Friday July 8, 2016
Thirty two players comprising sixteen teams gathered Thursday in Tokyo to launch the second Pair Go World Cup. First invented in 1990 by Hisao and Hiroko Taki to attract more female players to the game, Pair Go has grown steadily in popularity around the world and the Pair Go Association now boasts 74 member countries and territories.
After an elegant Japanese box lunch at the Cerulean Towers Tokyu Hotel in the Shibuya district, the players assembled for the draw ceremony to determine their first-round opponents. With a top prize of $10M JPY, organizers have attracted an impressive array of top players, including Ke Jie – Yu Zhiying (China); Iyama Yuta – Hsieh Yimin (Japan); Park Junghwan – Choi Jeong (Korea) and Chen Shih-Iuan – Hei Jiajia (Taiwan). Notable pairs from the West include Eric Lui – Sarah Yu (North America); Fernando Aguilar – Rosario Papeschi (Latin America) and Ilya Shikshin – Natalia Kovaleva (Europe). All games will be broadcast on Pendant. “I’m very excited to see top professionals and top amateurs gathered here,” said an obviously pleased Mrs. Taki, who then conducted a warm series of interviews with the players.
The highlight of the afternoon was the Panda Sensei Tsume-Go Challenge, showing off the Pandanet Sensei life and death computer program, which has been developed over the last 30 years and on which many tsumego creators rely to check their work. In a dramatic timed competition, the professional pairs were given a series of high-level tsumego problems. They had 10 minutes to solve each problem; the first five pairs to hit the call button won the right to show their solution to the judges, led by the famous Ishida Yoshio, also known as “The Computer.” Correct answers were worth up to five points each, while wrong answers penalized the incorrect team two points. Onlookers crowded around the players as they raced to solve the problems, and it was quite entertaining to see top-level professional players wrestling with reading out problems in real time and often, just like amateurs, missing key moves that refuted their solutions. Perhaps not surprisingly, Pandanet Sensei crushed the contest, scoring 24 points; the Chinese team of Ke Jie – Yu Zhiying (top right) scored just 6 points to take second place and the Korean team’s 4 points was enough to take home third place. Acknowledging that the problems were tough and the solving time short, Ishida (at left, refuting a solution from Japan’s Iyama Yuta and Hsieh Yimin) admitted that “I had fun watching all the trouble the top players got into” trying to solve them.
The Pair Go tournament begins Saturday, with two rounds scheduled, followed by semi-finals Sunday morning and the final Sunday afternoon. All games will be broadcast on Pendant.
- report/photos by Chris Garlock
Monday July 4, 2016
The American Go Foundation has selected Paul Lockhart as the 2016 Teacher of the Year. Lockhart wins an all expenses paid trip to the US Go Congress in Boston, where he will hold an informal round table discussion about his experiences teaching children. “What a terrific honor,” said Lockhart, “I am delighted to accept, and I look forward to the opportunity to meet and speak with other go teachers around the country.” Lockhart is well known in academic circles for his 2009 book A Mathematician’s Lament: How School Cheats Us Out of Our Most Fascinating and Imaginative Art Form. “For the past 15 years I have been happily teaching Go at Saint Ann’s School in Brooklyn, NY,” adds Lockhart. “What began with four High School students and a magnetic travel go set has grown into a vibrant school-wide go culture, including an after school go club, annual tournaments, classes, seminars, and faculty participation. I am especially pleased with the excitement and energy among the younger students. Most of our club players are under 10, and many of our strongest High School players began playing go as kindergarteners. It has been a fantastic learning experience for me as well.”
Lockhart is also well known in the go community, as the father of Will Lockhart (Director of The Surrounding Game film) and Ben Lockhart 7d, who has studied professionally in Korea and is seeking to become an AGA Professional. “The current partnership with the ING foundation, which along with the American Collegiate Go Association (founded by Will Lockhart), holds large go expos each year with hundreds of attendees, as well as The Surrounding Game documentary film, would not be possible had Paul not introduced go into our lives in such a meaningful way; a way that gave us such love and interest in the game that we both had no choice but to dedicate our lives to go,” writes Ben Lockhart. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Photo: Paul Lockhart (standing) teaching at St. Ann’s School.
