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WORLD GO NEWS ROUND-UP September 21-27: Quzhou-Lanke Cup Semifinalists; Iyama Yuta 3-0 in Meijin

Monday September 27, 2010

Quzhou-Lanke Cup Semifinalists. Xie He 8P, Zhou Ruiyang 5P, Jiang Weijie 5P, and Yang Dingxin 2P each won their respective 3rd round matches in in the 3rd Quzhou-Lanke Cup and now advance to the semifinals, which will be played on September 28th. Iyama Yuta 3-0 in Meijin. Iyama Yuta 9P defeated Takao Shinji 9P by resignation in the third round of the 35th Meijin. Yuta has won all of the first three matches in the best of seven series. The next round will be played on October 6th and 7th.
- JustPlayGo; edited by Jake Edge

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WORLD GO NEWS ROUND-UP September 14-20: Won Sungjin in Myeongin finals; Kuksu 2nd round; Iyama Yuta 2-0 in Meijin; Lee Sedol wins Price; Park Jieun takes Qionglong

Monday September 20, 2010

Won Sungjin Advances to Myeongin Finals. In the 38th Myeongin semifinals, Won Sungjin 9P defeated Kang Dongyun 9P by resignation to take the series 2-0. Won will now face either Lee Changho 9P or Park Yeonghun 9P in the title match. This could certainly be a repeat of last year’s title match between Won and Lee, when Lee prevailed by winning the title series 3-1. Park has been playing very strongly of late, though, so it wouldn’t be at all surprising if he defeated Lee in their semifinal bout, which begins on September 29th. Kuksu Round 2 Results. In the second round of the 54th Kuksu, Lee Sedol 9P and Heo Yeongho 7P advanced by defeating their respective opponents, Mok Jinseok 9P and Hong Kipyo 4P. Iyama Yuta takes 2-0 lead in Meijin. Iyama Yuta 9P handed another defeat to Takao Shinji 9P, this time by 5.5 points, in the second game of the 35th Meijin title match. Iyama and Takao have both held the title only once, Takao in 2006 and Iyama, who is the current title holder, in 2009. The third game will be played on September 22-23. Lee Sedol wins Price Information Cup. Lee Sedol 9P defeated Lee Changho 9P by resignation in the second game of the 6th Price Information Cup title match, sweeping the series 2-0. This is the third Price Information Cup title for Lee Sedol, as he won it in 2006 and 2007. Park Jieun wins Qionglong Cup. Korea’s Park Jieun 9P (r in photo) defeated Australia’s Joanne Missingham (Hei Jiajia) 1P (l) by resignation in the 1st Qionglong Cup title match. The Qionglong Cup is an all-women’s international tournament, also known as the Bingsheng Cup. The winner receives 200,000 RMB (approx. $30,000) while the runner-up receives 70,000 RMB (approx. $10,000).
- JustPlayGo; edited by Jake Edge
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CATHY LI 1P KNOCKED OUT OF BINGSHEN CUP

Monday September 13, 2010

North American representative Cathy Li 1p was knocked out by Park Jieun (Chieun) 9P in the first round of the Bingsheng Cup, a new international women’s tournament. The Bingsheng Cup is held at Qionglong Mountain in Suzhou, China. Click here for standings, game records and more on the tournament, which wraps up on September 14. Li, of Vancouver, Canada won the right to represent North America in online qualifiers held last month on KGS. The online qualifying matches were dominated by Canadian players, as disputed AGA tournament regulations (AGA’s 10-Game Rule Assailed By Feng Yun 9P 9/6 EJ) and little advance notice for this new event prevented many US women from being eligible to participate.
- Dennis Wheeler

WORLD GO NEWS ROUND-UP September 7-13: Bingshen Cup final set; Samsung Cup final 16

