Sunday April 7, 2013
Moonyong Choi 6P spent a week visiting school and youth go clubs in the California Bay area, March 18-24. The Korean Baduk Association (KBA) sent Choi to see first-hand what go programs in America are like, and he is currently in the Los Angeles area visiting programs there as well. “It was really fun,” reports Patrick Wang, of Hyde Park Middle School in Cupertino, “the pro introduced himself, told us how he started playing, why he played, and how he went pro. After that, we asked him questions like how many tournaments he had won or how to improve. Then he played four people at once with nine handicaps on 19×19 and five handicaps on 13×13. Our school teacher even let us stay after lunch to finish the games! To end it off everyone asked him for his autograph.” Choi also visited Meyerholtz Elementary, Valley Christian High, and Berryissa Chinese School, all in San Jose, before finishing up his trip with a visit to the Santa Clara Youth Go Club. At all of the locations, Choi spoke to the children about his challenges in becoming a pro. “I studied for five years at the go school and became an insei which is a preliminary professional. During the course I lost a lot of times, especially games that I was ahead but lost in the end game. Sometimes I cried a lot and felt depressed,” said Choi, “Did you ever lose a game that you thought you had won? Did you hate your opponent for that? However, you don’t have to hate the person. Because you’re the one that made the mistake . We are all in the learning process. Correcting the mistakes and playing better the next time is what is important.”
Choi’s top tips for new players are “First of all, don’t be afraid of losing the game. I myself have played more than 20,000 games and lost half of them. There is a saying that ‘losing means learning’. It’s ok if you lose but knowing the reason and correcting it is how you take your skills to the next level. That’s why having a good teacher is essential. Second, being modest or having a humble attitude is good. There are lots of people that play better than you. You are in the learning process. Learning from your weaker opponent’s mistakes and from your stronger opponent’s good moves will make you a better person the next day. Third, enjoy the game. When you’re playing you always have to do the best you can. Think as much as possible. This is a war game. But once it’s over admit the results and try hard to find better moves. The more you love the game and dedicate yourself to it, the better player you will be.” His advice was well received, and Yanping Zhao of the Santa Clara Youth Go Club reported “It was a wonderful visit to our club. Mr. Choi, and our club members all had a very good time! About 15 kids came to the club to meet the pro. Mr. Choi was very kind to play a teaching game with almost every one of the them. He played several rounds, each round with four or five kids at the same time. During the breaks between the rounds, we had pizza and the pro chatted with kids. At the end, the kids signed a thank you card to express their appreciation. The kids all hope to meet Mr. Choi again and more pros in the future!” The visit was part of a larger outreach to support new programs in America, and was arranged by Myungwan Kim 9P. More pros will be visiting soon, and future trips will be scheduled in other areas of the country if all goes well.
-Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Photo by Yanping Zhao: Moonyong Choi 6P plays a simul at the Santa Clara Youth Go Club, in California.
Saturday April 6, 2013
US-born Japanese professional Michael Redmond 9P opened proceedings at the 2013 British Go Congress with a teaching session on Friday April 5. Redmond used some of his recent competition games from the Japanese qualifying tournaments to illustrate his remarks about the avalanche joseki and some of the ramifications that arise when using an opening he currently favors, a variation (Black 5 at R8) on the Chinese Opening.
The games were also used as the basis of an informal competition to identify the best (i.e. Redmond’s) play at certain junctures. Each solution was followed by a detailed explanation of why he chose that particular move over others proposed either by him in a multiple-choice format, or occasionally from the floor. Three prizes of a special go fan went to those who got the most right. The fans were hand-decorated by Iyama Yuta 9P, current holder of six of the seven major Japanese titles, with calligraphy which Redmond translated as “play naturally.”
In the evening Redmond gave a simultaneous demonstration (above right), taking on five challengers at a time from a total of 10 playing in relay. Click here for links to all the games used in Redmond’s teaching sessions, in zipped sgf format, courtesy of Tony Atkins.
The events took place at the Cromwell Hotel in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, UK and were organized by Alison Bexfield 2d on behalf of the British Go Association.
