American Go E-Journal » U.S./North America

KPMC 2015: Keith Arnold Interviews Eric Lui

Tuesday December 22, 2015

This week we’re presenting extended coverage of the Korean World Amateur Championships (KPMC; click here for our winner’s report on December 8 and here for Eric Lui on Camaraderie and Pure Joy). Here’s Keith Arnold’s interview with Lui, which took place at last Sunday’s meeting of the Baltimore Go Club. The longtime local organizer has known Lui since he first began playing go.
photo: Lui reviewing his Round 5 KPMC game with Hong Kong (watch for the review in tomorrow’s EJ); photo by Keith Arnold. 

KA: First of all, Congratulations on the achievement (5-1; played for championship in final round); were you happy with your play 2015.12.22_eric-luioverall?
EL: Thank you. There were some good moments in my games, and I played about as well as I expected to, so on the whole I’m not dissatisfied.
KA: Can you give us a brief description of the tournament format and venue?
EL: The tournament was a 6-round Swiss, with 40 minutes basic time per player and 3 periods of 30 seconds byo yomi. Initially, the players were split into two groups by strength and then paired within the group. The tournament was held at Riverside Hotel in Seoul’s Gangnam district, a seemingly high-class place with fancy, luxurious dining halls, and a long, spacious hall that led to a separate large room for the playing area.
KA: You are known as a slow player, but is it possible that your experience in byo yomi helps you in a quicker game like this?
EL: I’d prefer to think of others as quick players. There is no room for slow players these days, especially in amateur go where time limits are very short. Speed is key and can be a major weapon. My play in byo yomi is far from ideal, but it seems that my opponents also felt the time pressure.
KA: How was the competition? Other than China, who was your toughest opponent?
EL: The player from Hong Kong was strong, and I also had a tough game against Ukraine.
KA: Do you get a chance to look at some of your opponents games’ to prepare for these events, or do you focus on making sure your own game is sharp?
EL: I didn’t know who would be coming, so I just tried to stay in good physical condition.
KA: How did you feel going into a championship game?
EL: I thought of Ben (Lockhart) last year and wondered if history was going to repeat itself (he went 5-0 before losing to Korea in the final). In fact, scarcely 90 minutes before the game, the Chinese player and I were seated at the same table, having lunch together. It felt a bit odd that we would soon be playing for the championship.
KA: In the final game you played mirror go for the first 14 moves, was that an effort to save time, or was it a particular strategy you worked on?
EL: I’ve been interested in mirror go for a while, yet I know little about it from limited practical experience. Actually, I think mirror go is a poor strategy for saving time, since you can’t just blindly copy your opponent’s moves. There is so much reading and strategic planning involved.
KA: Being 5-0 and dropping to 4th seems harsh; can you explain what hurt your SOS?
EL: It’s fair. This year, the Chinese and Korean players were a class above everyone else, although the young kid from Taiwan had very good chances to win against the Chinese player. My first two rounds were against Serbia and Slovakia, and they both ended up with (only) two wins. Those are the breaks, and there’s nothing to do about it.
KA: How does this compare to your 3rd place in the World Amateur Go Championships?
EL: Finishing third in the WAGC is by far my best achievement, yet my KPMC result is no less satisfying.
KA: You have really done well representing the U.S. Go is such a personal game; does representing your country put additional pressure on you, or is your internal competitive will all the motivation you need?
EL: My major goal for this tournament was to have a good time. In the U.S., we are always fighting for prizes, rating points, etc. and the stakes are much higher. Here, I just felt content to play games face-to-face. I wasn’t too concerned about my results.
KA: What do you feel are the strengths of your game right now? What are you most trying to work on?
EL: I feel confident in games with lots of direct fighting. The opening is probably my weakest part, so I’m concentrating on improving it by studying pro games.
KA: We have played together since you first began playing and I often brag that I taught you everything you know. Can you think of anything you actually learned from me?
EL: That it’s always possible to win against stronger players.
KA: Aside from winning games, what was your favorite part of the trip?
EL: Meeting the other players and organizers was by far the best part. Winning games was just a bonus.

