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Updated: 19 weeks 3 days ago

Power Report (1): Iyama makes LG Best Eight; Korea wins 7th Huanglongshi Cup; Iyama edges closer to winning Meijin League

Wed, 14/06/2017 - 13:54

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal

Iyama makes LG Best Eight: 
The first two rounds of the 22nd LG Cup were held in Korea on May 29 and 31. Three players from Japan took part and their results were as follows.
Round 1 (round of 32, May 29). Iyama Yuta 9P (W) beat Lee Yeongku 9P (Korea) by resig.; Ida Atsushi 8P (B) beat Choe Cheong 7P (Korea) by resig.; Kang Tongyun 9P (Korea) (W) beat Ichiriki Ryo 7P by resig.
Round 2 (May 31) Iyama (B) beat Zhou Ruiyang 9P (China) by resig.; Shin Jinseo 8p (Korea) beat Ida by resig.
Japan has only three seats in the round of 32 because of poor results in the past, which denied it more seeded places. Iyama has to miss some of the international tournaments because of scheduling clashes with domestic titles, but he is making an effort to make more international appearances. Reaching the quarterfinals is his best result for a while. Zhou Ruiyang was the runner-up in this title last year, so beating him is a good sign for Iyama.

Korea wins 7th Huanglongshi Cup: This is a women’s team tournament for five-player teams from China, Korea, and Japan. The format is a progressive knock-out, like the Nong Shim Cup, that is, each player keeps playing till she loses a game. The first seven games were played from April 20 to 23. In the second game, played on April 20 (as of this term, two games are being played on most days), Japan picked up its only win when Nyu Eiko beat Zhou Hungyu of China. The other members of the team, Xie Yimin, Fujisawa Rina, O Keii, and Mukai Chiaki, failed to make a contribution. Korea won the tournament in the 13th game without needing to field their fifth player. They scored seven wins to five for China and one for Japan.

Iyama edges closer to winning Meijin League: An important game in the 42nd Meijin League was played recently. At this stage, only three players were still in the running to win the league: Iyama Yuta on 5-0 and Yamashita Keigo 9P and Murakawa Daisuke 8P, who were both on 4-2. On June 5, Iyama (B) beat Yamashita by resig. This improved Iyama’s score to 6-0 and put Yamashita, now 4-3, out of the running. Murakawa will play Iyama in July, but beating Iyama is not enough; he needs Yo Seiki 7P, Iyama’s opponent in the final round in August, to beat him as well while he has to beat Hane Naoki 9P in his final game to tie with Iyama.
Other recent results: (June 1) Ko Iso 8P (W) beat Hane Naoki by resig.; Murakawa Daisuke  (W) beat Kono Rin 9P by resig.

Tomorrow: AlphaGo plays itself; Iyama extends lead in Honinbo title match; Yuki wins 1,200 games; 42nd Kisei S League

Update: This post has been updated; the spelling of the Huanglongshi Cup has been corrected.


Go Spotting: A doctor’s story of her dying patient, who loved go

Mon, 12/06/2017 - 14:00
A heartfelt account of a doctor’s involvement in an elderly go-playing man’s transition to hospice was featured in The Washington Post recently reports Gwen Patton.  Dr. Aroonsiri Sangarlangkarn tells the story of the bond she formed with her patient, pointing out the “struggle to provide continuity of care despite multiple hand-offs” that physicians face today.  Through her account, readers come to learn about Dr. Sangarlangkarn’s patient, Roger, “the man who loved go.”  Slowly dying from end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), Roger was an eccentric man without many friends.  Initially viewing Roger neither as her patient nor as her friend, Dr. Aroonsiri recounts her growing friendship with the man, coming to understand his childhood background, religious views, and his love for the game of go. As Roger’s condition worsened, Dr. Aroonsiri was faced with the challenge of telling her friend that he was dying.  She came to learn firsthand the importance for today’s healthcare providers to connect with their patients on a “meaningful level”. In the end, Dr. Aroonsiri expressed her appreciation for establishing a close relationship with her patient.  She explained to her colleague, Ben, that she was grateful to take care of Roger since “He doesn’t really have a friend to advocate for him.”  To which Ben replied, “Well, he does.  You are his friend.”
- Brian Kirby; graphic by Brett Ryder/Health Affairs

Nominations to AGA Board closing soon

Mon, 12/06/2017 - 01:02
Chris Kirschner and Martin Lebl have been nominated to the Western and Central regions respectively. A competitive election is expected in the east with Steve Colburn running against incumbent Diego Pierrottet.  Nominations, including self-nominations, may be made by full members for the region in which the member resides by June 15. Chapters should check their membership roles for recent and upcoming expirations which may affect their vote count. Nominations and questions must be emailed to Election information and qualification info are available at AGA Board Elections | American Go Association

Go Spotting: Billions

Thu, 08/06/2017 - 14:00

The second season of Showtime’s television drama, Billions, features go in its fifth episode, reports Joe Maia (previously reported here). The series, loosely based on a true story, portrays a high-stake legal battle between U.S. Attorney Chuck Rhoades and hedge-fund manager, Bobby Axelrod. In the episode, Rhoades (played by Paul Giamatti) enters a conference room to find one of his lawyers, Brian, and finds him playing one of several active go club games. After Rhoades points out that he had tried calling, Brian replies that they put all of their phones in a basket before they play because “go players didn’t have cellphones in ancient times.” Rhoades gets back to business, telling Brian that he needs to coordinate with the FBI to set up surveillance. He’s about to leave when he remembers, “Oh, I almost forgot…  You’d better block that monkey jump at the bottom.” The series currently airs Sundays on Showtime.


