Free lunch, shoulder massages and pro game commentaries…registration is now open for the Cotsen Open, one of the most unique and popular go events on the annual North American go calendar. The tournament is set for Saturday and Sunday, October 26-27 at the Korean Cultural Center in Los Angeles, CA. Myung-wan 9P, one of the organizers of the US pro system, will also be on hand to teach and play simultaneous games, while local Southern California favorite and renowned US teacher Yi-Lun Yang 7P will also teach and provide game commentary. Registration and lunch are free but only for those who pre-register (and who play both days), “so sign up now!” say organizers. photo: 2012 Cotsen Open players line up for their free lunch at the Korean lunch truck; photo by Chris Garlock
Jeff Horn 1d won the Davis/Sacramento Go Club Fall Quarterly Tournament, held September 7 at the Arden-Dimick library in Sacramento. Horn (right) topped a field of seven players ranging in strength from 1 dan to 14 kyu.
- Willard Haynes
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Wang Runan 8P, President of the Chinese Weiqi Association, was the guest of honor at the Sino-British Weiqi Exchanges, a cultural exchange event held September 7 at the British Museum in London. Organized by the UK Research and Development Centre for Chinese Traditional Culture (UKCTC) in association with the East Midland Youth Chinese Organisation (EMYCO) and in cooperation with the British Go Association (BGA), the event was sponsored by Chen Yongqing, a businessman who is a promoter and advocate of weiqi culture in China and is President of the Xi’an Fuji Vocational Weiqi Club, and Vice Chairman of the Xi’an Weiqi Association. He also traveled from China for the event.
The event was organized to promote cultural exchanges between China and the UK through the game of go (known as weiqi in China), set up a platform where go enthusiasts can not only learn about the game’s culture but also enhance their go skills, and enable go enthusiasts in the UK to find more friends and encourage more people to take up go, facilitating its promotion as a result.
UKCTC President Sherry Kuei welcomed the guest speakers and the hundred or so attendees to the event, introducing Counselor Li Hui of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in London, who thanked the British Museum for the venue, UKCTC for their continuing contribution to the promotion of Chinese traditional culture - something now highly valued in China - and the EMYCO for inviting the guests. Admitting he himself was not a player, Li said he looked forward to learning more about this “magic art”.
Chen Jiuxuan, Chairman of the EMYCO and son of Chen Yongqing, next introduced his organisation, a recreational, non-religious, non-political, not-for-profit organisation for the youth of the large Chinese community in the England’s East Midlands region. The EMYCO recruits twice-yearly from students at the University of Nottingham and the Nottingham Trent University, which have strong links with China.
British Go Association (BGA) Vice President (and AGA member) Francis Roads took the stage next and gave an overview of the activities and growth of the BGA since its founding in 1952, noting that he’s been a member for much of that time, having joined not long after learning the game 48 years ago. During his 5-year tenure as President of the BGA in the early ’70s, he had written to the Chinese embassy with an invitation for their nation to engage with the UK’s go community. To laughter from the audience, organizers and guests he related how the only reply he received was “a little red book entitled ‘The Thoughts of Chairman Mao.’” Roads said that it gave him great pleasure to participate in the kind of cultural exchange he had hoped for then.
Dr Chan Cheng, Honorary President of the UKCTC, introduced Wang Runan 8P by reading the Ten Principles of Weiqi, also known as the Ten Golden Rules, from Wang’s fan (see China Calls For Return of Ancient Go Manuscript 9/9 EJ; an English translation of these core strategies of the game, together with discussion, can be found at Sensei’s Library).
Wang, a small, slight man with highly mobile features and eyes sparkling with good humor, spoke with animated enthusiasm as Wang Ren translated. He first expressed his great pleasure at finding himself speaking at the British Museum, an institution he had learnt of at school since it holds a good number of Chinese antiquities including the oldest known manual of his game (since transferred to the British Library; see same 9/9 EJ referenced above).
