With the American Go Association committed to establishing parallel AGA ratings for games played on-line, the AGA is seeking volunteers to implement the new system. “This is an exciting and historic development,” says Bob Gilman, AGA Director for the Central Region. AGA ratings now are limited to in-person games, and those ratings will not be affected. “This is a great project for an entry-level programmer looking for something to put on their resume,” says Andrew Jackson, AGA Operations Vice President, who estimates it will take “a few months of nights and/or weekends for an experienced python programmer.” Mentoring is available. Reply here if interested.
Human go players will undoubtedly find the graphic for “Go-bot, Go” annoying, but the article in the July issue of IEEE Spectrum is an excellent exploration of computer go-playing by Jonathan Schaeffer, Martin Müller and Akihiro Kishimoto, who developed Fuego, which in 2009 defeated a world-class human go player in a no-handicap game for the first time in history. In the online version, AIs Have Mastered Chess. Will Go Be Next?, the Schaffer, Muller and Kishimoto explain how “a know-nothing machine that based its decisions on random choices and statistics” triumphed.
IEEE photo: Dan Saelinger; Prop Stylist: Dominique Baynes
“I am tentatively planning to attend the 16th Ibero-American Go Tournament in Quito, Ecuador this October and wonder whether there may be other AGA members who might also be interested in making the trip,” Bob Gilman writes. “There is information about the tournament here and a form to indicate interest and get additional information here. If your Spanish is as bad as mine, Google translate can help you understand these pages.” Email Gilman at email@example.com if interested.
In a related note for our Spanish-language readers (or those interested in reaching them), our July 13 Prisoners in Cuba Learning Go post has been picked up by El Latino Digital – Reclusos en Cuba aprenden GO – thanks to Chris Uzal.
Nearly 30 professional go players are expected to attend this year’s US Go Congress, August 9-17 in New York City. Ranging in strength from 9-dan to 1-dan, the professionals come from Japan, Korea and China, as well as the United States; click here for the list, which does not yet include the Kansai Ki-in pros, Maeda Ryo 6P, Mariko Deguchi 1P, and newly-minted pro Francis Meyer 1P (right). A major attraction at the annual Congress, the professionals will give lectures and play simuls; the tentative Congress schedule has been posted here. Reminder that late fees for Congress registration will go up after July 15.
Defending champion Andy Liu swept the 4th annual Young Kwon National Online Tournament (YKNOT), winning all five games.
Winners in other divisions were Dazhi Xu in the 4-5D division, Peiyu Tang in the 1-3D division, Ary Cheng in the 1-5k division, and Monsoon Srestha in the 6k+ division. The online tournament ran June 21, 22, and 28th. “Special thanks so tournament sponsor Young Kwon, who has sponsored this tournament for four years now,” said AGA Tournament Coordinator Karoline Li, who also thanked “my TD team of Dennis Wheeler, Julie Burrall, Matthew Burrall, and Jay Tabaniag, as well as KGS for hosting the tournament.”
Andy Liu’s (Sweetrip) Round 5 game against Xuyu Xiang is at right; his previous four rounds are below.
Round 1: Yuan Zhou-Andy Liu
Round 2: Liqun Liu-Andy Liu
Round 3: Andy Liu- Jie Liang
Round 4: Changlong Wu – Andy Liu
Originally published July 12; updated July 14 with game records.
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“At the request of the Cuban Sports Ministry we have started very interesting work in prisons,” reports Rafael Torres Miranda of the Academia Cubana de Go. “Hermes Rodriguez 1D is doing a tremendous job teaching go. The inmates have received it very well, have been highly motivated, and have very quickly grasped the techniques of go. The photo here is from the prison in the province of Guantanamo. Such go programs are also being implemented in other facilities.” In a related story, two of the three Cuban go players invited to attend this year’s US Go Congress (Cuban Delegation Invited to US Go Congress 1/20/2014) have had their applications for US visas rejected, while the third invitee’s application is still pending a decision.
In a related note for our Spanish-language readers (or those interested in reaching them), this post has been picked up by El Latino Digital – Reclusos en Cuba aprenden GO – thanks to Chris Uzal.
