American Go E-Journal » SportAccord World Mind Games

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.

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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.

Hsiang Elected IMSA General Secretary, Urges Strong N.A. Players to Participate in 2013 SportAccord World Mind Games

Monday June 3, 2013

Longtime International Go Federation and American Go Association official Thomas Hsiang (second from right) was elected General Secretary of the International Mind Sports Association (IMSA) at the 2013 SportAccord Convention held during the week of May 28 in St. Petersburg, Russia. IMSA also announced that the 2013 and 2014 SportAccord World Mind Games (SAWMG) will be held December 12-18 in Beijing for both years. For 2013, North America is invited to send a three-man team and one female player to compete for a total prize fund of $400,000 USD. “For North American players, this will be the most lucrative international tournament,” Hsiang told the E-Journal. For example, the team would get $9,000 if they defeat Europe; the female player would get $2,000 if she places 8th; and the pair would get $5,000 if they defeat Europe. “The AGA is planning a selection tournament, possibly using the NAMT event, to select our representative,” Hsiang said. Strong players, especially pros with North American citizenship, are encouraged to make inquiries with the AGA tournament coordinator, at tournaments@usgo.org. The IMSA executive committee also elected the following officials: President: Kirsan Ilyumzhinov (FIDE); Deputy President: Harry Otten (FMJD); Treasurer: Marc de Pauw (WBF). In addition, Geoffrey Borg (FIDE) was designated the Executive Director. photo: Hsiang (second from right) with IGF Secretary General Yuki Shigeno (far right); photo by Ivan Vigano

AGA Seeks Player Comment on SportAccord Selection Process

Thursday April 18, 2013

Should the North American Masters Tournament (NAMT) be used to select North American representatives to the SportAccord World Mind Games? The American Go Association is looking for comment by strong players (players with AGA rating 6.0 and up) on this proposal. With a total prize fund of $400,000, the SportAccord World Mind Games (SAWMG) is the  most lucrative international event North American go players can compete in. The event sponsors, SportAccord and the Beijing City government, pay for travel and accommodation, plus generous prize money for all players. “If we use the NAMT as the selection tournament, we raise its profile as a prestigious event,” says AGA President Andy Okun. “And for an event as significant as the SAWMG, a face-to-face selection tournament would seem better.” The NAMT points selection and 16-player format — all citizen and permanent resident professionals invited with two seats reserved for Canadian amateur participants — would remain largely the same. However, since the SAWMG previously has invited both male and female players, the proposal includes a format change to the NAMT requiring that 2-4 seats in the tournament be filled by women eligible for SAWMG (citizens), chosen by traditional NAMT qualification procedures (professional or most points). The 2013 SAWMG invitations and format have not been finalized yet, but assuming that the AGA is invited to send at least one male and one female player again this year, the highest finishing eligible male and female players (citizens) in the 2013 NAMT would be the AGA representatives to SportAccord. Strong players (players with AGA rating 6.0 and up) are urged to click here by May 1 to weigh in on the proposal.