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WAGC Final Edition: Cho Hunhyun: “No shortcuts”; Striving in Brunei; 2015 WAGC Set for Bangkok; EJ, Ranka & IGF Team Up; 2014 WAGC Final Standings

Thursday July 10, 2014

Cho Hunhyun: “No shortcuts” to Stronger Play and World Go
“There are no shortcuts” to getting stronger at go, Cho Hunhyun 9P told the E-Journal in an interview during the World Amateur Go Championship in Korea, where he served as chief referee. “You must study hard. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, and you must know these and focus your energies accordingly.” Considered one of the greatest go players of all time, Cho has played and won more professional games than any player in the world, with nearly 160 titles and 1,900 wins. After giving the signal for games to begin each day at the WAGC, Cho (right), impeccably attired in a crisp gray suit and perfectly adjusted tie, would quietly move about the playing area observing the games. And while he was impressed with some of the play, he says a lot of work remains to be done. “In the past, Japan has put a lot into developing go around the world, as have China and Korea in recent years, but many other countries should put more effort in as well.” Cho called the recent development of professional systems in both the United States and Europe “a big step for international go” but acknowledged that cultural barriers remain a challenge. “For example, chess is not very popular or very strong in Korea and it’s not easy to change the circumstances or situation, so figuring out how to popularize go in the West is not an easy question.” Cho was quietly optimistic, however, noting that “It took us a lot of time to get to where we are now, proving that the time we have invested in world go has not been wasted.”
- Chris Garlock; photo by John Pinkerton

Striving Hard in Brunei: “Go is hardly known at all in Brunei,” said Chai Hui Lim, President of the Brunei Darussalam Go Association, on her first visit to the World Amateur Go Championship. “It’s a real challenge to get people interested in go but like many other countries we are striving hard to popularize the game,” she said. This was Brunei’s second year of participation in the WAGC. “I think it’s great that so many countries are getting together for an international competition!” said Lim.
- Ranka; photo by Ivan Vigano

2015 WAGC Set for Bangkok; IGF Meeting Highlights: Bangkok has been selected to host next year’s World Amateur Go Championship. Thailand’s selection, reported at the July 5  International Go Federation Annual General Meeting in Gyeongju, Korea, marks the first time this major event will be held outside the traditional go strongholds of Japan, China and Korea, as part of the IGF’s ongoing efforts to internationalize the game. Other IGF meeting highlights included improved IGF finances and successful 2013 events, including the World Amateur Go Championship in Sendai, Japan, the Amateur Pair Go Championship in Tokyo, Japan, and the SportAccord World Mind Games (SAWMG) in Beijing, China. The SAWMG will be held again this year in Beijing from December 11-17, and a brand-new event, the Student Pair Go Championship, is set to take place this October in Tokyo, in conjunction with the standard Pair Go Championship, which this year celebrates the 25th anniversary of Pair Go. Also announced were changes to the IGF Board of Executives. This year will see a rotation of roles from Japan to Korea. The new IGF President will be Seokhyun Hong, previously the Korean Ambassador to the US, taking the reins from Koichiro Matsuura. “I will try my best but my work alone is not enough,” said Hong. “We need everyone’s input and initiative to bring our plans to a successful creation.” Jae-ho Yang, the Secretary General of the Korean Baduk Association, takes up the role of Office Director, carrying on the hard work of Hiroshi Yamashiro and, as previously reported, Yuki Shigeno, the long serving IGF Secretary General, passed the post on to Hajin Lee, the main organizer of this year’s WAGC. Norio Wada, the chairman of the Nihon Kiin, will also join the IGF Board of Directors.
- John Richardson, Ranka; photo by Ivan Vigano

EJ, Ranka & IGF Team Up Again: The American Go E-Journal, Ranka and the IGF teamed up again this year to provide comprehensive coverage of the 2014 World Amateur Go Championship in Gyeonjiu, Korea. John Richardson (second from right) contributed illuminating and entertaining game reports, Ivan Vigano (far right) maintained the tournament grid on the Ranka site in virtually real-time and edited the Ranka posts, photographer John Pinkerton (far left) always had the perfect shots for the daily EJ reports, and Chris Garlock (second from left) did game commentaries as well as edited the EJ posts. New IGF Secretary General Hajin Lee (center) not only organized the event, but made sure the team had whatever we needed and even found the time to play some early-morning tennis with the EJ team. Special thanks to Chihyung Nam, Thomas Hsiang, the entire WAGC staff and of course the players themselves, who not only made this such a great event but who were so generous with their time. Finally, James Davies and Michael Redmond were much missed; see you next year in Bangkok! - photo by Yoshitaka Morimoto of the Nihon Ki-in  

