by John Power, EJ Japan Correspondent
Iyama Takes Lead, Then Kono Catches Up In Gosei Title Match: The third game of the 39th Gosei title match was held at the Nagaoka Grand Hotel in Nagaoka City, Niigata Prefecture, on August 11. This was three weeks after the second game, which is a long gap for a best-of-five. Playing black, the challenger Kono Rin 9-dan (right, in photo) seemed to have a slight advantage when he won a ko and killed a white group fairly early in the game (before move 100), but he made a couple of slack moves later that cost him his chance to wrap up the game. Worse, he made an overly aggressive answer to a white invasion and ended up on the wrong side of a losing capturing race. He resigned on move 204. The fourth game was held on Iyama’s home ground, the Kansai Headquarters of the Nihon Ki-in, on August 25, but that didn’t help him. Playing white, Kono forced a resignation after 224 moves. I don’t have any information about the course of the game. The deciding game will be played on Kono’s home ground, the Tokyo headquarters of the Nihon Ki-in in Ichigaya, on August 29.
Kono Doing Well In Other Tournaments: Regardless of whether or not he takes the Gosei title, Kono Rin (left) is the in-form player at the moment in Japan (see the TV Asia Cup report below). As of August 23, his win-loss record was 42-12, a winning record of nearly 78%. He has the most wins by a comfortable margin. On August 4, he won the play-off to become the Meijin challenger, as reported earlier. On August 13, he beat Yoda Norimoto 9-dan in the semifinal of the 40th Tengen tournament, so there is a good chance he will be making yet another challenge to Iyama; taking white, he won by 6.5 points. (His opponent in the final will be Takao Shinji, who beat Ichiriki Ryo in the other semifinal on August 21.) He has also reached the semifinal of the 21st Agon Kiriyama Cup.
Lee Se-Dol Wins TV Asia Cup: Lee Se-dol (right) had not won an international title for a while, but he is ahead in his ten-game match with Gu Li and he offered more evidence, if it should be needed, that he is still a force to be reckoned with by winning the 26th TV Asia Cup. In the final, he beat Kono Rin (left, in photo at right). Kono had encouraged Japanese fans by beating the player currently ranked number one in the world, Pak Jung-hwan of Korea, in the semifinal, but he was outmatched by Lee in the final. This is the third time Lee has won this title and the first time for six years. This year the tournament was staged in Beijing.
Full results: Round 1, Game 1 (August 16). Lee Se-dol 9-dan (Korea) (B) beat Tao Xinran 5-dan (China) by resig. Round 1, Game 2 (August 16). Kono (B) beat Li Qinchang 1-dan by 1.5 points. (Though just a 1-dan, the 15-year-old Li won the Chinese qualifying tournament telecast on CCTV.) Round 1, Game 3 (August 17). Pak Jung-hwan 9-dan (Korea) (B) beat Yuki Satoshi 9-dan (Japan) by resig. Semifinal 1 (August 17). Lee (B) beat Iyama Yuta by 2.5 points. Semifinal 2 (August 18) Kono (B) beat Pak by resig. Final (August 19). Lee (W) beat Kono by resig.
Fujisawa Rin To Make First Challenge: The pairing in the play-off to decide the challenger to Mukai Chiaki for the 33rd Women’s Honinbo Title was the same as in the final of the new women’s tournament the Aizu Central Hospital Cup: Fujisawa Rina (right) vs. Okuda Aya (left). The result was the same: a win for Fujisawa. The game was played at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo on August 21; taking white, Fujisawa forced a resignation. Fujisawa is bidding to become the female Iyama Yuta, as she is rewriting the record book for youth landmarks. She will be exactly 16 when the first game of the title match is played on October 8 (birthday September 18); the previous youngest challenger was Xie Yimin at 17 years 10 months.
27th Women’s Meijin League: Two games were played in the first round of the 27th Women’s Meijin League on August 21. Kato Keiko 6-dan (B) beat Chinen Kaori 4-dan by 1.5 points and Mukai Chiaki, Women’s Honinbo, (B) beat Aoki Kikuyo 8-dan by 4.5 points.
