The 30th annual US Go Congress kicked off Saturday night atop the historic Hotel Pennsylvania in midtown Manhattan. Hundreds of go players gathered on the 18th floor of the venerable hotel to launch the largest annual go event in North America. Brief welcoming remarks were provided by Congress Director Matthew Hershberger, American Go Association President Andy Okun (at left in photo), Nihon Kiin Chairman Norio Wada and Asian Go Federation President Suh Daewon. Okun’s remarks were interrupted by the presentation of an impressive 30-foot scroll photo) by Wang Na (at right) from the Qingdao Go Association in China. The scroll, created by 85-year-old artist Yuan Youbin, was drawn from a book called “The Essence of Go.” The keynote speech of the evening was a riveting talk about the future of go by Frank Lantz, Director of the New York University Game Center (look for a report in an upcoming edition of the EJ). Finally, co-directors Will Lockhart and Cole Pruitt showed a well-received trailer for “The Surrounding Game”, their forthcoming documentary about go. The US Open – which includes Masters Division (formerly the NAMT) – starts at 9a sharp Sunday morning; top-board games will be broadcast live on KGS.
- report by Chris Garlock; photo by Phil Straus
Hashimoto Utaro Enters Hall of Fame:At a meeting of the Go Hall of Fame committee on August 18, Hashimoto Utaro (1907-94) was chosen from among eight candidates to be this year’s inductee. Hashimoto (right) is best known for winning the 2nd, 5th, and 6th Honinbo titles and for leading the Kansai Ki-in to independence in 1950. He also won a number of other titles and played in the first Kisei title match in 1977.
Celebrating Go Seigen’s 100th Birthday: A party to celebrate Go Seigen’s 100th birthday was held at the Yomiuri Otemachi Hall in central Tokyo on July 23. It was attended by 400 guests, including many top go players, but unfortunately Go’s health did not allow him to be present. Instead, he sent a video message, which was read out by Ogawa Tomoko 6P. It went: “Thank you for celebrating my 100th birthday. The fact that I am still alive means that there’s a role for me to play, so I will do my best. I believe from my heart that go is useful for world peace. Everyone, please enjoy go.”
Go (left) is currently living in a retirement home with nursing provided in Odawara, where he has made his home in recent decades. This year, as in past years, he visited the venue of the Kisei title match game played in nearby Atami in a wheelchair and met the players.
The party featured an audiovisual presentation of Go’s career, amounting to a history of the middle half of 20th century Japanese go, as he was the central figure on the go scene. Cho U 9P and his wife Kobayashi Izumi 6P then gave a commentary on the first game of the Go Seigen/Kitani Minoru jubango. Next, Yoshihara Yukari 6P played a game on black (no komi) with 25th Honinbo Cho Chikun (Cho won), with commentary by Otake Hideo, Honorary Gosei, and Rin Kaiho, Honorary Tengen.
Fujisawa Rina Reaches Women’s Honinbo Play-Off: In the second semifinal of the 33rd Women’s Honinbo tournament, held on July 28, Fujisawa Rina (right), holder of the Women’s Aizu Cup, defeated Suzuki Ayumi 6-dan (W) by resignation. She will meet Okuda Aya 3P in the play-off to decide the challenger to Mukai Chiaki. Okuda was her opponent in the Aizu Cup. Fujisawa is still only 15, but she has made rapid progress since becoming a pro in 2010.
27th Women’s Meijin League Starts: The first game in the 27th Women’s Meijin League was played on July 28. Mannami Nao 3P (B) beat Ishii Akane 2P by resig.
Kono Rin to Challenge for Meijin Title: All the games in the final round of the 39th Meijin League was held on July 31. After six rounds, Yamashita Keigo had been two points clear of the field, but he missed his first chance to win the league when he lost to Cho U in the seventh round. However, in the eighth round he was still the only player in a position to win the league outright. The only other contenders were Kono Rin (left) and Cho U, who both had two losses and who were playing each other. Taking black, Yamashita lost to Murakawa Daisuke 7P by 6.5 points. Kono (W) beat Cho U by resignation, so he ended up in a tie with Yamashita. In the other games, Takao Shinji Judan (B) beat Hane Naoki 9P by 4.5 points and Yuki Satoshi 9P (W) beat Ryu Shikun by resignation. After the top two, the places in the league were: Cho (5-3), 3rd; Takao (5-3), 4th; Hane (4-4), 5th; and Murakawa (3-5), 6th. Ryu (3-5), Yuki (2-6) and Ko Iso 8P (2-6) lost their places (Ko had a bye in the last round). The play-off was held at the Nihon Ki-in on Monday, August 4. Kono took revenge for his loss to Yamashita in the fifth round; playing black, he won by half a point after 250 moves. At the age of 33, Kono will now make his first challenge for a big-three title. The first game will be played on September 4 and 5, by which time the Gosei title match, in which Kono is tied one-game each with Iyama Yuta, will be over. As mentioned in our previous report, Kono had a nineteen-game winning streak this year. He is one of the few players to appear in all three leagues this year, and he also tied for first in the previous Meijin League (he lost the play-off to Iyama). Kono’s main success to date is winning the Tengen title three times; he has also won the Ryusei title once, the JAL New Stars title once, and the NEC Cup twice. He seems to be enjoying some of the best form of his career, so he should prove a redoubtable opponent for Iyama.
