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Pair Go in Seattle

Sunday July 17, 2016

Pair Go Table One

The recent Pair Go World Cup in Japan prompted  your correspondent to post this photo from the May 15 Pair Go Games at the Seattle Go Center.  All 16 contestants were kyu players,  so the emphasis was on having fun, and trying to play turns in the correct order.  The intermission featured oolong tea from Taiwan, presented by Huei-Ling Shiang.  Table 2 winners were Lucy Wang and Bryan Newbold.  Table 1 winners were Brian Allen and Deborah Niedermeyer.  The Seattle Go Center is planning a gala Holiday Pair Go Tournament for December of this year.  Photo: Table 1.  Photo and Report by Brian Allen

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Chiu, Yang Sweep Redmond Prelims

Monday July 11, 2016

jeremy_chiuJeremy Chiu 6d and Luoyi Yang 4d swept the preliminaries of the 2016 Redmond Cup, beating out last year’s champions Albert Yen 7d and Ary Cheng 4d. However, both defending champions will have a chance for revenge in the finals.  All four youth have won a free trip to congress to compete in person.

The Senior Division featured a field of 16 players under the age of 18, including five former Redmond Cup Finalists.  Chiu 6d, age 14, seeded fourth by rating, displayed his power by sweeping the competition, including last year’s champion Yen, and 4-time Redmond Cup champion Aaron Ye 7d. This will be Chiu’s second appearance in the Redmond Cup Finals since 2014. “The preliminaries were very tough and I faced many strong opponents,” Chiu told the E-J, “however, I think I played quite well, and fortunately, I was able to come out on top.”

The battle for the second coveted spot in the finals came down to defending champion Yen, and newcomer Muzhen (Alan) Ai 7d, both boys are 16 years old. Yen came out on top, ending with a 5-1 record and losing only to Chiu. “I am very happy to make the finals again, and I hope to continue my strong performance from last year,” Yen told the EJ.

luoyi_yangThe Junior Division featured seven budding dan players all below the age of 13, including both of last year’s finalists, Ary Cheng 4d, age 10, and Raymond Feng 2d, age 12. However, newcomer Luoyi Yang 4d, age 12, of Canada came out firing, sweeping the competition. The race for second place was much tighter, and a bit over halfway through the tournament, it seemed that defending champion Ary Cheng would be the likely candidate to make the finals with a 3-1 record. However, nine-year old Matthew Cheng 2d (not related to Ary) upset the defending champion and won the rest of his games to take second place by one SODOS point. Because Matthew is also this year’s Junior representative for the World Youth Go Championships, which occurs the same time as the Redmond Cup Finals, he chose to give up his spot in the finals, and Ary Cheng will have the chance to defend his title.

The Redmond Cup Finals is a best-of-3 match that will occur at the US Go Congress this year, complete with KGS broadcasts and live video commentary by pros. The matches will occur on 7/31, 8/2, and 8/4 (if necessary) at 3 pm EDT. Stay tuned for more detailed player profiles about this year’s finalists. - Story by Justin Teng, photos courtesy Jeremy Chiu (l) and Luoyi Yang (r).

 

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Beginner at 80, Still Playing at 90

Sunday July 10, 2016

Yuriko at TournamentYuriko Miyake came later than usual to the Seattle Go Center on Tuesday, June 21, because it was her birthday — her 90th.  Yuriko also came late to playing go — she only started playing about 10 years ago.  She first started by playing Pair Go with her husband Kinju Miyake, one of the founding directors of the Seattle Go Center.   After her husband died in 2008, she became more serious about go, both as a mental discipline and as a way to keep in touch with go playing friends.  She is now a regular on Tuesday afternoons, where she plays with a group that mostly speaks Japanese, but also includes players whose first language is English or French.

