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Google’s Shusaku Doodle Sparks UK Kerfuffle

Saturday June 7, 2014

A Google doodle on June 6 honoring the 185th birthday of Honinbo Shusaku sparked a bit of a kerfuffle in the UK when Google hastily replaced it with links to letters, photos and maps of the Normandy landings to honor the 70th anniversary of D-Day. “What were you thinking #Google?” chided a tweet. “Unfortunately a technical error crept in and for a short period this morning an international doodle also appeared,” said Peter Barron, Google’s director of communication. “We’re sorry for the mistake, and we’re proud to honour those who took part in D-Day.” The Shusaku doodle remained in some countries, including Japan and Hong Kong, honoring one of the greatest go players of the 19th century. Click here to read Go Game Guru’s report, which includes Shusaku’s famous Ear-reddening Game, and here to read the BBC’s report.  Click here for an interesting discussion on Board Game Geek about which countries the doodle appeared in.
Thanks to readers around the world who sent in sightings and links to reports.

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Categories: Go Spotting,World
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The Traveling Board: Innoshima, Birthplace of Honinbo Shusaku

Friday August 2, 2013

by Jan Engelhardt

Western go players sightseeing in Japan won’t want to miss Innoshima in the Hiroshima prefecture. That’s the birthplace of Honinbo Shusaku, the most famous go player ever. Shusaku was born as Kuwahara Torajiro on June 6, 1829 in Innoshima. At the age of 10 he moved to Edo (now called Tokyo) to join the legendary Honinbo go house. Even after he became a professional go player, Shusaku returned to Innoshima for long stays. The people of Innoshima are very proud on Honinbo Shusaku and value his heritage, calling themselves a “Go playing city” where as much as ten percent of the 20,000 inhabitants play go and twice a year Innoshima hosts a a “Shusaku Honinbo Go Festival” for professional and amateur go players.

The “Honinbo Shusaku Igo Memorial Hall” is a fascinating museum honoring Shusaku’s life and accomplishments, showcasing many artifacts of his life, including the old goban on which his mother taught him go. In the museum’s back yard there is a reconstruction of the actual living house of the family. The museum’s memorial hall is also used for go events, including professional ones. There are always go boards available for guests and it’s amazing to see all the letters, game records and go material related to Shusaku’s fascinating life. Next to the hall one can find a shinto shrine constructed by a later Honinbo in Shusaku’s honor.

Not far away is Shusaku’s grave. It is said that one becomes two stones stronger by touching the gravestone, and it’s traditional for visitors to light an incense stick there in the great player’s memory.
- Engelhardt, who was in Japan recently to attend the Osaka Go Camp, is the E-Journal’s German Correspondent. photos by Jan Engelhardt

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Categories: Traveling Go Board
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SmartGo Books Releases “Invincible: The Games of Shusaku”

Thursday May 3, 2012

Invincible: The Games of Shusaku,” John Power’s classic and widely-acclaimed masterpiece on one of the greatest go players who ever lived is now available in SmartGo Books. Originally published by Kiseido, the SmartGo Books edition of Invincible “includes the complete text, games, and diagrams of the print edition, painstakingly converted to digital format,” SmartGo’s Anders Kierulf tells the E-Journal. “And it takes full advantage of the digital medium – be prepared to experience this classic in a whole new way.” Features of the new edition include the ability to replay moves in figures and diagrams, play out your own variations, fewer moves per figure, with the appropriate text for each figure, and inline diagrams for move sequences embedded in the text. Best of all, the new edition’s portable accessibility on iPad or iPhone means Invincible — at an introductory price of $19.99  – can now always be with you. SmartGo Books is a free app for the iPad and iPhone available on the App Store. Check out free chapters of over 30 go books and purchase those you like using in-app purchase.

 

 

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Shusaku Number, Corrected

Thursday August 4, 2011

In our recent “Shusaku Number ” article (What’s Your “Shusaku Number?”), we mistakenly reported that Hoensha founder Honinbo Shuho faced Shusaku in four of the “Castle Games.” Shuho actually never had the chance to play in those matchups. However, records of 38 games between the two masters have been preserved. The oldest dates from 1850, when Shuho was just twelve years old; most notable is the ten-game series (jubango) that Shuho and Shusaku played in 1861. In that series, playing mostly Black with no komi, Shuho managed six victories and one tie. For more details including copious historical material and several commented game records, you can consult Invincible: The Games of Shusaku,  generally regarded as one of the most important go books to ever appear in English.
- Roy Laird

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Categories: U.S./North America
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What’s Your “Shusaku Number?”