Promotions: To 9-dan: Mizokami Tomochika (200 wins); To 4-dan: Kanazawa Makoto (50 wins); To 2-dan: Fujimura Yosuke (30 wins).
Next month, starting on World First Aid Day (September 13) and running through International Talk Like a Pirate Day (September 19), the planet has a whole week in which to encourage more of its inhabitants to play go.
Inspired by David Ormerod of Go Game Guru, Learn Go Week has already attracted support from players in Australia, France, Luxembourg, Mexico, the UK, and the USA. All it takes is the willingness to organize an event at which beginners can learn the game. Look out, world: one event is scheduled for September 13 at Ajaccio in Corsica, the birthplace of Napoleon.
When you think of a go school you probably imagine us holed up inside for endless hours of study, practice and play. So you would have been surprised to see the Blackie’s International Baduk Academy (BIBA) students recently when we went camping and hit the beach.
After a three-hour drive, we arrived at a cabin on the side of a spectacular mountain; shades of summer camp back in the States. Except that in this cabin there was a very nice go board and bowls of stones waiting for us, and less than ten minutes after we arrived, we were playing go. After losing a couple of games to fellow students, I decided to try my luck on the tennis court just outside the cabin. Tennis is my favorite physical sport, so I jumped at the chance to finally get outside and play and we had time for two matches before lunch.
After lunch, we hiked to a waterfall. It was a bit more strenuous getting there than I’d anticipated but well worth it for the refreshing plunge into the icy waters. When another student dove under the waterfall to try and get a rock from beneath the crashing waters, I had to take the challenge on as well. Just like go, however, it proved to be far more difficult than I had realized. Diving under a waterfall and fighting the current to get to the bottom was very hard! I persevered, however, and was finally able to get a rock as well. Here we are at the side of the waterfall getting ready to take the plunge.
After our trip to the waterfall, we all went back to the camp to play more go and tennis, including doubles and Pair Go. My score for the day: seven games of go, seven tennis matches, and one rock from the waterfall. I slept very well that night but the next day I was really sore! No pain, no gain, right?
A few days after our camping trip, it was time for the yearly trip to the beach. The first day was a bit of a disappointment since the waves were too large and beach security wouldn’t let anyone in. No problem for go players: we went back to the hotel and played go. The second day was far more exciting, still with big waves, but safe enough for us to go in. Again like go, though, appearances were deceptive. After riding the waves a good few times, I was pushed into the beach where I was knocked over and dragged back into the water only to be hit by the next wave. This repeated about four times before I was able to stand up and get out of the current. I probably should have resigned there but no, back in I went. Riding the waves more carefully this time around, I was really enjoying myself, until, a really big wave lifted me and my float ring up, completely flipped me over and threw me into the beach face first. With a bloody nose and sore shoulder, I was 0-2 but not ready to resign just yet and went right back into the water for a few more hours of fun.
Getting good at go is hard work but it’s important to remember to have fun. The BIBA students managed to find challenges on our mountain and beach vacation but most of all we had a lot of fun and welcomed the respite from the continuous study schedule we’re accustomed to. I look forward to our next outing, but now it’s back to work!
Shawn Ray, known as Clossius to his YouTube and KGS fans, recently moved to Korea to do a series of lessons on BadukTV. photos courtesy Ray.
You may have expected nothing to happen on the Irish Go Scene until the upcoming Belfast Go tournament, but you were entirely wrong. Not 1, but 3 full ladder games have been played! As a result Philippe Renaut, newly resident in Co. Galway, has reached the top rung. James Hutchinson, the reigning champion slips down into second place.
We also have our regular dose of history..