2014 WAGC FINAL STANDINGS (left to right)
Row 1: 01 Chinese Taipei–Yi-Tien CHAN; 02 Korea–Tae-woong WEI; 03 China–Wang RUORAN; 04 Hong Kong–Nai San CHAN; 05 Ukraine–Bogdan ZHURAKOVSKYI; 06 Czech Republic–Lukas PODPERA; 07 Russia–Dmitri SURIN; 08 Sweden–Fredrik BLOMBACK; 09 Japan–Kiko EMURA
Row 2: 10 U.S.A.–Jie LIANG; 11 Singapore–Tan JIA CHENG; 12 Netherlands–Merlijn KUIN; 13 Finland–Juuso NYYSSÖNEN; 14 Thailand–Tiawattananont THANAPOL; 15 Serbia–Nikola MITIC; 16 Denmark–Arne Steen OHLENBUSH; 17 Hungary–Pál BALOGH; 18 Poland–Stanisław FREJLAK
Row 3: 19 France–Antoine FENECH; 20 Malaysia–Suzanne D’BEL; 21 Canada–Yongfei GE; 22 Macau–In Hang SAM; 23 Israel–Amir FRAGMAN; 24 Slovakia–Peter JADRON; 25 Indonesia–Rafif Shidqi FITRAH; 26 Vietnam–Nhat Minh VO; 27 Norway–Oeystein VESTGAARDEN
Row 4: 28 Germany–Bernd Rainer RADMACHER; 29 Croatia–Zoran MUTABZIJA; 30 New Zealand–Zhijie BEI; 31 Belgium–Dominique Valérie J. VERSYCK; 32 Lithuania–Andrius PETRAUSKAS; 33 Belarus–Aliaksandr SUPONEU; 34 Turkey–Altan KUNTAY; 35 Switzerland–Sylvain Gasana PRAZ; 36 Spain–Carlos PAU
Row 5: 37 Australia–Sang-Dae HAHN; 38 Romania–Lucian CORLAN; 39 Slovenia–Timotej SUC; 40 Luxembourg–Andreas GÖTZFRIED; 41 Austria–Matthias FRISCH; 42 Portugal–Pedro Miguel DE BRAGANÇA REIS PEREIRA; 43 India–Soni SHAH; 44 U.K.–Francis ROADS; 45 South Africa–John William LEUNER
Row 6: 46 Mongolia–Khatanbaatar TSEND-AYUSH; 47 Argentina–Haroldo BROWN; 48 Italy–Niccolò SGARAVATTI; 49 Ireland–John GIBSON; 50 Mexico–Ricardo QUINTERO ZAZUETA; 51 Azerbaijan–Bahadur Bayram THAIRBAYOV; 52 Brazil–Csaba DEÁK; 53 Brunei–Ho Soon ANG; 54 Costa Rica–Luis Enrique BOZA ARAYA
photos by John Pinkerton; photo collage by John Pinkerton & Chris Garlock
Click here for all the EJ’s WAGC reports, here for Ranka’s reports and here for complete 2014 WAGC results 

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Chinese Taipei Wins 2014 World Amateur Go Championship

Wednesday July 9, 2014

Chinese Taipei’s Yitien Chan won the 2014 World Amateur Go Championship on July 9, narrowly edging out Korea’s Taewoong Wei and Ruoran Wang of China. The three were all 7-1, so the winner was decided by SOS (sum of opponents’ scores), with Taipei scoring 46 to Korea’s 45, and China in third at 43. This is the first time in nearly 30 years that a country other than the “Big Three” – Korea, China and Japan – has won the WAGC;  the last time was 1986, when Hong Kong won, and in recent years, Korea and China have dominated. “The most important thing is to have a good mindset,” Chan (right) told the E-Journal, explaining the key to his victory. “When the situation is not good, just calm down and find a way out.” Past the age at which he could turn pro in Taipei, Chan is in his senior year in college, where he’s studying economics. The 2014 WAGC top 10 was filled out by Hong Kong (4th), the Ukraine (5th), the Czech Republic (6th), Russia (7th), Sweden (8th), Japan (9th) and the USA (10th). Click here for complete 2014 results  and here for all WAGC winners 1979-2013.

