Go News from the American Go Association
July 23, 2007; Volume 8, #54
6 DAYS TO ’07 U.S. GO CONGRESS
GO CAMPERS GET VIEW FROM THE TOP
DINERCHTEIN WINS EURO MASTERS
SEOK-UI HONG WINS EGC WEEKEND TOURNEY
KING THE COMPUTER
WORLD GO NEWS: Lee Changho Holds Off Yun In Wangwi; Park Jieun Wins Dali Cup; Cho U Takes Second Game In Gosei Title Match; Yamashita vs. Iyama for Tengen Challenger
EUROPEAN GO CONGRESS SPECIAL REPORT: Mueller On Computer Go’s “Revolutionary” Advances; A Chat With Alexandr Dinerchtein; Korean Throwdown & Dinerchtein On Masters Final; Unusual Places, Familiar Faces
GO QUIZ: The Write Stuff
6 DAYS TO ’07 U.S. GO CONGRESS: With the 2007 U.S. Go Congress set to kick off this Saturday in Lancaster, PA, organizers are finalizing preparations to host nearly 500 go players from across the country and around the world in North America’s biggest go event of the year. “We’re ready to play!” says Congress Co-Director Peter Nassar, “There’s still room for more!” Click here for info or to register. A full schedule of events is planned, from tournaments -- including the U.S. Open, Self-Paired, Lightning, Midnight and more – to simuls and lectures with 18 professional players. Registration begins at 10A Saturday (continuing until 11P), the Welcome Ceremony will be at 7P and the first round of the US Open will at 9A Sunday morning. Click here for the full tentative schedule (very subject to change!).
GO CAMPERS GET VIEW FROM THE TOP: Go Camp West campers, parents and volunteers traveled to Mt Rainier, WA on Wednesday, July 18. “They drove up to the Sunrise Visitor Center, elevation 6400 feet,” reports Brian Allen “and heard an inspirational talk from a Park Ranger who has made the climb to the summit at 14410 feet. Later, campers hiked and scrambled up a trail along White River. Last winter's mountain floods had changed many parts of the trail, but the campers rose to the challenge and helped each other along the rugged route. The evening included pizza and go.” Photo of Mingjiu Jiang teaching by Brian Allen
DINERCHTEIN WINS EURO MASTERS: Alexandr Dinerchtein 8d of Russia won the European Masters Tournament Sunday at the European Go Congress in Villach, Austria, defeating 17-year-old Ilya Shiksin 7d, also of Russia, in the final. “I was behind on territory,” Dinerchtein told the EJ right after the match, “but I had a thick position and I was able to get some compensation for the thickness.” Dinerchtein revealed that Shiksin, “who normally has an attacking style,” has changed his style recently “and is now playing for territory. If he used his attacking style, I don’t know what would happen, but I am confident about handling the territorial style, so his current style is good for me.” (see PROFESSIONALLY SPEAKING for an interview with Dincerchtein) By agreement among the eight Masters players -- Dinerchtein, Shiksin, Cristian Pop 7d, Pal Balogh 6d, Ondrez Silt 6d, Csaba Mero 6d, Andrej Kulkov 6d and Cornel Burzo 6d -- the event was a 4-round modified knockout, with all eight players competing in the first two rounds Saturday and then a final six on Sunday to determine the top winners. With three of the four boards broadcast on TV monitors for viewers in the Congress Center, the Masters playing room was dead silent Saturday except for the rustle and click of stones. Top contenders Alexandre Dinerchtein 8d and Ilya Shiksin 7d showed up on the stroke of 10A Sunday morning for the title match, but the Board 2 and 3 players – Balogh, Mero, Pop and Silt – straggled in 20 minutes later, clearly the victims of another very late night at the Moby Dick pub. Although Pop and Silt looked especially ragged – their heads hanging so low over Board 3 that they nearly touched the stones – the familiar rhythm of the game seemed to settle them down. The complete results: 1st: Alexandre Dinerchtein 8d; 2nd: Ilya Shiksin 7d; 3rd: Cristian Pop 7d/Csaba Mero 6d; 5th: Pal Balogh 6d/Ondrej Silt 6d; 7: Cornel Burzo 6d/Kulkov. Since there’s currently no sponsor for the Masters, there were no cash prizes for the winners, but each player got $150 euro playing fee. The Masters results establishes the order in which European players can participate in Asian tournaments that don’t require separate qualifying events, TD Matti Siivola told the EJ. “The Masters also creates a level playing field for the top Europeans, whose EGC Championship results can be skewed by the presence of so many strong Korean and Chinese players,” said Siivola. Photo by Martin Chrz
