American Go E-Journal » Events/Tournaments

2014 WAGC Player Profiles: Europe (Part 2)

Friday June 27, 2014

Third in a series of profiles of players in the 35th World Amateur Go Championships, which will be held July 4-11 in Gyeongju, Korea.

Germany: Bernd Radmacher 4D (left), 42, lives in Meerbusch (near Düsseldorf, Cologne) where he’s “just looking after my children at the moment.” He’s been playing go for 25 years, placing second in the 2013 German Championship, and played in the 2008 WMSG amateur tournament in Beijing. He likes go’s “creativity and beauty, creating shapes on the board” and the game’s “magic, even for pros, who study it all their lives. It has surprises in every game.” Hobbies include other board games, and playing piano. Married, he has one daughter (18), and two sons (16, now 2-dan, and 13). 

Luxemburg:
Andreas Goetzfried 4D (right) is a 24-year-old student in the capital city of Luxemburg. He’s been playing for 10 years and like go because of “Its rather simple rules compared to its very complex structure.”

Netherlands: Merlijn Kuin 6D (left) is a 32-year-old Program Manager/Project Leader in Amsterdam who’s been playing go since he was 15. He’s been Dutch Go Champion “many times” and was part of the 2011 European Team Champion team. His favorite thing about go is that “It’s near infinite possibilities allows one to be creative and come up with new and surprising high level strategies to slowly but inexorably move towards control of the game and then give the game away during byo-yomi endgame.” He suggests “reinstat(ing) decent thinking time in the WAGC or should we change the name to WA Rapid GC?” His hobbies include reading, studying go strategy or teaching go and playing other strategy games and he enjoys “Teasing people in a hopefully fun way (for example by filling out online forms unconventionally)” In response to our query about non-go accomplishments he said “I’ve got a job. How much time do you guys think I have, next to becoming and staying 6d?”

Norway: Oeystein Vestgaarden 2D (right) is a 35-year-old project manager for digital learning software in Oslo. He won the Oslo Open in 2012 and 2013 and was the Norwegian participant in the 28th WAGC in 2007 and the 31st WAGC in 2010. He’s been playing since he was 19 and likes “The simplicity of the rules combined with being infinitely difficult to master. Go has a certain beauty that no other board games can match. On the more practical side, I like that the game is equally enjoyable in both silent ‘study-like’ environments and more relaxed environments like a café or pub.” For hobbies, “I sing in a choir, play the bass in a band, play football, indoor climbing, reading, mountain hiking.” Other accomplishments include working as an editor in a publishing company for seven years.

Poland: Stanisław Frejlak 4D (left) is an 18-year-old student in Warsaw. He’s been playing since the age of 6 and was Polish Youth Go Champion Under 16 in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2011, Under 18 champion in 2010 and Polish Go Champion in 2012. “My favorite thing in go is the exciting fights between big groups on which a game’s result depends.” Hobbies include maths and he was Laureate of Polish Mathematical Olympiad (2013, 2014) and took 3rd place with the Polish Team on “The Baltic Way mathematical contest” (2013).

Romania: Lucian Corlan 5D (right) says go is “A many-splendored thing.” His hobbies include reading, basketball and tennis. The 34-year-old software engineer hails from Bucuresti.

Serbia: Nikola Mitic 6D (left) is a 22-year-old student from Nis. He won the 2013 Serbian Championship and the 2014 Serbian Cup. He started playing at the age of 6 and likes “Fighting on the board, meeting people off the board.” Hobbies include reading, basketball, football, and video games.

Slovakia: Peter Jadron 4D (right) is a 33-year-old psychiatrist who currently lives in Karlstadt, Germany. He’s been playing for about 20 years and was the Slovakian Champion in 2008. “I like the fact, that only a well balanced combination of intuition, creativity, flexibility, knowledge and deep reading leads to success in the game of go,” he says. He’s married and has two children. Hobbies include cycling, nature, photography, classical music, composing and medicine.