Round 7: Early morning fog on the final day of the 2014 World Amateur Go Championship gave way to a clear sky and magnificent views of Lake Bomun. But news of the approach of Typhoon Neoguri left many WAGC players worried about their return flights, and there was turbulent weather on the go board in the 7th round as well, with numerous upsets and even a forfeit. Disappointed by his country’s shocking 7-1 loss to Germany in the World Cup semi-final, Brazil’s Csaba Deak earned an equally easy win over Azerbaijan when Bahadur Tahirbayov overslept and missed his morning match. Czech Lukas Podpera won comfortably against Japan’s Kiko Emura, a bitter result for Emura who was pulling out all stops after his disappointing 8th in last year’s tournament. A large Russian group was fatally encircled by China, leaving Dmitry Surin far behind, though the Russian stubbornly played through to the end of his 37-point loss. Korea forced a resignation from the US (click here for the game record) and Chinese Taipei defeated Thailand, leaving the three Asian go giants locked in a tight battle for this year’s title. At the end of the 7th round, Korea and Chinese Taipei had the same tiebreak score of 30 with China close behind with 28, which meant that, assuming that these players all won their final games, the overall winner would depend on the results of their previous opponents, so reporters were keeping a close eye not only on the top matches but on other key ones as well.
Other game records: Taipei-Thailand; Australia-Israel

Round 8: In the final round on Wednesday afternoon, Hungarian Pal Balogh had no fear of his Korean opponent, dubbing himself ‘Balogh The Great’ on his score sheet and launching into the infamous taisha joseki, neither of which impressed Korean powerhouse Taewoong Wei whose solid, powerful play soon forced Balogh’s resignation. After being mauled by Korea in the previous round, Jie Liang of the US fared no better at the hands of China (click here for the game record), coming up winless for the day when his time ran out, while Canada’s Yongfei Ge could not erase a 10-point deficit against France’s Antoine Fenech in the endgame and resigned. Costa Rica’s Luis Enrique Boza Araya once again put his money on tengen in one last stab at chalking up his first score, but Azerbaijanian Tahirbayov, rested from his morning’s slumber, prevailed. In a tense showdown between Russia and the Ukraine, it was the latter who took control, fending off the Russian incursion into his territory. Mexico developed a winning position against India but Ricardo Quintero Zazueta managed to give away the game to Sonia Shah in a slip under time pressure.
Other Game Records: Russia-China; Hungary-Korea; Singapore-Taipei

Random Notes: Hungary’s Pal Balogh uses almost no time on his clock yet he always seems to be up walking around the playing area checking out other games…Though most of the players either dressed casually or wore sports coats, India’s Soni Shah brought some welcome sartorial cheer with her colorful saris…No matter how much trouble his stones might be having on the board, eleven-year-old Rafif Shidqi Fitrah always had a bright smile and was clearly enjoying every moment of his time at the tournament…Long after the final game of the tournament had finished, Russia’s Dmitry Surin and the Ukraine’s Bogdan Zhurakovskyi were deep in a review of their game, a perfect example of the power of go to transcend political turmoil. Shah and Fitrah both won special prizes, as did Nhat Minh Vo of Vietnam and Brazil’s Csaba Deak, and Lucian Corlan (Romania) and Tiawattananont Thanapol (Thailand) won this year’s Fighting Spirit awards.

- Reporting by John Richardson and Chris Garlock, photos by John Pinkerton and coordination by Ivan Vigano. Thanks to Thomas Hsiang for translation assistance with the Yitien Chan interview. Click here for Ranka’s complete reports and here for complete results

WAGC Title Up for Grabs as Tourney Heads Into Final Day

Tuesday July 8, 2014

After his 5th-round win over Chinese Taipei’s Yitien Chan on Tuesday morning, China’s Ruoran Wang (left, below) must have been eying the 2014 World Amateur Go Championship trophy a bit possessively. After all, he had just beaten the only other top undefeated player, and heavy favorite Taewoong Wei of Korea (at right) had lost by half a point to Taipei in the 3rd round on Monday. But when the dust settled after the 6th round on Tuesday afternoon, the top trophy was once more up for grabs, with China, Korea and Taipei all holding 5-1 records, though on SOS, Korea looks to have the edge.

Meanwhile, the US and Russia, also 5-1, are looking to break back into the top five and Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Canada and the Czech Republic are battling it out for a top 10 finish. The final two rounds on Wednesday will settle things; top pairings for Round 7 are Korea-US, China-Russia, Taipei-Thailand and Hong Kong-Canada. Click here for latest results.

It was Korean maestro Taewoong Wei who derailed China’s march to the title by snatching victory in his 6th-round game Tuesday afternoon against China’s Ruoran Wang, who had taken the lead just that morning with a win against Taipei (click here for the game record). Wang let out a huge yawn at the start of the afternoon round and the game turned into an early running battle with the Korean collecting points on the right side of the board that in the end proved to be too much (click here for the Korea-China game record).