The first-ever Australian Go Congress is set for January 25-31, 2015 in Sydney. The new event is timed to coincide with Australia Day on January 26, reports Sang-Dae Hahn, who’s chairing the Australian Baduk Organising Committee. “We’re definitely looking forward to our first Congress,” Australian Go Association vice president Neville Smyth told the E-Journal. Smyth, IGF director for Australia/New Zealand, is in Gyeongjiu, Korea for the World Amateur Go Championship. As at similar congresses in Europe and the U.S., the Australian Go Congress will feature tournaments, simuls with professionals and lessons. The delegation of professionals will be led by An Younggil 8P of the Korean Baduk Association and Go Game Guru. The Congress will be held at Dunmore Lang College, Macquarie University; registration is $200AU ($180 USD) and rooms run A$85 to $98, with hotels also available near the venue.
by John Power, EJ Japan Correspondent
Iyama Takes Game 5 To Win Honinbo: Iyama Yuta (at right) completed his Honinbo title defense by winning the fifth round to take the title 4-1 over Ida Atsushi in the best-of-seven match. The fifth game was played at the Hotel Hankyu Expo Park in Suita City, Osaka Prefecture on June 30 and July 1. It was a very difficult game featuring attack and counterattack, and the players following the game in the anteroom at the tournament venue had a lot of trouble predicting the moves. The fighting spilled over from the left side into the center and then into the bottom, but eventually came to a peaceful end with Ida (W) capturing some black stones. A tense endgame fight followed, with Ida using up all his time allowance for the first time. Ida had a good position, but on move 198 he missed a move that would have secured him a win by 2.5 or 3.5 points (according to the newspaper commentator, Yo Seiki 7P). Then, on move 212, Ida made a fatal mistake; the move was played in the final minute of byo-yomi after the game recorder had read out ‘nine’. In conducting the 30-second byo-yomi, the recorder reads out ‘ten seconds,’ ‘twenty seconds,’ then ‘one’ to ‘ten’ for the final ten seconds. If he reads out ‘ten,’ the player loses on time. The move Ida played under this pressure let Iyama upset his lead. Iyama increased his lead after that and was ahead by ten points on the board when Ida resigned on move 247. Click here for Younggil An’s game commentary on Go Game Guru.
In winning the Honinbo League, Ida Atsushi added to his budding reputation for deep and accurate reading and fighting ability, but in this title series Iyama showed that he was more than a match for him. This is Iyama’s 24th title and he has also maintained his sextuple crown, currently holding six out of seven of the major Japanese go titles (the only one he doesn’t currently hold is the Judan). Just to review his record here, he first achieved the sextuple crown when he won the Kisei title in March 2013; he lost the Judan title in the following month, but resumed his sextuple crown when he won the Meijin title in October. He has now kept it for eight months.
Fujisawa Rina Wins First Title: The final of the 1st Aizu Central Hospital Cup Women’s Tournament was held at the Konjakutei, a traditional inn, in Higashiyama Hot Spring, Aizu Wakamatsu City, Fukushima Prefecture on June 26 and 27. Fujisawa Rina 2P (left), playing black, beat Okuda Aya 3P by resignation after 193 moves. This victory will extend the illustrious history of the Fujisawa name in Japanese go; Fujisawa Rina is Fujisawa Shuko’s granddaughter. A number of records were set in this tournament. The prize of seven million yen is the biggest for a women’s tournament in Japan; the final was the first two-day game in a woman’s tournament; at fifteen years nine months, Fujisawa Rin became the youngest woman to win a title in Japan and also the youngest player of either sex to make a sealed move.
Kono Makes Good Start In Gosei Challenge: Kono Rin 9P has made a good start in his challenge for the 39th Gosei title. In the first game, played at the Matsushima Ichi-no-bo hotel in the town of Matsushima in Miyagi Prefecture on June 26, Kono (B) secured a resignation after just 129 moves. After the game, Iyama expressed considerable regret about move 18, a move which seemed to put him on the back foot early in the game. Kono built thickness on the right side and went all out in attack when Iyama invaded. Rather than play negatively and attempt to live small, Iyama also went all out and tried to live on a large scale. However, Kono was able to bring down his group. Kono suffered straight losses in his Gosei challenge last year, so he has already improved on that performance. Iyama suffered his second title-match loss in a row; both games were short, which was perhaps due to Iyama’s aggressive play when he fell behind. The second game is scheduled for July 20.
Kisei Leagues: Recent results in the 39th Kisei Leagues are listed below. It may be a little early to talk about leaders, but just for the record there are four players on 2-0: Yamashita Keigo (right) and Kono Rin in the A League and Murakawa Daisuke and Kobayashi Satoru in the B League.
(June 26) (A League) Yamashita 9P (B) beat Takao Shinji Judan by resig.; Yamashiro Hiroshi 9P (B) beat Hane Naoki 9P by 2.5 points; (B League) Kobayashi Satoru 9P (B) beat Cho Chikun, 25th Honinbo, by resig.
(July 3) Cho Riyu (B) beat Cho Chikun by resig.
