Sunday July 21, 2013
by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the American Go E-Journal
Kobayashi Satoru Wins His First Igo Masters Cup: The final of the 3rd Igo Masters Cup, which is open to players 50 years and older who have won a top-seven title or who are doing well in the prize-money rankings, featured a clash between former Kisei Kobayashi Satoru 9P and Ishii Kunio 9P, who was hoping to win his first official title. These days Ishii is best known as the nurturer of the extraordinary talent of Iyama Yuta. Kobayashi, taking black, won by 1.5 points.
Yuki Reaches Third Round of Mlily Championship: The Mlily World Weiqi Open Championship is yet another Chinese-sponsored international tournament. We reported earlier on the results in the first round (Mlily Cup Preliminaries 5/25/2013 EJ). Yuki Satoshi 9P was the only Japanese representative to survive that round. He also did well in the second round, defeating Li 1-dan of China. In the round of 16, Yuki will be matched against Wang Xi 9-dan of China. We don’t have full details, but the second round was yet another triumph for China, which won 13 games to two wins for Korea and one for Japan. Among the 13 Chinese players going on to the next round are such prominent players as Gu Li, Kong Jie, Hu Yaoyu, and Zhou Ruiyang. The two Korean players are Ch’oe Ch’eol-han and Cho Han-sung. Yi Se-tol was eliminated in this round. There are rumors of a best-of-ten match between Yi and Gu Li, but, if true, the timing is not good for Yi, as he seems to have passed his peak.
Sunday July 21, 2013
The American Go Foundation has seen a 500% increase in website traffic since setting up a Google AdWords account in May, reports project manager Roy Laird. “We were doing okay, with roughly 500 unique visitors per month, but then we learned that as a 501c3, we qualified for Google Nonprofit status, allowing us to run up to $330 worth of AdWords messages per day. Now fewer than 100 visitors per day is a slow day. More than 2,600 people visited in the month of June alone.” Laird says that the goal for now is to generate “click-thrus” – people clicking the ad and coming to the AGF website. When the entire $330/day budget is fully utilized, he says the goal will be to reduce the “bounce rate” – targeting more carefully so fewer people visit and then leave immediately. “In a typical pre-AdWords month, 200 or so of our visitors would indicate interest by looking at more than one page. In June – our first complete month with the campaign – more than 650 people liked what they saw enough to explore further.” The ads, which appear as text blurbs on the right of Google searches, are triggered by searching for “key words” that relate to the topic one is searching for. The ads can link to any page on the site, but the primary goal is to teach people to play through the Learn to Play page,” said Laird, “we’re not selling the AGF, we’re selling go.” Finding key words that will lead to people actually clicking on the link can be challenging, and Laird says he was surprised at the effectiveness of some unusual approaches. “Someone suggested the puzzle angle, so we created an ad about ‘The Ultimate Puzzle’, which has attracted more than 450 hits in the past month, more than any other ad. Surely there are some other killer out-of-the-box ideas out there. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org, and help us grow American go!” Laird thanked Steve Colburn for letting the AGF know they were eligible for Google Non-Profit status. - Paul Barchilon
Sunday July 21, 2013
A plan to move previously public material into a “members only” section of the British Go Association’s (BGA) website has sparked controversy. BGA president Jon Diamond recently announced that the the Association’s policies, minutes, and ratings would be moved to the new Members-Only section of the site, which would also include material not previously available on the site, including online versions of recent editions of the quarterly British Go Journal (BGJ) and annual accounts. The announcement of the plan to increase the value of BGA membership was made in an article in the BGJ’s latest issue, sparking a heated discussion on Gotalk, with the ratings move clearly the most hotly-debated. One poster characterized making the ratings list accessible only to members as “counter-productive,” another appealed for the Organisers’ Handbook to remain public, while another pointed out that much of the data about British players is already readily available on the European Go Database. Others, however, thought the move didn’t go far enough, suggesting that full tournament results should be available only to members. The “explosion of correspondence” prompted BGA Treasurer Toby Manning to appeal to participants in the debate to send him a brief summary of their views so that he can prepare a condensed report for the BGA Council’s consideration. Diamond tells the E-Journal that he expects to have a final determination this week about what will be moved to the Members-Only section. While American Go Association currently has no similar plans, AGA President Andy Okun says that the question of how to maximize membership value has been discussed previously, noting that, for example, game commentaries are distributed only in the E-Journal’s Member’s Edition.
