“The 3rd Mexican Go Congress turned out to be a huge success,” reports Mingming Stephanie Yin 1P. “The event was held June 18th-20th at the Tlatelolco Cultural Center in Mexico City, and was full of surprises for everyone. Three Professionals were invited: Hye-Yeon Cho 9p, William Gansheng Shi 1p, and myself. We held game reviews, lectures, and simul games. A new record high for the Mexican Open Tournament was set as well, with 56 players. The participation in the Youth tournament was also pretty impressive, with a 36 player field in two categories,” said Yin. Mexican Go Association Youth Coordinator Sid Avila adds “these kids are starting to compete at higher levels, some have already played in international tournaments and are also playing in the Open.”
“This is the 3rd time Mexico has run its Go Congress and every year the community is growing and people are more interested,” reports Mexican Go Association president Emil Garcia. “I believe the world of go is entering into a new stage of development, and we are really glad Mexico is catching this upheaval with the support of Associations such as KABA, the AGA, and the AGF, who helped us bring the pros in. Undoubtedly Mexican go will keep growing having such big allies. I see a bright future for North American go as a whole.”
“On the last day, the pros were invited to visit a private Mexican elementary school named CIEA Pipiolo, which is the only elementary school with go as a school subject in Mexico City,” said Yin, “There are around 80 students ranging in age from 5-12 years old. Everyone is talented and extremely passionate about go. We three pros were separated and played pair go with the kids in teams.”
All three pros issued a joint message for the kids: “It’s wonderful to be here with all of you, our futures of go. We hope that you will enjoy playing go, learning go, and some of you may become professionals in the future.” Yin adds “I believe that the world of go will expand much more quickly than we expected. As professional go players, we will do our best to promote, teach, and help. We also hope that more schools will include go as a subject in America. I am seeing a brighter future for the world of go.”
The Evanston Go Club held its second tournament of the year last weekend. The event, dubbed Spring Fling, drew 34 players ranging in rank from 18k to 5d. Winners were Henry Li 2d (4-0), Cheuk To Tsui 2d (3-1), Nathan Chan 3k (4-0), Cong Chen 3k (4-0), William Torres 5k (4-0), Sean Garcia 10k (4-0), Keom Granger 10k (5-2), Crystal Lin 14k (3-2), and Chad Cook 15k(3-2).“We’re back on track to run four tournaments a year again!” said Mark Rubenstein, club president and TD. “Our March Madness tournament had over 40 players, and with 34 this time it’s clear the local go community can support four a year as we had in the past.” In addition to players from Illinois, there were also players from Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan and Minnesota. “Thanks to Immanuel Lutheran Church for letting us use the space, to Yellow Mountain for donating prizes, to everyone who helped during registration, and a special thanks to everyone who came from out of state! We’re looking forward to the next one in September.” Click here for more info about the Evanston Go Club, other local clubs, upcoming events, and how to join the email list.
This year’s US Go Congress in Boston “is shaping up to be the largest Go Congress ever!” reports Walther Chen. “Please help us make it a success by renewing your AGA membership and paying your outstanding balance in advance. This will help you avoid long queues during registration day at the Go Congress.” Also, he reminds Congress attendees that you have until June 30 to get a no-questions-asked full refund and if you register and pay on-site at Congress, there is a $100 late fee. “See you soon!”
Myungwan Kim 9p will return to provide live commentary of the Bailing Cup round of 32, between Tang Weixing and Park Junghwan, starting at 8:30pm PDT on 6/29. He’ll also provide live commentary on the round of 16, on July 1, again starting at 8:30pm. The early rounds of the Bailing cup are being played in Beijing, and the players have 2hrs 45min, with five one-minute byo-yomi periods following. They’ll take a lunch break from 9:30pm to 10:30pm. Twitch broadcaster “badatbaduk”, himself an AGA 4d, will host the commentary. You can watch the event on the AGA YouTube Channel or the AGA Twitch stream.
Central Iowa Go Society’s second casual tournament saw 11 players, more than doubling last tournament’s five entrants, reports Jacob Upland. Players were split into a 13×13 beginner’s section and a 19×19 section. Alex Tong, 2 dan, swept all four games to win first, followed by Dan Klawitter’s impressive 2nd place finish with 3 wins. The beginner’s section came to a dead tie three ways, decided by a round robin.” Alexandra Mielke emerged the final victor to clinch first place,” Upland says.
“Next on the list is Indianola, Iowa on July 9th, continuing the rotation. Be sure to check it out!”
