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The Power Report (3 of 3): Iyama defends Tengen title; Judan Best Four; Takao wins 3rd Over 40 Quick Go Tournament; Promotions/New Players

Sunday December 25, 2016

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal2016.12.25_42tengen4 Iyama de4ends

Iyama defends Tengen title: The third game of the 42nd Tengen title was held at the Munekata Yurix, a leisure complex, in Munekata City, Fukuoka Prefecture on December 1. After the challenger Ichiriki Ryo 7P leveled the series with a win in the second game (November 11), there was a gap of just under three weeks. Iyama (black) felt that he had fallen behind a little in the opening, so he decided to let Ichiriki build a moyo, his plan being to stake the game on living after invading it. The game was actually decided by hectic fighting in the centre. Ichiriki resigned after move 163.
The fourth game was played at the Hotel New Awaji in Sumoto City, Hyogo Prefecture on December 12. Taking white, Iyama (right) won by resignation after 188 moves. Facing a kadoban, Ichiriki played boldly, setting up a large moyo. Iyama tried to cut it down to size and the game was decided by a ko fight in the centre. Iyama gave up a group in return for winning the ko, but he secured the lead.
This is the last title match of the year, so Iyama ends the year with six out of the seven top titles. He will be just as busy next year defending his sextuple crown and he will be the favorite to become the Meijin challenger.

Judan Best Four: The semifinalists in the 55th Judan tournament have been decided. Yamashita Keigo 9P meets Yo Seiki 7P in one semifinal and Imamura Toshiya 9P plays Hane Naoki 9P in the other. Incidentally, Yo beat Ichiriki Ryo 7P in the quarterfinals.

2016.12.25_3over40 Takao leftTakao wins 3rd Over 40 Quick Go Tournament: This is a relatively new tournament for middle-aged professionals. It’s in its third year, but this could be my first report on it. As readers of this page will know, Takao Shinji (left) turned 40 during the Meijin title match; since he played in the tournament, the name should read “Over 39” or “40 and over,” but the Japanese name reads “Over 40 haya-go tonamento,” so this is not a mistranslation. The Nihon Ki-in likes the sound of “over 40,” although, presumably, aware of the inaccuracy. (“U20” is used in tournament names in the same way.) In the preliminary, the time allowance is ten seconds a move; according to Takao, this was quite an ordeal for him — not just playing but also pressing the clock within the time. He couldn’t help feelingly keenly how much he had slowed down in reading speed since his youth, though he still won his way through. In the main tournament, the NHK format is followed (30 seconds per move plus 10 minutes thinking time in one-minute units).
The semifinals and final were held at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo on December 6. In the final, Takao (B) beat Kato Atsushi 9P by resignation after 121 moves. This was the first time a current titleholder played in the tournament. First prize is 500,000 yen (close to $43,000).

Promotions
To 8-dan: Kanazawa Hideo (150 wins, as of Dec. 2)
To 3-dan: Onishi Kenya (40 wins; as of Nov. 25)

New professionals2016.12.25_powers-mrs-taki-IMG_9774
The winter qualifying tournament for professional 1-dan was completed on Nov. 19. The top two players in the 16-player Swiss System tournament were Shibano Ryunosuke (aged 19) and Seki Kotaro (aged 15). Shibano is the older brother of Shibano Toramaru 3-dan (aged 15), who has already attracted a lot of attention since becoming a pro in summer last year. Ryunosuke was an insei like Toramaru, but ran into the age limit two years ago. This year he entered university and intended to give up his professional ambitions if he failed this time. Last year he became the youngest player to win the Amateur Honinbo tournament; he took first place in the qualifying tournament with a score of 12-3 (he lost his first three games), so he can finally set about trying to catch up with his younger brother.

