Top seed Eric Lui 7d is one game away from winning the AGA Pro Qualification Tournament’s round robin section, with a 5-1 score and and just one more round to play before the knock-out section begins. Third-seeded Aaron Ye 7d is in second place, also with five wins, and Andrew Lu and Daniel Gourdeau are next with three wins each. Second-seeded Ben Lockhart has scored just two wins thus far, as have Jeremy Chiu, Sarah Yu and Manuel Velasco. The knock-out section begins Wednesday afternoon; it’s a best-of-three match in which the first game was played in the round robin.
All the games are being broadcast live each day on KGS, starting at 9:30a PST and 3p PST. The tournament is being held in Los Angeles at the Hotel Normandie. Click here for the tourney crosstab with results and game records. Brief game highlight videos are posted on the AGA’s YouTube channel.
- report/photo by Chris Garlock; photo: Eric Lui (left) reviews his Round 6 game with Daniel Gourdeau
In our latest batch of brief video game highlights focusing on key points in selected games, Norman Tsai 6-dan shows how Jeremy Chiu’s attachment to unimportant stones in his third-round game against Andrew Lu causes him to choose the wrong direction of play. In Daniel Gourdeau’s third-round game against Aaron Ye, Tsai explores what happens when a forcing move turns out not to be forcing after all. The dangers of gambling on a big kill are the focus of Tsai’s review of Ben Lockhart’s third-round game against Sarah Yu. And the problem of defending unimportant stones comes up again in Eric Lui’s third-round game against Manuel Velasco. Finally, second-seeded Ben Lockhart reviews his fourth-round game against Manuel Velasco.
“I like these game extracts as they are wonderful illustrations of when applying basic principles would have made a big difference,” comments Dontbtme. “It’s illuminating, so thanks a lot.”
You can check out all of our videos on our Pro Tournament playlist.
After four rounds in the AGA Pro Qualification Tournament, Eric Lui 7d, Aaron Ye 7d and Andrew Lu 7d are tied for first place in the round robin section, each with three wins. Ben Lockhart 7d and Daniel Gourdeau 6d are next with two wins each, and Jeremy Chiu 6d, Sarah Yu 6d and Manuel Velasco 5d each have one win apiece. There are three more rounds in this section, after which the knockout rounds will begin on Wednesday afternoon. All the games are being broadcast live on KGS, starting at 9:30a PST and 3p PST. Click here for the tourney crosstab with results and game records. Brief game highlight videos are being posted on the AGA’s YouTube channel. photo: the Round 4 Velasco-Yu game Monday night; photo by Chris Garlock
Ke Jie 9P edged out Lee Sedol 9P by the narrowest of margins — a half-point — to win the MLily Cup Monday night in a dramatic deciding fifth game that drew a record number of viewers to the AGA’s YouTube channel, where Myungwan Kim 9P and Andrew Jackson provided blow-by-blow commentary to a nailbiting audience that hit just over 14,000 at its peak, far surpassing the previous record of 400 viewers. The winner collected not just this year’s MLily international title and a purse of over $300,000, but bragging rights in the classic showdown between two go titans, one a seasoned veteran from Korea, the other a young rising star from China. The battle see-sawed back and forth, taking fans of both players on a wild ride, and went on until just past midnight on the West Coast, drawing intense attention worldwide — especially in Korea and China — and the AGA’s broadcasting efforts, anchored by Kim and Jackson, brought the match to a much broader gaming audience on YouTube and Twitch. A report on Myungwan Kim’s commentary was also featured in the Chosun news, helping to drive thousands of Korean viewers to the AGA’s YouTube channel as well. The coverage even inspired one viewer to donate to the AGA. “I had such a blast on the live MLily Cup Game moderated by Andrew Jackson with the Myungwan Kim 9p comments) that I just donated $50 to the org, this is truely awesome!” wrote Indigonauts. “This is amazing that I can watch a professional #baduk match in English now. Thanks @theaga,” added Christopher Annanie on Twitter. The AGA broadcast team also included Kevin Hwang, Peter Nelson, Steven Hu, Nick Sibicki, and more (we’ll update this more completely asap).
