Beumgeon (Evan) Cho defeated Zhi Yuan (Andy) Liu in an edge-of-the-seat nailbiting Round 5 victory on Sunday to win the 2013 Cotsen Open. The thrilling last-round contest between the two undefeated players — Liu was going for a bi-coastal sweep after winning the Gotham Open earlier this month in New York City — drew a crowd in the Korean Cultural Center in Los Angeles as well as online where observers watched Myungwan Kim 9P’s live analysis of the game. In third place was Eric Lui, Won Sik Lee took 4th place, Calvin Sun 5th and Andrew Lu 6th. Santa Monica won the $1,000 Club Champion prize, Orange County was second and Tucson third. In other division results, Anders Kierulf won Division A (4d-3d), Daniel Alvira won Division B (2d-1d), Jung Kang won Division C (1-5k), Gary Huang won Division D (6-11k) and Charles Polkiewicz won Division E (12k+). Click here for the final crosstab and see below for game records. photos: at right: Cho (center) with tournament sponsor Eric Cotsen (right) and AGA President Andy Okun; at left: the round 5 game. report by Chris Garlock; photos by Chrissy Hampton.
Justin Teng 6d celebrated his birthday by winning the annual NOVA Pumpkin Classic on October 27 with a 4-0 score. Other divisional winners in the 20-player field were: Nathan Epstein 2k, Edward Lane 7k, Anderson Barreal 10k, and Sarah Crites 19k. Taking second in their divisions were: Ray Hunley 1d, Yukino Takehara 1k, Robert Ehrlich 5k, Garrett Smith 9k, and Bob Crites 9k. All winners took home the traditional pumpkin.
- report/photo by Gurujeet Khalsa, Tournament Director
Before a single stone had been played at this weekend’s Cotsen Open in Los Angeles, two announcements drew sustained and resounding applause from the 140 gathered players. First was tournament sponsor Eric Cotsen’s confirmation that “funding has been secured for the next four Cotsen Opens,” guaranteeing the return of the popular annual event through 2017. The second was Asian Go Federation (AGF) President Dae-won Suh’s announcement that plans are in the works for a Korean Baduk Cup in spring 2014, to be held, like the Cotsen, at the Korean Cultural Center. “I wish you all the best of luck,” said a beaming Suh. “Now let’s play baduk!” And with that, a day of fierce competition commenced over three hotly-contested rounds, broken only by a lunch break for free tacos from the food truck conveniently parked in the KCC parking lot, enabling players to enjoy a tasty lunch beneath clear Southern California skies before returning to the boards inside. Hundreds who could not attend the tournament followed the action live on KGS where the E-Journal team broadcast top boards, with pro commentaries on selected games. Leading the field are Beomgeun Cho, Andy Liu, Won Sik Lee and Eric Lui, all with 3-0 records (Click here for the tournament crosstab and see below for game records). The tournament continues Sunday with a pro-pro game on KGS starting at 8a PST between Yilun Yang 7p and Wang Qun 8p, followed by the final two rounds of the Cotsen. photo collage: top right: Haijin Lee 3p reviews a player’s game; bottom right: spectators gather around one of the top boards; bottom left: two masseuses — one of the Cotsen’s unique features — work their way through the field; top left: longtime go author Richard Bozulich (at left, talking to AGA President Andy Okun) dropped by for a brief visit Saturday morning while in town from Japan on a business trip. photo at left: Cotsen staff play a casual game.
Report, photos & collage by Chris Garlock
It takes a lot to get the guys at the Korean Go Club in Los Angeles to stop playing. Their moves are fierce and the concentration is total. But on Friday, they put down their stones and looked up from their boards as Dae-won Suh, President of the Asian Go Federation (AGF) and Vice President of the Korean Amateur Baduk Association (KABA) and Dalsoo Kim, Secretary General of the AGF announced that the club — an AGA chapter — will be the first overseas branch of KABA.
The United States was chosen because of the ongoing collaboration between the Korean and American go communities, especially last year’s inauguration of the US pro system through the Tygem-AGA Pro Tournament. “This is just the fifth professional go system in the world,” said an obviously proud Suh, who’s also a former Korean Ambassador. “We very much hope it will prosper.” And Los Angeles was selected because “it has the largest Korean population outside of our country,” he added. Another connection is the Korean Cultural Center, which this weekend is hosting the Cotsen Open for the second year. “We’re very glad that the KCC can host this tournament again this year and hope that it will help discover new talents,” Suh said.
