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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.

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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.

 

 

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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

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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

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China and Korea Evenly Pegged After LG Cup Round of 16

Thursday June 12, 2014

After one brief day to lounge by the pool, it was back to business on June 11 for the winners of 19th LG Cup’s round of 32 (19th LG Cup gets serious – Round of 32 6/9 Go Game Guru). Three of the pairs had only played each other once before and two of the games repeated the previous result.

Korea’s current top ranked pro, Park Junghwan 9p (right), replicated his win earlier this year (in the Chunlan Cup) against Tang Weixing 9p. Meanwhile, Kim Jiseok 9p defeated Li Zhe 6p, to make it 2-0. However, Fan Tingyu 9p (left) reversed his Nongshim Cup result from last year, defeating Kang Dongyun 9p by resignation. Choi Cheolhan 9p managed to avoid his natural enemy, Chen Yaoye 9p (who defeated Shi Yue9p). However his record against Xie He 9p is also less than impressive at 1 win and 5 losses. Much to the delight of the many Korean pros who came to support their countrymen, Choi won his game against Xie. Two other pairs had never met previously. Tuo Jiaxi 9p proved too strong for Byun Sangil 3p and Park Younghun 9p defeated An Dongxu 5p. The remaining match up between two Chinese youngsters saw the more experienced Xie Erhao 2p emerge as the winner over Ding Shixiong 1p.  There will now be a long break in the tournament schedule. The quarter finals and semifinals will be played on November 17 and 19, 2014.

Gu Li 9p was a notable absence in this year’s main draw. Unfortunately for Gu’s fans, he was defeated by An Kukhyun 4p in the final round of this year’s preliminary tournament. The LG Cup is a major international go tournament. It started in 1996 and the prize money is currently 300 million Won (about $300,000 USD). The runner up receives 100 million Won (about $100,000 USD). The main draw of 32 players is part invitational, comprising of five Korean players, five Chinese players, four Japanese players, one Taiwanese player and including the previous year’s winner and runner up. The tournament is sponsored by LG Electronics, a multinational consumer electronics company whose headquarters are in South Korea.
- Based on a report on Go Game Guru, where you’ll find more photos and game records. 

 

 

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Categories: Korea
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Ali Jabarin Wins Amsterdam International; Historic Euro-Korean Go Battle Remembered

Sunday June 8, 2014

Ali Jabarin 6d of Israel took the 2014 Amsterdam International Go Tournament main, centerpiece of Amsterdam Go Together 2014, with five wins out of six. It was played Friday May 30 – Sunday June 1 at the European Go Cultural Centre (EGCC), Amstelveen in the Netherlands (Holland) and Jabarin was only beaten by Zhao Baolong 2p of China who won all six rounds but, as a professional, took part out-of-competition. In second-equal place, with four wins each, came Pavol Lisy 7d of Slovakia, Yong-Su Yu 7d of Korea (pictured), Christian Pop 7d of Romania, Kim Paolo 7d of Korea and Csaba Mérő 6d of Hungary. Click here for full results, and here to connect with the EGCC’s Facebook account for more photos.

Pavol Lisy had also qualified as a pro the day before the main tournament after winning Stage 2 of the 1st Euro Pro Qualification (see Pavol Lisy First European Pro,- EJ, 7/1), a competition in which all the Europeans mentioned above have been participants, and for which Zhao has been professional coach, along with compatriot Li Ting 1p. Lisy’s new status will not, however, come into effect until August 1. Jabarin – along with Mateusz Surma 6d of Poland, Lukáš Podpera 6d of Czechia and Cornel Burzo 6d of Romania – is also still in the running to gain professional status by winning two further knockout rounds at Vienna on June 20.

Former Korean Amateur Champion Yong-Su Yu was a special guest at the event and well-known to the veterans there, as during the eighties he lived in the Cologne area in Germany and won the Amsterdam International every year from 1985-89. “I cannot [be] very content with the result in this Amsterdam go tournament,” he said, “but it’s not very bad. The top players in Europe are much stronger than I thought.” He also praised the hospitality he and his group, led by best friend Kim Paolo, had received and said, “Everyone in the Dutch Go Association [Federation] was so kind to us”.

