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The Power Report (Part 1): Takao Makes Comeback as Judan; Iyama Sets New Prize Money Record; Computer versus Yoda

Sunday May 4, 2014

by John Power, EJ Japan Correspondent

Takao Makes Comeback as Judan: Six years after he last won a top-seven title, Takao Shinji 9P (left) has made a comeback, taking the Judan title from Yuki Satoshi with a win in the final game of the 52nd title match. Takao started off well in the best-of-five, winning the first game by half a point, but then the title holder fought back with his own half-point win, then took the lead in the third game. Takao saved his first kadoban in the fourth game, then won the deciding game. Below are details of the games played since my last report.
The third game was played at the Kuroyon Royal Hotel in Omachi City in Nagano Prefecture on April 10. Omachi, a town set at the foot of the Japan Alps, calls itself ‘the Alps igo village’ and actively promotes the game among its citizens. The Kuroyon Royal Hotel has hosted a game from the Judan title match for 21 years in a row. The game featured complicated fighting, but was evenly poised in the late middle game. Instead of taking some profit on move 158, Takao chose to attack an isolated black group. However, this backfired on him: Yuki found a clever tesuji to secure life and at the same time took the lead on territory.
The fourth game was held at the Kansai Ki-in in Osaka, Yuki’s home ground, on April 17. Playing with white, Yuki focussed a little too much on building thickness in the opening, letting Takao take the lead in territory. Yuki did his best to use his thickness to harass Black, but he missed his best opportunity to attack a weak black group. With no scope to create complications, Yuki resigned after Black 169.
The final game was played on Takao’s home ground, the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo, on April 21. In the nigiri to decide colors, Takao drew black. In the middle game, he played riskily because he thought he was behind, but that actually gave Yuki the chance to make a powerful attack, which really did put Takao behind. However, Takao managed to set up a double attack on two white groups. Yuki saved one of them, but slipped up with the other, missing the only move that would have saved it. He resigned after 167 moves.
This is Takao’s 13th title. Incidentally, he broke the monopoly of the top seven titles enjoyed by Osakan players since Iyama won the Meijin title in October last year.

Iyama Sets New Prize Money Record: Not surprisingly, considering he set a new record by winning six of the top seven titles, Iyama Yuta (right) also set a new record for most prize money won in one year. Often there is quite a big gap between first and second in this list, with the top player sometimes making twice as much as the next player; not so in 2013: Iyama earned over four and a half times as much as Cho U. Below is the list of the top ten (amounts are in yen). Note that these sums do not include income from teaching etc.
1. Iyama Yuta: 164,613,000 (about $1,600,000)
2. Cho U: 35,241,200
3. Takao Shinji: 30,846,000
4. Yamashita Keigo: 30,630,200
5. Kono Rin: 23,210,192
6. Xie Yimin: 14,582,100
7. Hane Naoki: 14,052,431
8. Kobayashi Satoru: 11,134,600
9. Mizokami Tomochika: 10,973,600
10. Shida Tatsuya: 10,420,500

Computer versus Yoda: Games between computers and professionals seem to be popular these days. In February, the program Zen played a series of 9×9 games and got within half a point of its professional opponent in one of them. On March 21, Yoda Norimoto 9P played two four-stone handicap games against Zen and another program, CrazyStone. Yoda beat Zen by resignation, but lost to CrazyStone by 2.5 points (Black gave a komi of half a point). In the UEC Cup, a computer-go tournament, held just before this, Zen had taken first place and CrazyStone second. Yoda’s comments after the games implied that he benefited from familiarity with Zen’s style of play, whereas he knew nothing about CrazyStone.

Tomorrow: Kono and Yuki Secure Kisei League Places; Japanese Team Plays in Chinese League; Yamashita Keeps Sole Lead in Meijin League

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Categories: Japan,John Power Report
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Seattle Go Center Supplements Youth Scholarships for Go Congress

Sunday May 4, 2014

Using a gift from the Seattle Chapter of the AGA, the Seattle Go Center will provide up to $300 in additional scholarship funds to youth from the State of Washington who are attending the US Go Congress.  “We would like to help with travel costs for qualified youth from our area,” reports Go Center manager Brian Allen. The total funds available are $1,200; if there are more than four qualified youth by May 30, they will divide up the $1,200 proportionately.  The Seattle Go Center funds are intended as a supplement to the current AGF scholarships for the Go Congress.

