Ten players showed for the Louisville Go Club’s first annual tournament on October 19 in Louisville, KY, including some players from the Cincinnati Go Club. An undefeated Chris Martin 4k (3-0, on right) took first place with Taylor Perkinson 6k (2-1 on left) in second.
- report by Asha Nagaiya
Is Capture Go merely a stepping stone to traditional go, or can it stand on its own as a viable game? In Memphis, two go players and teachers are working hard to answer that question.
The simplified rule set that master teacher Yasuda Yasutoshi 8P describes in his book Go As Communication has been used in hundreds of schools, after-school programs and libraries. Go players who teach Capture Go often hope to quickly move their pupils along to traditional go but Jay Jayaraman 9K and Graham Smart 9K wondered what would happen if a whole program focused just on Capture Go. They’re working with the Confucius Institute at the University of Memphis (CIUM) where they’re teaching Capture Go to Chinese language instructors from CIUM-affiliated after-school programs in the Memphis area, who in turn will introduce hundreds of primary school students to the game this year. The program is currently active in 12 Shelby County elementary schools and will be adding more schools throughout the year, reaching an estimated 40-50 students per program. Jayaraman and Smart also plan to start Capture Go programs in middle and high schools in the area.
“We are not trying to teach go,” Jayaraman, the director of CIUM’s after-school programs told the EJ. “We are presenting 9×9 Capture Go strictly on its own merits, not as a ‘gateway game.’ We call the game we teach go, not Capture Go, so that children who become interested in the long-form game don’t have issues with transition. We hope that even students who don’t enjoy traditional go will have a little fun with Capture Go.” All students, not just winners, can earn Pokémon-style badges (created by Smart) to reward merit, encourage competition and create a sports-like atmosphere. Players will get badges for reaching certain goals, such as completing a certain number of games or playing at least one game with every other player.
The curriculum involves ten two-hour classes, presented as part of CIUM’s Chinese language and history program in partner schools. The American Go Foundation has provided 80 full size sets of stones and more than 200 9×9 boards so far, and Viz Media has granted permission to use Hikaru no Go anime and manga freely as part of their curriculum. Smart is also creating a series of introductory videos for use in the curriculum. The rule set is designed to be completely simple and solvable on the board. However, since the instructors are also new to the game, the organizers will serve as “experts on call” when the classes are taking place. Any instructor can send them a question, along with a picture of the board position if needed, and receive an immediate answer.
Jayaraman discovered the potential of Capture Go as a standalone game last summer when he served as the lead go instructor for CIUM’s K-12 Chinese Summer Immersion Camp. With 20 students ranging from five to eleven years old, he worried about losing them if the game seemed too complex, so he focused on Capture Go after discovering Let’s Play Go, Yasuda’s elegant yet simplified introduction to the game. Jayaraman and local player Wade Humbert “described Yasuda’s ‘Capture Go’ method and hoped for the best,” says Jayaraman. “To see a room full of children playing within thirty minutes of first hearing about the game was quite a treat. We set up daily classes, drawing upon the Freedman-Balwit curriculum available through the ‘Methods and Materials’ page on the AGA’s Teacher Resources site. To our surprise, only a handful of children showed any interest in advancing to traditional go, but they were all incredibly enthusiastic about Capture Go. Campers were actually excited about their homework! We held a tournament on the last day and combined homework scores with results to find the top finishers. Prizes included copies of Hikaru No Go and full size playing sets. It was a joy to watch their enthusiasm and progress.” Positive feedback from parents encouraged CIUM and the Memphis schools to expand the program into the school year. The Memphis program has four goals: reach the largest possible audience; re-envision go and Capture Go as team sports; engage parents, teachers and other stakeholders; strengthen ties with Confucius Institutes nationwide.
Jayaraman thinks one reason go more popular is that the go community has followed the top-down, expert-oriented teaching approach that has worked so well for chess. Unlike chess, however, go experts are few and far between. In addition, programs such as the middle school chess team seen in the recent documentary Brooklyn Castle have high infrastructure costs and are difficult to maintain. Chess-In-the-Schools spends millions of dollars teaching chess in New York City alone.
