With the start of the 35th World Amateur Go Championship now less than two weeks away, it is time to take a look at the field. Fifty-seven players from a like number of countries and territories are scheduled to make the trip to Gyeongju, Korea to compete in the four-day, eight-round Swiss system. Many will be veterans of previous tournaments held in Japan and China, some drawn back to WAGC competition after a long absence, perhaps by the chance to be part of the first WAGC held in Korea. As usual, the largest contingent will come from Europe (30 players) and the youngest from the Far East (15 players, including an 11-year-old from Indonesia).
China, whose players have won this championship seven times so far during the current century, will be represented by Wang Ruorang, a 16-year-old from Nanjing who took third place in the Chinese Evening News Cup in January. Normally the winner of the Evening News Cup represents China at the WAGC, but the winner also has the option of turning pro any time during the ensuing year, and this year's winner, 13-year-old Yi Lingtao, took that option immediately. In the meantime, Mr Wang has been doing famously, beating a pro opponent right after the Evening News Cup, beating last year's WAGC runner-up in March, and leading an eight-man Chinese amateur team to victory over a Korean team in April. One recalls that Qiao Zhijian, the Chinese player who won the WAGC two years ago (and then turned pro) was also 16.
Korea, which has won the WAGC four times this century, will be represented by Tae-woong Wi. Mr Wi (age 20) qualified by winning the Korean amateur Guksu title last December, beating the 2010 world amateur champion in the final match. That feat, added to second-place finishes in the Lee Changho Cup and the Nosacho Cup and a 9-3 performance in National League competition, boosted him to second place in the U40 division of the Korean amateur rating system. The Wang-Wi game should be a highlight of the tournament.
Japan, which won the WAGC in 2000 and 2004, will send in Kiko Emura, who represented Japan at the WAGC and the Korea Prime Minister Cup in 2013. Last February Mr Emura also represented all human go players when he trounced Zen, Japan's and perhaps the world's strongest go-playing computer program, in consecutive games on 13 x 13 boards.
Other players to watch include Naisan Chan (Hong Kong), who took 3rd place in the 2009 WAGC; Yongfei Ge (Canada), who defeated a professional opponent at the SportAccord World Mind Games in Beijing last December; 16-year-old Yi-Tien Chan, youngest of the 22 amateur 7-dans in Chinese Taipei; Sang-Dae Hahn (Australia) and Liang Jie (USA), who also have 7-dan ranks; Czech champion Lukas Podpera; Dutch champion Merlijn Kuin; Finnish champion Juuso Nyyssönen; Hungarian champion Pál Balogh; and Serbian champion Nikola Mitic. Competition for the top ten places should be fierce.
For those who miss out, there will also be two prizes awarded for fair play and fighting spirit. And for everyone there will be a warm week of Korean hospitality. A particular attraction will be the Gyeongju Baduk Festival, July 5, 10:00-12:30 at the tournament hotel (the Hyundai Hotel), where local players will play friendship games with the contestants, Korean pros Lee Hyunwook and Bae Yunjin will play simultaneous games, and former pro world champion Cho Hunhyun will give autographs.
- James Davies
Ida Picks Up First Win In Honinbo Title Match:Faced with his first kadoban (a game that can lose a series) in the 69th Honinbo best-of-seven, Ida Atsushi 8P (right) fought strongly and killed a large group of his opponent, Iyama Yuta Honinbo. This keeps his chances of becoming the youngest tournament Honinbo alive, but Iyama will be doing his best to see that it’s just a consolation prize. The fourth game was played at the Olive Bay Hotel in the town of Saikai in Nagasaki Prefecture on June 18 and 19. Saikai is a ship-building center, and the Olive Bay Hotel is a luxury hotel built to accommodate customers. In the game, an invasion by Iyama, playing white, in the top right corner let Ida build strong thickness on the right side. Later, when Iyama invaded the bottom right as well, Ida countered very aggressively. With his 63rd move, he proclaimed his intention of killing White’s group. Iyama is usually an expert at rescuing weak groups, but not this time. He tried to turn the lost group into a sacrifice by aiming at a squeeze on the outside. When Ida foiled this, Iyama had to resign. The game lasted just 139 moves. This is Ida’s first win against Iyama. Avoiding the shut-out will be a big relief, while outfighting Iyama will give him confidence. Even so, the next game, scheduled for June 30 and July 1, will be another kadoban.
Kisei Leagues: Three games have been played in the 39th Kisei Leagues recently. The results are given below.
(June 12) (B League) Murakawa Daisuke (W) beat Cho Riyu8P by resig.
(June 19). (A League) Kono Rin 9P (B) beat Ichiriki Ryo 7P by resig.; (B Leagu
e) Yoda Norimoto 9P (W) beat Yuki Satoshi 9P by resig.
In the A League, Kono Rin 9P, on 2-0, has the provisional lead. In the B League, Murakawa Daisuke 7P, on the same score, has the provisional lead.
