The father of the computer gaming revolution, Nolan Bushnell, will be the keynote speaker at the first US International Go Symposium, on August 4-5, 2012. The Symposium will bring together go scholars from around the world to explore educational, cultural, historical, literary, artistic, scientific and technological aspects of the game. Bushnell has called go a “wonderfully rich and powerful game” and his “favorite game of all time.”
When he founded a pioneering computer company in 1972, Bushnell selected a go term, atari, for the company’s name. Atari’s game Pong became the first commercially successful computer game, opening the door to modern computer gaming. Organized by Peter Shotwell, noted go scholar and author, the symposium will take place on August 3rd and 4th during the first weekend of the American Go Association’s (AGA’s) 28th US Go Congress in Black Mountain, North Carolina. The International Go Federation is providing seed funding for the symposium. For more information about the Symposium, or to submit papers or proposals, contact Peter Shotwell firstname.lastname@example.org
The International Mind Sports Association has announced that the second World Mind Sports Games (WMSG) will be held August 9-23 at the Lille Palais in Lille, France. International Go Federation (IGF) vice president Thomas Hsiang reports that the second WMSG will be an all-amateur event. “Once again, we will be depending upon donations to support sending our U.S. team to this prestigious competition,” says American Go Association President Allan Abramson. Due to the lateness in confirming the event site, the IGF will not be participating on as large a scale as in the first WMSG. The European Go Federation has been asked to organize the event. Supporters donated about $15,000 to send the U.S. team to the first Mind Games in China in 2008. “Can we ask you to match or exceed this amount for this Summer’s games?” asks Abramson. Use the “donate” button on the AGA website, to contribute or get and use the AGA credit card.
Bay Area Go Players Association held the third annual Go Expo Day on March 11 in Oakland, CA, and once again it was a big success. Over 50 people from diverse backgrounds converged on the Oakland Asian Cultural Center to learn how to play go, pick up a free 9×9 go set and Way to Go booklet, and watch games in the monthly AGA ratings tournament taking place in the room next door.
“We need more teachers!” exclaimed Jay Chan, Go Expo Day co-organizer, as inquisitive adults and children poured into the room and filled all available seats. A few tournament players heeded the call for help, generously pausing their rated games and stepping in to teach until more go instructors could be brought in.
Teacher Ernest Brown summed the day up nicely when he commented, “It was just so great to see so much interest and enthusiasm for go.” Based on the success of this and previous outreach events, Bay Area Go Players Association will hold the next Go Expo Day during the September monthly AGA ratings tournament instead of waiting until 2013. “The great teaching supplies available from the American Go Foundation store make it a lot easier to teach go to beginners at our regular monthly tournaments,” explained co-organizer Roger Schrag. Photos by Steve Burrall and Roger Schrag.
“European Chess Competitions To Be Less Sexy With Strict New Cleavage Rules” reported Gawker on March 8. “Strict new rules govern the accepted wardrobe for woman’s matches,” the report continued, referencing a more detailed report in Chessbase News. “The European Women’s Championship is the first where the new ECU Dress Code regulations apply,” according to the March 7 Chessbase report. “They are quite specific: regarding décolletés (in the US ‘cleavage’): ‘the second from the top button may be opened.’ And skirts may be no shorter than 5-10 cm above the knees.” Explained ECU General Secretary Sava Stoisavljevic, “We came up with that idea because we noticed that during the games many of the players were not wearing proper clothes… It’s nice to see chess players with short skirts – they are very pretty girls. But I believe there should still be some limit.” Other dress code rules specify that “clothing should be crisp, show no excessive wear, no holes and shall be free of body odor” and that while sunglasses, glasses or neck ties can be worn during the games, no caps or hats or permitted, “except for religious reasons.” American Go Association President Alan Abramson said unequivocally that “We have absolutely no intention of even considering” such a dress code in AGA-sanctioned tournaments. And at the European Go Federation, President Martin Stiassny told the EJ that “EGF has other problems than thinking about such nonsense. For sure no plans in this direction as long as I am president of the EGF.” - thanks to Steve Colburn for passing this along.
Taking just a four-stone handicap on a full board, the Zen computer go program defeated Takemiya Masaki 9P on March 17. The legendary pro played two games against Zen as part of the 6th E&C Symposium in Japan. In the first game Zen received a five stone handicap and won by 11 points. After that the handicap was reduced to four stones, but Zen surprised many by winning again, this time by 20 points. Zen — aka Zen19 — was written by programmer Yoji Ojima and ran on hardware provided by Kato Hideki, of team DeepZen. According to Hideki, the hardware for this match was a mini-cluster of four PCs (a dual 6-core Xeon X5680/4.2 GHz, a 6-core Xeon W3680/4 GHz and two 4-core i7 920/3.5 GHz) connected via a GbE LAN. This is the same hardware used by Zen’s ‘zen19s’ and ‘zen19d’ accounts on KGS. Both of the games were played with 30 minutes main time and 60 seconds byo-yomi. Zen is currently ranked 5 dan when playing under similar time conditions on KGS. Earlier in the day, another pro, Ohashi Hirofumi 5P played two even games on 9×9 against Zen. The result was one win each. While winning against a pro with four stones is very impressive and shows how far computers have come in go, it’s clear that Zen was able to win these games by avoiding fighting to a certain extent and relying on its excellent positional judgement, raising the question of whether Zen and other programs will continue to improve steadily as the handicap is reduced and they’re forced to play a more risky style. - adapted from David Ormerod’s report on GoGameGuru, which includes both Takemiya-Zen game records. Photo: Takemiya Masaki 9P.
