American Go E-Journal » World Amateur Go Championships

WAGC Venue Exposes Go to Public Eye

Monday September 2, 2013

This year’s World Amateur Go Championship is being held in an interesting public venue, the the AER Building, the tallest building in Sendai. The 31-floor building houses retail stores, government offices and commercial business offices, so players — after passing a Starbucks, outside of which are tables for beginners to learn the game — take the escalators through a vertical mall — high-end clothing, jewelry and shoe outlets — to the fifth floor where there’s a game review area (photo at right), tables for pro simuls (at left), and the main playing area, where observers filter in to watch the action. One floor up is a large conference room which hosted a kid’s tournament on Saturday and an adult tournament on Sunday. All in all, there’s a bustling atmosphere at this year’s venue that brings the game of go into the public eye in an engaging way.
- Chris Garlock; photos by John Pinkerton

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WAGC Daily Recap: Monday, September 2

Monday September 2, 2013

After two days and four rounds at the 34th World Amateur Go Championship in Sendai, Japan, just four of the 62 players are undefeated: Yuqing Hu of China, Korea’s Hyunjae Choi, Kikou Emura of Japan and… Canada’s teenaged Bill Lin (at left in photo), who drew down in the fourth round but still faced a stiff challenge from Slovakia’s Pavol Lisy. Top players with 3-1 records include Chinese Taipei’s Shin-Wei Lin, Russia’s Ilya Shikshin, Artem Kachanovskyi of Ukraine, France’s Thomas Debarre, Csaba Mero of Hungary, the Netherlands’ Merlijn Kuin and Cornel Burzo of Romania. Curtis Tang of the U.S. is 2-2 after the tough draw of Chinese Taipei in the fourth round. Tuesday’s 5th-round pairings include China-Japan, Korea-Canada, France-Ukraine and U.S.-Singapore. Click here for full results; here for selected game records and here for the player roster. Four matches are broadcast each round on Pandanet and WBaduk.
- report Chris Garlock; photo: Lin (l) playing Nicola Mitic of Serbia in Round 3; photo by John Pinkerton

Ranka Online WAGC Highlights: Monday, September 2

Monday September 2, 2013

Rounds 3 and 4 Overview: Click here for James Davies’ in-depth reports on Round 3 and Round 4

Round 3: U.S. vs Korea: Good Fighting Spirit
U.S. player Curtis Tang (left) — one of only two players to earn the title of Redmond Meijin — shows good fighting spirit against Hyungjae Choi of Korea, one of the most formidable players in this tournament. Click here for the commentary.

Round 3: Hungary vs. China: Very short but interesting
“This is a very short but interesting game,” says commenter Michael Redmond 9P. “Hungary’s Csaba Mero (right) handles a challenge well and gets a fairly severe attack going on Yuging Hu of China, but at a critical point in the fight, an apparently natural move turns out to be a fatal mistake.” Click here for the commentary.

Every story has a beginning: Three WAGC participants — Andrés Aguilar (Ecuador, 1 dan, at right), Krzysztof Giedrojć (Poland, 4 dan) and Aleksandar Savchovski (Bulgaria, 1 dan) — explain how they started playing go. Click here  for John Richardson’s report.

Interview with Franz-Josef Dickhut: Germany’s representative talks about the new crop of strong young German players…click here for the full interview.

Interview with Pavol Lisy: Slovakia’s player explains how a childhood hobby of collecting beer caps led to playing go…click here for the interview.

Interview with Artem Kachanovskyi: The Ukrainian 6-dan reviews his game with Chinese Taipei and his recent return to serious game study…click here for the interview.

Interview with Suzanne D’Bel: The Malaysian player (left) — one of just two women in this year’s WAGC — explains ” why I like to play tengen openings.” Click here for the interview.

Interview with Andrew Kay: A chat with the British player (the 4d ‘Warfreak2′ on KGS), about his aggressive style and go philosophy. Click here for the interview.

Ranka Yearbook 1998: The 1998 Ranka Yearbook is now available in PDF format. Click here to download a copy.

- excerpted from reports in Ranka Online; this report compiled by Chris Garlock; photos by John Pinkerton

WAGC Daily Recap: Sunday, September 1

Sunday September 1, 2013

There were no surprises on the top boards on the first day of the 2013 World Amateur Go Championship, as strong players dominated weaker opponents in the early rounds. China’s Yuqing Hu, one of that country’s strongest amateurs, defeated Belgium’s Lucas Neirynck and Slovenia’s Janez Janza; Korea’s Hyunjae Choi beat Andrew Kay of the UK (right) and Curtis Tang of the US; Tapei’s Shin-Wei Lin defeated Thiago Sinji Shimada Ramos of Brazil and Artem Kachanovskyi of the Ukraine; Russia’s Ilya Shikshin beat Charlie Akerblom of Sweden and Suzanne D’Bel of Malaysia; Hong Kong’s King Man Kwan defeated Bertan Bilen of Turkey and Kikou Emura of Japan. Curtis Tang of the US defeated John Erickson Javier of the Philippines and lost to Korea, and Canada’s Bill Lin defeated Alexander Bukh of Kazakhstan and Aleksandar Savchovski of Bulgaria. In other results, France’s Thomas DeBarre defeated both Ireland’s James Hutchinson and Denmark’s Per Marquardsen, while Czechia’s Ondrej Silt lost to Singapore in the second round, after defeating Lithuania’s Vladas Zaleskas in Round 1. Click here for full results; here for selected game records and here for the player roster. Four matches are broadcast each round on Pandanet and WBaduk. Click here for Michael Redmond 9P’s commentaries on the Round 2 Finland-Colombia and Argentina-Israel games.
-Chris Garlock; photo by John Pinkerton; game commentaries by Michael Redmond 

