At the insistence of staff counsel at Boston University, the US Go Congress and AGA this year will be instituting tougher procedures for the appointment of guardians for under-18s staying at BU for the Go Congress without parents, AGA President Andy Okun told the EJ. “It is more involved than in previous years, which is regrettable, but campuses and their lawyers are feeling some pressure in the wake of the Penn State scandal. More vigilance in this area seems to be both inevitable and a good thing, and this is just the year we have to start.” If under-18s are staying in campus housing without a parent or formal legal guardian with them, a parent will have to sign a waiver and appoint an onsite guardian, as has been necessary since 2011. That guardian will have to be staying in the same housing and be attending Congress in the same time period, as always. The new requirement is that the guardian will also have to undergo a database background check by a third party service hired by AGA, as well as a brief online training in the protection of minors. AGA will charge the parents $25 for the background check, although the actual cost will vary and likely be more. The BU policy doesn’t apply to kids who are not staying in campus housing; for them, Congress will ask parents to sign a form as in prior years, but without the need for background check or training. Congress this year has booked some rooms at a hotel near the campus and other housing options are available around Boston. Questions about the policy can be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. The forms will be ready within the next week or so, Okun said.
American Go E-Journal » Events/Tournaments
Wednesday March 9, 2016
Thursday March 3, 2016
Koreans Park Jeonghwan 9p and Choi Jeong 6p defeated the Chinese team of Tang Weixing 9p and Yu Zhiying 5p to take first place in the three round pair go competition at the IMSA Elite Mind Games in Huaian.
Playing for North America, the Canadian team off Ryan Li 1p and Sarah Yu 6d, took sixth place overall, losing to Ilya Shikshin 1p and Natalya Kovaleva 5d. Li and Yu lost in round one to the Taiwanese team of Joanne Missingham 7p and Lin-li Hsiang 6p, but scored a win in round two against Ali Jabarin 1p of Israel and Elvina Kalsberg 5d of Russia.
Japan secured third place with Tomoya Hirata 7P and Hoshiai Shiho 1P defeating Missingham and Hsiang.
- Andy Okun, Special Correspondent for the E-Journal, with reporting by Hajin Lee
photo: Pair go top medalists with Pair Go founder Mrs Taki and local CP official
Tuesday March 1, 2016
Two of the three go events at the IMSA Elite Mind Games ended Monday with Korean and Chinese victories, while the North American Men’s team and lone woman contender Sarah Yu 6d each took 5th place. In the course of the match, each of the three men players defeated a pro with Ryan Li 1p scoring a final round win against the young Japanese talent Mutsuura Yuta 2p.
The men’s team, comprising Li, Jiang Mingjiu 7p and Eric Lui 1p, were winless in the first three matches of the five match round robin, losing to Korea (see team photo at right), Taiwan and China. Round four was against the European Go Federation team of Fan Hui 2p, Ali Jabarin 1p and Ilya Shikshin 1p, expected to be the main competition for North America. On board three, Lui beat Shikshin while on board two, after falling behind early on, Li scrapped hard and fought gallantly, but was unable to catch up with Jabarin. The match turned then on board one, where Jiang beat Hui, recently in the news for his October match against AlphaGo, in a hard fought half-point game.
North America’s final day match against Japan could not have moved North America out of 5th but was the deciding factor in Japan or Taiwan taking 3rd place in the match. Japan, needing the win to stay on the medal stand, won by 2-1. Although Li beat the strong 16-year-old Mutsuura, Lui lost to Toramaru Shibano 2p, another 16-year-old with a strong record in his two years of pro play. Jiang meanwhile, lost to Hirata Tomoya 7p, although both a disappointed Jiang and some observers in the room thought he had a chance to win.
Li’s win was in line with the opinion expressed by the Asian team captains present, that the young AGA and EGF pros had improved significantly, approaching in strength a new Chinese pro and matching weaker Japanese pros. They mainly need more opportunities for serious tournament play in order to improve.
