American Go E-Journal » Events/Tournaments

2014 WAGC Player Profiles: Asia

Tuesday June 24, 2014

First in a series of profiles of players in the 35th World Amateur Go Championships, which will be held July 4-11 in Gyeongju, Korea. The American Go E-Journal will once again be teaming up with Ranka  to provide comprehensive daily coverage of this major amateur tournament featuring top players from 74 countries and territories around the world. These are the players from Asia; missing are China, Indonesia, Korea, Macau, Mongolia, Vietnam; we hope to have their profiles in a future post. 

Brunei: Ho Soon Ang 2k (right) is a 24-year-old student who’s been playing for three years. His favorite thing about go is “Meeting new play style” and hobbies include badminton and PC games.

Hong Kong: Nai San Chan 6D (left) is a 21-year-old student at the Polytechnic University of Hong Kong. He’s been playing go since he was 6 and won the HK Go Open (2005-2010, 2013) was WAGC 2nd runner up (2009) and WAGC 3rd runner up (2008,2010). His favorite thing about go is “Fighting.” Hobbies include ball games.

Indonesia: Rafif Shidqi Fitrah 4D (right) is an 11-year-old elementary school student in Bandung. He started playing at age 7and says his favorite thing about go is “Attacking each other.” He was the runner up at the 2013 Japan Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science Cup Elementary School Team Competition as part of a team consisting of Rafif and Rafif’s two little brothers, Faishal Umar and Faiz Utsman. His hobbies include reading books.

Japan: Kikou Emura 7D (left) is a 34-year-old graduate school student in Hyogo. He’s been playing since the age of four, and has won the 2006 sekaigakuseiouzasen, and the the 2012 and 2013 sekaiamaigosenshuken. He likes that “go is deep” and hobbies include mah-jongg and karaoke.

Malaysia: Suzanne D’Bel 3D (right) is a 24-year-old programmer living in Itabashi, Japan. She’s been playing since the age of 14 and says that “The broadness of the game means that go can be mixed with many interesting fields such as art and design, technologies, music, medical etc.” She also says the game is great for “Making new friends and partners!” Hobbies include traveling around to play go, crafting with electronics, mixture of art and technology, anime.

Nepal: Narendra Sowal 1D (left) is a 28-year-old small businessman in Bhaktapur. He’s been playing for 16 years and won the Nepal Go Championship in 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2014. Long term thinking is his favorite thing about go. He’s married with one son.

Singapore: Jia Cheng Tan 6D (right) is a 29-year-old engineer who’s been playing since he was 6. His favorite thing about go is “The calculation involved and requirement to play with an open mind to adapt to changes.”

Taipei: Yi-Tien Chan 7D (left) is a 21-year-old student from Changhua. He’s been playing since the age of 7 and loves the “Self challenge” of the game.

Thailand: Thanapol Tiawattananont 4D (right) is a 23-year-old student. He’s been playing since the age of 10 and says that go is “an art of life and a way of life. It’s a philosophy of life. And it makes friends all over the world!” Hobbies include soccer, table-tennis, travelling and bird-watching.

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Ali Jabarin Defeats Surma & Podpera to Become Second European Pro

Monday June 23, 2014

Israeli go champion Ali Jabarin 6d (right) has won the final knockout rounds of the European Pro Qualification Tournament at Vienna in Austria to become the second pro qualifying under the new European Go Federation (EGF) /CEGO pro system (see Pavol Lisy First European Pro – EJ, 6/1). He beat Mateusz Surma 6d of Poland then Lukáš Podpera 6d of Czechia in the two closely-fought knockout rounds comprising this third and final stage of the competition to select two pros from sixteen of Europe’s strongest amateur players. Israel, though not geographically part of Europe, is usually treated as European in international sporting contests and is an EGF member-state. The games were played at the Freie Waldorfschule Wien West on Friday June 20 as a preliminary to the Vienna International Go Tournament, which Jabarin also won, in a field of almost 100. The pro qualification tournament was overseen by Wang Runan, the President of the Chinese Weiqi Association.

The two new pros, Pavol Lisy and Ali Jabarin, will receive their certificates – at which point they officially gain professional status – at the upcoming 58th MLily-WeiqiTV European Go Congress in Sibiu, Romania next month (July 26 – August 9), where they will still be entitled to compete as amateurs. After that they will go to Beijing for another six months’ intensive training. Next year will see the first Bonus Point and Grand Slam Tournaments as well as another Pro Qualification Tournament to select a further two pros. These special tournaments are all part of a complete professional system which is detailed in the EGF/CEGO Agreement (pdf, 6.85Mb).

Click here for full details of the 2014 Pro Qualification Tournament, including results, game records and more.

