Phil Straus found this reference to go in “The Math Book,” Clifford Pickover’s 2009 book, subtitled “From Pythagoras to the 57th Dimension, 250 Milestones in the History of Mathematics.” The book provides “a veritable history of mathematics by focusing on its greatest theorems and the geniuses who discovered them,” said Martin Gardner in a review. “Topics are chronological, starting with the calculating abilities of ants 150 million years B.C. and ending with Max Tegmark’s recent conjecture that our universe is not just described by math, it is mathematics. Dr. Pickover’s vast love of math, and his awe before its mysteries, permeates every page of this beautiful volume. The illustrations alone are worth the book’s price.”
The weekend you’ve all been waiting for starts tomorrow – the 2015 Confucius Cup! All the details for the Go and Chinese Chess tournaments are available here.
If you can’t come along then you can watch the top Go board from each round broadcasted live on KGS (username ‘IrishGo’) and video stream on UStream. Tune in on Saturday to get all the live updates.
The 36th World Amateur Go Championship will be held in Bangkok, Thailand June 5-12. North America will be represented by Danny Ko. More details will be forthcoming soon.
Six top European players are currently studying in Beijing, China under a program sponsored by CEGO China. The Chinese Go magazine Qi-Shi recently published an interview with five of the players: Pavol Lisy (Slovakia), Ali Jabarin (Israel), Lukas Podpera (Czech Republic), Jan Simara (Czech Republic), Dusan Mitic (Serbia). Andrii Kravets of the Ukraine was not available. Lisy and Jabarin are two new European pros. The report was translated by Jennie Shen and Kevin Huang and edited by Chris Garlock.
Podpera: There are about 250 active go players in Czechia, and their level is getting stronger and stronger. Last year, for example, the Czech team won the European team championship. There are four European 6ds in Czechia; we (Lucas and Jan) are two of them.
Lisy: I’m from Slovakia. There are about 50 active players there, including eight dan players.
Jabarin: Israel has about 50 players. I feel like the talent level is pretty high, because even though some countries have more players, we can beat them. We have some promising young players.
Qi-Shi: How long have you been playing go? What’s your background?
Podpera: I started to play go at the age of 7. My father introduced me to the game because he used to play the game in the university.
Simara: I started [to play go] because I played chess, then I met go. When I was about fifteen, I switched from chess to go.
Simara: Go has much more possibilities.
Mitic: It’s the same as with Lukas — I learned go from my father.
Lisy: I started to play go at the age of five. My father taught me.
Ali: I got introduced to the game by a friend. I just started to play when I was twelve, started going to the tournaments, then kept playing since then.
Qi-Shi: You came to Bejing to study at the Ge’s Academy. What did you learn here? Do you have a goal?
Podpera: The European pro qualification which I would like to try to pass. Otherwise I don’t have any real future planning; let’s see how it will go.
Simara: I think I’m improving in all areas.
Lisy: I feel like I’m improving in the school because I spend lots of time on go. I improved mostly at the endgame I think.
Qi-Shi: Do you have a plan for your future? Do you want to be a pro or want to do things related to go?
Simara: About the future, not exactly sure…come back and see, play some games..
Mitic: I have no plans for the future, except I’ll try to become pro.
Lisy: My plan for the future: to get good results at the international tournaments, win some games against Asian pros, but that’s just a dream.
Jabarin: I was in university and I stopped before I came here, and I told myself I that for at least two or three years, let’s see what I can do with go. The dream is to be able to play competitively in Asia. It’s not a plan; I would say it’s a dream, but that’s the end goal. I hope I can improve as well, I know it’s not very easy.
Qi-Shi: What do you think is the most interesting thing about go?
Podpera: The endless numbers of variations.
Qi-Shi: Which part of go is the most difficult to improve?
Podpera: For me the most difficult thing to improve is the endgame. It’s very hard to count the points exactly, most of the games are decided by the endgame. But here they found how to improve in those go schools with practice.
Simara: The most difficult part to improve I think is reading.
Mitic: I agree with most of the things Jan said, I think the most difficult part of go is reading.
Lisy: The most difficult part of go, maybe the judgement, I don’t know.