“There’s another pitfall in expert-based teaching methods,” Jayaraman believes. “Skilled go players often flood beginners with complexity, leaving them feeling hopelessly lost. But Capture Go is easy for anyone to learn. In our model, non-playing teachers and after-school staff receive basic instruction and then learn along with their students. Yasuda sensei never meant for Capture Go to be an introductory tool to regular go. The original program was designed to foster interaction using Capture Go as a great equalizer. Like him, we want to use Capture Go as a standalone vehicle for promoting the ‘four C’s’ — critical thinking, cooperation, competition and communication.”
- Roy Laird
“Thanks for the recent obituaries (In Memoriam: Philadelphia Go Players Hugh Albright and John Bender 10/10 EJ),” writes Bob Barber. “I think it’s a great idea to remember those with whom we’ve shared the game of go. I knew Hugh Albright very well from Congresses. He was perhaps 2 kyu when I was 10 kyu. He was always generous with his time. As I marched up to 1 dan, Hugh may have lingered at 2 kyu. We usually got in a game or two each year. I was at that lecture that John Bender gave at Congress. He looked like a model, and his companion looked like a model. And, he’d gone from zero to 4 dan in no time! I was very impressed. Now I read that he had large talents in other fields. Very sorry to hear that his intense life is over already.”
Round 2 of the European Go Team Championships was played this weekend on IGS. Ireland faced the team from Kazahkstan, and managed to make amends for their opening loss to Cyprus, with a 4-0 victory. You can see the full results here. As of now, Ireland have regained their rightful position at the top of the table.
As if the Honinbo and Kisei were not enough, Iyama Yuta 9p (left) secured his third Meijin title when he defeated Yamashita Keigo 9p in this year’s Meijin on October 17. By holding Japan’s three biggest titles simultaneously, Iyama is the just the second player in the entire history of go to achieve a ‘triple crown.’ The only other player to attain this honor was Cho Chikun 9p – once in 1983 and again in 1997. In a post-game interview, Iyama said, “I have a deep respect [for] Cho Chikun 9p, and I’m very honored to achieve the triple crown, as he did.” Had he not lost the Judan to Yuki Satoshi 9p in April, Iyama would have completed a grand slam, or held all seven Japanese titles at once. For more information about this year’s Meijin including game records from all five games, photos, and more, please visit Go Game Guru.
– Annalia Linnan, based on a longer article by Go Game Guru
The online prelim for the American Go Association’s 2013 professional selection process will take place on KGS in November, the AGA Pro System Committee announced earlier this week. The event is open to US and Canadian citizens who meet a minimal residency requirement and have either an AGA rating or stable KGS rank of 5d or higher. Competitors should also be members of AGA or CGA. The tournament will take place November 9, 10, 16 and 17 in the AGA Tournaments Room on KGS. The winner will be invited to participate in the pro selection tournament in Los Angeles Jan. 2-8 2014, receiving an $800 travel subsidy. Players can register for the tournament here. Upon registration players should also submit a copy of their US or Canadian passport. The residency requirement is that players have lived in the US or Canada for at least three of the last six years or else obtain a waiver from the AGA president based on their time overseas being temporary and for the purpose of education, go study or an overseas posting. For questions about the tournament contact Karoline Burrall Li at firstname.lastname@example.org. For questions about pro selection or the residency requirement contact AGA President Andy Okun at email@example.com.
Want to help build the global go community? The American Go E-Journal team is expanding, and has a few immediate openings for dedicated, talented volunteers who want to help maintain and expand the American Go Association’s online presence and better serve the global go community. PHP/Drupal/Database/Linux SysAdmin experience helpful but also looking for writers and editors to keep web content fresh and up to date. For more details email firstname.lastname@example.org
Germany: Manja Marz 3d (left) won the Deutsche Damen-Go-Meisterschaft 2013 in Jena on October 13 while Janine Boehme 1d came in second and Barbara Knauf 3d in third. Ukraine: Also on October 13, the Ukrainian Cup 2013 finished in Kyiv with Bohdan Zhurakovskyi 5d in first, Artem Kachanovskyi 7d in second, and Mykhailo Halchenko 5d in third. Finland: Jesse Savo 4d bested Mikko Siukola 4d in the 2nd qualification for the Finnish Championship in Espoo on October 13. Jusso Nyyssonen 5d placed third.
