American Go E-Journal

The Power Report (3): Takao to have another crack at Meijin title; Fujisawa to challenge for Women’s Honinbo; Kono has sole lead in Kisei S League; 900 wins for Hane; Promotions & Obituaries

Saturday August 20, 2016

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal2016.08.20_Meijin challenger Takao

Takao to have another crack at Meijin title: All the games in the final round of the 41st Meijin League were held on August 4. At this stage, three players were still in the running to become the challenger. With only one loss so far, Takao Shinji 9P (right) was one point ahead of Cho U 9P and Murakawa Daisuke 8P, who were both on 5-2. Besides winning his own game, Cho needed Takao to lose for him to make a play-off. Conditions were tougher for Murakawa, however. Only the two higher-ranked players qualify for a play-off in the Meijin League. That meant that Murakawa needed both Takao and Cho to lose, in which case he would meet Takao in a play-off. Go Weekly claimed that the odds of this happening were only one in 16. Takao made these calculations irrelevant by winning his game; this avoided a playoff in the league for the first time in six years. We have just seen Yamashita make three challenges in a row in the Kisei title; Takao is following in his footsteps with his second successive challenge in the Meijin title, not to mention his recently concluded Honinbo challenge. He will be hoping to do better than last year, when he failed to win a game. Apart from Murakawa, Iyama’s main opposition is still coming from older players.
2016.08.20_meijin-leagueRecent results:
(July 7) Cho U 9P (B) beat Murakawa Daisuke 8P by 2.5 points; Kono Rin 9P (B) beat Hirata Tomoya 7P by resig.
(July 21) Takao Shinji (W) beat Uchida Shuhei 7P by resig.
(Final round, August 4)Takao (B) beat Ko Iso 8P by resig. ; Yamashita (B) beat Cho U by resig.; Murakawa (B) beat Kono Rin 9P by resig.; Hirata Tomoya 7P (W) beat Hane Naoki 9P by resig.
The order after Takao is: 2. Murakawa (6-2); 3. Yamashita (5-3); 4. Cho (5-3); 5. Kono (4-4); 6. Ko (4-4). Hane (3-3), Hirata (2-6), and Uchida Shuhei 7P (0-8, bye in last round) lost their places (that had already been decided before the last round). The first game will be played at the Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo on August 30 and 31.

Fujisawa to challenge for Women’s Honinbo: After a good start to her career the year before last, in which she 2016.08.20_Fujisawa Rinawon two titles, Fujisawa Rina (right) had a “waiting” year last year. Things have now changed, however. In the play-off to decide the challenger to Xie Yimin for the 35th Women’s Honinbo title, held at the Ichigaya headquarters of the Nihon Ki-in o
n August 8, Fujisawa (W) beat Suzuki Ayumi 7P by resig. after 150 moves. The title match will start on September 13. Rina turns 18 on September 18.

Kono has sole lead in Kisei S League: After three rounds, Kono Rin 9P is the only undefeated player in the 41st Kisei S League. In his third-round game, Kono defeated the joint leader after two rounds, Murakawa Daisuke 8P. Level with Murakawa in second place is Ichiriki Ryo 7P. This is a small league, with only five rounds, so Kono is well positioned.
In the eight-player A League, So Yokoku 9P has the sole lead with five straight wins. Closest to him is Cho U 9P on 4-1, the other players have suffered two or more losses, So and Cho will meet in the final round. In the seven-round B1 League, Kyo Kagen 4P has the sole lead with 6-0, followed by Cho Chikun 9P on 5-0. In the B2 League, Ko Iso 8P has the sole lead on 5-1, followed by Yuki Satoshi 9P and Yo Seiki 7P on 4-2.
2016.08.20_kisei-leaguesRecent results:
(July 7) Yamashita Keigo (W) beat Yoda Norimoto 9P by 1.5 points.
(July 14) Ichiriki (B) beat Takao Shinji by resig.
(July 21) Kono (W) beat Murakawa by resig.
(August 11) Yamashita Keigo 9P (B) beat Takao Shinji 9P by resig.; Murakawa Daisuke 8P (B) beat Yoda Norimoto 9P by resig. (Apologies for the game out of order in my previous report.)

