In “Why does Bill Gates want to be a better Go player?”, David de Ugarte says that “The birth of videogames and Apple’s first steps, free software’s first steps, and even the platforms that allowed for the organization of tens of thousands of volunteers for the earthquake in Haiti, all have something in common: their creators cited Go as a source of personal inspiration and related it to their form of innovating and thinking.” de Ugarte’s fascinating March 14 post on the Las Indias blog asks “What good is Go to those who change the world?” and takes a look at the go lessons learned and applied by Atari founder Nolan Bushnell, Nintendo’s Hiroshi Yamauchi (right), Tron’s Ken Sakamura, Richard Stallman of GNU (/Linux), Microsoft’s Bill Gates and young extrepreneur Luke Biewald (left), the creator of Crowdflower. de Ugarte has published two other posts on go, Reason Against Force and How Go Became The Favorite Game Of Anarchist And Libertarians. He’s an economist, technologist “and entrepreneur committed to new models of economic democracy.”
Thanks to Mark Gilston & Bart Jacob for passing this along.
Two new books have just been added to our “New and Noteworthy” page: “Games of Wonder” is an English translation by Ruoshi Sun of Yi Miao, a collection of 40 famous games by some of the best players in the Qing Dynasty, and “Whole Board Opening Problems” by Yuan Zhou draws problem situations from actual games played by amateurs and pros.
The Summer Go Camp page has been updated for 2014, when the camp will be held August 3-9 at YMCA Camp Kresge in White Haven, PA.
- Greg Smith, AGA website team
Update (4/10/14): The title of one of the books has been corrected to “”Games of Wonder” .
Albert Yen 6d and Brandon Zhou 4d both won 2-0 in the final rounds of the Ing Foundation’s World Youth Goe Qualifier, held in Menlo Park CA on March 29th. Yen, who is 14 and lives in Illinois, squared off against Aaron Ye 6d, who is competing in the Senior Division for the first time – after having dominated the Jr. Division for several years. Meanwhile, Zhou, age 10, defeated Ary Alden Cheng, to win the Jr. Division. Zhou hails from Atlanta GA, and is one of the most promising youngsters on the national scene. He only recently began professional lessons, as there are no pros in Atlanta, and has been studying with Alexander Dinerchtein online. Both boys will travel to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for the World Youth Go Championships, August 13-17. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Photos by Ernest Brown: Albert Yen 6d (l) and Brandon Zhou 4d (r).
Registration is now open for this year’s Santa Monica Coffee Cup, the 8th year of the caffeinated event, to be held on June 14 in Santa Monica, CA. “As always, the tournament will be AGA-rated and three rounds long,” reports organizer Andy Okun, “with prizes including coffee beans and the eponymous and storied ‘Coffee Cup,’ hand-painted in this year’s theme color of vivid auburn (#922724)” Click here for online registration and further details. The event will again be held at the award-winning UnUrban Coffee House (www.unurban.com), through the generosity of proprietress Pam Stollings (right). “The turkey chili is outstanding,” Okun adds. For more info reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last week’s quiz: Before turning to the poll results, here’s my personal all-time favorite go reference. This Camel ad from the late 1970s should have worked. It was certainly popular, often featured on the back covers of numerous magazines. While not the best board, the bowls are nice, the board position reasonable, the decor splendid and our hero dutifully takes black against the master – top marks. And for coolness it hits the all-time high. I mean, he has a piercing gaze, cool mustache, is at home in a world few men ever see and women bring him drinks. Unfortunately, it only got more folks addicted to smoking, and not go.
I found all of your responses interesting, from the mysterious “Love and Go” by Wando Wende (on which I could not find any information) to the intriguing – and new to me — French cartoon “Code: Lyoko”, which certainly looks interesting and features the characters playing the game and discussing it, reports Alison Fotness. Brian Kirby offers “PopCo”, a novel that features go prominently. Others chose brief references in “Tron: Legacy” and “Da Vinci’s Demons” while I was surprised no one chose “Star Trek” appearances or the cool background ambiance appearance in “24″. It was great to hear from old friend David Erbach, editor of the early journal “Computer Go,” who suggested Henry Kissinger for featuring go in one of his books. Ramon Mercado came up with the interesting choice of “ATARI” the computer game company. Full marks go to Drew Chuppe for selecting the film “Heaven Knows Mr. Allison”. This World War II drama features Robert Mitchum as a soldier stranded on a Japanese-occupied island. While breaking in to a store-room for food, he tensely hides while two soldiers play a couple of games. A popular film, an accurate depiction as well as a wonderful use of the game as part of a suspenseful part of the plot makes this perhaps the greatest western film reference, but at the time, as an obscure game played by the “enemy”, it failed to gain go much popularity here. Finally, Michael Goerss intrigued me with his spotting of go in Martin Sheen’s hotel room in “Apocalypse Now” but I must confess, I do not see it.
