In the new season for the Pandanet AGA City League, the A and B League will enlarged to eight teams each. The teams in last place for the A League and the winners of the B League will be demoted and promoted as normal. The other teams in the B League will be promoted until there are 8 teams in play. The B League will be the same way with the C League until there are 8 teams. “Start gathering your team for the fourth season of this exciting league,” says League coordinator Steve CColburn. The new season include some revised rules to make the seasons longer and more challenging games. Check the rules for a special registration deal for the teams. “Does your team have what it takes to defeat our winners from last year?” Colburn asks. Registration is open until September 20th. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to register your team.
Jeffery Deaver’s 2014 book of short crime stories “Trouble in Mind” has a story “The Competitors” set at the Beijing Olympics, reports Tony Atkins. “In it, the Chinese head of security out-thinks terrorists as he is a go player,” says Atkins, who’s Vice-President of the British Go Association. “He explains to the US and Russian officers ‘It’s our version of Chess. Only better, of course.’” The head of security “I look forward when I play the game. You must always look forward to beat your opponent at go. You must see beyond the board.”
Atkins has added this book to the exhaustive round-up of “Novels and Other Books Featuring Go” on the BGA website.
Karl Irwin was victorious in the recent Belfast tournament with a perfect 5/5. James Hutchinson was second. His seventh year in a row to make the top 3 without winning. In third place was visiting Louise Roullier from France.
Full results to follow.
Shida qualifies for Samsung: The General Preliminary Tournament for the 20th Samsung Cup was held in Seoul from August 1 to 5. This is a massive tournament and the preliminary is held on a proportionate scale, with additional qualifying sections for women and senior players besides the open section. Five Japanese representatives took part in the open section, of whom one was successful. Shida Tatsuya 7P (at left) won a place in the main tournament by defeating Pak Seung-hwa 6P of Korea in the final. Oya Koichi 9P and Goto Shungo 9P competed in the senior section but without success. The opening rounds of the main tournament will be held in Beijing on September 8 and 10. Nineteen qualifiers through the preliminary will join 13 seeded players. The seeded players for Japan are Ida Atsushi 8P and Yoda Norimoto 9P.
Iyama defends Gosei, maintains quadruple crown: The fourth game of the 40th Gosei title match was played at the Nihon Ki-in in Ichigaya, Tokyo on August 7. Playing white, Iyama (left) forced a resignation after just 122 moves and so defended his title by a 3-1 margin. He has now won this title for four years in a row, so one more win and he will qualify for the title of Honorary Gosei. Iyama has beaten Yamashita Keigo in the three title matches they have contested so far this year; the others were the Kisei and Honinbo. Incidentally, three matches in the same year equals for record for the same two players. They have played 16 games with each other this year, which also equals the record. Iyama seemed to gain a slight advantage in the first major fight of the game, which occurred when he set out to reduce Black’s top moyo. Yamashita went all out and got back into the game, but then went wrong in the decisive fight. Iyama cut off and killed a large group, deciding the game. As mentioned in my report in May, when Yamashita became the Gosei challenger, two pairs of players had previously played three matches in the same year. They were Otake Hideo and Cho Chikun in 1982 and Kato Masao and Kobayashi Koichi in 1988. It was the latter two who previously played 16 games in one year.
Promotions: To 3-dan: Fujisawa Rina (40 wins) (as of August 7); To 2-dan: Bian Wenkai (30 wins) (as of August 7)
Rin Kaiho wins 1,400 games: On August 6, Rin Kaiho, Honorary Tengen (left), became the second Nihon Ki-in player to win 1,400 games when he beat Takemiya Masaki 9P in a game (right) in the 41st Gosei Preliminary B. Taking white, Rin won by half a point. The first player to reach this landmark was 25th Honinbo Cho Chikun. Rin was born in 1942 and became a professional in 1955.
At the AGA Board meeting held August 4, in Minneapolis, MN at the U.S. Go Congress, Chris Kirschner , Martin Lebl and Diego Pierrottet were congratulated for winning election to the AGA Board; they’ll serve September 1, 2015 to September 1, 2017.
The 2014 Go Congress in New York City had a very healthy surplus. The 2016 Congress will be held in Boston, almost certainly at Boston University, near Fenway Park and across the river from MIT.
There was a discussion on how to award qualifying North American Masters points for the next year. The points will be used to help select the team for the 2016 World Mind Sports Games and eligibility for the Open Masters section as well as its North American prize. A committee will have a proposal circulated before the next board meeting.
At the end of 2014, the AGA had 96 chapters and 2012 members. These numbers have been steady over the last couple of years.