A calm and resourceful woman, Yuriko moved with her husband and family from Sapporo, Japan to Sitka, Alaska in 1957, two years before Alaska statehood. Her husband Kinju was a forester for Alaska Lumber and Pulp. They later moved to Oregon, and then retired to the Seattle area.  She is now a double digit kyu player who is within handicapping range of many of the Go Center players.  She also plays teaching games with beginners, giving them nine stones. She studies go books, and comes to many of the Center’s tournaments.  A reliable volunteer, she helps keep the Go Center organized, and helps at outreach events such as the Center’s table at the Bon Odori festival.  We are very proud of Yuriko, and think she is an excellent example for our younger beginners who are only 60 or 70 years old.
Report and photo by Brian Allen, Seattle Go Center Manager. 

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China, Korea & Taipei Into Pair Go World Cup Semi-Finals

Saturday July 9, 2016

Rain and wind from the edges of Typhoon Nepartak swirled outside Hikarie Hall in in Tokyo’s upscale Shibuya neighborhood Saturday morning as the 2016 Pair Go 2016.07.09_Iyama-HsiehWorld Cup contestants gathered for the tournament’s first round. As is traditional at Pair Go events, the players were dressed up, many in outfits native to their countries, and the 32 players made a fine sight as they paraded, two by two, into the playing area. Promptly at 11a, the round began, and shortly thereafter, spectators crowded in to watch, deepest around top player Iyama Yuta and his partner Hsieh Yi Min.

Pair Go at this level is a deeply thrilling game, combining the beauty of go with the excitement of a team sport. Although players cannot betray any hint of their feelings or react to moves, there’s an unmistakable electricity in the air that comes from the intense focus of four players over the go board.

2016.07.09_NA-teamThere were no surprises in the first round, as the Central/South American team of Rosario Papeschi and Fernando Aguilar lost to hometown favorites Hsieh Yi Min and Iyama Yuta (above right), Oceania/Africa’s Amy Song and David He fell to Korea’s Choi Jeong and Park Jeonghwan, while Europe’s Natalia Kovaleva and Ilya Shikshin lost to China’s Yu Zhiying and Ke Jie and Chinese Taipei’s Chang Kai Hsin and Wang Yuan Jyun fell to Korea’s Jeon Yujin and Song Hongsuk.
On the other side of the draw, North Americans Sarah Yu and Eric Lui had no trouble dispatching Asia’s Pattraporn Aroonphaichitta and Nuttakrit Tarchaamnuayvit (left), Chinese Taipei’s Joanne Missingham and Chen Shih Iuan beat Japan’s Wang Jong Yi, Japan’s Mukai Chiaki and Ichiriki Rui defeated Europe’s Rita Pocsai and Ali Jabarin and Korea’s Oh Yujin and Choi Chulhan prevailed over China’s Wang Chenxing and Shi Yue.

After traditional Japanese box lunches, Round 2 began at 2:30. The playing room had been completely reset, the eight 2016.07.09_Ke-study-grporiginal boards (32 players, two pairs to a board) now shrunk to four. As play began, spectators again flooded in to watch, while hundreds more watched on monitors in an auditorium next door, where professionals provided commentary and children tried their hand at solving life and death problems in the Panda Sensei tent in the back of the hall.

Back on the boards, epic battles were playing out as the pairs fought to get to the semi-finals on Sunday. The North American team got into a major ko fight with Taipei’s Missingham/Chen early on that they had to win and never really recovered, though Sarah Yu later said “I really enjoyed the fight.” Korea’s Oh/Choi beat Japan’s Chiaki/Ryo, China’s Yu/Ke won over Korea’s Jeon/Song and Korea’s Choi/Park defeated Japan’s Hsieh/Iyama. So Yu/Ke will face Choi/Park and Missingham/Chen will face Oh/Choi in the semi-finals on Sunday. Latest results here.

Photo (l-r): Ke Jie, Nie Wei Ping, his son Ko Rei Bun and Yu Zhiying review the Ke/Yu Round 1 game while Michael Redmond looks on. 

- report/photos by Chris Garlock

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European Student Team Go Championship Welcomes Non-Euro Teams

Friday July 8, 2016

College student go teams are invited to participate in the upcoming European Student Team Go Championship, scheduled for September 8-9 in Petrozavodsk, Russia. The tournament is open so university teams from non-European countries can take part in the event. Details are available on the Russian Go Federation’s website; the Federation, along with the European Go Federation and the Russian Student Sport Union, are hosting the event. Students can also take part in Open Russian Student Go Championship September 10-11, while players who are not students can take part in the All-Russia Go tournament on those same dates.

