American Go E-Journal » Pair Go

Reflections on Pair Go

Wednesday February 22, 2017

by Eric Lui 1P2017.02.22_A Simple Guide to Pair Go

Editor’s note: Lui, who’s now a regular game commentator for the E-Journal, wrote this after attending the second Pair Go World Cup in July 2016 and recently shared it with us. Coincidentally, Hajin Lee recently made a short Pair Go introduction video, saying she hopes “to see more pair go events in the US and Europe in the future.” We hope you enjoy both.

Reflecting upon his legendary career, the great Sakata Eio opined that a necessary prerequisite for go mastery is self-2017.02.22_pair-go-world-cup-411_sreliance, which can only be developed once one fully accepts the game’s solitary nature, specifically the completely isolated state that all players find themselves in during the process of a game.

As far as I can tell, there are two types of people in this world: Pair Go enthusiasts and those who can do without. Takemiya Masaki gushes that Pair Go is “playing catch with the emotions…the instant that love is born.” Ishida Yoshio, on the other hand, says that in Pair Go you have three opponents.

The most anticipated match in the first round of the main knockout tournament saw the departure of powerhouse 2017.02.22_pair-go-world-cupChinese pair Shi Yue and Wang Chenxing, who succumbed to the charming synergy of Choi Cheolhan and Oh Yujin. Our first-round victory against the Thai pair was defined more by relief than pleasure, since it ensured that we would get to play at least one more game. In the second round against Taiwanese superstars Chen Shiyuan and Joanne Missingham, the game became difficult right from the start when a mistake in judgment set the tone for the rest of the way. My partner Sarah Yu fought gamely during many continuous kos and we maintained our chances for a while but were unable to cause an upset.

Our conquerors would go on to score an excellent victory in the semifinal against the Choi-Oh pair, earning themselves a 2017.02.22_lui-pair-gofinal showdown with the Chinese pair of Ke Jie and Yu Zhiying, the male and female world No. 1 respectively.
During the last round of the Shuffle Pair Go friendship match, I was paired with the Thai female player, Pattraporn Aroonphaichitra. As we waited at the board for our opponents, Amy Song, the Australian female player took the seat across from Pattraporn. But who was her partner? I took a quick glance around – there were still a few empty seats and just a couple minutes until game time. I couldn’t help but smile when I noticed Sarah, looking ever so serene, sitting next to Iyama Yuta. My new partner was completely absorbed in her phone, and I opened my mouth to say something when, sensing a disturbance in the Force, we both looked up. Making his way through the large crowd that had gathered around the closed-off playing area with ruthless efficiency was “One Dragon Per Game” Shi Yue, one of the strongest and most universally feared Chinese pros for his aggressive playing style.

2017.02.21_pair-go-eric-luiPattraporn played beautifully and we enjoyed a lead for most of the game. It was a singular experience to watch as Shi Yue struggled to contain his frustration with the position as his plans to deal us pain were disrupted again and again. When the game was over, Shi Yue transitioned seamlessly from executioner to teacher, pointing out missed opportunities and explaining his thought processes at key points while the rest of us sat transfixed by the clarity of his analysis. A while later, only dimly aware that the postmortem had concluded and that the others had started putting the stones away, I slowly and reluctantly joined in.

Later that night, long after Yu Zhiying and Ke Jie had collected their 10 million yen 1st place prize, I would find myself tuning in to the Wimbledon final from my hotel room. During one of Andy Murray’s signature tirades, I realized that Ishida was wrong. Whether you are playing Pair Go, individual go, or tennis, the number of opponents remains the same. One, and it’s not the one on the other side. As Murray sealed the first set with a thunderous forehand and an emphatic fist pump, his fierce visage betraying equal parts triumph and anguish, I was reminded of a timeless image of Sakata, in the midst of his prime, staring at the go board with an expression of utmost intensity and exquisite pain. A formidable, yet lone individual.

Pair Go was invented to popularize the game of go by emphasizing the social aspects of the game. But no matter how many players there are, the game itself remains the same mysterious, fascinating challenge it has been for thousands of years.
photo: US team Sarah Yu and Eric Lui with Cho Chikun

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Kim Sooyoung and Park Jongwook of Korea Win Amateur Pair Go Championship