The board was informed of purchase of audio/visual equipment that enabled commentated games from the 2015 Go Congress to appear on YouTube. The equipment can be used for similar purposes at other go tournaments.
The next AGA Board meeting will be held on Sunday, September 13.
- Ted Terpstra, AGA Western Region Board Member
Yulin Tong 4P defeated Zexiang Sui 7D in just 126 moves (click here to see the game) Saturday morning to lock up his 2015 U.S. Open MastersTournament championship, losing just one game, to defending champion Mark Lee, on his way to an 8-1 record. Click here for complete results and to see the professional review by Cho Hye-yeon 9P and Myungwan Kim 9P on the AGA’s YouTube page. Albert Yen won the U.S. Open; click here for complete results.
photo: Tong (second from left) reviews the Round 9, Board 2 game with Chen Wang 7D and Qun Wang 8P, as Yongfe Ge 7D, Ryan Li 1P and Eric Lui 7D watch; photo by Chris Garlock
Rafael Torres Miranda had a problem. The automotive importer had just discovered the game of go in 1990 but had no one to teach him and, worse yet, no one to play with. Twenty five years later, he’s attending the U.S. Go Congress as President of the Cuban Go Federation, the first time a delegation of Cuban go players has ever participated.
“The high level of play and the variety — as well as sheer quantity — of go activities is very impressive,” Miranda (at right, in white shirt) told the E-Journal. The other member of the delegation is Dr. Lazaro Bueno Perez (far left), a professor of chess and go at the University of Camaguey, and both said that they “will be bringing much back to Cuba from the Go Congress.”
Miranda says that there are some 2,000 go players in Cuba, ranging in strength from 5-dan to double-digit kyu players. “We’ve come a long way in a very short time,” he said. Miranda learned about the game from a Japanese colleague in the automotive business. The game intrigued him immediately. Although his colleague didn’t think he was serious, but he did teach Miranda the rules and they played. “No one in Cuba played go,” he laughs, “everyone played chess.” But as a judo teacher Miranda knew how to study and train and determination did the rest. They have had major support from the Association for International Go Exchange (a group of retired Japanese who love the game) and pros from the Nihon Ki-in. The Cubans make their own go equipment and there are now players in every city in the country.
In addition to the obvious barriers posed by Cuba’s political isolation, perhaps the biggest obstacle to spreading the game and improving Cuban go player’s strength has been one that go players around the world can appreciate: extremely limited internet access. There’s also a real hunger to participate in go tournaments around the world. “Always we want to participate,” Miranda said, chuckling. “We can’t, but we want to.” He hopes that the timing of the Cuban delegation to the U.S. Go Congress as official relations between the United States and Cuba have been established this year may be a harbinger of more opportunities to travel and compete internationally. “We are grateful to the AGA, the American Go Foundation, and to Bob Gilman for making this possible.”
Cuba will host the 17th Iberoamerican Go Championships October 9-11 at the Cuban Go Academy in Havana. Cuba. In addition to the chance for Cuban go players to meet their comrades from other Latin American countries, Miranda said it’s an opportunity for the Cuban Go Federation to be in the spotlight; after all Cuba organized the first four international tournaments in Latin America (1998-2001) before the current Championship series began.
- Chris Garlock; photo by Phil Straus
Yulin Tong Takes Lead in US Open Masters: Yulin Tong is now the leading contender for 2015 US Open Masters champion, defeating Beomgeun (Evan) Cho for a 7-1 record going into the final round Saturday morning. Other contenders include Zexiang Sui, who’s 6-2, and Chen Wang, also 6-2. Defending champion Mark Lee lost to Sui to drop to 5-3, taking him out of contention. Click here for complete results through Round 8.
Albert Yen Leads in US Open: Albert Yen 7D, undefeated going into the final round of the US Open on Saturday, is the favorite to win this year’s Open. Other 5-0 players: Xiaocheng Hu 4D; Yifan Zhang 3D; Gilbert Feng 2D; Brian Kirby 1D; Kelly Liu 1D; Mark Fraser 7K; Sherrie Echols 9K; Ryan Kim 21K. Click here for complete results through Round 5.
Saturday Broadcast Schedule: Catch the US Open Masters Board 1 game live on KGS — with video streaming on the AGA’s YouTube channel — starting at 9a CST. Board 2 will also be broadcast on KGS.