E-Journal Forum (Part 2): In another response to Eric Osman’s query about a forum for responses to articles in the E-Journal, Steve Colburn also notes that the AGA has a sub forum on Lifein19x19.com. “This is for AGA stuff much like there is for other organizations. There are a few AGA officials who also read/comment on Reddit.”
Where’s the 2015 Yearbook? “I tried looking through the AGA website to find the archived zip file with all of the yearbook 2015 sgf files,” writes AGA member Shane, “but I’m having a difficult time locating it on your website. The news article doesn’t seem to link me to where to find the file and a website search for ‘year book’ didn’t yield much better results. Help?” In a related email, Dan writes “I am a member who cannot figure out how to download the 2015 Go Yearbook. Please advise.”
The Yearbook is only for AGA members, so it’s not posted on the website; look for your June 22 Member’s Edition of the E-Journal, which contains individual links to the game commentaries published in 2015, as well as in a handy zip file.
Dan Level: 1st Place – Matthew Machado (2d) 6 – 1; 2nd Place – Zhao Zhixun (6d) 4-1; 3rd Place – Chengkai Ruan (4d) 4-4; Chris Hudnall (2d) 4-3
Kyu Level: 1st Place – Bart Jacob (3k) 6-1; 2nd Place – Lei Xu (2k) 5-2; John Jacob (4k) 5-2; 3rd Place –Ken Blake (1k) 4-3; Ray Heitmann (5k) 4-4Tournament directors Bart Jacob and Jim Conyngham would like to thank all players for participating and Great Hall Games for supplying the playing venue and gift certificates as prizes.
Photo: winners (l-r): Ray Heitmann, Ken Blake, Chis Hudnall, Chengkai (Kyle) Ruan, John Jacob, Cho Chixun, Lei Xu, Matthew Machado
by Keith Arnold
As I sit down for breakfast at our hotel in Beijing, the gentlemen next to me asks “Are you Chris?” “No, my name is Keith.” “Sorry, similar face.” And I thought that was over.
But when he returned with food he tried again. “Your voice is familiar – are you AGA?”
And that is how I met Jeff Kwang 5-dan from North Carolina. The small world of go.
Longtime go player and local organizer Keith Arnold lives in Baltimore, MD.
Andrew Feenberg has made illuminating and interesting points comparing and contrasting the recent match between AlphaGo and Lee Sedol, and the novelized match between Shusai and Kitani in the book The Master of Go.
There are differences in the modern feeling of go, and what go traditionally has been, and it is all about the details; the ones we focus on, and what they mean, are up for debate.
Feenberg suggests (Rational Play? The Master of Go vs. AlphaGo), as some observers in the book do, that move 121 was the central issue, a move away from the main center battle in order to take advantage of the time rules. Kawabata does spend a bit of time on it, but I’d say therein lies the issue for the Master: it’s not a central issue to the game itself.
For that reason, it may have the appearance of a modern attempt to take advantage of ‘fussy’ rules in order to win a game, at some cost to the meaning of the game. In fact, it may be much more insidious than that :), it’s a ‘modern’ way of extracting the maximum number of points whenever you can, without emotional involvement in what appears to be happening on the board at that moment as a battle between two human opponents. In this sense, the modern game is bringing a new, more nuanced sensibility to the concepts of “tempo” in games, specifically “sente” and “gote” in go.
The Master himself allows that it’s a question of timing, and his opponent may not be able to make that small forcing play later, depending on how the center battle goes. It possibly does throw him, as he later misses a crucial timing issue in that center battle (at this level, questions of who is the inferior player I think can’t be shown through one game, or one move in one game, and are beyond the scope of what can be argued through them). But this detail of what the Master actually said is lost as well, perhaps deliberately as it’s subtly suggested that the Master himself is now trying to “justify” an (ugly) move in an attempt to preserve the beauty of go, as if we have a lock on definitions of beauty, and 121 isn’t it, and the players themselves are telling us things about the game that they don’t understand.
If this were a modern game, there would be no question that White would lose a game without komi; there’s no reasonable chance that one top player can spot another Black no komi, the Master is almost certainly going to lose such a game precisely because of tradition. It’s interesting to me to note our human tendency to focus also on the score beyond winning and losing, as if the players would care if it was a 3 or 4 or 5 point loss, and play accordingly. Observers often say a resignation or a bigger loss is somehow indicative of a greater difference in skill exhibited between the players. It’s rare for someone to see that a great player, seeing he or she was behind, would make plays that were arguably better, but perhaps riskier and result in a greater loss.
