American Go E-Journal » 2014 » February

SAWMG Highlights Posted on YouTube

Saturday February 15, 2014

Highlights from the 2013 SportAccord World Mind Games — held in Beijing last December — have now been posted on YouTube. The overview (the go part starts at about 35:50) includes some brief commentaries by Michael Redmond 9P on the finals, an interview with Thomas Hsiang and a visit to a go class. There are also links to the daily reports published during the event, including more interviews and Redmond’s game commentaries with EJ Managing Editor Chris Garlock.  

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Go Spotting: Iyama Yuta on NHK

Saturday February 15, 2014

“Just watched an episode of NHK’s documentary series ‘Professionals,’” writes AGA Treasurer Roy Schmidt. “The pro for that week was Iyama Yuta, Meijin. “The program featured several games, including a televised handicap game when he was around six years old.  Also, there were scenes from his private life.”  Click here to see the program (which is in Japanese).

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The Power Report: Iyama Leads 3-0 in Kisei Title Match; Kisei Game One Trivia; Yamashita and Cho U Share Lead in Meijin League; Shi Yue Wins New Year’s Tournament; A Promotion and a Retirement

Friday February 14, 2014

by John Power, EJ Japan Correspondent

Iyama Leads 3-0 In Kisei Title Match: The 38th Kisei title match feels as if it has barely started, but it might be almost over, as defending title holder, has raced to a 3-0 lead and just needs one more win to stay on top of the rankings for another year. The second game was played at a traditional inn called Yamaya in Kawagoe City, Saitama Prefecture, not far from Tokyo, on January 29 and 30. Yamashita Keigo, the challenger, made an uncharacteristic mistake in the opening, letting Iyama take an early lead. Iyama then gave him no chance to recover, playing solidly in the early middle game, then aggressively later on in order to wrap up the game. Yamashita, who had white, resigned after 167 moves. There was only a week for Yamashita to recover before the third game, and that doesn’t seem to have been enough. The match moved to the city of Kumamoto, about halfway down the western coast of the southern island of Kyushu. It was played at the Kumamoto Hotel Castle on February 6 & 7. Early in the middle game, Iyama (W) invaded Yamashita’s moyo and cleverly dodged when Yamashita attacked him. By the time he had settled his group (on move 60), the game had already tilted in his favour. As in the second game, Iyama played aggressively instead of coasting when he thought he had an opportunity to settle the game. Once again, Yamashita got no chances to pull off an upset and had to resign after 140 moves. Two convincing wins in a row by Iyama, following a close contest in the opening game, have now put the challenger under intense pressure. For the fourth game, the match goes north to Yamashita’s home ground of Hokkaido; it will be played on February 20 and 21.

Kisei Game One Trivia: As reported in the E-Journal, Iyama won the first game by half a point. Although that may seem like a close margin, it was what professionals call a ‘thick’ half-pointer, that is, Yamashita had no chance of winning, though he did catch up a few points in the endgame through slack play by Iyama. Game One was one of the events celebrating 400 years of relations between Japan and Spain. Last year was the 400th anniversary of the visit to Europe, including Spain, by a mission from the Japanese daimyo Date Masamune (whose headquarters was Sendai). It was led by Hasekura Tsunenaga (left) and traveled both ways via the Spanish colony that is now Mexico. The main aim was to visit the Pope, but the group spent seven years in Europe, including a visit to Spain. (It’s worth looking up Hasekura on Wikipedia for some nice illustrations.) Holding the first game of a best-of-seven title match (and occasionally games from best-of-fives) overseas has been popular, but this was actually the first Kisei game to leave Japan for four years (the overseas host in 2010 was Taipei). The Kisei/Yomiuri Newspaper group received a very warm welcome in Madrid. Just to give one example, the group was given a private after-hours tour of the Prado.

Yamashita and Cho U Share Lead in Meijin League: Three games were played in the 39th Meijin League on February 6. Cho U 9P (W) beat Ryu Shikun 9P by 7.5 points; Takao Shinji 9P (B) beat Kono Rin by resig; Hane Naoki 9P (W) beat Yuki Satoshi 9P by resig. The only undefeated players are Cho U and Yamashita Keigo, but they have only a provisional lead, as they have played only two games. Kono and Takao, both on 2-1, could join them at the top.

