American Go E-Journal

The Power Report: China Dominates 18th LG Cup; Catching Up On “Go Go Japan”; 4th Asian Indoor & Martial Arts Games to Include Go

Monday June 17, 2013

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the American Go E-Journal

China Dominates 18th LG Cup: The opening rounds of this Korean-sponsored international tournament were held in the city of Kangnung (also written Gangneung) in Korea on June 10 & 12. An excellent report has already been presented (Korea Knocked Out In LG Cup Stunner; Japan Fights On 6/13), so this report will fill in some some details.

The main news is undoubtedly the great success of the new young generation of Chinese players, who took six of the quarterfinal places. However, Japan also made a good start: with just four seeded players taking part (it failed to win any seats in the qualifying tournament), it secured two quarterfinal places, its best result for some years. Also, although he was eliminated in the 2nd round, Kono Rin 9P scored an excellent win in the first round, beating the player who recently won the Ing Cup, Fan Tingyu 9P of China.

The interesting point about the Chinese success is that the main contribution
is not being made by its senior players, such as Gu Li 9P, but by players in their teens and early 20s (I include ages below for the Chinese players to demonstrate this). It really does seem that by your late 20s you are past your peak in China and also in international go. This is also borne out by the early elimination of such great Korean players as the two Yis, Ch’ang-ho and Se-tol, Pak Yeong-hun, Pak Cheong-hwan, and others; these are names to conjure with, but they don’t overawe the Chinese youngsters. Japan operates by different rules, of course; apart from Iyama, its top players are in their thirties.

Full results for the opening rounds:
Round One (June 10): Kono Rin 9P (Japan) (B) defeated Fan Tingyu 9P (aged 16) (China) by resignation; Iyama Yuta 9P (Japan) (W) d. Zhang Tao 3-dan (aged 21) (China) by resig; Takao Shinji 9P (Japan) (B) d. Hong Seong-chi 9P (Korea) by resig; Mok Chin-seok 9P (Korea) (B) d. Hane Naoki 9P (Japan) by half a point; Kim Seong-chin 2P (Korea) (W) d. Gu Li 9P (aged 30) (China) by resig; Li Zhe 6P (aged 23) (China) (B) d. Kang Tong-yun 9P (Korea) by resig; Zhou Ruiyang 9P (aged 22) (China) (B) d. Ch’oe Ch’eol-han 9P (Korea) by resig; Yi Se-tol 9P (Korea) (B) d. Xie Erhao 1P (aged 14) (China) by resig; Li Qincheng 2P (aged 14) (China) (W) d. Pak Yeong-hun 9P (Korea) by resig; Guo Yuzhang 3P (aged 20) (China) (B) d. Cho Han-seung 9P (Korea) by resig; Xia Chenkun 2P (aged 20) (China) (W) d. Kim Chi-seok 9P (Korea) by half a point; Tuo Jiaxi 3P (aged 22) (China) (B) d. Yi Ch’ang-ho 9P (Korea) by resig; Yi Yeong-ku 9P (Korea) (W) d. Xiao Zhenghao 8P (Chinese Taipei) by resig; An Hyeong-chun 4P (Korea) (W) d. Shi Yue 5P (aged 22; winner of the 17th LG Cup) (China) by 5.5 points; An Cho-yeong 9P (Korea) (W) d. Han Yizhou 2P (aged 16) (China) by resig; Chen Yaoye 9P (aged 23) (China) (W) d. Pak Cheong-hwan 9P (Korea) by resig.

Round 2 (June 12): Takao (B) d. Guo by resig; Iyama (W) d Yi Yeong-ku by 1.5 points; Chen (B) d. Kono by resig; Li Qincheng (W) d. Mok by resig; Li Zhe (B) d. An Hyeong-chun by resig; Tuo (B) d. Yi Se-tol by resig; Zhou (B) d. An Cho-yeong by 2.5 points; Xia (W) d. Kim by 2.5 points.

Quarterfinal pairings (November 11): Iyama vs. Chen, Takao vs. Tuo, Zhou vs. Li Qincheng, Li Zhe vs. Xia.
photos: (top right): Team China (from left): Yu BinLi ZheZhou Ruiyang and Xia Chenkun; (bottom left): 18th LG Cup quarter finalists (from left): Chen Yaoye, Iyama Yuta, Tuo Jiaxi, Takao Shinji, Li Zhe, Xia Chenkun, Li Qincheng and Zhou Ruiyang. Photos courtesy Go Game Guru

Catching Up On “Go Go Japan”: Two places out of eight may not seem a spectacular success, but for Japan it’s a big improvement on recent results. The go media here has been giving much of the credit to the foundation of a national team. Since I omitted to report on this earlier, now is a good time to catch up. Go Go Japan, the name of the national team, was chosen in a poll of go fans and announced on May 20 (the first word is English and the second refers to the game). The actual founding of a national team by the Nihon Ki-in and the Kansai Ki-in is dated to April 1 this year; the aim is to promote solidarity in international competition and to improve results. Members are the top 15 players in the prize-winning list, players with previous good results in international tournaments, the winners of the King of the New Stars, Hiroshima Aluminium Cup, the Okage Cup and Nakano Cup, the top ten women players, and all teenaged players, with the last-mentioned given the status of trainees (all of the above must volunteer for the team, though). This is quite a large pool, but there’s some overlap and the membership for the opening year, including coaches and playing coaches, amounts to 32 players. In theory, training camps and other events may be held, but the main activity so far has been setting aside Fridays and Saturdays for senior members of the team to play training games on the Net with the junior players. The most famous of the 30 players on the team are Iyama Yuta, Yamashita Keigo, Hane Naoki, Cho U, Takao Shinji, Kono Rin, Yuki Satoshi, and O Meien. Coaches are Yamashiro Hiroshi, who is also Vice President of the Board of Directors of the Nihon Ki-in, and Cho Riyu 8-dan, with Cho U and Takao acting as playing coaches. It’s hard to know how much of a boost the formation of the national team gave to the players competing in the LG Cup, but it’s certainly the focal point of the news coverage in Japan. Local fans are certainly hoping that this opening success is not a flash in the pan.

4th Asian Indoor & Martial Arts Games to Include Go: The 4th Asian Indoor & Martial Arts Games will be held in Incheon City in Korea from June 30 to July 5. Eight sports will be featured, including go, chess, billiards, bowling, and kick boxing. Participation represents yet another advance in raising the profile of go as a sport in Asia, following the major breakthrough in having it included as a regular competition sport at the 16th Asian Games in 2010. The Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games are organized by the Olympic Committee of Asia and are held every four years in the year before the Asian Games. They are staged at the same venue, and Incheon will host this event and the 17th Asian Games next year. There are three go events: male individual, Pair Go (referred to as Rapid Mixed Team on the event’s HP), and male team. Ten countries or territories are taking part: Korea, China, Japan, Chinese Taipei, Malaysia, Singapore, Mongolia, Vietnam, Chinese Hong Kong, and Macao. Countries with professional organizations are fielding teams of low-dan, young players. The players representing Japan will be Hirata Tomoya 3P (aged 19), Tsuruta Kazushi 2P (aged 18), Motoki Katsuya 2P (aged 17), Sada Atsushi 1P (aged 17), Okuda Aya 3P (aged 24) and Fujisawa Rina 1P (aged 14).

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