Monday February 13, 2012
Yuan Zhou 7D, a popular teacher and frequent competitor in top U.S. tournaments, will be the U.S. representative to this year’s World Amateur Go Championship, which will be held in Guanzhou, China in May. “I am excited to represent the U.S. and play in the WAGC,” Zhou (at right) told the E-Journal. “It took me lots of hard work and many tough matches to earn the right to become the U.S. representative. The competition will be very severe. All WAGC players are strong, and there will be no easy matches.”
This is just the third time in the 33-year history of the WAGC that it will be held outside Japan, “signifying a changing international go scene,” reports Thomas Hsiang, the American Go Association’s representative to the International Go Federation, where he’s vice president. “It’s expected at least half of all future WAGC will be sponsored by a non-Japanese city and it’s not out of the question that we may have it in North America one day.” The venue of this year’s WAGC, the Guangzhou Qiyuan, is a “magnificent, huge, board-game center where the mind-sport competitions of the 2010 Asian Games were held,” Hsiang adds.
The E-Journal will provide full onsite coverage of the event, thanks again to generous support from the IGF, providing the AGA membership glimpses of the venue, along with stories and game records of the event.
Monday February 6, 2012
Four teams of elementary school kids in Portland OR and Mexico City, competed against each other in a friendly inter-school match on KGS, Jan. 21st. The kids from Mexico attend Pipiolo Art Institute, and are taught by Siddhartha Avila, who is building a vital Mexican Go community around his youth programs. In Portland, Peter Freedman is workingwith kids at the Irvington School Chess and Go Club. Each school fielded two teams of three kids, the youngest player was 6 years old. The Mexican kids have been playing longer, and won an impressive 10 out of 12 games. “The kids on both sides were really, really, excited,” reports Freedman. “They chatted nicely with each other as they played: ‘How old are you?’ ‘You won. You are better than me.’…We Skyped at the same time, so the kids could see each other. We made introductions, saw Sid’s classroom…it was very, very cool,” added Freedman.
- Paul Barchilon, EJ Youth Editor. Photos: top: Peter Freedman and the Irvington School kids; bottom: Siddhartha Avila with the Pipolo students
Tuesday January 31, 2012
On January 26, 2012, Choi Jung 1P defeated Kim Miri 2P in Korea’s 13th Female Myeongin. At only 15 years of age, Choi also became the youngest female title holder in Korea – just 18 months after turning pro. En route to the final, Choi defeated the likes of Park Jieun 9P and Cho Hyeyeon 9P, but lamented the fact that she was unable to challenge Rui Naiwei 9P, because Rui recently to returned China. The cheeky youngster even went so far as to joke that Rui had run away from her. The Myeongin is Korea’s equivalent of the Japanese Meijin title. Choi’s next goal for 2012 is to get selected by a team to play in the popular Korean Baduk League. Congratulations Choi Jung!
- Jingning; Games and photos are available in her original article: Choi Jung makes her breakthrough in the 13th Female Myeongin. Photo: Choi Jung 1P (pictured) plays against Kim Miri 2P in the 13th Female Myeongin final.
Monday January 30, 2012
Huiren Yang 1P defeated Janice Kim 3P and Feng Yun 9P last weekend to win the right to represent North America at this
year’s Ing Cup World Professional Goe Championship. Yang, taking White, beat Kim on January 28 (see below left for game record) and then, taking Black, defeated Feng Yun on January 29 (game record at right). The knock-out North American Ing Cup Selection Tournament was held on IGS. Established in 1988, the Ing Cup was the first worldwide international professional tournament. With $500,000 in prizes, it has the largest prize of any international tournament. Every four years, 24 top players from around the world are invited to play.
Sunday January 15, 2012
In a rerun of 2010′s Shodan Go Bet match, John Tromp will once again meet the challenge from a top computer go program, in a best-of-five match this week. The challenger is Zen19, a program which has already surprised many by achieving a rank of 4-5 dan on KGS. Tromp, whose last known rank was EGF 2 dan, won a similar match against David Fotland’s Many Faces of Go at the 2010 London Open Go Tournament, with a clean sweep of four games to nil. This time the match will take place on the KGS Go Server. Tromp will connect from his home in New York, while Zen19 (written by Yoji Ojima) will connect from Japan. You can watch the match live on KGS. Even if you don’t have an account on KGS, just click here and login as a guest to watch. The match will be played in the Computer Go room. Here’s the schedule for the games: Fri, Jan 13, 8pm US Eastern Time; Sat, Jan 14, 8pm US Eastern Time; Sun, Jan 15, 8pm US Eastern Time; Mon, Jan 16, 8pm US Eastern Time; Wed, Jan 18, 8pm US Eastern Time. NOTE: Zen has multiple accounts for when it uses different configurations and hardware. You can find the games under the accounts ‘tromp’ or ‘Zen19N’.
The Shodan Go bet was a $1000 dollar bet between John Tromp and Darren Cook, made back in 1997. Tromp staked money on the claim that he would not “be beaten in a 10 game match before the year 2011″ and Cook took him up on it. Even though Tromp won the bet in late 2010, the question of when computers will reach the level of ‘international shodan’ still hasn’t been formally resolved. Can Tromp do it again?
You can find out more about the Shodan Go Bet at Darren Cook’s website and visit John Tromp’s website to learn more about him. More details are also available at Go Game Guru.
