American Go E-Journal » 2010 » August


Thursday August 5, 2010

Thirteen-year-old 7 dan Calvin Sun (at right in his match against Korea) placed fourth in the recent World Youth Go Championships, representing the U.S. Nine-year-old Kevin Fang 1d was the Junior Representative, placing eighth.  “I am happy to have this opportunity to be in the exciting WYGC tournament,” Fang told the E-Journal,  “I got to play with the top junior players in the world.  I did not reach my goal this time, and ended up with the youngest player award.  I hope I will do better next time.”   The boys won a free trip to Penghu, Taiwan, to compete at the finals, July 22 – 28.  Mingjiu Jiang 7p went as team coach (see below for his commentary on Sun’s critical Round 4 match against Czechia).  “This was my sixth time representing USA in the WYGC,” writes Sun, “I placed fourth in the senior division this year and Kevin tied for eighth in the junior division–which is a very good outcome considering he was the youngest player participating in the competition. He also got the award for ‘Youngest Player’.  Other than the players from China, Korea, Japan and Taipei, the European Go players were also very strong. My most important game was the fourth round against Czech Republic’s representative, Lukas Podpera, 15. The winner would advance to the finals. Before the game, Mingjiu Jiang 7P helped me study all of Podpera’s games, and I played a fuseki he was not used to, thus leading throughout the game and winning by 17 points.  In the Senior Division, Korea’s Insei Han Seung Joo placed first,


China’s Baolong Zhao 2P placed second, Chinese Taipei’s Jiayuan Xu 6d placed third, and I placed fourth. In the Junior Division, China Qicheng Li 1P placed first, Korea’s Insei Min-Jun Shin placed second, Chinese Taipei’s Zhengxun Cheng placed third, and Singapore’s Yifei Yue placed fourth.  Penghu is an archipelago made up of 64 small islands west of Taiwan. The tournament took place on Penghu’s largest island, Magog.  The last day we went to another small island and went swimming and crab catching . Unfortunately, it was raining that day so many activities such as snorkeling and fishing were canceled. For dinner, we ate the crabs we caught that afternoon,” said Sun.
- Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor, Photos by Yanchen Sun.  From left, at left, Mingjiu Jiang 7p, Kevin Fang 1d, Calvin Sun 7d


U.S. GO CONGRESS: Wednesday (Day Off) Photo Album

Thursday August 5, 2010

Some of the U.S. Go Congress Wednesday Day Off activities (top left clockwise): Pick-up game; Myung-Wan Kim 9P declares victory over the mule; Deep thinking at the Royal Gorge; EJ Brew Pub & Go Marathon Tour. photos: Pick-up  photo by Akane Negishi; Myung-Wan Kim & Deep thinking by Roy Laird; Bew pub by Chris Garlock; background landscape photo by Steve Colburn.

5 MINUTES WITH: The Harwit Twins

Thursday August 5, 2010

Twin brothers Matthew and Nathan Harwit finish each other’s sentences, are virtually the same strength and are hardly ever seen apart but they’re quick to tell you that Matthew’s the older one. “Two minutes,” the twelve-year-olds say together. Matthew’s 4d and Nathan is 3d but they both agree they’re very close in strength and indeed Nathan won when the two were paired in Tuesday’s third round of the North American Ing Masters tournament. They’ve only been playing a couple years, learning the game after seeing it played at a chess tournament at their elementary school in Boulder, Colorado. “We thought it was cool,” says Matthew, “and the go players were friends of our mother,” adds Nathan.  The boys are regulars at the Boulder Kids and Teens Go Club, run by Paul Barchilon and David Weiss.  The club boasts four dan-level children, all of whom are at the Congress. The fraternal twins are fiercely competitive with each other, of course, and play at least one game every day, in addition to taking on other players on KGS. They cheerfully admit to having been caught playing go by flashlight under the covers after bedtime, and are thrilled to be playing in the Ing this year. “It’s great to get your butt kicked by 8-dans,” says Nathan, “yeah, we learn a lot and it’s fun,” adds Matthew.
- report/photo by Chris Garlock

U.S. OPEN ROUND 4, BOARD 1: Cheng Xiaoliu 6P on The Cost of Unusual Josekis

Thursday August 5, 2010

Cheng Xiaoliu 6P (center) was born in 1949 and became a 6-dan pro in 1982. His achievements include 5th place in the 1977 National Individual Championship, 3rd place in the 1981 National Individual Championship, Challenger in the 4th New Sports Cup, Top 4 in the 1988 Meijin Tournament.