Wang gave a brief history of go, beginning with its origin in China “over 4000 years ago” and including colorful legends of historic figures such as General Xie An, who allegedly sat calmly playing go, leaving battle reports undispatched, as his army of 80,000 faced and overcame a force of 800,000 invaders. Or General Guan Yu who, in the absence of anesthetics, is said to have used a game of go to distract him from the pain of having the marrow scraped from his arm to remove poison from an arrow-wound (left). Wang indicated he personally would prefer to have the anesthetics now available if he found himself in similar circumstances.
Wang told how the game spread to Korea, to Japan, and from there it spread to Europe, North America and other parts of the world after Japan had reached a dominant position in mastery of the game over the last several hundred years. But, he pointed out, in recent years China has once again excelled in international competitions.
He drew attention to the application of go’s ideas in many fields of life and especially to strategy, claiming that the upper echelons of the US military and the CIA also now study the game as key to understanding East Asian strategic thinking. He also referred to US President Obama’s gift of a goban to Chinese Premier Hu Jintao on the first presidential visit to China since Nixon’s time (see 12/14/09 EJ), expressing puzzlement, however, that the President chose a Chinese cultural artifact rather than an American one such as perhaps a basketball.
Wang provided a few tips for newcomers to the game, suggesting that they “Avoid concentrating on local play, disregarding the rest of the board,” instead taking what he referred to as the “helicopter view” of the whole board. He also said players should deploy their stones widely about the board, use strategy like probe stones which may be sacrificed, and stressed the importance of reading accurately, noting that professionals may look up to 30 moves ahead; beginners should try to read at least three moves ahead.
After a short break, the house reassembled less formally for actual play, with Wang playing simultaneously with four volunteer players from the BGA. On board one was Matthew Cocke 5d of Epsom Go Club (above right, 2nd from top), one of the UK’s strongest players, who was given a 3-stone handicap. This game was televised on a large screen, with Francis Roads giving a running commentary over the PA with the help of a laser pointer (right). Cocke was visibly shaken when, towards the end of the middle game, he realized he had allowed four stones to be cut off, an oversight which quite possibly cost him the game. Out of courtesy to the British who, like other Westerners, have the Japanese traditions deeply imbued, territory scoring was used rather than the Chinese tradition of area scoring. Cocke lost by 4 points. At the next board was was British Under-10 Champion Oscar Selby 8k, who took nine stones and lost by six points, earning praise from Wang. Next was engineer Mark Baoliang Zhang 1k of Diss (no club) who took seven stones and was behind when the game had to be halted because the museum was closing. Michael Webster 2d of the Central London Go Club, taking six stones, had perhaps the best result of the four, with Wang conceding that Webster had the lead at the point play stopped in this also unfinished game.
After the play it remained only for fond farewells and a seemingly endless round of photographs of various combinations of personages before the last of the party reluctantly left, the doors behind them closing securely on the British Museum’s priceless collection of treasures from around the world.
- report/photos by Tony Collman, British correspondent for the EJ. Top right: Lisa Quastella of the British Museums’s Sales and Marketing Dept presenting Wang with the gift of “Lotus Flower Print” by Ding Liangxian; group photo: (seated, l-r) Wang Ren, Francis Roads, Dr Chan Cheng, Wang Runan, Sherry Kuei, Chen Yongqing, Chen Jiuxuan. Translations were provided by Wang Ren, friend of the UKCTC (Wang, Dr Chan) and Yuki Kuan of the EMYCO (Kuei, Chen, Roads), who also provided extensive assistance with the compilation of this report.
NOTE: the original report has been updated to reflect that Wang Runan is President of the Chinese Weiqi Association, not Vice Chairman, as originally reported.
Gordon Castanza — former AGA Board member and EJ game recorder — passed along this report from his friend Ernest French of the Beijing Go Club, who sends this report and a collage of photos he took at the “Second Donghu Cup Amateur Wei Qi Invitational Tournament between China and Korea,” which was held on Saturday, September 7th in Beijing, China.
“Last Saturday we played in an amateur tournament up in Wangjing in northeast Beijing. It was outside in the middle of a park, on a beautiful, cool, blue sky morning. After the opening ceremony, we started our matches against local teams – time settings of 35 minutes per player, absolute. Altogether, I’d say 100+ go players showed up in total.
