“Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Media Lab are trying to turn chess into a spectator sport like American football or poker,” reports the BBC. “The group wants to make the game more accessible to the uninitiated, by presenting complex information on matches in a simple, visually appealing way and give an expert insight into the state of a game.” “Can’t we do this as well?” wonders EJ reader David Matson, who sent this along.
by John Power, EJ Japan Correspondent
Ida loses sole lead in Honinbo League: Ida Atsushi 8P (right) seemed to be heading inexorably for a rematch with Iyama Yuta Honinbo, but he finally stumbled in the fifth round of the 70th Honinbo League. In a game played on February 19, Kono Rin 9P (W) beat him by resignation. Ida’s loss means that Yamashita Keigo 9P pulls even with him on 4-1; we might see another play-off between these two. Cho U 9P and Kono, both on 3-2, are also in contention. In another game played on the same day, Yo Seiki 7P picked up his second win when he beat Ryu Shikun 9P; playing white, he forced a resignation. Yo improves to 2-3 and has an outside chance of keeping his league place. Ryu and Takao Shinji 9P, both on 1-4, have lost their places.
Yamashita keeps his Kisei challenge alive: Yamashita Keigo (left) finally picked up his first win in the 39th Kisei title match and survived his first kadoban (a game that can lose a series). The fourth game was held at the Zagyoso. The Zagyoso (which literally means ‘fishing-while-seated-villa’) was the retirement villa of a famous statesman, Saionji Kinmochi, who led the Japanese delegation at the Versailles peace conference; it was moved from its original location in Shizuoka to Meiji Village, a theme park in Inuyama City in Aichi Prefecture that recreates traditional Japanese buildings. The game was played on February 19 and 20. Iyama (White) took the lead in the middle game when Yamashita made a misreading about a life-and-death position. His group didn’t die, but he had to add an extra stone and so fell behind. However, Iyama slipped up with an oversight of his own when he tried to wrap up the game. Yamashita played a brilliant atekomi tesuji and pulled off an upset. He won by 2.5 points after 224 moves. Yamashita will be greatly encouraged by this win, but, on 1-3, he is still in a tough position. The fifth game, to be played on February 25 and 26, will show whether he has really changed the flow of the match.
To 2-dan: Komatsu Daiki (30 wins). Komatsu is the son of Komatsu Hideki 9P and Komatsu Hideko 4P. The promotion took effect on the 17th.
Life-Lessons of Go: “If life is a game of go. I wish I (could) place my first move again.” (Go Spotting: “Go Stone” Tweet 2/22 EJ) “And that is the life-lesson of go,” writes Terry Benson. “We don’t get to play our first stone again. As in sports, we have to ‘suck it up’ and look for the next best move with our mistakes glaringly in full view. Go ‘is’ life.”
Did Go Save Edward Lasker’s Life? “What I find most remarkable about Lasker’s story (Go Spotting: Lasker’s “Chess Secrets I learned from the Masters” 2/23 EJ) is that one can argue that go saved Lasker’s life,” writes Vernon Leighton. “Out of college, Lasker worked for a multinational German corporation. He wanted to be transferred to the Japan unit so that he could study go. His company said that he had to be fluent in English to work in Japan. He got a transfer to England to work on his English. WWI broke out and he was jailed as an enemy national. He was transferred to the United States, where he settled and lived the rest of his life. Had he not been in England, he might have been drafted into the German army and killed in a trench in France. Therefore, go may have saved his life.”
photo from LIFE Magazine 18 May 1942
Ireland have heroically secured their first victory in the PGETC with a fabulous triumph over Portugal.
Team captain James Hutchinson started the rout with a comfortable win by default, before number 1 board Ian Davis stormed to victory. John Gibson secured the win in a bloody game with many dead groups. Finally, Tiberiu Gociu managed to exploit the aji in his opponent’s large moyo to secure a fabulous 4-0 victory.
Next up, the mighty Cyprus.
