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The Power Report: Lead shared in Honinbo League; Women’s Meijin League concludes

Thursday February 25, 2016

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Lead shared in Honinbo League: The first game in the fourth round of the 71st Honinbo League was played on January 7, with Ichiriki Ryo 7P (B) beating Yamashita Keigo 9P by 4.5 points. On January 14, Yo Seiki 7P (W) beat Motoki Katsuya 7P by resig. This was Motoki’s first loss, so he now shared the lead with Yo; both were on 3-1. On January 21, Kono Rin 9P (B) beat Ida Atsushi 9P by resig. On January 28, Takao Shinji 9P (B) beat Cho U by resig., so he joined Yo and Motoki in the lead. On February 4, Cho U 9P picked up his first win, beating Ichiriki Ryo 7P by resig. with white. On the same day, Motoki Katsuya 7P (B) beat Ida Atsushi Judan by resig. On February 11, Takao (B) beat Yamashita by 7.5 points. On February 18, Kono (W)beat Yo by 1.5 points. That game completed the fifth round. At present, Takao and Motoki, both on 4-1, share the lead.

Women’s Meijin League concludes: The final round of the 28th Women’s Meijin League was held on January 7. Aoki Kikuyo 8P had already won the league in the fifth round, but she won her final game as well to finish with a perfect score. Results: Aoki (W) beat Fujisawa Rina 3P by resig.; Okuda Aya 3P (B) beat Kato Keiko 6P by resig.; Suzuki Ayumi 6P (B) beat Mannami Nao 3P by 2.5 points. The title match with Xie Yimin will start in March.

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The Power Report: Iyama to challenge for Judan; Meijin League

Wednesday February 24, 2016

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Iyama to challenge for Judan: The new tournament year at the Nihon Ki-in got off to a start on January 7. Most of the interest focussed 2016.02.24_54jyudan_2on the semifinals of the 54th Judan tournament. The Judan is the only top-seven title Iyama Yuta doesn’t hold; if he becomes the challenger, he has a chance of achieving a simultaneous grand slam. In his semifinal, Iyama (B) beat Imamura Toshiya 9P by resignation. His opponent in the play-off to decide the challenger to Ida Atsushi will be Yo Seiki (Yu Zhenqi) 7P of the Kansai Ki-in, who won the other semifinal. Yo’s opponent, Shida Tatsuya 7P (B), forfeited the game because of an illegal move; he recaptured a ko immediately, without making a ko threat. (To be precise, Yo’s ko threat was a ko capture in a position that was a double ko; Shida, who was in his last minute of byo-yomi, should have captured the other ko.) Last year Yo lost the play-off to decide the Oza challenger to Iyama, so he was seeking revenge when the play-off (right) was held at the Kansai headquarters of the Nihon Ki-in on January 21. Yo (W) took the lead when he cleverly settled a weak group, but winning the first fight is not enough to beat Iyama. The latter subjected Yo to so much pressure that eventually he slipped up in the endgame, letting Iyama stage an upset. Yo resigned after 277 moves. The title match with Ida Atsushi Judan starts on March 8.

Meijin League: The first game of the second round of the 41st Meijin League was played on January 7. Ko Iso 8P (B) beat Hane Naoki 9P by resignation. At this point, Ko, on 2-0, took the provisional lead. On January 11, Takao Shinji 9P (B) beat Kono Rin 9P by resig. and joined Ko in the provisional lead. On January 21, Cho U 9P (B) beat Uchida Shuhei 7P by half a point and Murakawa Daisuke 8P (W) beat Hirata Tomoya 7P by resig. On February 4, Takao (B) beat Hane Naoki by resig. On February 11, Cho U (W) beat Ko Iso by resig. Cho and Takao, both on 3-0, share the lead, but Murakawa, who had a bye in the third round, is also undefeated. Cho’s good results in this league are a stark contrast to his bad performance in the Honinbo League.
Tomorrow: Lead shared in Honinbo League; Women’s Meijin League concludes

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Categories: Japan,John Power Report
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Life Sports Invites Kids to Japan