Participating for the BJGC were Sam, Karl, Carl, Gina, Chris, and me; each round was 5 games (1 person sitting out). The first round we had some tough games – I lost one I should have won, but we did manage to go 2 and 3. For 8 am, that’s a good result.
Next round we faced the kids and cleaned up 4-1 despite some questionable play on their part (but what’re you gonna do?) All in good fun. By this point it was heating up, and we were full of coffee and ready to go. Unfortunately, our final match-up was against the baitou team – a bunch of really good Koreans who had won every game of the day so far. My game was against an older gentleman who placed his (Chinese style) stones upside-down. He was quite good, and calmly took advantage of my questionable play. I broke into his giant moyo at the end of the game… but somehow it wasn’t enough and I lost by 15. Carl was the only one to defeat that team all day. That afternoon we continued an (unofficial) match against the Beijing Capital Airport team, who gave us some fun games. Thanks to Karl for finding & organizing this, and I definitely want to do it again sometime!” Click here for more photos.
Applications are open for the American Go Foundation’s College Scholarship, through November 20th. The program recognizes high school students who have served as important youth organizers and promoters for the go community. Applicants who have started clubs and promoted go in areas where there is not a strong go community will be given special consideration, strong players who spend much of their time voluntarily teaching will also be considered. There are two scholarships available, one for a male student and one for a female. Last year no women applied, so only one scholarship was awarded. Read about last year’s winner here, and former winners here. For more information, and the application form, visit the AGF Website. - Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.
Fredericksburg, Virginia: I am trying to start a go club in Fredericksburg; if you live in the area and love to play go, this could be your opportunity. A meeting location has not been picked as I am currently trying to find other people who enjoy playing go as much as I do: reach me at 540-846-7955 or jBarlow90@yahoo.com. P.S. I would like to say thank you to everyone at the AGA for their selfless work in trying to make a stronger go community. Your dedication and commitment help to bring us all together as go players and for that I am grateful.
One of the largest tournaments in northern Europe, the annual 29th Gothenburg Open will take place November 1-3. As a five-round standard McMahon tournament, each player is guaranteed five games arranged to be as even as possible. The standard entry fee is 30 EU. However, players 10k or less can register for half price and first-time Gothenburg Open players play for free. Players are also welcome to stay at the venue at no extra charge. To register or for more information including schedule, venue, and official rules, please visit the official Gothenburg Open website.
— Annalia Linnan; for complete listings, check out the European Tournament Calendar; photo courtesy of Gothenburg Open
Netherlands: At The Delfts Toernooi on September 8, Filip Vanderstappen 5d defeated Rene Aaij 5d and Gelmer Bouwman 3d placed third. Hungary: The Kispesti Nadydij Goverseny also finished September 8 in Bupdapest with Dominik Bovis 4d in first, Peter Marko 4d in second, and Gabor Szabics 5d in third. Czech Republic: In Prague, Jan Simara 6d (left) took the Brno Tournament on September 8. Behind him were Lukas Podpera 6d and Ondrej Silt 6d.
- Annalia Linnan, based on reports from EuroGoTV, which include complete result tables and all the latest European go news
The 2014 Irish Go Congress will take place on the weekend of February 14-16th at the Teachers Club, Dublin. This will be a very special event to celebrate 25 years of Go in Ireland.
More details to follow soon.