Focusing on another detail, I’d hesitate to call this a ‘Western’ influence, although perhaps Kawabata appears focused on ‘outside’ influences and is feeling it from the West, and China could be considered west of Japan, or not being looked at, depending on where one is standing :). The way of thinking behind move 121 to me has clear roots in an outside, fresh perspective of analysis through objective territorial counting that Kitani’s great collaborator in the modern way of play, the player who came to Japan from China, Go Seigen, brought to the table.
A more compelling analogy to me would be between Go Seigen and AlphaGo, and the big question still to be answered is if AlphaGo will bring us a rich body of work like Go Seigen did, so much so that it’s said you can do nothing but study the games of Go Seigen 10 times and become a professional shodan, or if we’ll have 10 tantalizing clues of what AlphaGo was thinking at a point in gmaespacetime.
Much thanks to Mr. Feenberg, and the American Go E-Journal, for bringing such thought-provoking pieces right to me with my morning coffee!
Iowa City, IA: Seeking players to form a go club in Iowa City. All strengths welcome. Contact: email@example.com
This year’s US Go Congress organizers have lined up “an exciting ‘Computer Go Afternoon’” reports Chun Sun. “We are honored to have Yuandong Tian from Facebook Research, who will present ‘DarkForest: A DCNN-based open source Go engine,’ on the afternoon of August 4.” Also lined up is John Tromp, who has calculated the exact number of legal go positions, and who will present a lecture on the subject on August 4. As previously reported, Google Deepmind is coming to the Congress this year as well. In addition to giving the opening keynote on Saturday, July 30, Google Deepmind’s Aja Huang and Hui Fan 2P will also present an “AlphaGo Insider” lecture on August 4th’s “Computer Go afternoon,” focusing on the developer community. “After these exciting presentations, DarkForest will play Andy Liu 1p at 3 handicaps,” Chun Sun adds. As the new “JustGo” live recording/broadcasting app will be demoing around the lounge and playing room.
The American Go Yearbook 2015 Member’s Edition Collection has just been published. One of the benefits of membership in the American Go Association is the Member’s Edition of the American Go E-Journal, the largest English language go publication in the world. The Member’s Edition includes game commentaries and other special content and the annual Yearbook collects it all into one handy online document. Once selected in the online Yearbook, game records or PDFs open up quickly and easily for review or download. We appreciate our member’s support of the AGA and hope that they will find the Yearbook a valuable and useful resource. Click here now to join the AGA and begin receving the Member’s Edition. Special thanks to the Yearbook Production Team: Myron Souris, Games Editor; Justin Hall, Assistant Online Editor.
- Chris Garlock, Managing Editor
The 39th Canadian Go Open Tournament will be hosted in Mississauga and Oakville, Ontario this year from July 1st to July 3rd over the Canada Day weekend. Participants will have a chance to view the Canada Day fireworks and dazzling cirque shows at Mississauga’s Celebration Square (7 minutes drive away from event venue) after a day of playing Pair Go on Friday.
The six-round main tournament will be hosted on Saturday and Sunday in Oakville. Lectures for both beginners and advanced players and simultaneous game with professional players will be scheduled in between games. A casual four-round lightning Go will be hosted on Saturday night. The tournament will end with a traditional award ceremony and banquet. For detailed schedule and more information, please visit the Golden Key Go School’s website.
The price for the three-day event is $85 for adults and $60 for children. Door price will be $10 higher. Register now for three days of fun.
- Joanna Liu
July 2: Sacramento, CA
Davis/Sacramento Summer Quarterly
Willard Haynes firstname.lastname@example.org 916-929-6112
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by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal
Ichiriki wins 7th O-kage Cup: The final section (last four rounds) of the 7th O-kage (Gratitude) Cup, a tournament for players aged 30 and under, was held on the bank of the Isuzu River and at the Alley Ki-in in Ise City in Mie Prefecture on May 14 and 15. The sponsors are a group of tourist-trade shops (many of them recreations of Edo Period buildings) in Gratitude Alley, the street leading up to the Ise Shrine (later in the month, this area was the site of the G7 summit).
The players who made the final, Ichiriki Ryo 7P and Anzai Nobuaki 7P, are fellow disciples of So Kofuku 9P. Anzai is the older, 30 to Ichiriki’s 18, and won the 2nd and 3rd terms of this tournament, but Ichiriki has recently developed into one of the top players of the post-Iyama generation. Taking black, Iyama beat Anzai by resignation after 183 moves and won this title for the thirdtime in a row. First prize is three million yen.
