American Go E-Journal » 2010 » May

NO SURPRISES AT TOP IN PRELIM 1ST-ROUND WAGC RESULTS

Wednesday May 26, 2010

No surprises at the top in the first round of the World Amateur Go Championship, with China, both Koreas and Taipei winning their games handily. In North America, Thomas Hsiang 7d (US, left) beat Sotirios Ioannides 1k of Cyprus (r), Canada’s Yongfei Ge 7d defeated Alexey Lazarev 6d of Russia and Mexico’s Emil Bustamente 5d beat Janez Janza 3d of Slovenia. One unexpected result among European players was Thailand’s Kamon Santipojana 4d’s win against Romania’s Lucian Corlan 5d. By 6A EST, a complete first-round report – and perhaps a preliminary Round 2 report – will be posted on both the AGA website and Ranka Online.

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PRESIDENTIAL GO: THE VIEW FROM THE TOP

Wednesday May 26, 2010

The view of the famous Hangzhou lake district was obscured by haze but all eyes in the 28th-floor suite at the Tian Yuan Tower were riveted on the go board inside. While preparations for the 31st annual World Amateur Go Championships were underway twenty floors below on Monday afternoon, outgoing International Go Federation President Hideo Otake 9P (l) and incoming IGF President Zhenming Chang  (r) were enjoying a quiet game (below, with commentary by Michael Redmond 9P) before a busy schedule that included the IGF General meeting, a press conference and the WAGC’s opening ceremonies and banquet. Chang is Vice Chairman and President of the CITIC Group, a major Chinese firm dealing in finance, real estate, resource development, manufacturing and telecommunications. He’s been playing since he was 9 years old. His middle school team was coached by players like Yigang Hua and Runan Wang, and he won the third New Physical Education Cup in 1979, which had previously been won by Weiping Nie and Zude Chen. He’s a strong proponent of go because of “it’s great training for the mind, especially for children.” As a businessman, he appreciates the game’s strategic aspects. “You learn that you can lose the battle but win the war. Or in business terms, that you can lose money but still come out ahead. You also learn to adapt to different situations, for example, to use different joseki in different positions.” After the game, the two men briefly discussed a few key points of play, then shook hands and stood up. It was time to turn their attention to other, perhaps less fun, but no less important, aspects of world go.
- includes reporting by James Davies and Chris Garlock; photo by John Pinkerton; game commentary by Michael Redmond 9P. CLICK “link” to download the sgf file or “read more” for an online game viewer

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NAKAYAMA’S QUIET FAREWELL

Wednesday May 26, 2010

It was a wet afternoon in Tokyo on May 23 when a quiet memorial service was held for the beloved and irrepressible Nakayama Noriyuki-sensei. As the hall at the Okura Hotel filled with Nakayama’s friends, there was time to contemplate the oversize photos showing Nakayama watching the legendary Go Seigen play tournament games. Nakayama’s appearance had not changed much over the years. There was no mistaking the impish smile, the shock of hair. Nakayama’s poetry was also displayed, with each stanza introducing another archaic, almost forgotten character of the ancient Japanese alphabet. In the next room, we paid our respects to Nakayama’s family and to Nakayama while a priest intoned the sutras before Nakayama’s photo, framed in an array of blue and white flowers. We gathered for a meal, after which several people spoke, including Otake Hideo 9P. Takemiya Masaki 9P spoke of Nakayama’s many books and how he had been the choice of so many top go professionals as their ghost writer because of his comprehensive knowledge of go as well as his skillful writing. Michael Redmond 9P also spoke, noting that Nakayama had been very popular in the United States, where he was a frequent and longtime visitor at the annual U.S. Go Congress. Nakayama touched many of us with his wit and wisdom, and the memorial service captured the quiet stillness that grounded both.
- None Redmond, special correspondent for the E-Journal; photo of Nakayama at the 2007 U.S. Go Congress by Chris Garlock

Categories: World
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CHINA TO LEAD IGF INTO NEW ERA