Korea effectively won the tournament by beating main rival China by 2-1 in round two. Both were undefeated against the other teams. Japan staked its claim on third place against main rival Taiwan in round one when Mutsuura and Shibano prevailed in their games.
In the women’s individual tournament, a 12-player double elimination, Sarah Yu lost in round one to Korea’s Oh Yujin 2p, but then won against Rita Pocsai 4d of Hungary and then Elvina Kalsberg 5d to guarantee at least a fifth place finish. Her round four match against Yu Zhiying 5p went beautifully until the players were in byo yomi and the Chinese pro took control of the game. Yu Zhiying went on to win the tournament. Yu’s last game was against Cao Youyin 3p. Cao won, taking fourth. Joanne Missingham 7p of Taiwan was third and Choi Jeong 6p of Korea took second.
A three-round pair go event started Tuesday, with Yu and Li facing off against Taiwanese teammates Missingham and Lin Li-Hsiang 6p.
- reported by Andy Okun from Huaian, Jiangsu Province, China; photo courtesy Ranka Online
Tuesday March 1, 2016
Despite being pushed to the loser’s bracket, Yu Zhiying 5P defeated Yu Jin 6D and Joanne Missingham 7P to make it into the women’s final at the IMSA Elite Mind Games, where she’ll play Choi Jeong 6P for the gold medal. In the men’s team division, North America defeated Europe 2 to 1, thanks to Jiang Mingjiu 7P’s (right) dramatic half-point victory over Fan Hui 2P and Eric Lui 1P’s win against Ilya Shikshin 1P. The match between North America and Europe attracted a lot of attention because for the first time, both teams were represented by professional players. Meanwhile, China defeated Japan 3-0, Korea defeated Chinese Taipei 2-0 and with just one round to go, the Korean team is leading with four wins while the Chinese team has three wins and one loss.
- adapted from a report on Ranka Online
Monday February 29, 2016
by Special Correspondent Andy Okun, with reporting by Natalya Kovaleva
In the run-up to AlphaGo’s challenge match with Lee Sedol 9p in Seoul in a little over a week, go players have been worrying about the new age whose beginning might be marked by an AlphaGo victory. What will the go world be like when computers are so good? Will people still want to play go? What will change? Taking advantage of the collegiality of the IMSA Elite Mind Games in Huaian, we sought counsel from a community that has been through this before. We asked chess players how the game was affected by Garry Kasparov’s historic loss to IBM’s Deep Blue in 1997, the steady growth in strength of computer chess since, and how go players should greet the news. The general view was that go players should not be afraid of the new age, but that things will be different. There may even be some new and interesting problems to handle, as there have in chess.
“So many cheats!” said KwaiKeong Chan (right), a long time chess player, arbiter and organizer from Hong Kong. Chan is helping run the chess section of the IEMG as deputy chief arbiter. The software is so strong that it has become very easy to find new ways to cheat, Chan said. “Hiding in the toilet is primitive,” he said dismissively of a toilet-based chess scandal last year in Dubai, although he refused to detail some of the more subtle methods people use. Strong computers also are how officials crack down on cheats, he said. Chess software is so good that given a board position and an ELO rating, you can predict the exact set of moves a player of that strength will likely draw from. If a player consistently picks better moves than are likely for his or her rating, officials know to pay close attention. “You cannot play beyond yourself. It’s not humanly possible,” said Chan, who himself had designed some very early chess-playing software.
Beyond that, chess players don’t really care about computers’ strength and said go players shouldn’t either, he said. Rather, the advent of strong computer go will bring publicity to the game, as Deep Blue did for chess, Chan said. “That is always a good thing, publicity, good or bad. Publicity is what you need.” Chess is being played more than ever before, and while Deep Blue is not the main reason for that – he cited years of community effort in presenting chess well – it did produce a second surge of new players after the Bobby Fischer surge of the 1970s.