TomorrowEric Lui’s commentary on his KPMC Round 5 game with Hong Kong.

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KPMC 2015: Eric Lui on Camaraderie and Pure Joy

Monday December 21, 2015

This week we’ll present extended coverage of the Korean World Amateur Championships (KPMC; click here for our winner’s report on December 8). Below you’ll find U.S. rep Eric Lui’s delightful reminiscence of the event, where he went undefeated for five rounds, losing only to champion China in the final (Ben Lockhart did the same thing last year, except his final round loss was to Korea). Tomorrow we will have a Q&A with Eric about the event, and finally we will present a brief review of his 5th round game against Hong Kong.

by Eric Lui, U.S. representative to the 2015 Korean World Amateur Championships2015.12.20_Eric-Lui-KPMC

It’s been nine years since I participated in the first Korea Prime Minister’s Cup. My memories of the occasion as a whole are dim at best, but I can still recall a few fragments of the extravagant outdoor opening ceremony, and the completely bonkers closing ceremony that had players and local Korean folk holding hands and running in circles around the plaza square into the night.

Turn the clock forward and it’s time for the 10th Korea Prime Minister’s Cup, held in Seoul’s Gangnam district. While the first KPMC was lavish in style and grand in execution, the 10th edition thrived on the strength of its organizers, a charismatic and multilingual group who couldn’t have been more welcoming. The genuine camaraderie among the players and organizers produced a truly festive atmosphere.

Before each round, music played from a large boombox at the front of the stage. In particular, a rousing rendition of Chicago’s hit song “If You Leave Me Now” put me in a whimsical mood before my important fifth-round match against the player from Hong Kong. If only Peter Cetera were there, he would finally be able to cite definitive proof to any naysayers who claim that his music has yet to reach an international audience. “You see?” He might say, pointing vigorously to a video feed. “I made it!”

The standout performer this time was Cristian Pop of Romania, who, in a first-round heavyweight clash, defeated Japan’s Dr. Shinichiro Osawa, a neurosurgeon and former teacher of the star player Ichiriki Ryo 7p. Pop would go on to finish 3rd. My last-round defeat at the hands of China’s top-rated amateur Hu Yuqing, the tournament winner, landed me in 4th place on SOS. Hu has terrorized the amateur go world for well over a decade, and, playing in his 6th (!) KPMC at the raw age of 34, shows no signs of slowing down.

The closing ceremony was well-attended with VIPs such as Seo Bongsoo 9p, chief referee, Kim Seungjun 9p, Lee Hajin 3p, secretary of IGF, and Martin Stiassny, president of EGF. The highlights featured a male performer, clad in headgear with a long wavy band attached to the brim, executing aerial cartwheels around a circle in a breathtaking display of athleticism and artistry, and a moving interpretation of Secret Garden’s iconic “Song from a Secret Garden” by a quartet on traditional Korean instruments including a vertical fiddle, a bamboo flute, and a long zither.

The next day was the traditional sightseeing day and the first snow of the season. Later that night, while walking in downtown Myeongdong, Seoul’s premier shopping district, clutching bags filled with cosmetics and various beauty products, it crossed my mind that in less than half a day, I would be on my way to the airport and this trip would become just a memory.

When we reached the end of the street, I looked back, shivering slightly in the freezing cold, and took it all in: the bright lights, buildings that seemed to touch the sky, hustle and bustle in a world I didn’t understand, and felt strangely at ease.

In that moment, I saw myself four days ago, sleep-deprived and slightly haggard upon arrival. I recalled the interesting conversations, laughter, and failed attempts at procuring more food. I thought of the first time I participated in this tournament, so eager and determined to prove something.

I felt pure joy at having had the opportunity to play in this tournament again, and a twinge of regret about all the pictures I had forgotten to take, yet I took solace knowing that others would not have done the same.

I remembered standing on an outdoor patio at Tokyo Narita Airport, watching from a distance as a plane barreled down the runway and took off into the sky, my hopes and dreams soaring with it, and I smiled inwardly as I realized how much there was to look forward to.