900 wins for Hane: Hane Naoki (right) has reached the landmark of 900 wins. At 39 years 11 months, he is the fourth 2016.08.20_Hane Naokiyoungest to do so. It took him 25 years three months, which is the third quickest. His winning percentage at this point of 66.6 is the 12th best.

Promotions
To 6-dan: Kobayashi Chizu (90 wins; as of August 5)
To 4-dan: Kyo Kagen (50 wins; as of July 8); Adachi Toshimasa (50 wins; as of July 22)
To 3-dan: Seki Tatsuya (40 wins; as of July 15)

Obituaries: Ito Makoto, Ueki Yoshio
Ito Makoto was born on August 4, 1945 in Shiga Prefecture. He became a disciple of Kitani Minoru and made 1-dan in 1964. He reached 8-dan in 1989 and was promoted to 9-dan when he retired in 2005.
Ueki Yoshio, a member of the Osaka branch of the Nihon Ki-in, died of cirrhosis of the liver on August 10. Born in Osaka on February 25, 1969, he became a disciple of Yamashita Yorimoto 7P. He qualified as 1-dan in 1985 and reached 8
-dan in 2001.

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Artist Paints Go Tribute on Plate

Thursday August 18, 2016

DSC02149China painter Marlene Shankar, of Adirondack NY, sent the EJ this picture of her latest piece. “The design was a snippet from a painting done by Hua Sanchuan,” says Shankar,  “my painting teacher Audrey McCullough went to China and in her travels she got this book filled with paintings by Hua. Years later I was looking through the book and was amazed to find the picture of the ladies playing go. I decided to put this piece on a plate not only to challenge myself with the level of detail but also because I’ve found it hard to stumble across a go related piece to call my own.”

hua-sanchuan-兰闺雅集图“China painting requires special dry paints that the artist mixes with oils that can be painted on  porcelain. This paint doesn’t dry and works like oil paints, however the color has to be built up with each firing of the porcelain. When the porcelain is fired the paint bakes into the glaze. After each firing you can determine if another layer of painting is necessary to build up the desired color and texture. The paint build up is similar to that of watercolor, coming on light and waiting to build depth.”  Shankar is part of the Adirondack Region Porcelain Artist Chapter, affiliated with the  World Organization of China Painters.  To see an enlargement of  Hua Sanchuan’s original piece, click on the thumbnail above. -Paul Barchilon

The Power Report (2): Ishida wins 13×13 tournament; Ida wins Samsung seat; Iyama defends Gosei, maintains grand slam

Thursday August 18, 2016

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal

Ishida wins 13×13 tournament: The final of the 1st 13×13 Pro-Amateur Tournament was held at the Nihon Ki-in in 2016.08.18_Ishida (L) beats KonoTokyo on July 23. Ishida Yoshio (also known as 24th Honinbo Shuho, left) (B) beat Kono Rin 9P by resig. This is the second 13×13 tournament based on crowd funding on the Net. Ishida also won its predecessor, held two years ago. He commented: “It would be nice if all professional tournaments were 13×13.” Amateurs and a software program also competed in the preliminary tournament (competing for two seats out of the 16 in the main tournament). The first prize is 600,000 yen. The minimum donation for people wishing to help fund the tournament is 3,000 yen. If you make a donation, you also get to vote in choosing the professional participants.

Ida wins Samsung seat: The international qualifying tournament for the 21st Samsung Cup, which is a major international tournament in its own right, was held in Seoul from July 15 to 20. Twenty-one Japanese players participated in the three divisions, that is, general, senior, and women’s. Usually you need to win four or five games in a row to earn a seat in the main tournament. Four Japanese players reached the final, but only Ida Atsushi 8P won one of the coveted seats in the main tournament. The other player besides Ida to reach the final in the general division was Shibano Toramaru. It’s worth remembering his name. Though only 16, he is attracting attention in Japan as a potential future champion; he is an aggressive player but with a highly individualistic style. O Meien commented in a TV commentary that he can’t predict what Shibano will play next, but “if he plays it, that’s good enough for me.” (Remember you read his name here first.)