Meanwhile, Jie Liang (US, below right) edged out Yongfei Ge (Canada, below left) by 1.5 points in a North American showdown Tuesday morning that was one of the last games to finish (click here for the game record). Perhaps drained from his hard-fought 4th-round win against Japan on Monday afternoon, Ge fell behind early and Liang was able to maintain his lead into the finish. Liang then drew the Czech Republic’s Lukas Podpera in the 6th-round. Podpera had fought gamely but vainly against Korea in his morning round (click here for the game record) and threw himself into the battle with Liang, winning three fierce ko’s but coming up short in the end and resigning gracefully (click here for the game record).

As the tournament wears on the challengers are cranking up the pace, and many games are now reaching their conclusions before the one hour mark. Players are getting more experimental too, with Francis Roads (United Kingdom) taking two 5-4 points and 3-3 sightings coming from the New Zealand and Swiss camps. Dominique Versyck (Belgium) was delighted with his 6th-round defeat of India’s Soni Shah 1D, taking apart a large central group that he allowed he “didn’t need to kill but, well, might as well.” While “perhaps not the politest solution,” Versyck’s victory pushed him to a respectable three wins out of six. Twelve-year-old Nhat Minh Vo (Vietnam) steered his 6th-round game into a huge central battle, culminating with a semeai where it was his stones, and not those of Australian opponent Sang-Dae Hahn, that perished in the fight.
Other Round 5 game records: Sweden-Russia
Other Round 6 game records: Thailand-SlovakiaChineseTaipei-Ukraine

Shigeno Passes the Torch: This year’s WAGC marked the retirement of Yuki Shigeno (at right) from her post as the Secretary General of the International Go Federation (IGF), where she’s served since 2006. Hajin Lee (left) of the KBA is the IGF’s new Secretary General. Shigeno and her husband Ivan Vigano, who edits Ranka, have been longtime friends and supporters of the E-Journal’s WAGC team; we deeply appreciate the many kindnesses she’s shown us over the years and wish her the very best as she continues her work promoting go at the Nihon Kiin. Click here for Ranka’s complete report.

- Game reports by John Richardson, game records by Chris Garlock, photos by John Pinkerton and coordination by Ivan Vigano. Click here for Ranka’s complete reports and here for complete results. Matches are broadcast live each round on WBaduk.

Korea & Japan Upset in WAGC; China, Chinese Taipei & Czech Republic Undefeated

Monday July 7, 2014

Korea and Japan, two of the favorites to top the 2014 World Amateur Go Championship, both lost by half a point to their respective opponents from Chinese Taipei and China in the third round of the WAGC on Monday morning. China and Chinese Taipei then solidified their status as clear favorites by handily winning their 4th-round games Monday afternoon, with the Czech Republic’s Lukas Podpera (left) the only other 4-game winner, while Japan’s dwindling hopes were dashed by Canadian Yongfei Ge. Korea, meanwhile, kept their hopes alive with a 4th-round win over Hong Kong. Click here for complete results.

Korean star Taewoong Wei (at right), the clear favorite to win the first WAGC to be held in Korea, felt he had a comfortable lead coming out of the fuseki in the 3rd-round game, but young Yitien Chan (at left in photo) from Chinese Taipei came up with an unexpected play at move 98 that both agreed in their review later (click here for the commented game) gave Chan a winning position, although fierce and complicated play continued for another 200+ moves.

Japan’s Kiko Emura, hoping for victory after a disappointing 8th place in last year’s tournament, also lost a half-pointer to China’s Ruoran Wang; their 3rd-round battle kept fans on the edge of their seats as the two players tussled over an intense endgame in which Emura was constantly under time pressure. As it turned out, the pressure extended to Emura’s clock button, which finally broke, allowing  Emura’s time to expire, and bringing play to a halt as a crowd gathered around the board awaiting the referees’ decision as to how to continue the game. It was decided to keep playing with a new clock, giving the Japanese player one final byo-yomi period. “I was happy with how things were going,” said Emura, “but before I knew it I wound up half a point behind. I’m used to fast time limits but this clock business added to the stress of this important game.”

Other Round 3 Game Records
Norway-Sweden: Includes comments/variations by Thomas Hsiang, Hajin Lee & the players
Lithuania-Denmark: Comments/variations by the players, plus Pal Balogh (Hungary) & Fredrik Blomback (Sweden), in photo at left.
Uncommented game records: Japan-China; Vietnam-Ukraine.