Slovenia: Timotej Suc 3D (left) is a 30-year-old EM physician in Ljubljana. “I like complex battles,” he says, adding that “Because of go I have traveled many places in Europe and also elsewhere.” He’s been playing for 15 years and achievements include 1st place in the 50th Ljubljana Open in 2011, Slovenian team champion with the Ljubljana Go club  from 2005-2013,  Balkan student champion in 2007,  1st place in the 2005 Rijeka Open, 2nd place in the Slovenian championship in 2008 and 2012, and  3rd place in the Slovenian championship in 2010,’11 and ’13. He’s married and has three children (5y, 3y, 6m) and his hobbies include playing football.

Spain: Pau Carles 3D (right) is a 37-year-old salesman from Barcelona. Winner of the Spanish Go Championship in 2008, his favorite thing about go is “The friendship environment.”

Switzerland: Sylvain Praz 1k (left) is a 27-year-old history student who lives in Lausanne. He’s been playing go five years and his hobbies include reading, seeing friends and having a drink. His favorite thing about go is “When, during a game, anything else stops existing.”

Ukraine: Bogdan Zhurakovskyi 5D is a 26-year-old data analyst from Kyiv who holds a Phd in Statistics. He’s been playing since he was 11, and was the 2005 European youth vice-champion the 2008 Ukrainian champion and 2014 Ukrainian vice-champion. His favorite thing about the game is its “Mix of complexity and simplicity.”

United Kingdom (England): Francis Roads 1D (though he notes “formerly 4 dan”) is a Retired Music Education Advisor who lives in London. Roads (left) learned to play at 22, has been playing for 49 years and his titles are “Too many to count.” His favorite thing about go is “The people that you meet.” Hobbies include West Gallery Church Music and he currently serves as Honorary Secretary of the West Gallery Music Association, and Music Director of London Gallery Quire. He retired as Head of Music Curriculum Support for Essex County Council. “My selection as British representative to the 2014 WAGC results from the points system in our Challengers League, which rewards persistence as well as competence,” he notes.

Missing (we hope to include in a future edition): Azerbaijan, Denmark, Portugal, Russia, Sweden.

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Your Move/Readers Write: Danish-German WAGC Mix-Up

Friday June 27, 2014

“Firstly let me appreciate all the work with the journal,” writes Michael Marz. “I really enjoy it. This time (2014 WAGC Player Profiles: Europe (Part 1) 6/26 EJ), however, there is a mistake.  The German representative is Bernd Radmacher, who is also the person in the picture. The guy mentioned, Arne Ohlenbusch, is half German and half Danish, I assume he is the Danish representative.”
Excellent catch! Our apologies for the mix-up; Ohlenbusch is indeed the Danish rep (he lives in Germany, which was what confused us). We’ve corrected the original report and included German rep Bernd Radmacher in today’s player profile preview. 

2014 WAGC Player Profiles: Europe (Part 1)

Thursday June 26, 2014

Second in a series of profiles of players in the 35th World Amateur Go Championships, which will be held July 4-11 in Gyeongju, Korea. Fifty-seven players from a like number of countries and territories are scheduled to make the trip to Korea to compete in the four-day, eight-round Swiss system. Many will be veterans of previous tournaments held in Japan and China, some drawn back to WAGC competition after a long absence, perhaps by the chance to be part of the first WAGC held in Korea. As usual, the largest contingent will come from Europe (30 players) and the youngest from the Far East (15 players, including an 11-year-old from Indonesia). Click here for Ranka’s June 24 WAGC preview.

Austria: Matthias Frisch 1D, 21 (right), is a student and works in a hotel in Vienna. He first started playing five years ago “but I quit very fast and then I got interested in it again about three years ago.” His favorite thing about go is “not the game itself, but rather the people you meet.”  Hobbies include soccer and snowboarding; “I like to do many things if there is enough time besides my studies.”

Belarus: Aliaksandr Suponeu 1D (left) is a 64-year-old engineer who’s been playing go for 30 years. Winner of the Belarusian Championship, this will be his eighth World Go Championship.