SEOK-UI HONG WINS EGC WEEKEND TOURNEY: Seok-ui Hong 7d (KR) won the 2-day 5-round European Go Congress weekend tournament, topping a field of 366 players. Five-game winners included Ondra Kruml 2d (CZ), Yorrick Traxler, a young 2-kyu from Vienna, two young female players, Lena Gauthier 4k (DE) and Diana Blaszczyk 5k (PL), Remi Henache 5k (FR), Giardano d'Obici 5k (IT), Roland Lezuo 6k (AT), Kris Boyen, 10k (BE), Peter Harold-Berry 14k (UK). U.S. results: Joanne Phipps 1d led the U.S. effort with her 3-2 result, Ned Phipps went 2-3 at 6d, Rick Mott 6k was 1-1, Paul Bensen 4k was 0-1 and Russ Williams was 0-1. Complete results are posted online photo by Chris Garlock
KING THE COMPUTER: Checkers has been solved, according to an online report in the journal Science on July 20. An improved version of the Chinook program cannot ever lose, scientists at the University of Alberta who developed the program reported. “In essence, that reduces checkers to the level of tic-tac-toe,” reported Kenneth Chang in the New York Times. “Checkers — or draughts, as it is known in Britain — is the most complex game that has been solved to date, with some 500 billion billion possible board positions, compared with the 765 possibilities in tic-tac-toe.” You can play Chinook online but the best you’ll get, the scientists have proven, is a draw. See below for a report on Sunday night’s presentation at the European Go Congress by Martin Mueller on the ongoing “revolution in go programming.”
WORLD GO NEWS
LEE CHANGHO HOLDS OFF YUN IN WANGWI: Claiming the Korean Wangwi title for the twelfth consecutive year, Lee Changho 9P defeated tenacious teenager Yun Junsang 6P on Wednesday, July 18th, in the final game of their best-of-five match, with a final score of 3-2. Earlier this year, Yun defeated Lee to take the Korean Kuksu title by a score of 3-1. In the Wangwi title match, Lee won the second and fourth games by a half point and 1.5 points respectively, but he finally forced a resignation in game five. The only other title Lee holds at the moment is the Korean Myeongin, which he has also held twelve times, though he lost it to Cho Hunhyun 9P in 1997.
PARK JIEUN WINS DALI CUP: Park Jieun 7P of Korea defeated Kim Hyeoimin 4P, also of Korea, by a score of 2-1 to win the first international women's Dali Cup, sponsored by a Chinese company, DALI Travel. Kim won the first game by 1.5 points, Park took the second by resignation, and the decisive third was a half point win for Park last Thursday, July 19th. This event was dominated by the Koreans--by the semi finals only Korean players remained. One Japanese player (Yashiro Kumiko 5P), two Chinese (Lu Jia 1P and Cao Youyin 2P), and the North American representative Feng Yun 9P made it to the third round, but all lost there. This is Park's second title; she won the Korean Women's Myeongin title in 1999, before Rui Naiwei 9P started dominating the Korean women's titles. Both Park and Kim are in their twenties.
CHO U TAKES SECOND GAME IN GOSEI TITLE MATCH: Cho U 9P has made it 2-0 in the defense of his Japanese Gosei title against challenger Yokota Shigeaki 9P, winning their second game on Thursday, July 19th by 6.5 points. This is the first time the two Japanese 9Ps have ever played each other in an official tournament. Yokota is a member of the Kansai Kiin and won their championship tournament in 2005. Cho took the Gosei title from Yoda Norimoto 9P last year; it is the only one of the top seven Japanese titles that he currently holds.
YAMASHITA VS. IYAMA FOR TENGEN CHALLENGER: The final game to decide the challenger for Kono Rin 9P's Tengen title will be between Yamashita Keigo 9P, who held this title in 2004, and the amazing teenager Iyama Yuta 7P. Yamashita lost the title to Kono in 2005 and was the challenger in 2006. Iyama, who is just nineteen, won the Japanese Agon cup in 2005 and though he has done well since, has not won any more titles. Yamashita, who is ten years older, is the current Kisei and has won several titles. So far this year, Iyama has a winning percentage of 81% versus Yamashita's winning percentage of 61%. Iyama is third on the list of number of games won with 22, while Yamashita is tied for fifth with 20 wins.
