American Go E-Journal » Go News

Congress Pro Update; Teachers’ Workshop Returns

Monday June 2, 2014

Two more professional go players have just been confirmed for this year’s US Go Congress, bringing the total so far to 14 (click here for the complete list). Shinichi Aoki 9P won the 3rd NEC Shun-Ei Tournament in 1988; his sister is Aoki Kikuyo 8P. Korean professional Dahye Lee 4P, who specializes in teaching non-professional players how to teach youth in Korea, was a big hit at the Go Congress Teachers’ Workshop last year (photo) and will be returning this year.  The workshop will again offer the opportunity for players interested in teaching go to earn certification as an AGA-recognized go teacher.  The first workshop last year graduated 40 teachers, “far more than expected,” says Chris Kirschner, who is organizing the event this year.  The curriculum has been expanded this year and with more than 50 already registered, “We are far above the 23 we had at this time last year” says Kirschner.  The certificate program requires attendance of at least 8 hours including core topics, but those interested in only a few topics are welcome to attend those only.  The Congress website allows you to sign up for just those sessions in which you have the most interest.  The curriculum is still subject to change, so anyone interested in presenting their ideas at a session, or creating a new session is invited to contact Kirscher at planning@usgo.org.
photo: 2013 go teacher workshop participants show off their certificates; photo by Phil Straus

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The Power Report (Part 2): Iyama Extends Lead in Honinbo Title Match; Fujisawa and Okuda Reach Final of New Women’s Tournament; Promotions

Monday June 2, 2014

by John Power, EJ Japan Correspondent

Iyama Extends Lead in Honinbo Title Match: Ida Atsushi is an aggressive player and Iyama Yuta’s philosophy is to always look for the strongest move, so the 69th Honinbo best-of-seven is proving to be an exciting title match. The second game was held in the Old Inn Kaneyu, a traditional building that is nationally registered as a Tangible Cultural Asset, on May 25 and 26. Taking black, Ida set the tone of the game early when he chose an attacking move with Black 39 rather than a defensive one. If his move worked, he would swallow up a white group that was trying to reduce his main potential territory, but if it failed that territory would be ruined. Ida followed up with more attacking moves, so his play was consistent, but his 45th move was “probably an overplay,” according to Takao Shinji. Iyama (right) needed to secure a second eye for a cut-off group, but he counterattacked for over 50 moves before doing so. By the end of the fight, he had split Black into two weak groups in the centre while he had only one weak group. The pressure finally got to Ida on move 91, a mistake that overlooked a brilliant counter by White. Thereafter, Iyama took control of the game and, as usual, ratcheted up the pressure instead of coasting to a win on territory. Ida resigned after White 182. This game is full of brilliant tesujis accessible to players of all levels, so if you have access to it on the Net we recommend you play through it. Perhaps the highlight is a three-step hane by Iyama that gives Black a double atari, but ironically one that helps White more than Black. After the game, Ida consoled himself with the reflection that he was at least getting more used to two-day games. However, I can’t help wondering if he is using his time allowance effectively. In both games, Iyama was in byo-yomi, being down to his final three minutes, whereas Ida had 70 minutes left in this game and 55 minutes left in the first game.Two sidelights: This was the first time a Honinbo game was held in Aizu Wakamatsu for nearly half a century, the predecessor being the second game of the 20th title match between Sakata Eio Honinbo and Yamabe Toshiro. At the party held on eve of the game, Iyama was presented with a cake in a surprise celebration of his 25th birthday. He looked after his present himself. The third game, scheduled for June 4 and 5, is going to be a test of Ida’s mettle. To avoid being forced to a kadoban, he will have to beat Iyama with White, not an easy task.