39th Meijin League: In a game played on June 19, Takao Shinji 9P (W) beat Murakawa Daisuke by resig. Takao (left) is now 3-3, so his chances of keeping his place have improved. Murakawa drops to 1-5, so he is close to losing his place. Yamashita Keigo 9P, on 6-0, is two points clear of the field.
The 2014 UK Go Challenge for Schools was won by Melchior Chui 9k of Cambridge with second and third places going to siblings Roella 12k and Edmund Smith 13k respectively, also both of Cambridge. The finals were held at Milton C of E Primary School in Milton, near Cambridge, England on Saturday June 21st, and were the culmination of heats played in schools throughout the year, each of which comprised five rounds of 13×13 go.Twenty-five youngsters took part in the finals, which are not restricted to those who have taken part in the heats. Click here for full list of winners.
The top three winners and the challenger all won cash prizes and they and all age group winners got a framed certificate showing their achievement. Click here for full format details of the competition, which started in 2004 and is organized by the British Go Association and modeled on the earlier successful UK Chess Challenge.
The traditional caption contest to put words into the mouth of the logo go stones (above) in promotional material for the year was won by Benedict Steele of Milton with the caption, “Jump ahead of the competition!”
Report by Tony Collman, British correspondent for the E-Journal. Logo courtesy of UK Go Challenge website.
Correction: The Challenge started in 2004, not 20 years ago, as originally reported.
“Anders Kierulf (@SmartGo) suggested that I should send you the attached cover art of albums for a well-known partnership in British folk-blues circles, featuring games of go,” writes JF Derry.
The E-Journal’s British correspondent, Tony Collman, covered this in his July 14, 2013 report, Go Spotting: Brit Folkies Bert and John.
“Intuition”: “In Allegra Goodman’s novel ‘Intuition’ on page 164 is the line ‘Jacob and Aaron sat playing go on towels in the sand,’” writes None Redmond, though she adds “Not one of her best books I think. I’m a bit bored with it already.” Note: This was previously spotted by Debbie Siemon in 2012: Go Spotting: Allegra Goodman ’s novel “Intuition”
“The Caryatids”: And in Bruce Sterling’s science fiction novel ‘The Caryatids,’ David Matson found this line: “Mr. Zeng was not a small-scale, face-to-face killer in the bold way of the warriors that she knew and loved best. Mr. Zeng was the kind of killer who deployed a nuclear warhead the way he might set a black go-stone on a game board.”
Another reader alerted us to Marc. L. Moskowitz’ book Go Nation: Chinese Masculinities and the Game of WeiChi in China, published last year by the University of California Press. Moskowitz “explores the fascinating history of the game, as well as providing a vivid snapshot of Chinese Go players today,” according to the UCP write-up. “Go Nation uses this game to come to a better understanding of Chinese masculinity, nationalism, and class, as the PRC reconfigures its history and traditions to meet the future.”
A draft update of the AGA’s official Tournament Regulations is now posted for review and comment. First published in (year) by Ken Koester and updated periodically, “These are not sweeping changes, mostly moderate edits and additions to the prior edition,” reports Chris Kirschner, who’s been working with Karoline Li and Steve Burrall on the updates.
Proposed changes include defining regulations for self-promotion and TD discretion (the new section follows a recent policy decision by the Board regarding this issue, which has been simmering for years); regulations have been modified throughout to include competition played under other rule sets than AGA rules; rulings procedures are described separately for cases in which the ruling relates directly to rules of play, and those which relate to player behavior in the course of competition; definition of the completion of a move, and right of opponent to play is clarified; time control management section has been amplified and clarified; advisory elements of the original have been amplified, and moved into appendices; there is a change in the composition of an appeals committee if formed, which includes the TD as a non-voting member of the committee; requests that a summary of all appeals be sent to the AGA Tournament Coordinator.
Comments should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org by July 20, after which the draft will be edited with the comments in mind. “We expect to have a final in time for the Congress, says Kirschner, who adds that “We are also reviewing various informal guidelines for regulating online tournament play.” Anyone with ideas on that should send them to email@example.com.
Sixteen professional go players have been confirmed for this year’s US Go Congress, set for August in New York City. They include the following pros from Korea:
Park Jungsang 9P: Born in 1984, Park became a professional in 2000 and was a semi-quarter finalist in the 6th Samsung World Championship in 2001, as a 2-dan pro. Park won the 8th SK Gas Rookies Cup in 2004 and was a semi-quarter finalist at the 10th LG World Championship in 2005. In 2006 he won the 19th Fujitsu Cup against Zhou Heyang 9P, earning immediate promotion to 9P. That year he was also the runner-up in the 3rd Electronic Land Baduk King of Kings against Lee Changho 9P. In 2007 he was runner-up at the Maxim Coffee Cup against Lee Sedol 9P and runner-up at the 3rd Zhonghuan Cup against Lee Changho 9P. Park was the Silver Medalist at the 1st World Mind Sports Game Individual Division in 2008. An active commentator on Baduk TV since 2009, he’s also been the Chief Commentator at Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) since 2013. Park Jungsang will give lectures for strong go players at the Congress; as an active Baduk TV commentator he’s very knowledgeable on recent joseki and openings.