2016.08.18_Iyama wins GoseiIyama defends Gosei, maintains grand slam: The second game in the 41st Gosei title match was held at the Hokkoku (North Country) Newspaper Hall in Kanazawa City, Ishikawa Prefecture on June 18. Taking white, Iyama (left) completely outplayed the challenger, Murakawa Daisuke 8P, in the middle game and forced a resignation after 150 moves. A little unusually for him, Iyama set up a large moyo. One of his groups came under attack, but he settled it in sente and was able to add a key capping move to his moyo. Murakawa had to invade, but his group was kept down to one eye by Iyama. The third game was held at the Kansai Headquarters of the Nihon Ki-in in Osaka on July 28. The course of this game was quite different from the previous one. Just about all title-match games are played aggressively, but even so this game stood out for its fierceness, being one ceaseless fight from beginning to end. Playing white, Murakawa matched Iyama blow for blow and took the lead. At one point, Iyama was even wondering if he should resign. However, Murakawa missed a number of good ways to simplify the game in his favor. After creating complications, Iyama took the lead in the midst of some hectic fighting. After 269 moves, Murakawa resigned, so Iyama (Black) defended his title with straight wins. This was his fifth successive Gosei title, so he has qualified for his second honorary title. Iyama’s comment: “You rarely get a chance like this [for an honorary title], so I thought I would go all out. I’m happy, but, considering my ability, this is too much. I want to get stronger so I can play games I’m not ashamed of.” Murakawa is considered one of the foremost players in the “post-Iyama group,” but his record against Iyama is now 3-13. Among the established players, there is no one who appears to be a likely threat to his septuple crown. That’s not to say that he is invincible in Japan: he was eliminated from the Agon Kiriyama Cup, a tournament in which he usually does well, by Hane Naoki in the round of 16 on July 21.
Tomorrow: Takao to have another crack at Meijin title; Fujisawa to challenge for Women’s Honinbo; Kono has sole lead in Kisei S League; 900 wins for Hane; Promotions & Obituaries

The Power Report (1): Iyama honored by Prime Minister; Kobayashi Koichi wins Master’s Cup; Xie secures quintuple crown

Wednesday August 17, 2016

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal

Iyama honored by Prime Minister: On June 16, Iyama Yuta was given a certificate of commendation by the Prime2016.08.17_Iyama & PM Abe-crop Minister of Japan, Abe Shinzo, in recognition of his feat in achieving the first grand slam in go. He received the certificate in a ceremony at the Prime Minister’s residence. He is the first go player to be so honored.

Kobayashi Koichi wins Master’s Cup: The final of the 6th Igo Fumakira (= fume killer, the name of the main sponsor, an insecticide manufacturer) Master’s Cup was held in the Ryusei TV Studio in the basement of the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo on July 9. Playing white, Kobayashi Koichi, Honorary Kisei, defeated Awaji Shuzo 9P by resig. after 174 moves, winning this title for the first time. This took his tally of titles to 60 (third after Cho Chikun and Sakata Eio).

Xie secures quintuple crown: Xie Yimin (also written Hsieh I-min) has become the first woman player in Japan to hold five titles simultaneously. You don’t have to check the records to confirm this; until quite recently there were only three women titles. Two years ago, a fourth was added with the founding of the Aizu Central Hospital Cup, which Xie finally won in its third term this year, giving her four titles. This year another new title was founded: the Senko Cup Women’s Igo Strongest Player tournament. The final was held at the Geihinan Akekure (which perhaps translates as “Guest House Dawn and Dusk”) in the city of Oe in Shiga Prefecture on July 17. Taking white, Xie beat Mukai Chiaki 5P by 2.5 points to win the inaugural tournament. This is Xie’s 25th title. First prize is eight million yen, the top for a women’s tournament. (Just for reference, the prize money for the others is: Aizu Central Hospital Cup, 7,000,000; Women’s Honinbo, 5,800,000; Women’s Meijin and Women’s Kisei, both 5,000,000. Winning all five titles is worth 30,800,000.)