Yamashita Misses First Chance To Win 39th Meijin League: On 6-2, Yamashita Keigo was two wins clear of the field in the 39th Meijin League, but he missed his first chance to become the challenger when he dropped his seventh-round game to Cho U. The latter is now on 5-2 and will be hoping for Murakawa Daisuke to help him out by beating Yamashita in the final round. If Cho U won his last game, he would qualify for a play-off with Yamashita. At the other end of the league, Ko Iso, who has played all his games and won only two of them, is the first player to lose his place.
Below are results of games played since my last report.
(June 19) Takao Shinji 9P (W) beat Murakawa Daisuke by resig.
(July 3) Cho U 9P (W) beat Yamashita Keigo 9P by 1.5 points; Takao Shinji 9P (B) beat Ko Iso 8P by resig.
Cho Hunhyun: “No shortcuts” to Stronger Play and World Go
“There are no shortcuts” to getting stronger at go, Cho Hunhyun 9P told the E-Journal in an interview during the World Amateur Go Championship in Korea, where he served as chief referee. “You must study hard. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, and you must know these and focus your energies accordingly.” Considered one of the greatest go players of all time, Cho has played and won more professional games than any player in the world, with nearly 160 titles and 1,900 wins. After giving the signal for games to begin each day at the WAGC, Cho (right), impeccably attired in a crisp gray suit and perfectly adjusted tie, would quietly move about the playing area observing the games. And while he was impressed with some of the play, he says a lot of work remains to be done. “In the past, Japan has put a lot into developing go around the world, as have China and Korea in recent years, but many other countries should put more effort in as well.” Cho called the recent development of professional systems in both the United States and Europe “a big step for international go” but acknowledged that cultural barriers remain a challenge. “For example, chess is not very popular or very strong in Korea and it’s not easy to change the circumstances or situation, so figuring out how to popularize go in the West is not an easy question.” Cho was quietly optimistic, however, noting that “It took us a lot of time to get to where we are now, proving that the time we have invested in world go has not been wasted.”
- Chris Garlock; photo by John Pinkerton
Striving Hard in Brunei: “Go is hardly known at all in Brunei,” said Chai Hui Lim, President of the Brunei Darussalam Go Association, on her first visit to the World Amateur Go Championship. “It’s a real challenge to get people interested in go but like many other countries we are striving hard to popularize the game,” she said. This was Brunei’s second year of participation in the WAGC. “I think it’s great that so many countries are getting together for an international competition!” said Lim.
- Ranka; photo by Ivan Vigano
2015 WAGC Set for Bangkok; IGF Meeting Highlights: Bangkok has been selected to host next year’s World Amateur Go Championship. Thailand’s selection, reported at the July 5 International Go Federation Annual General Meeting in Gyeongju, Korea, marks the first time this major event will be held outside the traditional go strongholds of Japan, China and Korea, as part of the IGF’s ongoing efforts to internationalize the game. Other IGF meeting highlights included improved IGF finances and successful 2013 events, including the World Amateur Go Championship in Sendai, Japan, the Amateur Pair Go Championship in Tokyo, Japan, and the SportAccord World Mind Games (SAWMG) in Beijing, China. The SAWMG will be held again this year in Beijing from December 11-17, and a brand-new event, the Student Pair Go Championship, is set to take place this October in Tokyo, in conjunction with the standard Pair Go Championship, which this year celebrates the 25th anniversary of Pair Go. Also announced were changes to the IGF Board of Executives. This year will see a rotation of roles from Japan to Korea. The new IGF President will be Seokhyun Hong, previously the Korean Ambassador to the US, taking the reins from Koichiro Matsuura. “I will try my best but my work alone is not enough,” said Hong. “We need everyone’s input and initiative to bring our plans to a successful creation.” Jae-ho Yang, the Secretary General of the Korean Baduk Association, takes up the role of Office Director, carrying on the hard work of Hiroshi Yamashiro and, as previously reported, Yuki Shigeno, the long serving IGF Secretary General, passed the post on to Hajin Lee, the main organizer of this year’s WAGC. Norio Wada, the chairman of the Nihon Kiin, will also join the IGF Board of Directors.