Tuesday May 25, 2010

The election of Chang Zhenming of China as President of the International Go Federation (IGF) highlighted the International Go Federation’s General Meeting (r) on Monday as the 31st edition of the IGF’s flagship event – the World Amateur Go Championship – formally launched in Hangzhou, China. “I will give my best effort to promote go to the whole world,” Chang promised, “Go is a benefit for everyone.” The other major news was that while there have been setbacks in the attempt to achieve recognition for go as an Olympic sport, mind sports are making significant progress. IGF Director Thomas Hsiang reported that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) includes mind sports as a category that has “no realistic chance of entering either the Summer or the Winter Olympics,” and so won’t be recognized. The good news is that SportAccord (formerly the General Association of International Sports Federation, or GAISF) is expanding its definition of sport to include mind sport and plans to sponsor a number of new events, including Mind Sport Games. Planning for a second World Mind Sports Games (WMSG) in August 2012 is now underway, with Manchester UK as the leading candidate to host. In even more exciting news, the International Federation of Poker has applied to become an IMSA and SA member, which has attracted interest from several major marketing firms, with which the IGF is now in discussions. Upcoming events either sponsored by the IGF or with major IGF involvement are the 21st International Pair Go Championships October 16-17 in Japan, the 16th Guangzhou Asian Games November 12-27 and the 32nd World Amateur Go Championship in Shimane, Japan.
- Chris Garlock; photo by John Pinkerton. Click here for the complete report and more photos on Ranka Online.

HANDICAPPING THE WAGC

Tuesday May 25, 2010

Sixty players from 60 countries and regions. Eight rounds over four days. For 31 years, the World Amateur Go Championships (WAGC) have assembled a global gathering of top amateurs to compete, meet and spread the game of go around the world. This year’s WAGC is being held this week in Hangzou, China, organized by the China Qiyuan, the Chinese agency responsible for board and card games, under the supervision of the International Go Federation, and co-organized by the Hangzhou Branch of the China Qi-Yuan (Chinese Go Association). After arriving on Monday and participating in the IGF General Meeting and opening ceremonies on Tuesday, the tournament proper commences on Wednesday morning. This year, DPR Korea, playing in the WAGC for the first time since 2006, joins China and the Republic of Korea as top contenders for the title. China’s Chen Wang is just 17 years old but won the Chinese Evening News Cup. Taewon Jo of DPR Korea, a veteran at age 21, won the individual amateur event in the World Mind Sports Games in 2008. And Hongsuk Song, a year older at 22, has been doing well in the Republic of Korea, winning the international Korean Prime Minister’s Cup last October and more recently taking the amateur Kuksoo title and the Korean Sports Cup. Two more 17-year-olds who bear watching are Nai San Chan of Hong Kong, China, and Thomas Debarre of France, who finished third and eighth, respectively, in the World Amateur Go Championship last year. Also hoping to place in the top eight are newcomers Cheng-hsun Chen (age 11, at left) of Chinese Taipei and Yohei Sato (29) of Japan, but they will be vying with a group of twenty other players ranked 5 dan and above, including established stars such as Ondrej Silt (23) of Czechia.
- Based on James Davies’ report on Ranka Online; photo (top right): panel in front of the WAGC playing site with signatures of the players (photo by Ivan Vigano); photo of Cheng-hsun Chen by John Pinkerton

E-JOURNAL’S WAGC COVERAGE COMMENCES

Tuesday May 25, 2010

The American Go E-Journal‘s special coverage of the World Amateur Go Championships (WAGC) begins with tomorrow’s edition. Each morning’s edition will include our reports through midday local time in Hangzhou, China; click here anytime for the latest live news, posted as it happens by the EJ/Ranka Online team. The daily WAGC E-Journals will also include special game commentaries usually only included in the Member’s Edition, provided as part of our support for world go. We hope you enjoy our complete coverage of the 31st annual competition among top amateur players from around the world, which runs through May 31. The weekly E-Journal will resume next week.
- Chris Garlock; photo: WAGC players warm up Monday morning; photo by John Pinkerton