Sunday July 24, 2011

Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon is a trivia game based on the concept of the small world phenomenon and rests on the assumption that any individual can be linked through his or her film roles to actor Kevin Bacon within six steps. Now there’s the Shusaku number, which represents the “distance” between a go player and Honinbo Shusaku, measured in go opponents.

Kuwahara Shusaku  (1829-1862) was the strongest player of Japan’s “Edo” period, a “golden age of go” where four “houses” devoted themselves to winning the honor of playing in the “Castle Games” for the Emperor. The author of the most famous move in go history – the so-called “ear-reddening move” – Shusaku once famously responded, when asked the result of a game, “I had black.”  (The komi system was still more than fifty years in future.) He won nineteen consecutive games over a thirteen-year period, an unparalleled achievement, before dying of cholera at age 33. To equal this achievement today, a player would have to win every game on white by at least eight points. The ideas Shusaku left behind, especially the so-called “Shusaku opening,” formed the foundation of go theory for the next hundred years.

How closely are you connected to Shusaku? Borrowing from the world of mathematics, where authors proudly calculate their “Erdos number”, some go players enjoy figuring out their “Shusaku number,” a series of games leading back to the historic figure. For instance, The E-Journal’s erstwhile translator Bob McGuigan’s “Shusaku number” is four, a very respectable achievement for an amateur player. McGuigan once played a game with Sumiko Shiratori 5P, who in turn once played Fumiko Kita 6P, an important figure in the Hoensha, forerunner of today’s Nihon Kiin. Ms. Kita in turn once played Hoensha founder Honinbo Shuho, Shusaku’s unlucky opponent in four “Castle Games.” That’s a three-player link, so Bob is a four. (Shusaku’s “Shusaku number” is of course zero.) If you have ever played Bob, you are a five.  Click here to learn how to trace your “go lineage” to the great master.  When you’ve got that all figured out you can take it to the next level, and try to figure out yourWinning Shusaku Number,” where you have to trace a series of victories all the way back to someone who beat Shusaku.  Handicap wins on black don’t count, so good luck with that . . .
- Roy Laird

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EUROPEAN GO NEWS: Hwang Tops Shusaku Cup In Romania; Bonn Tenukis To Win: Mazurek-Soldan Pair Champs: Polish Summer Camp Moved To August: Sankin Collects Japanese Council Cup In St Petersburg: Silt Sweeps Linz: Kachanovskyj Wins Kiev: Artem’s Lead Dwindles In KGS League

Monday March 29, 2010

HWANG TOPS SHUSAKU CUP IN ROMANIA: Hwang In-Seong 8d, undefeated in six rounds, swept a very strong field at the Shusaku Cup in Tirgu Mures, Romania March 26-28. Next were Catalin Taranu 7d, Ilya Shjiksin 7d and Christian Pop 7d, atop a field of 150 in the main event. Younger double-digit level players were invited to the Junior Cup. Click here  for the full results. Chinese pro’s were invited for teaching and game comments and EuroGoTV to relay games from the top boards.
- Peter Dijkema, from EuroGoTV.com

GERMAN NEWS: BONN TENUKIS TO WIN: Consistent with their name and track record, the Bonn-based Tenuki Club’s team won the 2009 NordRhein-Westfalen state title last week in Detmold. The club had won the 2009-10 Rhein-Maas (international) league earlier this year, also playing out of town.
- Peter Dijkema, from EuroGoTV

POLISH NEWS: MAZUREK-SOLDAN PAIR CHAMPS: Although TD Marek Kaminski had hired a huge hall at Nature University last weekend in Poznan for the Polish Pair Go Championships, barely enough pairs showed up to fill the winner’s podium. Katarzyna Mazurek 2k and Polish Champ Leszek Soldan 5d took the title, while Klaudia Kleczkowska 4k and Krzysztof Dziolak 1d brought back home silver medals. The bronze pair took last place. Click here for a gallery of photos by the TD. That same weekend, the Poznan club promoted go at a national Fantasy meeting in town.

