by Jan Engelhardt
While a number of western countries have begun hosting professionals from Japan, Korea and China to teach and promote go, westerners who have become professional go players are still very rare. So rare that thus far it’s only happened eleven times.
The only German who ever became a professional go player was Hans Pietsch, who became a professional 1-dan at the Nihon Ki-In in 1997. Born in 1968 in Bremen, Germany, Pietsch discovered go at the relatively late age of 12 but after great sucess in German and European tournaments he decided to try to become a professional in Japan. In 1990 he started as an Insei at the Nihon Ki-in Go Scool in Chiba, studying with Kobayashi Chizu, who supported him a lot from the very beginning. After seven long years he finally made pro and was promoted to 4-dan in just three years.
Pietsch’s most famous game was his 1997 half-point victory against Yoda Norimoto. An Youngil 8P recently published a very detailed commentary about that game.
Tragically, Pietsch’s blossoming career was cut short when he was murdered 10 years ago during an armed robbery while on a promotional tour for the Nihon Ki-In in Guatemala. He was posthumously promoted to 6-dan. The German go community honors his memory annually at the ‘Hans Pietsch Memorial’ tournament, a team tournament in which schools from all over Germany take part. This year there will also be a large international tournament in Budapest. The main goal of the organizers around Csaba Mero is to keep the memory of Hans Pietsch alive
It’s impossible to know that the German go scene would look like today if it had a native professional. We can just try to follow his example in realising our dreams, keeping in mind that the time to do so can be much shorter than you think.
- Jan Engelhardt is the E-Journal’s German correspondent.Click here to see more photos.
On April 22, 23-year-old Jiseok Kim 8p made his breakout victory at the 18th GS Caltex Cup when he conquered reining champion Lee Sedol 9P. Though he had previously only won one title as an individual (the 2009 Price Information Cup), Kim swept the Caltex with a convincing 3-0 record. With three Korean Baduk League Most Valuable Player awards and his new 9-dan status, international success may not elude Kim too much longer. Lee, on the other hand, seems to be struggling: aside from this most recent defeat, he also lost the final match for the Maxim Cup to fellow 9P Junghwan Park on March 16. Whether or not he will be in top form for his rumored jubango with friend and rival Li Gu 9P, only time will tell. For more information on the GS Caltex Cup including rules and game records, visit Go Game Guru.
-Annalia Linnan, based on a longer article on Go Game Guru
“Robert Gilman alone has stepped up to fill Bob Barber’s shoes for the remainder of the 2012-2014 Central Region AGA Board seat term,” reports Arnold Eudell. Central region chapters should have received their voting rights count via the AGA chapters list, Eudell adds. Ballots will be emailed April 22 and must be cast by May 1.
Justin Sheih 6d took top honors in the A division at the First Enlighten Youth Go Tournament, with a perfect record of 4 wins. The tournament was held in San Jose, CA, and was organized by the Enlighten Chinese School, go teacher Joe Lee, and the Santa Clara Youth Go Club. With over 70 young go players attending, it was one of the largest youth go tournament in the US. The top six players in each group took home a prize, and the top four were awarded a trophy. Thirty beginners played in the 13×13 sections, and each of them got a trophy and a prize. Report by Wenguang Wang, of the Santa Clara Youth Go Club. Photo by Ping Yeh.
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 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 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.