THE TRAVELING GO BOARD: Shanghai: Counting Liberties at the Tongzhou Go School

Tuesday May 25, 2010

If you have any doubt about whether go is alive and well in the land where it was invented, show up on a Sunday night at the Tongzhou Middle School in Shanghai. Night has fallen and the streets are quiet, but the school is a beehive of activity. More than eighty kids are gathered in four classrooms, excitedly shouting out answers as their teachers lay out go problems on demonstration boards. The youngsters, ranging in age from four to twelve or so, sit — when they’re not leaping up to try their move — at special classroom desks stencilled with go boards; the plastic go bowls swing out from beneath the desktop. The school, which currently has more than 300 students, is run by the Tongzhou Go Association and was founded in 1998 by Qin You Min, a go-loving amateur 5-dan businessman who’s also on Shanghai’s team of strong amateurs. Most of the students at Tongzhou are from local primary schools, and indeed Qin learned to play when he himself was in primary school. “Go is an important part of traditional Chinese culture and once I learned, I just could not give it up,” he said with a smile and a shrug. When the principal of the Tongzhou Middle School asked him to start up the go school there, “I could not say no.” Like many an American school, trophy cases — in this case for go championships — line the wall in Tongzhou’s front lobby. Unlike the privately-run Blue Elephant School, Tongzhou is part of the official China go sports system and its team participates in national go tournaments. “A good teacher is the secret of good training,” Qin. Liu Yi Yi 2P is the team’s main coach, and other pros often come to teach as well as the three full-time teachers and seven part-timers. In just twelve years, the school has already generated four professionals, Qin tells me proudly. The team trains daily, with cultural lessons in the morning and then go lessons in the afternoon and evening. Tonight’s classes are levels 2 through 5. The Level 2 kids — who teacher Bai Yi Ping has to lift onto a chair to reach the demo board — are 8 kyu and are learning to count liberties. In adjoining rooms a Level 3 class of 7 kyus is reviewing capturing races, a Level 4 group of 4 kyus is reviewing their games and a Level 5 class of 1 kyus is studying life and death problems. The energy in the school is vibrant, with the kids both focussed and having fun. In the Level 4 class, for example, the kids are working intently together to replay and record their games, while in the next room the tiny Level 2 students are literally jumping up and down in their seats to be chosen to solve the problem on the board. “Play more games with Chinese players,” Qin says when I ask his advice for how American players can improve.
- Chris Garlock; photos by John Pinkerton

Categories: Traveling Go Board
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TARANU DEFEATS POP FOR BALKAN CHAMPIONSHIP

Tuesday May 25, 2010

Catalin Taranu 7d defeated Cristian Pop 7d in an exciting Balkan Go Championship 4th-round game that led to Taranu’s sweep of the May 19-23 event. Pop was second at 5-1 and Cornel Burzo 6d took third.  Burzo did take first in the Blitz event, with Mihai Serban 4d second and Pop third. In the Pair Go event, Serban and Laura Avram 2d went 4-0 and captured first place.  The tournament took place  just outside of Bucharest, Romania.
- EuroGoTV

Categories: Europe
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HWANG UNDEFEATED TO WIN PANDANET MADRID

Tuesday May 25, 2010

Hwang In-Seong 8d went 5-0 to take top honors at the 13th Madrid Go Tournament, held May 15-16. Lluis Oh 6d was second with four wins, while Mao Feng 4d came in third at 3-2, including a surprising upset of Li Yue 5d.  Hwang is currently third in the European Go Federation rankings.  63 players took part in the tournament.
- EuroGoTV

Categories: Europe
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DEBARRE TAKES FIRST IN CLOSE FRENCH YOUTH CHAMPIONSHIP

Tuesday May 25, 2010

Thomas Debarre 5d (r) won the French Youth Championship, held May 8-9 in Cachan, France. Debarre — who will represent France in this week’s World Amateur Go Championships in Hangzhou, China — edged out three other players with only one loss in the under-18 group. Debarre lost to Benjamin Dréan-Guénaïzia 4d, who lost to Paul Bivas 3d, who lost to Debarre. David Horowitz 1d came in second, while Dréan-Guénaïzia and Bivas came in third and fourth. In the under-15 group, Tanguy Le Calvé 1d took first for the second year in a row, Florian Melcer 2d was second, and Osmin Lacombe 1k finished third.  For the youngest, under-12, group, Hector de Framond 14k took his first title after coming in second last year, Guillaume Ougier 20k, and Anais Khenniche 17k were second and third.
- EuroGoTV

Categories: Europe,Youth
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