Ryan Li, Eric Lui and Ben Lockhart won their first- and second-round games Sunday at the AGA Pro Qualification Tournament to take an early lead in the 7-round round-robin section of the two-part tournament. Click here for complete tournament results and game records. The tournament is being held at the Nantasket Beach Resort in Hull, MA, January 4-10. The games are being broadcast live on KGS by the E-Journal at 9:30a and 4:30p (EST).
Temperatures had risen overnight, melting the snow that had fallen Saturday night, and a few hardy surfers could be glimpsed in the waves just across the beach from the resort. The players posed for a group photo (right) before the first round and the tournament commenced shortly afterwards.
The seaside town is quiet this time of year, matching the silence in the playing room as the top-ranked players grappled on the boards. Hundreds watched online as fierce battles unfolded; three of the first-round games were decided by resignation. Jeremy Chiu was the first to fall, resigning his Board 1 game after just 89 moves after a bad start when he misplayed a joseki that allowed Ryan Li to capture a group in the corner and get outside thickness. Chiu mounted a creditable attack on one of Li’s groups but Li played calmly and when he settled his group Chiu gracefully gave up. On Board 2, Matthew Burrall started a complicated middle-board fight because he was behind on points against Eric Lui, but came up a couple of liberties short and had to resign. And on Board 4 Daniel Gourdeau and Ricky Zhao’s even bigger and more complicated fight ended when Gourdeau used an attack on Zhao’s center group to cut off and kill another group. The Board 3 game between Ben Lockhart and Yuan Zhou was the last to finish and the only one to be counted. Observers thought Zhou had a small lead coming out of the middle game but he was short on time and Lockhart played a very sharp endgame to win by a comfortable 10.5 points.
The town was completely fogged in by the time the players reconvened at 4:30p for the second round. What few sounds there were over the next few hours were distant and muffled as the players focused even more intently than they had in the morning round. At one point a loud argument between two hotel patrons erupted just outside the playing room but the players were so engrossed that no-one seemed to even notice. The Board 1 game between Matthew Burrall and Ryan Li was a classic territory vs. influence game involving some very fluid positions and deep reading. Though Burrall did manage to establish a fairly substantial central moyo in the end it wasn’t enough to compensate for Li’s bankable territory. On Board 2 Daniel Gourdeau’s slight joseki mistake gave Eric Lui an early cash lead; unable to recover, Gourdeau was the first to resign in the second round. Ben Lockhart and Ricky Zhao met on Board 3 in an exciting game that saw a number of daring trades but in the end Zhao came up short and had to resign as well. On Board 4, the youngest and the eldest player in the field faced off: Yuan Zhou, 40, has won many US titles and is an experienced teacher and author of go books, while 12-year-old Jeremy Chiu is one of the US’ strong youth players. Neither player made any blunders and the game stayed knife-edge close right through the end. It was the last to finish — fortunately, AGA President Andy Okun teamed up with Brian Lee to record the 4-hour game — and Chiu edged Zhou by just 1.5 points.
- report/photos by Chris Garlock; more photos on the AGA’s Facebook page
Snow fell steadily outside as top US go players gathered in the Nantasket Beach Resort just south of Boston on Saturday night. The third AGA Pro Qualification Tournament, which will determine the next US professional, begins Sunday at 9:30a (EST) and TD Jeff Shaevel reviewed the tournament schedule and rules for the assembled players. AGA President Andy Okun thanked the players — Eric Lui 7d, Ryan Li 7d, Yuan Zhou 7d, Jeremy Chiu 6d, Daniel Gourdeau 7d, Ricky Zhao 7d and Ben Lockhart 7d (Matthew Burrall 6d was en route from California) – “for coming so far and for taking the time this week to compete at this high level. We’re looking forward to some great games.”
Morning rounds will begin at 9:30a and afternoon rounds at 4:30p and the games will be broadcast live on KGS; watch the AGA website, Twitter @theaga and Facebook feeds for regular updates.
- report/photos by Chris Garlock. Photos: (left) Okun delivering the tournament’s go stones and bowls; (right) Shaevel reviews rules with players.
Saying that “Our chapters are the foundation of the AGA,” American Go Association Board Chair Gurujeet Khalsa today announced the start of a new rewards program for AGA chapters. Similar to an airline or credit card rewards program, AGA chapters can now accumulate points when they get new or renewing members or when their members play AGA-rated games. Points can then be used to get reimbursed for expenses incurred in activities that promote American go. “We want to support chapter activities that grow American go and do it in a way that encourages new ideas and sharing of best practices,” said Khalsa. Click here for details on how the new program works.
41st London Open Go Congress: Chi-Min Oh 7d won the 2014 London Open, which ran December 28-31. Chi-Min Oh 7d had seven wins; prizes were also awarded to Young Sam Kim 7d in second, Mateusz Surma 7d in third, and Xiao Ma 7d in fourth. The first David Ward Cup was awarded in memory of long-standing UK player David Ward, who passed away in 2013. It was donated by his widow, Helen Ward, and presented by Korean professional — and IGF Secretary General — Hajin Lee to Matthew Cocke, who was the highest-placed UK player in the tournament.
