American Go E-Journal » Events/Tournaments

ROUND 5 HIGHLIGHTS: S. Korea Beats China, Hong Kong Over Chinese Taipei, DPR Korea Defeats U.S., Japan Downs Argentina

Friday May 28, 2010

(Posted May 28 2P local time) The rain that began during the previous evening’s excursion to West Lake was still falling Friday morning , lending a misty aspect to the view from the Tian Yuan Tower, where players were gathering for the fifth round of the World Amateur Go Championship. At the top board, Hongsuk Song 7d (r) of Korea and Chen Wang 7d (l) of China silently eyed each other, while at board two, Naisan Chan of Hong Kong awaited his opponent Cheng-hsun Chen of Chinese Taipei, who arrived shortly, accompanied by his mother, beaming for photographers. Next were Yohei Sato of Japan and Fernando Aguilar of Argentina, facing each other in silence while at the next board, Taewon Jo of DPR Korea was seated facing an empty chair, waiting for Thomas Hsiang of the United States, who arrived after the official start time but beat the forfeit deadline with minutes to spare.
The first of the top games to finish was Chinese Taipei and Hong Kong, Chen against Chan, with Chan winning by resignation. “I had a bad opening,” said the 17-year-old boy from Hong Kong, “but Chen made a mistake in the middle game and I captured three or four very important stones. He played on for about a hundred moves after that, but I didn’t give him any chance to catch up. He plays very well, but he is very young and hasn’t had enough experience yet, so he gets nervous during the game and that leads to mistakes.”
Next up was DPR Korea-U.S., with Taewon Jo winning. “This was similar to my loss against the Chinese player (Chen Wang),” Hsiang said. “Both of them played a very balanced game. In both games I tried to initiate fighting, but they avoided it altogether. Then in the endgame they landed punch after punch. They are so strong that they can hold off in the opening and middle game, and if there are no accidents, then in the endgame we mortals just cannot catch up. From the one game I’ve played with each of them, I can’t say which is stronger. They don’t need to fight against a player like me. If they play each other, then perhaps we’ll see some fighting.”

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Japan-Argentina was the third top game to end, Japan’s Sato winning by resignation. “This was a tough fight right from the opening,” Sato said, “the kind of game in which one false step would be fatal for either side. Aguilar played extremely strongly. He never let up, always making the most severe move. He made some overplays, however, and that’s where I got ahead.” (click on “link” at left or “read more” below for Michael Redmond’s commentary on Aguilar’s Round 4 game against Chinese Taipei’s Cheng-Hsun Chen)
That just left the game between Wang and Song. The Korean Song had taken an early lead on a joseki exchange in the top right corner and was playing conservatively to defend it, but Wang was not giving up. The game continued through ko fight after ko fight, both players intent on the board, their expressions revealing nothing. One by one, the other games finished, Czechia over Venezuela, Hungary over France, Colombia over Thailand, Canada over Poland, Russia over the Ukraine, Serbia over Israel, Sweden coming from behind to beat Singapore, Mexico losing on time to Denmark. Eventually Wang and Song were the only two still playing, surrounded by a crowd of two dozen spectators. Both players were in byo yomi. Song was playing most of his moves in ten to twenty seconds, while Wang several times went dangerously close to the thirty-second mark. Another ko exchange took place. Referees brought in additional bowls of stones. Finally, as his clock announced twenty-five, Wang tapped the board twice and slumped back in his seat in defeat. A post-mortem immediately began, with two former world amateur champions assisting: last year’s champion Yuching Hu, who had been giving a live commentary on the Wang-Song game on Chinese television, and Daichun Li, world champion in 2001, who currently coaches Hangzhou’s amateur and professional teams. After nearly half an hour the players and analysts went upstairs for lunch, Song to prepare for Friday afternoon’s showdown with Chan of Hong Kong, Wang to prepare for a game with Chen of Chinese Taipei.
- based on James Davies’ report in Ranka online; photo by John Pinkerton. A Round 6 report should be posted online by 7A EST

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WAGC GAME COMMENTARIES: Round 4 (China-US; Hong Kong-Sweden; South Korea-Poland)

Friday May 28, 2010

Michael Redmond 9P has picked out a single significant point to comment on in each of these three Round 4 game records (click on “link” to download the sgf or “read more” for the online viewer):
China-US; Hong Kong-Sweden; South Korea-Poland

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WAGC UPDATES: Twice The Coverage; Chinese Pairing; Where To Get Shanghai Coffeeshop Lessons

Friday May 28, 2010

Twice The Coverage: Ranka online and the American Go E-Journal have teamed up again this year to provide comprehensive coverage of the WAGC. While there’s some overlap between the two sites’ reports, each site has a great deal of original content, so you’ll want to check both to get the full picture. Several recent Ranka posts of special interest include an interview with WAGC Chief Referee Lingdai Chen and player comments on what it’s like “Losing to the Best” amateur players in the world. Also, check out the Ranka site for WAGC latest results and a collection of game records.

Chinese Pairing: “You mentioned the Chinese pairing system producing interesting results in the Round Three Highlights article this week,” writes Steve Colburn. “Could you give us any information on how it is different than other pairing systems?” According to James Davies’ Round 3 Ranka report, “After the first two rounds, all but one of the fifteen players with two wins had taken black and white in one game each, so following the Chinese system, they were paired for the third round in order of the player numbers they had drawn before the tournament began. The highest numbered (1, Korea) played the second highest (5, Canada) and so on down to the fifteenth highest in this group (57, Sweden), who played the highest numbered player (2, Germany) in the one-win group. The one-win and zero-win groups were paired similarly, with the lowest numbered player in the one-win group (60, Vietnam) being drawn down against the highest numbered player in the zero-win group (7, Chile). All very clear and fair.”

Where To Get Shanghai Coffeeshop Lessons: “I’m going to Shanghai soon,” writes a reader, “is there anyway to find” the coffeeshop in the “Coffee Shop Lessons” (5/23 EJ) report?” Contact Danny Wang at Danny.Wang@live.com for directions, as Wang tells the EJ that “we may be moving in the near future.”

GO PHOTOS: Pictures of Concentration

Friday May 28, 2010

- Photos by John Pinkerton

5 MINUTES WITH: Francesca Mauri, Italy

Thursday May 27, 2010

Francesca Mauri is surprised to be here.  “I should learn to play this game,” the 5-kyu said as she emerged from her second-round game. Someone else was supposed to represent Italy at the WAGC, but when he became ill and wasn’t able to attend, she got the nod.  Mauri learned go 20 years ago, discovering the game from reading Trevanian’s novel Shibumi.  She found the go club in Milan and was so serious about learning to play that she insisted on using the full board, but then about a decade ago, she stopped playing and says she “forgot everything.” Now she has started to play again and here at the WAGC she has become excited by her fellow players’ enthusiasm and she plans to return home and play more seriously.  The organizer of the House of Games where many different mind games are played, Mauri attended the World Mind Sports Games in Beijing in 2008 and has been impressed by the tremendous determination for excellence she’s seen in Asia. On the other hand, she’s a bit less sanguine about Chinese taxi drivers, who she’s convinced are “crazy and rude, but have great reflexes.”
- None Redmond, special correspondent for the E-Journal; photo by John Pinkerton

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

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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