Kanren and Gen’an Inseki inducted into Hall of Fame: At a meeting of the Go Hall of Fame Induction Committee on July 19, it was decided to add two famous figures from go history to the Hall of Fame. Kanren is a priest from the Heian period who is known to history as the author of a work on go called The Go Rites (Goshiki), which he presented to the emperor of the time (her served Emperor Uda, reigned 887 to 897, and Emperor Daigo, reigned 897 to 930). The book has not survived, but is surmised to have dealt with the rules of go and go etiquette. Kanren was apparently very fond of go and was known as a go saint. The second inductee was Gen’an (or Gennan) Inseki (1798-1859), the 11th head of the Inoue house, who was a leading rival of the Honinbo house, especially Honinbo Jowa, in the 1830s and 1840s. He was one of the central figures of the go world in its most prosperous age in the Edo period. His ambition to become Meijin was frustrated by the Honinbos, but he remains one of the most colorful figures of go history.
Tomorrow: Kanren and Gen’an Inseki inducted into Hall of Fame; Ida wins Samsung seat; Ishida wins 13×13 tournament

Categories: Japan,John Power Report
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Ye Breaks Through in WYGC

Saturday August 13, 2016

IMG_7137Aaron Ye 7d has finally broken the glass ceiling at the World Youth Goe Championships (WYGC) by becoming the first American player to place in the top three at the event.   Now in its 33rd year, the event has been run by the Ing Foundation for decades, and invites strong youth from all over the world to compete. Ye first attended the event in 2011, competing in the Jr. Division when he was just nine years old, and placing fourth overall.  Calvin Sun, now 1P, also competed in the event for years as a child, and had also placed fourth when he was 13 (on his sixth attempt).  China, Korea, Japan and Taiwan have shut everyone else out until this year, when Ye’s determination and effort finally paid off.  Now 14, Ye has been at the top of the US youth go scene for years, winning the Redmond Cup several times, and putting up a strong fight in the AGA pro certification leagues, as well as dominating other youth events and leading in many AGA tournaments.

The WYGC was held August 4th-7th in Tokyo this year, at the Nihon Kiin.  Ye reached the semi-finals by edging out Takei Taishen 7D of Japan by a hairs-breadth 3rd tier tie breaker (SOSODOS). After losing to the tournament’s champion Jiang Qirun 2P of China, Ye went on to take 3rd place by defeating Ahn Dongjun  5D of Korea. The USA junior player, nine-year-old Matthew Cheng 2d faced a tough choice this year, as he also won the Redmond Cup qualifiers and could have had a free trip to the US Go Congress to compete at the finals. Unfortunately, the WYGC and the Congress were both held the same week this year, so Cheng had to choose one over the other. Cheng did well at the WYGC though, “placing 7th in an outstanding performance by a player who learned go from a you-tube video a scant three years ago,” said Team Leader Mike Bull. Cheng also managed to draw matches with three of the four strongest players in his division in his first three games of the tournament. -Paul Barchilon, EJ Youth Editor, with Mike Bull. Photo by Abby Zhang: Ahn Dongjun 5d (l) vs. Aaron Ye 7d (r).

Iberoamerican Go Championship Extends Invitation to Players Worldwide

Saturday August 13, 2016

The Venezuelan Go Association, in collaboration with the Embassy of Japan, will host the 18th Iberoamerican Go 2016.08.13_IberoamericanChampionship October 7-9 at the 5-star Pestana Caracas Premium City and Conference Hotel in Caracas, Venezuela. “We would very much like to have a lot of participants from every country,” says Loli Puerta of the Asociacion Venezolana de Go.
The 7-round Swiss-paired tournament will be played using WAGC rules, with players playing even games with 6.5 komi. Trophies will be awarded to the top three players. Games will be played on all three days of the tournament, with a city tour following the closing ceremony on Sunday. Lunch will be provided on each day.
To register, contact the Organizing Committee by October 4th with your name, rank, country, and age. Include photo identification. The registration fee is $30. Transportation to and from the airport will be provided. Any questions about the event may also be directed to the Organizing Committee in either English or Spanish.

