American Go E-Journal » Events/Tournaments

The “Impossible” Tian Yuan Tower Problem

Thursday May 27, 2010

This is the go problem on the lobby wall in the Hangzhou Tian Yuan Tower (see story below) where this year’s World Amateur Go Championship is being held. According to our guide, “it’s impossible to solve this problem” but we have faith in our readers. Send us your solution (sgf files only!) and we’ll pick a winner at random from those submitting correct answers. Bonus points for telling us the name of the problem (classic Chinese problems often have poetic names) and for the names of the famous go players engraved on the stones. Send to journal@usgo.org
- Chris Garlock; photo by John Pinkerton

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THE TRAVELING GO BOARD: HANGZHOU’S TOWER OF GO

Thursday May 27, 2010

The Hangzhou Tian Yuan Tower (l) is a go player’s dream come true. Basically, once you step through the front door, you never have to leave again. Like upscale hotels around the world, the Tian Yuan contains well-appointed rooms and several different restaurants featuring Chinese cuisine, but this special place also include facilities for playing and studying go. To dispel any doubts about the building’s go theme, the fountain in front features a large go bowl and stones, a wall in the main lobby (below) has a huge go problem with the names of famous Chinese go players engraved on the stones, and the main restaurant is housed in a massive go bowl spinning slowly atop the building, providing dramatic – if hazy – views of the area’s famous lake district, as well as the rapidly burgeoning Qianjiang New City, a brand-new Central Business District that is planned to be the political, economic and cultural center of the Hangzhou city of the future. Completed just three years ago in 2007, the Tian Yuan is owned by the Hangzhou Go Association, which uses the first ten of the building’s 37 floors for go-related activities and rents out the rest to the hotel and other tenants. The Association’s administrative offices and go classrooms – called “combat rooms” in English – are on the fourth floor, along with an extensive wood-paneled library (l) of go books in Chinese, Japanese and Korean. The Association has already hosted a number of professional tournaments since the Tian Yuan opened – the facility is designed and equipped to handle the special needs of go tournaments as well as hundreds of players, officials and media — and the finals take place in the Ling Long Hall (r), a well-carpeted room on the fourth floor with low tables and leather-cushioned chairs. Down the hall, in Room 406, the Hangzhou Go Team – comprised of 10 pros who live at the Tian Yuan — trains for their tournaments. Next door, in Room 405, local go students play and study in the evenings. Tucked away in Room 410 is a go store (l) run by Yawei “Robert” Wu, who owns a factory in Hunan province that supplies a chain of nine such go shops across China. Here you’ll find everything from an inexpensive paper board to gobans made of bright yellow new kaya and his top-of-the-line board, a traditionally-carved Chinese-style board made of glossy dark wood that’s been buried for 80,000 years and sells for nearly $900 (though bargaining seems to be expected). A go museum is slated to open later this year, containing historic go boards and stones, pictures of famous Chinese players and more, including the oversized world map signed by all the players at the 31st WAGC. There are additional training rooms on the third floor, and several floors of hotel-style rooms for the pros and resident students, as well as visiting groups like Feng Yun 9Ps annual summer school, which is set for July this year. It’s possible to arrange a visit as an individual, but guide Lang Qin Fang says the cost would likely be prohibitive and they encourage those interested to instead join or organize groups such as Feng Yun’s. Although the area surrounding the Tian Yuan Tower is still very much a work in progress – restaurants and other cultural attractions are a cab ride away in the old downtown — the many attractions of Hangzhou’s West Lake District may prove irresistible for even the most dedicated go player.
- Chris Garlock; photos by John Pinkerton

5 MINUTES WITH: Ofer Zivony, Israel

Thursday May 27, 2010

Ofer Zivony 3d of Israel taught himself to play go when he was 19 years old using a 9×9 board. His mother is an architect and his father, now retired, is a very powerful bridge player. Ofer tries to balance his time between studying go and seeing his girlfriend, who does not play, he says, smiling ruefully. Now 26 years old, he is attending the university in Jerusalem as a student in visual arts. Last year he won a scholarship to study go in South Korea. This improved his game and he came to China with a team to compete in a China-Korean tournament.
- None Redmond, special correspondent for the E-Journal; photo by John Pinkerton