The 2015 edition of the Iwamoto Awards has gone global. “Thanks to internet and social media, the world has become smaller, so we think it is time to invite people on a global scale to submit go promotion projects,” says Harry van der Krogt of the European Go Centre, which organizes the awards, supported by the European Go Federation and the Nihon Ki-in. “So many people are trying so many things these days,” says AGA president Andy Okun, who’s serving on the awards jury. “I think it is great we are giving them rewards, encouragement and incentives to keep to at it.” Now called the World Wide Iwamoto Awards, the contest – with €2,000 in prizes — is named in honor of Iwamoto Kaoru, who devoted much of his career to promoting go around the world. The goal is to motivate go players “to think about how go can be promoted,” organizers say, so that “through the gathering and exchange of ideas it can lead to a higher quality of popularization of go all over the world.” A top prize of €1,000 will be awarded, and two “encouragement” prizes of €500 each will also be awarded; click here to see examples of previous winners. Deadline for submitting proposals is June 1, 2015; click here for criteria/rules and to apply online.
The 2014 American Go Foundation College Scholarship winners are Amy Su of Bridgewater, New Jersey and Leon Lei of Bardonia, New York, AGF President Terry Benson announced. “We had nine applicants this year, more than ever, and all of them worthy candidates,” Benson said. “For the first time, students included school-related assignments as part of their applications; one winner’s paper was favorably received at a regional competition. Another applicant tried to measure the impact of go instruction on school performance. It’s great to see students exploring the mathematical, psychological and other intricacies of go in their schoolwork.”
The AGF awards two scholarships of $1000 each year to ” high school students who have served as important youth organizers and promoters for the Go community,” according to the AGF website. College-bound US citizens are encouraged to apply in the fall by submitting an application form and an essay; the scholarships are awarded in November.
Amy Su 5D of Bridgewater NJ was already an experienced tournament competitor when at age 12 she “decided to change my relationship with go. Instead of playing for my own satisfaction, I chose to devote my time to teaching others about the game, to give them a chance to discover the art, and for me to pass on my enthusiasm for the game. I learned to teach by watching my mother [Feng Yun 9P] teach at her go school.” After starting go classes in two different Chinese schools, Amy became active in The American Go Honor Society, where she is now serving as Promotion Head. “Teaching Go [has] given me leadership, mentoring, and speaking skills,” Amy wrote in her essay. “It taught me patience, and how to encourage others to learn. As a student, it taught me how to think and use logic. It changed me as a thinker, a dreamer, an artist.”
Leon Lei 10K learned go at the The Huaxia Chinese School in White Plains, NY from Ms. Tang Jie 4D. After bitterly grieving his early losses, Leon “realized that much more can be gained from a lost game than an excess pile of teardrops,” going on to win his school’s tournament two years in a row. ” When he graduated from Chinese school, which had grown to more than 40 students, he stayed on as an assistant teacher, while also starting a club at his high school. He also submitted a paper, “Go and Mathematics”, to The Greater New York Math Fair, where it gained entry into the second round of competition. Leon explored the question of how to calculate the number of possible go games, noting that it is far larger than commonly thought. Many calculations only consider the number of possible arrangements of stones on the board, but he noted that the stones can also appear in any order; any single ending position accounts for thousands of possible games. Leon’s paper and other school-friendly resources are available on the AGF’s Lesson Plan Cooperative.
The AGF College Scholarship recognizes high school students who have served as important youth organizers and promoters for the Go community. Juniors and seniors who plan to attend college and believe they meet the criteria are encouraged to apply by November 1 of each year. Scholarships may be awarded to one male and one female applicant based on merit. “If we continue receiving so many applications of such high quality, we may need to increase the budget for scholarships,” Benson said. — reprinted from SENSEI: The American Go Foundation Newsletter. Click here to read other issues of Sensei. Subscribe for free at the bottom of this page.
“When I was reading the book ‘Chess Secrets I learned from the Masters,’ Edward Lasker’s semi-autobiographical book, I found that weiqi/go is mentioned in the introduction and in the middle of the book,” writes Xinming Simon Guo. “To my surprise, his go story covers two and half pages in the 6-page introduction.” Lasker and a friend had learned go’s rules from a magazine. “To our amusement, the game was called a ‘competitor’ of chess,” Lasker writes. “But on closer examination we found the statement was well-founded, and we played Go at the slightest provocation.”