Report by Tony Collman; photos: (right) Ali Jabarin in Round 5 v Mateusz Surma, courtesy of Vienna 2014 pairings/results page, (left) Chinese Weiqi Association President Wang Runan (at right) congratulates Jabarin, EGF President Martin Stiassny seen at far left, by Lorenz Trippel.

Melchior Chui Wins UK Go Challenge for Schools

Sunday June 22, 2014

The 2014 UK Go Challenge for Schools was won by Melchior Chui 9k of Cambridge with second and third places going to siblings Roella 12k and Edmund Smith 13k respectively, also both of Cambridge. The finals were held at Milton C of E Primary School in Milton, near Cambridge, England on Saturday June 21st, and were the culmination of heats played in schools throughout the year, each of which comprised five rounds of 13×13 go.Twenty-five youngsters took part in the finals, which are not restricted to those who have taken part in the heats. Click here for full list of winners.

The top three winners and the challenger all won cash prizes and they and all age group winners got a framed certificate showing their achievement. Click here for full format details of the competition, which started in 2004 and is organized by the British Go Association and modeled on the earlier successful UK Chess Challenge.

The traditional caption contest to put words into the mouth of the logo go stones (above) in promotional material for the year was won by Benedict Steele of Milton with the caption, “Jump ahead of the competition!”

Report by Tony Collman, British correspondent for the E-Journal. Logo courtesy of UK Go Challenge website.
Correction: The Challenge started in 2004, not 20 years ago, as originally reported. 

US Go Congress 2014: Meet the Korean Pros

Thursday June 19, 2014

Sixteen professional go players have been confirmed for this year’s US Go Congress, set for August in New York City. They include the following pros from Korea:

Park Jungsang 9P: Born in 1984, Park became a professional in 2000 and was a semi-quarter finalist in the 6th Samsung World Championship in 2001, as a 2-dan pro. Park won the 8th SK Gas Rookies Cup in 2004 and was a semi-quarter finalist at the 10th LG World Championship in 2005. In 2006 he won the 19th Fujitsu Cup against Zhou Heyang 9P, earning immediate promotion to 9P. That year he was also the runner-up in the 3rd Electronic Land Baduk King of Kings against Lee Changho 9P. In 2007 he was runner-up at the Maxim Coffee Cup against Lee Sedol 9P and runner-up at the 3rd Zhonghuan Cup against Lee Changho 9P. Park was the Silver Medalist at the 1st World Mind Sports Game Individual Division in 2008. An active commentator on Baduk TV since 2009, he’s also been the Chief Commentator at Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) since 2013. Park Jungsang will give lectures for strong go players at the Congress; as an active Baduk TV commentator he’s very knowledgeable on recent joseki and openings.

Lee Dahye 4P: Born in 1985, Lee graduated from Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, where she majored in Japanese. She became a professional in 2000. A lecturer for ‘How to Baduk’ at Baduk TV since 2008, she was a proofreader of Hikaru no Go’s Korean version in 2011 and published the book ‘Falling in Love with Baduk’ that same year. She was a lecturer on ‘Endgame master by Lee Dahye’ at KBaduk TV from 2011 to 2012 and ‘Beginner’s Project, Open the Baduk’ in 2014. Lee has been a teacher of multiple cultural kids program since 2011 and a Visiting Lecturer in baduk at the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies since 2012. She’s a Visiting Lecturer at Halla University this year. Lee specializes in teaching beginners and will give series of lectures at the ‘Teacher’s Seminar’ at the Congress again this year. She was very popular last year and expects to attract a lot of would-be go teachers.

Myungwan Kim 9P: Born in 1978, Kim became a professional in 1994. He was runner-up at the BC Card Rookies Cup in 1998, 1999 and 2002, and a Semi-Quarter finalist at the 10th Samsung World Championship in 2005. He won the US Open from 2008 to 2010. The Korean Baduk Association sent Kim to the United States in 2008 to help spread baduk. “I am going to help both Korean pros with their lectures as a co-lecturer and translator,” he says.

 

Categories: U.S. Go Congress
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35th World Amateur Go Championship Set for Gyeongju, Korea

Wednesday June 18, 2014

The 35th World Amateur Go Championships will be held July 4-11 in Gyeongju, Korea. The American Go E-Journal will once again be teaming up with Ranka  to provide comprehensive daily coverage of this major amateur tournament featuring top players from 74 countries and territories around the world.

The WAGC is organized by the International Go Federation; this year the preparatory work is being done at the Korea Baduk Association in Seoul, Korea. The tournament venue will be the Hyundai Hotel in the Bomun Lake resort area of Gyeongju, a former capital of Korea once famed for its architectural and other riches. Now it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a major tourist destination, participants will find much to see, both on and off the go board.

