American Go E-Journal » Events/Tournaments

RANKA’S WAGC LAST THOUGHTS (Parts 1, 2 & 3)

Sunday June 6, 2010

“I’m only sorry that it had to end,” says 2010 World Amateur Go Championship winner Hongsuk Song in an interview just published on Ranka Online, along with several other post-event reports. Song says “the games against the Chinese player in the fifth round, and against the Czech player in the last round” were his toughest. “I would like to become a professional player,” says Song. “If that’s not possible, I may go to work for a company, but I would still like to be active in go. There’s much to be done, including publicity and teaching the game to children, so if I can’t be a professional player, that’s all right too.” Check out Ranka Online for Song’s take on the current competition between China and Korea, his favorite pro and hobbies, as well as brief post-event interviews with a number of WAGC players and officials, including U.S. player Thomas Hsiang, who said “China made it everything we hoped for and then some. The pairing system was very dynamic, better than the system used before. If there had been ten rounds it would have been perfect; then there would have been no accidents. I also liked the tie-breaking system. Of course I’m not satisfied with my own results, but what was absolutely great was the emerging new IGF structure, and the plans of the new IGF president for the future.”

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KOREA WINS 2010 WAGC

Sunday May 30, 2010

With a perfect 8-0 score, Hongsuk Song 7d of the Republic of Korea is the new World Amateur Go Champion. Click here for complete results.  CLICK HERE for James Davies’ complete Ranka online report on the Round 8 action: “On the top board, Korea’s undefeated Hongsuk Song faced Czechia’s Ondrej Silt. On the second board, China’s Chen Wang faced Hong Kong’s Naisan Chan. All four of these young players were virtually assured of finishing in the top eight, and one of them would be the new world champion…”
- Chris Garlock; photo by John Pinkerton

WAGC GAME COMMENTARIES: Round 8

Sunday May 30, 2010

See below for Michael Redmond 9P’s commentaries on three Round 8 game records (click on “link” to download the sgf or “read more” for the online viewer): Song Hong Suk 7d (S Korea) vs Ondrej Silt 6d (Czechia) (photo at right); Wang Chen 7d (China) vs Nai San Chan 6d (Hong Kong); Fredrik Blomback 5d (Sweden) vs Cheng-Hsun Chen 6d (Chinese Taipei). CLICK HERE for James Davies’ complete Ranka online report on the Round 8 action & CLICK HERE for latest standings, courtesy of Alain Cano

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5 MINUTES WITH: John Gibson, Ireland

Sunday May 30, 2010

Dubliner John Gibson has an unusual claim to fame, even for a go player. He once played go with Ira Einhorn the infamous “The Unicorn Killer” now serving a life sentence for the 1977 murder of Holly Maddux. In the early ‘80s, Gibson was introduced to “Ben Moore” – a pseudonym of Einhorn’s, while he was on the run — by the Secretary of his Dublin chess club, “and we played a number of games,” says Gibson. “He was about 7 kyu.” Gibson has been playing go for 34 years and participated in the first World Mind Sports Games in 2008. He attends one of the two Dublin go clubs at least once a week and reports that there are ongoing serious efforts to teach go in Ireland, although go is not supported by the Irish government and so they have to supply all their equipment themselves.
- None Redmond, special correspondent for the E-Journal; photo by John Pinkerton

5 MINUTES WITH: Carlos Joels, Peru

Sunday May 30, 2010

Stuck at home sick a few years ago, Carlos Joels 1k of Peru was channel surfing when he came across a strangely fascinating game being played on Japanese TV. He had been a chess player, but was bored with it because of the constant repetition of the moves and, seeing the go board he realized that this offered more scope for innovative play and decided to learn the game. The 25-year-old — who has just graduated with a degree in economics — has now been playing go for a year and a half, playing every day and going to the go club in Lima every week where there are about 10 players. Next year, he plans to go to Taiwan to learn Chinese. “Of course,” he says with great excitement, “there is a go club there where I hope I will improve very fast.”
- None Redmond, special correspondent to the E-Journal; photo by John Pinkerton

WAGC CREDITS & ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Sunday May 30, 2010