- Chris Garlock
The American Go Association has received an invitation to send two North American professionals to play in the first round of the 8th Pro Ing Cup Championship, which will be held April 18-25, 2016, in Shanghai, China. The organizer of the prestigious quadrennial tournament will cover round trip tickets plus room and board during the event. Online playoffs will be held on the weekend of January 16-17, with the format of the playoff depending on the number of interested players. Eligibility is professional status, US/Canadian citizenship and residency in the US for 6 of the last 12 months for US players (or equivalent Canadian Go Association international eligibility requirements). Players must be able to play in the online selections. Interested players must email firstname.lastname@example.org by this Sunday, January 10th.
The E-Journal’s coverage of the 4th AGA Pro Qualification Tournament — this week in Los Angeles — has been expanded to include brief video game highlights focusing on key points in selected games. In our first batch, Tyler Oyakawa 5d provides a 2-minute review of the main ways to approach the 3-5 point in the Round 1 game between Sarah Yu and Daniel Gourdeau (right). “Nice comparison,” says Dontbtme. In his review of the Round 1 Andrew Lu-Aaron Ye game (4:10), Oyakawa explains how to manage an attack on weak groups, and in the Manuel Velasco-Jeremy Chiu first-round game (5:10), he looks at options for handling your opponent’s moyo, including when to reduce and when (and how) to invade. Finally, Oyakawa provides a brief explanation of Ben Lockhart’s fast opening moves against Andrew Lu in their Round 2 game (2:00). “Check them out and let us know what you think!” urges EJ Managing Editor Chris Garlock.
The AGA has received a request to send a young US or Canadian player to Tokyo, Japan for the third GLOBIS Cup U-20 World Go Championship, to be held April 21-24, 2016. The event, sponsored by the GLOBIS Corporation and organized by the Nihon Ki-in, will provide meals and accommodations, while the air fare expense will be borne by the player. The player must be under 20 years old as of January 1, 2016, and meet the other AGA or CGA eligibility requirements. Any necessary online play-offs will take place the weekend of January 23-24 on KGS. “This is a great opportunity to compete in an international tournament, explore Tokyo, and represent the AGA,” says AGA president Andy Okun. Interested players should respond with their names, best form of contact, and KGS IDs before January 12 to email@example.com.
The year is barely a few days old and it’s already been an exciting one for the American Go Association. Hundreds tuned in on January 1 to Myungwan Kim 9Ps commentary on our YouTube channel for the third round of the MLily Cup battle between go titans Lee Sedol and Ke Jie. Then an attack on the datacenter that hosts our site took the AGA’s website down until midday Sunday (though we were able to get some preliminary content out via our Facebook and Twitter feeds on Saturday and early Sunday), just in time for our coverage of the 4th AGA Professional Qualifier at the Hotel Normandie in Los Angeles. And as the AGA pro event began to wind down for the day early Sunday evening, our coverage of the fourth round of the MLily began. “After the pro qualifications, I thought I’d have a go overdose, but no way,” said one YouTube viewer, “let’s watch this game.”
AGA Pro Qualifier coverage continues all week, with game broadcasts beginning at 9:30a PST and 3P PST daily, along with continuous posts on Facebook and Twitter, plus game highlights on YouTube. And if a fifth game is needed in the MLily Cup, we’ll broadcast that as well; stay tuned for complete details.
report/photos by Chris Garlock
As you may be aware, the AGA website has been down for the last couple of days, due to a DDOS attack on the datacenter that hosts our site. While this issue has hopefully been resolved, we strongly urge you to follow us on Facebook and Twitter, where we’ll be continuing to cover the ongoing AGA Pro Qualifier Tournament live in Los Angeles, CA. Games are being broadcast on KGS starting at 9:30a and 3p PST daily.
