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The Traveling Go Board: The Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, Two Years Later

Thursday September 5, 2013

The agony of defeat and ecstasy of victory on the go board were put into perspective Thursday when the WAGC participants took a somber tour of South Sanriku in Miyagi prefecture, less than an hour from the tournament site in downtown Sendai, and one of the areas hardest-hit by the 2011 tsunami.

Although the region — a spectacular landscape of misty mountains, gently-waving rice fields, stands of bamboo, wide rivers and coastal views — has largely recovered since the disaster, the go players were uncharacteristically subdued as they took in the scope of destruction, with whole towns swept away. The three-story South Sanriku emergency center’s rusted skeleton bore mute witness to the towering wall of water that took the lives of so many; the few workers there who survived did so only by climbing the radio tower atop the building.

Most affecting was a visit to the Okawa primary school where almost every student and teacher perished. The once-thriving community is gone, the houses destroyed, completely erased from the earth, leaving only the gutted school as a sad memorial to the young lives lost here. As the buses rolled through under grey and drizzling skies, guides explained how this empty patch used to be a community center, that one was a hospital, another was a neighborhood. Roads once lined with houses are now vistas of weeds and the occasional flash of a wild sunflower or glimpse of a white crane standing on a solitary leg. The rubble is gone and new houses and buildings are slowly rising. The rivers flow past quietly. Life goes on.
- Chris Garlock; photo by John Pinkerton 

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WAGC Daily Recap (Final): Wednesday, September 4

Wednesday September 4, 2013

As expected, Korea’s Hyunjae Choi 6D wrapped up his sweep of this year’s World Amateur Go Championships on Wednesday with solid wins over Ukraine’s Artem Kachanovskyi, who came in an impressive third — the first time Ukraine has been a top finalist — and Ilya Shikshin of Russia, who took a very respectable 4th place. In addition to a significant haul of trophies (left), Choi’s win gives him more than enough points to now become a professional go player (click here for Ranka’s interview). China’s Yuqing Hu took second place, Slovakia’s Pavol Lisy was fifth, King Man Kwan of Hong Kong was sixth, Serbia’s Nicola Mitic was seventh and Kikou Emura of Japan was eighth. Canada’s Bill Lin finished in 10th place and Curtis Tang of the U.S. placed 14th. Nepal’s Suresh Bhakta Kayastha gamely brought up the rear of the 62-player field, failing to notch a single victory. Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bukh won the Asada Fighting Spirit Prize and Suzanne D’Bel of Malaysia won a special prize from Takemiya Masaki “for showing originality and good sense”; Takemiya singled D’Bel out for playing her first move on the tengen, calling it “true Cosmic Style.”

Canada’s Bill Lin told the E-Journal that he was “a bit disappointed” in his results. “I had expected to do better, but it was a tough draw and I came up short.” Tang (right, in checked shirt) was philosophical about his performance, saying that “After losing to strong players I still got strong players but I guess that’s just how they paired it up. I tried my best. I had chances against Korea and then I had a good chance to win my seventh-round game against Romania and get a shot at a top-eight finish, but I messed it up.” Both players noted the grueling 2-rounds-per-day pace. “I made sure to get to the sauna every day to ease the pressure,” Tang said. Click here for full final results; here for selected game records and here for the player roster.
- Chris Garlock; photos by John Pinkerton 

Ranka Online WAGC Highlights: Wednesday, September 4

Wednesday September 4, 2013

Rounds 7 & 8 Reports: Click here for James Davies’ reports on the final rounds of the 2013 World Amateur Go Championship.

Round 7: Korea-Russia: Things Get Steadily Worse
Ilya Shikshin 7D (Russia) trades a large side for a center moyo but when Hyunjae Choi 6D (Korea) skillfully erases most of the moyo, Shikshin’s position turns out to be too thin and things get steadily worse…click here for the commentary by Michael Redmond 9p, edited by Chris Garlock. Photo by John Pinkerton.

Round 6: Russia-Japan: Losing an Advantage
Kikou Emura 7D (Japan) punishes an early overplay by Ilya Shikshin 7D (Russia), but slowly loses his advantage with slack moves and then falters in the endgame. Click here for the commentary by Michael Redmond 9p, edited by Chris Garlock. Photo by John Pinkerton.

Round 6: Canada-China: Two Missed Chances
After an even opening, Bill Tianyu Lin 7D (Canada) misses two chances to maintain the balance of territory and allows Yuqing Hu 8D (China) to get an unassailable lead. Click here for the commentary by Michael Redmond 9p, edited by Chris Garlock. Photo by John Pinkerton.

Round 5: China-Japan: The Cost is Too High
Kikou Emura 7D (Japan) wins every ko fight in this game with Yuqing Hu 8D (China), but the cost is too high. Click here for the commentary by Michael Redmond 9p, transcribed by Chris Garlock. Photo by John Pinkerton.

PLUS: Liquorice, draniki or fried pizza? Players compare the food in Japan to what they’re used to at home. 