Belgium: Dominique Versyck 2D (right) is a 31-year-old accountant in Lennik. He’s been playing for 9 years and says that “Each game is different, there is no luck involved, go is simply perfect!” His hobbies include chess and quizzes. He’s married, with a 2-year old son, and a daughter due at the end of October.

Bulgaria: Teodor Nedev 3k (left) is a 44-year-old teacher in Ruse. He’s been playing 10 years and won the 2013 Open Championship in Bulgaria (Pomorie). Go is “a representation of the Universe,” he says. Hobbies include reading books and extreme sports: he’s a master in martial arts (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Philippines), chess (International, Chinese, Japanese), healing arts and yoga.

Croatia: Zoran Mutabžija 5D (right) is a 69-year-old retiree. He’s been playing go for 49 years, winning the 1967 European Championship, 1st place in the 1971 European Championship, and was a first-place winner in the Croatian Championship many times. Hobbies include programming and his favorite thing about go is “Seeing places and people at tournaments.” He’s married and his children now run his web hosting company.

Czech Republic: Lukas Podpera 6D (left) is a 19-year-old student in Prague who’s been playing since he was 7 years old. His favorite thing about go is its “huge number of variations and creativity” and his hobbies include soccer, cycling and music.

Denmark: Arne Ohlenbusch 4D (right) is a 23-year-old postman in Oldenburg. He’s been playing for 10 years and his favorite thing about go is that there’s “basically no luck involved and you can use unlimited much time getting better.” Hobbies include soccer and pc games.

Finland: Juuso Nyyssönen 5D (left) is a 21-year-old student from Helsinki. He won the 2013 Finnish Championship. “Every game brings new surprises,” he says, “even though I’ve played thousands of games by now.”

France: Antoine Fenech 5D (right) is a 28-year-old mathematics teacher in Strasbourg. Titles include the 1996 and 1997 Under 12 European Youth Championship, the 2003 Under 18 European Youth Championship under 18  and the 2013 French Pair Go Championship. His favorite thing about go is “Travelling around the world and meeting people from different cultures.” Hobbies include soccer.

Ireland: John Gibson 4k (left) is a 65-year-old interior designer who lives in Dublin. He’s been playing since his early 20′s, won the 1992 Irish Handicap Championship and says that go is “Such a satisfying game. Great also for travelling and meeting new people wherever one goes.” He’s married and has three daughters, including one, Naomi, who won the Irish Ladies Go Championship in 1992 “but has not been active recently.” Hobbies include chess, Jamble, Pits, and tennis.

Italy: Niccolò Sgaravatti 2k (right) is a 24-year-old IT Developer in Padova. “This game is a constant challenge to see the reality of things,” he says. He enjoys “walking the hills, reading sages about anthropology, bronze age, biology and so on.”

Lithuania: Andrius Petrauskas 3D (left) is 39-year-old manager in Vilnius. He’s been playing since the age of 12 and has been Lithuanian champion several times. His favorite thing about go is that it’s an “Interesting, deep game.”
Tomorrow: Europe, Part 2.

2014 WAGC Player Profiles: Asia

Tuesday June 24, 2014

First in a series of profiles of players in the 35th World Amateur Go Championships, which will be held July 4-11 in Gyeongju, Korea. The American Go E-Journal will once again be teaming up with Ranka  to provide comprehensive daily coverage of this major amateur tournament featuring top players from 74 countries and territories around the world. These are the players from Asia; missing are China, Indonesia, Korea, Macau, Mongolia, Vietnam; we hope to have their profiles in a future post. 

Brunei: Ho Soon Ang 2k (right) is a 24-year-old student who’s been playing for three years. His favorite thing about go is “Meeting new play style” and hobbies include badminton and PC games.

Hong Kong: Nai San Chan 6D (left) is a 21-year-old student at the Polytechnic University of Hong Kong. He’s been playing go since he was 6 and won the HK Go Open (2005-2010, 2013) was WAGC 2nd runner up (2009) and WAGC 3rd runner up (2008,2010). His favorite thing about go is “Fighting.” Hobbies include ball games.