Fujisawa and Okuda Reach Final of New Women’s Tournament: Few things would make Japanese go fans happier than to see Fujisawa Shuko’s granddaughter Rina (left) develop into a top player. She is already showing signs of potential, having reached the final of a new women’s tournament, the Aizu Central Hospital Cup. As the name shows, this tournament is sponsored by a hospital in Aizu Wakamatsu City in Fukushima Prefecture, the region which suffered the heaviest earthquake damage three years ago. The director of the hospital is a keen go player, and in an interview he said that at one time 20 of the doctors on the staff were go players who often held their own tournaments. His aim in sponsoring the tournament is to help raise the level of Japanese women so that they can compete better internationally. Most of the tournaments with regional sponsors that we report on are minor events, without substantial prize money, but this tournament is a serious affair. First prize is seven million yen, the top prize for a women’s tournament, and the final will be a two-day game June 26 and 27, which is a first for a women’s tournament. All 62 women players at the Nihon Ki-in and the Kansai Ki-in took part in preliminary rounds held during late January and early February to select seven finalists for the main tournament. Dual title-holder Xie Yimin was seeded in the eighth place. The quarterfinals and semifinals were held at the Konjakutei Inn in Higashiyama Hot Spring in Aizu Wakamatsu City on May 24 and 25. Results follow.
Quarterfinals (May 24): Fujisawa Rina 2P (B) defeated Xie Yimin, Women’s Meijin & Kisei, by 2.5 points; Mannami Nao 3P (B) d. O Keii 2P by resig.; Okuda Aya 3P (B) d. Koyama Terumi 6P by 5.5 points; Ishii Akane 2P (B) d. Kato Keiko 6P by resig.
Semifinals (May 25): Fujisawa (W) d. Mannami by resig.; Okuda (B) d. Ishii by resig.

Promotions: To 4-dan: Terayama Rei (50 wins); To 3-dan: Ito Masashi (40 wins); To 2: dan: Takagi Junpei (30 wins)

Categories: Japan
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The Power Report (Part 1): Cho U Eliminated from Oza; Ichiriki Wins O-kage Cup; Kono to Challenge Again for Gosei; Kisei Leagues

Sunday June 1, 2014

by John Power, EJ Japan Correspondent

Cho U Eliminated from Oza: Cho U seems to have an affinity with the Oza tournament and has played in the title match six years in a row, winning it four times, then losing the last two matches to Iyama. Altogether, he has won this title seven times, but his good run has come to an end. In the first round of the final section of the main tournament (the round of 16), Cho (B) lost to Murakawa Daisuke 7P by half a point.

Ichiriki Wins O-kage Cup: The O-kage (literally “gratitude”) Cup is a tournament for players 30 and under sponsored by O-kage Alley, a street of tourist-related shops (many of them recreations of Edo-period buildings) in the street leading to Ise Shrine, which is one of the two most important Shinto shrines in Japan (the other being Izumo Shrine). The 5th Cup was held on May 15 and 16, with 16 young players taking part. Ichiriki Ryo (left), last year’s winner, followed up his victory in the Globis Cup the previous week with another victory. In the final, he beat Seto Taiki 7P (B) by resignation. This is the 5th minor title that the 16-year-old Ichiriki has won. Both these players will represent Japan in an international version of the title scheduled for the autumn.

Kono to Challenge Again for Gosei: Kono Rin 9P (right) will try to improve on his 2-3 loss to Iyama Yuta in last year’s Gosei title match. In the play-off to decide the challenger for the 39th title, Kono (B) beat Cho Riyu 8P by resig. The title match will begin on June 26. Cho missed out on his first chance to challenge for a title, but he should be back. Aged 32, Cho seems to have improved recently and he is enjoying good results. Born in Taiwan, Cho makes a big contribution to Japanese go by acting as a coach to young players in the national team; he often escorts Japanese representatives to international tournaments.

Kisei Leagues: All the games in the first round of the 38th Kisei A and B Leagues were played within the month. The A League got off to a start on May 22 and the first round of the B League was completed. The last game in the A League was played the following Thursday.
Results: (May 22) (A League) Takao Shinji Judan (W) beat Hane Naoki 9P by 3.5 points; Kono Rin 9P (B) beat Yamashiro Hiroshi 9P by resig.; (B League) Cho Chikun (25th Honinbo Chikun) (B) beat Yuki Satoshi 9P by resig. (May 29) Yamashita Keigo 9P (B) beat Ichiriki Ryo 7P by resig.
Tomorrow: Iyama Extends Lead in Honinbo Title Match; Fujisawa and Okuda Reach Final of New Women’s Tournament; Promotions

Categories: Japan
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Pavol Lisy First European Pro

Sunday June 1, 2014

Pavol Lisy 1p (right)  of Slovakia has become the first-ever professional go player appointed by a European body, after adding two more wins at Amsterdam on Thursday May 29 to his two at Strasbourg the week before (see First Knockouts in Euro Pro Qualifications, 5/26 EJ) in the First European Pro Qualification Tournament.