Monday December 26, 2011
The American Go Association (AGA) in December signed agreements with Korea to promote a new professional players’ system in the U.S. AGA Board Chairman Andy Okun (right) signed the agreements with the Korea Baduk Association and the Korean go server TongYang Online (Tygem) December 19th in Seoul, Korea. “With the generous support of the KBA and Tygem, we are off to a great start,” Okun said. “These partnerships will help grow go in the U.S. and produce players who can win at the international level. This may be a long road, but with our partners’ help it will be a successful finish.” Said KBA Secretary General Yang Jae-Ho, “The KBA wants the AGA to grow, and is hoping to see American professional players who defeat Asian players in an international tournament.” He added that “I hope to see even bigger tournaments than the Samsung and LG Cup in America.” And Tygem CEO Jeong In-Soo (left, in photo) said that “I sincerely hope TongYang Online and the AGA will lead the globalization of baduk through our cooperation.” Tygem agreed to provide $30,000 annually to fund the AGA’s professional certification tournament, which will be broadcast exclusively via Tygem, which recently launched its English language website, and is seeking to expand its player base outside Asia. Under the KBA Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) – which Feng Yun 9P has complained was negotiated without participation by American professionals – KBA, as part of its cultural mission to spread go around the world, has agreed to allow AGA-certified North American professionals to compete in five major Korean tournaments and to provide them with low-cost training. Kim Myung-Wan 9P, the KBA representative to the U.S., will continue to support the AGA’s efforts, and will chair a committee designing the certification system and developing pro activities. Okun credited the two agreements to Kim’s “hard work and perseverance.” Click here for the Tygem MOU.
Monday December 19, 2011
After a 24-year run, the Fujitsu Cup has ended. The popular international tournament – won this year by Park Junghwan (right), the youngest 9-dan pro in the world — featured top players from the Japanese, Korean, Chinese and Taiwanese professional go scene, joined by representatives of North and South America and Europe. “The Fujitsu Cup has been the most important event in promoting international go for the longest time,” said Thomas Hsiang, the American Go Association’s representative to the International Go Federation, where he’s vice president. “I personally was fortunate to have been one of the players. The world of go owes a profound debt of gratitude to the Nihon Kiin and to Fujitsu for supporting and organizing this event for so many years.” Founded in 1988, the Fujitsu was organized by the Nihon Ki-in, the Kansai Ki-in and the Yomiuri Shimbun and sponsored by Fujitsu Ltd. “Many great games were played and recorded during that time,” said T. Urasoe of the Nihon Kiin. “It is a great shame that it will terminate. But we will continue to seek a chance to hold an international tournament in Japan.”
Sunday December 18, 2011
China took the gold medal in the SportAccord World Mind Games mixed doubles event, with Korea winning silver and Japan bronze. The U.S. team of Feng Yun and Jie Li (photo) defeated Europe’s Vanessa Wong and Catalin Taranu in the final.
Click here for Ranka Online’s full coverage of the World Mind Games, which ended on December 16th.
Tuesday December 13, 2011
Barring a miracle by the Americans against China, the winner of the Japan-Korea match in the SportAccord World Mind Games on December 14 will take the team silver while China takes the gold. China defeated Japan 4-1 in the 4th round Tuesday, while Chinese Taipei shut out the Americans, winning all five of their games by resignation. Korea swept the European team. The loser of the Japan-Korea match will take the bronze medal. The mixed doubles rounds are scheduled for Thursday and Friday.
- Based on James Davies’ detailed reports on Ranka Online, where you can also follow live matches, check out the schedule, results and participants.
Tuesday December 13, 2011
December 12 was a rest day for the go competition at the SportAccord World Mind Games, but for a dozen or so of the players and officials, it was an opportunity to pay an afternoon visit to the Zhang Guan Gun No. 3 Elementary School. This is one of the schools in Beijing where the pupils also learn to play go. About two dozen schoolboys, dressed in light blue school uniforms, were lined up inside the school gate to greet the bus carrying the players and officials, escort them to the school meeting room, and present them with self-made gifts.
“We played one-on-two simultaneous games with representatives from the 5th and 6th grades,” says Thomas Hsiang, a 7-dan. “My two opponents were 3D players and both took only three stones. We played in their go classrooms, on tables specially made just for playing go. It was there that one sees the future of go in China and understands why it will be hard for others to compete with the Chinese in go in the foreseeable future.”
In an unscheduled event, Andrew Okun (right), the American team captain, dropped in on a lesson in a regular classroom to give some second graders a chance to practice their English. They peppered him with questions. Where do you live? Los Angeles. Do you like chicken? Yes. Do you also like duck? Yes. Do you like ice cream? Yes, I like it too much (patting midsection). After ten minutes or so, Okun ended the session with a question to the class: Do you like studying English? The class went wild in shouting Yes.
Back in the go classroom the games were still in progress. On the whole, the pupils were acquitting themselves well but finding that without a handicap, beating world-class professional players and even world-class European amateurs and IGF Vice Presidents is not so easy. Unfortunately, the bus had to leave and some of the pupils’ parents had come to get them, so the games were cut short, farewells were bid, and a smiling group of players and officials returned to the Beijing Intercontinental Grand Hotel.
- James Davies, with additional reporting by Thomas Hsiang; photos courtesy Ranka Online; where you can read Davies’ full report.