The first International Mind Sports Association Elite Mind Games (IEMG) will be held January 5-12, 2016 in Huai-An City, Jiangsu Province, China. The North American team will comprise three male players and one female player. All participants will have travel, accommodation, and visa application expenses paid for. Players will all receive prize money, a minimum of €1,000, which, after IGF surcharge, will be around $1,000.
Online playoffs will be held on the weekend of October 3-4 with tie-breakers on Oct. 10-11 (if needed). Players will need to budget the entire weekend as the online selections will likely begin at 9:00am PST / 12:00pm EST and end in the late afternoon/evening.
Eligibility: US/Canadian Citizenship. US players must have had continuous AGA membership for a year and have been resident in the US for six of the last 12 months. Interested players must email email@example.com by Sunday, September 27th.
According the International Go Federation, the format will be the same as the fourth Sport Accord World Mind Games (men’s team event, women’s individual event, pair go). The Men’s team competition is a round-robin, the women’s is a double-elimination with extra games to determine all places, and pair go is a straight knockout.
The third of Haylee’s (Hajin Lee 3p) live stream demonstration matches with AGA pros is set for this Saturday evening at 7 p.m. Eastern time on YouTube. Haylee is 1-1 so far, having won against Calvin Sun 1p but lost against Gansheng (William) Shi 1p. In each episode, Haylee does a short interview about the life and go career of the player, plays a game online while thinking out loud, and then reviews the game with the player. Tomorrow night’s game is against Ryan Li 1p.
The final game in the Open section of the Irish Correspondence Championship has ended. After many interesting games, the early pace was set by Philippe Renaut, but he was eventually joined at the top of the table by Irina Davis. Since there were no tiebreakers, they are this year’s joint winners, on 9 wins from 10 games. In a tie for third with 7 wins were Noel Mitchell, James Hutchinson, and Michael Plikk.
Full results are here.
“This book, first published in 1967, deals with the hidden war between American and Japanese code breakers from WW1 to Pearl Harbour. In discussing Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto (left), the “brain” behind the attack on Pearl Harbour, Fargo mentions that Yamamoto was considered one of the strongest go players in the Japanese Navy (he enjoyed other games too, like Shōgi, Bridge and Poker).
For me it was not too surprising that Yamamoto played go, as many members of the Japanese Navy were fond of it (see e.g. Ukiyo-e below right), but I did not know that he was such a strong player. However, when I checked the curriculum vitae of Admiral Yamamoto in Wikipedia I got another surprise. While go is listed on the German Wiki among other games that Yamamoto enjoyed, in his English Wiki entry go is not mentioned at all. This is quite a contrast to the fact that he was an expert go player.
Yamamoto was killed when American codebreakers identified his flight plans and his plane was shot down.
“I love to travel. In the past, I always sought out swing dancing events as I traveled. Now, I often search for local go clubs or tournaments. Thanks to go, I’ve made friends all over the world. I’ve trained in the mountains of Costa Rica, played in the back alleys of Korea, competed in China and Ecuador, and hitch-hiked and cycled from New York to California visiting every club along the way. My opponent and I may not always speak the same language, but when I sit down across a board from them our hands begin to talk. Through grunts, sighs, and bursts of laughter we engage in a deep and meaningful conversation and by the end, I’ve made a new friend.”
Why do you play? Tell us in 100 words or less your favorite thing about the game of go, include your name, age, how long you’ve played go, where you live and your home go club, and email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include a current photo!
“Here is an example of another kind of verse, a famous kyoka (mad poem) attributed to Sansa, the first Honinbo and founder of that line,” writes Keith Arnold in response to Paul Celmer’s recent query (Searching for a literary go reference 9/9 EJ). “He is said to have composed it on his deathbed, which would date it at 1623. As a demonstration, perhaps, of mu-shin, and not without a touch of grim humor, he makes his own imminent death the subject.”
ko ni mo tatete
iku beki wo
shinuru michi ni wa
te hitotsu mo nashi
If this were go
I’d start a ko fight
and surely live,
but on the road to death
there’s no move left at all.
“This is from an article, Some Senryu about Go, by William Pinckard who often contributed to Go World. I found it on the Kiseido site, but I suspect it was originally published in Go World 15 and in the second edition of the Go Almanac.”
