American Go E-Journal » Events/Tournaments

The Nakazono Fan Club’s Road Trip to Guangzhou

Wednesday May 16, 2012

Japan’s player, Seizoh Nakazono 8d, brought something unique to the World Amateur Go Championships: his own cheering section. The group of a dozen supporters traveled to Guangzhou specifically to support Nakazono, who was not only their country’s representative but a fellow graduate of the Kumamoto high school in Kyushu, Japan’s third-largest island. E-Journal readers may also recall him from our report on a visit a few years ago to his Sunshine Go Club in Tokyo. The go-playing Kumamoto graduates in Tokyo number about 40, Shinji Ohmura told the E-Journal on Wednesday, and are regulars at the Sunshine Go Club, where they play in tournaments against each other and against graduates of other schools. High school was a long time ago for the group, who are in their 60s and 70s now, but go has kept them together over the years and, for the Guangzhou group, the miles as well. They faithfully showed up every day at the playing venue, intently following their classmate’s every play. “We’re not go fans,” Shinji, a 62-year-old 3-dan, said, “just fans of Mr. Nakazono.”
- Chris Garlock; photo: the Nakazono fan club watches the Round 4 match between Japan’s Seizoh Nakazono and Yuan Zhou of the United States; photo by John Pinkerton

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2012 WAGC Round 8 Game Records

Wednesday May 16, 2012

Korea-Taipei (Commentary by Yang Shuang); Finland-Romania (Commentary by Yang Shuang); Japan-Bosnia; China-Germany
On Board 1, China’s Qiao Zhijian played more deliberately against Germany’s Bemjamin Teuber than he had in the preceding three rounds against opponents from Chinese Taipei and the two Koreas. As in those rounds, his game attracted the most attention from the spectators …Click here for Ranka’s complete Round 8 report.

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China Wins WAGC; U.S. is 21st

Wednesday May 16, 2012

THIS JUST IN: China’s Qiao Zhijian 7d, undefeated after eight grueling rounds, is the winner of the 2012 World Amateur Go Championships. In second place is Hyunjoon Lee of Korea, third is Chen ChengHsun of Tapei. US rep Yuan Zhou was 21st. Other Top 10 finishers: Chan Chi Hin (Hong Kong, 4th), Ri Kwang Hyok (DPRK, 5th), Pal Palogh (Hungary, 6th) and Juri Kuronean (Finland, 7th). In 8th place was Japan’s Seizoh Nakazono, 9th was Lou Yuxiang of Singapore and Benjamin Teuber of Germany was 10th. “Overall, the tournament was an impressive display of teenage power,” noted James Davies in his Ranka Online report. “Seven of the top twenty places went to teenage players, including all of the top four. Go seems to have a bright future, and not just in the Far East.” Click here for complete final round reportsfinal standings and Round 7 and Round 8 game records, including So Yokoku’s commentary on the exciting Round 7 China-DPRK game and Yang Shuang’s commentaries on the Round 8 Korea-Taipei and Finland-Romania games.

2012 WAGC Round 7 Game Records

Wednesday May 16, 2012

China-DPRK (Commentary by So Yokoku 8P); HongKong-Taipei; Hungary-Korea; Japan-Slovakia.
The 7th round began with a demonstration of the tombstone tesuji by China’s Qiao Zhijian in the bottom right corner on Board 1 against DPRK’s Ri Kwang Hyok. The resulting fight ended in a ko in the top right corner. Qiao won the ko but had to concede the top right corner territory and also give Kwang Hyok the superior position in the center. See So Yokoku’s commentary below and click here for the complete Ranka report on Round 7. 

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Go Photo: Unwinding at the WAGC

Tuesday May 15, 2012

What do go players do after competing all day at the World Amateur Go Championship? Review their games, of course. Here, U.S. player Yuan Zhou 7d — a longtime go teacher and author — analyzes a game Tuesday night in the Baiyun Hotel’s 30th-floor bar/playing room with Sweden’s Martin Li (center) and Pal Sannes of Norway, while Dragan Paunic of Bosnia-Herzegovina watches.
photo by Chris Garlock

WAGC Game Report: Round 6

Tuesday May 15, 2012

In Round 6, Tuesday’s afternoon round, China’s Qiao Zhijian (below right) immediately launched into the same Dosaku opening that he had used successfully in the morning round, once again playing his initial moves in less than one second each. The game took a similar course, with black (Qiao) securing considerable territory while white (Korea’s Lee Hyunjoon, at left) constructed a framework, inside which he tried to destroy an invading black group. At one point it looked as if he had a fair chance of catching the invaders, but running wild inside opponents’ frameworks seems to be Qiao’s specialty, and as in his morning game, he successfully brought his invaders to safety. Lee resolutely switched strategies and tried to win on territory, but this appeared difficult. Toward the end of the game Lee started a ko on the lower edge, but by this time all the black stones were connected into a single group, and white didn’t have enough ko threats. Qiao won the ko, started another (indirect) ko that eventually Lee had to win to avoid losing the top left corner, and won the game by 2.5 points.

