One of the most beautiful and romantic UK tournament locations must surely be the Isle of Skye in Scotland’s Western Highlands, which this weekend, March 15-16, hosts the 3rd edition of its two-yearly tournament (alternating with the two-yearly Isle of Man Go Week). Despite its remoteness from most of the UK, 30 have already registered including Britain’s strongest native player, Matthew Macfadyen 6d, who rarely competes these days but who also entered – and won – the first two Skye tournaments.
Although the island’s economy was formerly dominated by crofting, these days tourism is its key money-spinner. Tournament organizer Carel Goodheir tells us that, for reasons which are not entirely clear, about 6,000 Chinese visit every year now, which is approximately twice the population of the largest settlement, Portree, where the tourney is held. So far none of them have entered but he hopes to find a way to bring the tourney to their attention in the future.
Forty years ago, when Goodheir first moved to the island, he estimates about 80% of the inhabitants spoke the Scottish Gaelic as their main language, but nowadays less than 40% can speak it. Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, a public higher education college in Sleat, Skye, is the world’s only educational establishment using Scottish Gaelic as the medium of instruction. If you’ve never heard the language – which in 2000AD also had about 1600 speakers in the US, and currently has over 2300 in Canada – check out this short (2′ 15″) BBC Alba (Gaelic service) TV report on the 1st Skye tourney in 2010, featuring Neil Mitchison explaining the game in Gaelic, and believed to be the only BBC coverage to date of a go tournament. The clip opens with co-organizer John Macdonald at the board playing Aideen O’Malley, a director of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig.
Click here for full tournament details
Report by Tony Collman, British correspondent for the E-Journal. Photo: Carel Goodheir mooring his boat at Portree with Honey the dog, Old Man of Storr in background, by Ruth Goodheir
The third annual Jingdezhen exhibition match finished on March 9 with Choi Cheolhan 9p finally victorious over long-time rival Chen Yaoye 9p. Establishing territory was tedious but the game remained relatively even up to move 134. However, both Chen (black) and Choi (white) began to stumble shortly after, making a series of mistakes until Choi secured the winning move at 182. They played a perfect endgame and Chen never had a chance to recover.
Before this game, Chen had won over twice as many games as Choi in their individual matches (10-4). From 2007 through 2012 alone, Chen defeated Choi in 8 consecutive games. Choi’s record since 2013, though, has been comeback material. Since 2013, Chen and Choi’s head to head record (including this game) is 3-1 in Choi’s favor.
Also known as the Tianxin Pharmaceutical Cup, the first Jingdezhen match was played in 2012 in its title city Jindgezhen (located in China’s Jiangxi province). The winner’s prize is 150,000 RMB (approx. 24.5k USD) and the runner up claims 100,000 RMB (approx. 16k USD). For more information about this year’s Jingdezhen exhibition match including photos, please visit Go Game Guru.
— Annalia Linnan, based on a longer article by Go Game Guru; photo and game record courtesy of Go Game Guru
UK: The Trigantius tournament finished in Cambridge on March 9 with Jon Diamond 4d in first, William Brooks 3d in second, and Toby Manning 3d in third. Turkey: Hulya Colak 4k lead the 2014 Turkish Women’s Championship in Ankara on March 8. Behind her were Sebnem Gurbuzel 4k in second and Evren Bicakci 5k in third. (Photo: Gozde Taskin 5k, place 7 of 19.) Serbia: Also on March 8, Zoran Jankovic 4d dominated the Radnicki Club Tournament in Kragujevac while Mihailo Jacimovic 1k came in second and Dragan Stojadinovic 8k placed third.
– Annalia Linnan, based on reports from EuroGoTV, which include complete result tables and all the latest European go news; photo courtesy of EuroGoTV
Not long ago, on February 24 to be exact, sixteen globetrotting, go-playing university students gathered at the Hotel Monterey La Soeur Ginza in Tokyo for a reception to kick off the 12th World Students Go Oza (throne) Championship. Half of them, four young men and four young women, came from China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan, where go is a major intellectual sport. Another six young men and two young women came from Brazil, France, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Russia, Thailand, the Ukraine, and the USA. Ahead of them were two days of competition to determine the champion and put the others in their places.
If you imagine a typical go-playing university student to be slight of build, serious, studious, and quiet, then there was one who looked the part perfectly. That was the young man from China: Wang Chen. But for the past few years Mr Wang has also been one of the 'Four Heavenly Kings' who rule China's amateur rating list.
A native of Dalian, Mr Wang learned go at age seven and started taking part in the annual Chinese professional qualification tournament at age ten. After nine straight failures to make pro, he gave up and enrolled at the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, where he studies economic reporting and captains the university's go team. In the meantime, he had begun winning major amateur tournaments in China, at least one each year since 2009.
Chinese amateur tournaments have significant monetary prizes. When he won the Chenyi Cup in 2011, Mr Wang earned as much as a white-collar worker in China might make in two years. Essentially he was putting himself through college by playing go. Last July he won the first Chinese International University Weiqi (go) Tournament, and this year in January, after taking fourth place in the Evening News Cup, he beat one of China's top pros in the Evening News pro-amateur team match, so this unassuming economist-to-be landed in Tokyo with excellent prospects of winning yet another championship.