EUROPEAN GO CONGRESS SPECIAL REPORT
E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock is filing reports online from the 51st European Go Congress in Villach, Austria. Game records are posted online as well as videos and photos Check the main website www.usgo.org and the news page http://www.usgo.org/news/ for all the EJ’s EGC reports (use the arrows to scroll back day by day).
MUELLER ON COMPUTER GO’S “REVOLUTIONARY” ADVANCES: “The last 12 months have been the most exciting ever in computer go,” computer scientist Martin Mueller told a packed lecture hall Sunday night at the European Go Congress. Hundreds of go players stayed after five grueling rounds in the EGC Weekend Tournament to hear Mueller – a professor at the University of Alberta -- discuss the latest “revolutionary” advances in computer go. Quickly reviewing fifty years of computer go research, Mueller explained that “old school” go-playing programs like Goliath and Hand Talk focused on programming in go knowledge, whereas the new approaches -- the Monte Carlo method and UCT – are search-intensive and use random move searches instead of deterministic algorithms. Programs using this approach – GnuGo and MoGo are leading examples – “are almost perfect on 7x7 and are as strong as an amateur 3-dan on 9x9,” said Mueller. Perhaps no go player has ever been as happy as Mueller was to lose a game when GnuGo beat him in December 2006. Last year, Guo Juan 5P played a series against CrazyStone on a 7x7 board in which the program always won or got a jigo when playing white against the pro; this year MoGo scored 9 wins and 5 losses against Guo Juan on a 9x9 board. “Monte Carlo programs play many strange move,” conceded Mueller, “but they’re very good at winning. All without a single line of programming.” Such programs run as many as 100,000 simulations – or 1 million moves per second -- for each move in a 9x9 game. “Why does it work so well?” Mueller asked. “There’s no theoretical explanation, although we have excellent empirical results.” In other words, a broadly grinning Mueller said, “We don’t really know.” Although Mueller said that many researchers now think it’s “just a matter of time before there’s a professional-level go-playing program,” he think it may be farther off. “My own feeling is that we need one or two more good ideas, but where they’ll come from I don’t know.” photo by Garlock
PROFESSIONALLY SPEAKING: A Chat With Alexandr Dinerchtein
While awaiting the delayed start of Round 6 on Monday morning, I had the opportunity to chat briefly with Alexandr Dinerchtein 8d. Dinerchtein, whose commentaries are a regular feature in the EJ, also competes on the European go scene, publishes the GOAMA go newsletter and teaches as well. Fresh from his European Masters win on Sunday and halfway through the 10-round EGC Championship, Dinerchtein seemed a little more relaxed than usual. Intent and focused, he’s always the first to arrive in the Supergroup playing room, where he reviews games quietly at his board. He’s a brand new father of a 3-month-old baby daughter, which meant that this year, for the first time in several years, his wife – who plays go and is a doctor – was not able to attend the EGC. “Hopefully next year we can all be here,” said Dinerchtein. He explained that there are two go federations in Russia and that in the last few years tournament attendance has dropped from about 70 or so to half that, largely due to more people playing on the internet and the long distances they have to travel. The lack of big prizes – “At least $500 for first place” – has also meant fewer strong players showing up, he told the EJ. His go4go and GOAMA projects are going well and he was a generous participant in a go editors meeting the EJ organized last week that included representatives from the Netherlands, the UK, Poland and Turkey. In addition to the monthly game commentaries he already makes available to the EJ, Dinerchtein committed to doing live game commentaries for future EJ broadcasts. “I’ve never been to the U.S. Go Congress but one of these years I’d like to go,” Dinerchtein, a regular EGC attendee, said. - report/photo by Chris Garlock
KOREAN THROWDOWN & DINERCHTEIN ON MASTERS FINAL: Those of you who took a look at Friday’s incredibly complicated Round 5 throwdown between Hong Seul-Ki 7d and Cho Seok-bin 7d will no doubt be as relieved as we were when young Korean professionals Yoon Young-Sun 5P (l) and Kang Seung-hee 2P came by the EGC Bulletin/EJ office Sunday to explain the game, which is attached with their very helpful commentary and extensive variations. In a special bonus, Alexandr Dinerchtein has provided a blow-by-blow analysis of Sunday’s European Master’s final round between Dinerchtein and Ilya Shiksin. Dinerchtein edits the terrific GOAMA go newsletter NOTE: Click here to download dozens of top-board games! photo by Richard Pyrker