The third and final stage of the tournament, which will see the appointment of a second European Pro, will be held in Vienna on June 20, where those who have only lost one game so far will compete in two further knockout rounds for the prize of professional status.

Lisy, who was a 7d amateur Slovakian Go Champion 2010-2014 and twice European Under-20 Champion, started playing go at age five. He previously had a hobby collecting beer bottle caps, of which he had thousands, mostly brown and white ones, and his father made a paper go board and used the bottle caps as go stones to introduce his son to the game.

The tournament is the result of an agreement (pdf, 6.85Mb) between the European Go Federation and the Beijing Zong Yi Yuan Cheng Culture Communication Co. Ltd. (“CEGO”), who describe themselves as “investors who themselves are Go friends [who] believe on (sic) the future development of European Go and are willing to commit themselves to promote Go [...] in the West“. The agreement is aimed at the establishment of  a full professional European go system and at enhancing the popularity of, and increasing the audience for go in Europe.

Click here for full tournament details, including results table, player profiles and the rules and constitution, and here to see the record of Lisy’s fourth round, clinching game with Cornel Burzo 6d of Romania.

Report by Tony Collman, photos by Harry van der Krogt: (lower left) Cornel Burzo 6d (right) congratulates Lisy on the  7.5 point win that secured him professional status.

Dramatic Korean Go Movie Due Out in July

Sunday June 1, 2014

Professional go player Tae-seok loses his brother to infamous underground gambler Sal-soo after losing a high-stakes game in The Divine Move (AKA The Immortal Move) a new Korean film due out next month. Framed for the murder of his own brother and locked up in prison, Tae-seok (Jung Woo-Sung) vows revenge and trains ferociously in Jo Beom-gu’s action-packed drama. After serving his seven-year sentence, Tae-seok gets in touch with his brother’s former associate Tricks, hermit and blind master player Jesus and skillful junkyard owner Mok-su (Ahn Kil-Kang), and begins formulating a plan to get back at Sal-soo (Lee Beom-Soo) and his men. Slowly penetrating Sal-soo’s inner circle and his gambling joint, Tae-seok eliminates Sal-soo’s men one by one. But when Sal-soo discovers Tae-seok’s true identity, one final game will seal the fates of the two men. According to one source, the film’s literal title “Shinui Hansoo” (“God’s One Move”) “refers to a winning move in the board game of ‘Baduk’ (known in the West as ‘Go’), when the opponent is unable to counter and loses.” No info yet on US release plans.
Thanks to David Doshay for passing this along.

Categories: Go Spotting,Korea
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Alex Kent to Challenge Andrew Kay for British Championship

Saturday May 31, 2014

Reigning British Champion Andrew Kay 4d (right) and Alex Kent 3d (below left) will meet in the final of the 2014 British Championship after taking top places at the Challengers’ League, held over the bank holiday weekend, Friday May 24 to Tuesday May 27, at the International Student House in London. The Challengers’ is a round-robin between the eight top players from the first stage of the Championship, the Candidates’ Tournament (see Ge Bei Lead UK Challenger, EJ 5/10), with 105 minutes each main time, and overtime of 15 plays in 5 minutes. Kay won all seven rounds, while Kent won five. Click here for full results.

As it transpired, four of those who qualified to contend for a place in the final in fact did not:  Sandy Taylor 2d, Tim Hunt 3d and Bruno Poltronieri 3d all found they had other commitments which clashed while, most unfortunate of all, Ge Bei (below right) did not confirm his entry in time. Ge had come first in the Candidates’, beating all his opponents, including reigning champion Kay who had once again waived his right to bypass the first stage of the Championship.

The British Go Association’s (BGA) Championship organizer, Jenny Radcliffe explained that Ge “failed to update his contact information with the BGA and didn’t or couldn’t check the email address to which the invitation was sent. We tried to track down alternative modes of contact but failed to find any so eventually, since we really needed to be sure we had eight players, had to call up another reserve. By the time Bei got in touch, the reserve had already booked non-refundable travel and accommodation, and rearranged his personal life.”