Bonus: Power Pictured: “I had someone on Facebook ask if we could get a picture of John Power to include in the report some day,” writes Steve Colburn. “They’re interested to see who does Japanese reporting for us.” photo: John Power with Pair Go’s Mrs Taki at the 2016 Pair Go World Cup in July 2016; photo by Chris Garlock

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The Power Report (2 of 3): Nyu to challenge for Women’s Kisei; Ke Jie wins Agon Kiriyama Cup play-off; 72nd Honinbo League; 42nd Meijin League; Women’s Meijin League

Saturday December 24, 2016

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal2016.12.24_Nyu left, O Meien

Nyu to challenge for Women’s Kisei: The play-off to decide the challenger to Xie Yimin for the 20th Women’s Kisei title was held on December 8. Two relative newcomers to professional go were facing off in the final: Nyu Eiko 1P (aged 17, at left) and Miyamoto Chiharu 1P (aged 22). Whoever won would be making her first challenge for a title and would also be the first 1-dan to do so in this tournament. Taking black, Nyu won by 5.5 points. Nyu became a professional last year and is a disciple of Michael Redmond 9P. The title match will start on January 19.

2016.12.24_Ke wins AgonKe Jie wins Agon Kiriyama Cup play-off: The 18th Agon Kiriyama Cup Japan-China Play-off was held at the Kyoto headquarters of the Agon sect in Kyoto (below right) on December 11. Representing China, Ke Jie 9P (W) beat Kono Rin by resignation after 150 moves. Kono started off badly in the opening, but Ke (left) made what he himself called “a simple oversight” that allowed Kono to put one of his groups into ko. However, Kono failed to take enough compensation for ceding the ko to Ke. This is Ke’s second victory and his country’s 13th in this play-off.2016.12.24_JC Agon venue
At the award ceremony, representatives of both countries paid tribute to the contribution of the late Kiriyama Seiyu, head of the Agon sect until his death on August 29, to developing go and to promoting Chinese-Japanese friendship.

72nd Honinbo League: Hane Naoki, on 3-0, has the provisional lead; the other undefeated player is Cho U, on 2-0. It already looks unlikely that Takao Shinji, on 0-3, will repeat as challenger.
Recent results:
(Nov. 14) Motoki Katsuya 7P (B) beat Takao Shinji Meijin by resig.
(Nov. 21) Hane Naoki 9P (W) beat Yuki Satoshi 9P by resig.
(Dec. 1) Hane (B) beat Motoki Katsuya 7P by resig.
(Dec. 8) Yamashita Keigo 9P (W) beat Mitani Tetsuya 7P by half a point.
(Dec. 15) Yuki Satoshi 9P (B) beat Takao Shinji Meijin by resig.

42nd Meijin League: The new Meijin league is a strong one, with three members of the quartet known as “the four Deva Kings,” that is, the top four (of the first decade of the 21st century). They are Yamashita Keigo, Cho U, and Hane Naoki. Takao Shinji is missing because he holds the title. That means that Iyama Yuta is back in the league after a gap of four years. He commented that he welcomed the chance to test himself against top competition in the league. The first round was completed in December.
(Dec. 5) Ko Iso 8P (W) beat Yo Seiki 7P by resig.; Iyama Yuta Kisei (W) beat Sakai Hideyuki 8P by resig.
(Dec. 15) Kono Rin (B) beat Cho U by 2.5 points; Murakawa Daisuke 8P (W) beat Yamashita Keigo by 3.5 points.
Women’s Meijin League: With one game to go, Fujisawa Rina keeps the sole lead in the 29th Women’s Meijin League with a perfect score. Okuda Aya, on 4-1, is the only other player in contention if she stumbles. If Fujisawa loses her final game and Okuda wins, the latter will be the challenger, as she is ranked higher.
Recent results:
(Nov. 16) Okuda Aya 3P (W) beat Sakakibara Fumiko 6P by resig.
(Dec. 1) Aoki Kikuyo 8P (W) beat Kato Keiko 6P by resig. This win ensured that Aoki kept her seat in the league.
(Dec. 8) Okuda Aya 3P (W) beat Ishii Akane 2P by resig.

Tomorrow: Iyama defends Tengen title; Judan Best Four; Takao wins 3rd Over 40 Quick Go Tournament; Promotions/New Players

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The Power Report (1 of 3): Kono to challenge for Kisei; Ida wins first Crown title; Iyama defends Oza title; Ichiriki wins Young Carp

Friday December 23, 2016

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal2016.12.23_41Kisei challenger Kono Rin

Kono to challenge for Kisei: The second game of the play-off to decide the 41st Kisei challenger was held at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo on November 14. Taking white, Kono Rin 9P (right) beat Cho U 9P by 1.5 points, so he will make his first challenge for the Kisei title.
Kono has won nine titles, but the Tengen is the only top-seven title he has held, though that was for three years in a row. This is only his second big-three challenge; he lost the 39th Meijin title match to Iyama 2-4 in 2014. He will turn 36 on January 7, just before the title match starts on January 14.