Tenuki-ing to those chosen by more than one of you, the films “A Beautiful Mind” and “Pi” garnered two votes each. I must say I was expecting “A Beautiful Mind” to be the winner. The Best Picture Oscar winner certainly wins the popular honors, and many folks got interested in go as a result, but the go scenes are less than convincing and minor. Darren Aronofsky’s “Pi” does a better job and go is more central to the plot, thanks no doubt in part to credited guidance by “Go Advisors” including former AGA President Barbara Calhoun, Michael Solomon and the late Don Wiener (misspelled in the credits as “Dan”). Sadly, this first effort by the director of many critically acclaimed films was not widely seen. Your quizmaster will have to go along with the choice of 6 of you: “Shibumi” by Trevanian. The thriller features go-related section headings and a marvelous, lengthy section about the main character’s training and playing of the game. And if a film version ever makes it to the screen the novel’s number one position could be solidified (or destroyed). Many, many players were intrigued by the game as presented in the book, and learned to play as a result. So, until Steven Spielberg makes “The Tesuji Kid” about an unpopular but cute middle schooler who comes across a small asian garden while hiding from some bullies, meeting three old men playing go who teach him lessons from the game, which become lessons in life, foiling the bully, impressing his/her teachers and getting the boy/girl – Trevanian is number one. Congrats to Steve Miller of Ramsey, MN, this week’s winner, randomly chosen from those who suggested Shibumi.
This Week’s Quiz: Hearty congratulations to Gu Li for taking game three of the jubango; could this be the start of a comeback? In the Japanese top titles, the matches are best of seven. Who was the first player to come back from an 0-3 deficit and win a title in what was termed a “miraculous upset”? Was it Sakata Eio, Rin Kaiho, Kato Masao or Cho Chikun? Click here to submit your responses and comments.
Simultaneous games with strong players continue to be available to AGA members in the AGA Community Room on KGS. For April, simuls are now scheduled in the evenings beginning this Saturday, April 5 and continuing on Wednesday, April 9, Saturday, April 12, and Wednesday, April 30.
The full simul schedule through June is available here. “Volunteers are adding simuls to the schedule on an on-going basis, so keep checking it for the latest information,” urges organizer Bob Gilman.
Since this program began in October 2013, there have been 128 games played. “These simuls are a great way to test your strength and develop your game,” Gilman says. “You will have the chance to learn tactics and strategies from a stronger player. There will generally be a brief review afterwards. And don’t worry about being ‘too weak.’ These are handicap games and intended to help you learn.”
The games are played in the AGA Community Room on KGS (under “Clubs”) in the Rooms List. If you need room access, email email@example.com with your AGA ID number and KGS username.
Competition has begun for the second Bailing Cup, a biennial event backed by the Guizhou Bailing Group, a Chinese pharmaceutical company, and held under the auspices of the International Go Federation, the People’s Government of Guizhou Province, the Guizhou Sports Bureau, and the professional go associations of China, Japan, and Korea.
Four preliminary rounds were held March 15-16 in Beijing, and the 48 survivors then joined 16 seeded players from China, Chinese Taipei, Japan, and Korea in the main tournament, with the first round held on March 18. Click here for Round 1 results and games, along with some of the preliminary games.
One of the winners in the prelims was a young Chinese pro who had recently won the Shanghai Jianqiao Xinren Wang tournament. This event is known as the Rookie King tournament, but this year’s king was Wu Zhibao 5P (Yu Zhiying, at left), a female player. It’s extremely rare for a go tournament that is open to both men and women to be won by a woman; in the entire history of professional go it has happened perhaps five times. Three of those victories were by Rui Naiwei 9P (right), who Wu faced in the first round of the Bailing Cup, losing by resignation.
The second round has yet to be scheduled; the ultimate winner of the second Bailing Cup is due to be decided next year.
- based on James Davies’ detailed report on the IGF website; game records from www.go4go.net/
UK: Andrew Kay 4d led the Birmingham on March 29. Behind him were Alex Kent 3d in second and Alistair Wall 2d in third. Serbia: Also on March 29, the 3rd Memorial Milos Vucicevic finished in Kragujevac with Zoran Jankovic 4d in first, Dragan Dubakovic 3d in second, Mihailo Jacimovic 1k in third. Germany: Bernd Radmacher 4d (left) bested Jonas Welticke 5d at the 4th Recklinghaeuser Guzumi in Recklinghausen on March 30 while Martin Ruzicka 2d came in third.
– Annalia Linnan, based on reports from EuroGoTV, which include complete result tables and all the latest European go news; photo courtesy of EuroGoTV
The full name is the Bailing Cup World Go Open Tournament. Held under the auspices of the International Go Federation, the People's Government of Guizhou Province, the Guizhou Sports Bureau, and the professional go associations of China, Japan, and Korea, this biennial event is backed by the Guizhou Bailing Group, a Chinese pharmaceutical company. It began in 2012, the year in which the Bailing Group launched a collagen skincare product under the name of Aitou (the Chinese name of the tournament that year was the Bailing Aitou Cup). The inaugural cup was won in 2013 by Zhou Ruiyang, who went on to earn a gold medal in pair go at the 2013 SportAccord World Mind Games. The competition for the second cup began on March 16, 2014 in Beijing.