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National Go Center Planned for DC

Friday July 8, 2016

The Iwamoto North American Foundation for Go at its meeting in Tokyo on Thursday announced plans to establish a National Go Center in 2016.07.08_inaf-mtg-tokyoWashington, DC. Go recently garnered global headlines when Google DeepMind’s AlphaGo AI program defeated top professional Lee Sedol and the National Go Center is intended to build on the increased public awareness and interest in the ancient game.

In addition to its role in advancing artificial intelligence, many studies have shown that go can improve student performance through development of logical and spatial thinking and even to help students with ADHD. A primary mission of the new Center is to work with educators in the region to promote go in schools from primary grades through college.

The Center will also have the mission of developing strong amateur go players in the region who can represent the US in conjunction with the American Go Association at the regional, national, and international levels. Building on an already strong tournament calendar, regional and interscholastic qualifying tournaments are planned.

Organizers of the National Go Center include many AGA volunteers and leaders from the metro Washington region, where there is a long history of promoting go education, developing cultural activities associated with the game, and training strong go players in many of the regional clubs. “It is expected that the new Center will add to the synergy to make the DC area a true national center for go,” said AGA president Andy Okun.
- photo (l-r): Shusuke MASAKI, just retired CEO of Nihon Kiin; Hiroshi YAMASHIRO 9P, Nihon Kiin Vice Chairman; Thomas HSIANG, INAF Executive Director; Hiroaki DAN, Nihon Ki-in Chairman of the Board of Directors and new president of INAF; Yuki SHIGENO, Nihon Kiin Director. Photo by Chris Garlock

 

 

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Panda Sensei Tsume-Go Challenge Kicks Off Pair Go World Cup in Tokyo

Friday July 8, 2016

Thirty two players comprising sixteen teams gathered Thursday in Tokyo to launch the second Pair Go World Cup. First 2016.07.08_panda-sensei-chinainvented in 1990 by Hisao and Hiroko Taki to attract more female players to the game, Pair Go has grown steadily in popularity around the world and the Pair Go Association now boasts 74 member countries and territories.

After an elegant Japanese box lunch at the Cerulean Towers Tokyu Hotel in the Shibuya district, the players assembled for the draw ceremony to determine their first-round opponents. With a top prize of $10M JPY, organizers have attracted an impressive array of top players, including Ke Jie – Yu Zhiying (China); Iyama Yuta – Hsieh Yimin (Japan); Park Junghwan – Choi Jeong (Korea) and Chen Shih-Iuan – Hei Jiajia (Taiwan). Notable pairs from the West include Eric Lui – Sarah Yu (North America); Fernando Aguilar – Rosario Papeschi (Latin America) and Ilya Shikshin – Natalia Kovaleva (Europe). All games will be broadcast on Pendant. “I’m very excited to see top professionals and top amateurs gathered here,” said an obviously pleased Mrs. Taki, who then conducted a warm series of interviews with the players.

2016.07.08_panda-sensei-japanThe highlight of the afternoon was the Panda Sensei Tsume-Go Challenge, showing off the Pandanet Sensei life and death computer program, which has been developed over the last 30 years and on which many tsumego creators rely to check their work. In a dramatic timed competition, the professional pairs were given a series of high-level tsumego problems. They had 10 minutes to solve each problem; the first five pairs to hit the call button won the right to show their solution to the judges, led by the famous Ishida Yoshio, also known as “The Computer.” Correct answers were worth up to five points each, while wrong answers penalized the incorrect team two points. Onlookers crowded around the players as they raced to solve the problems, and it was quite entertaining to see top-level professional players wrestling with reading out problems in real time and often, just like amateurs, missing key moves that refuted their solutions. Perhaps not surprisingly, Pandanet Sensei crushed the contest, scoring 24 points; the Chinese team of Ke Jie – Yu Zhiying (top right) scored just 6 points to take second place and the Korean team’s 4 points was enough to take home third place. Acknowledging that the problems were tough and the solving time short, Ishida (at left, refuting a solution from Japan’s Iyama Yuta and Hsieh Yimin) admitted that “I had fun watching all the trouble the top players got into” trying to solve them.

