match, Iyama Yuta 9P has stopped the rot and evened the series against Yuki Satoshi 9P.
The fourth game was played on Iyama’s home ground of the Kansai headquarters of the Nihon Ki-in in Kita Ward, Osaka, on April 18. This was the day that Iyama could lose his sextuple crown, so there was an unusually large press contingent in attendance, just in case.
Playing black, Iyama (right) started with a good opening and secured a slightly favourable position. He then turned this into a decisive lead by playing a sharp attacking move in the latter half of the middle game. This is Iyama’s forte: whether he is ahead or behind, he is very dangerous in the middle game, as he is always looking for the most aggressive move. He doesn’t just try to coast to
a win. In this case, he played a clamp with move 113 that cut off four white
stones and put the game out of Yuki’s reach. Yuki resigned after move 179.
After the game, the photographers from various media had to jostle with each
other to get photos of Iyama — not a sight you often see with go matches. In
an interview, Iyama expressed his relief at getting a win after two games in which ‘my play was hopeless’.
Yuki has another chance to take his second top-seven title, but psychologically this convincing win may have tilted the balance in Iyama’s favour. The final game will be played at the Kansai Ki-in, Yuki’s home ground, on Friday, April 26.
photo courtesy European Go Congress 2014 website
Pandanet AGA City League rounds 4 and 5 will be played this Sunday, April 28. Leagues A and B will play their Round 5 games at 2p EST, while Leagues C and D will play their round 4 games starting at 1p EST. Find the pairings on the Pandanet schedule page.
A new event, the first China-Korea-Japan Pair Go Championship, will be held next week, April 30 through May 2, in Anhui, China. The event will be broadcast on Pandanet. Three male veterans are paired with three new female stars to play in this unique event. The players are Suzuki Ayumi and Yuki Satoshi from Japan, Wang Chenxing and Chang Hao from China, and Choi Jeong and Yoo Changhyuk from Korea. Originally scheduled for early 2012 to coincide with the opening of a theme park in Anhui built on a site from the ancient “Three Nation” (san-guo) period, the China-Japan tension and the political uncertainty on the Korean Peninsula caused the postponement until now.
- Thomas Hsiang
A record 34 players turned out on Saturday, April 20 for Syracuse’s 6th annual Salt City Go Tournament at Manlius Pebble Hill School. Eight dan-level players participated in the tournament’s first-ever Open Division, with Phil Waldron 6d of Ottawa, Xinde Ji 5d of Syracuse, and Changtian Wang 5d of Ithaca all finishing with identical 3-1 records and receiving a total of $310 in cash prizes. In the B Division, Phil Tracy of Syracuse was the sole 4-0 winner, and Jim Gonnella, also of Syracuse and Scott Jankowski of Cheektowaga both finished with 3-1 records and took the 2nd and 3rd place prizes, respectively. In the C Division, 5th grader Wyn Pitnick won the first place prize by tie-break ahead of Howard Canaway of Utica; both won all four of their games. Seventh grader Carl Beach took 3rd place in that division with a 3-1 record.
Fifteen prizes, most of them new books provided at a discount by Slate and Shell, were awarded to the top five finishers of each division. Nine-year-old Yitian Liu 2d, who won two of his games in the Open Division, captured the highly coveted cake problem prize, his winning entry selected at random from the other correct submissions. The wife of tournament organizer Richard Moseson has baked a problem cake (above; black to move) for the paired competition each of the last six years.
- report/photos by Richard Moseson; photo: Xinde Ji (front left in vest) playing Phil Waldron (front right), Changtian Wang (to Waldron’s right).
“At the Twin Cities Go Club (TCGO) club winter tournament in February we started an initiative to have members get AGA memberships so we could begin holding regular ratings tournaments,” reports local organizer Aaron Broege in Minneapolis, Minnesota. “That initiative was highly successful, as we went from around four players with AGA memberships to over 25 now with active memberships.” Nineteen players ranging from 2 dan to 20 kyu participated in the spring AGA ratings tournament on April 20. “The format was modeled off of the Bay Area Go Club format for ratings days, where there were no strict rounds and new pairings were created as opponents became available,” Broege tells the E-Journal. “Though no tournament winner was declared, John Armstrong 7k won all three of his games.”
