The AGA is selecting two players to represent North America in the prestigious Mlily Meng Baihe Cup World Go Tournament in China. This is one of the biggest go tournaments, attended by top professionals from each country. Eligibility: AGA/CGA member and US/Canada citizenship, AGA 6.5 minimum rating required. Interested players will need to be able to play in Beijing, the the first session May 22-26 and the second session July 7th and 9th if they advance; travel to Beijing and accommodation must be arranged by players themselves. Depending on the number of interested players, the top eight players will compete in an online double-elimination tournament in late April/early May (exact dates TBA). Interested players should send their names, AGA number, AGA ratings, and country of citizenship to firstname.lastname@example.org by midnight, Saturday April 25th.
Takao evens score in Judan: The fourth game of the 53rd Judan title match was played at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo on April 15. Playing black, Takao Shinji Judan forced a resignation after 167 moves and drew level with the challenger, Ida Atsushi 8P. Ida made a dubious move in the opening (move 46), creating a weak group and letting Takao take the lead. He kept up the pressure and shut Ida out of the game. The deciding game will be played at the same venue on April 22.
Meijin League: One game was played in the 40th Meijin League on April 16. Yamashita Keigo 9P (B) beat Kanazawa Makoto 7P by 10.5 points. Yamashita improved his score to 3-1, just behind Ko Iso 8P on 4-1. On 1-4, Kanazawa is in bottom place and his chances of keeping his seat don’t look good.
More details on quadruple ko: This week’s Go Weekly printed an interview with Kono Rin about his quadruple ko the previous week (see my last report). Some interesting points came up. First of all, Go Weekly states that a quadruple ko comes up once every eight thousand games. Despite this, Kono has featured in two of the 11 recorded cases in Japan and also in a case of triple ko, a record matched only by Cho Chikun (three triple kos). According to Kono, he deliberately set up these kos as the only way to avoid losing the games concerned. In his game against Mitani Tetsuya, Kono set up the second of the double kos in an attempt to make Mitani add a reinforcement; compared to the regular endgame sequence, that would have cost Mitani two thirds of a point. Both Kono and Mitani thought that they were fighting over whether Mitani (black) ended up seven or six points ahead on the board (komi is six and a half). That’s why neither gave way and they agreed to make the game a “no result.” It became clear later, however, that both players had been miscounting the score by one point. Mitani could have given way, as he would still have won the game by half a point. That shows how important counting is. (By the way, Mitani lost the replay on the 13th.) Kono also realized that he (and probably many other professionals) didn’t have an accurate knowledge of the rules. When the quadruple ko started, the players had someone call the referee (probably only one referee was on duty for all the games being played that day). They thought that the referee had to make the decision to declare the game a no-result, but Article 12 of the Japanese rules states: “When the same whole-board decision is repeated during a game, if the players agree, the game ends without result.” In other words, the referee’s job is to oversee the process and confirm the agreement. Kono also commented that he mistakenly thought that the game automatically became a no-result if the same whole-board position was repeated, but the only reference to whole-board repetition is the rule quoted above. He said that he and Mitani could have kept capturing and recapturing the kos all night without infringing the rules. The rule just gives the players the option of agreeing to a no-result to avoid this futility. The reporter interviewing Kono, Sekine Shingo, surmises that go players have perhaps got the go rule mixed up with the shogi rule. In shogi, the rule apparently is that a game is replayed if the same whole-board position occurs four times. The Japanese rules are only one and a half pages long (though there’s a longer commentary), so it’s surprising that players are not completely familiar with them. One reason may be that the average professional would have to play for a dozen lifetimes to experience a no-result.
An early beta of SmartGo for the Macintosh is now available. “It’s taken a while,” says author Anders Kierulf, who’s written up the whole history here. “While this is very much work in progress, I think many go players will already be able to enjoy the GoGoD game collection, joseki and fuseki matching, and SGF editing including the tree view from SmartGo Kifu.” For current users of SmartGo for Windows, this is a free upgrade. For new users, there’s a 15-day free trial, and $39 to buy a license for both Macintosh and Windows version.
Alistair Wall Takes Early Lead in Grand Prix: Alistair Wall made an early start in the new season of the Stacey Grand Prix by winning the 2015 Welwyn Garden City Tournament. Coming first at this four round event, held at the Red Lion in Hatfield, Wall appears to have a good chance of retaining the trophy from the previous 2014-2015 season.
British Team Wins Again in C-League: The BGA team beat Cyprus by three boards to one to stay top of the C-League. Rivals Bulgaria lost four-nil to third place South Africa, who move up to second three points behind us. With just two matches left, against Iceland and Kazakhstan, they hope that they can maintain their place at the top of the league. Game records and additional information on the Pandanet Go European Team Championship can be found on the BGA website.