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SportAccord World Mind Games Day 2: North America & Japan’s Men’s Teams Winless as China-Korea Final Looms; All-China Final in Women’s Individual; PLUS: Svetlana Shikshina 3P Moves to Canada; What We Can Learn from Chess & Japan’s Yoshida Mika Considers Flamenco

Friday December 13, 2013

The third annual SportAccord World Mind Games are taking place December 12-18 in Beijing, China. Click here for latest go competition winner results, here for Ranka Online’s full coverage and here for reports on all 2013 SportAccord World Mind Games competitions (chess, go, bridge, Chinese Chess & draughts).

Day 2 (Friday, 12/13) Summary (click on links for game records, uncommented unless otherwise noted): Men’s Team: China 3-0 over Chinese Taipei: Fan Tingyu beat Chou Chun-hsun, Zhou Ruiyang beat Wang Yuan-jyun, Wang Xi (left in photo) beat Lin Chun-yen (right). Korea 3-0 over Japan: Park Jeonghwan beat Fujita Akihiko, Kim

Jiseok beat Hirata Tomoy (Redmond commentary), Cho Hanseung beat Tsuruta Kazushi, giving Japan an 0-6 record after two rounds. Europe 3-0 over North America: Fan Hui beat Huiren Yang, Ilya Shikshin beat Daniel Daehyuk Ko, Pavol Lisy (click left for Redmond commentary) beat Yongfei Ge, leaving the N.A. team winless after two rounds.
Women’s individual: Wang Chengxing (China) beat Joanne Missingham (Taipei); Yu Zhiying (China) beat Park Jieun (Korea); Chang Cheng-peng (China) beat Yoshida Mika (Japan); Oh Jeonga (Korea) beat Fujisawa Rina (Japan); Natalia Kovaleva (Russia) beat Dina Burdakova (Russia); Svetlana Shikshina (Russia; click left for Yang Shuang 2P’s KGS game variations) beat Sarah Jin Yu (Canada). Note: Michael Redmond 9P and Chris Garlock did live audio commentary on the Round 2 Missingham-Jeonga game on KGS but because they recorded the game and did variations in the same file (instead of cloning), the record’s trees are a bit of a mess; it’s attached here for those interested.

North America & Japan Men’s Teams Winless as China-Korea Final Looms: On the basis of international tournament results during the current century, China and Korea seemed likely to have the advantage in their matches, but Chinese Taipei’s near-upset of Korea in the first round raised doubts about the size of that advantage. In the second round on Friday, however, the Chinese and Korean teams prevailed handily over Chinese Taipei and Japan. The match between Europe and North America was harder to predict. North America had won a similar match two years ago, but by a close 3-2 score, and this year the European team had the advantage of youth. 

In the game between Russia’s Ilya Shikshin (left in photo) and Daniel Daehyuk Ko (right) of the U.S., Shikshin “started out with a complex opening pattern in which my opponent made several mistakes, so I got the lead,” Shikshin told Ranka. “I think I was about twenty points ahead. After that I tried to play simple moves, and my opponent started to take risks, trying to draw me into an error, but in the end I killed a dragon and he resigned.” 

Slovakia’s Pavol Lisy, on the other hand, “had a bad opening” against Canada’s Yongfei Ge, “but then somehow I caught up and even pulled ahead. At one point I thought I was going to win by about six points, nearly the size of the komi. Then something happened to a group of mine in the corner. At first it looked as if I was going to lose all my territory there. I was terrified, but I thought for ten minutes and found a way to rescue it, and after I did, my opponent resigned.”

Women’s Individual Tournament Rounds 2 & 3: Triumph for China, Disaster for Japan & North America, Mixed for Rest: 
The results on Day 2 were a complete triumph for the two Chinese players, a disaster for the women from Japan and North America, and a mixture of wins and losses for the women from Korea, Chinese Taipei, and Russia. The six winners remain in contention, and Joanne Missingham and Park Jieun, who recorded their first losses, are also still in contention. The two Chinese, Wang Chengxing and Yu Zhiying, will contend for the final undefeated position in Round Four. Click here for the complete Ranka report. 