- report/photos by Tony Collman, special correspondent to the E-Journal. photos: Redmond playing the simul (top right); Prizewinner Andrew Simons 4d
Saturday April 6, 2013
Amir Fragman 4d won the 2013 Jerusalem Open Baduk tournament, held during the Passover holiday and initiated and hosted by the Korean Culture Center in Jerusalem. Twenty four players competed in the tournament, played March 28-29 in Jerusalem, Israel. In second was Ali Jabarin 5d and third was Ofer Zivony 3d. Tournament results.
- Shavit Fragman
Friday April 5, 2013
Although springtime in Siberia doesn’t hold quite the same allure, as, say, Paris, nearly three dozen go players gathered in Tomsk the last weekend in March for the second annual Tomsk Go Festival. The March 30-31 event featured a tournament, simuls and discussions about developing go in Siberia, the vast and remote area that comprises the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation,Tomsk, with a population of just over half a million, is one of the biggest and oldest Siberian towns, celebrating its 400th anniversary in 2004. The festival tournament’s players hailed from various Siberian regions and even included a visiting guest from Mexico. Another honorary guest was Natalia Kovaleva 5d (photos), one of the strongest women players in European go, who was once the European female go champion and won the Russian female go championship several times. Kovaleva not only won the 5-round tournament but took part in the side events including the simuls, signing a goban which will be auctioned off. Kirill Denisov 4d took second place and in third was Pavel Prisupa 2d. A major part of the festival focused on the future of Siberian Go, which is a challenge due to the difficulty of players from the far regions of Russia attending the major tournaments and go events in Moscow and Saint-Petersburg. Siberian go centers work to catch up through club, students’ and regional activities and numerous tournaments held each year in different cities in the region. Organizers hope that the success of this year’s Tomsk festival shows that the vast Siberian go community can soon compete with the leading regions.
- Daria Koshkina; photos: Kovaleva with statue of writer Anton Chekhov in Tomsk (top right) and playing (left); photos by Roman Malakhov. Click here for his album on Facebook. CORRECTION: this post has been updated to reflect Kirill Denisov’s 4d rank (not 3d as originally reported).
Friday April 5, 2013
A new go club is about to bloom in the historic English town of Letchworth, “The first garden city in the world.” Beginning April 18, the Letchworth Garden City Go Club will meet weekly on Thursday evenings at the Central Methodist Church Hall (at right; Norton Way South, entrance £3). Organizer Alison Bexfield 2d previously ran the now-defunct Letchworth Go and Puzzle Club with husband Simon 1k, but they could no longer manage the commitment after their kids were born. Now that her children are old enough to play too, Bexfield is committed to introducing a new generation to the game, and is simultaneously launching the Letchworth Junior Chess and Go Club at the same venue at an earlier time. Bexfield is currently organizing the 2013 British Open Tournament and British Go Congress in nearby Stevenage. “By running the British Open I thought I would see if there were any local players lurking that might give sufficient local interest to restart a public club,” she says. Details of all British clubs are available on the British Go Association’s Clubs Page.
- Tony Collman
Thursday April 4, 2013
Junfu Dai 8D (right) successfully defended his title against Lluis Oh 6D in the 41st Paris International Go Tournament at the Lycée Louis Le Grand on April 1. Though it was the first time Spanish player Oh placed, it was Dai’s third victory in four years, a reign broken only by Liu Yuanbo’s win in 2011. However, there may still be hope for Oh, as Dai was runner-up in 1996 and 2008 before he finally became champion. Joining Dai and Oh in the ranks as top Europeans is Romanian player Cristian Pop 7D. No stranger to tournaments, Pop has won the championship in his home country six times. Founded in 1972, the annual Paris International Go Tournament now holds a level 5 ECup rating and is hailed as “one of the largest go events in Europe behind the European Go Congress.” For more information about this year’s tournament including rules, registered players, and results, visit the official Paris 2013 website.