- photo: Mark Gerads 12k (left) and Michael Alberts 14k assess a capturing race in the corner; photo courtesy Aaron Broege
Yunxuan Li 5d took top honors at the Rocky Mountain Spring Go Tourney, held April 13th in Boulder, Co. Li, who lives in California, flew out to compete in order to accumulate points for the North American Masters Tourney, which will be held at the Go Congress in August. Li, who is 15, surprised everyone by defeating one of Colorado’s top players, Jung Hoon Lee 7d, in a nail biting game that gave Li a half point win with komi. He also defeated Yun-Bo Yi 6d and Matthew Harwit 5d, in an eight player field of high dan players. In the low dan and single digit kyu section, Josh Hoak 1d won first prize with four wins, as did Timothy Chang 12k, in the double digit kyu section. Twelve-year-old Stanislav Irisov, competing in his first tourney, won the Best Newcomer’s Award for winning three games. The tourney drew 30 players, 14 of whom were kids and teens. – Story and photo by Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Photo: Yunxuan Li 5d (r) out-reads Matthew Harwit 5d (l).
April 23: Tempe, AZ
Arizona April AGA Rating Tournament
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The final stage of the 2013 Belgian Championship was a round robin among ten players, held on two weekends in March at a bar–restaurant in Antwerp. Two of the contestants were unbeaten on the first weekend: Lucas Neirynck, the highest ranked at 5 dan, and Kevin Prist, 2 dan. On the second weekend these two dropped one game apiece, Kevin losing to Jan Ramon (4 dan) and Lucas to Kwinten Missiaen (3 dan), and then they met in the final round. In that showdown Lucas beat Kevin by half a point to take the championship for a second straight year, while Jan finished second by one tie-breaking point. Kwinten came in third and Kevin fourth.
Complete results are here. Further details of the final game are here.
The AGA Summer Go Camp has launched an all new website to help promote the camp. Visitors can see pictures from previous camps, learn more about programs, and find answers to frequently asked questions. ”If you’re a go player between the ages of 8 and 18, and would like an opportunity to study go for a week with a professional teacher, the AGA East Go Camp is for you,” says camp director Amanda Miller. Anyone who played in the US Youth Go Championships can get a $400 AGF scholarship to the camp. Kids who didn’t play, but need financial help to attend, can apply for a needs based scholarship here. Visit the camp website for details and registration information. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor
The 2013 British Go Congress was held April 5-7 in Stevenage, a town near London, at a hotel that was formerly the home of Oliver Cromwell's secretary. It began with a 9-dan pro lesson from Michael Redmond, who was attending the Congress as part of a one-week teaching tour of Britain. This was followed by a lightning handicap tournament won by ten-year-old Oscar Selby, a fast-improving 12-kyu from Epsom. Then came the British Open, a six-round McMahon event. Sixty-seven players participated, fifteen of them in the top (2-4 dan) group. All but two were British, but the two exceptions did rather well. Zebin Du, a Chinese exchange student taking a semester abroad at Nottingham University, won all his games to finish first. His key victories were over fellow-student Yuanbo Zhang, who finished second, and last year's winner Andrew Kay, who finished third.Zebin's triumph was reported as far away as Ningbo, China, with a photo and comments that can be read in English here.
Full results of the British Open are given here.
The UK is likely to be relegated next year to the C-League in the 30-nation Pandanet Go European Team Championship, after another poor result in the eighth round match on April 15 against Belgium, which resulted in a draw.
The tournament is played online in three leagues of ten teams each on the Pandanet (IGS) server in the EuropeanTeamChamps room. So far, the UK team has not won a single round, with five losses and three draws to date. The ninth and final league round is to be played against Italy on Tuesday May 7. Unless the UK can pull a win out of the hat then, they will be automatically relegated to the bottom league next year.
The top four teams will face off in over-the –board finals at the European Go Congress in Olszystn, Poland later this year. Click here for full results to date, and here for British Go Association President Jon Diamond’s report.
