Eight top US go players will gather just outside Boston next week to determine the next US professional. Play in the 3rd AGA Pro Qualification Finals starts on Sunday, January 4 and ends on January 10. The games will be broadcast live on KGS from the Nantasket Beach Resort by the E-Journal; morning rounds will begin at 9:30 AM and afternoon rounds will begin at 4:30 PM. The players are Eric Lui 7d, Ryan Li 7d, Yuan Zhou 7d, Jeremy Chiu 6d, Daniel Gourdeau 7d, Ricky Zhao 7d, Ben Lockhart 7d, and Matthew Burrall 6d. The tournament will be played in two parts, a Round Robin Prelim Sunday through Wednesday, followed by the Championship Thursday and Friday. Jeff Shaevel is the Tournament Director, AGA President Andy Okun will be on hand and Chris Garlock and Andrew Jackson will head up the EJ recording team.
photo: Calvin Sun, winner of the 2nd AGA pro tourney in January 2013; photo by Dennis Wheeler.
by John Power, EJ Japan Correspondent
Ida Takes Sole Lead in Honinbo League: Two games in the second round of the 70th Honinbo League were played on November 13. Cho U 9P picked up his first win by beating Ryu Shikun 9P (B) by 3.5 points, and Ida Atsushi 8P (B) beat Mimura Tomoyasu 9P by resignation. This was the second win for Ida (right), the previous challenger. Another game was played on November 20. Yo Seiki 7P of the Kansai Ki-in (W) beat Takao Shinji 9P by 8.5 points. That put both players on 1-1. On November 27, the second round was completed when Yamashita Keigo 9P (W) defeated Kono Rin 9P by resig. That took Yamashita to 2-0, giving him a share of the lead with Ida. Kono had made a bad start with 0-2. What could turn out to be the decisive game in the league came in the third round in a clash between Ida and Yamashita. In the previous league, Ida had caught up with Yamashita in the final round, then beaten him in the play-off. This time, in a game played on December 4, Ida (B) beat Yamashita by 1.5 points. Yamashita will have to play catch-up, but forging ahead of the other players didn’t work for him in either the Honinbo or the Meijin League this year. On December 11, Cho U 9P (B) beat Yo Seiki 7P by resignation. On December 15, Ryu Shikun 9P (B) picked up his first win in the league when he beat Takao Shinji 9P by resignation. On December 18, Kono Rin (W) followed in Ryu’s footsteps by beating Mimura Tomoyasu 9P by resignation. That completed the third round and also the league schedule for this year. The league goes into the new year with a tidy arrangement: the top-ranked player, Ida, leads with 3-0, as mentioned above; the number two and three players, Yamashita and Cho U, are both on 2-1, and the other five players are on 1-2. As yet, no one is out of the running.
Suzuki Leads Women’s Meijin League: Two games were played in the Women’s Meijin League in November. On the 13th, Suzuki Ayumi 6P (W) beat Mukai Chiaki 5P by 1.5 points. On the 20th, Mannami Nao 3P (B) beat Chinen Kaori 4P by resignation. On December 4, Chinen Kaori 4P (B) beat Mukai Chiaki 5P by resignation. Two more games were played on December 11. Kato Keiko 6P (W) beat Aoki Kikuyo 8P by
4.5 points and Suzuki Ayumi 6P (B) beat Mannami Nao 3P by resignation. On 4-1, Suzuki holds the sole lead — every other player has at least two losses.
Iyama Loses Chance for Grand Slam Next Year: Iyama Yuta was eliminated in the quarterfinals of the 53rd Judan tournament, so he lost his chance to aim at a grand slam of the top seven titles in 2015. In a game played at the Osaka headquarters of the Nihon Ki-in on November 28, Kobayashi Satoru 9P (W) beat Iyama by half a point. His prospects subsequently became even more distant, as you’ll see in tomorrow’s report.