And that's what he did. In the first round on the morning of February 25 he downed Ken (Kai Kun) Xie, who had been New Zealand champion at age twelve in 2006. Playing black, Wang killed two groups of white stones and won by resignation in 175 moves. (When played out to the end, a typical game of go lasts nearly 300 moves.)
In the second round Wang faced Yamikumo Tsubasa, an Osaka University student who has consistently done well in the Japanese Students Top Ten Tournament. Playing white, Wang killed a black group at the 120th move. Mr Yamikumo conceded the game 44 moves later. Next morning Wang defeated the other Japanese player, Ritsumei University coed Go Risa. She came out of the opening badly and resigned after only 90 moves. Wang's last opponent, Chung Chen-En, a student at Taiwan's National Central University, put up more resistance than the other three, but in the end he too resigned, following a futile last-ditch attack on one of Wang's groups.
Yamikumo, Go, and Chung did not lose to anyone else, so they finished as part of the four-way tie for runner-up. Tie-breaking points put Yamikumo second, Chung third, and Go fourth. Taiwan's Hu Shih-Yun also lost only one game and came in fifth. The opponent she lost to was the USA's Maojie Xia, who had played the two Japanese and finished a highly commendable sixth.
In his championship interview Mr Wang said that all of his games had gone well. None of his opponents would argue with that. He added that after graduating he hopes to continue his amateur career and is particularly interested in coaching talented young players.
And what about the rest of the world? Viktor Ivanov (Russia, 9th place) and Kwan King-Man (Hong Kong, 10th place) matched Maojie Xia by winning two games apiece, and although Yanqi Zhang (France, 12th place) won only once, the opponent she beat was Zhou Shiying, the Chinese female player. At both the reception and the awards ceremony, officials in the All Japan Students Go Association, which handled all the organizational work (drinking party included), remarked on the rising level of play in countries outside the Far East.
Complete results and clickable game records can be found here.
MTV drama Teen Wolf again wove go into the latest episode, making two weeks in a row where the game has been featured prominently. Co-star Dylan O’Brien, as Stiles Stilinski, has been possessed by a dark fox spirit, the Nogitsune, who is controlling his mind and body. Go is alluded to about twelve minutes in, when two werewolves are discussing strategy. One is trying to use a chess board to figure out what Stiles would do, but the older werewolf observes “Chess is Stiles’ game, it’s not the game of a Japanese fox”. Later, using psychic werewolf powers, Stiles’ friends are able to enter his mind, where they find him engaged in a game of go with the Nogitsune. Like all good go players, he is immersed in the game, and deaf to the cries of his friends. It appears that while his mind is trapped in the go game, the Nogitsune has complete control of his body. We see the board from multiple angles, with Stiles playing white. Unfortunately, the only move he makes on the board is an empty triangle, although the board position is at least reasonable. The spell is broken when Tyler Posey, as Scott McCall, transforms into a werewolf and his howl gets through to Stiles. Suddenly realizing what is going on, Stiles looks up at the Nogitsune, and then sweeps all the stones off the board. Just as well, nothing good would have come from that empty triangle anyway. The go match appears at the 35 minute mark, and the entire episode can be viewed on the MTV website here. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Photo from the MTV website.
The Irish team were full of the joys of spring, as they totally dominated the Spanish team in a 2-2 draw on IGS last night. In what was a marathon match, with all 4 games entering overtime, and with multiple disconnections to boot, the squad never looked troubled. Ireland once again are proudly holding onto 8th position in the league.
Austin Freeman 2k, is looking for players in the Vancouver, WA, area. “I want to be able to play others in person instead of only over the computer, and I know there are others that feel like this too,” says Freeman. Interested parties can contact Freeman at his e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org , or on KGS, where he plays as AffyTaffyC.
Popular go teacher Yilun Yang 7P will teach a two-day weekend workshop in Berkeley, California on April 5th and 6th. Author of many go books including Whole Board Thinking in Joseki and Fundamental Principles of Go, Mr. Yang is also a regular participant in the U.S. Go Congress, Cotsen Open, and other major go events.
The workshop is open to go players of all strengths; Mr. Yang’s unique teaching format enables students at all levels to get a lot out of the workshop. Mr. Yang will present a series of lectures addressing such topics as how to fight, when to invade versus reduce, how to determine the biggest point in the opening, how to handle crosscuts and many other situations that occur in every game you play. These algorithmic approaches are integrated with games, game analysis, and problem-solving sessions.
More information is available on the Bay Area Go website. Register early as capacity is limited, and advanced registration is required. Photo by Lisa Schrag.
March 16: Burlington, VT
Queen City Go Tourney Spring 2014
David Felcan email@example.com 802-860-9587
March 16: Portland, OR
Hikaru No Go Child and Youth Tournament
Peter Freedman firstname.lastname@example.org 503-242-4203
Get the latest go events information.