Jabarin: I think something which is very important is mentality. When you play and also when you study. Having the will to win, the will to try hard, so you’ll study a lot, staying calm while playing is very important, that’s one of the things that I’m trying to improve here. Other than that, I feel like I gained a little bit of knowledge also. I always learn new moves, not just josekis, but new techniques. Then something which I learned about the game, I can just say that to me go is very deep, just feels different from all the other games. It’s not just a game.
Qi-Shi: Who is your go idol?
Podpera and Simara: Iyama Yuta
Pavol: Chen Yaoye
Lisy: I was very happy. The tournament was very good. I enjoyed it, I think, For example the time setting helped me, because I’m used to playing fast games. It was not so difficult to overcome the pressure.
Jabarin: We (Pavol and Ali) just came back from Japan from a tournament, (where) we had decent results. For me, I was feeling a bit more confident. And I was quite proud of some of the games I played in the [Silk Road] tournament. I regret the game I lost to Pavol. The tournament was a lot of fun, so it was good, of course I was happy with the prize money.
Qi-Shi: People think westerners and Asians think differently. Do you think that western go players and Asian go players think differently?
Pavol: I don’t know how they think. I think there’s a difference that they care more about the beginning of the game, they know how to finish the game, that’s the difference.
Qi-Shi: Some Asian pros think the feeling/instinct is very important. Do you play more with your feeling/instinct or reading and judgement?
Ali: Both. I think I understand what he means. The feeling is somehow much more important. Sometimes we play much less territorial, play more for a moyo, maybe not myself, but I think many players in Europe, they play much more moyo style. Sometimes t’s just like ‚Oh wow, this move looks good, feels good,“ not saying it like it is much more precise.
Qi-Shi: What do you want to do for European Go?
Podpera: We can bring some knowledge from China to Europe, open go schools and teach.
Simara: We are all part of the [pro] system. So if some of us are successful, naturally this system is also successful, that’ll be good for everyone.
photos: top right: the Go school in Beijing; 2nd left/3rd right: pro lesson with WangYao 6P; bottom left: Silk Road (also called 1st Qinling Mountains Cup) amateur tournament awards, Pavol won first place, the prize money was 60,000 RM, (US$10,000).
Click here for more info and photos.
Ukraine: Svitlana Tarasenko 5k took the Open Championship of Rivine on January 31 while Yaroslav Malko 8k placed second; Andrii Pylypchuk 3k came in third. France: Manuel Frangi 1d bested Guillaume Attia 3d at the 19th Orsay tournament on January 25 while Mathieu Daguenet 3d placed third. Turkey: The 1st Istanbul City Handicap Go Championship Finals finished on January 31 with Ertug Akkol 1d (left) in first, Dogac Kose 1d in second, and Hande Olgar 14k in third.
– Annalia Linnan, based on reports from EuroGoTV, which include complete result tables and all the latest European go news; photo courtesy of EuroGoTV
by John Power, EJ Japan Correspondent
Iyama Extends Lead in Kisei Title Match: The second game of the 39th Kisei title match was held at the Hachinohe Park Hotel in Hachinohe City, Aomori Prefecture, on January 29 and 30. Playing white, Iyama Yuta (right) won by resignation after 228 moves. This gives him a 2-0 lead over the challenger, Yamashita Keigo 9P. The third game, scheduled for February 5 and 6, is close to being a must-win affair for Yamashita if he is going to stop Iyama from winning the title for the third year in a row. The game got off to an interesting start, with Yamashita coming up with a new variation in an old joseki. Iyama showed his flexibility, however, by playing a bad-shape move that actually worked well for him. Early in the middle game, Iyama went on the offensive, and Yamashita found himself forced into playing a territorial strategy that didn’t suit his style. Having fallen behind a little, he did his best to catch up by attacking aggressively, but Iyama countered with the strongest moves and finally took a decisive lead. When Yamashita resigned, Iyama had a lead on the board.
Xie Defends Women’s Kisei Title: The second game of the 18th DoCoMo Cup Women Kisei title match was held in the Ryusei Studio (in the basement of the Nihon Ki-in in Ichigaya, Tokyo) on January 29. This was a do-or-die game for the challenger, as this title is a best-of-three, but she was outfought by the defending champion, Xie Yimin (left). After 273 moves, Xie, taking black, won by 5.5 points. She won this title for the third year in a row and extended her overall tally to 19, eight ahead of the next woman player (Aoki Kikuyo 8P, with 11).