The 4th BC Card Cup is about to enter the round of 16. This year’s tournament has been full of upsets with favorites falling left and right in the early rounds. Two stand-out players so far have been 16 year old Mi Yuting 3P and 18 year old Dang Yifei 4P of China. In the first round, Mi defeated Korea’s young star, Park Junghwan 9P. Then in the round of 32, Mi caused quite a stir by defeating the legendary Lee Changho 9P. Dang followed suit by defeating Lee Sedol 9P in the round of 32. Mi and Dang are joined by China’s Gu Li 9P, Niu Yutian 7P, Zhou Ruiyang 5P, Kong Jie 9P, Liu Xing 7P, Xie He 7P, Tan Xiao 5P, Chen Yaoye 9P, Jiang Weijie 9P, Piao Wenyao 9P and Hu Yaoyu 8P, and Korea’s Lee Wonyoung 3P, Park Younghun 9P and Baek Hongseok 9P. Unfortunately for Japan and Taiwan, the handful of their players who made it to the round of 64 were eliminated at that stage. - Jingning; based on her original article: China on a roll in 4th BC Card Cup at Go Game Guru. Photo: Mi Yuting 3P.
Kiseido has just issued Modern Master Games, Volume One, The Dawn of Tournament Go in hard-copy; it was first released in September 2011 (Modern Master Games & More New Releases from SmartGo Books 9/19 EJ) in digital format by SmartGo Books. A survey of Japanese go from the founding of the Honinbo tournament in the 1940s to the Meijin and Judan tournaments in the 1960s, Modern Master Games was written by by Rob van Zeijst and Richard Bozulich, with historical notes by John Power. It includes 11 games, including the “Atomic Bomb Game” between Iwamoto and Hashimoto, analyzed in detail and tied together with a historical commentary by John Power. The games in this book were played in turbulent times. When the first Honinbo tournament was established in 1941, the war had not yet seriously affected the Japanese go world or the daily life of the average Japanese. But by the time of the third Honinbo tournament, Japanese society was in chaos — bullets were whizzing overhead during the first game of the title match and the atomic bomb was dropped just 10 kilometers from where the second game was being played. After the war, life slowly returned to normal. By the 1950s, the go world was again abuzz. Rivalries were flourishing, and newspapers were establishing new tournaments with abundant prize money. As the post-war go world was reorganizing itself, the matches played were of much consequence — it became more than just winning a title. The results were to determine the organizations that governed the game in Japan until today. The pressures on the players were intense, and it exposed their psychological strengths as well as fragilities. Takagawa’s games in this book show how dangerous it is to underestimate an opponent. It was almost unbelievable to some that the mild-mannered Takagawa, whose quiet and laid-back style, never attacking too strongly and lacking the brilliance of a player like Sakata, could hold the Honinbo title against all comers for nearly a decade. Sakata’s games are good illustrations of the slashing style which earned him the moniker Razor-Sharp Sakata. We also see examples of the depth of his analysis when he makes an unorthodox peep (dubbed the tesuji of the century) against Fujisawa Shuko that entails another tesuji 15 moves later whose consequences also have to be analyzed. The fact that both Sakata and Fujisawa could read this deeply and accurately shows that the level of their play was second to none. Fujisawa Hosai was another important player of this era — his power on the go board was likened to that of a bulldozer. He had a penchant for playing imitation go, but this was, as explained in the commentary on one of his games, a well thought-out strategy that he used to take advantage of the komi system that had been recently adopted. photo: Hashimoto Utaro (l) and Go Seigen (r) in 1947; photo courtesy Go Igo Weiqi Baduk blog.
Guo Juan’s Internet Go School is currently accepting enrollment for group classes for the 2012 second term, which begins April 28/29. “The group class participants will also receive a 20% discount on our Audio Lectures membership,” says Guo Juan. The school’s teaching faculty includes Guo Juan 5P, Jennie Shen 2P and Young Sun 8P and Mingjiu Jiang 7P.
Dimitris Regginos 1D (left in photo) won the Cyprus 2012 Friendship Go Tournament, held March 17-18 in Nicosia. Though just nine players participated, the tournament included some tough and interesting games. Runner up was Argyris Fellas 1k and Phedias Christodoulides 3k took third place. In the under-18 category, first place went to Lilia Regginou 12k, second place to Christoforos Kassianides 13k and third place to Markos Merkouris 13k. - Nicholas Roussos, EJ Cyprus Correspondent
Eighteen youngsters competed in the March 3 Colorado Youth Go Tournament at the Eloise May library in Denver. Playing strengths ranged from 4-dan to 40-kyu and ages from 5 – 14. Matthew Harwit 4D won the dan section, Tim Chang 20k won the kyu section and Andrew Huang won the majority of his games, and was the 5-and-under Colorado state champion. David Weiss and Alex Yavich were the TDs.