WAGC Round 1 Games & An Interview with Alexandr Bukh of Kazakhstan

Sunday September 1, 2013

In these first-round games, very strong players make short work of their

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 weaker opponents. Curtis Tang 6D (US) needed just 100 moves to force a resignation from 4-kyu John Erickson Javier (Phillipines), while Alexandr Bukh 5k (Kazakhstan) didn’t last much longer against Bill Tianyu Lin 7D (Canada), resigning after 103 moves (click here for Michael Redmond’s game commentary). In his game commentaries, Michael Redmond 9P shows how the games were actually over much earlier. We’re also including the uncommented records for the Serbia-Nepal and India-Australia games.
Alexandr Bukh, Kazakhstan’s representative, has only been playing for about five years, and this is his country’s first appearance in the WAGC. “For as long as I can remember I have been captivated by Japanese culture,” he says, “both the new and the old, and this led me to discover the game of go. I spent some time working in a company importing used vehicles from Japan, and through this I had the chance to learn some Japanese.” His visit to Sendai for the WAGC is his first time in Japan. Back home, Bukh travels each week to the city of Karaganda to play at its go club, “which has roughly ten regular players,” and he’s met another twenty or so other players across the country. “Recently there has been a surge in interest in go,” Bukh said, which lead to Kazakhstan’s invitation to play in this year’s WAGC. “The most popular sports in Kazakhstan are ice hockey, soccer and martial arts,” said Bukh, “I hope go will soon become one of them.”
- Bukh interview by John Richardson; game commentary by Michael Redmond; edited by Chris Garlock

Ranka Online WAGC Highlights: Sunday, September 1

Sunday September 1, 2013

The 34th World Amateur Go Championship Begins: The 34th World Amateur Go Championship began with a rousing opening ceremony and reception at the Sendai International Hotel on the evening of August 31…click here for Ranka’s report.

Round 1: The first round was paired by the traditional WAGC method, which matches the middle half of the field (28 players this year) at random against the first and fourth quarters (14 players each)…click here for James Davies’ report.

Interview with Christopher Welsh (South Africa): “Go is not as popular in South Africa as it is in some European countries. We have perhaps a hundred registered players. Perhaps fifty of those are regular club and tournament players. There are some initiatives to bring go into the townships in South Africa, which are going encouraging well, but its difficult make these initiatives happen.” Click here for the full interview by James Davies.

Goodwill Event: For the players at the 2013 World Amateur Go Championship, the first official event was a Goodwill Event held on Saturday morning, August 31, at the AER complex in Sendai. Naturally, it was a go-playing event. The Championship contestants were paired against a group of local players of all ages…click here for the full report.
3rd World Amateur Go Championship: The program of the 3rd WAGC (1981) is now available in PDF file format: click here to download.
photos by Ivan Vigano 

 

Advice from Top Amateurs on How to Get Stronger

Saturday August 31, 2013

“Think for yourself, play your own game, and make your best effort.” That was the advice Kikou Emura (left) of Japan gave to amateur players who want to improve their game, in response to a question from E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock at the Saturday afternoon press conference at the World Amateur Go Championship. “You must love go,” said China’s Yuqing Hu (second from left), adding “and try hard.” Korea’s Hyunjae Choi (third from left) said that “Studying and playing a lot helps.” Ilya Shikshin (second from right) of Russia agreed that “you must love go and play a lot, but also I think you must never give up. There’s always another way to learn, even when you get frustrated.” And Malaysia’s Low Khin Su (right) said that “The important thing is to enjoy the game and always make an effort to improve.” The players also shared their favorite players. For Emura, it’s Fujisawa Shuko and Sonoda Yuichi; for Yu, Fujisawa Shuko; Choi’s favorite is Cho Chikun, Shikshin’s is Go Seigen and Su’s is Ohashi Hirofumi. In other comments, Shikshin said that “I know many in Europe are expecting a good performance from me, and I will do my best despite disappointing results at the European Go Congress earlier this month,” while 32-year-old Yuging Hu acknowledged that “the majority of strong Chinese players (are) in their 20s” and said that “This is all the more reason to take this competition seriously and work harder.”
- includes reporting by John Richardson; photo by John Pinkerton.