Iyama Tops Prize-Money List for 2014: Even though he lost two titles last year, Iyama Yuta still earned enough in winnings to top the prize-money list for the fourth year in a row. It was the third year in a row that he topped 100 million yen. Only three other players have reached this mark: Cho Chikun (five times), Cho U (four times) and Kobayashi Koichi (three times). The top ten for 2014 are given below. Fujisawa Rina, aged 16, is probably the youngest player ever to make the list. Xie Yimin made the best ten for the seventh year in a row.
1. Iyama Yuta: ¥140,788,528 (about $1,203,320)
2. Kono Rin: ¥44,983,332
3. Takao Shinji: ¥37,903,600
4. Yamashita Keigo: ¥30,779,458
5. Ida Atsushi: ¥19,210,200
6. Ichiriki Ryo: ¥17,002,800
7. Fujisawa Rin: ¥16,736,161
8. Hane Naoki: ¥13,477,000
9. Xie Yimin: ¥12,931,771
10. Cho U: ¥12,470,600
Annual Promotions: Besides the promotions through the cumulative-win system, a number of promotions are made every year based on prize-money winnings in the top seven titles: the top 6-dan and the top two in the ranks underneath are promoted one rank. The following promotions based on 2014 winnings are dated to January 1.
To 7-dan: Ohashi Naruya
To 6-dan: Tajima Shingo, Shiraishi Yuichi
To 5-dan: Muramatsu Hiroki, Suzuki Shinji
To 4-dan: Hirata Tomoya , Obuchi Kotaro
To 3-dan: Takeuchi Kosuke, Numadate Sakiya
To 2-dan: Tanaka Nobuyuki, Koyama Kuya
Macworld senior contributor Kirk McElhearn provides a terrific overview of go apps on his January 31 Improve your game of Go (or just keep playing) with this collection of apps column. “If you want to play Go, or want to improve your game, there are a number of excellent iOS apps that can help you learn how to play and try to master the game. Here are the best ones,” writes McElhearn. McElhearn writes The Ask the iTunes Guy column and writes about Macs, music and more on his blog Kirkville.
January was the first month of the AGA Chapter Rewards program (AGA Institutes New Chapter Rewards Program 12/31 EJ) in which AGA chapters can earn rewards points from new or renewing memberships or members playing rated games. The points will credit to a chapter only if the member has set that as their affiliated chapter in their member profile.
Don’t know your chapter or want to change it? Here’s how: In the menu on the left of the AGA home page select Member/Chapter Login under the Membership and Chapters section. This will take you to the login page where you can login by email address or AGA number. There are links there if you either forgot your password or never set one. Log in and you’ll get to the home page for the Members/Chapters area. From there, click on the link to view or update your membership info. Once you reach that page, scroll down to the section titled Other Info. There is a field there for Chapter with a drop down box that will give you a list of active chapters to choose from. Pick the chapter you would like to be affiliated with and then click on Save at the bottom of the page.
The recent resumption of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba has renewed hope that a Cuban delegation will be able to attend this year’s US Go Congress. An effort last year stalled because of problems getting visas from the US State Department. “We are quite hopeful of better success this year,” says Bob Gilman, AGA Director for the Central Region. “We have learned some things from the 2014 effort, and the recent thaw in US – Cuban relations can only be helpful.”
The AGA has invited three Cuban players to the 2015 Go Congress in St. Paul, MN, including Rafael Torres Miranda 2d, President of the Academia Cubana de Go, Roylan de la Torre Marrero 5d and Orlando Mederos Trujillo 5d.
The invitation builds on 2013 visit by US players to Havana, where a friendly competition between US and Cuban players was a great success. “There are Cuban go players in all provinces of the country, and they were a serious and enthusiastic group,” says Gilman, who organized the visit.