The Pair Go tournament begins Saturday, with two rounds scheduled, followed by semi-finals Sunday morning and the final Sunday afternoon. All games will be broadcast on Pendant.
- report/photos by Chris Garlock

 

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The Power Report (2): Kisei Leagues; Xie wins 3rd Aizu Central Hospital Cup

Friday July 8, 2016

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal

Kisei Leagues: The S League, the top of the five leagues in the 41st Kisei tournament, got off to a start on May 12 with Ichiriki Ryo 7P, the bottom-ranked player, scoring a win. The number two player, Murakawa Daisuke, got off to a good start by defeating the number one player and previous challenger, Yamashita Keigo.  This is a short league, with just five rounds, so each win is more significant than in a bigger league. Already we can say that a fourth successive Kisei title
match between Yamashita Keigo and Iyama Yuta looks unlikely, as Yamashita has lost his opening two games. Murakawa Daisuke 8P and Kono Rin 9P, both on 2-0, share the lead.
(May 12) Ichiriki Ryo 7P beat Yoda Norimoto 9P by 4.5 points.
(May 19) Kono Rin 9P (W) beat Takao Shinji 9P by resig.2016.07.08_Aizu Xie
(June 9) Kono Rin 9P (B) beat Yamashita Keigo 9P by resig.; Murakawa Daisuke 8
P (W) beat Ichiriki Ryo 7P by resig.
(June 23) Yoda Norimoto 9P (B) beat Takao Shinji 9P by half a point.
(May 26) Murakawa Daisuke 8P (W) beat Yamashita Keigo 9P by 2.5 points.
        The eight-player A League has already concluded three rounds.  The bottom-ranked player in the league, So Yokoku 9P, is the only undefeated player, on 3-0. His nearest rivals are Ryu Shikun 9P and Awaji Shuzo 9P, who are both on 3-1.

Xie wins 3rd Aizu Central Hospital Cup: The final of the 3rd Aizu Central Hospital Cup, the only two-day game in women’s go, was held at the Konjakutei inn in Higashiyama Hot Spring in Aizu Wakamatsu City on June 17 and 18. Xie Yimin (W, right) beat Aoki Kikuyo 8P by4.5 points and won this title for the first time. Xie became the first quadruple title-holder in women’s go in Japan. This is her 23rd title.

Promotion
To 2-dan: Otani Naoki (30 wins) (as of May 20)

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Guo Juan 5P to Attend 2016 U.S. Go Congress

Thursday July 7, 2016

A long time favorite of the U.S. go community, Guo Juan 5p is returning for the upcoming U.S. Go Congress, coming July 2016.07.07_Guo_Juan30-August 7 in Boston. Guo will be teaching a “Typical mistakes” series with four sessions, targeting 30k-20k, 20k-10k, 10k-1d, and 5k-3d. Guo Juan’s “Internet Go School” is also a sponsor of this year’s Congress, donating over €3,000 in prizes.  The Internet Go School is an online resource that has over 1000 recorded lectures on all areas of go at all levels and a Spaced Repetition System that drills students on problems until they know and remember them. Nearly 500 have already registered for the 2016 Go Congress.
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The Power Report (1): Iyama makes good start in Gosei defense; Iyama Yuta defends Honinbo title; Takao and Murakawa share lead in 41st Meijin League