39th Kisei Leagues: One game was played in the B League on August 7. Yoda Norimoto 9P (W) beat Cho Chikun, 25th Honinbo, by 4.5 points. Yoda is now 3-1, in second place after Murakawa Daisuke 7P (3-0). Cho drops to 1-3, so he is in danger of losing his place.
Hugh Zhang 7d will be serving a second term as co-president of the American Go Honor Society (AGHS), alongside Calvin Sun, who will be serving his first term. The organization, run entirely by high school students, has opted for two presidents several times before. “I have been concerned that we were getting lower and lower turnouts for our events, especially the School Teams Tournament ,” Zhang told the E-Journal. “A lot of new ideas were suggested by various members this year, and we hope to implement some of them in the coming year.” -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Photo: Hugh Zhang 7d competing in the 2013 Korean Prime Minister’s Tournament.
Early arrivals for the 2014 US Go Congress found themselves helping set up the main playing room at the famed Hotel Pennsylvania in midtown Manhattan and assembling Congress packets on Friday, but Brady Daniels (right) and Josh Larson found time amid the flurry of activity to play the first game of the Congress late Friday afternoon and Congress Director Matthew Hershberger (standing) stopped by for a few minutes to enjoy the game this annual event is all about.
Registration begins on Saturday, 8/9 at 10a and will continue throughout the day. The opening ceremony will take place on Saturday, 8/9, at 7PM and will include an address by keynote speaker Frank Lantz, Director of the New York University Game Center.For those staying on site, accommodation check-in will largely proceed through the hotel front desk. However, please speak with Congress staff and complete your check in BEFORE speaking with the hotel front desk as you will need proof of check-in to receive your room-key. (Please note that the hotel check in time is 3PM; for early arrivals, the hotel has luggage storage available.) There will be a Congress staff member in the lobby to direct you to the Congress registration area, and as a last resort, the hotel front desk will also know this information.
Follow us on Twitter @theaga and on Facebook (American Go Association) for latest tweets and posts.
- report/photo by Chris Garlock
Michael Chen topped 11 players to win the Samsung Cup world division preliminaries this week, making it through four tough rounds to advance. “I’ll play in the main tournament in the round of 32 on August 26th,” Chen told the E-Journal. His opponents were Victor Chow (South Africa), Rob Van Zeijst (Netherlands), Eric Lui (USA) and Xiang Zhang (Singapore). “I had a tough draw, with an especially strong first round opponent in Victor,” said Chen. The final round against Xiang was played in the BadukTV studio and was a TV broadcast game. “It was amazing and exciting to play in that environment,” Chen told the EJ. Click here for an interview on WBaduk.
The American Go E-Journal will be broadcasting top-board US Go Congress games live on KGS beginning this Sunday, August 10. This week we’re profiling some of the top players who will be competing at the Congress. The US Go Congress is the largest go activity in the United States. It happens once a year and spans one week. Events include the US Open, the largest annual go tournament in the US, professional lectures and game analysis, continuous self-paired games, and all kinds of go-related activities from morning to midnight. “Come for the go, come for the camaraderie of old friends, come for the thrill of the big city!” say organizers. “Whatever your reason, we are looking forward to seeing you there.” Also, AGA members, please note that voting for 2014 board elections closes on August 8.
Changlong Wu 7D is a 40year-old environmental engineer in Chapel Hill, NC. He’s been playing for 25 years and has won the Triangle Memorial Go Tournament eight times (2004, 2006-2012). His favorite thing about go is its “Competitiveness. I am always excited and thrilled playing a tournament, big or small.” Hobbies include hiking, music, and movies. He’s married, with two children, 6 and 1.
Yuan Zhou 7D is a 39-year-old consultant and go teacher from Germantown. MD who’s been playing since the age of six. He’s won 30 US Go titles from 1990 through 2012 (see www.zhouyuan.com for detailed info). His favorite thing about go is that “Go is very similar to life. It combines skills, cultures, knowledge and psychology together.” Hobbies include movies and reading.
“In Kore-eda Hirokazu’s 2006 mock- or anti-samurai film Hana yori mo Naho (花よりもなほ, Hana – the Tale of a Reluctant Samurai), go has a small but very important place as the link between the main character and his deceased father,” writes Richard Neer. “The characters are impoverished and play with shabby equipment and although it’s a minor film, Kore-eda is one of the best known and most important Japanese film makers working today.” Click here for a trailer (in Japanese).