Shi Yue Wins New Year’s Tournament: The CCTV New Year’s Cup is a special tournament held to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Last year only Chinese players took part, but this year it has been upgraded into an international tournament, with a name change to the 2nd CCTV NY’s Cup Japan-China-Korea Tournament. It was won by Shi Yue 9P (right), who at present is rated number one in China. Second place was taken by Murakawa Daisuke 7P of Japan and third by Yi Se-tol 9P of Korea. Actually the sponsors wanted to invite Iyama Yuta from Japan, but it was impossible for him to find the time. Murakawa performed very creditably as substitute. In the first round, he lost to Shi Yue but put up a good fight. In the second round, he beat Yi Se-tol (who drew the bye in the first round); this probably ranks as Murakawa’s most prestigious win to date. In the final, however, he was outplayed by Shi. This may be an unofficial tournament, but first prize was an impressive 80,000 yuan (12 million yen or about $120,000), which would place it sixth among the Japanese titles. It was held from February 2 to 4, with live telecasts every day (apparently a first for a go tournament at this time of the year).

A Promotion and a Retirement: Son Makoto has earned promotion to 3-dan with 40 cumulative wins. Tokimoto Hajime 9P has retired as of January 31. Born in Okinawa, Tokimoto became 1-dan in 1968 and reached 9-dan in 2005. He won the top section of the rating tournament in 1977. Tokimoto’s forte was ultra-fast quick games; at ten seconds a move (in unofficial games), he was almost unbeatable.

Categories: Japan
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Yunzi Stones and Lead: An Update

Friday February 14, 2014

“I bought ‘Yunzi Stones’ from Yellow Mountain Imports as a gift for my young children so we can play baduk together,” wrote EJ reader Jason Lee recently. “Later on after ordering, I saw online that this kind of stone can contain lead. So when my order arrived I got a lead test kit from the local hardware store to check them for safety. It turns out that the stones sent to me did contain lead. This is unsafe for my children to use and maybe me too. I wrote about my experience here. Thank you for the great work (the EJ does) for baduk players. I read the website every week.”

The EJ originally reported on this in 2008 (Go Review: Chinese Go Stones 2/4/2008) and we later reported (Yunzi Stones Now Lead-Free 6/23/2008 EJ) that YMI had contacted the manufacturer, who had agreed to eliminate lead from the manufacturing process of yunzi stones, which are special go pieces manufactured in the Chinese province of Yunnan. Apparently the manufacturer did not completely eliminate the lead, instead reducing it below the levels recommended by the Consumer Products Safety Commission; see below for details.

Yellow Mountain Imports responds: “Thanks for reaching out to us. We thought we had resolved this many years back when we had gone through all the reformulation and subsequent tests with the Yunnan Weiqi factory so obviously we were concerned. We take product safety seriously so when we heard these new complaints, we contacted the Yunnan Weiqi Factory immediately. They were equally concerned and arranged for a current official radio spectrometry test. The black stones tested positive at 0.005% (50 parts per million). Lead was also found in the white stones, at an even lower concentration, less than 0.002 (20 ppm). The Yunnan Weiqi Factory reformulated Yunzi stones to be within safe levels as per our request many years ago, while maintaining as much as the original qualities as possible, but it turns out that they cannot eliminate it completely. Lead makes the stones more durable and less brittle. These levels are well below the 0.009 (90 ppm) level recommended by the Consumer Products Safety Commission, but we do not claim that they are lead-free. Anyone who has purchased Yunzi stones and wants to return them can do so and should contact us.” Email customerservice@ymimports.com with any questions or concerns.

Myungwan Kim Opens Go School

Thursday February 13, 2014

Myungwan Kim 9P (left) has opened his own go school, the American Go Institute in the city of Arcadia east of Los Angeles. Kim tells the EJ the Institute offers comprehensive and specialized training programs for kids to approach go and is dedicated to helping and developing kids’ potential. “With expert instruction and a proven training methodology, the Institute provides a true foundation for future success,” Kim said. Kim moved to the US in 2008 to promote go at the behest of the Korea Baduk Association and has been instrumental in starting the AGA’s professional certification program. For the stronger players, the Institute’s methodology involves a great deal of deep reading practice and life and death work in keeping with the latest techniques used in Asian go schools, as well as face-to-face play and review. Beginners are also welcome. In addition to Kim, top level former insei Evan Cho (right) is teaching at the Institute. For more information, call 626-538-4286 or e-mail americangoinstitute@gmail.com.

Categories: U.S./North America
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The Power Report: January Update: Kato to Challenge for Women’s Meijin; Yamashita Leads In Honinbo League; Meijin League; Iyama Misses Shot at Grand Slam; Chisato Cup; Xie Defends Women’s Kisei; Annual Promotions

Thursday February 13, 2014

by John Power, EJ Japan Correspondent

January in Japan: I failed to submit a report last month, so I would like to make up for it with a review of the first month of professional go in Japan this year.