by John Power, Japan Correspondent
Yamashita Off to Good Start in Meijin Defense: The first game of the 39th Meijin title match was held at its regular venue, the luxury traditional hotel and restaurant of the Chinzanso in Tokyo. Challenging the Meijin, Yamashita Keigo, was Iyama Yuta, the monarch of Japanese go, who was not only after revenge for losing the Meijin title to Yamashita two years ago but also seeking to become the second player to hold the Triple Crown of Kisei, Meijin, and Honinbo. The Meijin title match always starts in September, which is when the weather starts to cool down a little after the usually unbearable summer but which is also typhoon season. In fact, the weather in Japan this September has been very turbulent, with record rainfalls and unfamiliar tornadoes ripping through residential areas. The opening day of the game was not an exception, with a violent thunderstorm at dawn. The players were insulated from the weather, of course, but the game was not. With move 32, Yamashita made an aggressive cap that he later recognized was a bit of an overplay. It was redeemed only by a badly timed cut made by Iyama on move 53 that turned out to be more of an overplay. The ensuing fight eventually dragged in half a dozen groups, with the focus on a large capturing race. This looked bad for Iyama, but instead of being obstinate, that is, going all out to capture Iyama’s group, Yamashita cleverly engineered a large-scale trade that gave him a win. Iyama was forced to resign after 172 moves. This was an uncharacteristic loss for Iyama, with a miscalculation of the balance of the trade thrown in later in the game on top of his earlier overplay. However, a best-of-seven gives him plenty of time to make a comeback. The second game will be played on September 19 & 20.
Mukai to Challenge for Women’s Honinbo Title: Mukai Chiaki 5-dan will make her third challenge for the Women’s Honinbo title and her sixth challenge overall to women’s triple crown holder Xie Yimin. So far she has been frustrated by Xie’s fighting strength, which is unmatched among women players in Japan, but Mukai is clearly the number two player here, so competing with Xie is her destiny. She will surely be encouraged by her success early this year: although Japan took only third place in the 2nd Huading Cup in late April, Mukai won all three of her games and helped Japan to a rare team win over China. In the play-off to decide the challenger, held on August 29, Mukai (W) beat Chinen Kaori 4P by resignation. She previously challenged for this title in 2010 and 2011, losing 0-3 and 1-3 respectively.
Japanese Players Eliminated from Samsung Cup: A report on the opening round mini-tournament that starts off the Samsung Cup has already appeared in this journal. Here are the details of the Japanese players’ results. There were two seeded players in the main tournament, Takao Shinji and Yuki Satoshi, who were joined by Komatsu Hideki, winner of a seat in the veterans’ section of the qualifying tournament. In the first round, the Samsung Cup is divided into eight groups of four players; they play each other until a player qualifies for the second round with two wins or is eliminated with two losses.
Game 1 (Sept. 3). Komatsu (W) d. Eric Lui (USA) by resig.; Gu Lingyi 5P (China) (B) d. Takao by resig.; Gu Li 9P (China) (W) d. Yuki by resig.
Game 2 (Sept. 4). Fan Yunruo 4P (China) (W) d. Takao by resig.; Chen Yaoye 9P (China) (B) d. Komatsu by resig.; Liao Xingwen 5P (W) d. Yuki by resig.
Game 3 (Sept. 5). Yi Se-tol 9P (Korea) (B) d. Komatsu by resig.
Young Players Gain Honinbo Seats and Promotions: Every year there is a radical turnover in the Honinbo League: four players out of eight lose their seats, compared to only three out of nine in the Meijin League and four out of twelve in the Kisei Leagues. That means, in theory, that there’s a little more scope for new young stars to make their debut in this league. That’s certainly how things have turned out this year, with two teenagers and two veterans joining the 69th league. The first three of the play-offs for the places up for grabs were held on August 29. Kono Rin 9P, who recently came very close to taking the Gosei title from Iyama Yuta, defeated Yamashiro Hiroshi 9P (B) by 1.5 points. At 32, Kono qualifies as one of the veterans. The other veteran is Sakai Hideyuki 8P, aged 40. Taking white, Sakai beat his fellow Kansai Ki-in player Imamura Toshiya 9P by 7.5 points. Sakai has played in eight Meijin leagues, but this will be his first Honinbo league. The third player to win a seat on the 29th was Yo Seiki 3P (right). The 18-year-old Yo (B) beat Han Zenki 8P by 8.5 points. Yo is a player who has been attracting attention as a possible future star for the better part of a year now. Born