Wednesday June 29, 2016
This year’s US Go Congress in Boston “is shaping up to be the largest Go Congress ever!” reports Walther Chen. “Please help us make it a success by renewing your AGA membership and paying your outstanding balance in advance. This will help you avoid long queues during registration day at the Go Congress.” Also, he reminds Congress attendees that you have until June 30 to get a no-questions-asked full refund and if you register and pay on-site at Congress, there is a $100 late fee. “See you soon!”
Wednesday June 22, 2016
This year’s US Go Congress organizers have lined up “an exciting ‘Computer Go Afternoon’” reports Chun Sun. “We are honored to have Yuandong Tian from Facebook Research, who will present ‘DarkForest: A DCNN-based open source Go engine,’ on the afternoon of August 4.” Also lined up is John Tromp, who has calculated the exact number of legal go positions, and who will present a lecture on the subject on August 4. As previously reported, Google Deepmind is coming to the Congress this year as well. In addition to giving the opening keynote on Saturday, July 30, Google Deepmind’s Aja Huang and Hui Fan 2P will also present an “AlphaGo Insider” lecture on August 4th’s “Computer Go afternoon,” focusing on the developer community. “After these exciting presentations, DarkForest will play Andy Liu 1p at 3 handicaps,” Chun Sun adds. As the new “JustGo” live recording/broadcasting app will be demoing around the lounge and playing room.
Sunday June 19, 2016
The 2016 Pair Go World Cup will be held on July 9 & 10 in Tokyo. Sixteen of the world’s best male-female pairs have been invited to compete for the top prize of 10M JPY. The star-studded field includes Ke Jie – Yu Zhiying (China); Iyama Yuta – Hsieh Yimin (Japan); Park Junghwan – Choi Jeong (Korea) and Chen Shih-Iuan – Hei Jiajia (Taiwan). Notable pairs from the West include Eric Lui – Sarah Yu (North America); Fernando Aguilar – Rosario Papeschi (Latin America) and Ilya Shikshin – Natalia Kovaleva (Europe). All games will be broadcast on Pendant. Click here for details.
Tuesday June 14, 2016
China’s Baoxiang Bai (right) defeated Chinese Taipei’s Chia-Cheng Hsu to win his second world amateur championship with a perfect 8-0 record. Korea’s Kibaek Kim was second, and Chinese Taipei’s Chia Cheng Hsu was third. Benjamin Lockhart of the US was 13th, Manuel Velasco of Canada was 28th and Emil Garcia of Mexico was 36th. The tournament took place June 5-8 in Wuxi, a city of six million located slightly northwest of Shanghai. Full results here. Click here for more WAGC reports on Ranka.
Sunday June 12, 2016
Automatic game recording app “JustGo” will be demonstrated at this year’s US Go Congress. Lei Chen 7d and Yi Tang 2p from WanTong technology will be on hand at the Congress with their newest technology. Click here to see a demo; the app will be available both in iOS and Android.
Sunday June 12, 2016
Save the dates of October 22-23 on your calendar for the 2016 Cotsen Open. The popular tournament returns to the Korean Cultural Center Los Angeles this year, thanks to the support of the Korean Consulate and KCCLA. The 2016 tournament will feature all of the things that previous participants have come to expect and look forward to from the Cotsen Open, including roving masseuses, free lunches, gorgeous trophies, a game between Yilun Yang 7p and another top pro, and thousands of dollars in prizes. “This is a tournament you won’t want to miss!” say local organizers. Registration will open soon; stay tuned for more details and get updates on the Cotsen Open Faceboo page. photo: Mark Lee gets a massage at the 2015 Cotsen Open; photo by Chris Garlock
Sunday June 5, 2016
Register for the 2016 US Go Congress by midnight Monday and save $50! The $25 registration will increase to $75 Monday, 6 June at 11:59 pm EST. The US Go Congress is the largest go activity in the United States. It happens once a year and runs July 30 – August 7 in Boston, MA this year. Events include the US Open, the largest annual go tournament in the US, professional lectures and game analysis, continuous self-paired games, and all kinds of go-related activities from morning to midnight. “Come for the go. Come for the camaraderie of old friends,” says Congress Director Walther Chen. “Whatever your reason, we are looking forward to seeing you there.”