Game Records Wanted: Send in your US Open game records and we’ll add them to the official crosstab. Email them to us at email@example.com
photo: Friday night’s live US Masters Open pro commentary by Myungwan Kim 9P (at board) with E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock; Yilun Yang 7P also provided commentary. photo by Steve Colburn
Amy Wang 5d and her partner Daehyuk (Daniel) Ko won first place in the 2015 North American Pair Go Championship Thursday night at the U.S. Go Congress. “U.S. Pair Go fans should watch for Amy and Daniel to be competing in the upcoming World Amateur Pair Go Championships in Tokyo,” said TD Todd Heidenreich. The Championships will be held the first weekend in December. Forty eight pairs participated in the popular event, including nine professional players. Six of the eight players on boards 3 and 4 were professionals, drawing a lot of interest from spectators. “Special thanks to Dennis Wheeler, Steve Colburn, Susanna Pfeffer, and Garrett Smith for their assistance,” Heidenreich added.
The top table of the Pair Go tournament determined the overall champion. As with many of the tournaments at this year’s Congress, the matches played on the top board of the tournament were broadcast online — in this case on the Pandanet Go Server — along with a live stream on the AGA’s YouTube page. Click here for Steve Colburn’s album of photos.
Top table results: 1st Place – Amy Wang 5d & Daniel Ko 7d; 2nd Place – Melissa Cao 1k & Justin Ching 6d; 3rd Place – WanYu Chen & Andrew Lu 7d; 4th Place – Julie Burrall 2d & Lionel Zhang 7d.
Table Winners: Amy Wang 5d & Daniel Ko 7d; HsiYun Tang 2P & Mark Lee 7d; Jennie Shen 2P & Josh Larson 3d; Mirano Shiraki 5d & Shunichi Hyodo 6d; Agnes Rzepecki 2k & Aaron Broege 1d; Isabelle Peng 5k & Evan Zou 4d; Nqua Xiong 2k & Fernando Torre 3k; Yoko Ohashi 6k & Mark Fraser 7k; Vivienne Blandy 9k & Mark Smith 7k; Kaoru Hidaka 19k & Shigeo Hidaka 2d; Sarah Crites 11k & Bob Crites 7k; Susanna Pfeffer 10k & Rab Beverly 12k
- photos by Eric Jankowski (right) and Steve Colburn (left).
Curious to see how go might be played without a center point, John Goodell didn’t just theorize about it; he produced 3,000 go sets sans center point. They didn’t catch on, but Goodell’s lifetime of promoting the game earned him the American Go Association’s first Edward Lasker Distinguished Service Award in 2002; he died in 2004 at the age of 94. A longtime St Paul resident, he’s been honored this week at the US Go Congress with a prominent display of memorabilia celebrating his life as a go player and promoter.
Goodell (second from right) learned the game in the mid-1950′s while doing customer research for a department store. His idea was to see if board games would help elicit more reliable information from customers. Although that didn’t work, he became deeply involved with go, leading the US team to the second World Amateur Go Championships in Japan in 1964, as well as serving as president of the AGA from 1962 to 1964. Perhaps most famously, he once imported two tons of go stones and distributed them across the country.
John Goodell said that go is “almost like meditation. When you play go, the world goes away.” And though he played the game for more than half a century, he never entered a tournament, where “You play to win; but winning and losing is of almost no consequence.”
A St Paul documentary filmmaker, Goodell was nominated for an Academy Award in 1974 for “Always a New Beginning.”
Click here for more information about the history of the American Go Association.
Nearly twenty videos from the US Go Congress have been posted so far on the AGA’s YouTube channel as part of the E-Journal’s expanded coverage this year. They include Crazy Go, Lightning Tournament, US Open Masters Rd6: Tong Yulin 4p vs Mark Lee 7d, US Open Masters Rd 5: Cao Youyin 3p vs Tong Yulin 4p live commentary by Cho Hyeyeon 9p, and USGC 2015 – Wang Chen 7d interviewed by Kevin Hwang. The videos have been extremely popular, usually with well over 100 viewers for the live streams and some of the videos have now been viewed over 2,000 times.
Melissa Zhang 3d won the inaugural 2015 AGA U16 Girls’ Championship on Thursday, defeating Kelly Liu 1d. The tournament was held during the US Go Congress in St Paul, Minnesota. Although Ms. Liu won a tense ko fight to save a large group in the middle of the board, Ms. Zhang emerged with insurmountable advantage to win the game and the $100 first prize. In the consolation game, Melissa Cao 1d took third place by defeating Amy Wang 5d.
- Ted Terpstra: photo (l-r): Melissa Cao, 3rd; Amy Wang, 4th; Kelly Liu, 2nd; Melissa Zhang, 1st. photo at right: Zhang and Liu playing final. photos by Ted Terpstra (left) and Chris Garlock (right).