Ida wins first Crown title: The Crown (Okan) title is restricted to members of the Central Japan branch of the Nihon Ki-in in Nagoya. This year it was held on November 14. Playing black, Ida Atsushi 8P beat the defending title holder Hane Naoki by resig. Surprisingly, the 22-year-old Ida is the first player younger than Hane (40) to win the title. It is his third title: he has also won the Judan and the NHK cup. Hane’s winning run as Okan ended at five terms. First prize is 1,700,000 yen (about $14,500).

2016.12.23_64oza3 Iyama defendsIyama defends Oza title: The third game of the 64th Oza title match was held at the Saryo Soen, an entertainment complex, in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture on November 18. Yo Seiki (or Yu Zhengqi), the challenger, played well with black, but the severity of his attack was exceeded by the power of Iyama’s “shinogi” (rescuing a group). Yo resigned after 122 moves. Iyama (left) succeeded in defending his title with three successive wins, so he came through his first major test since his loss of the Meijin title. This maintained his sextuple crown and gave h2016.12.23_Ichiriki Young Carpim his 39th title, putting him in equal 6th place with Cho U.
Despite the 3-0 score, the series was far from one-sided. Iyama: “There were scenes in which both the first and second games became definite losses for me.”

Ichiriki wins Young Carp: The main tournament in the 11th Hiroshima Aluminum Cup Young Carp Tournament was held at the Central Japan Newspaper Building in Hiroshima on November 26 and 27. Ichiriki (right) was busy with his Tengen challenge, but he still had the energy to pick up this junior title. In the semifinals, Ichiriki beat Fujisawa Rina, Women’s Honinbo, and Motoki Katsuya 7P beat Oomote (pronounced oh-o-mo-te) Takuto. In the final, Ichiriki had white against Motoki and forced a resignation after 156 moves. First prize is 3,000,000 yen (about $25,600).

Tomorrow: Nyu to challenge for Women’s Kisei; Ke Jie wins Agon Kiriyama Cup play-off; 72nd Honinbo League; 42nd Meijin League; Women’s Meijin League

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Mark Your Calendar: 2017 Go Events

Monday December 19, 2016

European Go Congress 2017: The 2017 European Go Congress has been moved from Turkey to Sochi, Russia (Sochi). More details here.2016.12.17_aussie-congress

Australian Go Congress: The Australian Go Association, Sydney Go Club and Sydney University Go Club have announced that the 2017 Australian Go Congress – the third such Congress — will be held at Sydney University between September 28th and October 1st 2017. Further details will be released in the coming year.

2016.12.18_japan-congressCanadian Open 2017: After two years in eastern Canada, the Canadian Open is tentatively scheduled for Vancouver on the July 1st to 3rd weekend. Once the venue is confirmed the Canadian Go Association will post more details.

Osaka Go Camp/Japan Go Congress: The Kansai Kiin will host the 5th  annual Osaka Go Camp June 25th to July 13th, 2017. The second Japan Go Congress will be held from July 14th to 17th. Registration is now open; click here for details on both. This year more than 80 participated in the camp and 300 attended the congress.

US Go Congress:
And while we’re at it, just a reminder that the US Go Congress will be held August 5-8 in San Diego, California. Read the latest news here.

We love to hear about and promote go events around the world; send us details at journal@usgo.org

 

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Go Spotting: The Tokyo National Museum

Saturday December 10, 2016

by Erwin Gerstorfer2016.12.06_3Screen_IMG_2742A

A few weeks ago while in Tokyo I visited the Tokyo National Museum in Ueno. There I discovered three depictions of go, which was perhaps not surprising in this country with a long history of the game but nevertheless seemed quite a remarkable number for such a renowned art museum.

The first I spotted was a go scene from the Ranka story on a fan mounted on folding screens in the main building of the museum.

2016.12.06_6Kimono_IMG_2738AThen, in the next room I was amazed to find a go board in the embroidery of a kimono representing one of the Four Elegant Pastimes.