The level of competition was quite high, as the 16 players in the final section included two former holders of top-seven titles, Murakawa Daisuke, who wonthe Oza title, and Ida Atsushi, the previous Judan, the second-place-getter in
the Honinbo League, Motoki Katsuya 7P, and women’s triple crown-holder Xie Yimin. As it happened, all these players were eliminated in the first round.
Iyama close to defending Honinbo title: The challenger Takao Shinji 9P made a good start in his challenge for the 71st Honinbo title, winning the opening game, but nothing has gone well for him since.
The second game was played at the Honkoji Temple in Amagasaki City, Hyogo Prefecture on May 23 and 24. Iyama turned the tables from the first game. Playing white, he attacked severely and seized the initiative, then fended off Takao
’s attempts to get back into the game. Early in the game there was a spectacular trade that gave Takao a large area but also gave Iyama a lot of ko threats. Iyama made good use of them to secure a large territory of his own. Still fighting continued, with Iyama making an unexpected but severe invasion. Takao was ahead in territory, but Iyama’s constant attacking paid off. An unusual feature of this game was that Iyama twice made a tortoise-shell capture; it’s rare for one to appear in a pro game, let alone two. It’s proverbially worth 60 points, twice as much as a ponnuki. Late in the middle game, Takao made a last-chance attack on a white group, but Iyama found a clever move to settle it and nursed his lead to the end. Takao resigned after 230 moves. Incidentally, the 24th was Iyama’s birthday (he’s now 27); he gave himself a good birthday present.
The third game was played the Old Ryotei Kaneyu in Noshiro City in Akita Prefecture on June 2 and 3. (“Ryotei” is a term for a traditional Japanese inn; here “Old Ryotei” has been incorporated as part of the name. This inn is a palatial building made completely of wood; it has been registered with the government as a “tangible cultural property.”) In contrast to the second game, the players made a solid and steady start. Inevitably a fierce fight started in the middle game, with a ko attached. Iyama played strongly and forced Takao to resign after 207 moves.
The fourth game was played in the Olive Bay Hotel in Saikai City in Nagasaki Prefecture on June 13 and 14. This was the most fierce game of the series so far, with fighting starting early in the opening. Playing white, Iyama cut a large group into two and killed both parts of it. Takao resigned after move 128. The game finished at 2:44 pm on the second day, Takao had two hours 33 minutes of his time left and Iyama had one hour 48 minutes left.
The fifth game will be played on June 29 and 30.
Murakawa becomes Gosei challenger: The play-off to decide the challenger for the 41st Gosei title was held on May 18. Murakawa Daisuke 8P (W, right) beat Yamashita Keigo 9P by 4.5 points, becoming the Gosei challenger for the first time. This gave Murakawa revenge for losing the play-off to decide the Kisei challenger to Yamashita three years in a row. He will be the second player to try to put a dent in Iyama’s septuple crown. The title match will start on June 25.
The 2016 Pair Go World Cup will be held on July 9 & 10 in Tokyo. Sixteen of the world’s best male-female pairs have been invited to compete for the top prize of 10M JPY. The star-studded field includes Ke Jie – Yu Zhiying (China); Iyama Yuta – Hsieh Yimin (Japan); Park Junghwan – Choi Jeong (Korea) and Chen Shih-Iuan – Hei Jiajia (Taiwan). Notable pairs from the West include Eric Lui – Sarah Yu (North America); Fernando Aguilar – Rosario Papeschi (Latin America) and Ilya Shikshin – Natalia Kovaleva (Europe). All games will be broadcast on Pendant. Click here for details.
The Syracuse Go Club had its largest turnout ever for a weekly meeting on Monday, June 13, when 14-year-old Zhangbokan “Tony” Tang 7d played a simul against all comers. Tang, recent winner of the Maryland Open, faced 17 opponents, giving handicaps ranging from 4 stones (for 1 dan players) to 13 (for 20 kyus) — seven other players chose to watch. Only three of his opponents emerged victorious, but a good time was had by all. Tang, who is staying with a host family in Syracuse for three more years until he finishes high school, is about to return to China to visit his family for a few weeks, but he will be returning in time for the US Go Congress, accompanied by his teacher Weijei Jiang 9P.
- report/photo by Richard Moseson