Sunday December 4, 2016

A Korean pair won this year’s 27th International Amateur Pair Go Championship in Tokyo, besting a Taiwanese team in the 2016.12.04_us-pairfinals.  Kim Sooyoung and Park Jongwook of Korea beat Pai Shin-Hui and Huang Wei of Taiwan.  Pai and Huang had paved the way, however, by beating a strong Chinese pair in round one of the 32-pair five round event.  The US team of Jeremy Chiu and Gabriella Su (right) ended with a solid 3-2 record, losing in rounds one and three to a Japanese pair and the team from China, but beating Germany and Austria before facing a strong Russian pair, Grigorii Fionin and Elvina Kalsberg, also 2-2, in the final round.  In the 3rd edition of the World Students Pair Go Championship, North American pair Amira Song of Canada and Andrew Zalesak of North Carolina went 1-3, beating the Mexican pair but failing to beat the percentages in their other games against a Japanese pair and not one, but two, Korean university pairs.  A Japanese pair took first.
- report by Andy Okun (standing in photo); photo by Thomas Hsiang

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N.A. Student Pair Wanted to Play in World Students Pair Go Championship

Wednesday September 7, 2016

The AGA is seeking a student pair to represent the USA and Canada in the 3rd World Students Pair Go Championship. This event, which features exclusively college/university/graduate students, will be hosted in Japan at the same time as the International Amateur Pair Go Championship from December 2nd to December 7th of this year. To be eligible to compete, a pair of players must meet the following requirements: One male, one female player per pair; Must be current college/university/graduate students (no high school students); Under the age of 30; Must not be a student in a professional go organization (i.e. no insei); Must be an American / Canadian citizen. Note – the players will be responsible for paying 50% of the cost of round-trip airfare to and from Tokyo, Japan. The rest of the costs (lodging and meals) will be provided by the Japan Pair Go Association. There will be an online qualifier to determine the North American representatives on September 17th. Interested players should contact peter.nelson@usgo.org and cherry.shen@usgo.org, or president@usgo.org immediately.

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Gabriella Su 6d & Jeremy Chiu 7d Top 2016 North American Pair Go Championship

Friday August 5, 2016

The 2016 North American Pair Go Championship attracted 120 players, including seven professionals, on Thursday 2016.08.05_pair-go-champs-IMG_0684night.  The overall champions this year are Gabriella Su 6d and Jeremy Chiu 7d (right), who will represent North America in the International Amateur Pair Go Championship in Tokyo in December. Always one of the most popular events of the week, Pair Go provides everyone an opportunity to play in a fun unrated tournament. Pair Go promotes the formation of partnerships which combine the diverse skills and personalities of each player. Since everyone can play, Pair Go is especially attractive for those who don’t play in the rest of the competitive tournaments during the Go Congress. The North American Pair Go Championship is supported by World Pair Go Association and the Japan Pair Go Association.

The top table of the tournament determined the overall champions. As with many of the tournaments at this year’s congress, the matches played on the top board of the tournament were recorded onto the Pandanet Go Server along with a live stream on the AGA’s Official YouTube page. Click here to see an album of photos of all of the pairs in the tournament.

Top table results: 1st Place – Gabriella Su 6d and Jeremy Chiu 7d; 2nd Place – Yin Li Wang 6d and Daniel Liu 6d; 3rd Place – Melissa Cao 4d and Justin Ching 7d; 4th Place – Wan Chen 4d and Ricky Zhao 7d

2016.08.05_pair-go-kid-IMG_0753Table Winners: Table 2: Tongyu Wang 7d and Xiangnan Zheng 7d; Table 3: Irene Sha 6d and James Sedgwick 6d; Table 4: Lee Dahye 4p and Cam Wagner 1d; Table 5: Nqua Xiong 2d and Michael Chen 7d; Table 6: Yasuko Imamura 6d and Nick Blake 3d; Table 7: Marina Watabe 3d and David Glekel 3d; Table 8: Seowoo Wang 1d and Andrew Jackson 4d; Table 9: Ai-Lin Hsiao 2p and Yihsiu Chen 10k; Table 10: Lee Anne Bowie 3k and Dave Hampton 3k; Table 11: Jesy Feliccia 4k and Kilin Tang 7k; Table 12: Alexandra Patz 13k and Marc Palmer 1d; Table 13: Wanda Metcalf 5k and Mark Nahabedian 13k; Table 14: Emily Briley 19k and Jonathon Green 2k; Table 15: Antonina Perez-Lopez 20k and Chris Lahey 11k
- Todd Heidenreich, Tournament Director; photos by Chris Garlock; photo at left: Tselmuun Ganbaatar (r) and her partner Eric Hookway.