in Taiwan on July 6, 1995, he became a professional at the Taiwanese Qiyuan (Ki-in), reaching 2P, but then switched to the Kansai Ki-in, where he started out as a 1-dan in 2009. He quickly established himself as a worthy successor — and now a rival — to the Kansai Ki-in’s top young player, Murakawa Daisuke 7P (born on December 14, 1990). Yo has been sweeping all before him this year, winning 18 games in a row before losing in the semifinals of the Tengen tournament (see our previous report). He has also reached the final of the 38th King of the New Stars tournament. In the second round of the current NHK Cup, he scored a very impressive win over Cho U, impressive especially because of how strongly he fought back after incurring a slight disadvantage in the opening. Already some go reporters are talking of him as a future rival to Iyama, and not in the very distant future, either. Yo set a new record by becoming the youngest player to win a seat in the Honinbo League; the previous record was 20 years two months, set by Iyama. The latter’s record for any league — 17 years ten months in the Kisei Leagues — remains intact. The final play-off for a league seat was held on September 5; Ida Atsushi 4P beat Cho Sonjin 9P, so he also makes his league debut. He is almost as young as Yo, having been born on March 15, 1994 and if his game had been held before Yo’s, he would have temporarily held the record. A member of the Nagoya branch of the Nihon Ki-in, that is, the Central Japan Headquarters, Ida has also attracted attention as an up-and-coming player. One of the advantages of winning a seat in a league (or a title) for a young player is gaining an automatic promotion (it usually takes effect the next day). When Iyama won the Agon Kiriyama Cup at the age of 16 in 2005, he went from 4P to 7P, then to 8P for becoming the Meijin challenger in 2008, then to 9P for winning the Meijin title the following year. Ko Iso also went from 4P to 7P when he won a place in the Meijin League in 2005. Ri Ishu and Uchida Shuhei have also won such promotions in recent years. In a sense, they are a bonus attached to a more substantial achievement than a mere promotion. In any case, Yo is the first player in Japan to jump four ranks, so he has another record.
38th Kisei Leagues: Murakawa Wins B League: Two games were played in the B League last week. Murakawa Daisuke 7P of the Kansai Ki-in, who already had the sole lead, put himself in an unassailable position by beating Kono Rin 9P. Every other player already has at least two losses, so Murakawa wins the league regardless of the results in the final round. He will meet the winner of the A League in a play-off to decide the challenger to Iyama Yuta Kisei; in that league Yamashita Keigo has a slight edge, but Kiyonari Tetsuya 9P, Yoda Norimoto 9P, Yamashiro Hiroshi 9P, and Kobayashi Satoru 9P are all still in the running (Cho U is the only one completely out of the running).
(September 5) Hane Naoki (W) defeated Cho Chikun by resignation; Murakawa Daisuke (B) d. Kono Rin by resig.
Akiyama to Challenge for Tengen: Akiyama Jiro 9P (right) will have a crack at chipping a segment out of Iyama Yuta’s quintuple crown. In the play-off to decide the challenger for the 39th Tengen title, held on September 9, Akiyama (B) defeated Yamashita Keigo Meijin by resignation and so gets to make his first title challenge. Akiyama has long been considered a promising player, but his most notable achievement so far has been appearing in three successive Kisei leagues (34th to 36th). He has an image of being one of the younger players, so it’s a bit of a surprise to find that he is already 35. This is finally his chance to break out of the pack. The title match starts on October 21
Women’s Meijin League: One game has been played in the 26th Women’s Meijin League since our last report. On September 5, Chinen Kaori 4P (B) beat Mukai Chiaki 5P by 2.5 points. With two losses, Mukai falls behind the pace. Joint leaders, both on 3-0, are Kato Keiko 6P and Suzuki Ayumi 6P.
Iyama’s Successive Title Matches: In our previous report, we mentioned that Iyama Yuta (right) would set a new record by playing in all the top-seven title matches this year. That is true, but actually he has played in all top-seven title matches since last year’s Oza and his run will continue to next year’s Kisei title match, so he is already guaranteed to set a record of appearing in ten title matches in a row. If Iyama wins the ongoing Meijin title match, he will become the second player after Cho Chikun to hold the big triple crown of Kisei, Meijin, and Honinbo. Cho did this four times, in 1983 and 1996 to 1998.
Go was just featured again on xkcd, a popular web comic among mathematicians and physicists. Thanks to everyone who passed this along.