- edited by Amy Su from reports on the BGA website.
Russia: Andrej Cheburakhov 5d (left) bested Anton Chernykh 3d at the Cup of Moscow on December 21 while Andrej Kashaev 5d placed third. Austria: Also on December 21, Viktor Lin 6d took the Austrian Championship Finals in Vienna. Behind him were Schayan Hamrah 5d second and Lothar Spiegel 5d in third. Serbia: The Serbian Women’s Championship finished on December 21 in Belgrade with Natasa Bosnjak 2k in first, Ivana Stojanovik 3k in second, and Marta Jorgacevic 2k 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
by John Power, EJ Japan Correspondent
Takao Takes Tengen Title From Iyama: The second game of the 40th Tengen title match was held at the Keio Plaza Hotel Sapporo in Sapporo City, Hokkaido, on November 11. Playing white, Takao Shinji 9P (right) beat Iyama Yuta Tengen (left) by resignation after 164 moves. The game was the reverse of the first game: this time Takao held the initiative throughout. Iyama played unreasonably in an attempt to catch up and had to resign when he lost two groups. The third game was played at the Kameyama-Tei Hotel in Hita City, Oita Prefecture, on November 25. The opening was peaceful, but the game soon turned into a fierce fight between opposing groups. In the end, Iyama, playing white, brought down a large black group, forcing Takao to resign after 146 moves. With a 2-1 lead, Iyama’s chances of winning the Tengen title for the fourth year in a row looked very good. The fourth game was played at the Arima Grand Hotel in Kobe City on December 11. It featured three spectacular trades; Takao (white) seized the lead through his clever use of thickness. At the end, Iyama, realizing that he couldn’t give the komi, launched a do-or-die attack. Takao survived it safely, so Iyama resigned after move 288. The final game was held at the Hotel Clement Tokushima in Tokushima City on December 19. This was just three days after Iyama had lost the Oza title to Murakawa Daisuke. Takao drew white in the nigiri. Iyama’s fatigue perhaps showed in the fact that he played very fast. Early in the middle game,Takao made a trade of territory for central thickness and then skillfully erased the centre. From around move 64, Takao seized the initiative and held on to it throughout. In most games, the lead fluctuates, but Iyama was never ahead. Takao did give him a chance to create complications, but Iyama failed to take it. He resigned after move 212. Some observers commented that the game was a masterly win for Takao. He now has two titles (he also holds the Judan) and Iyama is reduced to four. First prize is 14 million yen, ranking the Tengen fifth among the top seven titles.
To 8-dan: Murakawa Daisuke (for winning the Oza title; promotion as of Dec. 17)
To 7-dan: Kanazawa Makoto (for entering the Meijin League; as of Nov. 14), Anzai Nobuaki (120 wins; as of Nov. 28)
To 4-dan: Tamai Shin (50 wins; as of Nov. 28)
To 3-dan: Kumamoto Shusei (40 wins; as of Nov. 21)
To 2-dan: Kikkawa Hajime (30 wins; as of Dec. 5)
Konishi To Challenge For Women’s Kisei: In the play-off to decide the challenger for the 18th Women’s Kisei title, Konishi Kazuko 8P (B) defeated Aoba Kaori 4P by resignation. The game was played on December 8. Konishi was born on October 28, 1972. She took second place in the 19th Women’s Kakusei title (1997), the 7th and 8th Women’s Strongest Player titles (2005 and 2006).
Good Year For Fujisawa Rina: The sixteen-year-old Fujisawa Rin had a breakthrough year this year, winning two titles. On the last day of professional play this year, December 25, she scored her 40th win of the year, beating Koyama Hideo 5P in the First Tournament of the Kisei tournament (the first section of the revamped Kisei is called “fasuto tonamento”). Forty wins is a significant number for a professional,
as you need to win about two-thirds of your games to achieve it, and only two male players made it this year. Fujisawa is only the third female player ever to reach this landmark. Her record was 40 wins to 14 losses; Xie Yimin scored 40-16 in 2007, and the record is held by Kobayashi Izumi with 41-18 in 2001.
Cho U Eliminated From Chunlan Cup: The quarterfinals of the 10th Chunlan Cup were held on Christmas Day. Gu Li 9P (China) defeated Japan’s sole remaining representative, Cho U 9P; Gu had white and won by 1.5 points. Results in the other games were: Zhou Weiyang 9P (W) (China) beat Shi Yue 9P (China) by resig.; Chen Yaoye 9P (China) (W) beat Pak Jung-hwan 9P (Korea) by resig.; Kim Je-seok 9P (Korea) (B) beat Mi Yuting 9P (China) by resig. Pairings in the semifinals, to be held on December 27, are: Gu vs. Kim and Zhou vs. Chen.