Suzuki and Rin Win Pair Go Tournament For Married Couples: One of the events commemorating the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Nihon Ki-in was a Pair Go tournament for married couples. There are 16 or 17 professional couples in Japan (I have lost count), of whom eight took part. The first two rounds in the knockout tournament were played on October 6, and the final was held on November 22, which is known as ‘good married couples’ day. If you take the first syllables of the numbers in 11/22 in Japanese, you get ‘ii fufu,’ a homophone for ‘good married couple.’ (Japanese are found of turning numbers into mnemonics). In the final, Suzuki Ayumi 6P and Rin Kanketsu 7P (W) defeated Mimura Kaori 2P and Tomoyasu 9P by resignation.
Meijin League Starts: The first game in the 40th Meijin League was played on December 4. Ko Iso 8P (W) beat Hane Naoki 9P by resignation. Two more games were played on the 11th. Kono Rin 9P (W) beat So Yokoku by resignation and Murakawa Daisuke (B) beat Kanazawa Makoto 7P by 13.5 points. Incidentally, Kono’s win ended a losing streak of ten successive games, starting with the fourth game of the Meijin title match (a contrast to his winning streak of 19 games earlier in the year). The final game of the first round was played on Christmas Day. The new Tengen Takao Shinji (B) beat Yamashita Keigo 9P by half a point.
Tomorrow, Part 3: Takao Scores 900th Win; China Leads in Nong Shim Cup; Hane Wins Crown Title; Gu Wins Japan-China Ryusei Play-Off; Murakawa Takes Oza from Iyama
Ichiriki Wins Ibero-Japan Cup: This is a new tournament founded to encourage young players. It is open to players under 18, including inseis (professional trainees), and games are played on the Net. In the final, played on November 11, Ichiriki Ryo 7P (right), taking white, beat Kyo Kagen 2P by 6.5 points.
Yamashita Repeats as Kisei Challenger: The play-off to decide the challenger for the 39th Kisei title was held at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo on November 13. It featured the same players as the previous year, Yamashita Keigo 9P and Murakawa Daisuke 7P, and had the same result: a win for Yamashita. Taking black, Yamashita won by resignation. Yamashita’s previous challenge was rebuffed 4-2 by Iyama, but Yamashita has an affinity for this title: he has won it five times in all, including a run of four terms in a row, and has played in the title match eight times. Aged 36, he will soon qualify as a “veteran,” so he will be hoping to do better this time. The first game will be played in Osaka on January 15 and 16.
Kanazawa Wins Third Meijin Seat: Winning a seat in a league earns you an automatic promotion to 7-dan if you have not already made it. There has been a rash of such promotions in the last year or two (Yo Seiki, Ida Atsushi, Ichiriki Ryo), and now Kanazawa Makoto has joined them. The 4-dan beat O Meien 9P in the final round to win a seat in the 40th Meijin League. The game was played on November 13; taking white, Kanazawa won by 1.5 points. His promotion to 7-dan came the following day. The 22-year-old Kanazawa won the 37th King of the New Stars title in 2012. He looked a little disappointed when he realized he would no longer be able to play in this title or in the Hiroshima Aluminium Cup, both of which are restricted to players under 7-dan. Incidentally, Kanazawa’s father is Kanazawa Moriei, a former top amateur player who is a go writer for the Mainichi Newspaper.
Motoki Wins Hiroshima Aluminium Cup: The Hiroshima Aluminium Cup: Young Carp Tournament is a two-day knock-out tournament for Nihon Ki-in players 30 or under and 6-dan or under. The 9th cup was played at the Central Japan Newspaper Building in Hiroshima City on November 15 and 16. In the final, Motoki Katsuya 3P (aged 19) (W) beat Mutsuura Yuta 1P (aged 15) by 2.5 points to win his first title. Fujisawa Rina made it to the semifinals but lost to Motoki.