- Tony Collman
Cambridge took the open division of this spring’s London International Teams tournament without losing a single game on Sunday April 14. The twice-yearly event was held at the Nippon Club in central London, UK.
Four teams of three played three matches each and the winning team comprised Andrew Simons 4d, David Ward 4d and Jonathan Chin 2d, who each won all their games. Click here for Simons’ game against the Nippon Club’s Shinichi Nao 6d*.
The second (handicap) division, also comprising four teams, was narrowly won by the South London Go Club, with Twickenham a close second.
* Simons reconstructed the game from memory and apologizes if dame, gote yose moves or ko threats are in the wrong order: the main body of the game and final position are as on the day. Simons, the Cambridge captain, said of this game (round 2 of 3), “I’ve played Nao a a few times in this tournament before and he likes to play san ren sei and make centre moyos so my jump of white 8 is my favoured anti-san-ren-sei tactic recently. His p10 jump was a mistake and should be n14 instead as my block at o14 was successful: the way he cut in the game was bad shape and I got a good result. His r7 invited complications as he felt behind and I resisted and was happy enough with the result of that fight on the right. Q2 was a big mistake from which I knew wasn’t really sente and he noticed too which led to messy fighting on the lower side but at least I won the ko on the left. He caught up a bit later but I maintained enough of my early lead to win (and not run out of time).”
- reported by Tony Collman
While the clash of titans in the final match at the St. Petersburg Go Consul Cup League A (Dinerchtein’s “Water” Douses Shikshin “Fire” at St. Petersburg Go Consul Cup 4/14/2013 EJ) naturally generated the most general public hullabaloo, the Cup’s B League — consisting of 86 players ranging from 6d to 15k — offered plenty of excitement and surprising results as well.
Thousands of go events around the world routinely show that the game can unite people and draw them together. Shared common interest in go can create the most loyal friendship and, it turns out, love. This is the case of Igor Burnaevskiy 4d and Dina Burdakova 5d, the young Russian married couple who took the two first places of the League B event; Igor managed to defeat Alexey Lazarev 6d, the first Russian player who won European Go Champion Title in 1991, thus leaving him in the 3rd position in League B.
This success is quite unique. We’ve heard of Asian pro marriages but Dina and Igor (at left) are the first and only European high-dan married couple. Dina Burdakova has been playing go since childhood and is an acknowledged Russian go-star, three times Russian Female Champion, winning this title for the first time in 1999 at the age of 12. Husband Igor Burnaevskiy, in contrast, can be called “the dark horse” of this tournament. He started playing go about 6 years ago after watching “Hikaru no Go” and reached 5d on KGS without playing in any major go competitions. He appeared in real tournaments only in 2011. The couple’s secret lies not only in go training but in shared experience and merging the strong points of their different styles. The drama of the Go Consul Cup League B sprang up in the final round when they had to face each other in a match to determine the winner. Here Igor showed his stronger side – the feeling of fuseki – and drew the game to the victory. In any case, the result allowed both spouses to pass to the League A (top 8 with rotation system) and we’ll see them competing with Russian top players at the next Russian grand event.
Though neither the Korean Baduk Association nor the Chinese Weiqi Association have officially confirmed whether the rumored 10-game match, or jubango, between Sedol Lee 9P (right) and Li Gu 9P (left) will actually occur, buzz surrounding the potential match hints otherwise. Major Korean newspaper Dong-A Ilbo reports that “both players have agreed to play the ten games between October 2013 and May 2014, in various locations throughout China.”
While some details remain fuzzy, including venues and exact dates, news reports claim the budget for the match is estimated to be approximately $1.15 million USD. The reason Lee cites for this sum is the damage the loser’s reputation will suffer “throughout the go world and in the history books.” As many fans hail Lee as Korea’s top player and Gu remains the top Chinese player, his concern is understandable. It is not personal, however. In an interview after their most recent match (March 20), Lee said, “Gu Li is the best rival for me to play against, but he’s also a best friend of mine for life.” Gu echoed the sibling-esque rivalry when he said, “I always fight intensely whenever I play against Lee Sedol. I’d like to create more exciting games for go fans.”
So, is it still possible? Will the two players, born the same year and then became pro together twelve years later, have a face-off like never before? Korean player An Younggil 8p says that despite the missing pieces “we have reasons to be optimistic.”