Serbia’s Mijodrag Stankovic needed less than 40 minutes to dispose of Australia’s David Bofinger (right). ‘Against a 5-dan opponent I chose to fight,’ said 2-dan David, ‘but it was the wrong fight to choose.’ The players from Chinese Taipei, DPR Korea, Japan, and Hong Kong successfully overcame opponents from Germany, the U.S. Belarus, and Singapore. DPR Korea’s Ri Kwang-Hyok will be the next to try to defeat Qiao Zhijian Wednesday morning. The low-teen duo from Chinese Taipei and Hong Kong are also in the five-win band, which means they are still in contention for the championship; they will play each other in Round 7. Another player in this band is Hungary’s Pal Balogh, who used the avalanche joseki to defeat Slovakia’s Pavol Lisy in Round 6, and will face the Korean Lee in Round 7.

In other notable results, Vietnam’s Do Kanh-Binh (left) defeated Alexander Eerbeek, who said ‘I played like a 10-kyu.’ In a match between two players who reside in Canada, French seed Remi Campagnie downed Canadian representative Xianyu Li. In games matching Europeans against Latin American opponents, Italy’s Carlo Metta, Switzerland’s Felicien Mazille, and Argentina’s Eduardo Lopez picked up their third wins by defeating Costa Rica’s Luis Cajiao, Colombia’s Carlos Acuno, and Austria’s Lothar Spiegel, while Ireland’s Colin MacSweeney (right) picked up his second win by beating Brazil’s Nadeen Prem. And most notable of all, Fang Xiaoyan made this a perfect day for China by defeating Mongolia’s Bayarjargal Shartolgoi.
- adapted from James Davies’ report on Ranka Online; click here for latest results and Round 6 online game records.

2012 WAGC Round 6 Game Records

Tuesday May 15, 2012

Korea-China (Commentary by So Yokoku 8P); Singapore-HongKong; US-DPRK; Germany-Taipei (Commentary by Yang Shuang 3P)
As always, China’s Qiao Zhijian was in his seat ten minutes early. This time, he used those ten minutes to take a short post-prandial nap, while in the facing chair Korea’s Lee Hyunjoon carefully positioned his belongings and then passed the time by looking around the playing area…click here for the complete Ranka Online Round 6 report.

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2012 WAGC Round 5 Game Records

Tuesday May 15, 2012

DPRK-Korea (Commentary by So Yokoku 8P)UK-US (Commentary by So Yokoku 8P); Taipei-China (commentary by Yang  Shuang 3P); Czechia-Japan
On Board 2, China’s Qiao Zhijian chose a variation of the Dosaku opening and played his first ten moves in less than one second each, quickly constructing a huge black framework in the bottom half of the board…Click here for Ranka Online’s complete Round 5 report

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WAGC Short Takes: Yuan Zhou on Tygem & the U.S. Pro System; Nihon Ki-in Teams up with Cho U on New Go App; In the Gardens of the Guangzhou Chess Institute; A Glimpse of James Davies

Tuesday May 15, 2012

Yuan Zhou on Tygem & the U.S. Pro System: Yuan Zhou 7d warmed up for his World Amateur Go Championship appearance by playing on the Tygem server, where he told the E-Journal that “It was very easy and fast to get good games.” Heading into his fifth-round game against the UK’s Samuel Aitkin 4d, Zhou said he was pleased with his 3-1 record thus far, noting that his fourth-round win against Seizoh Nakazono 8d was the first time in WAGC history that the US had prevailed over Japan. He’s excited about the new American pro system now in development and looking forward to competing in the pro qualifier at the Maryland Open at the end of the month. “It’s so important for the future of American go,” Zhou said, “it will give hope to young American players that a go career is possible.”

Nihon Ki-in Teams up with Cho U on New Go App: Colorful cats, dogs and frogs danced on Taro Matsuo’s iPad as the Go World editor enthusiastically showed off the Nihon Kiin’s playful go app developed with top pro Cho U 9P. The new app features cute cartoon animals that guide a beginner through learning the fundamentals of go in a “fun and accessible way,” Matsuo said. Now available in the iTunes app store in Japanese (search for Nihon Ki-in or go), the hope is to release an English-language version later this year. The app joins other Nihon Ki-in apps including its tsume-go (life and death) app; IgoFree, for playing go in-person on an iPad, and e-publications including Go World, Go Weekly (featuring playable game records), and more than ten go books, “with two more due out next month,” Matsuo says proudly.