All game results must be turned in by 12 noon on Saturday.
Current leaders, with the number of games in parentheses are:
Champion (most wins over losses): tie between Steffen Kurz and Miyoko Miyama (4)
Hurricane (greatest number of wins): Jeff Horn (9)
Giant Killer (most wins against dan players by kyu player): Miyoko Miyama (4)
Keith Arnold/Kyu Killer (most wins against kyu players by dan player): Jeff Horn (8)
Dedicated (most games played): Jeff Horn (15)
Sensei (most games against weaker players): Jeff Horn (13)
Philanthropist (most losses): Sasha (David) Orr (9)
photo by Chris Garlock
Friday Night “Big Broadcast” Set: Top-board US Open Masters games will be broadcast live with professional commentary on KGS and streamed on YouTube; Congress attendees can watch in person in the main playing area. The broadcast starts at 7p CST.
Fierce Battle for ’15 US Open Masters Title: Unlike last year, when Mark Lee plowed through the field at the U.S. Open Masters, it’s safe to say that after six rounds, this year’s competition is wide open. With three rounds still to play, there are four 5-game winners: defending champion Mark Lee, Zirui Song, Yulin Tong and Chen Wang. Lee lost to Youyin Cao in the fourth round; Zirui Song lost to Yulin Tong in the fourth round; Yulin Tong lost to Mark Lee in the 6th round, and Chen Wang lost to Mark Lee in the third round. Click here for complete results — and top-board game records through Round 6.
Crazy Go Photos Posted: Click here for Betsy Small’s snapshots from Tuesday night’s Crazy Go session (right), directed as usual by Terry “These Go Games Are INSANE!” Benson.
Game Records Wanted: Send in your US Open game records and — as we did last year — we’ll add them to the crosstab. Email it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Caption Contest: Submit your caption(s) and you could be a winner! Captions should be funny, clever and/or creative; have fun! Want to submit a photo for the contest? email it to us at email@example.com
- photos by Chris Garlock
US Open 4-0 winners: Albert Yen; Xiaocheng Hu; Ary Cheng; Yifan Zhang; Gilbert Feng; Keiju Takehara; Kunio One; Aaron Johnson; Brian Kirby; Kelly Liu; Peter Zunick; Paul Weiner; Mark Fraser; Sherrie Echols; Ryan Kim.
Albert Yen 7d and Ary Cheng 3d swept their divisions in the Redmond Cup finals at the US Go Congress. The preliminary rounds were held online (see E-J 7/8/15) and saw both boys emerge on top, 15-year-old Yen with a perfect record, and 9-year-old Cheng winning 5 out of 6 games. The Senior Division (under 18) pitted Yunxuan Li 6d, age 17, with 5 wins, against Yen in a best 2 out of 3 final. In the Junior (under 13), Raymond Feng 3d, age 11, was the other finalist. Cheng and Feng both were AGA rated at 1 dan during the qualifiers, but defeated higher ranked opponents throughout the event. Both boys are playing at 3 dan in the US Open, and doing quite well, proving once again that it is very hard to pin serious kids down to a given rank as they often improve at lightning speed. The Senior division games were also popular on the AGA’s Youtube Channel, which featured live commentaries by Calvin Sun 1P, with Justing Teng 7d and Lionel Zhang 7d streaming video, and both divisions were broadcast live on KGS as well. All of the streamed videos remain available on the AGA channel here. All four Redmond finalists won a free trip to congress to compete, and will receive $300 for first place, and $200 for second, courtesy of the American Go Foundation, as well as Redmond Cup trophies. - Story and photos by E-J Youth Editor Paul Barchilon. Top: Yunxuan Li 6d (l) vs. Albert Yen 7d (r); Bottom: Raymond Feng 3d (l) vs. Ary Cheng 3d (r).
Aaron Ye 6d won the Diehard Tournament on Wednesday, the event traditionally held on the Congress day off. 76 players participated and seven had perfect 4-0 records: Aaron Ye 6d (Overall winner); Daniel Puzan 1d; David Frankel 1k; Steve Wishnousky 3k; Vincent Tam 5k; Aaron Pearson 7k and Chris Ramsumair 8k.
- report by Andy Olsen, TD; photo by Garrett Smith
In American Go Association Board of Director election results, incumbents Martin Lebl and Chris Kirschner retained their seats in the Central and Western regions respectively, while Diego F. Pierrottet defeated George Lebovitz for the Eastern seat. Kirschner received 18 votes (85%) while Andrew Jackson got 3 write in votes. Lebl got 19 votes. Pierrottet received 17 votes (60%) while Lebovitz got 7 votes (25%); there were 4 abstentions.