In 1985 Yong-Su demonstrated the superiority of Korean amateurs in that era when he played a celebrated nine-game match, winning 7-2, against then Dutch and European Champion Ronald Schlemper 7d, a go prodigy who had come to dominate the game in Holland and who had won the European Championship twice already at that point (and has three times in all). The match, which featured games in the three Dutch towns of Leeuwarden, Arnhem and Tilburg, was sponsored by Dutch insurance company Interpolis, who published a book about it at the time, with game analysis by other Dutch amateurs.

Now one of Yong-Su’s party, Lee Kwang-Ku 3d, who is a journalist for Korean-language weekly Ilyo Shinmun and author of a three-volume book on modern Korean go, is also planning to write a book about the match with Korean professional commentary on at least some of the games. Schlemper, who these days lives in Japan, will be interviewed for the book too, which it is hoped will also be produced in an English-language edition. Photographer and sometime board member of the Dutch Go Federation Harry van der Krogt, now Financial Director of the EGCC, was the initiator of the match and following the Amsterdam tournament he has – by way of research for the book – traveled with Yong-Su, Kim and Lee to Arnhem to revisit the Hotel Groot Warnsborn (right), the only one of the match locations still standing. He told the E-Journal the hotel and surrounding park “made a great impression on me in 1985 [...] and now in 2014 it has not lost any of its charm“. It was also Yong-Su’s favourite location of the three: “Arnhem was the best place from three because maybe……..I could have a good time with Dutch go players…….drink….chatter. I could win all three games…..”.

Report by Tony Collman; photos by Harry van der Krogt: (from top) Yong-Su Yu at the Amsterdam International 2014; playing in the 9-game match with Schlemper in 1985; (L-R) Lee Kwang-Ku, Yong-Su Yu, Kim Paolo at the Hotel Groot Warnsborn.

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Dramatic Korean Go Movie Due Out in July

Sunday June 1, 2014

Professional go player Tae-seok loses his brother to infamous underground gambler Sal-soo after losing a high-stakes game in The Divine Move (AKA The Immortal Move) a new Korean film due out next month. Framed for the murder of his own brother and locked up in prison, Tae-seok (Jung Woo-Sung) vows revenge and trains ferociously in Jo Beom-gu’s action-packed drama. After serving his seven-year sentence, Tae-seok gets in touch with his brother’s former associate Tricks, hermit and blind master player Jesus and skillful junkyard owner Mok-su (Ahn Kil-Kang), and begins formulating a plan to get back at Sal-soo (Lee Beom-Soo) and his men. Slowly penetrating Sal-soo’s inner circle and his gambling joint, Tae-seok eliminates Sal-soo’s men one by one. But when Sal-soo discovers Tae-seok’s true identity, one final game will seal the fates of the two men. According to one source, the film’s literal title “Shinui Hansoo” (“God’s One Move”) “refers to a winning move in the board game of ‘Baduk’ (known in the West as ‘Go’), when the opponent is unable to counter and loses.” No info yet on US release plans.
Thanks to David Doshay for passing this along.

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Categories: Go Spotting,Korea
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Lee Sedol Retirement Plans Apparently On Hold

Thursday May 29, 2014

Lee Sedol 9P’s plans to retire from competitive play and move to the US may not be quite as firm as they seemed last year (In Shocker, Lee Sedol Announces Retirement; May Move to U.S. 2/13/2013).

“One year later, it seems that Lee’s plans are less definite than we originally thought,” Go Game Guru’s David Ormerod reported on May 29. In 2013, according to Ormerod, Lee (at right, with Gu Li) was involved in projects like Go9Dan.com and was missing his daughter, who was studying in Canada. He started to seriously talk about retiring again at that time.

“Unfortunately, Go9Dan didn’t work out as planned, which affected Lee’s other plans,” Ormerod reported. “On a more positive note, the long mooted jubango between Lee Sedol and Gu Li finally became a reality and our source believes this has rekindled Lee’s passion for go. Because of this, Lee has stopped talking about retiring and doesn’t appear to have any plans to do so in the near future.” Lee now leads 3-2 in the jubango.