- report/photo by Chris Garlock
We can’t guarantee it’ll make you a stronger player but Stephen Miller’s new Go Quiz app is a lot of fun and will definitely improve your knowledge of the game. Available on Quizup (or search for Quizup in the App Store), the quiz now has 289 questions covering a wide range of go information, including history, players and the game itself. “You can play against people you know, or you can play against random players,” Miller tells the E-Journal. “Either way, it’s a fun way to learn some go facts, history, lore and trivia.” Each game has seven rounds and Miller says “The best experience in Quizup is to download the app on your mobile. It’s designed more as a mobile game, but you can certainly play online.”
Sun Ruoshi has just released “The Celestial Arsenal,” his English translation of the late Ming dynasty classic “Xianji Wuku.” Originally compiled around 1629, “The Celestial Arsenal” comprises a collection of hundreds of famous games, corner and side josekis, opening and invasion patterns, and over 400 life-and-death problems. Lu Xuanyu, a famous collector of go manuscripts, carefully selected and edited material from several famous go manuals and game records into eight scrolls: Gold, Rock, Silk, Bamboo, Gourd, Earth, Leather and Wood. This translation, however, is on 500 paper pages. The cover features two problems from the book; White to live on each side of the board. The book is available on Amazon and CreateSpace.
“With regard to the ‘Top US Players to Compete in 4th AGA Pro Tourney January 3-9 in LA’ report (12/29),” writes Ted Terpstra, “shouldn’t this be ‘North American’ go players instead of US go players as some of the 8 are from Canada?”
Quite right, thanks for the correction. Canada will be represented by Daniel Gourdeau, Manuel Velasco, and Jin (Sarah) Yu. Gourdeau is a returning contender, but for Velasco and Yu it will be their first attempt.
Iyama wins Japan-China Agon Kiriyama play-off: The 17th Japan-China Ago Kiriyama play-off (right) was held at the Shangri-la Hotel Chengdu in the city of Chengdu in China on December 25. Iyama Yuta 9P (left) put an end to a long series of defeats for Japan by beating Huang Yunsong 4P of China. Taking white, Iyama won by resignation. Earlier in the year, Huang won the 2nd Globis Cup; in the final of the Chinese Agon Kiriyama Cup, he beat Chen Yaoye. The game was broadcast live on Chinese TV. After winning the first four play-offs, Japan lost the next twelve, so Iyama’s win was a much-appreciated Xmas present for Japanese fans. First prize is five million yen and second is two million.
Finland’s Tormanen becomes pro shodan: Thanks to good results in the professional qualifying tournament for 2016, Antti Mikael Tormanen has qualified as professional shodan as of April 1, 2016. Aged 26, Tormanen (right) has qualified as a Foreign Nationality Special Professional. His record in the qualifying tournament was eight wins to seven losses. He is the first Westerner to become a professional at the Nihon Ki-in since the late Hans Pietsch 6P in 1997. (See our original 12/8 report here.)
To 7-dan: Akedo Kazumi (120 wins) (as of December 18). Akedo was born on June 27, 1947. He became 1-dan in 1968 and is a member of the Central Japan (Nagoya) branch of the Nihon Ki-in.
To 4-dan: Son Makoto (50 wins) (as of December 4).
The AGA’ live game commentary on the MLily Cup finals between Lee Sedol 9P and Ke Jie 9P will begin with Game 2 on Wednesday, December 30, not Tuesday 12/29 as previously announced. Myungwan Kim 9Ps commentary will begin at 9pm PST (midnight EST) on the AGA’s YouTube channel.
graphic by xhu
Eight top US go players will gather in Los Angeles next week to determine the next US professional. Play in the 4th AGA Pro Qualification starts on Sunday, January 3 and ends on January 9. The games will be broadcast live on KGS from the Hotel Normandie 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, Ben Lockhart 7d, Aaron Ye 7d, Jeremy Chiu 6d, Sarah Yu 6d, Andrew Lu 7d, Daniel Gourdeau 6d and Manuel Velasco 5d. The tournament will be played in two parts, a Round Robin Prelim Sunday through Wednesday, followed by the Championship Thursday and Friday. Myungwan Kim 9P is the tournment referee, Jeff Shaevel is the Tournament Director, AGA President Andy Okun will be on hand and Chris Garlock and Dennis Wheeler will head up the EJ recording team, which will also broadcast game commentaries on the AGA’s YouTube stream.
photo: at the 2015 pro tourney; photo by Chris Garlock
by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal
Motoki retains lead in Honinbo League: The third round of the 71st Honinbo League was played on December 10 and 17. Motoki Katsuya 7P, the dark horse of the league, continued his good form and retained the sole lead. In contrast, former Honinbo Cho U has made a dismal start, with three losses. Cho’s decision to move to Taiwan to improve his form is not working out yet.