ROUND 4 HIGHLIGHTS: China, Hong Kong, Korea & Chinese Taipei Top Field At Mid-Point of Tourney

Thursday May 27, 2010

(posted Thursday, May 27, 8P local time) After the fireworks in the preceding rounds, the fourth round on Thursday afternoon ended with no great surprises. On three of the top four boards, the undefeated players from China, Hong Kong, and Korea won by resignation against the previously undefeated players from the US, Sweden, and Poland. On the fourth top board Fernando Aguilar of Argentina played doggedly to the end against Cheng-hsun Chen of Chinese Taipei, but lost by 7.5 points.
At the other end of the field, four players picked up their first wins. Rodrigo Edmundo Carpio Cordero of Ecuador, at 7 kyu the tournament’s lowest-ranked player, scored a mild upset against Sandeep Dave 6k of India, and Pedro Miguel Martins Cremona of Portugal won by a generous margin against Csaba Deak of Brazil while Jose Miguel Gomez Pinto (l) of Chile won against Daniel Antonio Vargas Campos of Costa Rica and Joseph Michael Galero of the Philippines rebounded from his morning loss to Francesca Mauri by beating Jean Nepomucene Rakotondravelo of Madagascar by 17.5 points. Maria Puerta of Venezuela scored her second win of the day — and third win of the tournament — against John Gibson of Ireland (thus earning a fifth-round pairing against Ondrej Silt of Czechia, who defeated Thomas Debarre of France), while Italy’s Francesca Mauri lost to Bertan Bilen of Turkey. The next round on Friday morning will also see a showdown between China’s Chen Wang and Korea’s Hongsuk Song, the players from the two countries that finished first and second last year. This promises to be the most closely-watched of a slate of exciting matches scheduled for Friday morning by the tournament’s pairing computer. In preparation for the upcoming action, most of the players went on an evening sightseeing excursion and dinner party at Hangzhou’s famed West Lake on Thursday night.
- based on James Davies’ report on Ranka online; photo by John Pinkerton

ROUND 3 HIGHLIGHTS (UPDATED): High Anxiety for Chinese Taipei, All The Women Win, Sweden Notches 3rd Victory

Thursday May 27, 2010

(posted Thursday, May 27 5:11p local time) The Chinese pairing system in use at the WAGC produced a boatload of interesting matches in the third round Thursday morning. Taewon Jo of DPR Korea, who had defeated Yohei Sato of Japan in the second round, now found himself facing 11-year-old Cheng-hsun Chen of Chinese Taipei. The game began with two variations of the avalanche joseki in adjacent corners, leading to a large-scale game with each side amassing over a hundred points worth of territory, including captured enemy groups. Facing an imperturbable opponent, Chen appeared to be in a state of high anxiety in the middle game as referees, reporters, and players whose games had already finished began to gather around the board to watch. At the end, however, he was playing with quick confidence, wining on the board without needing komi. As previously reported, the third round’s big upset occurred on the twentieth board, where Maria Puerta 3k of Venezuela defeated Wan-kao Lou 5d of Macau. “For most of the game he was in control,” Puerta said. “He had a big territory and I had some dead groups, but then late in the game he let me capture four stones. Perhaps it was just lack of caution on his part, but that four-stone capture joined all my groups together, and inside the large space surrounded by them there was a group of his that only had one eye. He still had his big territory left, but it wasn’t enough, so he resigned.” Cementing the 100% women’s win in the round, Francesca Mauri of Italy defeated Joseph Michael Galero of the Philippines. On the other top boards, the players from China, Hong Kong, and Korea remained undefeated by beating opponents from Israel, Canada, and Austria. A pair of North and South Americans also remained defeated: Thomas Hsiang 7d (US) overcame a strong challenge by David Ormerod 5d (Australia), and Fernando Aguilar 7d (Argentina) defeated Pal Balogh 6d (Hungary). Leszek Soldan 5d of Poland likewise remained undefeated, beating Kamon Santipojana 4d of Thailand (in photo at right; see below for Michael Redmond 9Ps commentary on the game), and in an all-European match, 18-year-old Frederik Blomback 5d from Sweden scored his third straight win by handing veteran Christoph Gerlach 6d of Germany his second loss. In the fourth round, the four undefeated Far Eastern players will take on the four undefeated players from Europe and the Americas.
- Based on James Davies’ report on Ranka online; photo by John Pinkerton