Kato to Challenge for Women’s Meijin: Kato Keiko 6P (right) hung on to her lead in the 26th Women’s Meijin League and will challenge Xie Yimin for the title. In the final round, held on January 9, she beat Okuda Aya 3P (W) by half a point to end up on 5-1, one point clear of the field. The match starts on March 5.   Actually, this was Kato’s first game for three months. As mentioned in an earlier report, she took the winter off to have her second child. This is Kato’s first title match for six years (she lost the 20th Women’s Meijin title to the challenger, who was Xie Yimin).  She won the title the previous term and the 10th Strongest Woman Player title in 2008. She is married to Mizokami Tomochika 8P.
Other results in the final round: Mukai Chiaki, Women’s Honinbo, (W) beat Yoshida Mika 8P by resig.; Suzuki Ayumi 6P (B) beat Chinen Kaori 4P by 3.5 points. Mukai and Suzuki, both on 4-1, took 2nd and 3rd places respectively. The other player to keep her place in the league was Chinen, on 3-3. Okuda (1-5), Yoshida (2-4), and Ishii Akane 2P (2-4) all dropped out.

Yamashita Leads In Honinbo League: A win over Yuki Satoshi at the end of last year gave Yamashita Keigo (left) a share of the lead with Kono Rin in the 69th Honinbo League; both were on 3-0 and were the only undefeated players.  However, in the fourth round, played in January, Yamashita beat league newcomer Yo Seiki while Kono lost to Cho U, so Yamashita now has the sole lead. The other league newcomer, Ida Atsushi,  shares second place with Kono and Cho U. Games played since my last report are given below.
(26 December) Yamashita Keigo 9P (W) beat Yuki Satoshi Judan by resig.
(January 9) Ida Atsushi 7P (B) beat Takao Shinji 9P by half a point.
(January 16) Cho U 9P (W) beat Kono Rin 9P by half a point; Sakai Hideyuki 8P (B) beat Yuki Satoshi by resig.
(January 23) Yamashita (W) beat Yo Seiki 7P by resig.

Meijin League: Three of the four games in the second round of the 39th Meijin League were played on January 9. At this point, Kono Rin (right) has the provisional lead with 2-0, but the winner of the fourth game, between Yamashita Keigo and Takao Shinji, will draw even with him.
(January 9): Kono Rin 9P (B) beat Hane Naoki 9P by resig.; Cho U 9P (W) beat Murakawa Daisuke 7P by resig.; Ko Iso 8P (W) beat Yuki Satoshi Judan by resig.

Iyama Misses Shot at Grand Slam: Recently, with Iyama Yuta (left) holding six titles, there had been a lot of speculation about whether he would become the first player to score a genuine grand slam of the top seven titles, that is, holding them all concurrently instead of cumulatively. In the past, players have not been able to maintain a big tally of concurrent titles for very long because of the wear and tear of constant title matches, so if Iyama is going to have a try at it, the sooner the better. This year he seemed to have a good chance, as he had reached the play-off to decide the challenger for the only top-seven title he didn’t have, the Judan, and his opponent was a player, Takao Shinji, against whom he had a very good record. The play-off was held on Iyama’s home ground, at the Kansai Headquarters of the Nihon Ki-in, on January 23. The game was a difficult one, with a series of swaps, but Takao, playing white, prevailed by 5.5 points. Takao gets a chance to win back the title that he lost to Cho U in 2009. To keep the dream alive, Iyama will have to try again next year, but he must first defend all his titles this year. There is no precedent in Japan for such a long winning streak in title matches. The first game of the title match between Takao and Yuki Satoshi Judan will be played on March 4.

Chisato Cup:  This is a special tournament being held to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Chisato corporation, which makes uniforms, helmets, and various other work-related items. Participants were 16 young players recommended by the sponsor. First prize is two million yen. The time allowance is the same as for the NHK Cup, that is, 30 seconds per move plus ten minutes extra time in one-minute units.  The first two rounds were held on January 17th and the following players have reached the semifinals: Suzuki Shinji 4P, Hirata Tomoya 3P, Kimoto Katsuya 2P, and Fujisawa Rina 2P. Fujisawa is the granddaughter of Fujisawa Shuko. The semifinals and final will be held on March 1 and 2.

Xie Defends Women’s Kisei: On her previous challenge, two years ago, Aoki Kikuyo 8P managed to take the Women’s Kisei title from the Xie Yimin (right) , the top woman player in Japan. Xie regained the title last year, but Aoki was back again as challenger. This time she did not do so well, however, and Xie has defended her title with straight wins. The first game was played on January 23; taking white Xie forced a resignation. In the second game, played on January 30, Xie had a different color but the result was the same, a resignation by Aoki. Actually, Aoki had the better of it for most of the first game; after a severe attack, she had a large enemy group at her mercy, but she failed to deliver the coup de grace. This is Xie’s 17th title.

