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Power Report (1): Iyama makes LG Best Eight; Korea wins 7th Huanglongshi Cup; Iyama edges closer to winning Meijin League

Wednesday June 14, 2017

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal

Iyama makes LG Best Eight: 
The first two rounds of the 22nd LG Cup were held in Korea on May 29 and 31. Three players from Japan took part and their results were as follows.2017.06.14_LG best 8
Round 1 (round of 32, May 29). Iyama Yuta 9P (W) beat Lee Yeongku 9P (Korea) by resig.; Ida Atsushi 8P (B) beat Choe Cheong 7P (Korea) by resig.; Kang Tongyun 9P (Korea) (W) beat Ichiriki Ryo 7P by resig.
Round 2 (May 31) Iyama (B) beat Zhou Ruiyang 9P (China) by resig.; Shin Jinseo 8p (Korea) beat Ida by resig.
Japan has only three seats in the round of 32 because of poor results in the past, which denied it more seeded places. Iyama has to miss some of the international tournaments because of scheduling clashes with domestic titles, but he is making an effort to make more international appearances. Reaching the quarterfinals is his best result for a while. Zhou Ruiyang was the runner-up in this title last year, so beating him is a good sign for Iyama.

Korea wins 7th Huanglongshi Cup: This is a women’s team tournament for five-player teams from China, Korea, and Japan. The format 2017.06.14_ Huanglong Korean teamis a progressive knock-out, like the Nong Shim Cup, that is, each player keeps playing till she loses a game. The first seven games were played from April 20 to 23. In the second game, played on April 20 (as of this term, two games are being played on most days), Japan picked up its only win when Nyu Eiko beat Zhou Hungyu of China. The other members of the team, Xie Yimin, Fujisawa Rina, O Keii, and Mukai Chiaki, failed to make a contribution. Korea won the tournament in the 13th game without needing to field their fifth player. They scored seven wins to five for China and one for Japan.

Iyama edges closer to winning Meijin League: An important game in the 42nd Meijin League was played recently. At this stage, only three players were still in the running to win the league: Iyama Yuta on 5-0 and Yamashita Keigo 9P and Murakawa Daisuke 8P, who were both on 4-2. On June 5, Iyama (B) beat Yamashita by resig. This improved Iyama’s score to 6-0 and put Yamashita, now 4-3, out of the running. Murakawa will play Iyama in July, but beating Iyama is not enough; he needs Yo Seiki 7P, Iyama’s opponent in the final round in August, to beat him as well while he has to beat Hane Naoki 9P in his final game to tie with Iyama.
Other recent results: (June 1) Ko Iso 8P (W) beat Hane Naoki by resig.; Murakawa Daisuke  (W) beat Kono Rin 9P by resig.

Tomorrow: AlphaGo plays itself; Iyama extends lead in Honinbo title match; Yuki wins 1,200 games; 42nd Kisei S League

Update: This post has been updated; the spelling of the Huanglongshi Cup has been corrected.

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Categories: Japan,John Power Report
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Nominations to AGA Board closing soon

Sunday June 11, 2017

Chris Kirschner and Martin Lebl have been nominated to the Western and Central regions respectively. A competitive election is expected in the east with Steve Colburn running against incumbent Diego Pierrottet.  Nominations, including self-nominations, may be made by full members for the region in which the member resides by June 15. Chapters should check their membership roles for recent and upcoming expirations which may affect their vote count. Nominations and questions must be emailed to elections@usgo.org. Election information and qualification info are available at AGA Board Elections | American Go Association
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Categories: U.S./North America
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Coffee Cup Set For June 17 in Santa Monica

Wednesday June 7, 2017

P1010157This year’s Santa Monica Coffee Cup will be held Saturday, June 17, at the legendary UnUrban Coffeehouse. First prize in each division is the eponymous Santa Monica Coffee Cup, lovingly hand painted by Southern California craftspeople, in this year’s theme color of Nattier blue. Coffee beans, certificates and hand-painted tiles will also be awarded at the close of the three-round AGA rated event. P5More details and pre-registration here. The tournament’s design committee, moved by recent results in AI research, is debating whether to replace next year’s designated color, sangue de boeuf, with stargoon, catbabel, or clardic fug. More information at coffeecup@okun.name.