This time from 1994 we have two newsletters for you to enjoy
IGA Newsletter 11 (needs to be rotated unfortunately)
Wei Zhou 7D won the 2014 Korean Ambassador’s Cup, held August 17 in Sydney, New South Wales. Zenglin Wang 5D won the B Division and Florian Max 5K won Division C. The first Sydney Spring Tournament is set for Sunday October 19 in Surry Hills, New South Wales. Click here for the Australian Go Association’s tournament and event calendar. To receive the Australian go news email newsletter, email email@example.com.
- Horatio Davis, Special Correspondent
The 2014 US Open crosstab has been updated with nearly 60 game records sent in by players. Deadline for submitting game records is this Friday, August 29; email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Games must be in sgf format with all game info complete, including both players’ full names, and the round number(s); also be sure to name the file in this format: US-Open_Rd1-Su-Kierulf (white player first). The US Open Masters Division crosstab has also been updated with game records of the top-board games.
photo: at the US Open; photo by Dahye Lee
Photographer Sarah Small’s album of 31 images of the 2014 US Pair Go Championships is now posted on the AGA’s Facebook page. Small brings an original and creative eye to the highly popular go variant first introduced in 1990.
photo by Sarah Small
The next session of In-seong Hwang 7D’s online go school starts next week but there’s still time to sign up for the American Yunguseng Dojang. A well-known top player in Europe, Hwang Inseong 7D has participated in major European tournaments since 2005 and is currently the top-rated player in the European Go Ratings. He 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, including those from the European sister-school, as well as “personal go reports” to help students assess the progress they are making and the areas which need most work. “Great teacher, great sense of humor, and a penchant for understanding how people think,” says one student. “I feel myself getting stronger every day.” Click here for details on the program, schedule and pricing.
Where’s the 2015 Go Congress? “I’ve heard that the next Congress will be in Seattle or in Minneapolis,” writes Wayne Nelson. “Which is it?”
St Paul/Minneapolis, AKA the Twin Cities: see 2015 Congress Website Launches 8/14 EJ.
Hugh Zhang 7d will be serving a second term as co-president of the American Go Honor Society (AGHS), alongside Calvin Sun 1P, who will be serving his first term. The organization, run entirely by high school students, has opted for two presidents several times before. “It’s great to see a lot of new faces joining the AGHS. I’m excited for the coming year and hope it will be our most successful yet!” Zhang told the E-Journal. “A lot of new ideas were suggested by various members this year, and we hope to implement some of them in the coming year.” Officer positions are still open, and the AGHS has extended the deadline until August 28th. Sign up today and help build the future of American go. Details and the application are available on the AGHS website. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Photo: Hugh Zhang 7d competing in the 2013 Korean Prime Minister’s Tournament.
Registration is now open for the 2014 SportAccord World Mind Games – Pandanet Online Tournament. This year’s go tournament, held jointly with Chess.com and BridgeBase.com, includes different bands and multiple winners in each band. Generous cash prizes will be awarded, along with other prizes such as tablet computers, Swatches, digital cameras, etc. In addition, SportAccord will provide weekly lottery prizes for all players who played in any given week, including computers, TV’s, etc. Click here for details.
The 4th SportAccord World Mind Games will be held in Beijing, China, December 11-17, 2014.
Like last year, the Mind Games will be preceded by the 4th SportAccord World Mind Games Online Tournament, which will be played on the Internet Go Server (IGS, aka Pandanet).
The tournament is open to amateur players in all countries and territories belonging to the International Go Federation.
Registration closes on September 15, 2014.
Full details are available here.
Response to our request for US Open (or Masters Division) game records from last week’s US Go Congress has been so enthusiastic that we’re extending the deadline one week. Over 50 games have already been sent in for posting to the official US Open crosstab, so you can check out how your friends (and/or opponents) played (sometimes with variations and comments from pros at the Congress). Games must be in sgf format with all game info complete, including both players’ full names, and the round number(s); also be sure to name the file in this format: US-Open_Rd1-Su-Kierulf (white player first). Email game records by midnight next Friday, August 29 to email@example.com.