- John Richardson, Ranka; photo by Ivan Vigano
EJ, Ranka & IGF Team Up Again: The American Go E-Journal, Ranka and the IGF teamed up again this year to provide comprehensive coverage of the 2014 World Amateur Go Championship in Gyeonjiu, Korea. John Richardson (second from right) contributed illuminating and entertaining game reports, Ivan Vigano (far right) maintained the tournament grid on the Ranka site in virtually real-time and edited the Ranka posts, photographer John Pinkerton (far left) always had the perfect shots for the daily EJ reports, and Chris Garlock (second from left) did game commentaries as well as edited the EJ posts. New IGF Secretary General Hajin Lee (center) not only organized the event, but made sure the team had whatever we needed and even found the time to play some early-morning tennis with the EJ team. Special thanks to Chihyung Nam, Thomas Hsiang, the entire WAGC staff and of course the players themselves, who not only made this such a great event but who were so generous with their time. Finally, James Davies and Michael Redmond were much missed; see you next year in Bangkok! - photo by Yoshitaka Morimoto of the Nihon Ki-in
2014 WAGC FINAL STANDINGS (left to right)
Row 1: 01 Chinese Taipei–Yi-Tien CHAN; 02 Korea–Tae-woong WEI; 03 China–Wang RUORAN; 04 Hong Kong–Nai San CHAN; 05 Ukraine–Bogdan ZHURAKOVSKYI; 06 Czech Republic–Lukas PODPERA; 07 Russia–Dmitri SURIN; 08 Sweden–Fredrik BLOMBACK; 09 Japan–Kiko EMURA
Row 2: 10 U.S.A.–Jie LIANG; 11 Singapore–Tan JIA CHENG; 12 Netherlands–Merlijn KUIN; 13 Finland–Juuso NYYSSÖNEN; 14 Thailand–Tiawattananont THANAPOL; 15 Serbia–Nikola MITIC; 16 Denmark–Arne Steen OHLENBUSH; 17 Hungary–Pál BALOGH; 18 Poland–Stanisław FREJLAK
Row 3: 19 France–Antoine FENECH; 20 Malaysia–Suzanne D’BEL; 21 Canada–Yongfei GE; 22 Macau–In Hang SAM; 23 Israel–Amir FRAGMAN; 24 Slovakia–Peter JADRON; 25 Indonesia–Rafif Shidqi FITRAH; 26 Vietnam–Nhat Minh VO; 27 Norway–Oeystein VESTGAARDEN
Row 4: 28 Germany–Bernd Rainer RADMACHER; 29 Croatia–Zoran MUTABZIJA; 30 New Zealand–Zhijie BEI; 31 Belgium–Dominique Valérie J. VERSYCK; 32 Lithuania–Andrius PETRAUSKAS; 33 Belarus–Aliaksandr SUPONEU; 34 Turkey–Altan KUNTAY; 35 Switzerland–Sylvain Gasana PRAZ; 36 Spain–Carlos PAU
Row 5: 37 Australia–Sang-Dae HAHN; 38 Romania–Lucian CORLAN; 39 Slovenia–Timotej SUC; 40 Luxembourg–Andreas GÖTZFRIED; 41 Austria–Matthias FRISCH; 42 Portugal–Pedro Miguel DE BRAGANÇA REIS PEREIRA; 43 India–Soni SHAH; 44 U.K.–Francis ROADS; 45 South Africa–John William LEUNER
Row 6: 46 Mongolia–Khatanbaatar TSEND-AYUSH; 47 Argentina–Haroldo BROWN; 48 Italy–Niccolò SGARAVATTI; 49 Ireland–John GIBSON; 50 Mexico–Ricardo QUINTERO ZAZUETA; 51 Azerbaijan–Bahadur Bayram THAIRBAYOV; 52 Brazil–Csaba DEÁK; 53 Brunei–Ho Soon ANG; 54 Costa Rica–Luis Enrique BOZA ARAYA
photos by John Pinkerton; photo collage by John Pinkerton & Chris Garlock
Click here for all the EJ’s WAGC reports, here for Ranka’s reports and here for complete 2014 WAGC results.
School kids in Mexico City capped off their year with tourneys in two locations, reports organizer Siddhartha Avila. “We gave the North american Kyu Championship prizes sent by the American Go Association to Valeria Gonzalez and Samuel Suástegui,” said Avila. “All the kids received a kanji, made by artist Yuko Kosaka, that conveyed a good wish or thought for their lives. We are thankful to have such wonderful people around us, congrats to all the young go players! Pictures of the event can be seen here. Our final tourney was July 5th, it was organized for the students at Gimnasio de Go and hosted by Templo Budista Eko, the tournament was divided in two brackets, 16-20 kyu and 10-15 kyu. We also held a tourney at a Chinese School,Instituto de Idioma y Cultura China, on June 21st. Players ranging from the ages of 5 to 11 competed on 13×13 boards, 1st place went to Nicholas Moran,” Avila reports. Pictures of the event can be seen here. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Photos: top: Siddhartha Avila (standing) observing a game at the Chinese school match; bottom: students compete at the Templo Budista.
Winners report, Gimnasio de Go: 10-15k Bracket: 1. Omar Zavala; 2. Lilian Zavala; 3. Valeria Gonzalez; 4. Paula Herrera; 5. Diego Armando Luciano. 16-20k Bracket: 1. Marcos Gonzalez; 2. Rodrigo Villegas; 3. Dante Zavala; 4. Sebastián Bañuelos; 5. Diego Alí.