(Thanks also to Peter Schumer, who also sent in this poem)
Myungwan Kim 9p fields questions on September 2 from students at Pippiolo in Mexico City, where instructor Siddhartha Avila (to his left) teaches as part of a very successful curriculum for preschool and elementary school children. One asked Kim who his strongest three opponents have been, and when he answered Lee Changho, Lee Sedol and Cho Hoon Hyun, the kid immediately said “Have you played Gu Li?!”
- report/photo by Steven Burrall
Matthew Burrall 7d and Steve Burrall 3d topped the Davis/Sacramento Go Club Fall Tournament, tying for first place after tie-breakers. The tournament was held September 5th at the Arden-Dimick library in Sacramento. “We had 16 players, our largest number in a few years,” reports organizer Willard Haynes. “It was also the strongest field that we have ever had.” There were five dan level players ranging from 1 dan to 7 dan. “One player, Jeremy Cook 9k, came all the way from Los Angeles,” Haynes adds. The lower division was won by Cordell Newmiller, 8k by tie breaker. Laura Holeman 12k, played in her first AGA tournament.
The selection process for the 2016 World Mind Sports Games (WMSG) will begin at the upcoming American Chang Qi Cup in Cambridge, MA, on September 26 – 28, says AGA President Andy Okun. Although plans have not been formally announced, it is expected that the 2016 WMSG will be held in Macau, China. Prior WMSG competitions (2008 in Beijing, and 2012 in Lille France) invited large teams for both women and men. “That means that some players will have a chance to make the team with lower ratings than usual for our international events,” said Okun. “The existing qualification points system is being modified to include the lower ranks, and will be used for selection of both the men’s and women’s teams.” Other tournaments intended to be used as qualifiers include the Cotsen in Los Angeles, the New Jersey Open, The Maryland Open and at least two online tournaments; other tournaments that meet certain criteria may also be designated as qualifiers. The points system will also select for invitations to the North American Masters and may be used for other invitations that come up from time to time, Okun said.
by Janice Kim 3P
Despite my well-known penchant for pompous, florid, and illiterate writing for comedic effect, it is literally true that I declared email bankruptcy several years ago. For the most part I let the bulk of all communication go by, reserving only ever-changing email addresses and phone numbers for specific day-to-day purposes, like I think I’m Tom Cruise who thinks he’s a super spy.
Even with filtering out spam and junk mail, I had just a hair under 28,000 emails in my inbox when I screwed my courage to the sticking point and went through them all in one blur of a Labor Day weekend. Doubtless some were overlooked, but I was touched by the emails I’ve received from people I’ve met in the go community, and it fills me with regret that many people wrote me more than once, and some wrote me only once, and all were doubtless confused why I did not answer. Perhaps I should also have been moved by the numerous overlooked opportunities for self-help, gainful employment or contribution to society in these emails, but that’s one of the beauties of go. One learns not to value oneself based on short-term specific results in a shifting, highly complex landscape involving other players.
Go teaches us that excuses are merely tools we use to remain at a plateau, but in sifting back through years of thoughtful emails from wonderful people that went unanswered, I noted that the date of the declaration of email bankruptcy appears to be somewhat co-related to the date in which I lost the connection, could not escape, and appeared to not be able to live except by repeatedly playing elsewhere through ko, when I was severely beaten up in a parking lot. It was not fatal, as I am fine now, but I can speak to the Asian truth of nearly dying of shame and embarrassment, why that’s not as peculiar and ridiculous as it may sound, even if meant literally. As you may have gleaned by reading previous entries of the Janice Kim files, it may also have something to do with constantly tripping over a super-selective eidetic memory. I will disavow any knowledge of this message, and it will self-destruct in five seconds. Meanwhile, here’s my long-promised actual piece with go diagrams, incorporating my parking lot incident in the way I was thinking about it.
There’s still time to sign up for Guo Juan 5P’s online group class, which starts on September 19. The 135 euro fee cover eight 90-minute classes and seven weeks of full access to Guo’s pro lecture site and training system. “Meet friends, have fun and learn from pro teachers,” says Guo. In addition to Guo, teachers include YoungSun Yoon 8P, Jennie Shen 2P and Mingjiu Jiang 7P.
Registration is speeding up as the Chang Qi Cup approaches. At this point, less than two weeks remain before the Cup kicks off at Harvard University. The unprecedented event will include professional commentary on the Chinese semifinals, an amateur tournament with more than $10,000 in total cash prizes, and multiple other special events. There will be a lot of professional go players on hand: Chang Hao 9P, Yu Bin 9P, Mingming Yin 1P, Andy Liu 1P, Gansheng Shi 1P, Calvin Sun 1P, and Ryan Li 1P have all confirmed they’ll be in attendance.