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WAGC Update: Only China remains undefeated

Tuesday June 6, 2017

by Thomas Hsiang, special correspondent to the E-Journal2017.06.07-wagc-hq

The morning’s round 5 was highlighted by an exciting game between China and DPR Korea, won by China with the smallest margin of 0.5 point.  US rep Danny Ko lost to Cornel Burzo and fell to the 2-loss group.  Japan’s Sakata Shusaku has been playing well since he lost in the second round.  He met Hong Kong’s Chan Naisan and played a strong game from the start, giving his opponent no real chance of coming back.

In the afternoon, the top game was China vs. Korea. Because of the large number of spectators, the playing area had to be screened off by a “chair wall”.  The game lasted well after all other games had finished and remained close.  But in the end, Korea made a yose mistake and had to resign.  Japan defeated Romania and sent Burzo to two losses.  Russia’s veteran Dmitry Surin defeated Czech Lukas Podpera to remain the only 1-loss Western player.  Danny Ko played Thailand’s Vorawat Tanapatsopol and fell behind by quite a bit late in the game and had also entered his last period of 30-second byo-yomi. But Ko played a well-designed whole-board yose trap to overtake his opponent.  When his opponent resigned, Danny Ko had played his last sixty or so moves within the last byo-yomi period.
Entering the last two rounds tomorrow, the picture is clearer.  Having won all his games, China’s Bai Baoxiang has the championship in his control.  There are five countries at one-loss: Japan, Korea, DPR Korea, Taiwan, and Russia.  These six will play each other in round 7: China vs. Russia, Korean vs. Taiwan, and Japan vs. DPR Korea.

photo: WAGC headquarters hotel; Guiyang Sheraton set next to a large Ming-dynasty temple
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Redmond plans new video series on AlphaGo-AlphaGo games

Monday June 5, 2017

Michael Redmond 9P is planning a new video series exploring the recently-released set of 50 games AlphaGo played against itself.2017.06.05_AGA Update The Return of Redmond's Reviews “They’re really interesting and complex games,” he tells American Go E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock in a short video announcing the series just released on the AGA’s YouTube channel. “The openings feature a lot of 3-3 invasions, the middle game is very complicated and I’m looking forward to taking a close look at the endgame.” Production on the new series will begin later this month; stay tuned for updates on release plans.

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Categories: Computer Go/AI
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Players needed to test online go and chess tournament site

Monday June 5, 2017

The Mindsports Academy is seeking play-testers for their online playing program. The Academy was created in 2013 by Mindsports 2017.06.03_Mindsports Academy MindsportsInternational in an effort to respond to growing demand for organized Mindsports events. The Mindsports Academy membership gives individuals and clubs the opportunity to become part of a worldwide network of players participating both online and in live evens. The Mindsports program includes games like chess, Scrabble, Magic: The Gathering, and, of course, go.
As part of their program, Go and Chess Tournaments are now running online, and they’re looking for players to help test the site. In return for playing and giving feedback to the developers, players will be given free “shields,” an item needed to play in the sportsroom. Feedback should be sent to jgeeser@mindsportsinternational.com along with your screen name so as to be credited with rewards for participation.
- edited by Noah Doss
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WAGC Day 1 Report: Early strong pairings