WAGC Update: China wins WAGC; US’ Danny Ko in 4th

Thu, 08/06/2017 - 05:16
by Thomas Hsiang, special correspondent to the E-Journal In the WAGC’s 7th round, the top three tables featured China vs. Russia, Japan vs. DPR Korea, and Taiwan vs. Korea.  China came in at 6-0 and the other were at 5-1.  Bai Baoxiang had no problem with Dmitry Surin; North Korea played brilliantly to defeat Sakamoto Shusaku of Japan; then Taiwan’s Lai Yucheng surprised most people with an upset over Korean Lee Sangbin.  Lee had played a lot of the new “AlphaGo style” moves in this tournament, but for this game his “alpha-like” 4-4 attachment against B’s 3-4 and ogeima enclosure actually led to a very bad early result that he could not recover.  After that, Bai vs Lai in round 8 became a fight for the championship. Click here for complete results. Bai played a very calm game in round 8, playing solidly and keeping the game close; then pulled ahead in the end game to win the championship.  Lai Yucheng dropped to third.  The second table featured a north-south all-Korean game.  Ri JinUng played very well and led most of the game.  However, in the end game, he repeatedly made errors – missing sente moves, etc – to give away the game by 0.5 point.  Ri dropped from 2nd to 6th due to the loss, a game he will not forget for a long time.  South Korea moved up to second place.  In fourth place was the US’ own Danny Ko, who played solidly in his late-round games.  Japan took fifth after defeating the Czech Republic.  From 7th to 10th are, in order, Romania, Hong Kong, Russia, and Czechia.  Canadian Gong Yujie placed 15th, while Mexico’s Emil Garcia was 17th after winning 5 games in the tournament – a Mexican record in this tournament! Thus concludes another successful chapter of this unique international amateur go event.  Guiyang City offered great hospitality and a beautiful setting.  Next year’s WAGC will move to Tokyo and back to the May schedule (May 2-9, 2018).  In 2019, the 40th WAGC will be held in Matsue City of Shimane prefecture.  In 2020, WAGC moves to Vladivostok, the Far East Russian seaport, assuming the sponsor agrees to the schedule. photo (top, l-r) Lai Yucheng (Taiwan), Bai Baoxiang (China), Lee Sangbin (Korea); (bottom, l-r): Emil Garcia (Mexico), Danny Ko and Thomas Hsiang (US), Yujie Gong (Canada).

Coffee Cup Set For June 17 in Santa Monica

Thu, 08/06/2017 - 01:38

This year’s Santa Monica Coffee Cup will be held Saturday, June 17, at the legendary UnUrban Coffeehouse. First prize in each division is the eponymous Santa Monica Coffee Cup, lovingly hand painted by Southern California craftspeople, in this year’s theme color of Nattier blue. Coffee beans, certificates and hand-painted tiles will also be awarded at the close of the three-round AGA rated event. More details and pre-registration here. The tournament’s design committee, moved by recent results in AI research, is debating whether to replace next year’s designated color, sangue de boeuf, with stargoon, catbabel, or clardic fug. More information at


Go Spotting: HBO’s “Vice” and the Lane County Museum

Wed, 07/06/2017 - 14:00
HBO’s “Vice”: The fifth season of HBO’s newsmagazine documentary series Vice features go in its eleventh episode, writes Gordon Castanza.  Produced by Bill Maher, Vice is a documentary TV series hosted by Shane Smith aiming to tackle global issues often overlooked by traditional media.  The episode, titled Engineering Immortality & Robot Revolution, starts out on the topic of “Engineering Immortality”, covering scientific advancements with potential to lead to an explosion in human longevity.  The show then transitions to the “Robot Revolution”, showing examples the unfolding revolution of creating systems intelligent enough to actually think for themselves. The show features an interview with the renowned Demis Hassabis in an interview covering the significance of game research.  To see if DeepMind had “successfully built artificial human intuition”, VICE travelled to South Korea to cover the match between AlphaGo and Lee Sedol.  Noting the result of the match, the documentary points out that AlphaGo’s win “reinforced the idea that we may be on the brink of transformative artificial intelligence,” warning of the potential consequences that artificial intelligence may bring.  When questioned about the potential dangers of today’s “Robot Revolution”, Demis Hassabis replied that, “Most technologies are inherently neutral, but it depends on how society uses them and deploys them that ends up determining whether they end up being for good or for bad.” The series currently airs Monday through Thursday at 7:30p ET on HBO. Lane County Museum Castanza also reports that he spotted a July 1942 photo of two Japanese men playing go at the Farm Security Administration farm workers’ camp in Twin Falls, Idaho at the Lane County Museum in Eugene, Oregon.