Tomorrow, Part 2: Ida Takes Sole Lead In Honinbo League; Suzuki Leads Women’s Meijin League; Iyama Loses Chance For Grand Slam Next Year; Suzuki And Rin Win Pair Go Tournament For Married Couples; Meijin League Starts
The North American Kyu Championships (NAKC) returns this year, and will be held on KGS, on Saturday Feb. 7th. The NAKC will welcome kids who live in both Canada and Mexico to compete with their counterparts in the US. Dan level players will be able to compete in the Redmond Cup (including players from Canada and Mexico). Youth who compete in either event will also be eligible for $400 scholarships to the AGA Go Camp, or $200 scholarships to the US Go Congress, courtesy of the AGF, on a first come first served basis.
Brackets in the NAKC will be divided by rank, with a new bracket formed approximately every 5 ranks or so depending on the range of participants. Within brackets, all games will be played even. Depending on the number of entrants in a given bracket, there will be either 3 or 4 rounds. There will be a trophy for the best Junior player (under 13) and the best Senior (under 18) in each bracket. Jr. and Sr. level youth will compete together. Registration is now open for the NAKC, and more information can be found on the AGA webpage for youth events. The deadline for the NAKC is Feb. 3rd. to register, click here. -Story and Photo by Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Photo: Kyu players competing at the US Go Congress in NYC.
Return of The Hedgehog: “The French movie ‘The Hedgehog’ has a mention of go and a scene showing the game,” writes Bart Lipofsky. “It’s based on the book ‘The Elegance of the Hedgehog’ by Muriel Barbery, which mentions the game at a dinner table discussion. The adult is corrected by the young girl concerning rules.”
Previous EJ reports include Go Art: “The Hedgehog” Now Available Online (11/28/2012 EJ) and Your Move/Readers Write: The Elegant Hedgehog Pops Up Again (9/1/2012).
’42 Ozu Film: In the 1942 movie There Was a Father (“Chichi ariki”), directed by Ozu Yasujiro, “There are views of a go parlor at minute 35, then further mention of the game later,” reports Bob Barber.
For more about go on film, check out the European Go Federation’s Go Filmography.
Former AGA Board Chair David Weimer tipped us off about a forthcoming book with a go-themed cover. International Relations Theory, The Game-Theoretic Approach is by Andrew H. Kydd, a colleague of Weimer’s in the Political Science Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Madison, WI. “Written for advanced undergraduate and graduate students, this is the first textbook on international relations theory to take a specifically game theoretic approach to the subject,” according to the book’s description on the Cambridge University Press website. “International relations theory is presented and analysed using simple games, which allow students to grasp the concepts and mechanisms involved with the rationalist approach without the distraction of complicated math.” The book is due out in March.
In-seong Hwang 8D’s online go school starts its fourth American season – and 11th European season – next month and is accepting new students now. Click here for details on the American Yunguseng Dojang and here for the European Yunguseng Dojang. A well-known top player in Europe, Hwang Inseong 8D trained at the Korean Yunguseng Academy, studied Go in Myong-ji University and worked for a baduk TV channel as commentator. The program consists of interactive online lectures, student league-play and game reviews on KGS. Students have access to all past lectures and reviews — more than 100 lectures and over 2,000 game review videos — as well as “personal go reports” to help students assess the progress they are making and the areas which need most work. “After just one year, the American league already has the biggest number of players, thanks to the members who bring their friends,” says Hwang. “Since we have more members, the next season league will be much more interesting and competitive!” Click here for details on the program, schedule and pricing.
Romania: Liviu Oprisan 4d bested George Chirila 1d (left) at the 6th Radu Baciu Grand Prix in CSRB on December 14 while Mihai Lita 2d came in third. Ukraine: Also on December 14, the Tournament of 50 parallel finished in Kharkiv with Oleksandr Hiliazov 1d in first, Anton Parafilo 8k in second, and Leonid Shumakov 5k in third. Serbia: Lazar Manojlovic 5d took the 39th Serbian Championship on December 14 in Kragujevac. Mijodrag Stankovic 5d placed second and Dragan Mitic 4d was third.