- Annalia Linnan, based on reports from EuroGoTV, which include complete result tables and all the latest European go news
In brief, the 8th Korea Prime Minister Cup International Amateur Baduk Championship went the same way as the 35th World Amateur Championship in Sendai last month and the 7th KPMC last year. The Chinese and Korean players were unscathed in the first five rounds and the Korean player won the decisive game between them in the sixth round, which is the final KPMC round. The players were different, however, and there was plenty of drama in the rounds preceding the sixth.
For most of the 61 contestants, this year's KPMC began with a flight into Incheon on October 10, an overnight stay at a hotel near the airport, and a bus ride the next day to Gumi, a formerly rural town that has grown into a major manufacturing city. The buses took them to an orientation meeting at GumiCo, a convention center on the outskirts of the city, then to the Gumi Century Hotel. After checking in, they collected in the Century's banquet hall, where they were greeted in Korean by the mayor of Gumi, the president of the Korean Amateur Baduk Association, the chairman of the Korean Olympic Committee, and members of Korea's National Assembly and Gumi's City Council. They were also greeted by Suh Daewon, a former Korean amabassador to the United Nations and to several European countries, who is now president of the Asian Go Federation. Speaking in both Korean and English, Mr Suh pointed out that the Asian contestants at the KPMC were outnumbered by the Europeans, and explained that the AGF's mission was to spread baduk all over the Asian continent. Martin Stiassny, president of the European Go Federation, and Andrew Okun, president of the American Go Association, offered greetings and thanks in return, in English. All this was preceded by a magic show and followed by a lavish buffet feast.
Next morning the players were bused back to GumiCo, where chief referee Yoo Changhyuk gave the signal to start round one at 10:00. In 1993 Mr Yoo won the Fujitsu Cup, starting a quarter century of international dominance of the game by Korean pros. While still competing professionally, he now also operates one of Korea's largest baduk schools. His instructions were interpreted by Lee Hajin, a younger Korean pro, who served as MC throughout the tournament. Her cheerfulness, charm, organizing abilities, and excellent English did much to make the tournament a success.
The KPMC is run under a simplified McMahon system, with the field divided into two halves. In the first round players are paired against random opponents from the same half. This year, the random draw matched Russia's three-time European champion Ilya Shikshin, who finished 4th at Sendai, against Hong Kong's Chan Chihin, who took 4th place in the 2012 WAGC at Guangzhou. The teenager from Hong Kong got his Russian opponent into trouble in the early middle game and won convincingly. On another board, Taiwanese insei Lin Shinwei, who finished 10th at Sendai, bested the Ukraine's Dmytro Bogatskyy. The players from China, Japan, and Korea defeated opponents from Vietnam, Denmark, and Indonesia. After their games, winners and losers alike headed downstairs to the GumiCo lunchroom to fortify themselves for the afternoon rounds.
The second round was paired at random across the entire field, without regard to McMahon groupings or the results of the first round. This allowed the showdown between the last two undefeated players in the top MacMahon group to occur in the final round instead of round five. It also produced a clash between two insei: Taiwan's Lin and Korea's Park Jaegeun. Park proved the stronger of the two. In all, twenty contestants finished the second round undefeated, including Park and the contestants from China, Hong Kong, and Japan, who defeated opponents from Lithuania, Malaysia, and South Africa. In the tragedy of the round, the UK's Jonathan Diamond outplayed Norway's Jostein Flood but committed an oversight in the final filling of the neutral points. Both players were distraught. 'I won but I feel as if I had lost,' said Jostein. 'Of course my opponent probably feels even worse.'