Right now, Lee and Gu’s official record is 17-15 with Gu in the lead (17-17 if one includes exhibition games). For more details surrounding the Lee-Gu jubango, visit Go Game Guru.
-Annalia Linnan, based on a longer article on Go Game Guru
After an exciting first few rounds, the Collegiate Go League post-season concludes this Saturday, April 20. The championship match will be played at 2:30pm EST in the Collegiate Go League room on KGS, reports William Lockhart. Ten schools competed in the inaugural event last year. This year the number increased to 12. Defending champs University of Michigan will take on the winner of Princeton and U. of Toronto, which will be played immediately before at 1pm. U. Toronto is expected to advance to the championships, lead by freshman and recently crowned AGA professional Gansheng Shi. The CGL matches teams of five from schools across the US and Canada every other week. “Come and watch the finals on Saturday!” Lockhart urges.
The 10-game match on go9dan.com between Lee Sedol 9P and three Western professionals, has been called after eight fascinating games, as the Western pros — Catalin Taranu, Gansheng Shi and Andy Liu — were “out of the money,” reports go9dan’s Michael Simon. “All of the many observers found the games enjoyable and even amazing,” Simon added. “There really is no end to go strength.” The game records and reviews are available online: Game #1 Lee-Andy Liu, Game #2 Lee-Gansheng Shi; Game #3 Lee-Catalin Taranu, Game #4 Lee-Andy Liu, Game #5 Lee-Gansheng Shi (uncommented), Game #6 Lee-Catalin Taranu, Game #7 Lee-Andy Liu, Game #8 Lee-Gansheng Shi.
American Go E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock 3D and his wife Lisa are walking nearly 200 miles across England this May to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary and raise funds for the American Go Foundation, which is dedicated to promoting go in the U.S. “This is a really wonderful idea,” said AGF President Terry Benson. “It’s generous players like Chris that make the AGF work possible. The more support we get, the more we can do for go.” With the AGF’s support, thousands of American children have learned go in hundreds of schools, libraries and community centers across the country. The AGF also provide scholarships and resources for youth who play go, and supports go in institutional settings such as prisons, and senior centers. “Donate what you can,” says Garlock, “whatever you give will go to help promote go across the United States.” Click here to donate. Considered the second best walk in the world, the Coast to Coast Walk is a 182-mile unofficial and mostly unsignposted long distance footpath in Northern England. Devised by Alfred Wainwright, it passes through the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales, and North York Moors National Parks.
- photo: Garlock on a training walk on the Seneca Creek Trail Greenway earlier this month; photo by Lisa Garlock
Amazing Kids Art: “That art is amazing! (Missing Children’s Go Art 4/9 EJ),” writes Lee Frankel-Goldwater. “The AGA should do this kind of contest and display winning entries in the main hall of the year’s Congress! Maybe in coordination with Canada and Europe and offer some prize (camp scholarship?) to the winner(s).” That’s basically what the AGA and AGF have done for the past two years. “We haven’t given the kids scholarships, but they have won prizes for their entries,” says Paul Barchilon. “People also bid on the art last year, and a fair amount of money was raised. The money went both to the children and to support Comunidad Mexicana de Go Infantil y Juvenal (Mexican Youth Go Community), who run the event, and are led by Siddhartha Avila. Last year’s exhibit was a big hit, and I am sure we will do it again this year.” Barchilon also notes that a Facebook page for the art competition has just been launched; check it out here.
Choose Your Frequency: “The AGA news email is relentless,” writes Lloyd Westerman. “I would read a condensed version, with major headlines, once a month.” While we’re very proud of our thorough and timely coverage of the world go scene, we understand that not everyone wants to hear the latest news right away, and offer a weekly compilation. Switching is easy: go to “UPDATE YOUR PROFILE” at the bottom of the E-Journal and select the desired frequency (weekly or daily); you can also select your preferred format (HTML, text or mobile).