In the four preliminary rounds, a special bracket was set aside for women, ensuring that four of them would reach the main knockout tournament. One of the winners in this bracket was a young Chinese pro who had recently won the Shanghai Jianqiao Xinren Wang tournament. This U16(male)/U18(female) event is known as the Rookie King tournament, but this year's king was Wu Zhibao, a girl. There was no women's bracket: she had to beat five opponents of the opposite sex. It is extremely rare for a go tournament that is open to both men and women to be won by a woman. In the entire history of professional go it has happened perhaps five times. The past Rookie Kings have all been male, and many of them are now among China's top stars, such as the above Zhou Ruiyang.
After her Rookie King victory, Ms Wu was asked who she considered to be the strongest woman go player in China. Her reply was, 'Rui Naiwei. When I play her I usually lose.' Not surprisingly, Ms Rui also won one of the four women's places in the Bailing knockout. She is something of a living legend, the equivalent in go of Judit Polgár in chess. In a career spanning China, Japan, the USA, and Korea, she has accomplished the rare feat of winning major tournaments open to men three times: the Chinese Hutang Cup in 1989, the Korean Guksu title in 1999, and the Korean Maxim Cup in 2004. She has also won well over thirty women's professional tournaments and was the first woman anywhere to earn a 9-dan ranking in go. Now she and her husband Jiang Zhujiu, likewise a 9-dan pro, operate a go school in Shanghai, but she continues to compete and do well, winning Chinese women's tournaments in 2012 and 2013 and capturing the women's silver medal at the 2012 SportAccord World Mind Games.
The other two women who survived the Bailing preliminaries were a pair of young Koreans, Choi Jeong and Park Jiyeon, who were taking time out from a Korean women's title match in which they were tied neck-and-neck. In the men's division, one of the survivors was the Chinese amateur Ma Tianfang, and another was from Chinese Taipei, but the rest were all Chinese and Korean pros. The survivors, 48 in all, joined 16 seeded players from China, Chinese Taipei, Japan, and Korea in the main tournament.
The first round of the main tournament was held on March 18. The two Korean women, Choi and Park, found themselves matched against Korean men, to whom they lost. Ma Tianfang, though ranked among the 'Four Heavenly Kings' of Chinese amateur go, bowed to a Chinese 9-dan. The players from Japan and Chinese Taipei all lost to Chinese and Korean opponents. And what of Wu Zhibao and Rui Naiwei, the two women with proven records of triumph over men? As luck would have it they were matched against each other.
After the game a Sports-Sina reporter asked Ms Rui whether she had felt apprehensive about facing the Rookie King, or confident that her greater experience would give her the advantage.
Rui: 'I did not feel very confident. Aside from winning the Rookie King title, Wu has been making progress on all fronts. I was expecting a good, tough game.'
And how did it turn out?
Rui: 'For quite some time the lead remained unclear. Then I lost patience and invaded the top right corner. My opponent didn't have much time to consider her reply, and decided to let me live there so that she could rescue two stones in another part of the board. After living in the corner, I finally found myself in a comfortable position.'
The exchange Rui is describing took place between moves 68 and 77. It was a prelude to all-out war, but after parrying the attacks Wu staged in the center of the board and doing some effective counterattacking herself, Rui won by resignation at move 162. The game record can be viewed here (Rui is white).
In the second round, which has yet to be scheduled, Rui will face Korea's top-rated Park Jyeonghwan. The ultimate winner of the second Bailing Cup is due to be decided next year.
- James Davies
An expanded prize pool and a new tournament structure are planned for the strongest players at this year’s US Go Congress. “The AGA Board, in close consultation with strong players across the country, felt strongly that we needed to raise the stakes, the prestige and the competitiveness of the top tournaments and this is the result,” said American Go Association President Andrew Okun.
In recent years, strong players competed in three separate main tournaments at Congress, the 6-round US Open open section in the mornings, the 4-round North American Masters Tournament (NAMT) for North American professionals and qualified amateurs in the evenings, and the 4-round Strong Player Open, also in the evenings.
In the new structure, these three tournaments will be combined into a single 9-round US Open, which will serve both as the top section of the U.S. Open and as the NAMT. The U.S. Open winner will take a top prize of $5,000 and the NAMT-eligible player with the strongest result will become the North American Masters Champion and win $2,000. Other prizes will be paid to other finishers both overall and in the NAMT. All players 7d and above – and all players who qualified for the NAMT — will be eligible to compete in this new event. Strong players who wish only to play the traditional six rounds of the US Open may do so instead, but will not be eligible for the top prizes.
The U.S. Open/NAMT will take place during the six mornings of the US Open – at the 2014 US Go Congress in New York City August 9-17 — with an additional three rounds in evenings during the week. Click here for the FAQ on these changes.
photo of 2013 NAMT and SPO playing room by Phil Straus