Indonesia: Rafif Shidqi Fitrah 4D (right) is an 11-year-old elementary school student in Bandung. He started playing at age 7and says his favorite thing about go is “Attacking each other.” He was the runner up at the 2013 Japan Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science Cup Elementary School Team Competition as part of a team consisting of Rafif and Rafif’s two little brothers, Faishal Umar and Faiz Utsman. His hobbies include reading books.

Japan: Kikou Emura 7D (left) is a 34-year-old graduate school student in Hyogo. He’s been playing since the age of four, and has won the 2006 sekaigakuseiouzasen, and the the 2012 and 2013 sekaiamaigosenshuken. He likes that “go is deep” and hobbies include mah-jongg and karaoke.

Malaysia: Suzanne D’Bel 3D (right) is a 24-year-old programmer living in Itabashi, Japan. She’s been playing since the age of 14 and says that “The broadness of the game means that go can be mixed with many interesting fields such as art and design, technologies, music, medical etc.” She also says the game is great for “Making new friends and partners!” Hobbies include traveling around to play go, crafting with electronics, mixture of art and technology, anime.

Nepal: Narendra Sowal 1D (left) is a 28-year-old small businessman in Bhaktapur. He’s been playing for 16 years and won the Nepal Go Championship in 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2014. Long term thinking is his favorite thing about go. He’s married with one son.

Singapore: Jia Cheng Tan 6D (right) is a 29-year-old engineer who’s been playing since he was 6. His favorite thing about go is “The calculation involved and requirement to play with an open mind to adapt to changes.”

Taipei: Yi-Tien Chan 7D (left) is a 21-year-old student from Changhua. He’s been playing since the age of 7 and loves the “Self challenge” of the game.

Thailand: Thanapol Tiawattananont 4D (right) is a 23-year-old student. He’s been playing since the age of 10 and says that go is “an art of life and a way of life. It’s a philosophy of life. And it makes friends all over the world!” Hobbies include soccer, table-tennis, travelling and bird-watching.

Ali Jabarin Defeats Surma & Podpera to Become Second European Pro

Monday June 23, 2014

Israeli go champion Ali Jabarin 6d (right) has won the final knockout rounds of the European Pro Qualification Tournament at Vienna in Austria to become the second pro qualifying under the new European Go Federation (EGF) /CEGO pro system (see Pavol Lisy First European Pro – EJ, 6/1). He beat Mateusz Surma 6d of Poland then Lukáš Podpera 6d of Czechia in the two closely-fought knockout rounds comprising this third and final stage of the competition to select two pros from sixteen of Europe’s strongest amateur players. Israel, though not geographically part of Europe, is usually treated as European in international sporting contests and is an EGF member-state. The games were played at the Freie Waldorfschule Wien West on Friday June 20 as a preliminary to the Vienna International Go Tournament, which Jabarin also won, in a field of almost 100. The pro qualification tournament was overseen by Wang Runan, the President of the Chinese Weiqi Association.

The two new pros, Pavol Lisy and Ali Jabarin, will receive their certificates – at which point they officially gain professional status – at the upcoming 58th MLily-WeiqiTV European Go Congress in Sibiu, Romania next month (July 26 – August 9), where they will still be entitled to compete as amateurs. After that they will go to Beijing for another six months’ intensive training. Next year will see the first Bonus Point and Grand Slam Tournaments as well as another Pro Qualification Tournament to select a further two pros. These special tournaments are all part of a complete professional system which is detailed in the EGF/CEGO Agreement (pdf, 6.85Mb).

Click here for full details of the 2014 Pro Qualification Tournament, including results, game records and more.

Report by Tony Collman; photos: (right) Ali Jabarin in Round 5 v Mateusz Surma, courtesy of Vienna 2014 pairings/results page, (left) Chinese Weiqi Association President Wang Runan (at right) congratulates Jabarin, EGF President Martin Stiassny seen at far left, by Lorenz Trippel.

