American Go E-Journal » 2013 » December

Redmond on “Complete Information”

Saturday December 14, 2013

Joseki used to take months, sometimes years, to develop and be accepted. Now, like everything else in this hyper-connected world, they zip around the globe like so many electronic mushrooms, popping up overnight and sometimes fading just as fast. At least that’s the way Michael Redmond 9P sees it. “We’ve seen one particular new sequence repeatedly this week,” Redmond told me during one of our daily broadcasts at the SportAccord World Mind Games in Beijing. “Everyone’s been playing it lately but I think it’s really just a fad and doubt that it’ll last.” Unlike the fabled study groups of Japanese professionals and insei who extensively researched, developed and tested new patterns to spring on their opponents in tournaments, there are no secrets in a world where even top professionals play online on a regular basis. Further proof, if any were needed, that go is indeed a game of complete information.
- Chris Garlock; photo by Makoto Moriwaki, Pandanet


SmartGo for Windows is Back in Beta

Saturday December 14, 2013

SmartGo for Windows is back, reports author Anders Kierulf. A full beta version is available for free download, and includes the full GoGoD game collection of more than 76,000 games. SmartGo offers a wide range of functions for go players from 20 kyu to 6 dan, “with powerful features easily accessible in a well-designed user interface,” according to SmartGo’s website. “The main functions in SmartGo are grouped into tabs that organize your Go activities as well as your games.” SmartGo 3 is a free upgrade for SmartGo 2 users, “and currently only $39 (down from $49) for new users,” Kierulf tells the EJ. “Also, you’ll note that the website is new and shiny, with a matching site.” Before the holidays, Kierulf says “I expect to add five more books to SmartGo Books, including two books from Yutopian that never made it to print and will be SmartGo Books exclusives.” Stay tuned for more details soon.

SportAccord World Mind Games Day 2: North America & Japan’s Men’s Teams Winless as China-Korea Final Looms; All-China Final in Women’s Individual; PLUS: Svetlana Shikshina 3P Moves to Canada; What We Can Learn from Chess & Japan’s Yoshida Mika Considers Flamenco

Friday December 13, 2013

The third annual SportAccord World Mind Games are taking place December 12-18 in Beijing, China. Click here for latest go competition winner results, here for Ranka Online’s full coverage and here for reports on all 2013 SportAccord World Mind Games competitions (chess, go, bridge, Chinese Chess & draughts).

Day 2 (Friday, 12/13) Summary (click on links for game records, uncommented unless otherwise noted): Men’s Team: China 3-0 over Chinese Taipei: Fan Tingyu beat Chou Chun-hsun, Zhou Ruiyang beat Wang Yuan-jyun, Wang Xi (left in photo) beat Lin Chun-yen (right). Korea 3-0 over Japan: Park Jeonghwan beat Fujita Akihiko, Kim

Jiseok beat Hirata Tomoy (Redmond commentary), Cho Hanseung beat Tsuruta Kazushi, giving Japan an 0-6 record after two rounds. Europe 3-0 over North America: Fan Hui beat Huiren Yang, Ilya Shikshin beat Daniel Daehyuk Ko, Pavol Lisy (click left for Redmond commentary) beat Yongfei Ge, leaving the N.A. team winless after two rounds.
Women’s individual: Wang Chengxing (China) beat Joanne Missingham (Taipei); Yu Zhiying (China) beat Park Jieun (Korea); Chang Cheng-peng (China) beat Yoshida Mika (Japan); Oh Jeonga (Korea) beat Fujisawa Rina (Japan); Natalia Kovaleva (Russia) beat Dina Burdakova (Russia); Svetlana Shikshina (Russia; click left for Yang Shuang 2P’s KGS game variations) beat Sarah Jin Yu (Canada). Note: Michael Redmond 9P and Chris Garlock did live audio commentary on the Round 2 Missingham-Jeonga game on KGS but because they recorded the game and did variations in the same file (instead of cloning), the record’s trees are a bit of a mess; it’s attached here for those interested.