Lee Dahye 4P: Born in 1985, Lee graduated from Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, where she majored in Japanese. She became a professional in 2000. A lecturer for ‘How to Baduk’ at Baduk TV since 2008, she was a proofreader of Hikaru no Go’s Korean version in 2011 and published the book ‘Falling in Love with Baduk’ that same year. She was a lecturer on ‘Endgame master by Lee Dahye’ at KBaduk TV from 2011 to 2012 and ‘Beginner’s Project, Open the Baduk’ in 2014. Lee has been a teacher of multiple cultural kids program since 2011 and a Visiting Lecturer in baduk at the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies since 2012. She’s a Visiting Lecturer at Halla University this year. Lee specializes in teaching beginners and will give series of lectures at the ‘Teacher’s Seminar’ at the Congress again this year. She was very popular last year and expects to attract a lot of would-be go teachers.
Myungwan Kim 9P: Born in 1978, Kim became a professional in 1994. He was runner-up at the BC Card Rookies Cup in 1998, 1999 and 2002, and a Semi-Quarter finalist at the 10th Samsung World Championship in 2005. He won the US Open from 2008 to 2010. The Korean Baduk Association sent Kim to the United States in 2008 to help spread baduk. “I am going to help both Korean pros with their lectures as a co-lecturer and translator,” he says.
The Highbrow Game: Go is classified as a “high-brow” game in a chart detailing “the best and worst of art and popular culture,” in a 1949 issue of LIFE magazine, reports Molly Fitzpatrick on nerve.com . “Looking at the other classifications, I am unsure whether it’s a compliment or not,” says EJ reader Garrett Bredell, who sent us the link. “But nice to see it mentioned anyway.”
An Unlikely Place: “My father spotted a go reference in a very unlikely place!” writes Alicia Seifrid. “An opinion article by Bob Pinato in the latest issue of Microwave Product Digest spoke about the current world political situation, and it mentioned go in reference to China’s recent policy of claiming of nearby islands. The author likened this to a real-life version of ‘GO, the ancient Asian game of power and strategy.’”
The 35th World Amateur Go Championships will be held July 4-11 in Gyeongju, Korea. The American Go E-Journal will once again be teaming up with Ranka to provide comprehensive daily coverage of this major amateur tournament featuring top players from 74 countries and territories around the world.
The WAGC is organized by the International Go Federation; this year the preparatory work is being done at the Korea Baduk Association in Seoul, Korea. The tournament venue will be the Hyundai Hotel in the Bomun Lake resort area of Gyeongju, a former capital of Korea once famed for its architectural and other riches. Now it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a major tourist destination, participants will find much to see, both on and off the go board.
Beginning next week, the E-Journal will run a series of profiles of WAGC players to familiarize readers with the competitors.
Kiseido is having a sale of all English-language go books and magazines listed on its book page. Get 10% off the listed price with free shipping when you order five books or more; the sale runs through July 25. Dozens of books are available, including the Graded Go Problems for Beginners series, the Get Strong at Go Series and more. You can also check out Kiseido’s Go World Online website, which presents recent games played by some of the top players in the world. There you’ll find detailed commentaries on the first five games of the ongoing ten-game match between Lee Sedol and Gu Li, who are billed as the two strongest players in the world. Also featured on this site – which is currently free of charge — is Iyama Yuta’s defense of his Kisei title against Yamashita Keigo.
Candidates for the AGA Board of Directors have now been finalized. Incumbent Gurujeet Khalsa is running unopposed in the Eastern region, as is Robert Gilman (also an incumbent) in the Central region. Ted Terpstra and Jingwei ‘Jay’ Zheng are running for the seat in the Western region for the seat currently held by Steve Burrall, while in the At-Large, Diego F. Pierrottet is running against Edward (Zhiyuan) Zhang. Candidate statements, if submitted, are available on the AGA Elections page. Ballots will be sent out in early July and winners announced August 10.
“I spotted what I think is an error in the Wired article (Wired Magazine on “The Mystery of Go, the Ancient Game That Computers Still Can’t Win” 5/13 EJ),” writes Vernon Leighton. “It said that Michael Redmond was the first American go professional and that James Kerwin was the second. I believe that Kerwin was the first.” Which is correct? Click here to submit your answer.
Help demo/teach at the Smithsonian Folk Festival on the National Mall in Washington DC. Available dates: 6/28 (Sat), 6/29 (Sun), 7/5 (Sat), and 7/6 (Sun). Outdoor venue with expected daily traffic flow of 200+ people. 11 AM to 5 PM. Volunteers pick their dates/times. All necessary equipment and handout material will be provided, including complimentary meal tickets. Contact: John Goon, firstname.lastname@example.org.