Svetlana Shikshina 3P Moves to Canada: The Russian-born Korean professional (left) moved to Canada in late June 2013 and talks to Ranka’s James Davies about the challenges of her new life there.

What We Can Learn from Chess: FIDE Chief Executive Officer Geoffrey Borg (right) on an unexpected common link between chess and go and Russia’s Ian Nepomniachtchi on lessons from the cheating scandals in chess.

Japan’s Yoshida Mika Considers Flamenco: After her “tragic loss” to young Chinese star Yu Zhiying 4P, Yoshida, former winner of the Women’s Honinbo, tells Ranka’s John Richardson “maybe my future is in flamenco,” which she took up again earlier this year.

- photos by Ivan Vigano/Ranka Online 

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Men’s Team & Women’s Individual Events Launch Go Competitions at SportAccord World Mind Games

Friday December 13, 2013

Day 1 Summary: Men’s teams: China beat North America 3-0, Korea beat Chinese Taipei 2-1, Japan beat Europe 3-0. Women’s individual: Yu Zhiying (China) beat Dina Burdakova (Europe/Russia), Chang Cheng-ping (Chinese Taipei) beat Natalia Kovaleva (Europe/Russia), Oh Jeonga (Korea) beat Sarah Jin Yu (North America/US), Fujisawa Rina (Japan) beat Svetlana Shikshina (Europe/Russia). CLICK HERE TO WATCH SAWMG DAY 1 HIGHLIGHTS. Note: click on hotlinked names below for game records, uncommented unless otherwise indicated.

In the match between China and North America, the game between Wang Xi (China) and Yongfei Ge (Canada) was played at a rapid pace, with Ge challenging Wang to an early ko fight. Wang won the ko and captured five white stones in the center, then used his central power to attack and capture White’s largest group. Ge resigned and the game was over in less than an hour. The other two North American players held out longer, but Huiren Yang resigned to 17-year-old Ing Cup-winner Fang Tingyu in less than two hours, and Daniel Daehyuk Ko, after playing his game out nearly to the end and seeing that he was more than ten points behind, resigned to the Bailing Cup winner Zhou Ruiyang. The Ko-Zhou game (click here for Michael Redmond 9P’s game commentary) was broadcast to a live YouTube audience with a running commentary by Michael Redmond 9P.

The European team put up more stubborn resistance in their match with Japan, but Ilya Shikshin lost by 4.5 points to 19-year-old Hirata Tomoya (photo at right; click here for Michael Redmond 9P’s game commentary); Fan Hui managed to rescue a beleaguered group in a ko fight but eventually had to resign against New King (Shinjin-O) title-holder Fujita Akihiko; and in a battle of 18-year-olds, Pavol Lisy struggled to a 28.5-point loss to Tsuruta Kazuya.

The Korean team was matched against Chinese Taipei. In the first round of the men’s team event in the first SportAccord World Mind Games two years ago, Chinese Taipei had given Korea a bad scare by winning on two of the five boards. This year, with only three boards, Korea could not afford two losses. Both sides played deliberately from the outset. Around four o’clock it looked as if the younger player might win on all three boards, and two of the younger players were from Chinese Taipei. Two of these predictions held up: Park Jeonghwan (Korea, age 19) defeated Chou Chun-hsun (Chinese Taipei, age 33) by half a point on board one, and Lin Chun-yen (Chinese Taipei, age 15) defeated Cho Hanseung (Korea, age 31) by resignation on board three. On board two, however, Kim Jiseok (Korea, age 23) fought back to overcome Wang Yuan-jyun (Chinese Taipei, age 17) by 1.5 points. “I was behind from the opening,” said Kim. “I finally managed to catch up in the endgame, but because of the large number of prisoners it was hard to calculate the score accurately. It wasn’t until I won the ko on the right side that I thought I might be ahead.”
- James Davies, Ranka Online. Click here for his complete Day 1 report, the SAWMG Day 1 reportDay 1 men’s results & women’s results.
CORRECTION: this post has been updated to reflect that Fan Tingyu won the Ing Cup and Zhou Ruiyang won the Bailing Cup, rather than the other way around, as originally reported. 

