American Go E-Journal

AGA Broadcast Sunday Night: Ing Cup Finals, Park Junghwan 9p v. Tang Weixing 9p

Sunday October 23, 2016

Myungwan Kim 9p, hosted by badatbaduk, will give live commentary on the action as the 8th Ing Pro Cup finals draw to their conclusion. Park Junghwan 9p and Tang Weixing 9p play the fourth match of the best of five series on Sunday evening starting at 6:30 p.m. PDT. Park currently leads by 2-1. The commentary will start at 11 p.m. PDT on the AGA’s YouTube and Twitch channels.


Mark Lee Cruising in Cotsen

Saturday October 22, 2016

Defending champion Mark Lee 7D cruised through the first three rounds of this year’s Cotsen Open on Saturday, putting2016.10.22_mark-lee himself in position to capture the title for the second year in the final two rounds on Sunday. Catch the top-board action live on KGS, starting at 10:30a PST. The E-Journal’s coverage this year includes short videos posted on YouTube, including player interviews, brief pro commentaries and an interview with Eric Cotsen. Photos and videos are also posted on the AGA’s Facebook page and more photos on our Twitter feed. The tournament, one of the largest and most popular on the AGA’s annual calendar, returned to the Los Angeles Korean Cultural Center this year, and attracted a field of 166 players.
- report/photo by Chris Garlock

Cotsen Open Videos2016.10.22_yang-commentary
2016 Cotsen Open – Chris Garlock and Andrew Jackson preview the Open (2:39)
2016 Cotsen Open — Interview with Eric Cotsen (8:59)
2016 Cotsen Open – Rd 1 Bd 1 review! (Yilun Yang 7P on Mark Lee 7d vs Wenyi Wang 6d) (17:50)
2016 Cotsen Open – Rd 2 Bd 1 review! (Yilun Yang 7P on Mark Lee 7d vs Kai Naoyuki 7d) (13:10
“Why We Play Go” at the 2016 Cotsen Open, Samantha Fede with Lisa Scott (1:42)
“Why We Play Go” at the 2016 Cotsen Open, Samantha Fede with Rui Wong (2:21)
“Why We Play Go” at the 2016 Cotsen Open, Samantha Fede with Sam Tregar (1:37)
Videos produced by Andrew Jackson



The Power Report: New Honinbo league starts; Kono wins first Agon Kiriyama Cup; Iyama makes good start in Oza; International tournaments

Thursday October 20, 2016

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal

New Honinbo league starts: The 72nd Honinbo League got off to a start on October 6. Hane Naoki is back after a gap of four terms, so for the first time in a while the “the four Deva kings” (the others are Yamashita Keigo, Cho U, and Takao Shinji) who dominated Japanese go in the first decade of this century are together. In the opening games, Cho U 9P (B) beat Yamashita Keigo 9P by resig. and Motoki Katsuya 7P (B) beat Yuki Satoshi 9P by the same margin. Another game was played on October 13. League newcomer Mitani Tetsuya 7P (B) beat Ko Iso 8P by resig.

Kono wins first Agon Kiriyama Cup: The final of the 23rd Agon Kiriyama Cup was held at Shakasan Daiboji 2016.10.19_23agon_Kono vs Chikuntemple, the Kyoto headquarters of the Agon Buddhist sect, on October 8. Taking white, Kono Rin 9P beat 25th Honinbo Chikun (Cho Chikun) by half a point after 220 moves. Cho had taken the lead in the middle game, but Kono played relentless endgame and pulled off an upset. This is Kono’s ninth title and his first Kiriyama Agon Cup. The play-off with the holder of the Chinese Agon Kiriyama Cup, Ke Jie 9P, will be held in Kyoto in December. Incidentally, this was the first clash between Kono and Cho for a title. First prize is five million yen.

To 3-dan: Mutsuura Yuta (40 wins, as of October 14)

Iyama makes good start in Oza
        The first game of the 64th Oza title match was held at the Westin Hotel Osaka on October 17. Taking white, Iyama beat Yo Seiki 7P by 1.5 points. The second game will be played on November 7.