The presence of such strong computers has had other effects on how chess is played and the nature of chess expertise, players suggested. Since strong computers can provide weak and middling players with solid and accurate analysis, the role of the chess master is different than it was, said Russian player Alexandra Kosteniuk (left), a grandmaster, former Women’s World Chess Champion and author of “Diary of a Chess Queen.” The strength of players has gone up, but the best players don’t command the same respect they might have in years past because the best critique is available to everyone. “Maybe in a few years, there will be no go masters,” she said.
Shahriyar Mamedyarov, a 31-year-old Azerbaijani grandmaster and former rapid chess World Champion, said it used to be that when he was in world championship tournaments, he might have seven or eight fellow players with him helping him prepare for the games. He doesn’t need to do that now, since any questions he has or analysis he needs done can be done by computer. Valentina Evgenyevna Gunina, a three-time Russian women’s champion, said computers had raised the standard of training and that “we need to memorize much more than we did before.”
Kirsan ILyumzhinov, the controversial president of both the Federation Internationale des Echecs and the Russian Republic of Kalmykia, as well as the head of IMSA and a long time sponsor of computer go competitions, said in the early days of the computer go project, human players and human programmers would work hard to develop the computer player and make it stronger. “Now the computer develops and trains the human.”
Perhaps the bluntest argument against fear of computers learning to play our games well came from Ruslan Ponomariov (right), a Ukrainian grandmaster and FIDE World Champion from 2002 to 2004.
“What we can do?” he asked with a shrug.
photos credits: Kirill Merkurev (Chan); chessqueen.com (Kosteniuk); en.chessbase.com (Ponomariov)
Sunday February 28, 2016
After two rounds, the Korean and Japanese men’s teams are undefeated in the first International Mind Sports Association (IMSA) Elite Mind Games in Huaian, China, while North America’s sole woman player scored a win to stay alive in the women’s Individual event.
After losing to a Korean pro in round one, Sarah Yu 6d (right) of Canada beat the European team’s Rita Pocsai 4d of Hungary in round two, moving on in the double elimination tournament. Yu said she and Pocsai were well matched and that she had benefited from a few mistakes in her opponent’s endgame play. On the other hand, playing against Oh Yujin 2p in round one was daunting, the strong amateur said. “When you are playing against a pro, you just have to try to make the game last longer,” Yu said. “It forces you to play better.” In the game against Oh, “there were never any chances.”
On the men’s side, the North American men were winless against Korea and Taiwan, though Eric Lui 1p believes he had an opportunity against Lin Shih-Hsun 5p of Taiwan. Lin and Lui, who are friends, reviewed for two hours after the game. Lin made left a major group vulnerable late in the game and Lui (left) attacked but was unable to bring off the kill. “Unfortunately, I went for a small part of the group instead of trying to kill the whole group, which clearly would have been the right thing to do,” Lui said in an interview in the bright white marble lobby of the New Century Grand Hotel Huaian. While the game wasn’t over then, Lin didn’t let down his guard again and won by resignation. His game on day one against Kim Jiseok 9p was not so suspenseful. “The thing about active young pro players today is their game is so well-rounded,” Lui said. “Their game has no real weaknesses.”
On board one, Jiang Mingjiu 7p lost to Lee Donghoon 5p on the first day and Taiwan’s Chen Shih-Yuan 9p on the second. Ryan Li 1p of Canada lost to Park Jeonghwan 9p of Korea and Lin Li-Hsiang 6p. The Korean and Chinese teams are thought to be the strongest, so Korea, in addition to defeating North America, may have effectively taken the lead in the round robin tournament when it defeated China by 2-1 in the second round. Japan’s very young team, including two 16-year-old 2 dans, is also undefeated, having beaten Europe in a clean sweep and Taiwan by 2-1.
- Andy Okun, reporting from Huaian, China. For more IEMG reports, game records and the tournament contestants, go to Ranka Online’s website.