- edited by Brian Kirby

Categories: South America,World
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US Players Invited to Malaysia Int’l Amateur Go Championship

Saturday August 13, 2016

The “Ipoh Wei Qi Enterprise” has formally extended an invitation to AGA players, and to amateurs worldwide, to sign up for2016.08.13_MIAGC the Malaysia International Amateur Go Championship, or MIAGC. The championship will consist of three sessions, including two online selection sessions, denoted Preliminary and Semi-Final by the organizers, and a final session March 11-16, 2017 at the Syeun Hotel, in Ipoh, the capital city of Perak, Malaysia. Early Bird registration offers a discount of 20 Malaysian Ringgits, bringing the price from 180 to 160, roughly $40 USD. If more than five people register together, there is a 20% discount. The preliminary rounds will be held on OGS throughout October, and the semi-finals online November 16 through December 15. Those who win 5 of 10 matches in October’s preliminary will qualify for the semi-final, and players winning 6 of 10 matches in the semi-final will secure a place in the final until all the places are taken. Unique to this tournament is the ability to buy back in, should one lose early. The prize for the champion will be 50,000 RM minimum, or roughly $12,500 USD, and depending on registration totals may be raised. Click here for tournament information and registration.
- edited by Noah Doss

Categories: World
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Ye and Ho Named AGHS Presidents; Officer Applications Now Open

Friday August 12, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-08-12 at 1.04.23 PMScreen Shot 2016-08-12 at 1.04.42 PMApril Ye and Brandon Ho have been named the new American Go Honor Society (AGHS) presidents for the upcoming 2016-2017 year. The AGHS is a youth organization that runs K-12 tournaments such as the competitive Young Lions Tournament and the School Team Tournament every year. Are you a high school student that wants to promote go? Apply now to be an AGHS officer for the 2016-2017 year. Fill out the application here 2016AGHSOfficerApp (3) and email it to aghspresident@gmail.com. Applications are due by September 19 and officers will be selected by September 26. - Yunxuan Li, AGHS President. Photos: April Ye at left, Brandon Ho at right.

US Go Congress: “AlphaGo Insider” Posted; Go Talk with AlphaGo’s Lucas; Landman’s Slides; Thankful Senior; The First 21st Century Go Congress? Keith Arnold Makes His Case

Thursday August 11, 2016

More cool stuff from — and thoughts about — last week’s US Go Congress…2016.08.12_AlphaGo Insider

“AlphaGo Insider” Posted: Video of the 2016 USGC Computer Go special session on August 4, 2016, presented by Google DeepMind’s Aja Huang 7d and European Champion Fan Hui 2p. Also just posted: “The Number of Possible Go Positions”, presented by John Tromp.

Go Talk with AlphaGo’s Lucas Baker: In his latest Go Talk, Kevin Hwang talks about Alpha Go with Lucas Baker, a member of the Deepmind team; click here for the video.

Landman’s Slides: “Several people wanted the slides to my Go Congress talk,” writes Howard A. Landman. Click here to download them.

Thankful Senior: “Thank you for the Seniors Tournament this year,” writes Eric Osman. “Between that and the US open I was able to have two rated games a day without running around chasing people for a game. Having one tournament game in the morning and one in the afternoon each day was perfect.”

The First 21st Century Go Congress? Keith Arnold Makes His Case2016.08.11_us-open-DSC_0120
As director of the 2001 Go Congress, I am proud of my effort. Looking back, however, I must admit that I ushered in the new century with a very competent version of what had come before. In the years that have followed, few changes have occurred – a wonderful women’s tournament and the internet broadcast of games being the notable ones that come to mind. But it is fair to say the average attendee transported from a Go Congress ten or even twenty years ago would easily have found his way around its successors through the Twin Cities last year.