- photo by Nate Eagle
The Go and Math Academy in Chicago is looking for volunteers to help to promote go/weiqi at a Chinese cultural festival on September 27. About 1,500 students are expected to attend the daylong festival. “We need volunteers to prepare some activities and interact with visitors,” says local organizer Xinming Simon Guo 2d. “Because we have promoted go in Chicago schools for many years (McCormick Elementary Students Learn Go (And Math)) 7/29 EJ), probably some visitors already know the basic rules.” Contact Guo at firstname.lastname@example.org for details on how to volunteer.
photo: Guo teaching at the LaSalle Language Academy
So you want to run a go demonstration for Learn Go Week (“Learn Go Week” Planned to Launch September 13 7/19 EJ), but aren’t sure what to do? You’re not alone. Since proposing Learn Go Week in July, the folks at Go Game Guru say they’ve received more questions about this than anything else. “The good news is that it’s not that hard, and we’ll work with you to make it as easy as possible,” says GGG’s David Ormerud. They have customizable posters,brochures, printable go sets and much more ready for you to use. Some 15 events are planned so far in half a dozen countries. Read more here.
Reminder to players in last week’s US Open (or Masters Division) tournaments to send in your game record(s) and we’ll add it (them) to the official US Open crosstab. Thanks to Anders Kierulf (at right), Keith Arnold, Andrew Hall and William Luff for sending in their games. Games must be in sgf format with all game info complete, including both players’ full names, and the round number(s); also be sure to name the file in this format: US-Open_Rd1-Su-Kierulf (white player first). Email game records by this Friday, August 22 to email@example.com.
- photo by Nate Eagle
The 2014 Toto Cup International Junior Go Championship was held on July 28th at the Asia-Pacific Import Mart in Kitakyushu. This is the city where Toto got its start as Toyo Toki (Oriental Ceramics) nearly a century ago. While still mainly a ceramics manufacturer, the firm has expanded into high-tech fields such as photocatalytic coatings, and is also an enthusiastic sponsor of tournaments for young people, in disciplines ranging from basketball through volleyball to go.
At the opening ceremony the contestants and other participants were welcomed in Japanese and Chinese by a group of officials that included Ishimaru Yasuhiko, general manger of the general affairs division of Toto, Kitahashi Kenji, Mayor of Kitakyushu, and some big names in the go world: Otake Hideo, former Japanese Meijin, Luo Jianwen, vice-chairman of the China Weiqi Association, and Chou Chun-Hsun, Taipei's first professional 9-dan go player. Mayor Kitahashi pleased the audience by describing go as the ultimate intellectual game.
Following an explanation of the tournament rules in Japanese and Chinese by referees Takemiya Yoko (son of another former Japanese Meijin) and Jin Qianqian (a Chinese pro), the players limbered up with calisthenics. Such exercises are a regular part of the day for Japanese schoolchildren and much of Japan's work force, blue collar and white collar alike, but they are a bit unusual at go tournaments. But then, this was no ordinary go tournament: the contestants were a peppy group of over two hundred youngsters from Kyushu and neighboring prefectures in Japan, five cities on the Chinese mainland, and one city in Taiwan. A dozen or so of the youngest concluded the opening ceremonies by presenting bouquets to the officials.
And then the competition began. The strongest dan-ranked players faced off in an unlimited class, in which all games were played on even terms. The other dan-ranked players competed in an A class with handicaps given according to rank (1-5 dan). The numerous kyu-level players also played handicap go.
Eighty of the Japanese contestants had been selected through prefectural qualifying tournaments. Among them were Hashimoto Junpei, a highschool junior from Kumamoto Prefecture who won the unlimited class in 2012, and Nishimura Ryotaro, a highschool freshman from Yamaguchi Prefecture, who was unlimited runner-up in 2011 and took third place in 2012. Both of them won their games in the morning round.