- Annalia Linnan; photo courtesy EuroGoTV, which includes selected game records
Thursday April 4, 2013
A small but appreciative crowd turned out for an evening of go with Japanese 4-dan professional Narumi Osawa in Washington, DC on April 2 during the city’s Cherry Blossom Festival. Osawa’s free talk and simul at the Japan Information and Cultural Center (JICC) included a collaborative game with beginners — including a pair of young children — and a simul with seven pairs of players. “I found it creative that she let beginners take turns to play,” said local organizer Edward Zhang, “as well as teaching along the way when seeing an opportunity in the game. I also loved the Pair Go format of the simul, encouraging communication and collaboration. Her successfully getting students involved by asking many many questions is consistent with some other Japanese pros I met in Go Congresses.” Ms. Osawa is not only a pro from Nihon-Kiin, but also a special envoy of the Japanese government, which may account for the enthusiastic presence of the embassy’s Minister for Public Affairs Masato Otaka for the entire evening. As the visiting go players pondered moves during the simul, embassy staff clustered around a small board off to the side as they tried to solve life and death problems. “Special thanks to JICC director Izumi Seki, who initiated and organized this special event,” said Greater Washington Go Club organizer Haskell Small. Among those in attendance were former AGA President Allan Abramson and new AGA Board Chair Gurujeet Khalsa. Osawa will reportedly be in the US for two months before heading Brazil for a week.
- report/photos & collage by Chris Garlock
Wednesday April 3, 2013
Viktor Bogdanov 4d (photo), won the Yama no Kaze 4 tournament, held March 23-24 in Basssano del Grappa, Italy. In second place was Fausto Predieri 1k and third was Leonardo Giuliato 3k. Click here for results.
- EuroGoTV; click here for all the latest European go news
Tuesday April 2, 2013
While most people probably think about soccer when they hear about the German Bundes League, there’s also an equivalent for go. The German Go Bundes League is one of the biggest western go leagues (the Pandanet-AGA City League just started this year). It was started in 2005 and is organized much like the soccer league. There are currently 83 teams from all over Germany, divided into seven leagues. All leagues but the fifth contain 10 teams who play nine rounds from September to May. At the end of the season the top teams are promoted to the superior league while the worst-performing are demoted. The fifth league is the entry point for new teams, so it contains more teams than the other leagues, currently 29. While every team has up to ten players, only four members play for their team at a tournament. More than 650 players take part in the Bundes League, and nearly all of the strongest German go players can be found on their home town’s team. But the league is not just for the strongest players, it gives everybody the chance to fight for their city and to grow stronger together with the team. Because of the large distances between the teams most of the matches are played online using the KGS go server. However, offline matches are allowed if two teams are closely located or meet each other at a tournament. The large advantage of games played online is that fans can follow the match from their home computers and root for their favorite teams. The current season is about to end: seven of the nine matches have been played and at the moment the ‘Leipziger Loewen’ (Leipzig Lions) team is in first place in the top league, having just beat the formerly leading team in a close match. But the Lions must keep up their good results in the last two matches to hold onto their league; it’s this sort of hotly-contested competition that makes the German Bundes League so popular.
- Jan Engelhardt, E-Journal Correspondent
Tuesday April 2, 2013
Eleven-year-old Jeremy Chiu 5d has won the Junior Division of the US Youth Go Championships (USYGC), finally defeating his longtime rival Aaron Ye 5d. The tourney began on Jan. 20th, but the final rounds weren’t completed until March. Chiu got off to a good start in the double-elimination tourney by defeating Willis Huang 3d in the first round, and then beating Ye in round 2. Chiu then went on to defeat Redmond Cup runner up Austen Liao 3d, and then Brandon Zhou 2d – who at just nine years of age is a player to watch out for. Chiu finally got his face off with Ye on March 16th, in a game with heavy fighting. Ultimately, Ye’s center group was caught without eyes, and short on time, and he was forced to resign. The game record is below, look for a Feng Yun commentary on another match from this series in the near future. Chiu also won in the Ing Foundation’s World Youth Qualifier, and will be going on to compete in Prague this summer, along with Andrew Lu 6d, who also won both the USYGC Senior Division and the Ing Qualifiers. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Photo by Muling Huang