Melchior Chui Wins UK Go Challenge for Schools

Sunday June 22, 2014

The 2014 UK Go Challenge for Schools was won by Melchior Chui 9k of Cambridge with second and third places going to siblings Roella 12k and Edmund Smith 13k respectively, also both of Cambridge. The finals were held at Milton C of E Primary School in Milton, near Cambridge, England on Saturday June 21st, and were the culmination of heats played in schools throughout the year, each of which comprised five rounds of 13×13 go.Twenty-five youngsters took part in the finals, which are not restricted to those who have taken part in the heats. Click here for full list of winners.

The top three winners and the challenger all won cash prizes and they and all age group winners got a framed certificate showing their achievement. Click here for full format details of the competition, which started in 2004 and is organized by the British Go Association and modeled on the earlier successful UK Chess Challenge.

The traditional caption contest to put words into the mouth of the logo go stones (above) in promotional material for the year was won by Benedict Steele of Milton with the caption, “Jump ahead of the competition!”

Report by Tony Collman, British correspondent for the E-Journal. Logo courtesy of UK Go Challenge website.
Correction: The Challenge started in 2004, not 20 years ago, as originally reported. 

US Go Congress 2014: Meet the Korean Pros

Thursday June 19, 2014

Sixteen professional go players have been confirmed for this year’s US Go Congress, set for August in New York City. They include the following pros from Korea:

Park Jungsang 9P: Born in 1984, Park became a professional in 2000 and was a semi-quarter finalist in the 6th Samsung World Championship in 2001, as a 2-dan pro. Park won the 8th SK Gas Rookies Cup in 2004 and was a semi-quarter finalist at the 10th LG World Championship in 2005. In 2006 he won the 19th Fujitsu Cup against Zhou Heyang 9P, earning immediate promotion to 9P. That year he was also the runner-up in the 3rd Electronic Land Baduk King of Kings against Lee Changho 9P. In 2007 he was runner-up at the Maxim Coffee Cup against Lee Sedol 9P and runner-up at the 3rd Zhonghuan Cup against Lee Changho 9P. Park was the Silver Medalist at the 1st World Mind Sports Game Individual Division in 2008. An active commentator on Baduk TV since 2009, he’s also been the Chief Commentator at Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) since 2013. Park Jungsang will give lectures for strong go players at the Congress; as an active Baduk TV commentator he’s very knowledgeable on recent joseki and openings.

Lee Dahye 4P: Born in 1985, Lee graduated from Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, where she majored in Japanese. She became a professional in 2000. A lecturer for ‘How to Baduk’ at Baduk TV since 2008, she was a proofreader of Hikaru no Go’s Korean version in 2011 and published the book ‘Falling in Love with Baduk’ that same year. She was a lecturer on ‘Endgame master by Lee Dahye’ at KBaduk TV from 2011 to 2012 and ‘Beginner’s Project, Open the Baduk’ in 2014. Lee has been a teacher of multiple cultural kids program since 2011 and a Visiting Lecturer in baduk at the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies since 2012. She’s a Visiting Lecturer at Halla University this year. Lee specializes in teaching beginners and will give series of lectures at the ‘Teacher’s Seminar’ at the Congress again this year. She was very popular last year and expects to attract a lot of would-be go teachers.

Myungwan Kim 9P: Born in 1978, Kim became a professional in 1994. He was runner-up at the BC Card Rookies Cup in 1998, 1999 and 2002, and a Semi-Quarter finalist at the 10th Samsung World Championship in 2005. He won the US Open from 2008 to 2010. The Korean Baduk Association sent Kim to the United States in 2008 to help spread baduk. “I am going to help both Korean pros with their lectures as a co-lecturer and translator,” he says.

 

Categories: U.S. Go Congress
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35th World Amateur Go Championship Set for Gyeongju, Korea

Wednesday June 18, 2014

The 35th World Amateur Go Championships will be held July 4-11 in Gyeongju, Korea. The American Go E-Journal will once again be teaming up with Ranka  to provide comprehensive daily coverage of this major amateur tournament featuring top players from 74 countries and territories around the world.