2013 SportAccord World Mind Games Launch in Beijing

Thursday December 12, 2013

Approximately 150 bridge, chess, draughts, go and xianqi players flew into Beijing Monday for the third SportAccord World Mind games, which run through December 18. Daily highlights are available on YouTube, click here for schedule and results and you can also follow the action on Facebook. Go, with 30 players, has the third largest contingent, behind bridge (48 players) and chess (32 players); 18 men and 12 women from China, Chinese Taipei, Europe, North America, Japan, and Korea. The men will compete as teams, the women as individuals, and the Games will also include pair events (see below for Michael Redmond’s commentary on the Round 1 game between Danny Ko 7d and Ruiyang Zhou 9P). The Games were officially declared open Tuesday evening by Yang Xiacho, president of the Organizing Comittee and deputy mayor of Beijing, at an opening ceremony held in the main second floor hall of the Beijing International Conference Center, which will be the competition venue for the coming week. The announcement was accompanied by a musical fanfare and projected images of fireworks and preceded by official greetings from dignitaries, including Wang Wei, executive president of the Organizing Committee and vice chairman of the Beijing Olympic City Development Association (BODA), and Marius Vizer, president of SportAccord. Representative groups of contestants marched onto the stage to witness the raising of the Chinese flag and the SportAccord flag by a crack drill team in white uniforms, after which the stage was taken by a succession of Chinese dance teams, including a shadowboxing demonstration, kickball dance team, military exercises with broadswords and an exhibition of classical dance skills in a ‘Chess Rhyme’, in which the dancers were dressed as black and white chess queens. There was much in these performances to inspire the spectators, who were already in a good mood following a buffet banquet, and the ceremony ended at a quarter past eight, in plenty of time for everyone to rest up for the week ahead, though the go players met briefly for a technical meeting to set up the competition draw. Click here for James Davies’ detailed opening ceremony and technical meeting report on Ranka. photos by Ivan Vigano

Today’s Game Commentary: Daniel Ko (US) vs. Ruiyang Zhou (China)
Daniel Ko, the 7-dan from Los Angeles, California acquits himself quite well in this game against a world champion. Zhou won the first Bai Lin Ai Tou Cup, was a finalist in the 18th LG Cup and a member of the championship Chinese team in the 13th Nong Shim Cup. This game features a modern-style professional opening and competing moyos that both players invade. This could have been a close game but in the key fight in the middle-game, white pulls ahead in territory while attacking black. Click above or here to download the sgf file and open in your favorite go software.

SportAccord World Mind Games Japanese Player Profiles

Thursday December 5, 2013

Thirty players (18 men and 12 women) from around the world — China, Chinese Taipei, Europe, Japan, Korea and North America — will compete for major cash prizes in this year’s SportAccord World Mind Games, coming up December 12-18 in Beijing. Here are Michael Redmond’s 9P’s introduction and brief biographical sketches of the Japanese players. Redmond and EJ Managing Editor Chris Garlock will be providing play-by-play game commentary on the SAWMG YouTube channel as well as coverage in the EJ. click here to see the player roster and schedule

by Michael Redmond 9P
Overall, it is clear that Japan has decided to give younger players a chance this year. Unfortunately, star players from the same age group such as Murakawa Daisuke and Ichiriki Ryo are missing, I would have liked to see them in this tournament. Murakawa was the B league winner of the Kisei league and recently he lost to Yamashita Keigo in the playoff to decide the challenger. In the league he bested top players such as Takao Shinji, Hane Naoki, and Kono Rin. I suppose that the Kisei tournament, among other things, posed a potential schedule issue for him this time. Ichiriki is a formidable 16 year old player, he seems to be winning all the time. Two weeks ago he lost to Ko Iso in the final to enter the Meijin league, his only loss in the recent past that I can remember. I would guess he has some other schedule issues. As to the women, judging from domestic tournaments I would have expected to see Xie Imin, Mukai Chiaki, or Okuda Aya, but actually I have a feeling that Yoshida might have a better track record in international tournaments.

Rina Fujisawa 2P: Born in 1998, at the age of 11 years and 6 months, she became the youngest player to become pro in Japan, breaking Cho Chikun’s record of 11 and 9 months. She began playing as a pro in April 2010, and caused some comment by beating a 9-dan in June of the same year. Rina is the granddaughter of Fujisawa Shuko, and her father is Fujisawa Kazunari 8P. She has an intuitive and aggressive style.

