American Go E-Journal » 2015 » January

AGA Pro Qualification Tournament, Day Two: Li & Lui Undefeated After Four Rounds

Monday January 5, 2015

Ryan Li and Eric Lui, undefeated after four rounds, are leading the race for the 2015 AGA Pro Qualification Tournament finals later this week. Ben Lockhart is close behind at 3-1. Click here for latest results and game records. Rounds 5 and 6 will be broadcast live on KGS at 9:30a and 4:00p Tuesday. 2015.01.05_pro-player-collage

Monday dawned bright and chilly as a stiff breeze out of the north blew away the few remaining storm clouds off the coast in Hull, Massachusetts. Ben Lockhart arrived early at the US Pro Qualification Tournament playing area in search of coffee, and the rest of the players arrived just before the 9:30a start of the third round. Ricky Zhao was the last to arrive, slipping into his Board 1 seat opposite Jeremy Chiu seconds before TD Jeff Shaevel officially began the round. His was the first game to finish when a battle between three running groups claimed a fourth and Zhao resigned a few moves later.  On Board 2, Yuan Zhou had a very difficult time after Ryan Li reduced his only territory to a manageable size and Li won comfortably, extending his winning streak to 3-0. The game on Board 3 was a marathon effort by both players, with Matthew Burrall prevailing over Daniel Gourdeau by just 1.5 points. Eric Lui effectively exploited the potential aji of an earlier trade to cut off Ben Lockhart from the center and take control of the Board 4 game and Lockhart notched his first loss, while Lui went to 3-0.

2015.01.05_game-review-DSC_0009With the sun shining brightly but temperatures steadily dropping into the teens, the players gathered Tuesday afternoon for the fourth round in the Minot Ballroom at the Nantasket Beach Resort. Matthew Burrall took on Benjamin Lockhart on Board 1 and as usual sketched out a massive moyo that Lockhart then reduced while attacking Burrall’s one weak group on the board. After an exciting ko fight the game was nail-bitingly close but Lockhart had a narrow lead that Burrall, down to his last byo-yomi period, could not erase and he resigned. On Board 2 Yuan Zhou prevailed over Ricky Zhao, patiently enduring a small disadvantage until choosing the last possible moment to live in Ricky’s corner. Daniel Gourdeau had the unenviable task of trying to derail the Ryan Li Express on Board 3 and though he managed to deftly fend off several severe attacks, by the middle game Li was already ahead on the board and Gourdeau still had problems to deal with and resigned. Jeremy Chiu had a similar problem on Board 4 in his game against Eric Lui, the other undefeated player, and though he lasted a bit longer, the result was the same, with Lui notching his fourth win by resignation. Lui, by the way, is the front-runner in a “Who will become the next AGA pro?” poll on lifein19x19.com. With a total of just 13 votes recorded thus far, Lui has 7 votes, Ryan Li has 4 and Yuan Zhou and Ben Lockhart each have one.
- report/photos by Chris Garlock; top right: 2014 AGA Pro Qualification Tournament players: top row (l-r): Matthew Burrall, Jeremy Chiu, Daniel Gourdeau, Ryan Li; Bottom row: Ben Lockhart, Eric Lui, Ricky Zhao, Yuan Zhou. Bottom left: Li, Burrall and Lockhart review a game. More photos on the AGA’s Facebook page

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Mexico Wins Latin American Youth Team Event

Monday January 5, 2015

QgmZ8s9qCHvio3eunJla01lFoNmcL1jWtj34lnRuck9qLE9TyT4XXGmTemnjBike4nrBZjlY0hiyNiQh93hdADJcf37xODTOSUZMRHqE6uW7vQyn7WKA-4NDH6P2UVFTKgStudents from Mexico City won top honors in the ORION-Latin American Youth Go Team Tournament, held Nov 29-30th on the OGS Go Server, reports Siddhartha Avila.  The Gimnasio de Go team, led by Mexican siblings Lillian and Omar Zavala, both 9k, and joined by Diego Luciano 25k,  won all four matches.  Chile’s Colegio Luterano team came in second, while Ecuador’s Academia de Go came in third.  A total of 36 kids and teens competed, with three players per team.  Schools from México, Venezuela, Ecuador and Chile all participated.  The winning team also played a one round team match against students from Dongjak Academy in Korea, which included Jihyuk Yoon, 3k, age 8, Doohyun Kim, 5k , age 6, and Sungjae Cho 6k, age 7, the Koreans won all three matches. Full results are here, while pictures and reports (in Spanish) can be found here. - Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.  Photo: Students in Chile competing on OGS.