POLISH SUMMER CAMP MOVED TO AUGUST: The traditional July Polish Summer School has been rescheduled to August 8-22. Click here for details in English and links to a gallery of photos. PABICH TO YOUNG MASTERS LEAGUE: Mariusz Pabich 2d from Pabianice won the March 20-21 qualifier in Lódz and moves to the Young Masters League, 2 points clear of six youngsters with three wins each. BEREZA BEAT ALL AT MIKULÓW: On the same weekend, Jan Bereza 2k swept the event in Mikulów 4-0, topping the 10-player field.
- Peter Dijkema, Marek Kaminski and Vit Brunner (and EGD)

SANKIN COLLECTS JAPANESE COUNCIL CUP IN ST PETERSBURG: Timur Sankin 5d took the Japanese Council Cup March 20 in St Petersburg, Russia, winning all six rounds. Ivan Kulikovskij 4d was second. Also with 5-1 results: Makar ‘killer’ Zabijakov 5k and Anton Pleshakov 13k in a field of 59. Click here for full results.
- Peter Dijkema, after EGD

SILT SWEEPS LINZ: Czech Champ Ondrej Silt easily swept the Linz tourney in Austria March 20-21, topping the table with a two-point margin over three Austrians. Wolfgang Kremes 2d (silver) and Lothar Spiegl 4d (bronze) also made the podium. In the field of 29, only local Ronald Schatz 5k had a 4-1 result.
- Peter Dijkema (EGD)

KACHANOVSKYJ WINS KIEV: Young Artem Kachanovskyj 6d (artem92 in KILL A-league) from Rivny scored a victory at the Viktor Tishenko Memorial in the Ukrainian capital Kiev on March 20-21, topping 44 players. Veteran Dmytro Jacenko 5d won 4-1 to take silver. Click here for full results.
- Peter Dijkema (EGD)

ARTEM’S LEAD DWINDLES IN KGS LEAGUE: Artem Kachanovskyj is hanging onto his lead in the KGS Insei League’s A-league by a thin 1% threat. His 89% wining record barely leads Fredrik Blomback’s 88%, attained since organizer Alex Dinerchtein introduced bonuses for those who play more. Danigabi follows at 81%. In division B last week leader Fedor added two wins (one over Dinerchtein) for 100% and Elvina Karlsberg is close behind with 95%. Remake from Sweden is third at 81%. In C-league, Texmurphy (Hungary) is on top with 112%, closely followed by DRhazar from Canada with 118%.
- Peter Dijkema, from insei-league.com

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AlphaGo vs. AlphaGo; Game 30: “The black player would be upset, white would be happy, and they would both be wrong.”

Thursday April 11, 2019

After a nearly 1-month hiatus, Michael Redmond 9p and the AGA E-Journal’s Chris Garlock returned last Friday with the latest 2019.04.05 AG30 in their series of video commentaries on the AlphaGo vs. AlphaGo selfplay games. “This is the one 2019.04.05 AG30-redmond-garlockgame in this series in which AlphaGo plays a variation of the taisha,” says Redmond, “and it reminds me of a variation played in the ‘ear-reddening game’ played by Shusaku against Gennan Inseki in 1846.” “Mindblowing stuff!” says GerSHAK.

These videos are made possible by the support of the American Go Association; please consider joining today!

Video produced by Michael Wanek & Andrew Jackson.

[link]

 

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The Power Report (2 of 4): Fujisawa takes Women’s Honinbo title; Kobayashi Koichi scores 1,400th win; Rin Kanketsu wins SGW Cup; Gu wins Japan-China Agon Kiriyama Cup play-off

Wednesday January 9, 2019

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal2019.01.09_2018 WHon 4 Fujisawa

Fujisawa takes Women’s Honinbo title: The fourth game in the 37th Women’s Honinbo title match was held at the Tokyo headquarters of the Nihon Ki-in on December 5. Taking white, Fujisawa Rina forced a resignation after 224 moves and took the title from Xie Yimin with a 3-1 score. This is Fujisawa’s third concurrent title: she also holds the Hollyhock Cup and the Women’s Meijin. It is the third time she has won this title, and it is her ninth title. First prize is 5,500,000 yen (about $50,000). Xie is now without a title to her name for the first time in 11 years. Note: Michael Redmond was the referee for the match.

Kobayashi Koichi scores 1,400th win: On December 6, Kobayashi Koichi (B) defeated Yoshihara Yukari 6P by resig. in 2019.01.09 Kobayashi 1400ththe preliminary round (called by the English name of “first tournament”) of the 44th Kisei tournament. This was his 1,400th win, making him the third Nihon Ki-in player to reach this landmark, after Cho Chikun and Rin Kaiho. His record is 1400 wins, 744 losses, 2 jigo; his winning percentage is 65.3, which is the best of the three. The 66-year-old Kobayashi took 51 years eight months to achieve this feat. Kobayashi: “Someone told me [I was close], but when the game started I forgot about it. Even though I have been playing such a long time, I am just as passionate as ever about go. I want to keep playing until I’m no longer physically able to.”