International tournaments
China wins Jastec Cup: This tournament was founded in 2012, but this is probably my first report on it. The full name is the Jastec Cup International New Stars Igo Tournament. It is open to eight-player teams, including two women players, from China, Korea, Chinese Taipei, and Japan. It’s an all-play-all team tournament, so a lot of games are played. It was held at the Belle Salle Iidabashi hall in Iidabashi in Tokyo from September 23 to 25. The sponsor, Jastek, seems to be one of the leading software companies in Japan.
        Results were as follows:
Round 1 (Sept. 23) Japan 4 Korea 4, China 8 Chinese Taipei 0
Round 2 (Sept. 24) Japan 4 Chinese Taipei 4, China 5 Korea 3
Round 3 (Sept. 25) Japan 4 China 4, Korea 5 Chinese Taipei 3
1st: China; 2nd: Korea; 3rd: Japan; 4th: Chinese Taipei
Prizes: 1st: 1,000,000 yen; 2nd: 500,000; 3rd: 300,000; 4th: 200,000

2016.10.19_18th_noshin Ichiririki (L) YSTNong Shim Cup: Ichiriki’s biggest win
        Ichiriki Ryo 7P is very busy this year, as he is studying at Waseda University. He attends classes by day (five 90-minute classes on his busiest day) and goes to the Nihon Ki-in at night. His hectic schedule is not affecting his play, however: he has just won his first open title (see previous report) and is about to challenge Iyama for the Tengen title.
        Ichiriki is also often chosen to represent Japan in international tournaments. Last year, he got his country off to an excellent start in the Nong Shim Spicy Noodles Cup with three wins in the opening round. This year also he made a good start in the 18th Nong Shim Cup, beating Lee Sedol in the opening game. Taking white, he edged Lee by half a point. Actually Ichiriki played solidly at the end because he miscounted and thought he was 1.5 points ahead. This is probably the biggest win of his career. This time, however, he didn’t get a winning streak, as he lost to China’s Fan Tingyu, who went on to win three in a row. The opening round was held in Jilin Province in China. Results:2016.10.19_18th_noshin4 Cho U right
Game 1 (Sept. 27) Ichiriki 7P (Japan) (W) beat Yi Sedol 9P (Korea) by half a point.
Game 2 (Sept. 28) Fan Tingyu 9P (China) beat Ichiriki by resig.
Game 3 (Sept. 29) Fan (W) beat Lee Tonghoon 9P (Korea) by resig.
Game 4 (Sept. 30) Fan (B) beat Cho U 9P (Japan) by resig.
        Fan is 20, just one year older than Ichiriki. When he was 16, he won the Ing Cup. The venue for the opening round was a little out of the way: a Nong Shim factory (Nong Shim is a Korean company) located in China near the borders with North Korea and Russia. The visiting players first stayed a night at Incheon in Korea on the 25th, then flew to Yuanji Airport in China on the 26th. From there it was a three-hour bus ride. The factory makes mineral water, using the local White Mountain Water.

Samsung Cup semifinalists
        As is more and more often the case these days in international go, Chinese players dominated the 21st Samsung Cup, with three of them making the semifinals. However, they are joined by an ominous figure: Lee Sedol, the top player of
the 21st century. The second round and the quarterfinals were held on October 4 and 6. Pairings in the semifinals will be Tuo Jiaxi 9P (China) vs. Fan Yunruo 5P (China) and Yi Sedol 9P (Korea) vs. Ke Jie 9P (China). The semifinals, which are best-of-three matches, will be held in Taejon City, Korea from October 31.

China wins Gratitude Cup
        This tournament is the international version of a domestic tournament for younger players (30 and under) (see my report around June 21). It is open to five-player teams from China, Korea, Chinese Taipei, and Japan and the international version was held for the third time this year. Teams are made up of three male and two female players. The venue was the Temple & Shrines Hall, Ise City, Mie Prefecture. Results follow.
Round 1 (Oct. 14). China 4 Korea 1, Japan 3 Chinese Taipei 2
Round 2 (Oct. 14). China 4 Japan 1, Korea 4 Chinese Taipei 1
Round 3 (Oct. 15). China 5 Chinese Taipei 0, Korea 5 Japan 0
Play-off for 1st (Oct. 15). China 3 Korea 2
Play-off for 3rd (Oct. 15). Chinese Taipei 3 Japan 2
        Prizes are quite substantial for a junior tournament like this. First: 4,500,000 yen; 2nd: 1,500,000 yen; 3rd: 1,000,000; 4th: 750,000. There are also individual prizes for players with three (300,000) or four (500,000) wins.