In the 4th round, Malaysia’s Suzanne D’Bel (below, right) finally got the chance to show why the Japanese press call her “Tengen Girl”, drawing black and deploying her trademark tengen strategy. A fight erupted in the first few moves that engulfed the entire board, eventually leading to death and destruction, and the defeat of her Portugese opponent, Pedro Pereira (click here for the game record). Meanwhile, Costa Rican system engineer Luis Enrique Boza Araya once again tried again to mimic D’Bel’s winning strategy but was clinically dispatched by his Swiss adversary Sylvain Gasana Praz.

Canadian Yongfei Ge snuffed Japan’s Kiko Emura’s ambitions once and for all in an exciting 4th-round game in which Ge built – and defended — a gigantic central moyo. Emura went all in with a desperate invasion but it was not enough to shake Canada’s WAGC veteran (click here for the game commentary).

Other Round 4 Game Records (Uncommented)
Korea-Hong-Kong; Russia-Czech-Republic; Ukraine-China

Previous Round Updates: Yesterday’s WAGC report has been updated to include the Japan-Netherlands Round 1 game and we’ve also added the following Round 2 games: Belgium-Czech Republic; Taipei-Hong Kong; Korea-Canada.

- Game reports by John Richardson, game records by Chris Garlock, photos by John Pinkerton and coordination by Ivan Vigano. Click here for Ranka’s complete reports on the third round and fourth round and here for complete results. Matches are broadcast live each round on WBaduk.

35th Annual World Amateur Go Championship Kicks Off; Rounds 1 & 2 Reports

Sunday July 6, 2014

Round 1 Reports, Game Record & Photos
There were no surprises for top seeds in the first two rounds of the 35th Annual World Amateur Go Championship in Gyeongju, Korea on Sunday, July 6. In the first-round Japan-Hungary match, the game reached an essentially lost position with only three minutes used on Pal Balogh’s clock. After a twenty minute deliberation, the Hungarian left the playing room but returned minutes later to choose the only possible continuation and struggle through a futile battle to the bitter end. In the Hong Kong-Netherlands game, Naisan Chan (at left in photo) enclosed the Dutch envoy’s central-right stones in another first-round battle but no amount of tsumego wizardry could save Merlijn Kuin’s (right) group from inevitable demise. “I thought W58 was good enough but to be honest I didn’t read it out very carefully,” said Kuin. “I should have taken more time to consider my options.” Click here for the Hong Kong-Netherlands game record.

Other interesting first-round games included Costa Rica versus Belgium, this year seeing a new player, the Costa Rican system engineer Luis Enrique Boza Araya, attempt a tengen-based strategy. He was unable to use the central stone, however, and suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of Belgian accountant Dominique Versyck. Suzanne D’Bel, known by the Japanese press as ‘Tengen Girl’, took white in her game against Andreas Götzfried of Luxembourg, so we have yet to see if she too will employ this unusual opening strategy.

Sweden-US: Jie Liang (US) let his advantage slip away in the middle game as Sweden’s Fredrik Blomback squeaked out a narrow win. Click here for a game commentary by Kim Seung Jun 9P of Blackie’s International Baduk Academy (www.bibabaduk.net), with assistance by Shawn Ray 4D.

Lithuania-Canada (click here for game record): As to be expected in a match-up between a 3-dan and a 7-dan, Canada’s Ge (below at right, reviewing the game) cruised to an early lead; the middle-game death of one of Petrauskas’ (Lithuania) groups simply hastened the inevitable. 

Uncommented Round 1 Game Records:
China-Australia
Denmark-Korea
Thailand-Ukraine

Round 2 Reports, Game Record & Photos
After a lunch of fish and assorted kimchi, the players returned to the underground playing area for the second round. Within fifteen minutes Hungary’s Pal Balogh’s game had yet again finished in a flurry, but this time with victory over Khatanbaatar Tsend-Ayush, a hotel manager from Mongolia. Also quick to finish was the US-India game, both players playing very rapidly until the end. Soon after, South African John William Leuner was defeated by Danish postman Arne Steen Ohlenbuch when his group became entangled in a web of black stones.

This was not the only spectacular game of the afternoon. A large crowd gathered around the Indonesia-Luxembourg match-up as semeais erupted and dead stones littered the board. Malaysian representative Suzanne D’Bel launched a fierce attack on Brazilian Csaba Deak and, although he managed to dodge this assault, another group came under fire, leading to a decisive victory for D’Bel.

But the bloodshed didn’t stop there. An audible groan was let out by the UK’s Francis Roads (at left) as he tried to find a way to save his group from Australian Sangdae Hahn’s deadly onslaught (click here for game record). Not finding a solution, the stone in Roads’ hand was slammed back into the pot, followed shortly by resignation. The candidates from Costa Rica and Portugal joined the list of casualties as large groups were swallowed up by their Belarusian and Lithuanian counterparts.