Beginning next week, the E-Journal will run a series of profiles of WAGC players to familiarize readers with the competitors.

Ming Curran Tops Berkeley Ratings Tourney

Sunday June 15, 2014

Ming Curran 3D topped a field of 17 players ranging from 4d to 20k at the Berkeley Go Club’s ratings tournament on June 14. The event was hosted in the Games of Berkeley game store’s downstairs playing rooms, with store gift certificates given as prizes.

Organizers were Peter de Blanc and Linden Chiu, with Chiu directing. “Thanks to both Games of Berkeley and the Bay Area Go Players Association, who provided clocks and stones,” said Chiu.

Results: 1st: Ming Curran 3d (3-0); 2nd: Sean Wahl 10k (3-0); 3rd: Garnet Chaney 19k (3-0).
photo courtesy Linden Chiu

Freedman Named AGF Teacher of the Year

Saturday June 14, 2014

Peter Freedman, of Portland, OR, has been named the AGF Teacher of the Year, winning a free trip to the US Go Congress in NYC.  Freedman, who has been active in the Portland area for decades, has focused his primary activities on youth go in recent years. Freedman and Fritz Balwit (2011 AGF Teacher of the Year) had tried to establish go clubs in schools for many years, but they were short-lived and drew minimal numbers  “Meanwhile, our chess and go program at Irvington Elementary had run for many years, with upwards of 30 students every term,” Freedman told the Journal.  “It became clear to me that chess and go clubs have a much better chance to introduce children and teens to go than free-standing go clubs. I approached several school chess coaches about the idea of morphing their programs into chess and go clubs, and now there are over 100 children in these clubs, spread over five  schools, I teach go and Fritz teaches chess in most schools. The students can play only chess; play only go; or, switch between chess and go each month.  New students must play a month of go before they decide on their option. There is a segment of our culture that knows, appreciates and respects chess, while only a few know of go. Yet, many of us were chess players before we were go players.  It seems like a nice path.  We need a new motto: chess is our friend, not our enemy.”

AGA President Andy Okun had this to say about Freedman: “While many people know him as a club organizer, AGA volunteer and co-director of the really successful 2008 Portland Congress, Peter has also been teaching go for many years, and very intensively since retiring eight years ago.  For the last three years, he’s run the Irvington Elementary School Go Team, which has played matches against teams in Portland, Detroit and Mexico City.  He led the effort to make the Portland Go Club a 501c3 so it could raise money for a go in the schools program, and has raised thousands of dollars for that effort.” Recent activities included bringing Mingjiu Jiang 7P to Portland, for a workshop attended by 19 players from across Oregon, ranging in age from 7 to 72, and strength from beginner to 3 dan. “Nine of the players were kids or teens,” said Freedman, “one of whom taught himself to play three months ago, another was a 7 year old kgs 3 kyu.  Andrew Nguy, who recently started the robust David Douglas H.S. Go Club, was also in attendance. Mingjiu was up to the challenge of teaching such a diverse group, moving from simple problems to more complex ones that the  advanced people could chew on.”

“The AGF board faced a very tough decision again this year,” reports President Terry Benson, “with five extremely strong candidates, each of whom fully deserved the award. Fortunately, we choose a new teacher every year, and the other candidates will all have a chance again next year.” Freedman and Balwitz have put together curriculum guides and outlines for their method, which can be downloaded on the AGA Teaching Page.  Free equipment, Hikaru no Go, and other resources are available on the AGF website.  -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.  Photos: Top: The Irvington Elementary Go Team plays a match against Mexico City, Freedman is 2nd from right; Bottom: students at the Mingjiu Jiang workshop last April. 

YKNOT4 Shaping Up for Strong Dan Levels, Kyu Levels Encouraged to Register

Thursday June 12, 2014

With the Young Kwon National Online Tournament (YKNOT) less than two weeks away, a competitive open section is shaping up with over 10 players 6-dan and above. Eligible players in the open section this year will earn NAMT points towards participation in the US Invitational, the 9-round $5,000 prize event. Players who qualify through NAMT will be eligible for an extra $2,000 in prizes.

“Dan level registration has been strong, but we also encourage kyu players to register!” says AGA Tournament Coordinator Karoline Burrall. “We encourage registration at all playing levels, and prizes will be awarded at all levels.”
YKNOT4 sponsor Young Kwon is a go player from Pearl River, New York and a previous US Open champion. Dedicated to promoting go in the United States, he has sponsored this tournament and provided the nearly $3,000 in prizes while offering free registration to all players. The only requirements for the tournament are AGA membership and a United States address. AGA life members living anywhere are also welcome.