If youth have already completed their AGF scholarship application, no additional forms will be needed for the supplemental scholarship funds. They should simply notify Paul Barchilon, who is administering the AGF scholarships, that they are interested in the additional help. For more information about the AGF Go Congress scholarship program, and to apply, click here.  Photo: Teacher’s Workshop at the 2013 Go Congress. Story and Photo by Brian Allen.

 

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Categories: Youth
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Your Move/Readers Write: Earliest Indication of Go in North America? & Another Turn-Based Site

Saturday May 3, 2014

Earliest Indication of Go in North America? “I was just reading the latest copy of the Archaeology Magazine, May/June 2014 and I came across an article by Samir S. Patel about the early Chinese work camps in North America,” writes Sam Zimmerman. “In the article on page 41 they showed a picture of ‘gambling pieces’ (right) from a British Columbia camp of the 1850s-1860s. They certainly look like they are wei-chi stones and they may be the earliest indications of the game being played North America. I have contacted Archaeology Magazine in hope so getting more information.”
See also: ‘The Archaeology of Internment’  5/9/2011 EJ 

Another Turn-Based Site: “In your latest newsletter you mentioned that Yahoo was ceasing its online gaming site (Website Update: Yahoo Go Gone 5/2/2014 EJ) and listed several sites where you could play turn-based go,” writes Jim Hopper. “You failed to list a site located at ItsYourTurn.com which is also a nice place to play people all over the world a variety of games including go. Check it out.”
- graphic from Archaeology Magazine courtesy Doug Ross, Simon Fraser University

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Kim Young-Sam 7d Wins Paris Tournament

Friday May 2, 2014

Kim Young-Sam 7d won the 42nd International Paris Go Tournament, which was held April 19-21. Kim was undefeated in the 6-round tournament, atop a reduced field of 66 players due to “snafus with the tournament site and late announcement” reports SmartGo’s Anders Kierulf 3d, whose 2-4 result earned him 11th place. Dai Junfu was second and Noguchi Motoki took third; complete results here. Click here for Kierulf’s blog post, which includes his game records.

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Categories: Europe
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First Batch of Pros Confirmed for U.S. Go Congress

Thursday May 1, 2014

Feng Yun 9P, Myungwan Kim 9P, Yang Yilun 7P and Stephanie Yin 1P have confirmed that they’ll be teaching at this year’s U.S. Go Congress. Pro delegations from Japan, China and Korea are also expected. The weeklong event will be held August 9-17 in New York City and features pro lectures and simuls, as well as rated and unrated tournaments. Click here to register.
- photo: Stephanie Yin, playing on Board 2 at the recent Washington Open Baduk Tournament, checks out the Board 1 game between Andy Liu 1P (right) and Kevin Huang 7d. photo by Chris Garlock

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Cuba-Mexico Youth Visit “A Beautiful Experience”

Thursday May 1, 2014

The recent Cuba – Mexico go exchange (Cuban Go Community Hosts Visits by Mexican Youth & Japanese Teachers 4/15 EJ) “was a big event and a beautiful experience,” said Rafael Torres Miranda, President of the Academia Cubana de Go. The go competition between Mexican and Cuban school children was held April 14-18 in Havana. Five Mexican children, accompanied to Cuba by a relative, and seven Cubans participated, ranging from age 7 to 11 and from 13 to 20 kyu in strength. The event was featured on Cuban television.
- Bob Gilman; photos courtesy Rafael Torres Miranda; collage by Chris Garlock

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Categories: U.S./North America
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N.A. Player Selection Tourney for Samsung Cup 2014 Announced

Wednesday April 30, 2014

The Korean Baduk Association has once again invited the AGA to send three North American representatives to compete in the World division of the Samsung Cup World Baduk Masters 2014 in Korea. Interested players must be 5D+ citizens or permanent residents of North America, have resided in North America for 6 of the past 12 months, and have maintained continuous AGA membership (does not apply to Canadian players) for the past year. Players will be responsible for their travel and lodging expenses; the tournament will provide a $1,000 incentive to each player to help cover some costs.
To select the players the AGA will hold a flexible scheduling tournament on KGS during the second half of May with default rounds on May 20, 23, 27, and 30. This schedule is designed so that the possible times for each round includes at least one weekend day. The selected players will play in the combined preliminaries set for August 3-6. Those interested and eligible must fill out this electronic form to register by Friday, May 16. Skype will be required for all players.
- Karoline Burrall
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Second China-Korea-Japan Professional Pair Go Championship Live on Pandanet-IGS