When the round ended Ranka spoke with Qi Taozhu, a Chinese schoolgirl who was looking somewhat unnerved after having a large group of stones captured by Hashimoto Junpei. She admitted to taking go lessons at a daochang (go academy) in Guangzhou, but said she had no intention of becoming a professional player. Her school interests include math and English, and as for a career, she said, 'Oh, I'm undecided; my plans keep changing.'
While the dan-ranked players were completing this round, the kyu-evel players completed two rounds, with a break in between for some pair go on 13 x 13 boards. Also participating in the pair go were Otake, Takemiya, and Okinawa native Chinen Kaori, a former holder of several ladies' professional titles. Ms Chinen was taking a break from a beginners' class she had been teaching with Izawa Akino, another female pro.
After lunch, Hashimoto and Nishimura kept on winning. At the end of the third round, four of the five undefeated players in the unlimited class were Japanese. In the deciding fourth-round games among these five, Nishimura defeated Hashimoto by 3.5 points while Ren Yihua, a 13-year-old from Dalian in China, defeated Imamura Daigo, a freshman at the Sasebo National College of Technology in Japan. The fifth undefeated player was drawn down and lost, so the champion was either Nishimura or Ren, but which one? When the tie-breaking points were tallied, they gave first place to Nishimura, second place to Ren, and third place to Hashimoto.
Hashimoto and Nishimura than began an extended analysis of their final game, at the conclusion of which Ranka asked Nishimura for his comments. Echoing the sentiments of countless professional and amateur players before him, he said, 'I played badly; I was lucky to win.' Asked how he studied go, he said he played every day on the Internet. His next major tournament will be the Amateur Honinbo in Tokyo, August 23-24.
Ren Yihua, who came accompanied by his father (a lawyer) and mother (a real estate agent), also considered himself lucky to have won four games, since he has not studied go formally for over a year. He now plays mainly on the Internet, against opponents from China, Japan, and Korea. Like Qi Taozhu, he gave math as a favorite school subject. Hashimoto Junpei, who has been a tournament player since his primary school days, said that these days, he plays go only to prepare for events such as this one.
In the meantime, while the tournament staff calculated the scores to see who had won the other sections, Ms Chinen and Ms Izawa were holding the players enrapt by challenging them to solve a series of go problems. When the awards were presented, it transpired that class A had been won by Xie Le, a nine-year-old from Shanghai who said he had made shodan in six months at a daochang, and then quit formal instruction and carried on by himself. Class B (1-5 kyu) was won by Yeh Che-chun, a twelve-year old from Taipei. Class D (11-20 kyu) was won by Ren Zheming, a diligent third-year middle school student from Shanghai who said he liked math and science and played go only once or twice a month. Class C (6-10 kyu) was won by Ai Xiaoke, a six-year-old from Beijing who started playing go at age four. She said she plays go every day during holidays, but has other interests at school, such as swimming, table tennis, and fencing. Her mother commented that China seems to be trying to make school more interesting for the students, instead of just stuffing knowledge into them as in the past.
And after giving these and the other prize-winners their awards, Mr Ishimaru summed things up for Ranka by saying, 'Toto is glad to sponsor tournaments like this. It's meaningful for us because, after all, the future belongs to these young people.'
- James Davies. Photos by Ito Toshiko.
A new AGA chapter has just started up in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago. The Wauconda Go Club meets Wednesdays from 6-9p at Middleton’s on Main, a gastropub in Wauconda, IL. The brand-new club just started on August 4 and organizer Brad Edwards has hopes of “one day developing a small but passionate group of players.” For anyone in the area “looking for a reason to get out of the house on a Wednesday night, have a few drinks and perhaps play a few lively rounds of one of the world’s oldest board games, the Wauconda Go Club is here for you,” says Edwards. Middleton’s offers over 100 types of beer from around the world, “an impressive wine, single malt and Irish whiskey collection” as well as a “well-rounded and eclectic menu.”
Click here to find a local AGA chapter or go club; if you have local chapter or club news to share, email it to firstname.lastname@example.org
photo by Brad Edwards