Akihiro Fujita 4P: Born in 1991, Akihiro became a pro in 2006. Won the 38th Shinjin-O (New Kings) tournament in 2013, and in 2010 came one win away from entering the Honinbo league, losing to Yamashiro 9p in the final round. He is considered to be one of the most promising young players in Japan.

Tomoya Hirata 3P: Born in 1994, became pro in 2009. Plays an aggressive style. In June this year I played him and published a commentary in the EJ on the game, which I lost by a mistake in late middlegame.

Kazushi Tsuruta 2P: Born in 1995, became pro in 2010. In 2011 he won into the Gosei Honsen.

Mika Yoshida 8P: Born in 1971, became pro in 1986. Won several Women’s titles from 1992 to 2005. Plays a well-balanced style.

3rd SportAccord World Mind Games Kick Off Next Week in Beijing

Thursday December 5, 2013

The 3rd SportAccord World Mind Games will be held in Beijing, China December 12-18. Contestants will compete for gold, silver, and bronze medals in five disciplines: chess, contract bridge, draughts, go, and xianqi (Chinese chess). This year the go competition will include a round-robin men’s team tournament, a double-knockout women’s individual tournament, and a single-knockout pair-go tournament. China, Chinese Taipei, Japan, and Korea are each sending three men and two women. North America is sending three men and one woman, and Europe is sending three pairs, who will also compete in the men’s and women’s events.

The all-new Chinese contingent includes this year’s winners of three major international tournaments (the Ing, Bailing, and Bingsheng Cups), plus the Bingsheng runner-up. The two Koreans who missed winning medals last year will return to try again, accompanied by three Korean players making their first SportAccord appearances. Among the players from Chinese Taipei and Japan are six teenagers, including the granddaughter of the legendary Fujisawa Shuko.

Europe and North America are fielding mixed pro-amateur teams. The European contingent is primarily Russian, but also includes this year’s European champion (from France) and runner-up (from Slovakia). They will be seeking in particular to avenge Europe’s various losses to the North Americans in the first two SportAccord World Mind Games. Three veteran players on the North American men’s team and one young Canadian woman will try to stop them.

Representing these thirty go players to the world at large will be Russia’s Natalia Kovaleva (far left) and China’s Yu Zhiying (left), the Go Ambassadors of the 2013 World Mind Games. Besides playing in the women’s and pair-go competitions, they will join some of the world’s top stars in the other disciplines in a program of social and publicity events.

Live coverage of the go competition with a running commentary by the popular duo of Chris Garlock and Michael Redmond 9P will be provided to a worldwide audience via the SAWMG YouTube channelFacebook page and Twitter feed. In addition, daily reports and commentaries will be posted on the Ranka website.
- report by Ranka Online 

E-Journal & Ranka to Cover 3rd SportAccord World Mind Games

Sunday December 1, 2013

The third edition of the SportAccord World Mind Games is set for December 12-18 in Beijing. The American Go E-Journal will once again team up with Ranka to provide coverage this year, with Michael Redmond 9P and EJ Managing Editor Chris Garlock providing play-by-play game commentary on the SAWMG YouTube channel as well as coverage in the EJ. Thirty players (18 men and 12 women) from around the world — China, Chinese Taipei, Europe, Japan, Korea and North America — will compete for major cash prizes; click here to see the player roster and schedule.

SportAccord World Mind Games North American Player Profiles

Tuesday November 26, 2013

The North American delegation to this year’s SportAccord World Mind Games – coming up December 12-18 in Beijing – includes Daniel Ko and Huiren Yang from the US and Sarah Yu and Yongfei Ge from Canada. The American Go E-Journal will once again team up with Ranka to provide coverage this year, with Michael Redmond 9P and EJ Managing Editor Chris Garlock providing play-by-play game commentary on the SAWMG YouTube channel as well as coverage in the EJ. Here are brief biographical sketches of the players.

Sarah Yu 6d is a 23-year-old graduate student in Toronto who’s been playing go for 17 years. She’s looking forward to “learning go from top professional players” at the SAWMG. Her favorite thing about go is that “The rules are simple, but it’s hard to master.” Her advice to players who want to improve is to “Play each move well, work on the skills, and look at professional games.” Her hobbies include playing table tennis.