AGA President Andy Okun welcomed Pierrottet, congratulated Lebl and Kirschner and spoke warmly of Celmer. “Paul has been on the board since before I first joined in 2008 and has been thoughtful, positive and productive as a board member,” said Okun. “That’s on top of everything else he’s done for the go community including co-running two successful US Go Congresses. I’ll miss him in our meetings, but look forward
to seeing him at go events around the country.”
Iyama taking aim at two former titles: The first quarterfinal of the 63rd Oza tournament was held on July 13. Playing white, Iyama Yuta (r) defeated Ichiriki Ryo 7P by resignation. With both players in byo-yomi in the late middle game, Ichiriki made a snap judgement that he could live with a large group, so instead of starting a ko to make sure of two eyes he moved into his opponent’s territory. Iyama made a snap judgement that the group couldn’t be saved by a player in byo-yomi; he connected the ko and killed the group. Iyama thus became the first player to reach the semifinals of this tournament. The titleholder is Murakawa Daisuke, who took the title off Iyama last year. Iyama had previously reached the semifinals of the 41st Tengen title by beating beat Ko Iso 8P. In the semifinal, played on July 30, he beat Ri Ishu 7P (W) by resignation. In the play-off to decide the challenger, he will meet the winner of the other semifinal between Yamashita Keigo and Yuki Satoshi 9P.
Iyama retakes lead in Gosei title match: After a break of a month from the opening game, two games were played recently in the 40th Gosei title match. On July 20, the second game was played at the Hokkoku (North Country) Newspaper Hall in Kanazawa City, Ishikawa Prefecture. Iyama Yuta Gosei (white) got a favorable position in the opening, but Yamashita Keigo 9P launched a bold series of do-or-die moves that eventually drew a misjudgment from Iyama. He later started a ko to try to get back into the game, but played an invalid ko threat and had to resign after 183 moves. The third game was played at the Nagaoka Grand Hotel in Nagaoka City, Niigata Prefecture on July 27. Iyama, playing black, built up a small lead, though the game was marked by complicated fighting. Late in the middle game, Iyama had a chance (with move 175) to set up a large-scale capturing race. Research by the players following the game showed that he would have won it by one move, but, in byo-yomi, he hesitated to take the risk. Yamashita almost caught up, but Iyama just managed to hold on to his lead. The game finished after 292 moves and ended in a win for Iyama by one and a half points. The fourth game will be played at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo on August 7. photo: Iyama Yuta Gosei (l); Yamashita Keigo 9P
Takao to challenge for Meijin title: The final round of the Meijin League is one of the biggest events of the summer, which this year has been its usual hot, humid and unbearable self in Tokyo. Four players were in the running to win the league, which added to the interest. They were, in order of ranking, Kono Rin, Yamashita Keigo, Takao Shinji (right), and Ko Iso.
The results were:
Cho U 9P (B) beat Kono Rin 9P by resignation. Both players finished on 5-3.
Yamashita Keigo 9P (W) beat Ko Iso 8P by resig. Yamashita finished on 6-2 and Ko on 5-3.
Takao Shinji Tengen (W) beat Murakawa Daisuke Oza by resig. Takao finished on 6-2 and Murakawa on 3-5.
Hane Naoki 9P (W) beat Kanazawa Makoto 7P by resig. Hane ended on 2-6 and Kanazawa on 1-7. They both lost their places, as did So Yokoku 9P, who was on 3-5 and had a bye in the last round.
Takao and Yamashita were tied for first, so they met in a play-off on August 3. Takao (W) beat Yamashita by 5.5 points, so he will make his first challenge for the Meijin title for five years. Takao lost his last challenge to Iyama Yuta 0-4 in the 35th Meijin tournament. In general, he has done badly against Iyama, but his results have improved in the last couple of years. The title match will start on September 3.
Promotion: To 2-dan: Mutsuura Yuta (aged 16) (30 wins) (as of July 17)
photo research by Maeda Ryo & Todd Heidenreich
Yulin Tong Takes Lead in US Open Masters: The lead in the Open Masters changed not once but twice on Tuesday. First, Youyin Cao 3P beat defending champion Mark Lee in the morning round. Cao is a Champion Team member of the 2014 Huang Long Shi Shuang Deng Cup Ring Contest. Then in the fifth round on Tuesday night, Yulin Tong 4P (right) defeated Cao in just 107 moves. Click here for the latest results. Three rounds have been played in the US Open; click here for the latest results. (update: this post has been updated; Cao beat Lee by resignation, not by half a point)