And then the moment was gone. I heard a voice, and a sudden gust of wind brought me back to earth. Following a few steps behind a small crowd into a donut shop, I rubbed my hands together in anticipation of warmth.

Tomorrowa Q&A with Eric about the 2015 KPMC.

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Pittsburgh Artist Seeks Go Players for Film Project

Monday December 21, 2015

Pittsburgh-based artist Jesse Kauppila is looking for two “highly skilled go players, hopefully dan-level, who can memorize and reenact a 2015.12.13_Jesse-Kauppilahistoric go game which I can film.” An artist in Carnegie Mellon Univeristy’s MFA program, Kauppila is working on visualization/film project in which “I will be visualizing a game of go using a 7 axis Robot and 20,000 Legos.” The project is an extension of Kauppila’s recent public art project, “Checker Brick House.” “I am located in Pittsburgh, but I am willing to travel for this project,” Kauppila says. Contact him here.
Image: Kauppila’s “Bitmap Machine”

 

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NOVA Slate and Shell Open Provides Holiday Shopping Alternative

Sunday December 20, 2015

Fifteen dedicated go players decided to test themselves across the goban rather than fight for parking places at the mall or go to the latest 2015.12.20-nova-tourneyinstallment of Star Wars this past Saturday, December 19, in Arlington, VA at the 4-round NOVA Slate and Shell Open.  Competition was tough with no 4-0 winners.  Kelsey Dyer 1D lead the top division with 3-1.  Robert Ehrlich 5K, Sarah Crites 11K, and Amber Boyden 20K won their divisions.  Joshua Lee 6D (tie), Edward Zhang 6D (tie), David Reed 6K, and Anderson Barreal 8K placed second.  Honorable mentions went to Zhao Zhao 5K and Bob Crites 7K for 2-2 records.  All winners received books supplied by our sponsor Slate and Shell, who also provided a small but challenging puzzle book to all entrants.  A very big thank you to Slate and Shell!
- report/photo by Garrett Smith, TD; photo: Bob Crites, Sarah Crites (foreground), Anderson Barreal, Amber Boyden (foreground), Robert Ehrlich, Edward Zhang, Kelsey Dyer, Joshua Lee, David Reed, and Zhao Zhao are pictured with their prizes. 
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Latin American Youth Tourneys Heat Up

Monday December 14, 2015

IMG_4084Chile won the Orion Latin American Online Youth Team Tournament, held November 28 and 29.  The event drew 9 three-player teams from 4 different countries, reports organizer Sid Avila. “We contacted Yunxuan Li,  President of the American Go Honor Society, about having a friendly match between the division winners in the School Teams Tournament with their Latin American counterparts, and Chile is looking forward to the match,” said Avila.  The Chilean team included Matias Salinas, Benjamin Mimiza, and Esteban Orellana.  The Mexican team took second place, and included Diego A. Luciano, Lilian Zavala, and Omar Zavala. The Venezuelan team took third place, with Abel Pérez, Yenderwin Palomino, and Yendervy Palomino.

Earlier in the year, on July 4 and 5, the Latin American Online Youth Tournament ´Las Tres Águilas´ was held on the Online Go Server. 55 players from 5 countries represented their schools, academies, and go clubs, their ranks ranging from 25 to 6k.The top three players for the 19 by 19 division were Abel Pérez 12k from Venezuela, Matías Salinas 8k from Chile, and Mateo Nava 12k from Mexico. The top three players for the 13 by 13 division were David Poblete 15k, Juan P. Ascencio 25k, and Francisco Gonzales 16k, all from Chile. Yuri León from Colombia received recognition for his fighting spirit. For more information and pictures click here for Tres Aguilas and here for Orion. -Story by Amy Su. Photo: Students from Chile competing.
Correction (12/19): Poblete, Ascencio and Gonzales are from Chile, not Colombia, as originally reported. 