Daniel Daehyuk Ko 7d, 37, works in accounting and finance in Los Angeles, CA and has been playing go for 32 years. He’s looking forward to “Playing with top professionals and learning from them” at the SAWMG. His favorite thing about go is meeting people and making friends and his advice on how to get stronger is to “Play with someone 2-3 stones stronger and review your games with strong players.” His hobbies include traveling.

Yongfei Ge 8d is a 44-year-old software architect in Scarborough, Canada who’s been playing go for 30 years. He’s looking forward to “playing with top pro players” at the SAWMG and his favorite thing about go is “Winning after hard fight.” His advice to improving is to “review games after playing” and hobbies include video games, books and ping pong.

Huiren Yang 1P is 60 years old; no further information was available at presstime.

2013 SportAccord Online Tournament Into Final Stage

Sunday September 29, 2013

The go part of the 2013 SportAccord Mind Sport Online Tournament has just gone into the final stage. Over 1000 go players worldwide participated in the largest-ever online tournament. Three regional preliminary tournaments were held for Asia, Europe and Africa, and the Americas. The winners from four separate rank divisions in each region then participate in the finals. Many prizes are provided by Pandanet and by SportAccord, including tablet computers, digital cameras, etc. The top winner from the Open division will win an all-expense-paid trip to Beijing to observe the Third SportAccord World Mind Games held December 12-18 and to receive his trophy. In addition, all players who finished the preliminary round will be placed in a lottery pool for a grand prize of an iPad. The games are held on the Pandanet Internet Go Server (IGS). Click here for finalists, schedule, go client, and other details.
- Thomas Hsiang

SportAccord-Pandanet Cup Go Online Tournament Deadline Sunday

Tuesday August 13, 2013

This Sunday, August 18 is the deadline to register for the SportAccord-Pandanet Cup Go Online Tournament (SportAccord-Pandanet Cup Online Go Tournament Registration Opens 6/30 EJ). Preliminary rounds will be played August 22 through September 12. This tournament is supported by SportAccord and Pandanet and organized by the International Go Federation and Pandanet. It also concurrently serves as the 18th Pandanet Cup Internet World Amateur Go Tournament. Participants must be amateurs and may choose to enter one of four classes (“bands”): Open, 2d-3k, 4k-7k, 8k-17k. Except in the Open class, players are required to have a registered and Pandanet-confirmed rank. In addition, players may choose one of three geographic regions to play their games. Generous prizes are provided by the sponsors, including a round trip to the third Beijing SportAccord World Mind Games for the Open champion. Further prizes are provided for regional and class winners. Click here for details and registration forms.

Online Tourney Planned to Select U.S. SportAccord World Mind Games Team

Tuesday July 23, 2013

The United States has been invited to send five players – three men and one woman – to the 2013 SportAccord World Mind Games (SAWMG) in Beijing, China. The team will be selected in an online tournament in August, except for the winner of the North American Master’s Tournament (NAMT), who will be automatically selected if eligible and able to participate. All eligible male players who have two or more wins in the NAMT will be seeded into the online men’s selection tournament, a 16-player, 5-round double elimination tournament taking place on KGS over two weekends in August. The remaining slots in the tournament are open to professionals and amateurs who did not participate in SAWMG, prioritized by rating. The men’s online selection will take place on the evenings of August 16, 17, 18, 24, and 25. The women’s online selection will be an 8-player 3-round single elimination. Eligibility is based on the AGA’s policy for international representatives: full or youth AGA membership for at least one year from selection, residency in the US for 6 of the last 12 months, and for this event, US citizenship is required. If you are eligible and interested in participating in this year’s SportAccord World Mind Game selection, whether you are attending NAMT or not, email karoline.burrall@usgo.org. The deadline for registrants who are not participating in NAMT is Wednesday August 14.
- Karoline Burrall, AGA Tournament Coordinator
UPDATE: this post has been updated to reflect that there will be three men and one woman selected for the team, not two women, as originally reported.   The second place female finisher would be an alternate in case the selected rep has to be replaced.