– Annalia Linnan, based on reports from EuroGoTV, which include complete result tables and all the latest European go news; photo courtesy of EuroGoTV
The 2015 European Go Congress will be held in Liberec, the Czech Republic, from July 25th to August 8th. “I´d like to invite American go players to join us,” says Vladimir Danek, chief of the EGC 2015 Organizing Committee and president of the Czech Go Association. “The motto of this Go Congress is ‘Go, Fun and Relaxation’“ says Danek. “We want to make the Congress attractive for everybody.” Click here to check out their cool video. Liberec is 100 km north of Prague, “very close to Germany and Poland,” Danek adds. The Congress site is the Babylon Center, which, in addition to conference halls, hotel and restaurants, has attractions including the Aquapark, iQpark, bowling, golf simulator and other activities. “The large open terrace on the roof of Babylon will be a great place for meeting friends and playing friendly games,” Danek promises. Although the EGC runs for two weeks, “you can also play for just one week or visit us for a couple of days,” says Danek. Registration goes up after January 1.
photo: still from 2015 EGC video
UK Youth Team Fights Hard, But Loses To Israel: The BGA UK Youth team lost 1-4 to Israel on Sat, 13 Dec 2014, in the European Youth Go Team Championship. They currently rank 10th place overall out of the 13 teams, with 2 rounds left to play.The next round, Czechia vs. United Kingdom, will take place on Saturday, January 17th, 2015.
Joe Cai Sparkles at Christmas in Edinburgh: The Edinburgh Christmas tournament saw a total of 25 players. Tongzhou (Joe) Cai (3d Glasgow) won all four of his games and co-organiser Boris Mitrovic, Alistair Wall, Niall Paterson, Baron Hasslinger, and Greg Cox each took home a prize for three wins.
- compiled/edited by Amy Su, based on reports on the BGA website
Gato Go: “This photo (left) is from the Facebook page of one of the Ecuadorian players I met in Quito,” writes Bob Gilman.
In a surprise victory, Murakawa Daisuke 8P defeated Iyama Yuta 9P on December 16 to win the 62nd Oza. The Oza is Murakawa’s first major title. This is the first time a player from the Kansai Kiin has won the Oza since Hashimoto Shoji 9P did so 33 years ago in 1981. The final game was played in Toba, Mie Prefecture, Japan. The upset attracted a lot of attention in Japan, because former Oza Iyama Yuta currently dominates the domestic Japanese go scene.
- excerpted from Go Game Guru; click here for the full report, including game records.
A new go school in Singapore welcomes students from the United States. The Go Academy offers a wide range of classes, from a 1-day introduction to kyu and dan intensive camps, reports Director Daniel Chan. More info available on Facebook.
“It’s interesting to read about the work of University of Edinburgh to use machine learning to improve the level of playing in computers, (Scottish Neural Network Takes Computer Go to Next Level 12/16/2014 EJ)” writes Nin Lei, Distinguished Engineer and CTO, Analytics and Big Data, STG IBM Systems and Technology Group. “However, the title in their article creates an impression that their research is creating a program that can beat the best human players. If their probability of guessing their next move is only 44%, then their chance of guessing it wrong is 56%. In a sequence of 10 moves, the chance of getting the complete sequence correctly is 0.44 ** 10, which is a very small number.” Noting that checkers “has been solved via machine learning,” Lei says that “it appears it is promising for go as well.” But because machine learning predicates that there is a pattern in the underlying data set, Lei warns that “it could be so complex that machine learning can only attain a certain level of accuracy. It seems to me a program needs to have very high level of accuracy before it can play a good game at strong human level.” Lei also says that “Since machine learning is based on pattern recognition, I wonder if a professional can trick the program by using moves that may not be optimally locally but will create patterns that the program has not seen before. I applaud the work they are doing,” Lei concludes. “It is innovative by using a different approach than the existing strong computer programs. It will be interesting to find out if someday they can come up with an algorithm that can improve the accuracy significantly.”