Pandanet-AGA City League Season 2 Set; 9/15 Deadline to Join

Tuesday September 3, 2013

Preparations have begun for the second season of the Pandanet-AGA City League, with the first round set for Saturday, September 28. “This will be a full season with one round per month from September 2013 to June 2014,” says Karoline Li. Organizers are also looking for volunteers to help run the league. The new season’s schedule, rules and regulations will be updated on the Pandanet-AGA City League website. “The D League, in which teams have the largest range of strengths from kyu to dan players, will be a handicap league this season so as to make the games more enjoyable for all players,” adds (name). Any new teams looking to join the leagues must email team information to cityleague@usgo.org by September 15. Entry of teams into individual leagues will be handled on a case-by-case basis; while it may be possible for strong new teams to be placed into the higher leagues, no new teams will be placed directly into the A league. In order to enter the A league, a team must advance from the B league. If existing teams have any changes to make between seasons, email cityleague@usgo.org. “The AGA is looking for volunteers to assist!” says Steve Colburn. “We need league managers to provide support for each individual league of six teams.” Anyone interested in helping out should email cityleague@usgo.org.
photo: 2013 League champions Team Los Angeles with TD Jon Boley (left) and AGA Tournament Coordinator Karoline Burrall (r); photo by Phil Straus

WAGC Daily Recap: Tuesday, September 3

Tuesday September 3, 2013

Korea’s Hyunjae Choi (left) virtually locked up the 2013 World Amateur Go Championship in the sixth round Tuesday afternoon with a solid 4.5-point win over China’s Yuqing Hu (right) for a perfect 6-0 record (click here for the game record with commentary by Michael Redmond 9P); Hu will almost certainly take second place. But with the two final rounds yet to play on Wednesday, the rest of the top slots are still very much up for grabs. Five-game winners include Ilya Shikshin of Russia (who beat Japan in the sixth round), Artem Kachanovskyi of the Ukraine (who defeated Finland in the 6th), Nikola Mitic of Serbia and Canada’s Bill Lin, who lost to Korea in the fifth round Tuesday morning and narrowly bested Chinese Taipei by 1.5 points in the sixth.

The win by Korea ends a two-year run by China, which won the WAGC in both 2012 and 2011. Kikou Emura’s back-to-back losses on Tuesday extinguished Japan’s hopes of recapturing the WAGC title for the first time since Satoshi Hiraoka won in 2006.
- Chris Garlock; photo by John Pinkerton 

Ranka Online WAGC Highlights: Tuesday, September 3

Tuesday September 3, 2013

Rounds 5 & 6 Reports: Korea’s Hyunjae Choi is an extremely quiet person. Drawing the black stones, he played the first move of the China-Korea game on the 3-4 point without making a sound, then pressed the clock button, equally noiselessly… Click here to read James Davies’ complete reports on Round 5 and Round 6.

Round 5: US-Singapore: A Fatal Weakness
Jia Cheng Tan of Singapore not only misses a chance to take a territorial lead at a key moment, but then overlooks a fatal weakness in his shape that costs him the game against Curtis Tang of the U.S. Commentary by Michael Redmond 9P, edited by Chris Garlock. Photo by John Pinkerton. Click here for the commentary.

Round 5: Korea-Canada: Building an Insurmountable Lead
Canada’s Bill (Tianyu) Lin doesn’t make any major mistakes in this undramatic game, yet Hyunjae Choi of Korea slowly but surely pulls ahead, building up an insurmountable lead. Commentary by Michael Redmond 9P, edited by Chris Garlock. Photo by John Pinkerton. Click here for the game commentary.

Round 4: Russia-China: Fast But Thin
A fast but thin move early on by Ilya Shikshin (Russia) 7d sets off a cascading series of fierce battles in which the attack changes hands several times. A good example of the kind of sustained concentration necessary for top-level play, even at amateur levels. Commentary by Michael Redmond 9p, edited by Chris Garlock. Photo by John Pinkerton. Click here for the commentary.

Round 3: Austria-Indonesia: Unorthodox
This game features an unorthodox opening by Sebastian Mualim 4d (Indonesia) that actually works fairly well up to a point. Commentary by Michael Redmond 9p, edited by Chris Garlock. Photo by John Pinkerton. Click here for the commentary.

Round 3: Brazil-Belgium: No Errors, But…
In this game, though Thiago Shinji Shimada Ramos (Brazil) 3d makes no major errors, by move 72 Lucas Neirynck (Belgium) 4d has established a clear lead; here’s how. Commentary by Michael Redmond 9P, transcribed by Chris Garlock. Photo by John Pinkerton. Click here for the commentary.

What Else Would You Be Doing Today?
Jogging…playing soccer…painting…swimming…Mario Miguel Agüero Obando 1k (Costa Rica), Santiago Quijano Novoa 3D (Colombia) and Bill Tianyu Lin 7D (Canada) reveal what they’d be doing if they weren’t playing go. Click here  for John Richardson’s report; photos by John Pinkerton.

PLUS: Interviews with Romania’s Cornel Burzo and Erick Javier of the Philippines; Bacon, Eggs and Anti-Doping: Irish player James Hutchinson shares his thoughts on go as a sport, and new measures to prevent cheating.