Seminar on Strategy Games at Cambridge Not Child’s Play

Wednesday October 19, 2016


IMG_20161002_113336An international seminar on strategy games was held at Cambridge University, England, on October 1st and 2nd. Organized by ChessPlus, and co-sponsored by Google’s Deepmind, the event drew about 40 teachers from 15 countries, who shared their expertise on teaching go, chess and other games in schools. The first day began with a compelling presentation from Dr. Barry Hymer, Professor of Psychology in Education at the University of Cumbria, in Lancaster. Hymer provided a brief introduction to mindset theory, and what it does and doesn’t say about achievement as it relates to strategy games. He contrasted two different mindsets: fixed vs. growth. Those with the former believe intelligence is a fixed trait that can’t be changed, while those with the latter believe intelligence is cultivated through learning. Dr. Hymer’s chart (below, at right) shows how these mindsets play out. All of us exhibit some of both types of mindsets at times, and in different areas.

Hymer also expounded on some mindset myths, which included the belief that natural ability and talent don’t exist, or that they don’t matter, and that hard work guarantees ultimate success. Instead, multiple factors come into play to create success, including what Hymer calls metacognitive strategies (how we think about thinking). Hymer noted Gary Kasparov, from the chess world, felt the same way: “It’s not enough to work hard and study late into the night. You must also become intimately aware of the methods you use to reach your decisions.” In a later presentation, Hymer discussed some educational studies with a few surprising results, including that praising students does not lead to any greater level of excellence or even motivation. Negative feedback also does not help.Screen Shot 2016-10-19 at 3.31.47 PM Instead, Hymer advocates engaged, attentive, and non-judgmental feedback, which he said helps create self-motivated students who then cultivate the love of learning for themselves. These types of students outperform all other categories by as much as 30%, said Hymer. An example of this from the go community would be the kinds of questions one asks in a teaching game: “What were you hoping to achieve when you went here? How do you think your opponent might respond? Were there other places you thought of playing, and why?” Getting a student to think about how they reached their decisions is key to creating autonomous learners in Hymer’s approach.

Hymer’s presentation was followed by an equally engaging one from Jorge Nuno Silva, of the University of Lisbon (Portugal). Professor Silva gave a lecture on the intellectual history of games in education. Drawing on games from across the centuries (most now completely forgotten) Silva illustrated how and why games are important to learning. Along the way he fascinated the audience with stories of strange and interesting games, including Rythmomachia: ”Invented as a pedagogical game, to help the teaching of Arithmetic, in the 11th century. Even the setup of the pieces on the board was an important experience. It was popular everywhere where Boethius’ Arithmetic was taught. It vanished, naturally, in the 17th century, as mathematics developed in a different way. Chess then took over.”jorge

The seminar continued with presentations from teachers and specialists from all over the world. Daniela Trinks of Myongji University in Korea spoke on the didactics of go, and Stefan Löffler spoke on the didactics of chess. Mads Jacobsen, from Denmark, spoke about the extraordinary success of chess programs in his country, where 30% of all schools have chess as a scheduled activity. Toby Manning of the British Go Association, and Paul Barchilon of the American Go Foundation both spoke on efforts to introduce go to more schools in their respective countries. “The beautiful rooms of Cambridge University provided a wonderful environment for these two days of learning, teaching, discussing, inspiration and forming cooperations,” said Daniela Trinks. “The success of this seminar proves once more that chess and go teachers shouldn’t see each other as rivals but as colleagues who have a lot in common. By sharing our experiences we can learn from each other, improve teaching praxis and develop more successful educational programs at schools in the future.”

The main organizers were John Foley, Stefan Löffler, Rita Atkins and John Upham from Chessplus. The seminar was sponsored by DeepMind, and supported by the British Go Association, the European Go Federation, the European Go Cultural Centre, the American Go Foundation and the UK Backgammon Federation. An online documentation of the seminar, including videos, photos and presentation files is planned. Interested readers can see the program, and associated slideshows, for all segments highlighted in blue on this page. -Story and photos by Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Top: Seminar participants take a break on the lawn at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge;  Lower right: Slide from Dr. Barry Hymer’s presentation; Lower left: Professor Jorge Nuno Silva shows the board for Rythmomachia.