The WAGC is organized by the International Go Federation; this year the preparatory work is being done at the Korea Baduk Association in Seoul, Korea. The tournament venue will be the Hyundai Hotel in the Bomun Lake resort area of Gyeongju, a former capital of Korea once famed for its architectural and other riches. Now it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a major tourist destination, participants will find much to see, both on and off the go board.

Beginning next week, the E-Journal will run a series of profiles of WAGC players to familiarize readers with the competitors.

Ming Curran Tops Berkeley Ratings Tourney

Sunday June 15, 2014

Ming Curran 3D topped a field of 17 players ranging from 4d to 20k at the Berkeley Go Club’s ratings tournament on June 14. The event was hosted in the Games of Berkeley game store’s downstairs playing rooms, with store gift certificates given as prizes.

Organizers were Peter de Blanc and Linden Chiu, with Chiu directing. “Thanks to both Games of Berkeley and the Bay Area Go Players Association, who provided clocks and stones,” said Chiu.

Results: 1st: Ming Curran 3d (3-0); 2nd: Sean Wahl 10k (3-0); 3rd: Garnet Chaney 19k (3-0).
photo courtesy Linden Chiu

Freedman Named AGF Teacher of the Year

Saturday June 14, 2014

Peter Freedman, of Portland, OR, has been named the AGF Teacher of the Year, winning a free trip to the US Go Congress in NYC.  Freedman, who has been active in the Portland area for decades, has focused his primary activities on youth go in recent years. Freedman and Fritz Balwit (2011 AGF Teacher of the Year) had tried to establish go clubs in schools for many years, but they were short-lived and drew minimal numbers  “Meanwhile, our chess and go program at Irvington Elementary had run for many years, with upwards of 30 students every term,” Freedman told the Journal.  ”It became clear to me that chess and go clubs have a much better chance to introduce children and teens to go than free-standing go clubs. I approached several school chess coaches about the idea of morphing their programs into chess and go clubs, and now there are over 100 children in these clubs, spread over five  schools, I teach go and Fritz teaches chess in most schools. The students can play only chess; play only go; or, switch between chess and go each month.  New students must play a month of go before they decide on their option. There is a segment of our culture that knows, appreciates and respects chess, while only a few know of go. Yet, many of us were chess players before we were go players.  It seems like a nice path.  We need a new motto: chess is our friend, not our enemy.”

AGA President Andy Okun had this to say about Freedman: “While many people know him as a club organizer, AGA volunteer and co-director of the really successful 2008 Portland Congress, Peter has also been teaching go for many years, and very intensively since retiring eight years ago.  For the last three years, he’s run the Irvington Elementary School Go Team, which has played matches against teams in Portland, Detroit and Mexico City.  He led the effort to make the Portland Go Club a 501c3 so it could raise money for a go in the schools program, and has raised thousands of dollars for that effort.” Recent activities included bringing Mingjiu Jiang 7P to Portland, for a workshop attended by 19 players from across Oregon, ranging in age from 7 to 72, and strength from beginner to 3 dan. “Nine of the players were kids or teens,” said Freedman, “one of whom taught himself to play three months ago, another was a 7 year old kgs 3 kyu.  Andrew Nguy, who recently started the robust David Douglas H.S. Go Club, was also in attendance. Mingjiu was up to the challenge of teaching such a diverse group, moving from simple problems to more complex ones that the  advanced people could chew on.”

“The AGF board faced a very tough decision again this year,” reports President Terry Benson, “with five extremely strong candidates, each of whom fully deserved the award. Fortunately, we choose a new teacher every year, and the other candidates will all have a chance again next year.” Freedman and Balwitz have put together curriculum guides and outlines for their method, which can be downloaded on the AGA Teaching Page.  Free equipment, Hikaru no Go, and other resources are available on the AGF website.  -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.  Photos: Top: The Irvington Elementary Go Team plays a match against Mexico City, Freedman is 2nd from right; Bottom: students at the Mingjiu Jiang workshop last April.