Round 2 game records
:
Australia-UK
New Zealand-Ireland (photo of Ireland’s John Gibson at right)
Belgium-Czech
Taipei-Hong Kong
Korea-Canada

 

No suprises again at the top, as Korea, China, Japan and Chinese Taipei all won their games. A highlight was Korea-Canada, with Canada’s Yongfei Ge, back again from last year, putting up strong resistance in a relatively peaceful game. His 45-point lower side was not quite enough to overcome Taewoong Wei. Japan vs Singapore took the longest to finish but in the end Kiko Emura’s lead in territory sealed another Japanese victory.
- Game reports by John Richardson, game records by Chris Garlock, photos by John Pinkerton and coordination by Ivan Vigano. Click here for Ranka’s complete reports on the first round and second round and here for complete results.

 

 

2014 WAGC: 6 Players on Why They Love Go and How to Improve

Saturday July 5, 2014

Why top players love go is as varied as the players themselves, but they all pretty much agree that in order to get stronger, “you must love the game.” So said Japan’s Emura Kiko at a brief press conference on the opening day of this year’s World Amateur Go Championship, echoed by Malaysia’s Suzanne D’Bel Low, Korea’s Taewoong Wei, China’s Ruoran Wang, Vietnam’s Nhat Minh Vo and the Czech Republic’s Lukas Podpera, who were selected to answer questions at the press conference. “Go enables me to meet a lot of new friends, who become part of my family,” said Low. “Each game reveals my opponent’s style and personality,” added Podpera. At just 13, Vo is the youngest player at the WAGC, but already the game has enabled him to “meet a lot of interesting new people and travel around the world to share the go spirit,” he said. And while all the selected players said that lots of play and study is necessary to improve, Podpera was the most specific, noting that “In Europe we are failing at life and death (tsume-go) so that’s what we must study to improve.” Wei was even more succinct, saying that the three things necessary to get better at go are “Will, confidence and concentration.”
- Chris Garlock; photo by Ivan Vigano

Friendship Match Launches 2014 World Amateur Championship in Korea

Saturday July 5, 2014

The 35th World Amateur Go Championship got underway Saturday morning in Gyeongju, Korea with the traditional Friendship Match between local go players and the WAGC players from around the world. Gathered in the main playing area on the first floor of the Hotel Hyundai, the WAGC players’ places were marked as usual by their nation’s flags and the locals eagerly joined them for a spirited round of friendly but intense matches. At the head of the room were pro Kim In 9P (at right in photo at lower left) playing a teaching game with a local luminary beneath the WAGC banner. Gyeongju City, along with the Republic of Korea, is hosting the WAGC in this scenic resort in the Bomun Lake resort area. In the back of the room, professional Hyun Wook Lee (at right in bottom right photo) played a 10-on-1 simul while Ms. Yun Jin Bae gave some three dozen avid youngsters a go lecture. After an opening ceremony and banquet on Saturday night, the tournament will begin Sunday and run through Wednesday, with games scheduled each morning and afternoon. The E-Journal and Ranka are teaming up again this year to provide full coverage of the WAGC, including updates on each round, player interviews, game commentaries, photos and final daily results at the end of each day.
- report/photos by Chris Garlock

Your Move/Readers Write: Impressive Ge; Looking for Spanish Go News

Wednesday July 2, 2014

Impressive Ge:  “7 Dan is impressive,” writes Chris Uzal about our profile of Canada’s Yongfei Ge (2014 WAGC Player Profiles: Americas & Oceania 6/29 EJ). “Playing go in the womb is even more impressive: ‘Yongfei Ge 7D is a 30-year-old software architect from Scarborough. He’s been playing for 30 years…’”
That would be impressive indeed! In fact, Ge is 45 and has been playing since he was 15.

Looking for Spanish Go News: Uzal also asks “Where can I find go news in Spanish? I work for a local Spanish newspaper. I have enough influence to get go stories published. I’d like to see more on the Latin American players.”
Send your tips on where to find go news in Spanish to us at journal@usgo.org and we’ll pass it along.

2014 WAGC Player Profiles: Americas & Oceania

Sunday June 29, 2014

Last of a series of profiles of players in the 35th World Amateur Go Championships, which will be held July 4-11 in Gyeongju, Korea. Fifty-seven players from a like number of countries and territories are scheduled to make the trip to Korea to compete in the four-day, eight-round Swiss system. Many will be veterans of previous tournaments held in Japan and China, some drawn back to WAGC competition after a long absence, perhaps by the chance to be part of the first WAGC held in Korea. As usual, the largest contingent will come from Europe (30 players) and the youngest from the Far East (15 players, including an 11-year-old fromIndonesia). Click here for Ranka’s June 24 WAGC preview.