Due to technical difficulties with the usual election site the ballots instructing voters to go to www.ballotbin.com have been voided, reports AGA Election Coordinator Arnold Eudell. “If you have successfully voted on Ballotbin your vote will be counted and you will not receive a new ballot,” says Eudell. Every eligible voter should have received a new email that directs them to the Balloteer.com website and includes a voter ID and password. Any questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Chinese Taipei’s Yitien Chan won the 2014 World Amateur Go Championship on July 9, narrowly edging out Korea’s Taewoong Wei and Ruoran Wang of China. The three were all 7-1, so the winner was decided by SOS (sum of opponents’ scores), with Taipei scoring 46 to Korea’s 45, and China in third at 43. This is the first time in nearly 30 years that a country other than the “Big Three” – Korea, China and Japan – has won the WAGC; the last time was 1986, when Hong Kong won, and in recent years, Korea and China have dominated. “The most important thing is to have a good mindset,” Chan (right) told the E-Journal, explaining the key to his victory. “When the situation is not good, just calm down and find a way out.” Past the age at which he could turn pro in Taipei, Chan is in his senior year in college, where he’s studying economics. The 2014 WAGC top 10 was filled out by Hong Kong (4th), the Ukraine (5th), the Czech Republic (6th), Russia (7th), Sweden (8th), Japan (9th) and the USA (10th). Click here for complete 2014 results and here for all WAGC winners 1979-2013.
Round 7: Early morning fog on the final day of the 2014 World Amateur Go Championship gave way to a clear sky and magnificent views of Lake Bomun. But news of the approach of Typhoon Neoguri left many WAGC players worried about their return flights, and there was turbulent weather on the go board in the 7th round as well, with numerous upsets and even a forfeit. Disappointed by his country’s shocking 7-1 loss to Germany in the World Cup semi-final, Brazil’s Csaba Deak earned an equally easy win over Azerbaijan when Bahadur Tahirbayov overslept and missed his morning match. Czech Lukas Podpera won comfortably against Japan’s Kiko Emura, a bitter result for Emura who was pulling out all stops after his disappointing 8th in last year’s tournament. A large Russian group was fatally encircled by China, leaving Dmitry Surin far behind, though the Russian stubbornly played through to the end of his 37-point loss. Korea forced a resignation from the US (click here for the game record) and Chinese Taipei defeated Thailand, leaving the three Asian go giants locked in a tight battle for this year’s title. At the end of the 7th round, Korea and Chinese Taipei had the same tiebreak score of 30 with China close behind with 28, which meant that, assuming that these players all won their final games, the overall winner would depend on the results of their previous opponents, so reporters were keeping a close eye not only on the top matches but on other key ones as well.
Other game records: Taipei-Thailand; Australia-Israel
Round 8: In the final round on Wednesday afternoon, Hungarian Pal Balogh had no fear of his Korean opponent, dubbing himself ‘Balogh The Great’ on his score sheet and launching into the infamous taisha joseki, neither of which impressed Korean powerhouse Taewoong Wei whose solid, powerful play soon forced Balogh’s resignation. After being mauled by Korea in the previous round, Jie Liang of the US fared no better at the hands of China (click here for the game record), coming up winless for the day when his time ran out, while Canada’s Yongfei Ge could not erase a 10-point deficit against France’s Antoine Fenech in the endgame and resigned. Costa Rica’s Luis Enrique Boza Araya once again put his money on tengen in one last stab at chalking up his first score, but Azerbaijanian Tahirbayov, rested from his morning’s slumber, prevailed. In a tense showdown between Russia and the Ukraine, it was the latter who took control, fending off the Russian incursion into his territory. Mexico developed a winning position against India but Ricardo Quintero Zazueta managed to give away the game to Sonia Shah in a slip under time pressure.
Other Game Records: Russia-China; Hungary-Korea; Singapore-Taipei
Random Notes: Hungary’s Pal Balogh uses almost no time on his clock yet he always seems to be up walking around the playing area checking out other games…Though most of the players either dressed casually or wore sports coats, India’s Soni Shah brought some welcome sartorial cheer with her colorful saris…No matter how much trouble his stones might be having on the board, eleven-year-old Rafif Shidqi Fitrah always had a bright smile and was clearly enjoying every moment of his time at the tournament…Long after the final game of the tournament had finished, Russia’s Dmitry Surin and the Ukraine’s Bogdan Zhurakovskyi were deep in a review of their game, a perfect example of the power of go to transcend political turmoil. Shah and Fitrah both won special prizes, as did Nhat Minh Vo of Vietnam and Brazil’s Csaba Deak, and Lucian Corlan (Romania) and Tiawattananont Thanapol (Thailand) won this year’s Fighting Spirit awards.