More than satisfied that I had found two go scenes, my go art day was complete when I came across one more — again on folding screens — when I went to the side building of the Horyuji Treasures.2016.12.06_10Horyuji_IMG_2760A

Due to the huge number of exhibits most visitors would probably not notice these go references, but after years of training myself to spot go in Japanese woodblock prints (Ukiyo-e) they just leapt out to me. If you too happen to visit Tokyo in the next months, try to discover them yourself, they are well worth a visit.
Erwin Gerstorfer is an avid collector of go literature and prints.

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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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Cho Chikun 9p defeats AI DeepZen 2-1; Michael Redmond’s Commentary

Saturday December 3, 2016

“Zen plays well in the opening and in open areas that are difficult even for top pros to judge,” says Michael Redmond 9P in his commentary on Game 3 in the recent Cho-DeepZen match, in which Cho bested the AI program. “It makes local mistakes, a problem that seems to be a characteristic weakness of the neural network system. It is playing at a pro level, and is approaching the strength of AlphaGo that we saw in March 2016. In Game 2 I saw some patterns that Zen has been playing for years, so it has not turned into a copy of AlphaGo, but has kept it’s original ‘style’.”

Michael’s game 3 commentary:

[link]

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Nihon Kiin Announces New World Championship Will Include AI Program DeepZenGo

Wednesday November 30, 2016

The Nihon Kiin on Tuesday announced a new World Championship tournament that will include top professional players 2016.11.30_iyama-41meijin7_10and a strong AI program, to be held in Osaka in March 2017. The tournament is sponsored by NTT Docomo, Mitsui Sumimoto, Daiwa Securities, Hankyu Inc. and Nikkei Inc., and is organized by the Nihon Kiin. With a top prize of \30M (about $270K) and runner-up prize of \10M, the tournament has one of the highest prize structures among go championships.

2016.11.30_deepzengoFrom March 20-24, three top players from Japan, China, and Korea will join DeepZenGo in a four-round round-robin tournament at Nihon Kiin’s Kansai branch office. Additional playoff will be held in case of ties.

Iyama Yuta (right) has been chosen as the Japanese representative. The ‘seven-crown champion’ who holds all the major Japanese pro titles, Iyama said that he was honored to be chosen and this would be the first time in a long while that he could play in an international tournament without conflicts with the tight domestic competition schedule. He promised to do his best to get good results for Japan. Chinese and Korean representatives will be determined soon.

DeepZenGo was chosen to represent AI. Hideki Kato, DeepZen’s author, expressed gratitude to the great effort and support of the organizers and promised that DeepZenGo would work hard to improve in the next few month to achieve a good result in the tournament.
- Thomas Hsiang

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Deep Zen Go Wins Game 2; Final Game Tuesday Night

Sunday November 20, 2016

Deep Zen Go won Game 2 of the 3-game match with Cho Chikun 9P on November 20, evening the score at 1-1. “Cho played badly with White 2016.11.17_cho-deepzengoin the opening but invaded Black’s huge moyo later and had a chance to live and win the game,” Michael Redmond 9P tells the E-Journal. “With mistakes by both players in the final fight, Cho’s group died.” Watch for Redmond’s game highlights, which will be posted here when available.

The final and deciding game will start at 11p US Eastern Standard Time on Tuesday, November 22. Redmond and Antti Tormanen 1P will once again provide English commentary live online.

[link]

 

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Cho defeats Deep Zen Go; Game 2 Tonight at 11

Saturday November 19, 2016

The legendary Cho Chikun 9P defeated Deep Zen Go in the first game of their 3-game match. “Zen played a pro level opening2016.11.17_cho-deepzengo and middle game, but lost in the endgame,” says Michael Redmond 9P in his game commentary for the E-Journal. (See below; click here for his AlphaGo commentaries) The program resigned after move 223. The match continues tonight, with live English commentary by Redmond and Antti Tormanen 1P on the NiCONiCO website (requires free registration). The Game 1 commentary drew 20,000 viewers, and Myungwan Kim 9P also provided commentary on the AGA’s YouTube channel. Zen is a strong go engine by Japanese programmer Yoji Ojima with cluster parallelism added by Hideki Kato. Cho Chikun 9P is sometimes referred as the 25th Honinbo, an honorific title given for winning the Honinbo title five consecutive times.

Cho Chikun 9P vs. Deep Zen Go:

[link]

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