Fundraising is now underway to enable the Cuban delegation to attend the Congress. “Cuba is a poor country, and the Cuban players cannot afford this trip without help from the US go community,” says Gilman. “The US go community has received wonderful support from Japan, Korea, and China and we’re now in a position where we can help the growing go community in Cuba.” While the details are worked out and the costs are finalized, those interested in helping can make a pledge here. As in 2014, if donations cannot be used, they will be returned, e.g., if visa problems should again prevent some invitees from coming. Contributions will be made through the American Go Foundation (AGF), and may be taken as a deduction on the donor’s federal income tax.
Pandanet has begun posting E-Journal articles on their site, translated into Japanese. The first one is the EJ’s recent report on the AGA pro tournament. “We’re tremendously pleased that EJ reporting is now available in Japanese,” said E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock. Pandanet plans to post a translated EJ article each week.
Go drives the plotline in a second-season episode of JAG entitled “The Game of Go.” “Harm and a Colombian drug lord play a high-stakes game of go, with the prize being a Marine who was left behind during a covert mission, as Webb and the JAG team once again butt heads,“ reports Dave Holland.
“My recollection of the episode is that several moves were spread out over the unfolding of the plot with closeups of the contested part of the board. It represented middle game fighting. A little far-fetched for a US Navy lawyer and a drug kingpin to be such accomplished players but good exposure for the game nevertheless.“ Note that the moves are played inside the board squares rather than on the intersections.
“I enjoy the EJ’s ‘Go Spotting’ column as go has a way of showing up in unexpected places,” says Holland. “I live in Minneapolis and recently met a young player from northern Minnesota whose grandfather learned baduk during the Korean War. He also went to high school with Bob Dylan.“
Peter Freedman (at far right), Hikaru Saito, Glenn Peters, Jessie Jenkins and Jessie’s friend, Austin, taught at least 50 people to play go at Portland’s Mochitsuki Festival on Sunday January 25th. Held at Portland State University from 10 to 4 , thousands came to celebrate the new year, eat traditional food and experience traditional Japanese culture. -Photo and story courtesy Peter Freedman
The Open Section of the Jin Chen Memorial Tournament at the Seattle Go Center drew twelve players, including two 7 dans and three 6 dans. Since the Jan. 4 tournament had only three rounds, there was a tie for first place between Boyang Chen 6d from Oregon, and Chan Chung 5d from the Seattle area. Edward Kim placed 3rd, after losing one game on time.
Go Center members were intrigued to meet the teacher of Edward Kim 7d, since Edward has taught many of the strong players in the Northwest. Years ago, Edward’s teacher was his older brother Hong Kim, who also lives in the Seattle area. This was the first time Hong played in an AGA rated tournament. He won the handicapped section for players 2 kyu and stronger, playing as a 2d. Second place went to young Chanseok Oh. The 3 kyu to 9 kyu band was won by local Frank Brown, with new player Ben Resnick placing second. The double digit kyu player’s section was won by Elan Ma, with second to California visitor Barry Stiefel. Elan also won the children’s prize. There were 30 players at the tournament, which is held on the first Sunday in January every year to mark the birthday of our old friend Jin Chen. Report and photo illustration by Brian Allen
by John Power, EJ Japan Correspondent
Xie Makes Good Start in Women’s Kisei Defense: The first game of the 18th DoCoMo Cup Women’s Kisei title match, a best-of-three, was played at the Hotel Sunlife Garden in Hiratsuka City, Kanagawa Prefecture, on January 22. Konishi Kazuko 8P (right) of the Kansai Ki-in is making her first appearance in a title match (she has reached the finals of three knock-out titles but lost each time). Xie has held this title for four of the the last five years. In the nigiri to decide colors, Xie drew white. Konishi played positively in the opening and seized the initiative, but Xie managed to set up the kind of confused fight in which she excels. Konishi failed to find the best move in the crucial middle-game fight, and this gave Xie a chance to upset her lead. Konishi resigned after 136 moves. The second game will be played on January 29. It’s a must-win game for Konishi if she is to take the match to a deciding game on February 2.
Honinbo League Update: Two games were played in the 70th Honinbo League on January 22. Yamashita Keigo 9P (B) beat Takao Shinji 9P by resignation and Kono Rin 9P (W) beat Yo Seiki 7P, also by resignation. Yamashita goes to 3-1, keeping him in second place behind Ida Atsushi 8P (4-0). Kono evened his score to 2-2, and both Takao and Yo, on 1-3, will now have to focus on keeping their league places.