UNUSUAL PLACES, FAMILIAR FACES: In the midst of all the game recording, broadcasting and reporting over the last week, it was great to see some familiar faces here at the European Go Congress. Rick Mott 4k (l) of Princeton, NJ showed up unexpectedly Sunday to play the last two rounds of the weekend tournament.”I was in the Czech Republic on a business trip,” Mott told the EJ, “and it turned out that I didn’t have to work the entire weekend so I drove the six and a half hours down Saturday from Brno through the beautiful Austrian countryside.” Mott went 1-1 and then headed back to Brno Sunday night to finish preparing for a trade show next week in Florida, which will mean he’ll probably miss the U.S. Go Congress this year. “This was my first taste of a European Go Congress,” Mott said, “I really enjoyed it and will try to make it back again to another Congress.” We caught up with Russ Williams 4k and his pal Paul Bensen 4k of Hollywood, FL on Sunday after the last round of the weekend tournament. Originally from Austin, Texas, Williams has been living in Wroclaw, Poland for the last year and a half, teaching English and playing go. It wasn’t go that took him to Poland, but another international language, Esperanto, through which he met his Polish girlfriend a few years ago in Finland. In addition to seeing them on the boards at the Congress main and weekend events, we bumped into the Phippses – Ned (r), Joanne and Nikola, from California -- one night last week at the Bacchus restaurant, where the sidewalk terrace was filled most every night with go players. And in a very special and welcome treat, Andreas Hauenstein and his wife Connie – who many readers will remember from their time in New Jersey and who now live and work in Switzerland – not only spirited me away from my editorial sweatshop after the last round Saturday night and shared a delicious home-cooked dinner (complete with a fireworks show across the valley) at the bed-and-breakfast they’re staying at up in the gorgeous nearby mountains, but promised to take me mountain climbing on the day off this week. Also familiar to U.S. Go Congress attendees will be Francis Roads of the UK and Horst Sudhoff from Germany. - report/photos by Garlock
UPDATES & CORRECTIONS: The Hans Pietsch Memorial School (Pietsch Legacy Nurturing New Generation 7/20 EJ) originated with efforts by the German Go Federation after Pietsch, a 4-dan German professional on a promotional go tour for the Nihon Ki-in in Guatemala, was murdered in 2003. The Federation, with the Pietsch family, created a youth tournament and foundation to continue Pietsch’s work with young players, and these efforts were spun off as a separate school. Kobayashi Chizu 5P, who was also involved in these efforts, is on a one-year visit to teach go in Central Europe, sponsored by the Japanese Minister of Culture, in cooperation with the Nihon Kiin.
GO QUIZ: The Write Stuff
Only five of you braved last week’s tough question about how many published authors will be at this year’s US Go Congress, which starts this Saturday in Lancaster. Three got it right, but only quiz stalwart and leader Phil Waldron provided the correct 11 names - Yang Yilun - (12 books between Slate and Shell, Yutopian, Fourth Line Press and Wings Go Club), William Cobb (10 - Slate and Shell and Sterling Publishing), Nagahara (4 between Ishi and Kiseido), Yang Huiren (4 - Yutopian, Kiseido), Jiang (2 - Slate and Shell), Guo Juan (2 - Slate and Shell and Kiseido), Yuan Zhou (2 - Slate and Shell), Phil Straus (2 - coauthor with Mr. Yang - Fourth Line Press), Nakayama ( 1 - private and Slate and Shell) Feng Yun (1-Slate and Shell) That’s an impressive 10, but who’s number 11? It’s Anders Kierulf, whose phd thesis “ Smart Game Board: a Workbench for Game-Playing Programs, with Go and Othello Case Studies” was published in a very nice 110 page softback. Sadly, the mighty Salamony came up one short in her guess this week, and further short in her list. The careful Grant Kerr got the right total, but missed Kierulf (Grant, I’m unaware of a book in English by Nakano Yasuhiro, but feel free to prove me wrong and I will gladly turn your correct total into a wrong one and ruin your perfect record!) Congrats to Austin Robinson, this week's winner.
THANK YOU: My thanks to all 170 of you who have participated in the quiz this year. It’s been fun coming up with the quiz questions and I’ve really enjoyed your responses; please keep them coming. The quiz will take a Congress break and will return in 3 weeks, though my editor is pressuring me for special quiz questions during the Congress, so if I am inspired, look for some questions amidst the Congress coverage!
- Keith Arnold, hka, Quiz Editor
PLAYERS WANTED: Terre Haute, IN: I've been playing go online for the past few months and have been looking for go players in my area. Anyone interested in playing, please contact email@example.com (7/23)
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