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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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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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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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The Power Report: Honinbo title match starts; Septuple crown in danger?

Wednesday May 11, 2016

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal2016.05.11_honinbo-venue

The first game of the 71st Honinbo title match was played in the Honinbo Shusaku Igo Memorial Hall (right) on the island of Inno-shima (Shusaku’s birthplace) in the city of Onomichi in Hiroshima Prefecture on May 9 and 10. This is Iyama Yuta’s first title defence since completing the first-ever Grand Slam of the top seven titles. The challenger is Takao Shinji 9P, who has a bad record against Iyama (13-30 before this match) but who took the Tengen title from him in 2014, thus slowing down his quest for the grand slam. Takao has also been in great form this year and, as of May 3, had 13 wins to one loss.

2016.05.11_Takao makes a good startTakao (left) drew white in the first game. During the middle game, Iyama (right) made a strong attack on a white group; Takao sacrificed it, getting an attack on two black groups as compensation. Later, Takao 2016.05.11_Iyama wonders where he went wrongwas able to force Iyama into a large ko fight that could potentially decide the game. Lacking ko threats, Iyama finished off the ko and let Takao revive his dead group. This trade was favorable for Takao. Iyama did his best to catch up, but couldn’t quite manage it. Takao likes to build thickness and in this case his thickness did him in good stead in the endgame. Iyama resigned after White 244. This was Takao’s first win against Iyama after a string of seven losses.

This is just one loss, so, my headline notwithstanding, Iyama will not yet be 
too worried. The second game will be played on May 23 and 24.

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Your Move/Readers Write: Computer Chess v. Go is Apples & Oranges

Sunday March 6, 2016

“Apples and oranges,” writes Chris Uzal in response to our 2/29 report, Chess Players Counsel Calm As Computers Close in on Go “Chess has not come to terms with the fact that the game is over. Kasparov lost almost 20 years ago. The most recent computer cheating scandal was last year. Chess players have been facing a brute force program whenever a computer is on the other side of the board. Go players will be facing an 2016.03.03_apples-orangesartificial intelligence. Chess players can give their judges tools to show the best move for a certain rating. Go players will not be able to distinguish human moves versus artificial intelligence moves. Judges will have no such tools. Go players online may soon be faced with a situation that any game slower than blitz will not be accepted. Go players who want a slow, deep game won’t bother with humans once they can gain access to the likes of AlphaGo. Human to human, real-life games will be either very casual, teaching or tournament. Go will become a more philosophical and sublime endeavor. Not necessarily a bad thing. There are too many players using their rank as a measure of mental prowess. People either do not know or do not care about the ancient greats like Shusaku or the not so ancient Go Seigen. Those are just ghosts if they are known at all. AlphaGo would be a welcome symbol of the summit for the game of Go. If you’re not AlphaGo, and you’re not, get back to studying life-and-death. Bottom line: I look forward to playing, losing and learning in the new artificial intelligence era.”
The first game in the Lee Sedol-AlphaGo match will be Tuesday, March 8, 8p PST (11p EST). The match will be livestreamed on DeepMind’s YouTube channel with English commentary by Michael Redmond 9p with American Go E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock.

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“Invincible” Re-Issued & Cool Go Stamps

Sunday September 14, 2014

In cooperation with Kiseido, GoShopkeima.com has just issued the fourth printing of John Power’s classic “Invincible: The Games of Shusaku.”2014.09.13_netherland-go-stamps “We still believe that all serious go players eventually want to have this book as a real book,” says GoShopkeima.com’s Peter Zandveld. There’s lots more cool go stuff at the site, including go stamps he designed. Though they can only be used for mail sent within The Netherlands, we’re pretty sure go players can come with other creative uses for them. Zandfeld developed the site with Marianne Diederen and Kim Ouweleen. 

 

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Go Quiz: How Many Western Professionals?

Sunday April 20, 2014

You Know, Like Grover Cleveland*: The fun of last week’s quiz is that there are more Honinbo heads than people. Quiz vet Reinhold Burger explains: “Thanks for this; I learned something. I knew that Shuei had stepped aside for Shuho, resuming the leadership after Shuho’s death. But I had not realized that Shugen had done the same for Shuei. So you have the symmetrical-looking sequence: Shugen, Shuei, Shuho, Shuei, Shugen. Interesting :)” Peter Schumer also cautioned that, while as heir Shusaku is often referred to as Honinbo, he died before he took over the house. So the seven of you who chose 19 different heads, as opposed to the total of 21 were correct. As for the anonymous person who chose 57, that was, of course, the number of “known Communists in the US State Department” according to a classic film. Congrats to Peter Schumer of Middlebury, VT, our randomly selected winner from among those submitting the correct answer.

This Week’s Quiz: The AGA will be qualifying one more new professional this year. This weekend one player will qualify for the AGA Pro Qualifier (to be held later this year) at the first Washington Open Baduk Championship (click here to register) and another next month at the 41st Maryland Open (click here to register). Pictured is your quizmaster congratulating Andy Liu for winning a spot in the first qualifier in 2012, which he went on to win. So our question this week is how many “Western” pros will our new pro be joining? To qualify, in addition to the AGA’s three pros, they must be (or have been) a pro born outside of the traditional Asian go nations, and certified as a pro by a national organization. Is the answer 12, 13, 14 or 15 Western professionals? Click here to submit your answer, and put your list of pros in the comments (in case we missed someone) and feel free to include your response to my bonus quiz “57 communists” movie reference.
photo by Gurujeet Khalsa

* Cleveland served as 22nd and 24th President of the United States, the only president to serve two non-consecutive terms (1885–1889 and 1893–1897).

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