Wednesday February 24, 2016

0720152216Three children from North America are being invited to Japan, for international friendship matches. The sponsors of the trip are paying all expenses while in Japan, and a stipend of 100,000 yen (around $893 at press time) for airfare. Fifty-four children under the age of 13, and at least ten kyu, are being invited from ten countries: Japan, China, Korea, France, Germany, Russia, Mexico, Thailand, Canada, and the US. The kids will stay at the Maisima Lodge, in Osaka Bay, and will have opportunities for cultural exchanges as well as for playing go. The AGA will select three kids, two from the US and one from Canada, based on participation points earned from attending various AGA events. The matches will be held July 25-28, and AGA Go Camp Director Fernando Rivera will lead the team. All expenses are paid for the kids, but parents who wish to come will need to pay their own travel and lodging expenses. If you are interested in attending, please fill out the form here. Any questions should be addressed to youth@usgo.org. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Photo: Participants at last year’s Life International Go Meeting. The event is sponsored by Life Sports Foundation, and NPO Life Kids Go Club, with the cooperation of the Nihon Ki-in and the Kansai Ki-in.

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The Power Report: Iyama Sweeps Yamashita 4-0 in Kisei, Stretches Title Match Streak to 16-0

Tuesday February 23, 2016

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

The first game of the 40th Kisei title match was held at the Konjakutei inn in Higashiyama Hot Spring in the city of Aizu-wakamatsu in 2016.02.23_kisei40_3_shukyoku_iyama_2Fukushima Prefecture on January 14 and 15. Defending champion Iyama Yuta (aged 26) drew white in the nigiri to decide the colors. The challenger Yamashita Keigo 9-dan (37) made a positive start, playing aggressively in the opening. The game was decided by a ko fight in which Yamashita sacrificed a group in order to win a ko started after White invaded a black position. Iyama (right) took the lead in this exchange and hung on for a win, rebuffing some do-or-die attacks by Black. Yamashita resigned after 202 moves. In retrospect, the game was a convincing win for Iyama.

The second game was played at the Bokoro inn in the town of Yurihama in Tottori Prefecture on January 28 and 29. Yamashita (W) played cleverly in the early middle game and took the lead. However, he missed a chance to decide the game and then began playing erratically, letting Iyama upset his lead. Iyama later played a thin move that let Yamashita narrow the gap, but the latter slipped up in the endgame. After 273 moves, Iyama won by 2.5 points. Considering his good play in the first part of the game, this was a painful loss for Yamashita.

The third game was also played in Tottori Prefecture after a break of only two days. It’s quite unusual to schedule two two-day games so close together in the same prefecture. The venue was the Kasuitei inn in Kaike Hot Spring in Yonago City. The game started with difficult fighting in the top right corner in which Iyama took the lead. Yamashita attacked fiercely in the middle game, but Iyama fought back strongly and kept his lead. Yamashita resigned after move 200. Like the first game, this was a good win for Iyama.

2016.02.23_kisei4_syukyokuThe fourth game was played at the Hokkaido Hotel in Obihiro City, Hokkaido on February 17 and 18. Playing black, Iyama controlled the flow of the game and took the lead in the middle-game fighting. Yamashita didn’t seem to make any really bad moves, but his attacks were skilfully parried by Iyama. The latter maintained a comfortable lead, so Yamashita resigned after 189 moves. Last year, after losing the first three games, Yamashita was able to fight back and win the next three before losing the seventh game. However, Iyama seems to be in even better form this year and, apart from the second game, dominated the series. After having his winning streak broken at 24 late last year, he has started another, winning seven games in a row. He has also won 16 games in a row in title matches, starting with the third game of the Gosei title match and continuing with the Meijin, Tengen, and Oza matches. This is his fourth Kisei title in a row and his 36th title overall. He is now in seventh place in the all-time list of title winners.

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Man vs. Machine: Lee Sedol to Face AlphaGo March 9-15 in Seoul

Monday February 22, 2016

The legendary Lee Sedol, the top go player in the world over the past decade, will take on computer program AlphaGo in a landmark five-­match, million-dollar tournament March 9-15. AlphaGo’s 5-game sweep of professional Fan Hui 3P2016.02.22_Lee-Sedol-Myeongin-300x200 2016.02.22_alphago-546x480rocked the world in late January (Game Over? AlphaGo Beats Pro 5-0 in Major AI Advance  1/27/2016 EJ)

“Regardless of the result, it will be a meaningful event in baduk (Go) history,” said Lee Sedol (left). “I heard Google DeepMind’s AI is surprisingly strong and getting stronger, but I am confident that I can win, at least this time.” AlphaGo has been developed by Google DeepMind, whose CEO and co-founder Demis Hassabis said “Go is the most profound game that mankind has ever devised. The elegantly simple rules lead to beautiful complexity. Go is a game primarily about intuition and feel rather than brute calculation which is what makes it so hard for computers to play well. We are honoured and excited to be playing this challenge match against Lee Sedol, a true legend of the game, and whether we win or lose, we hope that the match will inspire new interest in go from around the world.”