Ambassador Suh also noted that “there were lots of Korean professionals at this year’s U.S. Go Congress,” adding that the Korean Baduk Association (the professional player’s association in Korea) and KABA “have committed to supporting the U.S. go scene,” including training like that offered by Myung-wan Kim 9P, who beamed quietly in the back of the Korean Go Club as the officials made their remarks. “All of this, we hope, will help promote go in the United States,” said Suh.
AGA President Andy Okun welcomed the move and called KGC organizer Gary Choi “a real friend to the go community and the AGA for a very long time,” and thanked the club’s players “for being so welcoming when we come here and for supporting AGA events like the Cotsen.” Okun also extended an enthusiastic welcome and congratulations to KABA’s new branch, saying that “LA is the right place” for this step.
Korean Consul General Yeonsung Shin closed the brief ceremony — which was also attended by Hajin Lee 3p, Chosun Daily reporter Hongryal Lee, Cyberoro reporter Kim Soo Kwang, KABA staffer Jong-geun Lee and 2015 Go Congress organizer Josh Larson — by announcing that he and Ambassador Suh are interested in working with the AGA to organize a Consul’s Cup and Shin, Suh and Okun could later be seen discussing plans. But first Okun was invited to take on Kim Younghwan 9p — the “Younghwan Wizard” — who quickly demonstrated his ability to give more handicap stones to amateur players than any other pro, and still win.
- report/photos by Chris Garlock
“I am wondering if there is a typographical error in last week’s ‘Capture Go’ story, when Mr. Jayaraman says, ‘We call the game we teach go, not Capture Go,” writes veteran organizer Jean DeMaiffe, a graduate of Yasuda Sensei’s International Go Teacher Certification Program. “Surely the organizers are going to call their game ‘Capture Go’ or better still, as Yasuda-sensei calls it, ‘The Capture Game’. I have taught ‘The Capture Game’ as part of my Go curriculum for years and can readily attest to the importance of clearly differentiating between the goals of the two games. After learning to play capture, most of my students consistently need to be refocused on capturing territory, rather than just stones. Thanks for your help in setting one or more of us straight on this issue.”
“Our curriculum is meant to serve less as an introduction to regulation go than as an in-depth introduction to the underlying principles of the game,” responds Jayaraman. “These include the basic rules of stone placement, liberties and capturing, as well as the traditions of the game like etiquette, problem study, and history. Our use of the term ‘go’ is also rooted in some practical considerations. Our program is primarily focused on equipping teachers with no prior knowledge of go with the skills, supplies, and support to be able to introduce their students to the game. In many cases these classes may be the only time they ever hear of the game. For those whose interest in regular go is sparked, however, they and their families will be familiar enough with the game to seek out more information about it, and hopefully utilize the existing resources in our community, like the Memphis Go Club or the introductory regulation go workshops the Confucius Institute at the University of Memphis offers. For these students who pursue it, the precise name of the specific rule variation that first set them on the path of go will probably be inconsequential.”
Ranka: To start with, please tell us how you got here.
Giedrius: By winning first place in the Lithuanian Go Championship in 2012, but it began with three other tournaments in three cities: Vilnius, Moletai, and Kaunas. Players hoping to take part in the championship must first collect points in those tournaments. Then the top eight proceed to the championship, which is a round robin, and from the round robin they receive points that are used to select the players for the World Amateur Go Championship and the Korea Prime Minister Cup. These points accumulate over a period of up to maybe five years. When you go to the WAGC or KPMC your points are reset to zero.
Ranka: And how often have you been reset so far?
Giedrius: Twice. I played in the Korea Prime Minister Cup six years ago and in the World Amateur Go Championship three years ago in China. In both I finished around 30-somethingth.
Ranka: Please tell us more about go in Lithuania.
Giedrius: There's a small club in Kaunas, where I live. Usually about six players come each week. Vilnius is bigger; they have about twenty every week. In Moletai there is a go teacher who teaches mathematics in a school and runs a go club for children after classes. Perhaps he gets about twenty students per year. Moletai is a small town, so some of the players come to Vilnius or Kaunas to study and play at the clubs there.
Ranka: Since you've been to China and Korea, how would you compare them with Lithuania?
Giedrius: I like Korea very much. They have very nice people. In both Korea Prime Minister Cups that I have attended the organization has been excellent. It's always good to come to Korea--like a holiday. China also had a fine tournament, but the smog was a problem. It wasn't healthy to walk around outside in Hangzhou. As for Lithuania, the air is good, and that's where my friends and family are, but it's really cold. Korea in October is like Lithuania in August. When I get home it will be about five degrees. I like nice weather, which we don't have in Lithuania. Instead, we have lots of rain.
Ranka: How would you compare the food in these three countries?