Sunday February 28, 2016
The International Mind Sports Association will hold three more IMSA Elite Mind Games in Huaian, Jiangsu Province, China over the next three years, according to IMSA Secretary General (and AGA VP) Thomas Hsiang. IMSA signed a memorandum of understanding on Feb. 28 at the first IEMG with officials from the Jiangsu Sports Bureau, the government of Huaian and the China Qiyuan (the Board and Card Games Administrative Center of China’s General Administration of Sport) under which a second, third and fourth IEMG will be held the second week of January in 2017, 2018 and 2019. “I am very grateful to our friends at the China Qiyuan for their crucial role in making the first IEMG possible, and now for adding three more rounds of IEMG,” said Hsiang. “The local organizational efforts have also been just marvelous! The past few days have been most enjoyable and I look forward to having this event become a regular fixture on the mind sports scene.” As part of the MOU, IMSA will open an office and a mind sports academy in Huaian and all the parties have agreed to work to spread mind sports generally and also to promote Huaian as the “Mind Sports City of the World.” The IEMG were in part prompted by the end of the successful four-year run of the similarly structured SportAccord World Mind Games in Beijing.
- Andy Okun, reporting from Huaian, China
Sunday February 21, 2016
The first IMSA Elite Mind Games (IEMG) are being held from February 25 to March 3 at the New Century Hotel Huaian, China. A re-branded event of SportAccord World Mind Games, IEMG will feature five mind sports: go, chess, bridge, draughts, and xiangqi. Thirty top players from around the world will be competing for total prize money of 200,000 EUR in three medal events: Men’s Team, Women’s Individual, and Pair. The International Mind Sports Association is organizing the event and Ranka Online will provide full coverage of the event.
- adapted from a report in Ranka Online, which includes the list of players, tournament outline and schedule.
See also Strong North American Go Team Headed for Huai’an for Inaugural IMSA Games.
Sunday February 7, 2016
As the third round of the Pandanet AGA City League closes out, some leaders are emerging from the packs. In League A the Greater Washington and Canwa Vancouver 1 teams have always been at the top of the leader boards. Both teams are undefeated in their league. Two-time winner Los Angeles is in third place at this point. Washington DC 2 has come out strong this year, leading with three wins so far. Close behind is Washington DC 1 and San Francisco 1. League C has Atlanta 2 leading with the third round. Their opponents have some catching up to do for the last four rounds. Boston 3 is close behind Atlanta 2.
Click below to watch Hajin Lee 3p review two games from the A League. This round she looked at new 1p Eric Lui’s game against Edward Kim 7d and Bill Lin’s win over AGA professional exam contender Aaron Ye. Learn why joseki is important throughout the game in this video.
–Steve Colburn, TD
Sunday January 24, 2016
Korean pair Jeon Yujin-Song Hongsuk won the 26th International Amateur Pair Go Champion in Tokyo held December 5-6 at Hotel Metropolitan Edmont. Amy Wang 4D and Danny Ko 7D represented the United States. It was the second time the two had represented the US. “Amy represented in 2013 and I represented in 2014, so we pretty much knew the drill,” says Ko.
There were 32 teams including 12 Japanese pairs. “We drew a difficult first round match-up and fell to one of the strong Japanese pairs (7 Dan male and 6 Dan female) on Saturday morning (Dec 5). The game was somewhat competitive but we fell behind after a mid-game fight and lost about 10 points.”
After the first round, players and guests prepared for the goodwill game wearing national costumes. “Amy and I decided to wear ‘old western’ costumes. It was a great chance to meet other players and guests. I paired with a 6 Dan Japanese lady and played against Hajin Lee 3P and a Japanese 6-dan male player (left). It was my first time to play Hajin although we have been good friends for many years.”
“Sunday morning, we played Indonesia in the second round. We led the game with comfortable margin and won the game by resignation,” Ko told the E-Journal. “We drew the one of Japanese pairs (7-dan male and 5-dan female) again in the third round. The game was very competitive and both teams had many chances throughout the game. We pretty much lost the game at the last fight and lost about 5 points.”
In the 4th and 5th rounds, the US team played Mongolia and Finland. winning both games in less than 100 moves by resignation. Their 3-2 result resulted in 16th place for the US. “The result was a little disappointing since we were hoping to win four games,” says Ko. “But we played very competitively against two Japanese pairs so it was not a bad performance. Click here for complete results.