Graphic: “Dragon Slay – A Fighting Game,” April Ye, Cupertino, USA
by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the American Go E-Journal
Takao to Challenge Iyama for Honinbo Title: Four years after being deposed as Honinbo, Takao Shinji 9P has earned a chance to regain the title, but to succeed he will have to overcome his nemesis, Iyama Yuta. The 68th Honinbo League ended on April 8 with the grand finale that has become customary for leagues in recent years, with all the games in the final round being held on the same day. By this stage only two results at the top were possible, a win for Takao (right) or a play-off between him and Cho U. Takao avoided complications by defeating his final-round opponent, Imamura Toshiya 9P. As it turned out, Cho U lost his game with Yamashita Keigo Meijin, so Takao could have afforded to drop his game.
Full results in this round and final placings follow. Takao Shinji 9P (W) defeated Imamura Toshiya 9P by resignation; Yamashita Keigo Meijin (W) d. Cho U 9P by resignation; Ko Iso 8P (B) d. Cho Sonjin 9P by resignation; Yuki Satoshi 9P (W) d. Seto Taiki 7P by resignation. 1. Takao Shinji: 7-0; 2. Yamashita Keigo: 5-2; 3. Cho U: 5-2; 4. Yuki Satoshi: 3-4. Ko Iso: 3-4; Imamura Toshiya, Seto Taiki: 2-5; Cho Sonjin: 1-6. The last four players lost their places in the league.
The title match will get off to a start on May 16 and, if it goes the full distance, continue until July 18. Iyama Yuta will be the favorite, as he has a 17-5 lead over Takao, but Takao won their most recent encounter, in the Meijin League in January. They have played one previous title match, when Takao challenged Iyama for the 35th Meijin title in 2010; Iyama won this match 4-0.
Iyama and Hane Keep Chances Alive in Meijin League: Cho U 9P, on 4-0, is the only undefeated player in the 38th Meijin League, but his main rivals, Hane Naoki 9P (left) and Iyama Yuta Kisei (right), who each have only one loss, both won their fifth-round games, played on April 11, so they are keeping up the pressure on Cho. Iyama (W) beat Murakawa Daisuke 7P by resignation and Hane (B) beat Yuki Satoshi 9P, also by resignation. The latter game put an end to Yuki’s recent winning streak, but actually it’s more serious than that: Yuki seems unable to win in the Meijin League. In the previous league, he lost all eight games and the last two in the league before that; he has now lost four in a row in the current league, so he has lost 14 games in a row. This is surely one of the worst losing streaks ever in a league (one reason being that probably not many players who have scored 0-8 have won a place in the next league).
Xie and Kobayashi Win Pair Go: The team of Xie Yimin, holder of the Women’s Triple Crown, and Kobayashi Satoru 9P defeated Osawa Narumi 4-dan and Mizokami Tomochika 8-dan in the final of the Professional Pair Go Championship 2013. The game was played on March 10 and telecast on March 31. This is the fourth year in a row Xie has been on the winning team and fittingly she made a big contribution to her team’s victory this year with a very aggressive clamping move in the middle game that gave her team control of the game. Details of the tournament are given on the homepage of the Japan Pair Go Association.
Korea wins 3rd Huang Longshi Cup: This is a knock-out team tournament for five-player female teams from China, Korea, and Japan, run along the lines of the Nong Shim Cup and sponsored by the City of Jiangyan in Jiangsu Province in China. It is named after Huang Longshi, active in the second half of the 17th century, who was one of the greatest Chinese players of the historical period. After Korea’s first player, Kim Cae-yeong 1-dan, started with four successive wins, the tournament was dominated by the fifteen-year-old Yu Zhiying 2-dan (right), who won six games in a row. She was finally beaten by the sixteen-year-old Ch’oe Cheong 2-dan of Korea, who won three games in a row, securing victory for Korea (the final game was played on April 11). The services of Korea’s top board, Pak Chi-eun 9-dan, were not required. The Japanese team, headed by Xie Yimin 6-dan, was unable to win a game. Actually only three of the fifteen players put a win on the board. Last year, a 20-year-old from China, Wang Chenxing 2-dan, was the star, winning eight games in a row. Every year the players are getting younger.
- photo: Yu Zhiying at the Huang Longshi Cup in 2012; photo courtesy Go Game Guru