BGA Rules state, “It is the responsibility of the qualified players to determine their eligibility for entry to the Candidates’ Tournament and the Challengers’ League and submit their entries to these events.” At the time of going to press we had been unable to contact Ge for comment.

In the circumstances, reserve Alistair Wall 2d was called up along with the next three highly-placed in the Candidates: Alex Rix 3d, Kiyohiko Tanaka 2d and Harry Fearnley 2d.

Radcliffe added “We hope that this will be a reminder to everyone that it really is important to keep the BGA informed of your contact details!”

Details of the final are yet to be arranged, but it will be a best-of-three (or five if so agreed between the finalists) with 180 minutes main time each and is likely to be broadcast live on KGS with professional commentary.

Report by Tony Collman, British correspondent for the E-Journal. Photos: Andrew Kay celebrates retaining the Championship in 2013; Alex Kent, both courtesy of the BGA website; Ge Bei at the Candidates’, by Tanaka Kiyohiko.

Lee Sedol Retirement Plans Apparently On Hold

Thursday May 29, 2014

Lee Sedol 9P’s plans to retire from competitive play and move to the US may not be quite as firm as they seemed last year (In Shocker, Lee Sedol Announces Retirement; May Move to U.S. 2/13/2013).

“One year later, it seems that Lee’s plans are less definite than we originally thought,” Go Game Guru’s David Ormerod reported on May 29. In 2013, according to Ormerod, Lee (at right, with Gu Li) was involved in projects like Go9Dan.com and was missing his daughter, who was studying in Canada. He started to seriously talk about retiring again at that time.

“Unfortunately, Go9Dan didn’t work out as planned, which affected Lee’s other plans,” Ormerod reported. “On a more positive note, the long mooted jubango between Lee Sedol and Gu Li finally became a reality and our source believes this has rekindled Lee’s passion for go. Because of this, Lee has stopped talking about retiring and doesn’t appear to have any plans to do so in the near future.” Lee now leads 3-2 in the jubango.

“If there’s no imminent plan for retirement, then that’s mostly good news for go fans, because we’ll be able to enjoy more of Lee’s spectacular games in the meantime,” Ormerod concludes. “In the long run, Lee will surely do whatever he thinks is best for his family. And North American go players can keep their fingers crossed.”
- based on Ormerod’s longer report on the GGG site.

Categories: Korea,World
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EuroGoTV Update: Russia, Romania, Poland

Thursday May 29, 2014

Russia: Ruslan Dmitriev 5d took the Championship of Moscow on May 18 while Vjacheslav Kajmin 4d placed second and Vadim Khavin 4d was third. Romania: The Romanian Championship Semifinal also finished on May 18 with (left) in first, George Chirila 1d in second, and Liviu Oprisan 4d in third. Poland: Stanislaw Frejlak 4d championed the Turniej w Ozarowie Mazowieckim on May 18. Behind him were Kamil Konieczny 5k in second and Dawid Libront 7k in third.
– Annalia Linnan, based on reports from EuroGoTV, which include complete result tables and all the latest European go news; photo courtesy of EuroGoTV

Registration Opens for 2014 World Youth Mind-Sports Fair

Wednesday May 28, 2014

Young go players are invited to participate in the 2014 World Youth Mind-Sports Fair, scheduled for July 25-28 at Gangneng Yeong-dong College in Gangwon-do, Gangneng-si, Rep. of Korea. Participants must be born after 1991; there’s an entry fee of $50 USD and the $150 accommodation fee includes meals. Sponsors include the Korea Amateur Baduk Association. Register online; payments must be made by June 30. For more info/details, email kchesskorea@daum.net, call 82-2-3448-6611 or fax 82-2-6280-9329.

Categories: World,Youth
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4 Seats Open on AGA Board

Tuesday May 27, 2014

Help determine the direction of play for the American Go Association by joining the AGA Board of Directors. “This is a very exciting time for American go,” says AGA President Andy Okun. “Our new professional system, more local activities and increased participation in major events make input from the American go community more important than ever.” Nominations are now open for four AGA Board seats, including the three regional seats and the At-Large seat. Nominations are being accepted through June 15. Nominations must be sent to elections@usgo.org. Click here for complete election information and qualifications.

Categories: U.S./North America
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