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Redmond Cup Champions Return to Defend Their Titles Against New Challengers

Sunday July 22, 2018

Aaron Ye pictureThe 25th Redmond Cup preliminaries, for the strongest young players in North America, were held on KGS between March and June and ended with both of last year’s champions, Aaron Ye 7d and Ary Cheng 6d sweeping the Senior and Junior divisions respectively. Their challengers this year are Aaron’s longtime rival Jeremy Chiu 7d, and a newcomer to the Finals in the Junior, Frederick Bao 4d. Ye and Chiu competed against each other in the Finals of the Junior Division in 2014, with Ye taking the crown. Both kids have represented the US in international tournaments numerous times, and are the current stars of the North American youth scene. Learn more about the two Senior Division players below:

Aaron Ye (at left) is 16-years old and from Cupertino, California. He started playing go at the age of 6, and won the Junior Division of the US Youth Go Championships for three years in a row from 2010-2012. He went on to represent the US at the World Youth Go Championships three times, where he achieved 4th in 2011 and 6th in 2012 in the Junior Division ,and 3rd place in the 2016 Senior division. In addition, he represented the US in the Liming Cup and the World Amateur Go Championships. To add even further to his list of achievements, he achieved the title of Redmond Meijin in 2017 for winning the Redmond Cup five times–a feat that had only been accomplished by two other players in the history of the tournament. If he can hoist the championship trophy once more this year, he will have won the title more years than anyone else.

These days, Aaron doesn’t have much time to study go, but he plays casual games with his friends in his spare time and teaches go at a local Chinese school. For this upcoming match, Aaron told the EJ, “[Jeremy and I] had played many games in the past and through those games, I can tell that Jeremy is a talented player. I respect him a lot and wish him good luck for the game.” Outside of Go, Aaron enjoys playing tennis and watching Chinese dramas, particularly recommending Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms.

Jeremy Chiu pictureJeremy Chiu (at right) is 16-years old and from San Jose, California. He started playing go at the age of 5 through a class at his local Chinese school, and studies under Mingjiu Jiang 7p. While under the shadow of Aaron Ye’s dominance for many years in the US Youth Junior scene, he finally managed to defeat his rival in the Junior Division of the US Youth Go Championships, and placed 5th later that year in the World Youth Go Championships Junior Division. Chiu later represented the US again in the Senior Division of the World Youth Go Championships in 2015, where he placed 6th, as well as in the 2016 Korean Prime Ministers Cup and the 2016 International Amateur Pair Go Championships. Chiu is no stranger to success in the Redmond Cup, having won the Senior Division in 2016. He now has another chance to take down his rival this year.

Aside from taking lessons from Mingjiu Jiang 7p, Jeremy studies go by playing on Tygem and Fox and using AI to assist him with reviewing his games. When tournaments are coming up, he also does some tsumego and watches commentated games from his favorite pro, Meng Tailing 6p, on WeiqiTV. Jeremy credits AI for being an invaluable tool for analyzing positions, and says that it has had a large influence on his tendencies in the opening. He hopes to be able to perform better in tournaments, represent the US more in international tournaments, and one day become a professional Go player. When asked for his thoughts about this match, he said, “Aaron is and has always been a tough but fun opponent to play against; his aggressive style and precise reading often launches our games into intense fights. I’m hoping we’ll play some exciting games!” Outside of go, he participates in math competitions, the Future Business Leaders of America club, and enjoys playing the violin, piano, and video games.

In the Junior Division, 12-year old Ary Cheng 6d from Sunnyvale, California is defending his title for the 4th consecutive year, holding a dominating 6-1 record across his previous Finals matches. His 4th unique opponent, 11-year Frederick Bao 4d from Bethesda, Maryland, will take his first shot at dethroning the current king of the Junior scene.

The first round of the best-of-three Redmond Cup Finals kicks off at the 2018 US Go Congress on 7/22 at 3 pm with live video commentary by Eric Lui 1p and the Honorary Keith Arnold 4d, as well as a live broadcast of both divisions’ Finals games on KGS. Stay tuned to find out whether Aaron Ye can distinguish himself as a legend, or if Jeremy Chiu can close the curtains on Aaron’s reign. -Justin Teng, Redmond TD

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Sudden death at the 9×9 tournament

Sunday July 22, 2018

The evening unrated tournament series at the U.S. Go Congress kicked off Saturday night with the 9×9 tournament, directed by 2018.07.21 9x9 tourneyPete Schumer, who just returned from Maeda’s summer go camp in Japan. Fifty three players, with ranks ranging all the way from 30 kyu to 7 dan, were split into tables of six to play a round robin of five games to determine a winner for each table to move on to the playoff rounds. 9×9 games are generally pretty short, but with just an hour to complete the tournament (the building was closing at 10pm), the time limit on the games was just 6 minutes for each player, with no overtime. Moving on to the playoffs will be: Aaron Ye 7d, Do Khanh Bing 5d, Nick Sibicky 4d, Vo Minh Duy 4d, Jame Gome 1d, Terry Wong 2 k, Eli Fenster 5k, John Christensen 13k, and Bethany Nyborg 18k. Stay tuned for updates on playoff results.
- Matt Burrall; photo by Chris Garlock

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2018 U.S. Go Congress launches in Williamsburg