(December 10) Motoki (B) beat Kono Rin 9P by resig.; Takao Shinji 9P (W) beat Ichiriki Ryo 7P by 1.5 points; Yo Seiki 7P (B) beat Ida Atsushi Judan by half a point. (December 17) Yamashita Keigo 9P (W) beat Cho U 9P by resig.
Korea wins team tournament: The Golden Dragon City Cup World Team Championship is an unusual team tournament that includes consultation games. It started out two years ago as the Zhugang Cup, but in its second term changed its name to the above. Three-player teams compete and in the first term, only the final was a consultation game; this time the semifinals were also consultation games. This year’s tournament was held in Guangzhou City from December 16 to 22. The semifinalists were the top teams in a five-round Swiss with 16 teams. These included nine teams that had won their way through the preliminaries and seven seeded teams from Japan, China, Korea, and Chinese Taipei. Another unusual feature of this tournament is that, besides their regular teams, Japan, China, and Korea also fielded ‘wild card teams’, made up of players over 29 who had won world titles or who had made outstanding contributions to go. The Japanese wild card team consisted of Cho Chikun, Kobayashi Koichi, and O Rissei, and the regular team of Yoda Norimoto 9P, So Yokoku 9P, and Yo Seiki 7P.
In the Swiss System tournament, China took first place with five wins; its team was made up of its number one to three players, that is, Ke Jie, Shi Yue, and Zhou Ruiyang. Its record was 14-1, with only Zhou dropping a game. Second was Korea, third was Japan, and fourth the Korean wild card team. Just for the record, the 5th to 16th places were as follows: China wild card, Australia, Chinese Taipei, China Hong Kong, Japan wild card, Germany, Ukraine, Russia, Poland, France, Israel, and Singapore. In the semifinals, Korea beat Japan and China beat Korea wild card. In the final, Korea (white) beat China by half a point. In a play-off for third place, Korea wild card beat Japan.
Iyama’s winning streak ends on 24: Iyama Yuta’s winning streak, which started in May and included wins in the Gosei, Meijin, Oza, and Tengen title matches, has finally come to an end. At 24 successive wins, Iyama is in equal second place in the tournament records with Rin Kaiho, Hon. Tengen. Top is Sakata Eio, 23rd Honinbo, with 29 wins in a row. The only information published was that Iyama’s winning streak came to an end with a loss in a TV tournament. Probably this was in the 63rd NHK Cup, in which he was slated to play the winner of a game between Kono Rin 9P and Matsumoto Takehisa 7P in a quarterfinal. We won’t know for sure until the game is televised.
Aoki wins Women’s Meijin League: A win in the fifth round of the 28th Women’s Meijin League has given Aoki Kikuyo 8P the league victory regardless of the result of her sixth game. On December 17, Aoki beat Mannami Nao, improving her score to 5-0. Even if Fujisawa Rina 3P beats Aoki in the final round, tying her on 5-1, Aoki takes precedence thanks to her number two rank in the league (there are no play-offs). Aoki has won the Women’s Meijin title five times, but the last time was in 2006. The title match with Xie Yimin, who will be aiming at her ninth win in a row, will start in March.
Games in December: (Dec. 7) Fujisawa Rina 3P (W) beat Suzuki Ayumi 6P by resig. (Dec. 17) Aoki Kikuyo (W) beat Mannami Nao 3P by resig.; Chinen Kaori 5P (W) beat Okuda Aya 3P by 1.5 points.