North America & Japan Men’s Teams Winless as China-Korea Final Looms: On the basis of international tournament results during the current century, China and Korea seemed likely to have the advantage in their matches, but Chinese Taipei’s near-upset of Korea in the first round raised doubts about the size of that advantage. In the second round on Friday, however, the Chinese and Korean teams prevailed handily over Chinese Taipei and Japan. The match between Europe and North America was harder to predict. North America had won a similar match two years ago, but by a close 3-2 score, and this year the European team had the advantage of youth. 

In the game between Russia’s Ilya Shikshin (left in photo) and Daniel Daehyuk Ko (right) of the U.S., Shikshin “started out with a complex opening pattern in which my opponent made several mistakes, so I got the lead,” Shikshin told Ranka. “I think I was about twenty points ahead. After that I tried to play simple moves, and my opponent started to take risks, trying to draw me into an error, but in the end I killed a dragon and he resigned.” 

Slovakia’s Pavol Lisy, on the other hand, “had a bad opening” against Canada’s Yongfei Ge, “but then somehow I caught up and even pulled ahead. At one point I thought I was going to win by about six points, nearly the size of the komi. Then something happened to a group of mine in the corner. At first it looked as if I was going to lose all my territory there. I was terrified, but I thought for ten minutes and found a way to rescue it, and after I did, my opponent resigned.”

Women’s Individual Tournament Rounds 2 & 3: Triumph for China, Disaster for Japan & North America, Mixed for Rest: 
The results on Day 2 were a complete triumph for the two Chinese players, a disaster for the women from Japan and North America, and a mixture of wins and losses for the women from Korea, Chinese Taipei, and Russia. The six winners remain in contention, and Joanne Missingham and Park Jieun, who recorded their first losses, are also still in contention. The two Chinese, Wang Chengxing and Yu Zhiying, will contend for the final undefeated position in Round Four. Click here for the complete Ranka report. 

Svetlana Shikshina 3P Moves to Canada: The Russian-born Korean professional (left) moved to Canada in late June 2013 and talks to Ranka’s James Davies about the challenges of her new life there.

What We Can Learn from Chess: FIDE Chief Executive Officer Geoffrey Borg (right) on an unexpected common link between chess and go and Russia’s Ian Nepomniachtchi on lessons from the cheating scandals in chess.

Japan’s Yoshida Mika Considers Flamenco: After her “tragic loss” to young Chinese star Yu Zhiying 4P, Yoshida, former winner of the Women’s Honinbo, tells Ranka’s John Richardson “maybe my future is in flamenco,” which she took up again earlier this year.

- photos by Ivan Vigano/Ranka Online 

Registration Opens for New Online Self-Paired Tournament Session

Friday December 13, 2013

Registration for the next AGA On-Line Games Self-Paired Tournament — which will run January 1 to March 31, 2014 on KGS — begins December 15. The initial  Self-Paired Tournament — in which 24 players have so far played 44 games — will end December 31, with results announced in early January. Players must be AGA members current through March 1, 2014. A player’s current AGA rating is the default tournament rating. Tournament Ratings may be adjusted by the Tournament Director for those without an AGA rating or for those who whose current AGA rating clearly does not reflect their current playing strength. Games are played and tournament documents are linked in the AGA Tournament Room on KGS.

Simultaneous games will also be offered during this upcoming quarter in the AGA Community Room on KGS by volunteers AGA 4 dan and above. The room is open to all AGA members current through March 31, 2014. Email with your AGA ID number and KGS username for access to the room. A schedule is linked in the room and in the AGA Tournament Room. “These games are a fine opportunity for players to test their understanding and technique against stronger players,” says Gilman.

How To Get Your Tournament Rated Fast

Friday December 13, 2013

Charles Haynes knows the secret to getting tournaments rated fast.  Haynes, Tournament Director of the December 7th Davis Go Tournament enabled the AGA to enter the tournament into the database and rate it in just four days — a new record — by
using the AGA’s online new member “Join the AGA”  webpage instead of sending membership information and payment to the AGA, which slows down the rating process significantly.  We encourage members to help any friends or family joining the AGA to sign up online before the tournament.
Categories: U.S./North America

Your Move/Readers Write: Cup Winner Switch; Remembering T Mark Hall

Friday December 13, 2013

Cup Winner Switch: “The recent article ‘Men’s Team & Women’s Individual Events Launch Go Competitions at SportAccord World Mind Games,’  stated that Fan Tingyu won the Bailing Cup and that Zhou Ruiyang won the Ing Cup,” writes Justin Teng, “but in fact it’s the other way around: Fan Tingyu won the Ing Cup and Zhou Ruiyang won the Bailing Cup.” Good catch, Justin; we’ve corrected the report.