We hope you’ve enjoyed this year’s expanded coverage of the World Amateur Go Championship, as the E-Journal and Ranka online teamed up again this year. It would not have been possible without the support and help of many dedicated people and organizations, first and foremost the International Go Federation – which does so much to spread go around the world – and its tireless Secretary General Yuki Shigeno, one of the hardest-working (and nicest) go organizers we know. The China Qi-Yuan and it’s Hangzhou Branch hosted a terrific event this year and we look forward to returning in 2012 to explore more go in China.
Michael Redmond 9P’s game commentaries were, as always, simply brilliant. His keen insights and ability to home in on the key points of each game this week should be required reading for go players of all strengths. He’s also just a lot of fun to work with and we’re very pleased to announce that he’s generously agreed to become a regular contributor to the E-Journal. We were also very fortunate to have Michael’s wife, Xianxian Niu 3P, contribute game commentaries, as well, working with IGF VP Eduardo Lopez Herrero to provide game commentaries in Spanish.
It was once again a real pleasure to get to work side by side with the unflappable Ranka online editor Ivan Vigano, who’s as committed to high-quality go journalism as we are and has a great sense of humor, which makes the long days together during the WAGC pass far too quickly.
We cannot praise longtime go writer James Davies too highly: the legion fans of his books already know he’s a great writer, but to see him in action this week as he quietly soaked up the details of each round, caught players for a quick quote and pulled it all together with a depth of knowledge of go’s rules, history and culture was like attending a weeklong master seminar in go writing.
Photographer John Pinkerton’s evocative photos speak for themselves, and he continues to be a tried and true fellow go traveler, always up for one more adventure, one more shot.
We always seem to pick up a few new team members and this year was no exception. The biggest – and nicest – surprise contributor was of course None Redmond, often referred to as “Michael’s mom” but now, we hope, thanks to her lovely series of player portraits this week, as our very own “Special Correspondent.” We look forward to working with her again in the future. Thanks also to Alain Cano, who put together the terrific standings chart for us, and Jing Ning Xue for translation help. Very special thanks to Thomas Hsiang, who always had time for our questions despite juggling his many roles and responsibility. Thomas should be appointed the AGA’s permanent ambassador to the rest of the world, but he should also be cloned before we burn the poor man out.
Our thanks and deep gratitude also to the American Go Association’s leadership and membership for your continued strong support for the E-Journal and AGA website, which have become such important resources for go players and organizers around the world. If we have forgotten anyone – and we probably have – we apologize in advance and are confident that you’ll let us know so that we can give credit where it’s due.
- Chris Garlock, Managing Editor; photo by Yuki Shigeno

WAGC GAME COMMENTARIES: Round 7

Saturday May 29, 2010

See below for Michael Redmond 9P’s commentaries on four Round 7 game records (click on “link” to download the sgf or “read more” for the online viewer): Nai San Chan 6d (Hong Kong) vs Yongfei Ge 7d (Canada, at right); Alexey Lazarev 6d (Russia) vs Song Hong Suk 7d (S Korea); Ondrej Silt 6d (Czechia) vs Yohei Sato 6d (Japan); Jo Tae Won 7d (N Korea) vs Wang Chen 7d (China).
CLICK HERE for latest standings, courtesy of Alain Cano

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ROUNDS 6 &7 HIGHLIGHTS: Korea Looking to Lock Down 2010 WAGC; Czechia Pushing for Best in The West

Saturday May 29, 2010

With just one round left to play, Korea appears to have a lock on the 2010 World Amateur Go Championship. Hongsuk Song (r) defeated Naisan Chan (l) of Hong Kong in Round 6 on Friday and Lazareev Alexey of Russia Saturday morning to extend his thus-far unbroken string of wins to seven. He’s strongly favored in his Round 8 game against Czechia’s Ondrej Silt, who seems to have a solid grip on the best showing for Europe and the West. The winner of the China-Hong Kong game should be a shoo-in for second place, and the battle for third is in flux, with Taipei and North Korea in contention. Sweden’s Fredrik Blomback and Hungary’s Pal Balogh have turned in excellent results and should make the top ten, while the chances of North America – the U.S., Canada and Mexico are all 4-3 — breaking back into that group are looking pretty slim. Check out James Davies’ thorough report on Round 6 on Ranka online (with a Round 7 report expected soon) and click here for latest standings.
- Chris Garlock; photo by John Pinkerton

U.S. MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN WORLD GO

Saturday May 29, 2010

“The U.S. is making a real difference in world go,” a visibly tired but happy-looking Thomas Hsiang (below, standing) told me Friday night after yet another long day doing double-duty as IGF Director and WAGC player for the U.S. Right after the day’s rounds wrapped up Friday afternoon – he lost to Korea and Hungary — Hsiang was off to help prep for the WAGC’s first-ever drug tests of the top players at the conclusion of the tournament on Saturday. “We must do this from now on to maintain our membership in the International Mind Sports Association,” Hsiang said. He’s serving as the sole Western representative on the arbitration committee for the upcoming Asian Games, and also noted that the United States had been among those advocating for the new three-country support format for the WAGC, with Japan, China and Korea sharing financial responsibility. “There was quite a bit of resistance at first,” Hsiang noted, “but when (main sponsor) JAL’s funding dried up, it became a more receptive environment and things worked out.” Hsiang, an IGF Director who serves as the U.S. representative to the International Go Federation, has also been the lead representative to the World Mind Sports Games. He also noted this year’s second annual collaboration between the IGF’s Ranka online and the American Go E-Journal in teaming up to cover the WAGC. “These are all important developments in world go, and it’s largely an unknown story, but the reality is that we are somebody now, and making real contributions to international go.”
- Chris Garlock; photo by John Pinkerton

FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS: Kicking It With The Kids

Saturday May 29, 2010

“I almost got beat by a 6-year-old!” exclaimed Mexico’s Emil Garcia Bustamente. None of the other players in the room responded: they were too busy battling with other pint-sized go-terrors. Friday’s 6th round had just concluded a few hours previously, but the casual player’s room was jammed with WAGC players taking on young dan students from the Hangzhou Go Association who were equally eager to take on the world’s best amateurs. The kids played with blazing speed as the older players – even 17-year-old Thomas Debarre of France was an oldster compared to the six- and seven-year-olds — muttered their disbelief – and appreciation — in a dozen languages.
- Chris Garlock, photos by Garlock (l) & John Pinkerton (top right)