Sunday June 4, 2017

by Thomas Hsiang, special correspondent to the E-Journal2017.06.04_wagc-danny-ko

The pairing for WAGC this year, as in 2016, uses a Chinese algorithm that does not pre-order the players. Therefore some early strong pairings have already taken place on the first day.  In round 1, Japanese 7D Sakamoto Shusaku met with South Korean Lee Sangbin, with Lee winning a tough match.  In the second round, Taiwanese representative 7D Lai Yucheng lost to Czech 7D Lukas Podpera by 2.5 points, producing the first major upset.  US representative Danny Ko fought a difficult battle with German Lukas Kraemer and achieved a 2-0 result.  After the game, former world champion Yoo Changhuh reviewed the game for the players in great detail and Danny said that he felt like he had improved from the review.  He will need the extra strength as he prepares to meet Chinese Bai Baoxiang in the third round.  Bai has won the WAGC once previously already.  Canadian representative Yujie Gong lost in the second round to long-time Polish mainstay Leszek Soldan and was 1-1 going into the second day.  Other players who drew special interest include the DPR Korea player Jin Ungri who, although listed only as 4D, defeated a number of famous North Korean players to emerge as the country’s first representative to WAGC in several years; the 12-year old Vo Duyminh from Vietnam and the 72-year old Zoran Mutabzija from Croatia, who the youngest and oldest players respectively.  Jin easily won his first two games so far, while the other two were both 1-1 with Vo given a forfeiture after he misread the schedule and was late by 25 minutes in the first round.  In the third round, the strongest pairings include Danny Ko vs. Bai Baoxiang, Russian Dmitry Surin vs. Lee Sangbin, and Hong Kong 7D Chan Naisan vs. Austrian Victor Lin.

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Go Spotting: Misaeng (An Incomplete Life)

Sunday June 4, 2017

by Daniel Acheson2017.06.03_Misaeng
“Misaeng,” which means “an incomplete life,” is a 2014 South Korean television drama about 26-year old Jang Geu-rae and his struggles adapting to corporate life after failing to qualify as a professional go player.
Starting with the show’s title, which refers to the life and death status of a group of stones, “Misaeng” is suffused with go imagery and references. Flashbacks to Geu-rae’s go career pepper the storyline, and there are many scenes where the game is used to make analogous connections to his internship. In one episode, for example, Geu-rae adapts his go study system to completely reorganize his section’s shared files, which are a hopeless mess. While this may not sound like much, this early assignment, and the drama that surrounds it, becomes a pivotal moment in the story’s development.
Geu-rae’s corporate environment also mimics life on the goban: Among the interns and staff there is fierce competition for survival and promotion. Like the middle game, opening moves – education, internships, career choices – have determined certain relationships, and the characters must find opportunities to advance within (or in spite of) the constraints imposed by their past actions. In this respect Geu-rae is at a distinct disadvantage.
Due to the hermetic years spent studying go, Geu-rae possesses none of the educational or social advantages of his peers. He is armed onlyÀ±ÅÂÈ£ ÀÛ°¡ ÀÎÅͺä. ÀÌ»ó¼· ±âÀÚ. babtong@heraldcorp.com 2013.03.07 with a high-school equivalency exam certificate and an aptitude for undertaking difficult, thankless work. Nothing about his start with One International is auspicious. Geu-rae’s manager, Oh Sang-shik, regards this new intern as an unqualified burden and openly voices hopes that Geu-rae will fail. Among peers Geu-rae is known as a “bomb,” meaning someone who will explode under the pressures of the internship and thus fail. Yet Geu-rae surprises everyone with his fortitude.
In a similar way, I think “Misaeng” will also pleasantly surprise its viewers. Although the show starts slowly, each episode builds momentum and invests viewers more and more in the characters and their storylines. The data confirms this: Average ratings for “Misaeng” jumped fivefold from its premier in October 2014 to its conclusion in December of that year.
One reason for this popularity, I think, is that it is relatable. In 2012, when “Misaeng” started as a webtoon, its creator, Yoon Tae-ho, began with “countless interviews with real-life people who work for corporations.” “Explain it to me as if you were explaining it to a middle school student,” he would say to his interviewees. “If you really want to know about something, you have to have the courage to look like an idiot, the courage to say you don’t know anything about what they know.” As a result Geu-rae’s world, and with that of his contemporaries, feels real and lived in precisely because it is the world inhabited by so many in their personal and professional lives.
The struggle for complete life is as present on the goban as it is in the office or home, even if it is less evident. It’s also something that each player must face on their own despite being in the company of others. This is the essence of “Misaeng.”
“Misaeng” is available on Hulu Plus. Quotes from The Korea Herald and Korea Joongang Daily
photo (bottom left): Webtoon writer Yoon Tae-ho poses in his office prior to an interview with The Korea Herald on March 7. (Lee Sang-sub/The Korea Herald)
Edited by Howard Wong
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IGF meetings kick off 38th World Amateur Go Championship in Guiyang, China