General and I: The popular historical romance drama General and I has an entire episode featuring go, reports Crystal Lin.  In episode 52 of the series, heroine Bai Ping Ting is challenged to a game of blind go against an unknown and unseen player.  Little does she know, Bai Ping Ting’s opponent is Chu Bei Jie – her lover and adversary, who believes Bai Ping Ting to be dead. Through a vivid portrayal of the match, the director illustrates the players’ moves through a ninja-like battle on a simulated go board, as the players shout out their moves.  In a dramatic climax of the scene, Bai Ping Ting realizes her opponent from his style of play. Click here for a summary of the episode, along with a video clip illustrating Bai Ping Ting and Chu Bei Jie’s exciting match.
- edited by Brian Kirby

WAGC Update: Only China remains undefeated

Wed, 07/06/2017 - 04:40
by Thomas Hsiang, special correspondent to the E-Journal

The morning’s round 5 was highlighted by an exciting game between China and DPR Korea, won by China with the smallest margin of 0.5 point.  US rep Danny Ko lost to Cornel Burzo and fell to the 2-loss group.  Japan’s Sakata Shusaku has been playing well since he lost in the second round.  He met Hong Kong’s Chan Naisan and played a strong game from the start, giving his opponent no real chance of coming back. In the afternoon, the top game was China vs. Korea. Because of the large number of spectators, the playing area had to be screened off by a “chair wall”.  The game lasted well after all other games had finished and remained close.  But in the end, Korea made a yose mistake and had to resign.  Japan defeated Romania and sent Burzo to two losses.  Russia’s veteran Dmitry Surin defeated Czech Lukas Podpera to remain the only 1-loss Western player.  Danny Ko played Thailand’s Vorawat Tanapatsopol and fell behind by quite a bit late in the game and had also entered his last period of 30-second byo-yomi. But Ko played a well-designed whole-board yose trap to overtake his opponent.  When his opponent resigned, Danny Ko had played his last sixty or so moves within the last byo-yomi period. Entering the last two rounds tomorrow, the picture is clearer.  Having won all his games, China’s Bai Baoxiang has the championship in his control.  There are five countries at one-loss: Japan, Korea, DPR Korea, Taiwan, and Russia.  These six will play each other in round 7: China vs. Russia, Korean vs. Taiwan, and Japan vs. DPR Korea.

photo: WAGC headquarters hotel; Guiyang Sheraton set next to a large Ming-dynasty temple

Go Spotting: Wild Kratts

Tue, 06/06/2017 - 14:00
Wild Kratts features go in its episode, Pangolin Rescue, writes Ryan Carroll.  Wild Kratts is an educational animated series aimed at children, created by Chris and Martin Kratt.  In the Pangolin Rescue, the Wild Kratts learn about the ground pangolin, before getting an alert from Chinese Wild Kratts Kids Yi and Duyi that someone has set traps to capture Chinese pangolins, a critically endangered species.  The show features Yi and Duyi playing go as they wait for the Wild Kratts to arrive in China.  The Kratt brothers need to use “Pangolin Powers” to free the captured pangolins and save them from becoming Smoothies.
- edited by Brian Kirby

WAGC Day 2 Report: China, South Korea, and North Korea undefeated after 4 rounds

Mon, 05/06/2017 - 22:54
by Thomas Hsiang, special correspondent to the E-JournalFor day 2 of the 38th World Amateur Go Championship, there were no major surprises at the top tables.  Round 3 in the morning saw US and Russia lose to China and North Korea respectively; Thailand lose to Czech; Austria lose to Hong Kong; and France lose to South Korea.  The Czech player Lukas Podpera caught a lot of attention after he beat Lai Yucheng from Taiwan yesterday.  In round 3 he played a strong game against the Thai representative Vorawat Tanapatsopol, a Go teacher from Bangkok, and won.  

There were a number of strong games in round 4.  At the end, only three undefeated players remain – China, South Korea, and North Korea.  The round started with an exciting game between Hong Kong’s Chan Naisan and South Korean Lee Sangbin.  “Lee is just too strong”, sighed Chan after losing a well-fought game.  Lukas Podpera lost by just 0.5 point to North Korean Ri Jin-Ung (whose name was mis-spelled in yesterday’s report).  Anoother Go teacher, Romanian Cornel Burzo lost to China in a game that finished very late and attracted many Chinese Go reporters. The match between Japan’s Sakamoto Shusaku and Vietnam’s 12-year old Vo Duy Minh (right) also attracted a lot of media attention, although the result was hardly surprising.  Danny Ko recovered to defeat the player from Macao. For round 5 on Tuesday, the top games will be China vs. North Korea, Finland vs. South Korea, Japan vs. Hong Kong, and US vs. Romania.