- Reporting by John Richardson and Chris Garlock, photos by John Pinkerton and coordination by Ivan Vigano. Thanks to Thomas Hsiang for translation assistance with the Yitien Chan interview. Click here for Ranka’s complete reports and here for complete results.
After his 5th-round win over Chinese Taipei’s Yitien Chan on Tuesday morning, China’s Ruoran Wang (left, below) must have been eying the 2014 World Amateur Go Championship trophy a bit possessively. After all, he had just beaten the only other top undefeated player, and heavy favorite Taewoong Wei of Korea (at right) had lost by half a point to Taipei in the 3rd round on Monday. But when the dust settled after the 6th round on Tuesday afternoon, the top trophy was once more up for grabs, with China, Korea and Taipei all holding 5-1 records, though on SOS, Korea looks to have the edge.
Meanwhile, the US and Russia, also 5-1, are looking to break back into the top five and Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Canada and the Czech Republic are battling it out for a top 10 finish. The final two rounds on Wednesday will settle things; top pairings for Round 7 are Korea-US, China-Russia, Taipei-Thailand and Hong Kong-Canada. Click here for latest results.
It was Korean maestro Taewoong Wei who derailed China’s march to the title by snatching victory in his 6th-round game Tuesday afternoon against China’s Ruoran Wang, who had taken the lead just that morning with a win against Taipei (click here for the game record). Wang let out a huge yawn at the start of the afternoon round and the game turned into an early running battle with the Korean collecting points on the right side of the board that in the end proved to be too much (click here for the Korea-China game record).
Meanwhile, Jie Liang (US, below right) edged out Yongfei Ge (Canada, below left) by 1.5 points in a North American showdown Tuesday morning that was one of the last games to finish (click here for the game record). Perhaps drained from his hard-fought 4th-round win against Japan on Monday afternoon, Ge fell behind early and Liang was able to maintain his lead into the finish. Liang then drew the Czech Republic’s Lukas Podpera in the 6th-round. Podpera had fought gamely but vainly against Korea in his morning round (click here for the game record) and threw himself into the battle with Liang, winning three fierce ko’s but coming up short in the end and resigning gracefully (click here for the game record).
As the tournament wears on the challengers are cranking up the pace, and many games are now reaching their conclusions before the one hour mark. Players are getting more experimental too, with Francis Roads (United Kingdom) taking two 5-4 points and 3-3 sightings coming from the New Zealand and Swiss camps. Dominique Versyck (Belgium) was delighted with his 6th-round defeat of India’s Soni Shah 1D, taking apart a large central group that he allowed he “didn’t need to kill but, well, might as well.” While “perhaps not the politest solution,” Versyck’s victory pushed him to a respectable three wins out of six. Twelve-year-old Nhat Minh Vo (Vietnam) steered his 6th-round game into a huge central battle, culminating with a semeai where it was his stones, and not those of Australian opponent Sang-Dae Hahn, that perished in the fight.
Other Round 5 game records: Sweden-Russia
Other Round 6 game records: Thailand-Slovakia; ChineseTaipei-Ukraine
Shigeno Passes the Torch: This year’s WAGC marked the retirement of Yuki Shigeno (at right) from her post as the Secretary General of the International Go Federation (IGF), where she’s served since 2006. Hajin Lee (left) of the KBA is the IGF’s new Secretary General. Shigeno and her husband Ivan Vigano, who edits Ranka, have been longtime friends and supporters of the E-Journal’s WAGC team; we deeply appreciate the many kindnesses she’s shown us over the years and wish her the very best as she continues her work promoting go at the Nihon Kiin. Click here for Ranka’s complete report.
- Game reports by John Richardson, game records by Chris Garlock, photos by John Pinkerton and coordination by Ivan Vigano. Click here for Ranka’s complete reports and here for complete results. Matches are broadcast live each round on WBaduk.
Aji’s Quest, the popular online comic about a quoll who plays go, has published its last panel, author Colette Bezio announced on July 5th. Her comic strip was launched two years ago and has grown to 180 pages, and attracted an international audience of kids and adults. Fans followed the witty adventures of a quoll named Aji, on his long quest to become a go master. On the way he encounters a huge variety of go playing animals and creatures, all of whom illustrate different aspects of the game, and provide some kind of lesson to help Aji along the way. “A sequel is possible… I even have a couple of ideas,” said Bezio, “but I have to get back to some other projects before I even think about it seriously.” The strip can be read on Bezio’s website here, and was also featured on Tigersmouth. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Drawing by Colette Bezio: Aji confronts his worst nightmare, the evil white stones monster.