For the third round the pairing scheme reverted to the McMahon system, and a major upset occurred. Swiss 2-dan Sebastien Ott beat Austrian 5-dan Schayan Hamrah, who tied for 6th place at the KPMC last year. Ott thus ended the first day undefeated, as did seven other contestants: China's Fu Li, who beat Thailand's Nuttakrit Taechaamnuayvit ('Krit' for short); Czechia's Ondrej Silt, who beat Spain's Pau Carles; Finland's Juri Kuronen, who beat the Netherlands' Alexander Eerbeek; Hong Kong's Chan, who beat New Zealand's Kaikun Xie; Japan's Emura Kikou, who beat Romania's Lucretiu Calota; Korea's Park Jaegeun, who beat Canada's Bill Lin; and the USA's Hugh Zhang, who beat France's Jerome Salignon. Ott and Zhang had been seeded into the lower half of the field, so they now found themselves in the second-highest McMahon group, the other six undefeated players forming the top group.
In the fourth round the next morning, interest focused on the game between the Chinese and Japanese players. Japan's Emura was seeking revenge for a loss to China's top amateur player in Sendai, but China's Fu, world amateur champion in 2002 and currently China's 50th-ranked amateur, took advantage of a mistake to gain an early lead, which he then kept to win by resignation. Emura was visibly shaken by this loss. In the other two top group games Juri Kuronen and Ondrej Silt fell to Chan Chihin and Park Jaegeun. In the next McMahon group Sebastian Ott lost quickly to Taiwan's Lin Shinwei, but in a two-and-a-half hour struggle that delayed the start of the next round by 45 minutes, the USA's Hugh Zhang recovered from a massive capture to defeat Israel's Jonathan Lidor.
In the fifth round Korea's Park was drawn down against Romania's Lucretiu Calota, whom he disposed of by killing a group of stones. The smiling Romanian then strolled out to have his picture taken in royal Korean robes in the lobby in front of the playing room. Meanwhile, China's Fu Li played Hong Kong's Chan Chihin in a David-and-Goliath game to see which of them would meet Park in the final round. Chan, cast in the role of David, managed to draw some signs of agitation from Fu, but counter to the Biblical outcome, the Chinese veteran prevailed in the end. The USA's Hugh Zhang, drawn down against Poland's Koichiro Habu, won to stay undefeated and earn a pairing against Chan in the final round.
After lunch, the deciding game between Fu and Park was played on a board set up on the stage at the front of the playing room. The action was relayed down to the first floor for a public commentary, where some two dozen spectators took time out from other tournaments being held in the same building to witness Park's triumph. In his post-game interview, Park said he had found the final game unexpectedly easy to win--the players from Taiwan (Lin Shinwei), Canada (Bill Lin), and Czechia (Ondrej Silt) had given him stiffer competition.
Despite his chastening loss to Park, Fu finished a strong 2nd, three SOS points ahead of Bill Lin and Chan Chihin, who tied for 3rd and 4th places. Since Chan won his final game against the USA's Zhang, Park emerged as the tournament's sole undefeated player. In two other last-round games Japan's Emura downed Thailand's Krit and Russia's Ilya Shikshin beat Lin Shinwei, proving again that he is a dangerous opponent for some of the best Far Eastern amateurs. The result of these games was that Emura finished 5th, Ilya Shikshin 6th, Lin Shinwei 7th, and Krit 9th, while Romania's Lucretiu Calota took 8th place.
At the awards ceremony following the final round, Park received a bound testimonial, a large cup, and much applause. Runner-up Fu received a bound testimonial, a smaller cup, and equal applause. The contestants who finished 3rd to 9th received bound testimonials and further applause, as did the rest of the top sixteen (the Ukraine's Dmytro Bogatskyy, Czechia's Ondrej Silt, Germany's Michael Palant, Austria's Schayan Hamrah, Vietnam's Khanhbinh Do, Finland's Juri Kuronen, and the USA's Hugh Zhang).