Because there are less than two weeks left, organizers highly recommend that anyone who wants to make travel plans do so soon. Information about hotels and transportation, as well as general information and registration, is all available on the ACGA’s website. -Julian Erville. Photo: Student Organization Center at Hilles, Harvard University.
Officer applications for the American Go Honor Society are due by September 19. The organization runs multiple events every year including the School Team Tournament and the Young Lions, and is run entirely by high school students. The open positions include Vice President, Promotion Head, Webmaster, Tournament Organizer, Secretary, and Treasurer. To apply, download the application form on the AGHS’s website and send it in to AGHSpresident@gmail.com by September 19.
Last week, as Tokyo correspondent for the American Go E-Journal, I was invited to attend some special events held in connection with the Nihon Ki-in Summer Camp and the Meijin title match (at right). Here is my report.
Teaching Game: This year’s summer camp, which has become an annual event at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo, was held for two weeks, from Friday, August 21, to Thursday, September 3. The camp had a cosmopolitan atmosphere, with 16 players of both sexes from 13 countries taking part and go ranks ranging from around 3-dan to double-digit kyu. One point that struck me was that, besides the Western countries you might expect, there were also participants from places like Hong Kong, China, and Singapore where there’s no shortage of local instructors. Word-of-mouth on this event must be good.
There was a full program, with morning and afternoon sessions every day. The program included sessions studying life-and-death and tesuji problems, lectures and simuls by professionals, goodwill matches with Japanese amateurs, and also a league tournament. A repeat participant, Michael Webster of England, was taken on as an intern at the Nihon Ki-in beforehand to help plan the camp; he also selected the life-and-death problems, including problems of various levels to cater for everyone. All the participants I got to speak to were happy with what they called a very enjoyable camp. The double-digit kyu-player referred to above told me that he was actually a virtual beginner but that he had a great time at the camp and that his motivation was now very high.
The event I was invited to attend was a teaching game played from noon to about two o’clock on Wednesday, September 2. This game was a reward for the winner of the camp league, who was Tyler Oyakawa 3D of the US. The professional was Fujisawa Rina 3P, holder of the Women’s Honinbo title and, at just 16, the great hope of women’s go in Japan. Coincidentally, another American did a simultaneous public commentary in the same room: this was Michael Redmond 9P, who was assisted by his charming elder daughter Emi, who is about 1-dan amateur. Emi speaks three languages, Japanese, Chinese, and English; she is in her final year at Sophia University (Jochi) in Tokyo, and she is also interested in helping to spread go. The game, on three stones, was a relatively peaceful one because, for the most part, Rina did not, in Michael’s words (in conversation later), “play wildly, as I would have done.” If the handicap is correct, the pro can expect to catch up in the endgame, and this seemed to be Rina’s strategy; she ended up getting a good lead, however, leading Tyler to resign.
I found the commentary very instructive and so asked Michael to write it up for the E-Journal. He cheerfully complied, so you can click on his commentary here. After having the bright idea of making this request, I just sat back and enjoyed the game instead of taking notes. Just for the record, the Nihon Ki-in is also holding a winter camp this year, but it is of a different nature. It is open to go educators and instructors from the ASEAN countries, seven of which have go associations: Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. The camp will be mainly concerned with teaching and propagation methods.
Clash of the Honorary Meijins: In the afternoon on Wednesday, we were all invited to attend a special event commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Asahi Meijin title and starting at 3:30. This was a public game between the only two players to have qualified as Honorary Meijin, Cho Chikun and Kobayashi Koichi. Kobayashi has already assumed the title, as he turned 60 three years ago, but Cho Chikun is 59, so it’s not yet official for him. The criterion is winning the title five times in a row or ten times overall. Cho won the 5th to 9th titles, thus qualifying one way, then almost qualifying the other when he won the 21st to 24th titles. Kobayashi won the 10th title, then had a long run lasting from the 13th to the 19th.