Americas
Argentina: Haroldo Brown 3k (right) is a 54-year-old development consultant from Buenos Aires. Career accomplishments Include “17 years of working with an outstanding humanitarian organisation (Oxfam) and at least 15 years in the theatre world.” His favorite thing about go is “The different paths one goes down in each game and, of course, the chance to meet people from many walks of life.” Hobbies include screenwriting. He’s not married, but says he “’adopted’ three daughters while I lived in Nicaragua.” He adds that “Go keeps my mind thinking strategically and this includes analysing with an open mind the different alternatives paths I can take in the face of whatever challenges come my way… And this has proved most useful in my development work as well as in the screenwriting world.”

Canada: Yongfei Ge 7D is a 45-year-old software architect from Scarborough. He’s been playing for 30 years, winning the Canada Open Championship in 2007, and the US Open Championship in 2001, 2007 and 2011. His favorite thing about go is to “Win after hard fight.” Hobbies include PC games, novels and running. Career highlights include the Horizontal Award, “signed by Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft.” He’s married, with one daughter.

Costa Rica: Enrique Boza Araya 7k is a 52-year-old systems engineer in San Jose. He’s been playing go for 11 years and says his favorite thing about the game is “The depth of the game despite its simple rules.” His hobbies include strategy games – he’s a 5-time champion at the Banco Central de Costa Rica’s annual tournament — writing fantasy stories, and movies.

Mexico: Ricardo Quintero Zazueta 5D is a 63-year-old mathematician and full time researcher at Cinvestav  in México City. He’s been playing go for more than 40 years and has been Mexican champion eight times. His favorite thing about go is “Making lasting friendships through go and the depth of the game itself.” His hobbies include Kendo. He’s married, with three children.

United States: Jie Liang 7D is a 43-year-old software engineer from Nashua, New Hampshire. Working with the same company for over 16 years, he says “I am doing well in the work so I have spare time to play go.” He’s been playing for 30 years, won 4th place in the 2010 KPMC and says his favorite things about go are “comfortable, brain game, concentration, competitive, friendship.” Hobbies include photography and fishing. He’s married, with “one 2-year old lovely boy, full of energy who likes placing stones on board in some patterns.” He adds that “I can still find great interest in playing go. Also I try to improve my games through online resources. There are some strong young players and Europeans are getting better too. I hope I will have better luck this time in the WAGC.”
Missing: Brazil (probably too busy with the World Cup!).

Oceania
Australia: Sang-Dae Hahn 7D is a retired professor who just turned 73 and lives in Sydney. He’s been playing go for 48 years, and is a 12-time Australian Champion (1978~1993) and won the 2012 Korean Ambassador’s Cup. His favorite thing about go is “creating my own aesthetic world” and his hobbies include “singing, traveling, and people.” Career highlights include teaching at Yon-sei Uni, Sydney Uni, Myongji Uni and 10 times Singing Recital. He’s married, with one child.
Missing: New Zealand

Africa: missing Madagascar & South Africa

2014 WAGC Player Profiles: Europe (Part 2)

Friday June 27, 2014

Third in a series of profiles of players in the 35th World Amateur Go Championships, which will be held July 4-11 in Gyeongju, Korea.

Germany: Bernd Radmacher 4D (left), 42, lives in Meerbusch (near Düsseldorf, Cologne) where he’s “just looking after my children at the moment.” He’s been playing go for 25 years, placing second in the 2013 German Championship, and played in the 2008 WMSG amateur tournament in Beijing. He likes go’s “creativity and beauty, creating shapes on the board” and the game’s “magic, even for pros, who study it all their lives. It has surprises in every game.” Hobbies include other board games, and playing piano. Married, he has one daughter (18), and two sons (16, now 2-dan, and 13). 

Luxemburg:
Andreas Goetzfried 4D (right) is a 24-year-old student in the capital city of Luxemburg. He’s been playing for 10 years and like go because of “Its rather simple rules compared to its very complex structure.”

Netherlands: Merlijn Kuin 6D (left) is a 32-year-old Program Manager/Project Leader in Amsterdam who’s been playing go since he was 15. He’s been Dutch Go Champion “many times” and was part of the 2011 European Team Champion team. His favorite thing about go is that “It’s near infinite possibilities allows one to be creative and come up with new and surprising high level strategies to slowly but inexorably move towards control of the game and then give the game away during byo-yomi endgame.” He suggests “reinstat(ing) decent thinking time in the WAGC or should we change the name to WA Rapid GC?” His hobbies include reading, studying go strategy or teaching go and playing other strategy games and he enjoys “Teasing people in a hopefully fun way (for example by filling out online forms unconventionally)” In response to our query about non-go accomplishments he said “I’ve got a job. How much time do you guys think I have, next to becoming and staying 6d?”