- Tony Collman, British correspondent for the E-Journal
Saturday July 20, 2013
In the end, Iyama Yuta 9P’s hold on the Honinbo title came down to 4.5 points. That was Iyama’s margin of victory over Takao Shinji 9P in the final game of the 68th Honinbo title, which concluded on July 18 at 7:42p after 262 moves in Hadano, Kanagawa prefecture, Japan. This is the third time in three years that the Honinbo has gone the full 7-game distance, including last year when Iyama took the title from Yamashita Keigo 9P. Iyama and Takao began their grueling duel in mid-May with Iyama winning the first game. Takao quickly made up the loss by controlling the next two games. However, Iyama (right) was not intimidated and fought back in games four and five, giving himself a chance to capture the match in game six, but Takao quickly extinguished those hopes in just 194 moves to set up yet another dramatic final game for the match. In the decisive seventh game (left), Iyama, taking black, used almost half of his eight-hour time allowance during the first day alone. When Takao sealed the move (W74) at 5:07p on July 17, he had four hours and forty-eight minutes remaining while his opponent only had four hours and five minutes. At 9a the next morning, the tricky sealed move was revealed and
“[changed] the flow of the game,” according to live game commentator Rin Kanketsu 7P. Yet up until move 70, either player could have taken the title. It was white’s tenuki at move 82 that was the crucial misstep that allowed black to secure thickness and give Iyama the advantage. White attempted to complicate the game at move 92 but Iyama stayed unfazed through the endgame and claimed victory with only two minutes left on his clock. In a post-game interview, Iyama said he felt fortunate to have held on to the title after such a challenging series. Takao felt lucky he made it to the end but was disappointed in his own performance. Since his most recent Honinbo title in 2007, Takao has tried to “reclaim the crown” three times to no avail. Iyama, on the other hand, holds five of the seven major Japanese titles (Kisei, Honinbo, Tengen, Oza, and Gosei) and also won the 25th Asian TV Cup at the end of June, proving his international prowess.
- Annalia Linnan, based on a more detailed report — including more photos and game records — on Go Game Guru; photos courtesy Go Game Guru
Wednesday July 17, 2013
It was the problems that hooked Rex Weyler. The Greenpeace founder had just learned go from writer Rick Fields (“Chop Wood, Carry Water”) “and Rick gave me a beginner’s book — Ishigure’s In The Beginning, I think — and I took it home that night in 1981 and the life and death problems were so fascinating that the game absolutely hooked me. Weyler, a reknowned environmental activist and journalist, has been playing go ever since. When he co-founded the Hollyhock learning center on Cortes Island in British Columbia the following year, Weyler made sure that a go workshop was included, initially led by Canadian go player Roy Langston, and then for many years by American James Kerwin 1P. After a hiatus, the Hollyhock go workshop returned this year, this time with Janice Kim 3P, and of course Weyler, who has moved back to Cortes Island, was there. “Go fits in with the way I see the world,” Weyler told the E-Journal in an interview earlier this week in his home overlooking a spectacular view of Lake Hague. “I trained in math but became a writer, and go is a wonderful combination of logic and aesthetics. And the better you can balance the two, the better you can play.” After more than three decades of playing, Weyler says “I’m still learning lessons from go that apply to life. Be aggressive but show retraint; it’s okay to be optimistic but that’s not a strategy. You’ve got to get outside and see the bigger picture,” Weyler says, speaking as both a go player and ecologist. “Go, if you play well, teaches you different ways of thinking.”
- report/photo by Chris Garlock; photo: Weyler (l) playing with former AGA President Phil Straus at Hollyhock. Learn more about Weyler’s work on his website.
Wednesday July 17, 2013
Longtime go writer Richard Bozulich, rumored to have died two years ago (Richard Bozulich Not Dead After All 11/9/2011 EJ), is alive and well and apparently running for New York City Comptroller, a race that has drawn international attention since former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer entered it a week ago. According to a post on the Liberty Lion blog, Bozulich was nominated by the Personal Freedom Party to be its candidate for Comptroller on July 3 after the party was notified that Kristin Davis, its original nominee, was ineligible. “If elected,” Bozulich pledged, “I will quickly and anonymously donate my salary to charities that are close to my heart, such as those promoting the game of go and encouraging students to study mathematics.” American Go Foundation President Terry Benson said that “We look forward to having a friend of go at City Hall.”