2016.08.11_blind-go-IMG_0491Boston was undeniably different. A significant transfiguration of the Self-Paired tournament, a second year of expected rather than novel substantial video coverage, a Senior Tournament, no 13 by 13, live website updates of scheduling, an insane team relay game, blindfold go exhibitions, event stamps and advanced info on the topics of pro lectures made for a very different event. And those are just the changes I can think of off the top of my head. These new visions and the wonderful forward-thinking presence of the AlphaGo team lead me to dub Boston the first 21st Century Go Congress.

I do not mean to suggest that I loved every change, or that every change should become permanent. But what I am saying is that the Boston team breathed fresh energy into a gathering that may have been suffering from a form of nostalgic inertia. No doubt critics of some of these changes will say that a big problem with the event was so many of the key organizers had never been to a Congress before. I would argue that the best thing about this year’s Congress was that so many of the key organizers had never been to a Congress before. The new ideas and energy were palpable, and the result was extremely successful. Boston was demonstrably a breakthrough, with the first big jump in attendance we have had in years.

Metaphor stretcher that I am, Boston may have thrown a lot of old Congress tea overboard, and some of it might still be good tea, but I hope it also breathes new freedom into the event, and more freedom for future organizers.
- Keith Arnold, HKA; photos by Chris Garlock

2016 US Go Congress E-Journal Team Credits

Thursday August 11, 2016

Just as this year’s US Go Congress set new records for attendance, the E-Journal provided a record amount of coverage of this major annual event. Karoline Li and Samantha Fede joined our reporting team — which included Paul Barchilon and Justin Teng covering youth events — to publish a whopping 37 reports, including daily tournament updates, “Why We Play” interviews and the new “Behind the Scenes at the US Go Congress” series. Steve Colburn, 2016.08.09_EJ-Congress-Team-DSC_0137Todd Heidenreich and Dennis Wheeler once again anchored our amazing game recording team, which recorded and broadcast over 50 top-board game records. Special thanks to Andrew Jackson, Daniel Chou, Andrew Lu, Justin Teng and Louie Liu, who joined Richard Dolen on the morning recording team. Stephen Hu coordinated our streaming coverage on YouTube of not only the top-board games in the US Masters but events like the Redmond Cup, Blindfold Go and Pair Go events. Altogether, the EJ Congress team — including the wonderful pros who were so generous with their time and insights — was far bigger — nearly 50 volunteers all told — and better than ever and I hope you’ll join me in thanking them for their dedication, commitment and yes, sacrifice of time and energy to bring this amazing event to a global audience. See you next year in San Diego!
Chris Garlock; Managing Editor

2016 EJ Congress Team
Todd Heidenreich: Assistant Manager; Steve Colburn: Tech/IT Manager; Dennis Wheeler: Room Manager/Relief; Paul Barchilon: Youth Editor; I-Han Lui & Chun Sun: Pro Coordinators; Karoline Li: Tournament Liaison; Stephen Hu; Tim Holman; Krishna Artem-Mickens: Video streaming team; Phil Straus & Chris Garlock: photos; Samantha Fede: General Assignment Reporter; Akane Negishi: KGS; Matthew Hershberger, US Open/Open Masters TD; Chris Garlock, EJ Managing Editor

Game Recorders: Morning: Andrew Jackson*, Richard Dolen*, Daniel Chou*, Andrew Lu*, Justin Teng*, Louie Liu*
Evening: Solomon Smilack**, David Weimer, Bart Jacob, George Schmitten, Yong Peng, Austin Harvey, Peter Gousios, Mike Scudder (* morning recording team; ** special thanks to Sol for handling the Friday Night Broadcast).
Video Commentary Hosting: Stephen Hu, Andrew Jackson, Solomon Smilack, Daniel Chou, Justin Teng, Louie Liu, Matthew Harwitt, Karoline Li

Professionals: Feng Yun 9P, Liao Guiyong 9P, Mingjiu Jiang 7P, Yilun Yang 7P, Maeda Ryo 6P, Hajin Lee 4P, Jennie Shen 2P, Hsiao Ailin 2P, Cathy Li 1P, Stephanie Yin 1P
photo by James Pinkerton