Judan challenger: Kobayashi Satoru or Ida: The second semifinal of the 53rd Judan tournament was held in Nagoya on January 22. It was contested by two of the leading young players at the Central Japan branch of the Nihon Ki-in, Ida Atsushi 8P and Shida Tatsuya 7P (right). Ida was the top new star of last year, winning the Honinbo League on debut. Although he lost the title match to Iyama Yuta, he seems to be on course to challenge again. Shida is older (24 to Ida’s 20) and was the top young player in Nagoya until Ida emerged. Shida won the Hiroshima Aluminium Cup in his second year as a pro (2007) and came second in the Agon Kiriyama Cup in 2013. Shida had won their two previous encounters, but in the last year Ida has gotten a lot stronger. Taking black in this game, he forced a resignation, so he will meet Kobayashi Satoru in the play-off to decide the challenger to Takao Shinji.
Maidenhead-Hitachi Tournament: On January 24th, Charles Hibbert 2 dan went on to win all three of his games, claiming the Maidenhead title. Coincidentally, it was also his first-ever tournament. Second and third place were claimed by Alistair Wall and Jitka Bartova. All players winning three or two games received a prize. 55 players took part in the event.
- edited by Amy Su from reports on the BGA website.
Ukraine: Oleksandr Hiliazov 1d bested Anton Boreiko 4k at the Kharkiv Championship on January 25 while Leonid Shumakov 5k placed third. United Kingdom: The Maidenhead finished on January 24 with Charles Hibbert 2d in first, Alistair Wall 1d in second, and Jitka Bartova 1d (left) in third. Russia: Mikhail Dobricyn 3k took the Russian Championship Under 12 in Cheljabinsk on January 18. Behind him were Egor Arsentjev 2k in second and Savva Mezin 6k in third.
– Annalia Linnan, based on reports from EuroGoTV, which include complete result tables and all the latest European go news; photo courtesy of EuroGoTV
Phoenixville, PA: Players wanted for the Phoenixville Go Club. We meet Sunday afternoons and Wednesday nights at Artisan’s Cafe in downtown Phoenixville. Free mug of coffee for each first time visitor! Contact Craig at email@example.com with questions.
Join the American Go Association and get two months of Baduk TV English for free: Want to try Baduk TV English for free? From now until the end of January, you can get two months of free access to Baduk TV English (valued at $40) when you join the American Go Association…click here to read more.
The deadline for young kyu players who want to compete in the North American Kyu Championships is Feb. 3rd, with the tourney itself held Feb. 7th, on KGS. Kids and teens (under the age of 18) who are members of the AGA, CGA, Gimnasio de Go, or MGA, may all enter in the event. With thousands of dollars in scholarships available, to both the AGA Go Camp, and US Go Congress, kyu players of any rank should enter. Prizes will be awarded roughly every five ranks, starting at 25 kyu, and working up to 1 kyu. The registration form is here, more information is available here.
Get the latest go events information.
On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 2015, the Atlanta Go Club and the Atlanta Chinese Go Association organized a hike up Stone Mountain, in memory of Dr. King, who referred to the mountain in his I Have a Dream speech — “Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.” Feijun (Frank) Luo 7d, led young kids to play go at both the shelter in the middle of the mountain, and the pavilion on the top of the mountain. “The kids greatly enjoyed mountain climbing, playing go during the trip, and the spectacular view on top of Stone Mountain,” said Luo. Brandon Zhou 4d, who won the Ing Foundation’s World Youth Goe Qualifier in the U.S. junior division in 2014, was among the participants. “Playing go on Stone Mountain is a good way to pay tribute to Dr. King,” said Luo, “go is a board game that best displays equality and freedom — it represents equality because every stone has an equal value by itself, and it expresses freedom because playing styles are unrestricted and free.” -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Photo by Frank Luo: Clockwise: Ryan Dong, Edwin Lin, Brian Zhou, Ryan Li, Brandon Zhou, Feijun (Frank) Luo, Daniel Luo, and Ethan Zhou. Kids not pictured above: Alex Lin, Vicki Gu, Eileen Chen, and Jerry Chen.