Thursday July 7, 2016

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal

Iyama makes good start in Gosei defense: The first game of the 41st Gosei title match, in which Iyama Yuta faces2016.07.07_41gosei1_iyama the challenge of Murakawa Daisuke 8P, was held at the Hotel Kokonoe in Hamamatsu City in Shizuoka Prefecture on June 25. Taking black, Iyama prevailed in a violent clash between two large groups. Once this was decided, the game was over, so Murakawa resigned after 159 moves. Go reporters are increasingly using the term “Iyama magic” for the way he takes the lead in the fighting even when his opponent doesn’t make identifiable mistakes. If anything, Murakawa had appeared to have the edge in the middle-game fighting, but Iyama put into effect a large-scale strategy exploiting the aji of a more-or-less discarded group, whereupon it turned out that he was not the one with problems. The next game will be played on July 18. (NOTE: Iyama will be playing with Hsieh Yi Min in the Mind Sports Pair Go World Cup 2016, which begins in Tokyo this Saturday, July 9; click here for our June 19 preview and watch for EJ Managing Editor Chris Garlock’s reports later this week) 

Iyama Yuta defends Honinbo title:  The fifth game of the 71st Honinbo title match was held at the Yoshikawaya inn in Iisaka Hot Spring, Fukushima City on June 29 and 30.  Taking black, Iyama forced a resignation after 177 moves. After losing the opening game, Iyama won four in a row to defend his title. This is a landmark victory for him, as it secures him his first honorary title, which requires you to hold the title for five years in a row. Actually, in the case of the Honinbo title the wording is actually “eternal Honinbo;” Iyama will become “26th Honinbo,” followed by the special name he chooses for himself (he will unveil it at the award ceremony 2016.07.07_71honinbo5_4later this year).  He will use the title when he turns 60. Just for the record, his predecessors are 22nd Honinbo Shukaku (Takagawa Kaku), 23rd Honinbo Eiju (Sakata Eio), 24th Honinbo Shuho (Ishida Yoshio), and 25th Honinbo Chikun (Cho Chikun; Cho won 11 titles in a row, so he assumed the title immediately after his 10th term).
        The fifth game was the usual fierce fight between Iyama (black) and Takao. Both sides made moves they were dissatisfied with in the earlier part of the game, but it remained evenly balanced. A little after 100 moves, Iyama played a well-timed peep that helped him secure a group in sente, enabling him to switch to a big endgame point. This gave him the lead and, although there was a lot more fighting, he hung on to it. Takao resigned after 177 moves. Besides becoming the first player for 23 years to earn an honorary title (the last was Rin Kaiho in the Tengen title), Iyama also maintained his septuple crown.
        Fukushima City was the birthplace of the 6th Honinbo Shuhaku (1716-41); the game was played there to commemorate the 300th anniversary of his death. He became the head of the Honinbo house at the age of 18 but died young. His main grave is at the Honmyoji Temple in Tokyo, but a portion of his bones are buried at the Josenji temple in Fukushima. The day before the game, the players visited the temple to pay their respects to him. Incidentally, this game was the 400th title-match game in the modern Honinbo tournament.

Takao and Murakawa share lead in 41st Meijin League: After the seventh round (out of nine), Takao Shinji 9P and Murakawa Daisuke 8P share the lead in the 41st Meijin League, with both on 5-1 (each has had a bye). Next in the running is Cho U 9P, who is on 4-2. The results in the May round were significant. Murakawa Daisuke (who will also be playing in the Pair Go tournament this weekend), who suffered his first loss in the April round, regained a share of the lead by beating Takao Shinji; both were then on 4-1.  This was a chance for Cho U to take the sole lead, but he lost his game to Kono Rin, so he briefly joined Murakawa and Takao in a three-way tie; he then spoiled it by losing to Takao in the June round. Recent results: 
(May 12) Ko Iso 8P (B) beat Yamashita Keigo 9P by 1.5 points.
(May 19) Hirata Tomoya 7P (B) beat Uchida Shuhei 7P by resig. This was a game
between two winless newcomers to the league. His loss will cost Uchida his lea
gue place; Hirata has an outside chance of keeping his.
(June 2) Kono Rin 9P (B) beat Ko Iso 8P by half a point.
(June 9). Hane Naoki 9P (W) beat Uchida Shuhei 7P by resig.
(June 20) Takao Shinji 9P (W) beat Cho U 9P by half a point.
(June 30). Yamashita Keigo 9P (W) beat Hane Naoki 9P by resig.

Tomorrow: Kisei Leagues; Xie wins 3rd Aizu Central Hospital Cup
       

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