This game was played in the Wisteria Room of the Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo, informally known as just the Chinzanso, where the Meijin title match between Iyama Yuta and Takao Shinji was due to start the following day. The main commentator was 24th Honinbo Shuho, otherwise known as Ishida Yoshio 9P, assisted by Osawa Narumi 4P, among others. Prominent Meijins of the past in the audience, such as Otake Hideo, Rin Kaiho, Takemiya Masaki, and the incumbent, Iyama Yuta, were also called up on stage for their comments. Several people commented on how serious both Cho and Kobayashi seemed about the game. (As is usual with these public games, there were playing on the same stage as the commentary, but in theory the players are too absorbed in the game to pay attention to what is being said. That’s the theory, anyway.) In the past, these two were great rivals, especially in the 80s. Cho achieved success earlier and has outstripped Kobayashi (74 titles to 59); however, Kobayashi wrested his big titles, the Kisei and the Meijin, from the hands of Cho. The biggest regret of Kobayashi’s career is undoubtedly three successive Honinbo challenges rebuffed by Cho. Cho and Kobayashi hold the record for the most games between two players, at 129. We didn’t get an up-to-date breakdown at the public commentary, but someone did say that it was 63 wins each a couple of years ago (by the way, this game does not count, as it was unofficial).
As usual with these two, the game was a good contest and entertained the standing-room-only audience. Takemiya commented: “The game is so fierce you’d think there was a big prize at stake. Each one thinks, this is the one player I don’t want to lose to.” Iyama also expressed admiration for their fighting spirit. The highlight of the game was an attack on a weak group launched by Kobayashi (White) on move 108. Everyone thought Cho was in trouble, but he came up with a clever counter that linked up his weak group at the cost of a two-stone sacrifice. At this point, Cho was ahead, but Kobayashi pulled off an upset in the endgame while Cho was in byo-yomi. Kobayashi ended up winning by 1.5 points.After the game–Kobayashi: “Black 109 was the kind of move you expect from Cho.” Cho: “Next year I can call myself Honorary Meijin, but forget about this honorary stuff. I’m going to become the real Meijin.”
Actually the game review was the most entertaining part of the event. Cho is a compulsive joker; you rarely hear a straight line from him. On the stage, he was like a runaway train. Poor Ishida in particular was the butt of his humor, with comments like, “I may play badly sometimes, but not badly enough to lose to Ishida.” Cho’s fellow pros take his humor in their stride, and Ishida kept trying to review the game with Kobayashi although drowned out by Cho. A number of times, Cho said to the audience: “Do you have any idea what those guys are going on about? I don’t.“ He also reproached Ishida with not giving his clever move at 109 adequate appreciation at the time, so he was certainly listening to the public commentary.
The eve party: In Japan, there’s a strong tradition of holding parties on the eve of major events. There’s a special word for it, “zenyasai” or “night-before festival.” The tradition is honored in go, and these parties are big events (about 240 people attended on Wednesday), especially for games played away from the major cities. They are like showcases for the local go community. The summer camp group was also invited to the eve party held from 6 pm. on the 2nd. Persons in attendance ranged from the heavies of the go world to ordinary go fans who apply by postcard for invitations.
At the party there were the usual speeches and, of more interest, short speeches by the players expressing their resolve for the match. Takao: “This year my results have been bad and I have a minus record. I hear it’s the first time ever the Meijin challenger has had a minus record, so I have set an unprecedented record. Just between you and me, it’s because I have staked everything on the Meijin title, so at present things are proceeding according to my scenario. I also have a scenario for after this, but it’s a secret. It’s not so often in a lifetime that you get to play a best-of-seven, so this is a valuable period for me. It’s important for me.” Iyama’s reply: “I don’t know what kind of scenario Takao Sensei is writing, but the Meijin is a special title. This title alone I can’t hand over.”
Among the guests appearing on stage was Michael Redmond, who, assisted by Osawa Narumi 4P, did a public commentary on the game on Friday afternoon. On Thursday morning, the summer-camp participants were invited to watch the start of the game in the playing room.
photos courtesy Tom Urasoe, Nihon Ki-in Overseas Dept.
by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal
Women’s Meijin League: The final game in the first round of the new league was played on August 28. Aoki Kikuyo 8P (W, at right) beat Okuda Aya 3P by 7.5 points. On September 3, Okuda recovered from her bad start, beating Suzuki Ayumi 6P (B) by 5.5 points. On the same day, Mannami Nao 3P (W) improved her score to 2-0 by beating Kato Keiko 6P by 6.5 points.
Iyama makes good start in Meijin title defense: The first game of the 40th Meijin best-of-seven was played at the Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo on September 3 and 4. Taking white, Iyama secured a resignation after 180 moves. Iyama owed his victory to his skillful play in rescuing a group under attack. Iyama had given Takao this attack as compensation for winning a large ko. After the game, the challenger Takao Shinji 9P commented that perhaps his positional judgment had been a little slack. He said that he played a little mildly in a couple of areas because he thought he was ahead when he may not have been. The second game will be played on September 17 and 18.