Tomorrow: Iyama wins Japan-China Agon Kiriyama play-off; Finland’s Tormanen becomes pro shodan; Promotions
The AGA will provide live game commentary this week on the upcoming MLily Cup finals between Lee Sedol 9P and Ke Jie 9P. The first game is tomorrow (Tuesday), December 29; Myungwan Kim 9Ps commentary will begin at 9pm PST (midnight EST) on the AGA’s YouTube channel. Games 2 and 3 are scheduled for 12/30 and 1/1; if the best-of-five contest goes longer, games are scheduled for January 3 and 4, if necessary.
New Meijin League gets under way; Kansai Ki-in moves: The first games in the 41st Meijin League were played on December 3. In a match-up between heavyweights, Takao Shinji 9P (W) beat Yamashita Keigo 9P by resig. Ko Iso 8P (B) beat league newcomer Hirata Tomoya 7P by resig. On December 10, Cho U (W) beat Hane Naoki 9P by resig. On December 17, Murakawa Daisuke (B) beat Uchida Shuhei 7P by resignation, completing the first round. Incidentally, this was one of the last games played at the headquarters of the Kansai Ki-in in the Nihon Bunka Kaikan (Japan Culture Hall). After 47 years at this venue, the Kansai Ki-in is moving to a new address: 4th & 5th Floors, Heiwa Building, Kitahama Itchome, Chuo-ku, Osaka 541-0041.
Hane defends Crown title: The final of the 56th Crown title, which is open to Nagoya professionals, was held on December 4. Taking white, Hane (right) rebuffed the challenge of Ogata Masaki 9P, forcing a resignation after 150 moves. This is Hane’s fifth Crown title in a row; overall, he has won it 12 times. That takes his tally of titles to 25, which is ninth in the all-time records.
Yoshihara to challenge for Women’s Kisei: The play-off to decide the challenger to Xie Yimin for the 19th DoKoMo Cup Women’s Kisei title was held in the Ryusei Studio in the basement of the Nihon Ki-in at Ichigaya on December 7. Yoshihara Yukari 6P (W) defeated Kato Keiko 6P by resig. Yoshihara (left) won this title three times from 2007 to 2009, then lost the next two matches to Xie. At present, Xie has held the title for three years in a row.
Tomorrow: Motoki retains lead in Honinbo League; Korea wins team tournament; Iyama’s winning streak ends on 24; Aoki wins Women’s Meijin League
The Portland Go Club will host a table at Mochitsuki at PSU on January 31st, the 20th anniversary of the Japanese American New Year celebration. “Last year was a great success and four of us introduced many, many adults and children to go,” reports Peter Freedman. “This is a well-attended event!” Volunteers get free access; email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Corvallis will host their third visit from Janice Kim 3P with a workshop scheduled for February 13 and 14. “The workshop is being aimed at the 9 kyu to 3 dan strength range of the Corvallis Go Club ‘regulars,’ many of whom you will be familiar with from the annual Lewis & Clark tournaments, as well as participation on Braindog,” reports Bob O’Malley. For details and to register, email email@example.com.
Yuan Zhou 7d instructed, enlightened and entertained members of the Triangle Go Group over a warm, sunny North Carolina weekend December 13-14 in Raleigh. In addition to extremely helpful reviews of participants’ games, Zhou (right) also introduced attendees to a new style of play called Team Play. Team Play (left) is competition between groups, rather than individuals, played on a single board maintained by the TD, with each team located in a separate room.
In his lectures, Zhou illustrated guidelines for play with examples from the style of Go Seigen, Kabayashi Koichi, Cho Chikun, Lee Changho and others. This year, marking his ninth annual visit to North Carolina, Yuan Zhou treated the attendees to an inspiring deep analysis of the recent Chunlan Cup final game in June between Gu Li and Zhou Rui Yang.
Zhou also reminded workshop participants of the philosophical elements of go, and mentioned some of the underlying principles and basic elements. Introducing a review of a 9-stone handicap game, Zhou encouraged our strong players to welcome high handicap games and to teach those who want to become stronger.
- report/photos by Bob Bacon