Monday September 13, 2010

Park vs. Hei in Bingshen Cup finals. In the 1st Binshen Cup (AKA the Qionglong Cup), Park Jieun 9P (r) of Korea and Hei Jiajia 1P representing Oceania (Australia) both won their semifinal matches and will face each other in the title match September 14th. Park defeated China’s Tang Yi 2P by 7.5 points, and Hei defeated China’s Zheng Yan 2P by resignation. One of the more notable first-round matches was between Rui Naiwei 9P and Tang Yi, with Rui losing to Tang by 5.5 points. The Qionglong Cup is a women only international tournament. (game recordsSamsung Cup down to 16 players. The final sixteen players for the 15th Samsung Cup (tournament bracket) were decided on September 10. Korea’s Choi Cheolhan 9P, Park Jiyeon 2P, Lee Changho 9P, and Park Yeonghun 9P all won their respective games, giving Korea a total of 10 players in the main tournament. China’s Gu Li 9P, Zhou Ruiyang 5P, Wang Tao 3P, and Kong Jie 9P all won their respective games, giving China a total of 5 players. Yamashita Keigo 9P clinched his spot in the main tournament on September 9th, and is the only Japanese representative in this year’s final tournament. Keigo incidentally was the only Japanese player in last year’s final tournament as well. Of the eight remaining block-tournament matches, several are worth noting. Park Jiyeon, the only female player to advance to the main tournament, defeated Tuo Jiaxi 3P by resignation. Lee Changho was able to redeem himself against Tan Xiao 5P, after losing to him in the first round, and defeated Xiao by resignation. Xiao lost his second-round match against Han Sanghoon 5P, which then put him back into the losers bracket to face Changho. Despite his loss, Xiao played very well in this game. And finally, Gu Li defeated Korean amateur Min Sangyoun by resignation after 133 moves. (game records and more game records)
- JustPlayGo; edited by Jake Edge

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WORLD GO NEWS ROUND-UP August 31 – September 6: Myeongin Semis; Yamashita Keigo Advances; Lee Sedol Defeats Lee Changho; Iyama Yuta takes Meijin Lead; Tuo Jiaxi Upsets Kong Jie; Kim Jiseok Advances; Jiang Weijie vs. Gu Li in Mingren

Monday September 6, 2010

Myeongin Semifinals in Place. Lee Changho 9P defeated An Kukhyun 2P by 1.5 points in the 38th Myeongin League A playoff match. He now advances to a three-round semifinal match against Park Yeonghun 9P. In League B, Won Sungjin 9P defeated Kim Kiyoung 5P by resignation in their playoff match. Sungjin also advances to a three-round semifinal match against Kang Dongyun 9P. The winners of each semifinal best-of-three series will face one another for the Myeongin title. Yamashita Keigo Advances to NEC Cup Semifinals. Yamashita Keigo 9P defeated Yuki Satoshi 9P by a convincing 11.5 points in the second round of the 30th NEC Cup to advance to a semifinal matchup with O Meien 9P.  The remaining second-round match will be played on September 6 between the current NEC Cup title holder Kono Rin 9P and challenger So Yokoku 8P. The winner of that game will advance to the semifinals to play Cho U 9P. Lee Sedol Defeats Lee Changho in First Round of Price Information Cup. Lee Sedol 9P (l in photo) takes a 1-0 lead in the Price Information Cup by beating Lee Changho 9P (r) by resignation.  The second round in the best-of-three series will be held September 15. Iyama Yuta takes 1-0 lead in Meijin. Defending Meijin title holder Iyama Yuta 9P defeated Takao Shinji 9P by 6.5 points in the first round of the 35th Meijin title match. Takao held the title in 2006, after defeating Cho U 4-2. The second round will be played on September 16-17. Tuo Jiaxi Upsets Kong Jie in Qiwang Second Round. In the 6th Qiwang, Tuo Jiaxi 3P defeated current title holder Kong Jie 9P by resignation. In other second-round matches: Li Zhe 6P defeated Piao Wenyao 5P; Wu Guangya 6P defeated Tan Xiao 5P; Peng Liyao 5P defeated Nie Weiping 9P; Gu Lingyi 5P defeated Chang Hao 9P; Xie He 7P defeated Shi Yue 5P; Zhang Li 5P defeated Ding Wei 9P; Qui Jun 8P defeated Chen Yaoye 9P. Kim Jiseok Advances to Caltex Semifinals. In the third round of the 15th GS Caltex Cup challenger tournament, Kim Jiseok 7P defeated Choi Cheolhan 9P by resignation to advance to the semifinals.  That round will have Kim against Won Sungjin 9P on September 29th and Park Yeonghun 9P against Lee Younggu 8P on September 15th. Jiang Weijie vs. Gu Li in Mingren. Jiang Weijie 5P defeated Li Zhe 6P by resignation in the third and final match to decide the challenger for the 23rd Mingren title. Jiang will face Gu Li 9P for the title.
- JustPlayGo; edited by Jake Edge