Vacant seats in 71st Honinbo League filled: The following four players have won seats in the 71st Honinbo League, due to start in October. They are Takao Shinji Judan, Yo Seiki 8P, Ichiriki Ryo 7P, and Motoki Katsuya 3P (left). The first two, Takao and Yo, won their way back in immediately after dropping out of the previous league. The other two, Ichiriki (aged 18) and Motoki (aged 20), will be making their debuts. Motoki earned promotion to 7-dan for his feat. Ichiriki set a record for youngest player in the Kisei league when he was sixteen years nine months; he is now 18 years two months, the second-youngest player to win a seat in the Honinbo league. He fell just nine days short of breaking the record set by Yo Seiki last year.
To 8-dan: Miyagawa Fumihiko (150 wins) (as of August 28). Miyagawa, born on February 18, 1972, is a disciple of Yamashiro Hiroshi 9P; he is a member of the Central Japan (Nagoya) branch of the Nihon Ki-in. He also serves as a director of the Nihon Ki-in.
To 7-dan: Motoki Katsuya 3P (for winning a place in the 71st Honinbo league; as of September 4)
Searching for a literary go reference: Some time ago I read a go haiku or short poem in which the aging speaker wished he could start a ko and thus postpone the impending end of his life. If anyone has the poem or similar ones, I would really appreciate getting the reference! This has been bugging me for a long time….. Paul Celmer email@example.com
by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal
Yamashita Keigo wins S League: Three important games in the 40th Kisei S League were played recently. The results were: (August 27) Murakawa Daisuke Oza (B) beat Kobayashi Satoru 9P by resig. (September 3) Yamashita Keigo 9P (W) beat Yoda Norimoto 9P by 2.5 points; Murakawa (W) beat Yamashiro Hiroshi 9P by resig. Yamashita (right) finished the league with 4-1, securing first place and a seat in the final play-off to decide the challenger. Since he will start this play-off with a one-win advantage, there’s a good chance we will see the third successive Kisei title match between him and Iyama. Thanks to his win, Murakawa, who ended on 3-2, earned a seat in the knock-out tournament — he goes directly into the semifinal. Yoda finished with the same score, but was ranked fourth to Murakawa’s second, so he drops to third place. Yoda’s loss to Yamashita was probably his most expensive of the year. One game is still to be played in the final round, so we do not know yet who will drop out. The final games in the B Leagues were also played on the 3rd. Awaji Shuzo 9P won the B1 league with a 5-2 score and Yamada Kimio 9P the B2 League, also with 5-2. There will be a play-off between these two to decide the overall B League winner. The winner will join the knock-out tournament at the bottom rung (see the end of the next item).
Kyo wins Kisei C League: After four rounds in the 40th Kisei C League, there were only two players with undefeated records; they were Kyo Kagen 3P and Akiyama Jiro 9P. The game between them in the final round, played on August 20, was in effect a play-off to decide the league winner though this league is nominally a Swiss System. The 17-year-old Kyo (not 15, as I wrote in my previous report; just for the record, he will be 18 on September 19) won this game, taking black, by resignation. This earned him a place in the knock-out tournament to decide the challenger and (assuming he doesn’t become the Kisei challenger) promotion to one of the B Leagues next year. Kyo: “The new league system for the Kisei tournament encourages young players. I aim to be the challenger.” Incidentally, Kyo is leading the most-wins list with 32 wins to six losses (next is Yamashita Keigo on 29-19, followed by Ichiriki Ryo on 27-13). Recently, there have been more and more signs that Kyo may be the strongest teenager in Japan. To summarize the knock-out stage of the Kisei tournament: The C League winner, Kyo Kagen, will play the overall B League winner (Awaji or Yamada); the winner then plays the winner of the A League, Kono Rin; the winner of this game then plays the S League number two, Murakawa; the winner then joins the final match with Yamashita to decide the challenger.
Tomorrow: Women’s Meijin League; Iyama makes good start in Meijin title defense; Vacant seats in 71st Honinbo League filled
The Confucius Institute for Ireland has generously sponsored more Go lessons to the Irish Go Association.
Fan Hui 2p will be giving lessons starting tomorrow, September 9th on KGS.
More details can be found here.