Saturday June 3, 2017

by Thomas Hsiang, special correspondent to the E-JournalThe 38th World Amateur Go Championship is being held at the five-star Guiyang Sheraton Hotel in downtown Guiyang, China.  On June 3, the first day, the International Go Federation held its annual Board and General Assembly meetings.  A number of important announcements were made by Chairman Chang Zhenming, president and chairman of CITIC 2017.06.03_wahc-igc-mtgSecurities, Inc:
  • The next three WAGC’s will be held in Tokyo May 2-9, 2018; in Matsue City of the Shimane Perfecture in 2019; and in Vladevostok, Russia, in 2020.  Maxim Volkov, president of Russian Go Federation, was on hand to celebrate the announcement.
  • IGF will host the “CITIC Securities Cup” – the First International Artificial Intelligence Go Open – on August 16-17, 2017, in the City of Ordos of Inner Mongolia, China.  16 programs will be entered into the competition from over the world.  Generous prizes will be provided.
  • IGF offers a $20,000 grant to support the First Latin America Go Congress, to be held October 12-16, 2017 in Cancun, Mexico.
  • The Second IMSA Elite Mind Games, participated by IGF, will be held December 8-16, 2017 in Huai’an City, China.  This event will continue at least through 2019.
  • The 2017 Pair Go World Cup will be held August 7-10, 2017 in Tokyo.
  • A new member, the Republic of Georgia, was admitted and is now the 77th member of IGF.
Mr. Hiroaki Dan, chairman of Nihon Kiin and vice president of IGF, made the proposal for IGF to take on surveying and building up go instructional materials for schools.  The proposal was approved unanimously by the Board and will become a priority for IGF in the next few years.  Chairman Chang made the following declaration on behalf of IGF: “In recognition of the benefit of Go in the development of intelligence and character of youths, IGF will promote Go education in schools by surveying its members for existing Go educational materials worldwide, followed by sponsoring studies that consolidate these materials to build systematic educational content and pedagogy.  We welcome active participation from IGF members.”
Mr. Chang also called on IGF to take up studies to work toward a universal ruleset and to establish a universal rating system.
After the General Assembly, the traditional ceremony to draw pairing was held.  In the evening, a lavish dinner banquet concluded the busy day.  Tomorrow the first two rounds of competition will be held.
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Memory and DNA study seeks go-playing volunteers

Saturday June 3, 2017

Researchers at Harvard University’s Wyss Institute and Harvard’s Personal Genome Project (PGP) are partnering with Luminosity to better 2017.06.03_harvard-studyunderstand the relationship between memory and DNA.  The goal of the study is to identify genetic factors that can help in developing treatment for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, by identifying individuals having exceptional memory, attention, and reaction speed.
Yingleong Chan, PhD, postdoctoral fellow of George Church’s lab at Harvard Medical School, has reached out to the American Go Association to find go players who are interested in participating in being participants of the PGP and participating in this PGP-Lumositygenomics research study.  Participants will be asked to complete six games aimed at evaluating memory, attention, and reaction speed.  Participant test scores will then be grouped to identify exceptional performers.  People that perform well on the games will have the opportunity to identify their genome sequence in order to construct experimental models to form new hypotheses related to the characteristics of neurodegenerative disorders.  Through this study, the PGP hopes to better understand efficient memory functions in order to further research Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders.
Click here for more information, including instructions on how to enroll in the study.
- edited by Brian Kirby
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Categories: U.S./North America
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