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ROUND 3 HIGHLIGHTS: Venezuela Takes Down Macau, Chinese Taipei Defeats North Korea, Hungary Loses to Argentina

Thursday May 27, 2010

Venezuela’s Maria Puerta 3k (L) took down the much stronger – and younger — Wan Kao Lou 5d of Macau in the third round of the World Amateur Go Championships Thursday morning . The 54-year-old Puerta – who’s the President of the Venezuelan Go Association and a Director for the International Go Federation – won an enthusiastic round of applause from her fellow players during the lunch break. In other Round 3 results (click here for latest results, available by 6A EST), Thomas Hsiang 7d (U.S.) defeated David Ormerod 5d (Australia) but faces China’s Wang Chen in the 4th round (click on “read more” below for Michael Redmond 9P’s commentary on Hsiang’s half-point win over France’s Thomas Debarre in Round 2), Chinese Taipei defeated North Korea, Canada lost to Korea, Argentina defeated Hungary and Austria lost to Hong Kong.
- Chris Garlock; Click here for Ranka Online’s complete report. photo by John Pinkerton

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5 MINUTES WITH: T Mark Hall, UK

Wednesday May 26, 2010

T Mark Hall (left, with correspondent None Redmond), the U.K.’s WAGC rep, lives in London, where he works with John Fairbairn to produce the encyclopedic Games of Go on Disk, better-known as GoGod. We interviewed Hall right after his second-round loss to Canada’s Yongfei Ge 7d and he was planning to use GoGod – “a large database of professional go games supported by an extensive fund of programs, data and articles to help existing players enjoy and benefit from these games” – to analyze his game. Hall is a retiree from the British Foreign Office; his first assignment was in Tokyo, where he learned go and spent three years playing whenever he could. His travels have taken him to places around the world, including Milan, Nigeria, Greece, Burma and a 1992 stint in Seoul. Hall plans to take advantage of his WAGC trip to China to explore the country through mid-June. Through the EJ’s extensive network of sources, we have learned that T is Hall’s legal first name, adopted after an employer insisted on using Hall’s first name even though he preferred Mark.
- None Redmond, special correspondent for the E-Journal; photo by John Pinkerton

ROUND 2 HIGHLIGHTS: DPR Korea Downs Japan, U.S. Squeaks By France, Austria Upsets Czechia

Wednesday May 26, 2010

“I didn’t expect to lose on the first day,” said Japan’s Yohei Sato after his second-round loss to Taewon Jo of DPR Korea. Sato “missed a move in the middle game, completely failed to see it,” he said, admitting “This is going to hurt. But perhaps it’s psychologically easier to lose to an opponent like this early on, instead of after winning five or six games in a row.” Thomas Hsiang 7d (U.S.) squeaked out a half-point win over a visibly distraught Thomas Debarre 5d (France). “After the opening I felt I was far ahead, but then he tried hard to catch up and I almost let him do it,’ said Hsiang.
In one of Day 1’s most surprising upsets, Bernhard Scheid 5d (Austria) defeated Ondrej Silt 6d (l)  of Czechia. Silt “made a joseki mistake and so I got the lead,” said Scheid, “but then he managed to complicate the game and my lead became less clear. But then he began to make mistakes in the endgame, and after a while he resigned.” Meanwhile, Lucian Corlan of Romania recovered from his morning defeat by beating Geert Groenen of the Netherlands, Pal Balogh of Hungary downed Yuxiang Lou of Singapore, Ofer Zivony of Isreal beat Kaikun Xie of New Zealand, Leszek Soldan of Poland prevailed over Emil Estuardo Garcia Bustamante of Mexico, and Frederik Blomback of Sweden outplayed Le Khanh Lam Bui of Vietnam. Meanwhile, on the top boards, the players from China, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, and the Republic of Korea rolled to victory over opponents from the Ukraine, Ireland, Denmark, and Switzerland. Summing up his game against Cheng-hsun Chen of Chinese Taipei, Ireland’s John Gibson (r) said “I resigned when I started getting into time trouble and realized that all my groups were dying. Chen had used up 10 minutes and 15 seconds of his time. It might have been 10 minutes and 30 seconds if I hadn’t helped him get his water bottle open. Perhaps that was the best thing I did during the game.’
- based on James Davies’ report on Ranka online; photos by John Pinkerton