Registration is free. The tournament games will be played on June 21, 22, and 28th. Click here to register, and visit the website for schedule, rules, and details.

EuroGoTV Update: Germany, Netherlands, Sweden

Tuesday June 10, 2014

Germany: Cristian Pop 7d (left) bested Alexandr Dinerstein 7d at the KidoCup Hamburg Top 8 on June 9 while Mateusz Surma 6d came in third. Netherlands: Jord de Jong 1k took the Districtstoernooi Groningen on June 8. Behind him were Rene Goedhart 3d and Sjoerd Koolen 2d. Sweden: The Swedish Championship finished on June 1 in Norrkoeping with Jakob Bing 3d in first, Kim Johansson 1d in second, and Fritiof Olsson 1k in third.
– Annalia Linnan, based on reports from EuroGoTV, which include complete result tables and all the latest European go news; photo courtesy of EuroGoTV

Ali Jabarin Wins Amsterdam International; Historic Euro-Korean Go Battle Remembered

Sunday June 8, 2014

Ali Jabarin 6d of Israel took the 2014 Amsterdam International Go Tournament main, centerpiece of Amsterdam Go Together 2014, with five wins out of six. It was played Friday May 30 – Sunday June 1 at the European Go Cultural Centre (EGCC), Amstelveen in the Netherlands (Holland) and Jabarin was only beaten by Zhao Baolong 2p of China who won all six rounds but, as a professional, took part out-of-competition. In second-equal place, with four wins each, came Pavol Lisy 7d of Slovakia, Yong-Su Yu 7d of Korea (pictured), Christian Pop 7d of Romania, Kim Paolo 7d of Korea and Csaba Mérő 6d of Hungary. Click here for full results, and here to connect with the EGCC’s Facebook account for more photos.

Pavol Lisy had also qualified as a pro the day before the main tournament after winning Stage 2 of the 1st Euro Pro Qualification (see Pavol Lisy First European Pro,- EJ, 7/1), a competition in which all the Europeans mentioned above have been participants, and for which Zhao has been professional coach, along with compatriot Li Ting 1p. Lisy’s new status will not, however, come into effect until August 1. Jabarin – along with Mateusz Surma 6d of Poland, Lukáš Podpera 6d of Czechia and Cornel Burzo 6d of Romania – is also still in the running to gain professional status by winning two further knockout rounds at Vienna on June 20.

Former Korean Amateur Champion Yong-Su Yu was a special guest at the event and well-known to the veterans there, as during the eighties he lived in the Cologne area in Germany and won the Amsterdam International every year from 1985-89. “I cannot [be] very content with the result in this Amsterdam go tournament,” he said, “but it’s not very bad. The top players in Europe are much stronger than I thought.” He also praised the hospitality he and his group, led by best friend Kim Paolo, had received and said, “Everyone in the Dutch Go Association [Federation] was so kind to us”.

In 1985 Yong-Su demonstrated the superiority of Korean amateurs in that era when he played a celebrated nine-game match, winning 7-2, against then Dutch and European Champion Ronald Schlemper 7d, a go prodigy who had come to dominate the game in Holland and who had won the European Championship twice already at that point (and has three times in all). The match, which featured games in the three Dutch towns of Leeuwarden, Arnhem and Tilburg, was sponsored by Dutch insurance company Interpolis, who published a book about it at the time, with game analysis by other Dutch amateurs.

Now one of Yong-Su’s party, Lee Kwang-Ku 3d, who is a journalist for Korean-language weekly Ilyo Shinmun and author of a three-volume book on modern Korean go, is also planning to write a book about the match with Korean professional commentary on at least some of the games. Schlemper, who these days lives in Japan, will be interviewed for the book too, which it is hoped will also be produced in an English-language edition. Photographer and sometime board member of the Dutch Go Federation Harry van der Krogt, now Financial Director of the EGCC, was the initiator of the match and following the Amsterdam tournament he has – by way of research for the book – traveled with Yong-Su, Kim and Lee to Arnhem to revisit the Hotel Groot Warnsborn (right), the only one of the match locations still standing. He told the E-Journal the hotel and surrounding park “made a great impression on me in 1985 [...] and now in 2014 it has not lost any of its charm“. It was also Yong-Su’s favourite location of the three: “Arnhem was the best place from three because maybe……..I could have a good time with Dutch go players…….drink….chatter. I could win all three games…..”.

Report by Tony Collman; photos by Harry van der Krogt: (from top) Yong-Su Yu at the Amsterdam International 2014; playing in the 9-game match with Schlemper in 1985; (L-R) Lee Kwang-Ku, Yong-Su Yu, Kim Paolo at the Hotel Groot Warnsborn.