Remembering T Mark Hall: “Some 20 years ago or so, I wanted to learn more about the game I  had been briefly introduced to at university and discovered there was a dan-level BGA official living close by,” writes E-Journal British correspondent Tony Collman. “I phoned him and T Mark Hall was kind enough to invite this stranger to come round for a game on the famous goban, where he demonstrated that a beginner can start with 17 stones on the board and end with nothing. In fact I didn’t get into go seriously then, but this year, after having started to really study it thanks to the magic of the internet, I was delighted to renew the acquaintance at the British Open in my home town of Stevenage. T Mark was installed in the lobby of the Cromwell Hotel, just as described by Jon Diamond (but, whether due to current anti-smoking laws or having quit, minus the pipe) and happily chatted away about GoGoD and other matters until he left for dinner. He showed no sign of his illness, nor made any reference to it and it was an honour and a privilege to have had that chance to sit with him.”

Haiku for T Mark Hall: Keith Arnold sent along this haiku in honor of the famously speedy player and GoGoD co-creator who was once banned on IGS.
speed on the go board
careful transcription to bytes
ban over, pipe out

photo: Hall at the 2010 World Amateur Go Championships in China; click here for None Redmond’s interview with him there; photo by John Pinkerton.


Men’s Team & Women’s Individual Events Launch Go Competitions at SportAccord World Mind Games

Friday December 13, 2013

Day 1 Summary: Men’s teams: China beat North America 3-0, Korea beat Chinese Taipei 2-1, Japan beat Europe 3-0. Women’s individual: Yu Zhiying (China) beat Dina Burdakova (Europe/Russia), Chang Cheng-ping (Chinese Taipei) beat Natalia Kovaleva (Europe/Russia), Oh Jeonga (Korea) beat Sarah Jin Yu (North America/US), Fujisawa Rina (Japan) beat Svetlana Shikshina (Europe/Russia). CLICK HERE TO WATCH SAWMG DAY 1 HIGHLIGHTS. Note: click on hotlinked names below for game records, uncommented unless otherwise indicated.

In the match between China and North America, the game between Wang Xi (China) and Yongfei Ge (Canada) was played at a rapid pace, with Ge challenging Wang to an early ko fight. Wang won the ko and captured five white stones in the center, then used his central power to attack and capture White’s largest group. Ge resigned and the game was over in less than an hour. The other two North American players held out longer, but Huiren Yang resigned to 17-year-old Ing Cup-winner Fang Tingyu in less than two hours, and Daniel Daehyuk Ko, after playing his game out nearly to the end and seeing that he was more than ten points behind, resigned to the Bailing Cup winner Zhou Ruiyang. The Ko-Zhou game (click here for Michael Redmond 9P’s game commentary) was broadcast to a live YouTube audience with a running commentary by Michael Redmond 9P.

The European team put up more stubborn resistance in their match with Japan, but Ilya Shikshin lost by 4.5 points to 19-year-old Hirata Tomoya (photo at right; click here for Michael Redmond 9P’s game commentary); Fan Hui managed to rescue a beleaguered group in a ko fight but eventually had to resign against New King (Shinjin-O) title-holder Fujita Akihiko; and in a battle of 18-year-olds, Pavol Lisy struggled to a 28.5-point loss to Tsuruta Kazuya.