 

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2016 US Go Congress Website Launched

Sunday December 13, 2015

Whether you’re definitely planning to attend the 2016 US Go Congress July 30-August 7 in Boston or just considering it at this early stage, you’ll want to sign up for updates from Congress organizers. The site will continue to be updated as 2015.12.14_boston-congressmore details are finalized.

 

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Go Take a Bath this Saturday

Thursday December 10, 2015

“There are very few things that beat saunas in the winter,” says Boris Bernadsky. “One of them is playing go in the sauna in the winter.” That’s2015.12.10_go-sauna why he’s hosting an unusual go Meet-Up this Saturday at the King’s Spa, a Korean style bathhouse in Palisades Park, NJ. Here’s a link for a discount entrance fee. “The spa has a space separated by gender where the bathing occurs and a coed area where there are many dry sauna and activity areas, including go boards,” says Bernadsky. “I will bring two more just in case.” The spa provides clothing for the coed area. There is also a restaurant, and for $10 extra you get a blanket and can spend the night on a lazyboy — the go event runs from 5p Saturday through 8a Sunday — although as Berndsky notes, playing all night “is not mandatory. Anyway it will be fun!”

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Syracuse Tourney Draws Upstate Crowd

Sunday December 6, 2015

Thirty-two players participated in Syracuse Go Club’s Fall Self-Paired Tournament on Saturday, November 21, with thirteen driving an hour or 2015.12.06_Syracuse-DSC_5895-hi-rezmore to attend (four from Cornell University’s club, two from Rochester’s Empty Sky Go Club, two from near Buffalo, one from Utica, two from the Albany area, and two who drove up from Harrisburg, PA). Free refreshments were provided throughout the tournament, and at the end of the day, every player was able to select a nice prize from the new books kindly provided at a discount by Slate and Shell. The club will hold its annual four-round Salt City Tournament on April 16.
- report/photo by Richard Moseson; click here for our Facebook album of photos from the tournament.

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Myungwan Kim 9P Launches Weekly Go Class in Pasadena

Saturday December 5, 2015

Myungwan Kim 9P is launching a weekly go class in Pasadena, California. A continuation of the Acadia Go Center Saturday class, the 2015.12.05_MyungwanKimtarget level is players from 7 kyu to 4 dan. Lectures will include participant game reviews, dan level game reviews, pro game analysis, openings and more.

The class will be held most Saturdays from 10am to 1pm, at Reiyukai America in Pasadena (Yu Go Club meeting place), 20 N Raymond Ave, Suite 200, Pasadena, CA 91103. Fee: $30 per session. Reiyukai membership ($3/month) is required and is not included in the lecture fee. Class size is limited to 10, and monthly members have priority. Reserve your place by emailing bigtory@gmail.com. Just showing up does not guarantee seats.

The series began on December 5 and continues on December 12 and 19. The January schedule will be announced soon. You can also check out Kim’s live commentaries here.

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Japanese Go Exchange Visits Mexico

Sunday November 29, 2015

7“Mexico gladly welcomed the Sociedad Internacional de Intercambio de Go  (SIIG) from Japan, for the first three days of October,” reports Sid Avila. SIIG is a delegation of players, built mainly by retired business men and women, who travel around the world playing and sharing through go.

This is the fourth time SIIG has visited Mexico, and they went to three locations on this trip: Pipiolo art elementary school where Siddhartha Avila teaches a curricular go program; National University, where Emil Garcia leads a team of instructors who teach at open workshops; and Ejoki Buddhist Temple where Ricardo Quintero teaches go on weekends.

Ms. Marcela Zepeda, the principal of  Pipiolo, introduced the Japanese group to the students on the first day. The children performed traditional dances and Mexican songs, followed by a rengo atari-go game with kindergarden children, and a three round pair-go tournament with 36 pairs of Japanese go players and Mexican school children mixed.

The university venue, on October 2nd, was the Contemporary Arts University Museum square, where a Mexico-Japan tournament was held in a 4 round system. Japan won all four rounds and a crystal tablet was given to  SIIG President Sugime Masanao by Daniel Morales, the Mexican Go Association’s treasurer, as acknowledgment of their visit. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor, with Emil Garcia and Sid Avila. 

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