Rin Kanketsu wins SGW Cup: The SGW Cup Golden Mean Tournament is an unusual new tournament: it is open to 2019.01.09_sgw Rinplayers aged from 31 to 60 who have not won one of the top seven open tournaments or the Ryusei or Agon Kiriyama titles. The main section of the tournament, a four-round Swiss System for 16 players (who qualified in a preliminary tournament held on the Net) was held at the Nihon Ki-in on December 8 and 9. After three rounds, there were two players with three wins, Rin Kanketsu 8P and Anzai Nobuaki 7P, so their fourth-round clash became the “final.” Taking black, Rin won by resignation. First prize is 2 million yen (about $18,000). Having won this title, Rin “graduates” and can no longer play in it. However, it is not an official tournament, so results are not included in players’ lifetime tallies. Third place was taken by Cho Riyu 8P, who beat the oldest participant, Yamashiro Hiroshi 9P (aged 60), in the final round. According to “Go Weekly,” “golden mean” refers to solid players of a certain age who don’t have as many opportunities to play as the top players or young players, for whom there are many youth tournaments. Apparently this is the first time the Swiss System has been used for Japanese professionals. The participants may not have been the top players, but a big crowd of fans turned out for a public commentary by Cho Chikun.

Gu wins Japan-China Agon Kiriyama Cup play-off: The Agon-Kiriyama Cup 20th Japan-China Play-off was held at the Shaka-san Dai-Bodaiji Temple, the headquarters of the Agon sect of Buddhism in Kyoto, on December 9. The game was actually played in a teahouse in the 2019.01.09 JC Agon Gugrounds of the temple called the Snail Hermitage (Kagyu-an). It matched the holders of the Japanese and Chinese versions of the Agon Kiriyama Cups, Ichiriki Ryo 8P and Gu Jihao 9P. The 20-year-old Gu is not well known in Japan, but he is a member of the group of players born between 1995 and 2000 that now dominates Chinese go. He jumped from 5-dan to 9-dan in 2017 when he won the 22nd Samsung Cup. Gu drew black in the nigiri. Like most professional games these days, there were many signs of AI influence, but Gu’s 7th move was a diagonal move made popular in the 19th century by Honinbo Shusaku and known as “Shusaku’s kosumi.” At the time, Shusaku commented that no matter how much time passed, this would never become a bad move. It has now held up for over a century and a half. Gu said after the game that recently AI programs had often recommended this move. The game was marked by fierce fighting, with Ichiriki launching an aggressive double attack at the decisive point in the middle game. Gu was able to cope with it, so Ichiriki had to resign after 185 moves. China has now won this play-off 15 times to Japan’s five.
At the press conference after the game, Gu was asked how he used AI. His answer: “All professionals are using AI. In the national team, I am training with Fine Art every day. I also use AI after I go home. I don’t play games with AI. I have resigned myself to the difference in level.”
Tomorrow: Iyama defends Tengen, sets new record; Fujisawa to challenge for Women’s Kisei; Chunlan Cup: all-Korean final

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The Power Report (2 of 2: Iyama takes lead in Oza and Tengen; Fujita wins Young Carp; Youngest players & one veteran share lead in Honinbo League; Xie picks up first win in Women’s Honinbo; Ida defends Crown

Monday November 26, 2018

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Iyama takes lead in Oza and Tengen: This report is a contrast to my reports of November 2 and 3, which told of losses by Iyama in three different titles. His Meijin title is now gone, reducing him to “just” five top-seven titles, but he has turned the tide in the Oza title match, in which the challenger, Ichiriki Ryo 8P, won the first game. The second and third games were held in quick succession at the same venue, a relatively rare practice but seen occasionally in recent years because of Iyama’s tight schedule. The games were played at the Shima Kanko Hotel (“Kanko” means “sightseeing,” but the hotel doesn’t translate the word in its English name) in Shima City, Mie Prefecture, on November 17 and 19. In the second game, Iyama, taking white, secured a resignation after 196 moves, so he evened in the score. This ended a losing streak of four games for him. In the third game, Iyama, playing black, forced a resignation after 175 moves. Ichiriki will face a kadoban in the fourth game, scheduled for November 30. The third game of the 44th Tengen title match was held at the Yutoku Imari Shrine in Kashima City, Saga 2018.11.25_Fujita CarpPrefecture, on November 23. Taking white, Iyama forced the challenger Yamashita Keigo 9P to resign after 140 wins, so he now leads 2-1. The fourth game will be played on December 10.