In the Gardens of the Guangzhou Chess Institute: Clouds of dragonflies flitted above us as we took in the view from the garden atop the Guangzhou Chess Institute. A waterfall burbled merrily nearby, giving a measure of relief from the oppressive heat. Built for the 2010 edition of the Asian Games, the Institute is a spectacular venue for go, chess and Chinese Chess events near scenic Baiyun Mountain, and includes two major playing halls, rooms for players and officials to stay in, and study rooms, as well as lush gardens and an impressive museum dedicated to the three games. The museum celebrates the Chinese origins of go, and the key figures in that history, from Ming emperor Yao, who legend says had it invented for his son, to Wu Qingyuan, known to the west as Go Seigen, the prodigy who triumphed so spectacularly in Japan, became one of the best players of all time and, with Kitani Minoru, broke away from the traditional opening patterns to develop modern go. Other Chinese go giants like Chen Zude, Nie Weiping and Gu Li are also highlighted, although all the museum text is in Chinese, leaving the western vistor to puzzle out things like the player’s names on the historical games on the walls (shown here by So Yokoku 8P). An exhibition of English-language panels covering much the same material were produced for the WAGC main playing area and perhaps will be displayed in the museum. The exhibits of boards, pieces and carved wood panels in the cool and shadowy museum are inviting in Guangzhou’s heat, but so too are the whisper of the breeze in the bamboo and rustle of the twisted pines in the Institute’s gardens, as the player’s stones click steadily along like cicadas in the trees.

A Glimpse of James Davies: James Davies does not flaunt his encyclopedic knowledge of the game of go, its history and players. It’s not his style. The author of elegant Ishi classics like An Introduction to GO, 38 Basic Joseki and Attack and Defense, who’s covering the WAGC for Ranka Online, Davies drifts about the playing area, seemingly aimlessly, keenly watching and listening, jotting down the occasional note, asking a quiet question or two of players exiting the playing area. Over six feet tall with a perfectly-trimmed bushy mustache that hides his expression but not the hint of a twinkle in his eyes, and always impeccably attired in a sports coat regardless of the oppressive heat, Davies’ comprehensive round-by-round reports and provide a keen eye for the telling detail, the way one player places his stones, the demeanor of another, the positional status of each game Davies turns his attention to. In another life, perhaps, the Baltimore native might have been a sportcaster, the kind with the true fan’s appreciation of the game and a gift for the sharp-eyed observation, dryly delivered.

- Chris Garlock; photos by John Pinkerton

WAGC Game Report: Round 5

Tuesday May 15, 2012

Tuesday, May 15: On Board 2, China’s Qiao Zhijian chose a variation of the Dosaku opening and played his first ten moves in less than one second each, quickly constructing a huge black framework in the bottom half of the board…There were fewer fireworks on Board 1, but after a good opening and a bad middle game, Korea’s Hyunjoon Lee outplayed DPRK’s Ri Kwang Hyok in the endgame and then won the final one-point ko to prevail by 2.5 points…On Board 7, Samuel Aitken (UK, at right ) used his fifth move to make a three-space extension from the third line to the second line, a new pattern that has been appearing in professional games. He and Yuan Zhou (US) battled it out for the next two and a half hours, but in the end Aitken resigned…On Board 9, Lukas Podpera (Chechia) and Japan’s Nakazono Seizo also battled it out for two and a half hours, but today Nakazono’s Japanese supporters had the satisfaction of seeing Japan’s amateur Honinbo score a convincing win in the longest game of the round. The fastest was the game between Mongolia and Portugal, over in less than an hour and described as ‘an easy win’ by Portugal’s Daniel Tome. The most dramatic involved the players from Romania and Singapore: “I had the game in my pocket for at least 90% of the time,’ said Romania’s Cornel Burzo after it ended, ‘but with the clock counting the time, I got stressed and tried to shorten the process by killing a group. The moment after I played the stone I realized it was a catastrophic mistake. I went from something like a hundred points ahead to a hundred points behind.” Click here for the complete report on Round 5. Click here for Round 5 game records, including Taipei-China (commentary by YangShuang 3P); Czechia-Japan; DPRK-Korea; UK-US.
- adapted from James Davies’ Ranka Online report; photo by John Pinkerton