Sunday July 22, 2018

Heavy daylong rains may have slowed the arrival in Williamsburg, VA of some of the hundreds of go players at the 2018 U.S. Go 2018.07.21_go-congress-fife-drumCongress, but it didn’t dampen their spirits in the slightest, as old friends and new connected and hit the boards. New York City swept DC in the finals of the Pandanet City League — watch for full details soon — and the first round of the 9×9 tournament was held after the opening ceremonies. The U.S. Open commences at 9a sharp Sunday morning;  watch live on Twitch or YouTube and there will also be live pro commentary on KGS.  Plus check out lots of photos and reports on Facebook and Twitter and the free Congress mobile app not only has all the information attendees need  — including latest schedule updates, pairings and more — but a cool social stream as well, where we’ll be posting additional photos and reports, handy for anyone in the world who wants to see what’s going on at this popular event. photo: a fife and drum corps welcomes go players to historic Williamsburg; report/photo by Chris Garlock

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U.S. Go Congress coverage on all platforms

Saturday July 21, 2018

The 34th U.S. Go Congress gets underway this weekend in Williamsburg, VA. Follow all the action on the AGA website, on our2018.07.21_USGC_EJThumbnail Facebook and Twitter pages, in the daily E-Journal and be sure to check out our video broadcasting coverage of all major tournaments, including the 9-round US Masters, Redmond Cup Finals, Pandanet AGA City League Finals and Pair Go Finals, on our official Twitch channel – where the USGC broadcasts will be featured — as well as on our YouTube channel. “This year, we will be mainly focusing on the Twitch chat, so make sure you join the conversation there!” says Stephen Hu. 

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The Power Report (Part 2 of 3): Iyama defends Honinbo title; Fujisawa defends 5thHollyhock Cup

Thursday July 19, 2018

by John Power, special Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Iyama defends Honinbo title: The fourth game of the 73rdHoninbo best-of-seven title match was held at the Hotel Hankyu Expo Park in Suita City, Osaka Prefecture, on June 12 and 13. Yamashita Keigo 9P, the challenger, who had white, 2018.07.19_Honinbo5 Yamashita Kataoka 9P moustache Iyamatook the initiative in the fighting on the first day and went into the second day with a slight advantage. But on the evening of the second day he flinched in the face of an all-out do-or-die challenge by Iyama Yuta (or Honinbo Monyu) and in a flash his lead was upset. He resigned after 189 moves. Iyama had now won three games in a row, so Yamashita faced a kadoban. Incidentally, this is the third year in a row that this hotel was scheduled to host a Honinbo game, but on the previous occasions the match ended before it reached the hotel.
The fifth game was played at the Konjakutei inn in Aizu Wakamatsu City, Fukushima Prefecture, on June 30 and July 1. Playing white, Iyama secured a resignation after 228 moves and won the match 4-1. As in the previous game, Yamashita played well and seemed to have the initiative in the middle-game fighting on the second day, but when he launched an attack there was a chink in his armor; Iyama seized the opportunity to unleash a fierce counterpunch that Yamashita was unable to handle. He fought on until he ran out of options.
The prize money is 30,000,000 yen (about $278,000). Iyama has now held the Honinbo title for seven years in a row, so he has matched the record of Sakata Eio (16th to 26th terms); his next goals will be the nine-in-a-row posted by Takagawa Shukaku (7th to 15th terms), then Cho Chikun’s record of ten in a row (44th to 53rd). This is Iyama’s 52nd title. He is in fourth place after Cho Chikun (74), Sakata Eio (64), and Kobayashi Koichi (60), but in his tally of big-three titles (19) he is second only to Cho (29). Also, he has won 41 top-seven titles, just behind Cho’s record of 42.
Like the venues for the first and second games, the venue for the fifth game has a connection with the Meiji Restoration 150 years ago. The restoration of imperial rules was made possible by the victory of the clans supporting the restoration over those supporting the Tokugawa shogunate. After an attack by Imperial forces on Edo, the last shogun, Yoshinobu, surrendered in May 1868, but the Aizu clan, which supported the Tokugawas, continued fighting. The imperial army attacked Aizu Wakamatsu in October and the city surrendered in early November. The most famous incident in this part of the war was a mass suicide of 19 teenaged Aizu samurai in the White Tiger Corps when they concluded (prematurely) that their side had lost. This episode has been very popular in literature and film. For details of the war, check out “the Boshin war” in Wikipedia2018.07.19_Hollyhock Fujisawa and for the suicide “the Byakkotai.” The players visited the White Tiger graves to make offerings the day before the game.

Fujisawa defends 5th Hollyhock Cup: The games in the 5th Aizu Central Hospital Women’s Hollyhock Cup best-of-three were held in the space of eight days. The first two games were held in the Konjakutei, a traditional Japanese inn, in Aizu Wakamatsu City in 2018.07.19_Hollyhock3 Xie Redmond referee FujisawaFukushima Prefecture with just one rest day between them; the score was a tie, so the deciding game was played at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo after a break of four days. Xie made a good start in her bid to seek revenge for her loss to Fujisawa last year when she pulled off an upset win in the first game, but Fujisawa fought hard to take the next two games, thus defending her title.
Results
Game 1 (June 15). Xie (W) by resig.
Game 2 (June 17). Fujisawa (W) by resig.
Game 3 (June 22). Fujisawa (B) by resig.
Fujisawa won the inaugural term, so she has now won this title three times. By my count, this is her eighth title. First prize is 7,000,000 yen (close to $65,000).
(Note: Until the third term, this tournament was a knock-out, with the previous winner starting out in the final stage and the final being just one game. Last year the final became a best-of-three, with the winner to defend the title this year. It has taken two years to transform the title to the usual challenger format.)

Tomorrow: Kyo makes good start in Gosei; Kobayashi Koichi wins tournament for senior players; Ryu wins seat in 2018 Samsung Cup; Yamashita leads S League; Cho U keeps lead in Meijin League; Promotions; Obituary: Nishigami Yoshihiko 9P

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