Norway: Oeystein Vestgaarden 2D (right) is a 35-year-old project manager for digital learning software in Oslo. He won the Oslo Open in 2012 and 2013 and was the Norwegian participant in the 28th WAGC in 2007 and the 31st WAGC in 2010. He’s been playing since he was 19 and likes “The simplicity of the rules combined with being infinitely difficult to master. Go has a certain beauty that no other board games can match. On the more practical side, I like that the game is equally enjoyable in both silent ‘study-like’ environments and more relaxed environments like a café or pub.” For hobbies, “I sing in a choir, play the bass in a band, play football, indoor climbing, reading, mountain hiking.” Other accomplishments include working as an editor in a publishing company for seven years.

Poland: Stanisław Frejlak 4D (left) is an 18-year-old student in Warsaw. He’s been playing since the age of 6 and was Polish Youth Go Champion Under 16 in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2011, Under 18 champion in 2010 and Polish Go Champion in 2012. “My favorite thing in go is the exciting fights between big groups on which a game’s result depends.” Hobbies include maths and he was Laureate of Polish Mathematical Olympiad (2013, 2014) and took 3rd place with the Polish Team on “The Baltic Way mathematical contest” (2013).

Romania: Lucian Corlan 5D (right) says go is “A many-splendored thing.” His hobbies include reading, basketball and tennis. The 34-year-old software engineer hails from Bucuresti.

Serbia: Nikola Mitic 6D (left) is a 22-year-old student from Nis. He won the 2013 Serbian Championship and the 2014 Serbian Cup. He started playing at the age of 6 and likes “Fighting on the board, meeting people off the board.” Hobbies include reading, basketball, football, and video games.

Slovakia: Peter Jadron 4D (right) is a 33-year-old psychiatrist who currently lives in Karlstadt, Germany. He’s been playing for about 20 years and was the Slovakian Champion in 2008. “I like the fact, that only a well balanced combination of intuition, creativity, flexibility, knowledge and deep reading leads to success in the game of go,” he says. He’s married and has two children. Hobbies include cycling, nature, photography, classical music, composing and medicine.

Slovenia: Timotej Suc 3D (left) is a 30-year-old EM physician in Ljubljana. “I like complex battles,” he says, adding that “Because of go I have traveled many places in Europe and also elsewhere.” He’s been playing for 15 years and achievements include 1st place in the 50th Ljubljana Open in 2011, Slovenian team champion with the Ljubljana Go club  from 2005-2013,  Balkan student champion in 2007,  1st place in the 2005 Rijeka Open, 2nd place in the Slovenian championship in 2008 and 2012, and  3rd place in the Slovenian championship in 2010,’11 and ’13. He’s married and has three children (5y, 3y, 6m) and his hobbies include playing football.

Spain: Pau Carles 3D (right) is a 37-year-old salesman from Barcelona. Winner of the Spanish Go Championship in 2008, his favorite thing about go is “The friendship environment.”

Switzerland: Sylvain Praz 1k (left) is a 27-year-old history student who lives in Lausanne. He’s been playing go five years and his hobbies include reading, seeing friends and having a drink. His favorite thing about go is “When, during a game, anything else stops existing.”

Ukraine: Bogdan Zhurakovskyi 5D is a 26-year-old data analyst from Kyiv who holds a Phd in Statistics. He’s been playing since he was 11, and was the 2005 European youth vice-champion the 2008 Ukrainian champion and 2014 Ukrainian vice-champion. His favorite thing about the game is its “Mix of complexity and simplicity.”

United Kingdom (England): Francis Roads 1D (though he notes “formerly 4 dan”) is a Retired Music Education Advisor who lives in London. Roads (left) learned to play at 22, has been playing for 49 years and his titles are “Too many to count.” His favorite thing about go is “The people that you meet.” Hobbies include West Gallery Church Music and he currently serves as Honorary Secretary of the West Gallery Music Association, and Music Director of London Gallery Quire. He retired as Head of Music Curriculum Support for Essex County Council. “My selection as British representative to the 2014 WAGC results from the points system in our Challengers League, which rewards persistence as well as competence,” he notes.

Missing (we hope to include in a future edition): Azerbaijan, Denmark, Portugal, Russia, Sweden.