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Chen and Cao Top Youth Adult Pair Go

Thursday August 4, 2016

IMG_20160802_132911Michael Chen 8d and Melissa Cao 4d won the top table at Youth Adult Pair Go on Tuesday at the Go Congress.  The event was a big hit with both young and old, drawing 56 players to the Youth Room. Seven tables competed, with first and second place at each table winning prizes, including go books donated by several publishers, Hikaru no Go manga, and several new sets of various anime series donated by Winston Jen. Devin Fraze has taken over in the Youth Room this year,  allowing longtime organizer Paul Barchilon to actually play in the event,  pictured below with his partner, 5 year old Tselmuun Ganbaatar (who was violating all known standards of Pair Go rules and etiquette by telling her partner how it important it was for him to play where she told him). Every table saw exciting games, many with giggling kids – and astonished adults as the kids outplayed everyone nonetheless. Other events in the Youth Room included lightning go on Sunday, 9×9 and 13×13 tourneys on Monday, and relay go on Thursday.  One youngster said he enjoyed relay go the most, because he “really likes to run.” Fraze, whose day job is teaching fifth grade, was clearly up to the challenge of managing so many kids at once.

IMG_20160802_132501Winners Report: Table one: 1st place: Michael Chen 8d and Melissa Cao 4d,  2nd place: Daniel Liu 6d and Jinli Wang 6d; Table two: 1st place: Frederick Bao 3d and Sai Sun 5d, 2nd place: Kelly Liu 2d and Yunbo Yi 6d; Table three: 1st place: Yungyan Wu 1k and Tao Wu 1d; Table four: 1st place: Owen Sedgwick 12k and Irene Sha 6d; Table five: 1st place: Liya Luk 9k and Allen Noe 1k; Table six 1st place: Sarah Crites 10k and Bob Crites 7k; Table seven: 1st place Zoey Zhang 30k and Yunzhe Zhang 6d.
- Story and photos by Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor

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Michael Redmond 9P on Pro Pair Go Tsumego 6 (Answer)

Tuesday August 2, 2016

[link]

Presented here is the answer to the 6th (and last) tsumego from Michael Redmond 9P’s coverage of the challenging tsumego problems featured at the 2016 pro pair go tournament.

The author of this tsumego is Kono Rin 9P.

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Michael Redmond 9P on Pro Pair Go Tsumego 6

Monday August 1, 2016

[link]

Presented here is the 6th (and last) tsumego from Michael Redmond 9P’s coverage of the challenging tsumego problems featured at the 2016 pro pair go tournament. Michael gives the detailed solution tomorrow.

The author of this tsumego is Kono Rin 6P.

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Congress Pair Go Sign-Up Opens

Sunday July 31, 2016

Among the most popular events at the US Go Congress now underway in Boston is the annual Pair Go tournament, featuringOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA male and female pairs of players attired in their best outfits. The tournament winners go on to compete in the International Amateur Pair Go Championship in Japan over the first weekend in December. Table winners receive prizes, and there are some souvenirs provided by the Japan Pair Go Association. The tournament is unrated. Sign-up sheets are now available just outside the main playing area at the Congress (16 pairs have already signed up as of presstime). The tournament is Thursday night and TD Todd Heidenreich reminds strong player teams wishing to play for the chance to represent the United States at the tournament in Japan that there will be a play-in round for the top 8 eligible pairs in the Strong Players Room on Wednesday evening at 8pm. Heidenreich, who has been directing the Pair Go tournament for a dozen years, is looking to hand over the reins so anyone interested in finding out more about Pair Go and what’s involved in directing the tournament can contact him at todd@capitalgo.org or just stop by the E-Journal office at the Congress. “It’s a lot of fun!” Heidenreich promises.
- photo: at the 2015 Pair Go tournament; photo by Eric Jankowski

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Michael Redmond 9P on Pro Pair Go Tsumego 5 (Answer)

Saturday July 30, 2016

[link]

Presented here is the answer to the 5th tsumego from Michael Redmond 9P’s coverage of the challenging tsumego problems featured at the 2016 pro pair go tournament.

The author of this tsumego is Ohashi Hirofumi 6P.

Michael adds some clarifications about the multiple correct variations for this problem:
Despite what I said in my comments about tsumego 3, in this 5th tsumego White has a number of choices for variations to get a direct ko. There are differences such as size of territory when White lives, and whether Black gets to play the outside connection in the process, which would be important in an actual game, but not in a tsumego. Such an abundance of correct variations is generally considered a flaw, but in my opinion the high level of difficulty and the beauty of some of the variations makes it a worthy tsumego anyway. I must add that all the choices are for White several moves into the correct answer, and since Black has only one correct sequence, by the strict rules of tsumego it is a valid problem.

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Michael Redmond 9P on Pro Pair Go Tsumego 5

Saturday July 30, 2016

[link]

Presented here is the 5th tsumego from Michael Redmond 9P’s coverage of the challenging tsumego problems featured at the 2016 pro pair go tournament. Michael gives the detailed solution tomorrow.

The author of this tsumego is Ohashi Hirofumi 6P.

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