AT 20, PAIR GO LOOKS BACK AND AHEAD

Wednesday May 26, 2010

Pair go is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, and World Pair Go Association Vice President Hiroko Taki (l) looked back and ahead in an interview with Ranka on Tuesday. “When we started the pair go movement twenty years ago, we wrote a lot about the significance of fostering pair go, communication in black and white, international goodwill, and so on,” said Mrs. Taki. “At the time, there was a need to attract more players to the game of go, both in Japan and in western countries. There was a particular need to get more women into the game, and of course that would attract more men. We wanted to present pair go as a game played by ladies and gentlemen, to make it more accessible to women. Our no-smoking policy was a big change. Over these twenty years, I’d say that we have reached and exceeded our goals. In the future I hope to see pair go become an established part of every major go tournament.” Following on the success of the professional Pair Go World Cup held in Hangzhou last March, Mrs. Taki says “We’re hoping to hold more pair go world cups, not next year but perhaps once every four years, like the football world cup.” The next big international pair go tournament will be the Asia Games, where pair go will be one of the events. “Looking beyond that, the World Pair Go Association now has 64 member countries,” notes Mrs. Taki. “Our Chairman is Mr. Koichiro Matsuura, former Director-General of UNESCO, so we’re expecting to develop further under his leadership. We are also now participating in the International Go Federation, and will be working with them.” While the WPGA is developing pair go on the Internet, through Pandanet, Mrs. Taki stresses that “in pair go it’s always important for people to meet face to face over the board.”
- based on James Davies’ report on Ranka online; photo by Ivan Vigano

ROUND 1 HIGHLIGHTS: Thailand Surprises Romania, Canada Routs Russia

Wednesday May 26, 2010

Here are highlights of James Davies’ Ranka Online report on the first round at the WAGC: Kamon Santipojana 4d of Thailand surprised Lucian Corlan 5d of Romania when the 21-year-old Thai student took command of the game early…As previously reported (NO SURPRISES AT TOP IN PRELIM 1ST-ROUND WAGC RESULTS), Canada’s Yongfei Ge 7d defeated Alexey Lazarev 6d of Russia when the closely-matched game turned into a hard-fought rout, with Ge beating Lazarev by 24.5 points…See below for the game, with commentary by Michael Redmond 9P (at left with E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock). The evenly-matched contest between a pair of 3-dans from Mongolia and New Zealand also turned into a rout when the Chinese-born New Zealander, 15-year-old Kaikun Xie, easily forced opponent Oyutbileg Tsendjav to resign. Boonping Teng of Malaysia “outplayed me in the first part of the game” said the United Kingdom’s T Mark Hall, complaining of severe jet lag, ‘but then he made a blunder in a ko fight at the very end.’…The game between Csaba Deak of Brazil and Daniel Baumann (r) of Switzerland, both ranked 1-kyu, took a similar course, when Deak also “blundered (in the end) and had to resign.”…Perhaps the last closely-matched first-round game was also fought between kyu-level players John Gibson (2-kyu) of Ireland and Carlos Leon Rios Joels (1-kyu) of Peru. ‘I’m going to play quickly because I’m hoping to exploit my opponent’s nervousness at being in his first world championship,’ said Gibson. Click here for Ranka Online’s complete report. photos by John Pinkerton

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