Giedrius: I didn't like the food in China: it was too aristocratic. I guess they treated the tournament competitors to some very good meals, but they were too good for me. The one meal that I liked in China was a cheap meal, a poor man's meal, that I had at a Chinese temple in Hangzhou. I went in and tried it and it was very good. Korean food is very good too. When I left Korea the last time I felt healthier, better than at home. Perhaps it's the low salt content and low fat content of Korean food. In Lithuania fatty food is considered good.
Ranka: Thank you.
The food truck and masseuses are confirmed, the boards and clocks have been set up and the Koreans professionals await the arrival of players at the 2013 Cotsen Open in Los Angeles, CA today, one of the most competitive tournaments outside the annual U.S. Go Congress. Registration opens at 8a sharp at the Korean Cultural Center (5505 Wilshire Blvd) and walk-ins are welcome to compete for thousands in individual and club prizes. The tournament fee is completely refundable for players attending both days (three rounds Saturday and two rounds Sunday), and the lunches are free both Saturday and Sunday. For those unable to attend, follow the top-board action LIVE on KGS as the American Go E-Journal team broadcasts games on the USGO accounts, and look for updates on the AGA website as well as in daily EJ updates. photo: setting up Friday at the Cotsen; report/photo by Chris Garlock
“How often do you gamble on behalf of your company?” wonders Bill Pieroni, Global Chief Operating Officer at Marsh in his October 11 post on LinkedIn. “It probably occurs more often than you think. The outcomes of most actions are often dependent on a combination of skill and luck. Skill involves impacting the outcome in a purposeful and measurable way. Luck dominates when an outcome is based on random, uncontrollable factors. It is useful to think about skill and luck on a continuum. For example, Wéiqí, a game of strategy, is dominated by skill, while winning the lottery is based on luck.”
The 16th Annual Go To Innovation tournament will take place November 22-24 in Berlin, Germany. Founded in 2004, Dr. Martin Sattelkau teamed up with software developer Alexander Eckert to create a new annual tournament to attract more go players in Germany and throughout Europe. The grand prize for the winner is 1000 EU but cash prizes are available up to 20th place, along with go books for places 21-30 and as 3 consolation prizes. A separate jackpot of 450 EU is available for players with 8 wins. Registration is 35 EU for general players and 10 EU for youths (under 16). To register or for more information, please visit the official Go To Innovation website.
— Annalia Linnan; for complete listings, check out the European Tournament Calendar
Ranka: How does it feel to be here at the Korea Prime Minister Cup?
Jonathan: Quite good, actually. It's more of an experience than a sporting competition or an athletic event. I've met some good people and some familiar faces that I haven't seen for a long time. It's a world that I was really connected to a few years ago--I used to live in Korea--so it's nice to see how things have changed and to see that everyone is doing fine and the game is still going on.
Ranka: Please tell us more about your go-playing career.
Jonathan: I started playing when I was fourteen. I liked the game and became quite good. When I was seventeen I went to Japan with the intention to study go, and became an insei under Kobayashi Chizu sensei. After half a year as an insei I was not quite satisfied with my improvement, so I moved to Korea in order to continue studying there. I studied go in Korea for one and a half years, but then, unfortunately, I had an accident when I went to the European Go Congress in Bordeaux, France. My passport was stolen in the airport, along with basically all my belongings--my computer, my phones, my money, everything. I could not keep flying and return to Korea. The only next destination I could choose was to go back home. Once I went home I was still not allowed to return to Korea because of army rules. I was supposed to go into the army at a certain age but they didn't allow me to, so I had to stay put for a while. That was basically why I stopped studying go.
Ranka: Please tell us about your career as a diving instructor.
Jonathan: Diving has always been a hobby of mine. For anyone who hasn't tried it, it's an indescribable feeling. I had to choose something for a temporary profession, something other than waitering, so I sacrificed my hobby and turned it into a profession. That is not something I'm sorry about; I still enjoy diving a lot. About five months ago I started working in a unique diving reef, called Dolphin Reef, in Eilat, the southernmost city in Israel. The area is famous for its good diving conditions. It's an open sea area. The reef is closed with a net so that the dolphins stay inside, but the water is open sea water. Now I get to dive with dolphins every day and introduce people to the wonders of diving and the underwater world, and I get to play with some intelligent creatures too, so it's a pretty good job.
Ranka: Is there anything you'd like to add?
Jonathan: Yes. I owe a very deep debt of gratitude to Kim Seung-jin. He is the owner and master of Blackie's International Baduk Academy. As far as I'm concerned, and from my previous experience, his school and his system of studying are the most efficient way to improve--while having a lot of fun. So if anyone is thinking of improving his go skills in Asia, he should talk to me, because I would like to put in a good word for BIBA.
Ranka: Thank you.