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Korea and Japan, two of the favorites to top the 2014 World Amateur Go Championship, both lost by half a point to their respective opponents from Chinese Taipei and China in the third round of the WAGC on Monday morning. China and Chinese Taipei then solidified their status as clear favorites by handily winning their 4th-round games Monday afternoon, with the Czech Republic’s Lukas Podpera (left) the only other 4-game winner, while Japan’s dwindling hopes were dashed by Canadian Yongfei Ge. Korea, meanwhile, kept their hopes alive with a 4th-round win over Hong Kong. Click here for complete results.
Korean star Taewoong Wei (at right), the clear favorite to win the first WAGC to be held in Korea, felt he had a comfortable lead coming out of the fuseki in the 3rd-round game, but young Yitien Chan (at left in photo) from Chinese Taipei came up with an unexpected play at move 98 that both agreed in their review later (click here for the commented game) gave Chan a winning position, although fierce and complicated play continued for another 200+ moves.
Japan’s Kiko Emura, hoping for victory after a disappointing 8th place in last year’s tournament, also lost a half-pointer to China’s Ruoran Wang; their 3rd-round battle kept fans on the edge of their seats as the two players tussled over an intense endgame in which Emura was constantly under time pressure. As it turned out, the pressure extended to Emura’s clock button, which finally broke, allowing Emura’s time to expire, and bringing play to a halt as a crowd gathered around the board awaiting the referees’ decision as to how to continue the game. It was decided to keep playing with a new clock, giving the Japanese player one final byo-yomi period. “I was happy with how things were going,” said Emura, “but before I knew it I wound up half a point behind. I’m used to fast time limits but this clock business added to the stress of this important game.”
Other Round 3 Game Records
Norway-Sweden: Includes comments/variations by Thomas Hsiang, Hajin Lee & the players
Lithuania-Denmark: Comments/variations by the players, plus Pal Balogh (Hungary) & Fredrik Blomback (Sweden), in photo at left.
Uncommented game records: Japan-China; Vietnam-Ukraine.
In the 4th round, Malaysia’s Suzanne D’Bel (below, right) finally got the chance to show why the Japanese press call her “Tengen Girl”, drawing black and deploying her trademark tengen strategy. A fight erupted in the first few moves that engulfed the entire board, eventually leading to death and destruction, and the defeat of her Portugese opponent, Pedro Pereira (click here for the game record). Meanwhile, Costa Rican system engineer Luis Enrique Boza Araya once again tried again to mimic D’Bel’s winning strategy but was clinically dispatched by his Swiss adversary Sylvain Gasana Praz.
Canadian Yongfei Ge snuffed Japan’s Kiko Emura’s ambitions once and for all in an exciting 4th-round game in which Ge built – and defended — a gigantic central moyo. Emura went all in with a desperate invasion but it was not enough to shake Canada’s WAGC veteran (click here for the game commentary).
Previous Round Updates: Yesterday’s WAGC report has been updated to include the Japan-Netherlands Round 1 game and we’ve also added the following Round 2 games: Belgium-Czech Republic; Taipei-Hong Kong; Korea-Canada.
- Game reports by John Richardson, game records by Chris Garlock, photos by John Pinkerton and coordination by Ivan Vigano. Click here for Ranka’s complete reports on the third round and fourth round and here for complete results. Matches are broadcast live each round on WBaduk.
Round 1 Reports, Game Record & Photos
There were no surprises for top seeds in the first two rounds of the 35th Annual World Amateur Go Championship in Gyeongju, Korea on Sunday, July 6. In the first-round Japan-Hungary match, the game reached an essentially lost position with only three minutes used on Pal Balogh’s clock. After a twenty minute deliberation, the Hungarian left the playing room but returned minutes later to choose the only possible continuation and struggle through a futile battle to the bitter end. In the Hong Kong-Netherlands game, Naisan Chan (at left in photo) enclosed the Dutch envoy’s central-right stones in another first-round battle but no amount of tsumego wizardry could save Merlijn Kuin’s (right) group from inevitable demise. “I thought W58 was good enough but to be honest I didn’t read it out very carefully,” said Kuin. “I should have taken more time to consider my options.” Click here for the Hong Kong-Netherlands game record.
Other interesting first-round games included Costa Rica versus Belgium, this year seeing a new player, the Costa Rican system engineer Luis Enrique Boza Araya, attempt a tengen-based strategy. He was unable to use the central stone, however, and suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of Belgian accountant Dominique Versyck. Suzanne D’Bel, known by the Japanese press as ‘Tengen Girl’, took white in her game against Andreas Götzfried of Luxembourg, so we have yet to see if she too will employ this unusual opening strategy.