International Go Federation Celebrates Successful Year

Saturday August 31, 2013

The last year has been a very successful one for the International Go Federation, its leaders reported Saturday at the annual IGF General Meeting, held the day prior to the launch of the World Amateur Go Championship, this year in Sendai, Japan.

In addition to successful editions of the WAGC, World Student Oza, World Mind Sports Games, International Pair Go Championship and SportAccord Mind Sports Games, the IGF for the first time directly funded two new projects. The Central and South American Go Propagation Project resulted in 140 go workshops in Venezuela and the 1st International Go Symposium at the 2012 U.S. Go Congress generated tremendous participation from contributors around the world. IGF VP Thomas Hsiang called both efforts “A very good start.”

The IGF also enjoyed financial success in 2012-2013, thanks largely to major financial support from the China Ki-In for the 2012 WAGC and SAWMSG, reported Secretary-General Yuki Shigeno. Another exciting new event, the first Mlily Cup, came together quickly with support from a new sponsor, and although the late start precluded participation by western players this year, the IGF expressed hope that in the next edition there will be slots for players from both the U.S. and Europe.

The 24th annual International Pair Go Championships are coming up in November in Tokyo, and the 3rd edition of the SportAccord Mind Games will be December 12-18 in Beijing (and will be covered again this year by Ranka and the E-Journal). New countries participating in the 2013 WAGC are Brunei and Kazakhstan, and those players received warm welcomes from the IGF leadership and the assembled players.

The final bit of news is that the 2014 and 2015 editions of the WAGC have been confirmed for Korea, the 2014 location definitely in Seoul, with details to be announced at a later date.
- report by Chris Garlock; photos by John Pinkerton

Players Arrive at 34th World Amateur Go Championship

Friday August 30, 2013

Players in the 34th World Amateur Go Championship began arriving Friday in Sendai, Japan, registering at the Hotel Monte Hermana, where a playing room has been set up (and where some players, shrugging off their jetlag, immediately began playing go).

Saturday’s schedule is light, with a friendship match in the morning, followed by the International Go Federation’s General meeting in the afternoon, followed by a press conference and then the traditional opening ceremony and reception in the evening.

The 8-round tournament — with a field of 62 top amateur players from as many countries — begins Sunday and runs through Wednesday, with rounds each morning and afternoon. On Thursday, the players will tour the nearby area ravaged by the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami, before returning home. In cooperation with Ranka, the E-Journal will file daily reports on all the action, including tournament result updates, game commentaries, photos and daily recaps. Reports will first appear on the AGA’s website and then in the following day’s EJ.
- photos: left: US player Curtis Tang; top right: first games; bottom right: registering; report/photos by Chris Garlock 

EJ & Ranka Coverage of 34th WAGC To Start 9/1

Thursday August 29, 2013

China and Korea are favorites again this year to win the 34th edition of the World Amateur Go Championships, which will be held on September 1-4 in Sendai, Japan. Beginning September 1st,  Ranka Online and the American Go E-Journal will provide full daily coverage of the championship.

The field of 62 players from as many countries will range in age from 14 to 57 and in official rank from 7 kyu to 8 dan. Yuqing Hu will represent China and Hyunjae Choi is playing for Korea; those two countries have not dropped a single game to any other country in this event since 2006. The players from perennially strong Chinese Taipei, Japan, and Hong Kong (Wei-shin Lin, Kikou Emura, and King-man Kwan) will also bear watching, particularly 14-year-old Lin, who will move on from the World Amateur to a pro career in Taiwan.

These Asians will be challenged, however, by a strong European contingent, led by Slovakian prodigy Pavol Lisy, who finished runner-up to former Chinese pro Fan Hui in this year’s European Championship. Joining Pavol will be four other young finalists from the European Championship: Thomas Debarre (France), Ilya Shikshin (Russia), Artem Kachanovskyi (Ukraine), and Nikola Mitic (Serbia). Also competing will be such established European stars as Ondrej Silt (Czechia), Csaba Mero (Hungary), Cornel Burzo (Romania), Merlijn Kuin (Netherlands), and Franz-Josef Dickhut (Germany).

Challenging the Asians and Europeans will be a pair of North American students: Curtis Tang (US), a UC Berkeley student who trained for a year at a go academy in China, and Bill Lin (Canada), who played in the World Mind Games last December and is coming off a 3-1 defense of his Canadian Dragon title.

The Southern hemisphere will be represented by Hao-Song Sun (Australia, 11th place at the 2008 World Mind Sports Games), Xuqi Wu (New Zealand, 12th place at the 2009 Korea Prime Minister Cup), and a pack of hopeful new players from South America and South Africa.

In the past the World Amateur Go Championship has been held in the spring, but this year the schedule was moved back because of the effects of the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011. Thanks to support from all over the world during the past two years, most of the regions hit by the earthquake are now recovering. It is hoped that through the game of go this tournament will give the world proof of the recovery and encourage the local people to press ahead with the long recovery process.
- Ranka Online
NOTE: This report has been updated to reflect Curtis Tang’s status as a college student, not high school.