Wednesday April 30, 2014

On May 1 and 2, the Second China-Korea-Japan Professional Pair Go Championship will be held in Anhui, China, with live broadcast on Pandanet-IGS.  Three new pairs pairs, Rui Naiwei – Yu Bin (China), Yashiro Kumiko – Iyama Yuta (Japan), and Oh Jeong – Jin Siyoung (Korea), will join the reigning champions Wang Chenxing – Changhao for a top prize of 200,000 RMB (~ 35,000 USD).  The venue is the historic Three-Nation Theme Park.

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Categories: World
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Updating Your Profile

Wednesday April 30, 2014

If you’re changing your email address, make sure you don’t miss an issue of the E-Journal by clicking on “UPDATE YOUR PROFILE” at the bottom of the EJ (be careful NOT to click on UNSUBSCRIBE!), where you can also choose either the daily or weekly edition and your preferred format. You can also easily share the EJ by clicking on FORWARD TO A FRIEND.

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Categories: U.S./North America
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Player Profile: The Return of Kang

Tuesday April 29, 2014

by Keith L. Arnold, hka

A soft voice slowed me as I rushed past at last weekend’s first Washington Open Baduk Championship, which was organized by Allan Abramson, Gary Smith, Todd Heidenreich, Andy Okun and myself. I turned to see Shin Kang, who embraced me like an old friend. Mr. Kang, of Ellicott City, Maryland, was the hero of Baltimore go players when I began playing back in the 1980′s, and I was extremely honored and touched that he recalled me from our few meetings over the years.

Shin Kang (at left in photo) was the highest-rated player in the U.S. during the late 1970s, above even the legendary Takeo Matsuda of New York, and Young Paeng of Pittsburgh, an old rival he asked about on Sunday. Kang was the Eastern Champion, or “Honinbo” from 1976 to 1978 and won the Maryland Open for its first 5 years, 1974 to 1978, and again in 1980. He lost in the phone relay US Championship to Kyung Kim of San Francisco in 1976, and, for the most part, paid his own way to get out to San Francisco in 1977 to try again face-to-face, but once again was defeated by Mr. Kim; their games were commented on by no less a luminary than Haruyama 9 dan. Meanwhile, he sponsored a teaching tour by Kim In 8P, and was top board in a telex match with Taipei.

In 1978, JAL sponsored the U.S. Championship in New York, but Mr. Kang’s opponent was not Mr. Kim but Shigeo Matsuhara of Los Angeles. Mr. Matsuhara’s victory in the Western Championship was considered quite an upset; after all, he had been defeated that year in the Los Angelos Open by a fifteen-year-old kid named Michael Redmond.

Mr. Kang won two straight games to become US Champion, and went on to represent the US in the first World Amateur Go Championship, along with Mr. Matsuhara, Mr. Kim and team captain Richard Dolen. Sadly for us, work pushed tournament go out Mr. Kang’s life for many years. Now retired, we can only hope we will see more of the 66-year-old former importer and wholesaler.

Kang won his first game at last weekend’s first Washington Open Baduk Championship, lost his second, but then won rounds 3 and 4 and I was excited to see him on board 2 for the final round. I was ecstatic when a re-pairing put him on Board One against the undefeated Andy Liu (at right in photo). I showed E-Journal Managing Editor — and Board 1 game recorder — Chris Garlock a listing on my IPad of Kang’s impressive Maryland Open record as Andy walked by, took a look and softly exclaimed “Oh, wow!” at the record of his fellow Maryland Open champion so many years before his birth.

Mr. Kang greeted Andy with a combination of respect, fellowship and, I think, pride, in his role in bringing American go to a place where this young man could sit across from him, “So, you are the pro,” he smiled. “I look forward to receiving a good lesson.” Liu 1p respectfully but strongly responded “We are equals here.” It was a wonderful moment, one of the first generation of great American go players, enjoying the chance to see what has grown from the seeds he planted, and today’s pioneer, recognizing and appreciating their shared and ongoing journey.
- photos by Chris Garlock (top right) and Phil Straus (bottom left) 

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Categories: U.S./North America
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