WAGC Venue Exposes Go to Public Eye

Monday September 2, 2013

This year’s World Amateur Go Championship is being held in an interesting public venue, the the AER Building, the tallest building in Sendai. The 31-floor building houses retail stores, government offices and commercial business offices, so players — after passing a Starbucks, outside of which are tables for beginners to learn the game — take the escalators through a vertical mall — high-end clothing, jewelry and shoe outlets — to the fifth floor where there’s a game review area (photo at right), tables for pro simuls (at left), and the main playing area, where observers filter in to watch the action. One floor up is a large conference room which hosted a kid’s tournament on Saturday and an adult tournament on Sunday. All in all, there’s a bustling atmosphere at this year’s venue that brings the game of go into the public eye in an engaging way.
- Chris Garlock; photos by John Pinkerton

WAGC Daily Recap: Monday, September 2

Monday September 2, 2013

After two days and four rounds at the 34th World Amateur Go Championship in Sendai, Japan, just four of the 62 players are undefeated: Yuqing Hu of China, Korea’s Hyunjae Choi, Kikou Emura of Japan and… Canada’s teenaged Bill Lin (at left in photo), who drew down in the fourth round but still faced a stiff challenge from Slovakia’s Pavol Lisy. Top players with 3-1 records include Chinese Taipei’s Shin-Wei Lin, Russia’s Ilya Shikshin, Artem Kachanovskyi of Ukraine, France’s Thomas Debarre, Csaba Mero of Hungary, the Netherlands’ Merlijn Kuin and Cornel Burzo of Romania. Curtis Tang of the U.S. is 2-2 after the tough draw of Chinese Taipei in the fourth round. Tuesday’s 5th-round pairings include China-Japan, Korea-Canada, France-Ukraine and U.S.-Singapore. Click here for full results; here for selected game records and here for the player roster. Four matches are broadcast each round on Pandanet and WBaduk.
- report Chris Garlock; photo: Lin (l) playing Nicola Mitic of Serbia in Round 3; photo by John Pinkerton

Ranka Online WAGC Highlights: Monday, September 2

Monday September 2, 2013

Rounds 3 and 4 Overview: Click here for James Davies’ in-depth reports on Round 3 and Round 4

Round 3: U.S. vs Korea: Good Fighting Spirit
U.S. player Curtis Tang (left) — one of only two players to earn the title of Redmond Meijin — shows good fighting spirit against Hyungjae Choi of Korea, one of the most formidable players in this tournament. Click here for the commentary.

Round 3: Hungary vs. China: Very short but interesting
“This is a very short but interesting game,” says commenter Michael Redmond 9P. “Hungary’s Csaba Mero (right) handles a challenge well and gets a fairly severe attack going on Yuging Hu of China, but at a critical point in the fight, an apparently natural move turns out to be a fatal mistake.” Click here for the commentary.

Every story has a beginning: Three WAGC participants — Andrés Aguilar (Ecuador, 1 dan, at right), Krzysztof Giedrojć (Poland, 4 dan) and Aleksandar Savchovski (Bulgaria, 1 dan) — explain how they started playing go. Click here  for John Richardson’s report.

Interview with Franz-Josef Dickhut: Germany’s representative talks about the new crop of strong young German players…click here for the full interview.

Interview with Pavol Lisy: Slovakia’s player explains how a childhood hobby of collecting beer caps led to playing go…click here for the interview.

Interview with Artem Kachanovskyi: The Ukrainian 6-dan reviews his game with Chinese Taipei and his recent return to serious game study…click here for the interview.

Interview with Suzanne D’Bel: The Malaysian player (left) — one of just two women in this year’s WAGC — explains ” why I like to play tengen openings.” Click here for the interview.

Interview with Andrew Kay: A chat with the British player (the 4d ‘Warfreak2′ on KGS), about his aggressive style and go philosophy. Click here for the interview.

Ranka Yearbook 1998: The 1998 Ranka Yearbook is now available in PDF format. Click here to download a copy.

- excerpted from reports in Ranka Online; this report compiled by Chris Garlock; photos by John Pinkerton

Cotsen and Pro Prelim Set for October 26-27 in LA

Sunday September 1, 2013

This year’s Cotsen Open and Pro Prelim has been set for October 26-27 at the Korean Cultural Center in Los Angeles, according to AGA President Andy Okun. The tournament, put together by local go devotee and businessman Eric Cotsen, will include many of the features that made it a perennial favorite. These include the circulating massage therapists, impressive trophies, free lunch, and refunds for those who preregister and play all their games, as well as teaching, puzzles, and a demonstration game by Yang Yilun 7P. “We are extremely grateful to Eric for sponsoring this great event again, and to the KCCLA, Ambassador Yeon-sung Shin and retired Ambassador Suh Dae-won for arranging for us to be in their beautiful facility again,” said Okun. Top boards will be broadcast online by the E-Journal. A registration site should be up within days; inquiries can be sent to registrar Samantha Davis at CotsenGoTournament2013@gmail.com.

Categories: Cotsen Open
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