The Power Report: Iyama fights back in Meijin; Ichiriki wins Ryusei; Kisei updates; Fujisawa takes lead in Women’s Honinbo; Women’s Meijin League; Onishi wins King of the New Stars

Tuesday October 18, 2016

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal2016.10.18_41meijin4 Iyama

Iyama fights back in Meijin title match
        Iyama Yuta faced a very important game in Game 4 of the 41st Meijin title match: his first kadoban (literally, a “corner game,” that is, a game that could lose a series). For the first time ever in his career, Iyama (right) had suffered successive losses at the beginning of a title match. Another loss would cost him not only the Meijin title but also put an end to his septuple crown after a little over half a year.
        The fourth game was played on October 4 and 5 at the Takarazuka Hotel, Takarazuka City, Hyogo Prefecture. Taking black, Iyama executed a large-scale sacrifice maneuver that enabled him to take the lead in the middle game.  When White
 resigned after 181 moves, Black was over ten points ahead on the board.
        The fifth game was played at the Atami Sekitei inn in Atami City, Shizuoka Prefecture on October 12 and 13. Taking white, Iyama won a closely-fought game by 3.5 points. With this win, Iyama seems to be coming out of his recent slump.
 However, he faces another kadoban in the sixth game, scheduled for October 26 and 27. Before then, Iyama’s Oza and Tengen defences will start, so he is going to be very busy.

Ichiriki wins Ryusei:  The Ryusei is a fast-go TV title run by an irregular system but culminating in a standard 16-player knock-out. The final of the 25th tournament was played between Iyama Yuta and Ichiriki Ryo 7P and telecast on September 26. During the opening and early middle game, Iyama (B) built a lead, but Ichiriki played a  do-or-die move that triggered an upset. Iyama resigned after White 200. This was Ichiriki’s first win in a non-age-restricted tournament. He was 19 years one month old when the game was played (his birthday is June 10), so he became the youngest player ever to win this title. The previous record of 20 years two months was set by Iyama. This will give Ichiriki some momentum for his Tengen challenge to Iyama. First prize is 6 million yen.

Kisei updates
        First, here are two results in the S League of the 41st Kisei tournament I neglected to include in my previous report. On September 15, Yamashita Keigo 9P (B) beat Ichiriki Ryo 7P and Kono Rin 9P (B) beat Yoda Norimoto 9P by resig. As a result, Ichiriki lost his share of the lead. On 4-1, Kono regained the sole lead. 
        The final game in the S League was played on September 29. Takao Shinji 9P (B) beat Murakawa Daisuke 8P by resig. This was Takao’s first win to four losses, so it didn’t do anything for him except save some face, but it knocked Murakawa out of the running for first. Kono won the league outright, so he goes straight into the final “best-of-three” to decide the challenger. If Murakawa had won the above game, he would have won the league, as his higher ranking (#2) would have beaten Kono (#5). There was a three-way “tie” among Yamashita Keigo, Murakawa, and Ichiriki Ryo on 3-2, but league rankings meant that they came, respectively, second, third, and fourth. Yamashita’s second place secures him a seat in the knock-out tournament, so a fourth successive Kisei challenge by him is possible; he will need to win three games in a row.
        Takao and Yoda Norimoto lose their places in the S League. On October 3, the first game in the knock-out section was played. The B League winner Yuki Satoshi 9P (W) beat the C League winner Shida Tatsuya 7P by 1.5 points. The game was played on Yuki’s home ground, the Kansai Ki-in. The next game will be between Yuki and the winner of the A League, Cho U.

2016.10.18_35jhon3-02 RinaFujisawa takes lead in Women’s Honinbo
        The second game of the 35th Women’s Honinbo title match was played at the Izanro Iwasaki, a traditional Japanese inn in Miasa Hot Spring, Tottori Prefecture on September 26. Fujisawa Rina (B, left) won by resig. after 191 moves. Unlike the first game, in which Xie killed a large group, this game featured small-scale fighting. Fujisawa made a good strategic decision in the middle game when she sacrificed five stones. Rina: “I thought that if I saved the stones the neighbouring white positions would get too strong.”
        The remaining games of the match are held at the Nihon Ki-in headquarters in Tokyo. The third game was played on October 3. In the middle-game fighting, Xie took a bit of a lead, but Fujisawa played tenaciously and was able to overta
ke her. Black resigned after White 222.
        Last year Fujisawa Rina lost this title to Xie Yimin when she lost three games in a row after winning the first two. This time she started off with a loss, but recovered to take the next two. Can she now improve on last year’s performance?2016.10.18_35jhon3-03 Rina (L)

Women’s Meijin League
        Fujisawa Rina has maintained her unbeaten record in the 29th Women’s Meijin League by winning her fourth-round game. Her closest rivals are Okuda Aya 3P on 2-1 and Suzuki Ayumi 7P on 1-1.
(September 29) Ishii Akane 2P (B) beat Kato Keiko 6P by resig.
(October 13) Fujisawa Rina 3P (B) beat Ishii Akane 2P by resig.; Kato Keiko 6P (B) beat 2016.10.18_King New Stars Onishi rightSakakibara Fumiko 6P by 7.5 points.