Sweden-US: Jie Liang (US) let his advantage slip away in the middle game as Sweden’s Fredrik Blomback squeaked out a narrow win. Click here for a game commentary by Kim Seung Jun 9P of Blackie’s International Baduk Academy (www.bibabaduk.net), with assistance by Shawn Ray 4D.
Lithuania-Canada (click here for game record): As to be expected in a match-up between a 3-dan and a 7-dan, Canada’s Ge (below at right, reviewing the game) cruised to an early lead; the middle-game death of one of Petrauskas’ (Lithuania) groups simply hastened the inevitable.
Round 2 Reports, Game Record & Photos
After a lunch of fish and assorted kimchi, the players returned to the underground playing area for the second round. Within fifteen minutes Hungary’s Pal Balogh’s game had yet again finished in a flurry, but this time with victory over Khatanbaatar Tsend-Ayush, a hotel manager from Mongolia. Also quick to finish was the US-India game, both players playing very rapidly until the end. Soon after, South African John William Leuner was defeated by Danish postman Arne Steen Ohlenbuch when his group became entangled in a web of black stones.
This was not the only spectacular game of the afternoon. A large crowd gathered around the Indonesia-Luxembourg match-up as semeais erupted and dead stones littered the board. Malaysian representative Suzanne D’Bel launched a fierce attack on Brazilian Csaba Deak and, although he managed to dodge this assault, another group came under fire, leading to a decisive victory for D’Bel.
But the bloodshed didn’t stop there. An audible groan was let out by the UK’s Francis Roads (at left) as he tried to find a way to save his group from Australian Sangdae Hahn’s deadly onslaught (click here for game record). Not finding a solution, the stone in Roads’ hand was slammed back into the pot, followed shortly by resignation. The candidates from Costa Rica and Portugal joined the list of casualties as large groups were swallowed up by their Belarusian and Lithuanian counterparts.
Round 2 game records:
New Zealand-Ireland (photo of Ireland’s John Gibson at right)
No suprises again at the top, as Korea, China, Japan and Chinese Taipei all won their games. A highlight was Korea-Canada, with Canada’s Yongfei Ge, back again from last year, putting up strong resistance in a relatively peaceful game. His 45-point lower side was not quite enough to overcome Taewoong Wei. Japan vs Singapore took the longest to finish but in the end Kiko Emura’s lead in territory sealed another Japanese victory.
- Game reports by John Richardson, game records by Chris Garlock, photos by John Pinkerton and coordination by Ivan Vigano. Click here for Ranka’s complete reports on the first round and second round and here for complete results.
Why top players love go is as varied as the players themselves, but they all pretty much agree that in order to get stronger, “you must love the game.” So said Japan’s Emura Kiko at a brief press conference on the opening day of this year’s World Amateur Go Championship, echoed by Malaysia’s Suzanne D’Bel Low, Korea’s Taewoong Wei, China’s Ruoran Wang, Vietnam’s Nhat Minh Vo and the Czech Republic’s Lukas Podpera, who were selected to answer questions at the press conference. “Go enables me to meet a lot of new friends, who become part of my family,” said Low. “Each game reveals my opponent’s style and personality,” added Podpera. At just 13, Vo is the youngest player at the WAGC, but already the game has enabled him to “meet a lot of interesting new people and travel around the world to share the go spirit,” he said. And while all the selected players said that lots of play and study is necessary to improve, Podpera was the most specific, noting that “In Europe we are failing at life and death (tsume-go) so that’s what we must study to improve.” Wei was even more succinct, saying that the three things necessary to get better at go are “Will, confidence and concentration.”
- Chris Garlock; photo by Ivan Vigano
The 35th World Amateur Go Championship got underway Saturday morning in Gyeongju, Korea with the traditional Friendship Match between local go players and the WAGC players from around the world. Gathered in the main playing area on the first floor of the Hotel Hyundai, the WAGC players’ places were marked as usual by their nation’s flags and the locals eagerly joined them for a spirited round of friendly but intense matches. At the head of the room were pro Kim In 9P (at right in photo at lower left) playing a teaching game with a local luminary beneath the WAGC banner. Gyeongju City, along with the Republic of Korea, is hosting the WAGC in this scenic resort in the Bomun Lake resort area. In the back of the room, professional Hyun Wook Lee (at right in bottom right photo) played a 10-on-1 simul while Ms. Yun Jin Bae gave some three dozen avid youngsters a go lecture. After an opening ceremony and banquet on Saturday night, the tournament will begin Sunday and run through Wednesday, with games scheduled each morning and afternoon. The E-Journal and Ranka are teaming up again this year to provide full coverage of the WAGC, including updates on each round, player interviews, game commentaries, photos and final daily results at the end of each day.
- report/photos by Chris Garlock