Annual Promotions
In January every year there are a number of promotions for the top prize-money winners of the previous year among players from 1- to 6-dan. The following promotions became effective on February 1.
To 7-dan: Shida Tatsuya (only the top 6-dan is promoted); To 6-dan: Kawada Kohei, Ohashi Naruya; To 5-dan: Tajima Shingo, Sakamoto Yasuo; To 4-dan: Ichiriki Ryo, Muramatsu Hiroki; To 3-dan: Kimoto Katsuya, Adachi Toshimasa; To 2-dan: Kikuchi Masatoshi, Onishi Kenya.
There were also two promotions by the cumulative-wins system. Shimoji Gensho (120 wins) earned promotion to 7-dan as of December 26. With 50 wins, Ms. Makihata Taeko was promoted to 4-dan as of January 31. (Usually the date of the promotion is the day after the game that secured it, as the details have to be confirmed by the Ki-on office.)
Tomorrow: Iyama Leads 3-0 in Kisei Title Match; Kisei Game One Trivia; Yamashita and Cho U Share Lead in Meijin League; Shi Yue Wins New Year’s Tournament; A Promotion and a Retirement  

Categories: Japan
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Argentine Go Association to hold first Teachers Training Workshop this Weekend

Tuesday February 11, 2014

The Argentine Go Association is holding its first Teachers Training Workshop this weekend in Buenos Aires. “Its goals are to develop a teaching system of the game of go to be used in classes and courses and to train the teachers that will give the courses,” Argentine Go Association president Santiago Laplagne told the E-Journal. “Recently, the AAGo signed agreements with the Amateur University Sports Association of Argentina and the Government of the City of Buenos Aires to give classes and courses of go in schools and universities. The workshop is expected to provide the base for these courses.”  Fernando Aguilar (right) is coordinating the workshop on February 15-16; click here for details (in Spanish). “We are planning to organize more workshops in 2014,” Laplagne, “so some players might be interested in attending the future workshops.” 

Categories: Go News,World
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EuroGoTV Update: France, Germany, Russia

Tuesday February 11, 2014

France: The 29th Antony Tournament finished February 2 with Junfu Dai 8d in first, Benjamin Blanchard 3d in second, and Francois Mizessyn 4d in third. Germany: Also on February 2, Viktor Lin 5d took the 17. Erdinger Go-Turnier in Erding. Behind him were Jonas Fincke 4d in second and Sebastian Koller 3d in third. Russia: Natalia Kovaleva 5d (left) bested Rusian Dmitriev 5d at the Festival Lariks in Moscow on February 2 while Igor Nemlij 5d placed third.
– Annalia Linnan,  based on reports from EuroGoTV, which include complete result tables and all the latest European go news; photo courtesy of EuroGoTV

Kiseido Launches Go World Online with Detailed Gu-Lee Game Commentary

Monday February 10, 2014

A commentary by Rob van Zeijst on the historic first jubango match between Gu Li and Lee Sedol highlights Kiseido’s launch of Go World Online this month. van Zeijst, three-time European champion and former Japan Go Association insei compiled the commentary on this showdown between the top two go players in the world from various commentaries of top Chinese, Korean and Japanese professionals. Go World Online “will present in-depth commentaries of important tournament games soon after they are played,” says Kiseido’s Richard Bozulich. The in-depth analysis in the commentary’s 24 game figures and 85 variation diagrams will give you a sense of Gu’s and Lee’s supreme reading powers and their flawless intuition that enables them to spot all the tesujis that are hidden under the moves played in the game,” says Bozulich. van Zeijst also explores the interesting question of “Why a Ten-Game Match?” Another game featured this month will be between Zhou Ruiyang 9-dan and Shi Yue 9-dan, two young (22) Chinese players who have both been ranked 3rd (2660) in the most recent Chinese ratings. And in preparation for release this month are the first and second games of the 38th Kisei Title Match between Iyama Yuta and Yamashita Keigo, the top two players in Japan.

Categories: Go World,World
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Bongkyun Moon 4D Tops Twin Cities Winter Tourney

Monday February 10, 2014

The Twin Cities Go Club Winter Open tournament was held last Saturday, February 8, on the University of Minnesota campus in Minneapolis, MN. Thirty four players participated in a three-round McMahon tournament. “Additional players showed up throughout the day and enjoyed casual games in our social room but did not participate in the tournament,” reports Aaron Broege. Bongkyun Moon 4D won all three of his games to place first in the tournament. Bo Hessburg 3k and Xiaoyu Wang 2k also won all three of their games. Prizes were awarded for first place and for individuals who won all three of their games. “There was also a raffle for prizes including books donated by club members, gift cards to the coffee shops where we regularly meet, an AGA membership, and a game review session for kyu players with stronger members of the club,” Broege says. “We welcomed some new faces at the tournament and added four new AGA memberships that day to push our club totals to over 30 active AGA members. We are looking forward to our quarterly AGA ratings tournament in April.”
photo: Bongkyun Moon 4D (left) playing Yanqing Sun 2D; photo courtesy Aaron Broege

Categories: U.S./North America
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