Onishi wins King of the New Stars
        The second game in the 41st King of the New Stars title match was played at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo on September 30. Taking black, Onishi Ryuhei 2P (right) beat Taniguchi Toru 2P by resig. after 227 moves. As in the first game, Onishi staged an upset late in the endgame. At 16 years six months of age, he becomes the youngest player to win this title. He is just in the second year of his career and was making his first appearance in the King of the New Stars.

Cotsen Pre-registration Deadline Tuesday; Game Recorders Wanted

Tuesday October 18, 2016

Pre-registration for this year’s Cotsen Open — this weekend, October 22nd-23rd in Los Angeles — closes at 11:59p Tuesday, 2016.10.18_cotsen-P1000211October 18th (not Thursday, 10/20 as previously posted). Players who pre-register get a discounted $20 entry fee, free food truck lunch on both days and a full refund of the entry fee if they play in all five games; click here to register. Day-of registration will also be available for $25. The Cotsen Open features thousands of dollars in prizes, an extremely competitive Open Division, free masseuses (right) to massage players during their games, and a demonstration game between Yilun Yang 7p and Guiyong Liao 9P on Sunday. 

The E-Journal will provide live KGS commentary on top board games as well as posting video reports on the AGA’s YouTube channel. If you’re interested in being a game recorder — a great way to get stronger — please email
photo: 2015 Cotsen Open; photo by Chris Garlock

Pandanet City League Registration Extended

Monday October 17, 2016

Registration for the Pandanet City League has been extended. “We’re extending registration a week for all of the teams,” reports Steve Colburn. “Has your team signed up yet?” Check the rules and email Steve Colburn to register.


Upcoming Go Events: Los Angeles, Cambridge, Arlington

Monday October 17, 2016

October 22-23: Los Angeles, CA
Cotsen Open
Samantha Davis 301-704-0019

October 23: Cambridge, MA
MIT Open Tournament
Cam Wagner 202-578-4723

October 29: Arlington, VA
NOVA Pumpkin Classic
Gary Smith 703-254-6429

Get the latest go events information.

Categories: Calendar,Main Page

Go Spotting: Going Beyond Bed & Bath

Monday October 17, 2016

“This is the strangest place I’d ever think to find go equipment,” reports Andrew Jackson. “Bed Bath & Beyond is selling 2016.10.16_BB&B-Burl Wood Go Bowlswooden go bowls. No stones, no boards, just bowls! They’re available in their online catalog. Crazy!”

New SmartGo Books Releases Include Tsume-Go Collections & Shuko Tesuji Dictionary

Sunday October 16, 2016

SmartGo Books has added several new titles to its collection. Volume 2 of Thomas Redecker’s “Tsume-Go Strategy — Learn to Recognize Vital Points in Go” joins the previously-released Volume 1 to offer over 700 problems based on 47 corner patterns (vol. 1) and 44 side patterns (vol. 2). The problems are analyzed in great detail, providing hints to guide you to the 2016.10.16_smartgo-books-collagevital shape points. SmartGo Books has also released Redecker’s new book “Workbook: One-Move Life and Death Problems — Basic Tsume-Go Strategy Made Easy,” with over 700 problems ordered by shape. While it’s designed especially for beginners, requiring you to only think a single move ahead, the repetition helps you recognize shapes instantly. For many years, Redecker was the editor of the problem section of the German Go-Journal. He is also the author of several books on Igo Hatsuyōron 120, the most difficult go problem ever. Click here to find more about his books.

Shuko’s Dictionary of Basic Tesuji is one of the most famous Japanese go books, and Slate & Shell has now brought that series to the Go Books app (in English). “Dictionary of Basic Tesuji — Volume 1: Tesuji for Attacking” is the first in the four-volume series; later volumes will cover tesuji for defense, as well as tesuji for the opening, capturing races, and the endgame. The 188 tesuji problems in the first book are analyzed in detail, with over 900 inline diagrams making it easy to visualize all the variations.

The Go Books app (for iPad, iPhone, and Mac) now provides access to 115 high-quality Go books: popular books by major publishers, out-of-print classics, and books available only in Go Books.