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AGA Pro Qualification Tournament, Day One: Li, Lui & Lockhart Take Lead

Sunday January 4, 2015

Ryan Li, Eric Lui and Ben Lockhart won their first- and second-round games Sunday at the AGA Pro Qualification Tournament to take an early lead in the 7-round round-robin section of the two-part tournament. 2015.01.04_Pro-Stairs-DSC_0027Click here for complete tournament results and game records. The tournament is being held at the Nantasket Beach Resort in Hull, MA, January 4-10. The games are being broadcast live on KGS by the E-Journal at 9:30a and 4:30p (EST).

Temperatures had risen overnight, melting the snow that had fallen Saturday night, and a few hardy surfers could be glimpsed in the waves just across the beach from the resort. The players posed for a group photo (right) before the first round and the tournament commenced shortly afterwards.

The seaside town is quiet this time of year, matching the silence in the playing room as the top-ranked players grappled on the boards. Hundreds watched online as fierce battles unfolded; three of the first-round games were decided by resignation. Jeremy Chiu was the first to fall, resigning his Board 1 game after just 89 moves after a bad start when he misplayed a joseki that allowed Ryan Li to capture a group in the corner and get outside thickness. Chiu mounted a creditable attack on one of Li’s groups but Li played calmly and when he settled his group Chiu gracefully gave up. On Board 2, Matthew Burrall started a complicated middle-board fight because he was behind on points against Eric Lui, but came up a couple of liberties short and had to resign. And on Board 4 Daniel Gourdeau and Ricky Zhao’s even bigger and more complicated fight ended when Gourdeau used an attack on Zhao’s center group to cut off and kill another group. The Board 3 game between Ben Lockhart and Yuan Zhou was the last to finish and the only one to be counted. Observers thought Zhou had a small lead coming out of the middle game but he was short on time and Lockhart played a very sharp endgame to win by a comfortable 10.5 points.

2015.01.04_round2-board3-DSC_0011The town was completely fogged in by the time the players reconvened at 4:30p for the second round. What few sounds there were over the next few hours were distant and muffled as the players focused even more intently than they had in the morning round. At one point a loud argument between two hotel patrons erupted just outside the playing room but the players were so engrossed that no-one seemed to even notice. The Board 1 game between Matthew Burrall and Ryan Li was a classic territory vs. influence game involving some very fluid positions and deep reading. Though Burrall did manage to establish a fairly substantial central moyo in the end it wasn’t enough to compensate for Li’s bankable territory. On Board 2 Daniel Gourdeau’s slight joseki mistake gave Eric Lui an early cash lead; unable to recover, Gourdeau was the first to resign in the second round. Ben Lockhart and Ricky Zhao met on Board 3 in an exciting game that saw a number of daring trades but in the end Zhao came up short and had to resign as well. On Board 4, the youngest and the eldest player in the field faced off: Yuan Zhou, 40, has won many US titles and is an experienced teacher and author of go books, while 12-year-old  Jeremy Chiu is one of the US’ strong youth players. Neither player made any blunders and the game stayed knife-edge close right through the end. It was the last to finish — fortunately, AGA President Andy Okun teamed up with Brian Lee to record the 4-hour game — and Chiu edged Zhou by just 1.5 points.
- report/photos by Chris Garlock; more photos on the AGA’s Facebook page

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AGA Pro Tourney Begins Sunday Morning; Live Broadcast on KGS

Saturday January 3, 2015

Snow fell steadily outside as top US go players gathered in the Nantasket Beach Resort just south of Boston on Saturday night. The third AGA Pro2014.01.03_DSC_0015 2014.01.03_DSC_0002Qualification Tournament, which will determine the next US professional, begins Sunday at 9:30a (EST) and TD Jeff Shaevel reviewed the tournament schedule and rules for the assembled players. AGA President Andy Okun thanked the players — Eric Lui 7d, Ryan Li 7d, Yuan Zhou 7d, Jeremy Chiu 6d, Daniel Gourdeau 7d, Ricky Zhao 7d and Ben Lockhart 7d (Matthew Burrall 6d was en route from California) – “for coming so far and for taking the time this week to compete at this high level. We’re looking forward to some great games.”

Morning rounds will begin at 9:30a and afternoon rounds at 4:30p and the games will be broadcast live on KGS; watch the AGA website, Twitter @theaga and Facebook feeds for regular updates.
- report/photos by Chris Garlock. Photos: (left) Okun delivering the tournament’s go stones and bowls; (right) Shaevel reviews rules with players. 

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