Fujita wins Young Carp:  The main section of the 13th Hiroshima Aluminum Cup Young Carp Tournament was held at the Central Japan Newspaper Building in Hiroshima on November 17 and 18. Sixteen players took part in a knock-out tournament. In the final, Fujita Akihiko 6P (aged 27, at right) (B) beat Koike Yoshihiro 3P (aged 20) by resignation. These two are both disciples of Takabayashi Takuji 6P. Third place was shared by Fujisawa Rina 4P and Adachi Toshimasa 5P. Shibano Toramaru 7P was probably the favorite, but he lost to Koike in the quarterfinals. This tournament is open to professionals 30 and under and 7-dan and under. The time allowance is 30 seconds per move plus ten minutes’ thinking time to be used in one-minute units. First prize is three million yen (about $26,600).

Youngest players & one veteran share lead in Honinbo League: In my previous report, I mentioned that Shibano Toramaru, who just turned 19 on November 9, and Ichiriki Ryo (aged 21) shared the lead in the 74th Honinbo League, on 2-0. They were joined by the 23-year-old Yo Seiki, so the three youngest players in the league shared the lead at this point. Yo improved his score to 2-0 on November 15, when, taking black, he beat Ko Iso 8P by resignation. The final game of the second round was played on November 22. Hane Naoki 2018.11.25_honinbo-League9P (W) beat Kono Rin 9P by 2.5 points, so the veteran player (aged 42) joins the above three young players in the lead. Four players are on 2-0 and four on 0-2, so fortunes have been cleanly divided so far. That will change in the third round in December, when Yo will play Ichiriki and Hane will play Shibano.

Xie picks up first win in Women’s Honinbo: The third game of the 37th Women’s Honinbo title match was played at the Honinbo Shusaku Memorial Hall on In-no-shima Island, which is part of the mainland city of Onomichi in Hiroshima Prefecture, on November 24. Taking white, Xie won by resignation after 284 moves. Fujisawa Rina won the first two games, but Xie has survived her first kadoban. The fourth game will be played on December 5.

Ida defends Crown: The Crown title is a tournament limited to the 40 members of the Central Japan branch of the Nihon Ki-in in Nagoya. In the final, Nakano Hironari 9P challenged the title-holder Ida Atsushi 8P. Playing white, Ida won by 2.5 points. He has now held this title three years in a row.

Promotions
To 3-dan: Bian Wenkai (40 wins, as of Nov. 16). Bian, who was born in China, is a member of the Central Japan (Nagoya) branch of the Nihon Ki-in. He became a professional in 2013 at the age of 20.
To 5-dan: Takekiyo Isamu (70 wins, as of Nov. 23). Born in 1979, Takekiyo became a professional in 2001.
To 9-dan: Takanashi Seiken (200 wins, as of Nov. 23). Takanashi was promoted to 8-dan in 2002, so it has taken him 16 years to accumulate the wins required to make 9-dan. He is the 78th (active) 9-dan at the Nihon Ki-in (there are 31 at the Kansai Ki-in).

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“Invisible” available online; Yuan Zhou’s “AlphaGo vs. Ke Jie 9P”; Go World/AGJ issues available; Dino Pair Go

Sunday August 27, 2017

“Invisible” available online: “Invisible: The Games of AlphaGo” is now available online. ‘It’s a fascinating account,” says John Power, author of “Invincible: The Games of Shūsaku.” “I strongly recommend Invisible to any go player interested in the present and the future 2017.08.27_alphago-vs-ke-jieof go.”

Yuan Zhou’s “AlphaGo vs. Ke Jie 9P”: Also just out is Yuan Zhou’s “AlphaGo vs. Ke Jie 9P” from Slate & Shell and available through Amazon. Despite losing all three games,2017.08.27_pair-go-dinos Ke Jie did better than any one else had, and Yuan Zhou gives a thorough and insightful analysis of the match and reflects on the significance of AlphaGo for the go community.

Go World/AGJ issues available: You recently published a letter about the donation of go books to libraries (which I have already done) but I have heard nothing about libraries housing go magazines,” writes Joel Sanet. “I have a complete set of Go Worlds and the print version of the American Go Journal (there might be one issue missing) that I am willing to donate for the cost of reimbursement of  shipping which I estimate to be in the range of $40 each. Any library that is interested can contact me at yosdan30@comcast.net. BTW I have not see the NY Times crossword puzzle reported by Roy Schmidt but I suspect the answer to the clue “Travel edition of a classic board game?” is “on the go go.”

photo: a particularly intimidating couple at the Pair Go Tournament at the recent U.S. Go Congress; photo by Eric Wainwright 

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