2010 US Open Round 4, Board 1


August 5, 2010
W: Lui, Eric 7D
B: Kim, Myung Wan 9P
Commentary by Cheng Xiaoliu 6P, translated by I-han Lui, transcribed by Chris Garlock
Game recorded by Solomon Smilack on KGS


Thursday August 5, 2010

An alternative to making an invasion at the 3-3 point — the subject of Tuesday’s lecture — is the attachment to the 4-4 stone, which was the topic for Thursday’s U.S. Go Congress lecture by Ryo Maeda 6P (r).  He started out by sheepishly admitting that he had made an attachment to a 4-4 stone in a simul on Tuesday and the stone got killed.  Maeda went on to demonstrate various positions where the attachment works, and how to use it effectively.  The positions all had black on the 4-4 and side star point, with a black stone in between, either a one-point jump from the 4-4 on the fourth line or the knight’s move on the third.  In those cases, white can attach in line with the black stones and black will hane.  The inside hane is “peaceful”, as black is trying to preserve the corner.  In that case, white should just extend unless there are black stones near the star point in that direction.  “You can’t make six points there (for eyespace), so you have to do something else,” he said.  If you can’t do the normal extension, you must make a diagonal move to the 3-2 point.  “If you have less than six points, you must work on two eyes,” Maeda said, and diagonal moves have more eye potential than straight extensions.  He showed how to use the four formations for capturing third line stones from Sunday’s lecture, and noted that invading is fairly risk-free, “as long as black answers, it costs nothing — good things may happen.”  There were several positions that required sacrificing stones and it is important to recognize those, because if “you don’t want to sacrifice three stones, then you may lose the whole thing.”  When a stone or group is captured, “you start fighting nearby — you may be able to live.”  He also pointed out that if there are a lot of black stones on the outside that loosely surround the corner, it may be better to invade at the 3-3 point, rather than attach, which is the mistake he made in the simul. In answer to audience questions, he also talked about the endgame.  Once you start the endgame, “the second line is the most important line in the game,” Maeda said.  That prompted a question about when to start the endgame, which Maeda said was an “easy question.”  One of the principles of the “Maeda method” is “when you have a weak stone, protect it,” so don’t start the endgame until every group is protected.  Then either try to kill your opponent’s weak groups or invade.  Once those opportunities are gone, you can start the endgame.  Maeda and translator Yoshi Sawada 6D (l in photo) will continue looking at 4-4 attachments in a bonus fifth round of the lecture series on Friday afternoon.
- report/photo by Jake Edge


Wednesday August 4, 2010

Born into the famous Matsuoka go family, the pressure on Shigeko Hane 1P (r) to succeed as a professional from an early age – she learned when she was 6 years old – was intense. “Winning was the #1 priority,” Hane told the E-Journal in an interview Sunday afternoon in the E-Journal office at the U.S. Go Congress. Now, as the wife of former Kisei, Honinbo and Tengen title holder Naoki Hane 9P and mother of four — Ranka 1k, Rinka 4k, Ayaka 1k and 3-year-old Kazuya, of whom great things are also expected – she says she just wants “to enjoy the game.” As a go teacher at an elementary school in Aichi Prefecture, she says she emphasizes the “positive aspects” of their play to encourage them. “Mental toughness is very important to getting stronger,” she says, “all the top professionals absolutely hated to lose as kids. Many of them are famous for breaking down in tears after losses as young players.” While a person’s true temperament can be difficult to determine in real life “it comes out right away in go,” Hane says, “go reveals your real character immediately. Husband Naoki Hane 9P, for example, is calm and steady, like his father Yasumasa Hane 9P – who she accompanied to the Go Congress – and when he came home after winning the Honinbo in 2008 and 2009, “he was the same as always, not jumping up and down, eating the same meals.” And when he lost the title this year, “he was just the same. So I think he really enjoys go for what it is, instead of worrying about winning and losing.” Hane says she’s been “really impressed with how many players at the Congress are recording their games; in Japan very few people do this.” She was also startled that the roomful of hundreds of players at the U.S. Open was “so quiet I could hear the whirr of my video recorder; in Japan tournaments are much noisier.” One way she judges how effective lectures are is by the audience participation, and she noted that at the Congress, “everyone’s really engaged. You must be doing everything right.”
- report by Chris Garlock: photos: Shigeko Hane 1P watching her daughter Ayaka play in the U.S. Open (upper right, by Garlock); Yasumasa Hane 9P, Shigeko Hane 1P, translator Yoshi Sawada (l) and E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock (r) (left, by Todd Heidenreich)