“If there’s no imminent plan for retirement, then that’s mostly good news for go fans, because we’ll be able to enjoy more of Lee’s spectacular games in the meantime,” Ormerod concludes. “In the long run, Lee will surely do whatever he thinks is best for his family. And North American go players can keep their fingers crossed.”
- based on Ormerod’s longer report on the GGG site.

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Categories: Korea,World
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The Power Report: Yuki takes Judan Title, Reducing Iyama to Quintuple Crown; Korea Wins Huading Cup After 3-Way Tie

Monday April 29, 2013

by John Power,  Japan Correspondent for the American Go E-Journal

Yuki takes Judan Title, Reducing Iyama to Quintuple Crown: Challenger Yuki Satoshi 9P put an end to Iyama Yuta’s reign as a sextuple titleholder on April 26 when he won the final game of the 51st Judan title match, which was played at the headquarters of the Kansai Ki-in. Taking white, Yuki won by 1.5 points after 261 moves to win his second top-seven title. Yuki took the lead in the middle game and thereafter, thanks to accurate play, managed to fend off Iyama’s attempts to catch up. Yuki is the fourth Kansai Ki-in player to win the Judan title. He has now won 11 titles, but nine of these are fast-go titles; his only previous top-seven title was the 36th Tengen title, which he won in 2010.

In March, Iyama became the first player ever to hold six of the top-seven titles simultaneously, and there was a lot of speculation about his chances of monopolizing all seven by winning the Meijin title later this year. That prospect has now been ruled out after his reign as a sextuple titleholder ended after just 43 days. To have a second crack at this goal, Iyama will have to hang on to his other titles, then regain the Judan title next year, while also picking up the Meijin title this year or next year.

As with the fourth game, all the interest of the press focused on Iyama at the end of the game, with photographers snapping him, not the winner. The report the next day in the Yomiuri newspaper, for example, featured a photo of Iyama with the headline ‘Iyama reduced to five crowns.’ Yuki probably was philosophical about this; after all, he had the title, and his career had reached a new peak at the ‘advanced’ age, for tournament go, of 41.

Korea Wins Huading Cup After 3-Way Tie: The Huading Tea Industries Cup World Women’s Team Tournament is a tournament for three-player teams from the four East Asian countries with professional go organizations. Last year, in the tournament’s first edition. it was dominated by Korea, which didn’t lose a game, but this year China, Korea, and Japan fought their way to a three-way tie, with each country winning two matches and losing one. Last place was filled by Chinese Taipei, which failed to win a match but did pick up an individual win, one more than last year. The first tie-breaker is the number of games won. Japan had five wins, compared to six each for China and Korea, so it took third place. The second tie-breaker is the results of the players on the top board, but here, too, China and Korea were tied, so the organizers had to resort to the third tie-breaker, the results on the second board. Here the Korean player had one more win, so that gave Korea the championship for the second time running. photo: Xie playing Hei (Joanne Missingham) of Chinese Taipei;  photo by sina.com

Results:
Round 1 (April 26): Japan 2, Taiwan 1: Xie Yimin (Hsieh I-min) 6P (B) defeated Hei Jiajia (Joanne Missingham) 6P by half a point; Okuda Aya 3P (W) lost to Su Shengfang 2P by resignation; Mukai Chiaki 5P (B) d. Zhang Zhengping 3P by resig.; China 2, Korea 1: Li He 5P (W) d. Pak Chi-eun 9P by 3.5 points; Tang Yi 2P (B) lost to Kim Mi-li 2P by resig; Wang Chenxing 5P (W) d. Kim Ch’ae-yeong 1P by resig.

Round 2 (April 27): Korea 2, Japan 1: Pak (B) d. Xie by resig.; Kim Mi-li (W) d. Okuda by resig.; Kim (B) lost to Mukai by resig.; China 3, Chinese Taipei 0: Li (B) d. Hei by resig.; Tang (W) d. Su by resig.; Wang (B) d. Zhang by resig.

Round 3 (April 28): Japan 2, China 1: Xie (B) d. Li by resig.; Okuda (W) lost to Tang by resig.; Mukai (B) d. Wang by half a point.; Korea 3, Chinese Taipei 0: Pak (W) d. Hei by resig.; Kim Mi-li (B) d. Su by resig.; Kim (W) d. Zhang by resig.

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