For the players who did not place in the top sixteen, there were zonal awards. The winners in the Asian zone were (1) Edwin Halim (Indonesia), (2) Yifei Yue (Singapore), (3) Sansar Tsolmon (Mongolia), and (4) Zhefan Mah (Brunei). The European/African winners were (1) Alexander Eerbeek (Netherlands), (2) Pau Carles (Spain), (3) Jonathan Lidor (Israel), and (4) Jannik Rasmussen (Denmark). The American/Oceanian winners were (1) Kaikun Xie (New Zealand), (2) Wen Qian (Australia), (3) Augustin Antonissen (Chile), and (4) Santiago Tabares (Argentina). In all, nearly half the participants went home with awards and there were gifts for all, including framed photos and hand-drawn artwork.
As in any McMahon tournament or Swiss system, the final standings were to some extent determined by the luck of the draw. If the players who finished 11th and 15th had drawn average opponents in the randomly paired second round and earned three or four SOS points apiece instead of just one, they might have ended as high as 9th and 10th--unless Krit had also earned four SOS points instead of just two in the second round, in which case he would have retained 9th place. But such speculations lead nowhere and aside from the Ott-Hamrah upset, the top sixteen standings told a consistent story. There was also a picture-perfect finish in the middle of the field: in the final round the players from Turkey, Serbia, the UK, and Sweden captured 28th to 31st places by beating opponents from Switzerland, Norway, Poland, and Malaysia, who finished right behind them in 35th to 32nd places. The entire tournament staff deserve credit for a job well done.
And for the city of Gumi, the sound of stone hitting board now gave way to the strains of Beethoven and Saint-Saëns, marking the beginning of a five-day international music festival.
Complete results can be found here.
- James Davies (photos: Toshiko Ito)
Looking for someone in Hollywood CA to play go with. Email email@example.com if interested.
Word has reached us from southern climes that the UCC Club are organising another Go tournament.
This year it will be a 5 round Swiss, taking place on the 7th and 8th of December, in the Western Gateway Building of the UCC Campus.
Check the website for full details.
After 20 years out of print, Kiseido’s “Handicap Go” was released in an extensively revised and rewritten edition earlier this year. However, reports Anders Kierulf, it may have to be reprinted again soon, as the ship carrying a thousand copies sank in the Indian Ocean last June. “Fortunately, we were insured and the insurance company already paid us the full value,” Richard Bozulich says. “There is a story floating around that the ship was carrying arms for Syrian rebels and the Russian Navy sank it so those arms would not get to Syria,” says Kierulf. Bozulich plans to be at the Cotsen Open later this month. Meanwhile, “Handicap Go” is now available in SmartGo Books, which has a new website, and Kiseido is having a pre-Christmas sale of books until November 15.
At the Japan Festival at the Lauritzen Gardens, in Omaha, NE, October 5-6. “We handed out 96 flyers and some business cards, too,” says James Story. “I’ve had two adults call me about go this week, so far. Hopefully, this will help start some Scholastic Go Clubs, too! We had a number of kids come and learn and play and two adult women learn and play each other for a few games. It was really fun.” photo courtesy James Story
Korea and China fought it out for the top spot in the 8th Korea Prime Minister Cup International Amateur Baduk Championship, held October 10-15. Korean student Park Jae-geun 6d, 17, took first place with a win over China’s Li Fu 8d, 39, principal of the Haikou FuLi Go Training Center. The US representative, Hugh Zhang 7d, came in 16th place with five wins, his only loss being to the 4th place finisher from Hong Kong. Canada’s Bill Lin came in a very strong 3rd place also with five wins and a loss, to the winner Park. The US player was seeded somewhat lower than Canada’s because of mixed US results in prior years, according to tournament organizers. The tournament attracted 62 players from all over the world to the small industrial city of Gumi in the province of Gyeongbuk-do. Gumi was the birthplace of the late Korean leader Park Jeong-hee and benefited from a great deal of industrial development during his 1961-79 time in power, growing from a village to a major city with Samsung, LG and other factories.
- report by Andy Okun; photo by Ling Shan