12/22: the chance of getting the complete sequence correctly has been corrected to 0.44 ** 10 (from 0.56).
Late in the afternoon of December 17, go players at the 2014 SportAccord World Mind Games attended their second awards ceremony in the Beijing International Convention Center. This time the awards for pair go were given out. China’s Yu Zhiying and Mi Yuting collected their second gold medals, Korea’s Choi Jeong and Na Hyun collected their first and second silver medals, respectively, and China’s Cathy Chang (more formally, Chang Kai-Hsin) and Lin Li-Hsiang received their first bronze medals.
Medals were also awarded for individual contract bridge, Basque system chess, super-blitz draughts, checkers, and xiangqi. Four countries picked up their first gold medals here: Monaco, for whom Geir Helgemo came through in open bridge; Cameroon, whose draughts star Jean Marc Ndjofang won the men’s superblitz; Vietnam, whose Ngyuen Hoang-Yen shone in women’s xiangqi; and Italy, which proved to have the world’s top two checkers players.
All told there were 24 separate events in this year’s world mind games, and mind athletes from 20 different countries and territories won medals. Between them, China and Russia took the gold medals in half the events, winning six each. Russia outpointed China in silver medals, but China outpointed Russia in bronze, won medals in a greater number of disciplines (all but draughts), and won the greater total number of medals – by a wide margin if China’s medals in the team and pair events in go and bridge are counted as multiple medals. All of Russia’s medals came in individual competition in chess and draughts. Full results and further details can be found on the SportAccord schedule and results page and news page.
At the closing ceremony at the V-Continent Beijing Parkview Wuzhou hotel, Mr Hai Zhenwen, deputy secretary general of the organizing committee, praised the successful conclusion of the four-year series of SportAccord World Mind Games in Beijing. China’s former ace weightlifter Ma Wenguang, representing SportAccord Asia/Pacific, thanked the city of Beijing and expressed a hope that world mind games would continue elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific area in the future. Mr Vlad Marinescu, Director General of SportAccord, said that he had been humbled at finding himself in the midst of so many geniuses but inspired by the enthusiasm of Beijing’s children, and noted that on the publicity front, this year the games had achieved a 50% growth over last year on all media platforms. Mr Chen Jie, deputy director of the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Sports, thanked the organizers for their hard work, after which he and Mr Marinescu exchanged gifts, and then everyone settled down to a good dinner.
- James Davies
This is the game in which China’s Yu Zhiying and Mi Yuting won the gold meal in pair go by defeating Korea’s Kim Choi Jeong and Na Hyun. Click here for the sgf game file.
Black 37 (A in diagram 1, played by Choi) defends against a double peep at B, but lets white jump to C. Black is playing too safe. She should have capped at 1 in diagram 2. If white peeps, pushes, and cuts as shown in the diagram, black can give up two stones, after which white will be unable to reach the center. Then black can develop on a truly large scale by pressing white down on the lower side as shown (moves from 11 to 15 in diagram 2).
Black 43 (played by Na) was also too conservative. Black should have occupied white 52, the junction point of his framework on the right side and the white framework on the lower side. When white got to play 52, the Chinese pair had a territorial lead.
White 64 may have been an overextension. Black 65 immediately started to threaten white’s thin position. With 66, white began dancing around to protect the weak white stones in this area and the weak white group at the top. But white danced successfully. By the time white played 92, white’s weak stones and group were out of danger.
Black 111 (Na) may have been the decisive mistake. Before playing here, black could have made sente moves at 112 and 150. Instead, white was able to play 112 and 148-150 in sente, gaining approximately seven points.