AlphaGo will play Lee Sedol in a five-­game challenge match to be held from Wednesday, March 9 to Tuesday, March 15 in Seoul, South Korea. The games will be even, with $1 million USD in prize money for the winner. If AlphaGo wins, the prize money will be donated to UNICEF, STEM and go charities.

“The whole world is interested in this event as this is the first stage where humans and computers are competing in intelligence,” said Park Chimoon, Vice Chairman of the Korean Baduk Association. “I am proud that this historical stage is baduk (Go). I hope Lee Sedol 9 dan will win this time in order to prove humans’ remarkable intelligence and preserve the mysteries of baduk.”

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Categories: Computer Go/AI,Korea,World
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IMSA Elite Mind Games Begin Feb. 25 in Huai’an, China

Sunday February 21, 2016

The first IMSA Elite Mind Games (IEMG) are being held from February 25 to March 3 at the New Century Hotel Huaian, China. A re-branded 2016.02.20_IEMG_logo_240pxevent of SportAccord World Mind Games, IEMG will feature five mind sports: go, chess, bridge, draughts, and xiangqi. Thirty top players from around the world will be competing for total prize money of 200,000 EUR in three medal events: Men’s Team, Women’s Individual, and Pair. The International Mind Sports Association is organizing the event and Ranka Online  will provide full coverage of the event.
- adapted from a report in Ranka Online, which includes the list of players, tournament outline and schedule.
See also Strong North American Go Team Headed for Huai’an for Inaugural IMSA Games.

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Myungwan Kim 9P on Lee Changho 9p vs Cho Chikun 9p “Legends” Game

Sunday February 21, 2016

If you missed the February 14 livestream of “Lee Changho 9p vs Cho Chikun 9p, the LEGENDS OF BADUK FINAL ROUND” you can catch it now2016.02.20_LEGENDS OF BADUK FINAL ROUND on the AGA’s YouTube Channel. Lee Changho plays Cho Chikun (Chihoon), in the last round of the LEGENDS OF BADUK tournament featuring the greatest Korean players of the ’80s and ’90s; Myungwan Kim 9P comments, with Andrew Jackson.

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Slate & Shell 50% Off “Dark of Winter” Sale

Sunday February 21, 2016

Slate & Shell is having its annual “Dark of Winter” sale. The following books are available at 50% off through February 29: The Meijin’s Retirement Game, Old vs 2016.02.20-dark-of-winterNew Fuseki, All About Joseki, Whole Board Thinking in Joseki, Monkey Jump Workshop, Kamakura, The Chinese Opening, 200 Tesuji Problems, and Master Play: The Style of Lee Sedol.

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Beomgeun Cho Wins Jujo Ing Cup

Saturday February 20, 2016

Beomgeun Cho 7D (right) won the 2016 Jujo Ing Cup open section and Ary Cheng 4D won the handicap section. The 24th Jujo Ing Cup tournament was 2016.02.20_Jujo-Cup-Beomgeun Choheld February 14 at the Hilton Hotel in Chinatown, San Francisco. Jiang ZhuJiu, Rui NaiWei and Jiang MingJiu were all in attendance. “A great time was had by all, but the main topic of discussion always seemed to revert to AlphaGo,” reports organizer and TD Ernest Brown. “Next year’s tournament — the 25th — promises to be a grand affair and we hope to provide free entry to anyone who has participated over the past 25 years.” Click here for complete open section results and handicap section results.
photo by Ernest Brown

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South Central Go Tournament Brings Together Players from 5 States

Saturday February 20, 2016

Forty-three players from five states competed in the South Central Go Tournament, held in Dallas, Texas February 13th and 14th. Fifteen played2016.02.20_dallas-open in the Open Section (right) and 28 in the Handicap Section. “It went so well we are already thinking of doing something similar next year,” said Tournament Director Kevin Hwang.
2016.02.20_dallas-handi
In the Open Section, Zelong Dong 7D took first place, Muzhen Ai 5D was second, and Xuyu Xiang 7D took third place. In the Handicap Section (left), Andrew McGowan 1K took first place, Zhiqiang Xiang 1K was second and Billy Maier 4K took third place. “For several players this was a first AGA tournament and for some others marked a return to AGA tournament play after a long interval,” reports Bob Gilman, AGA Central Region Director. photos by Bob Gilman

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