The Korean team was matched against Chinese Taipei. In the first round of the men’s team event in the first SportAccord World Mind Games two years ago, Chinese Taipei had given Korea a bad scare by winning on two of the five boards. This year, with only three boards, Korea could not afford two losses. Both sides played deliberately from the outset. Around four o’clock it looked as if the younger player might win on all three boards, and two of the younger players were from Chinese Taipei. Two of these predictions held up: Park Jeonghwan (Korea, age 19) defeated Chou Chun-hsun (Chinese Taipei, age 33) by half a point on board one, and Lin Chun-yen (Chinese Taipei, age 15) defeated Cho Hanseung (Korea, age 31) by resignation on board three. On board two, however, Kim Jiseok (Korea, age 23) fought back to overcome Wang Yuan-jyun (Chinese Taipei, age 17) by 1.5 points. “I was behind from the opening,” said Kim. “I finally managed to catch up in the endgame, but because of the large number of prisoners it was hard to calculate the score accurately. It wasn’t until I won the ko on the right side that I thought I might be ahead.”
- James Davies, Ranka Online. Click here for his complete Day 1 report, the SAWMG Day 1 reportDay 1 men’s results & women’s results.
CORRECTION: this post has been updated to reflect that Fan Tingyu won the Ing Cup and Zhou Ruiyang won the Bailing Cup, rather than the other way around, as originally reported. 

In Memoriam: T Mark Hall, 1947-2013

Thursday December 12, 2013

T Mark Hall died on Monday, December 9 after a long illness. Perhaps best-known throughout the global go community as the co-creator of GoGoD (Games of Go on Disk), the exhaustive go encyclopaedia, Hall “was a long and faithful servant of the British Go Association, of British go in general,” said BGA president — and longtime friend — Jon Diamond. “He was on our Council for some 22 years, serving for 20 of these as Treasurer, a record of service that will surely be unsurpassed.” “T Mark Hall’s work benefited go players around the world,” said American Go Association president Andy Okun. “We extend our thanks and deepest sympathies to our British go colleagues who so generously shared his gifts with us.” John Fairbairn, Hall’s longtime friend and GoGoD colleague, said that “British Go has been blessed with many fine servants, but very high among them will rank T Mark Hall. I was with him in the last months and hours and so I can testify that he had borne his long illness with great dignity and courage – nonchalance even.” Hall continued to work on GoGoD until very near the end and as recently as April played in the British Open, where he came in fourth. “Mark wished to continue his work for the British Go Association even after he was gone, and has made substantial bequests accordingly,” Diamond says. He also donated his antique go board to the British Museum and asked that GoGoD continue; Diamond says “I hope to keep his flame alive there, although frankly he will be quite irreplaceable.” Diamond added that “Mark was not just well known. He was popular…He will be remembered by many for sitting at tournaments and other events after his game was over with his pipe and chatting to all and sundry. He will be sorely missed.”
- photo courtesy BGA 

Categories: Europe

Gala Night of Pair Go in Seattle

Thursday December 12, 2013

Fourteen pairs of go players gathered at the Seattle Go Center Saturday night, December 7, for a gala dress-up event that included two rounds of Pair Go and three kinds of cake provided by the stylish Bakery Nouveau of Capitol Hill.  Among the strong players, the winning team was “EASTWEST” – Momoko Tsutsui and Jon Friedman.  TD Bill Chiles reported that the middle group was led by Deborah Niedermeyer and Brian Allen.  The aptly named “DRESS TO KILL”, Marilyn and Rainer Romatka, ruled the last group.  Participants enjoyed door prizes from Pandanet Internet Go, while the winners received fans with calligraphy from the Go Center.  At the end of the holiday evening, organizer Bill Thompson revealed his secret plan to make this an annual event, and there was no objection.  Photo by Joe Schneider, report by Brian Allen

Categories: U.S./North America

Go Spotting: Making the World’s Best Go Pieces

Thursday December 12, 2013

“Sitting in front of a clay oven in which the temperature is kept at 1,200 C, workers use a traditional tool to precisely drop melted materials onto an iron board,” reports “ As a result, crystal-clear Go pieces, which look like black jade along with the color white, immediately appear. This is how the world-famous Yunzi, the special Go pieces, are produced… Yunzi is short for Yunnan Go pieces, and has a history of more than 500 years. The ancient process of making Yunzi was lost towards the end ofthe Ming Dynasty. In 1974, researchers found the formula from ancient Go pieces and the process remained a secret…” Read more here (be sure to click on the photo to see the entire gallery of how the stones are made).

Categories: Go Spotting