Black’s last chance was to start the ko at 157, but black lacked the necessary ko threats. Black 159 was inadequate. White simply ended the ko with 160, gaining as much at the top as was lost in the bottom left corner. When black renewed the ko challenge at 183, white accepted by cutting at 184. When Yu took the ko with white 194, Na decided that black’s prospects were too poor to continue and offered to resign, and his partner agreed.
- Ranka, based on commentary by Michael Redmond 9p.
This is the game in which Chinese Taipei’s Chang Kai-Hsin (Cathy Chang) and Lin Li-Hsiang (White) won the bronze gold meal in pair go by defeating Japan’s Fujisawa Rina and Ida Atsushi (Black). Click here for the sgf game file.
The opening pattern up to white 8 has become very popular quite recently and appeared in several SportAccord games.
Up through black 71 (the marked stone in diagram 1) the position is about even. White appears to have more territory, but the white position on the lower side is thin and can easily be invaded, so black is not behind. In fact, if black had played 71 at 1 in diagram 2, black might well have been ahead. White cannot cut black apart. Given the continuation through black 9, black is solidly linked up and the white group cannot make two eyes on the right side, so black will be able to attack it in the center.
The move that Ida Atsushi chose for black 71 was readily answered by white 72, and black 73 let white break up black’s right side territory in sente with 74 and 76. Aside from losing territory, black was placed on the defensive, and would be hampered in going deeper into the white territory at the bottom.
From this point on, the fighting in the center became quite confused. White’s top group seemed to be in trouble, but it could never be killed unconditionally, except at the sacrifice of an even larger black group. When white 168 connected the ko in the top left, white had a clear territorial lead.
By white 186 black’s position had become untenable and the Japanese pair resigned.
- Ranka, based on commentary by Michael Redmond 9p.
Another series of classic go books has just been released by BadukTV, reports Shawn Ray (Clossius). The first set of four books was “The Profound and Mysterious,” a life-and-death exercise book written between 1347 and 1349, during the Yuan dynasty. The second and just-released series is “The Art of Closing,” a 6-book set filled with ancient problems put together by previous masters and translated by Cho Hye-yeon. “It is a level below that of ‘The Profound and Mysterious’ so players 5-kyu and stronger should be able to benefit greatly from it,” Ray tells the E-Journal. “Though I think anyone can take a lesson or two from it.” Click here to buy both as a bundle of all 10 of the books. For more info e-mail Ray at Clossius.ShawnRay@gmail.com
This is the game in which the Russian brother-sister pair of Ilya Shikshin and Svetlana Shikshina, both former European champions, defeated Russia’s Natalia Kovaleva and France’s Fan Hui to take fifth place in the mixed pairs competition. Click here for the sgf game file.
White 8 to 16 are one variation of a popular joseki. This variation and others appeared several times during the week of World Mind Games.
White 38 (the marked stone in diagram 1) was a mistake. The critical issue here is the relative strength of the groups in the center. If the white pair had played as shown in diagram 2, their own center group would have had the upper hand, and they would then have been free to deal with the loose black framework on the right side.
If black had captured white 98, the white group in the center would have been in serious trouble. Apparently Ilya decided that invading the bottom right corner first would be a safer way to win, but this is not necessarily true. If white had played 123 in sente before black did so, then given the same continuation on the rest of the board, the final margin would have been only half a point. As it was, black won by 1-3/4 stones, or 2-1/2 points.
- Ranka, based on commentary by Michael Redmond 9p
China won the SportAccord World Mind Games Pair Go Event to complete their sweep of gold medals in the 4th annual event, which wrapped up on December 17 in Beijing, China.
Russia emerged as the SAWMG’s big winners overall this year, as their players took home a total of six gold, five silver and one bronze medal. In total, 150 players from 37 countries took part in the 2014 World Mind Games. There were 14 disciplines across five sports, with 24 medal rounds contested. Click here for full results.
photo: China’s Pair Go Team, Yu and Mi