Tuesday August 3, 2010

JIANG, YANG, GE & ERIC LUI LEAD ING: Undefeated after three rounds in the North American Ing Masters are Mingjiu Jiang 7P; Huiren Yang 1P, Yongfe Ge 7D and Eric Lui 7DXUEFEN LIN ING COMMENTARIES POSTED: The North American Ing Masters Round 2 game files (Boards 1-5) now include commentary by Xuefen Lin 1P! The U.S. Open crosstab has been updated through Round 3.
SELF-PAIRED CURRENT SCORES: The Champion: William Phillips (8 wins – 1 loss = 7); The Hurricane: William Phillips (8 wins); The Giant Killer (Dan Killer) David Frankel (5 wins against dan-level players); The Keith Arnold (Kyu Killer):  Jeffrey Horn (4 wins against kyu-level players); The Straight Shooter: William Phillips (5 consecutive wins: -8, -6, -4, -3, -2, -1, 1); The Dedicated: Gordon Castanza (14 games); The Teacher: Gordon Castanza (8 games against weaker players); The Philanthropist: Gordon Castanza (7 losses). There have been 109 games played so far.
photo: MyungWan Kim 8P plays Francis Meyer 7D while TD Chris Kirschner watches in Tuesday’s U.S. Open Round 2. photo by Chris Garlock

U.S. GO CONGRESS: Tuesday Photo Album

Tuesday August 3, 2010

photos by Chris Garlock & Jake Edge


Tuesday August 3, 2010

Quotes & snapshots from Tuesday night’s Crazy Go event, directed by Terry Benson
“Do I even have eyes?”
“How do you play this game? “Who played on the 1-1?” “Illegal move!” “That’s just weird” Player 1: “There’s two sets of stones”; Player 2: “Good, we’re going to need them.” “It’s very bizarre.”
“Ladders are weird.” “This is crazy.”
photos by Chris Garlock


Tuesday August 3, 2010

Go commentator Seong-Yong Kim 9P once got a very long and formal letter from a viewer admonishing him to “Be quiet!” Kim chuckled happily. For fifteen years he’s been shaking up the go commentary world with his pungent – and entertaining – commentaries. “People call me rude and say ‘that guy’s too loud,’” Kim told the E-Journal Tuesday afternoon at the U.S. Go Congress, where he’s one of the roster of visiting professionals. “Now,” he smiled broadly “they love it.” When Kim – who was Best Rookie of the Year in 1995, semi-finalist in the 1996 Samsung Cup, and won the 2004 Electronic Land Cup and the first King of Kings tournament –  first began, “TV go commentaries used the Japanese style, very formal,  and focused on technical details. They would only talk about the good moves, to be polite.” But during a 1993 visit to the United States, Kim – an avid baseball fan — admired the lively style of American baseball commentators on television, and thought it could be applied to go, which was now being treated as a sport back home in Korea. “So if I thought a move was a mistake, I’d say so, bluntly.” Initial audience response was uniformly negative, so much so that Baduk TV had to shut down their website’s comment section to avoid crashing the server. But Kim kept at it, filling the long empty spaces between moves, not just with his pungent commentary, but detailed background on the players and the moves, “when a move was first invented, and how trends have changed over the years.” Figuring that baseball’s fascination with stats would also translate well to go, he compiled over a thousand pages of statistics about the game and players, “What kind of joseki a particular players uses, the openings he favors, how many times he’s played black or white.” All commentators use stats now, Kim said, and they can reveal fascinating insights. “Lee Changho 9P says he prefers to play black, but the stats show that he has a higher winning percentage as white.” They also show that in a close game, Lee Changho – well-known for his strong endgame – “has a 90% chance of winning.” Kim is so popular that he’s done commentary for several Korean baseball games, which he says was much easier than go. “In baseball, it’s all about what’s already happened, while in go we’re trying to figure out what might happen.” Five years after receiving the “Be quiet” letter, Kim ran into the fan, who enthusiastically shook his hand, apologized for his letter and thanked him for helping generate interest in go with his “interesting, lively and frank” commentaries. “Hey, things change,” Kim – who also now does game commentaries on CyberOro and Tygem — shrugged with another broad smile.
- report by Chris Garlock, photos by Todd Heidenreich. Special thanks to Jonathan Kim 1D for translation