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NEW STUDY FINDS PLAYING GO MAKES BRAINS GROW

Monday September 6, 2010

Serious study of go causes actual physical changes in the brain. That’s the stunning finding of a Korean group of neuroscientists who studied the difference between “long-term trained players” and“inexperienced controls.”  In their paper, which appears in the August 2010 issue of Neuroimage, Lee et al. report that they found “larger regions of white matter . . . that are related to attentional control, working memory, executive regulation, and problem-solving.” Their findings also suggest that “experts tend to develop a task-specific template for the game, as compared to controls . . . [and] were less likely than were controls to use structures related to load-dependent memory capacity.” In other words, experts don’t think harder, look at more variations or read farther than the rest of us; they use “spatial processes” – pattern recognition – to see better moves than the rest of us immediately. The researchers used a special type of fMRI –voxel-based diffusion-tensor imaging — to compile their data. This is a fairly well-established method: last year British researchers used the same process to show that “motor learning” – in this case, juggling – produced similar changes. The findings that strong players use something like “intuition” to see better moves tends to confirm previous research such as Chase and Simon’s classic 1973 study, where it was discovered that master chess players see more meaningful “chunks” when briefly glancing at a position than “woodpushers.” “Chunk theory” is now a widely accepted way of understanding how trained brains work. Reitman’s 1976 paper furthered our understanding of expert processes by studying an “expert” go player (Jim Kerwin, who went on to become the first Western pro) and then-beginner Bruce Wilcox (later the author of NEMESIS, the first computer go program) and confirming the basic tenets of “chunk theory.” Other research has examined whether go playing brains may have different — and hopefully more desirable — general qualities than non-playing brains.  The Deoksoo Study is one of several suggesting that serious go students may acquire more sophisticated cognitive abilities in other areas. In 2003, Chen et al. showed that go players use many different areas of the brain; similar chess studies have shown more localized activation. Lee et al.’s study takes our understanding one giant step further – high-level cognitive training has a physical impact on the brain, just as hitting the gym does for the body. This finding has enormous implications for the eternal “nature-nurture” debate. The current conventional wisdom is, “We are what we’re born with,” not “We are shaped by our experiences.” The brain’s ability to think clearly, manage emotions and perform the other work that makes us human is seen largely as biological, inborn, brain-based. “Big pharm” ads tell us over and over that the way to fix our depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, ED, etc. is to tweak our brain chemistry with a pill.  Teachers and parents often label struggling students, then begin the quest for the perfect pill that will fix the ADHD, bipolar disorder or whatever. But what if the pills don’t work? If it’s an inborn biological problem, what’s the solution? Fortunately, we now know that certain kinds of experience can actually improve the physical brain.  As the authors say, “long-term Baduk training appears to cause structural brain changes associated with . . . higher-order cognitive capacities, such as learning, abstract reasoning, and self-control, which can facilitate education and cognitive therapies.” Other questions now arise. Are some activities more growth-promoting than others? Probably. Does the brain change more in players who begin at a younger age? Does the increased white matter in go players’ brains just help them to play well, or is the increased “throughput” capacity useful in other areas as well?  One would think so, but there’s no evidence – yet.  To learn more, check out “Go and Cognition” by Peter Shotwell, in the Bob High Memorial Library.
– by Roy Laird; additional reporting by Hajin Lee 3P

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WORLD GO NEWS ROUND-UP August 24-30: Han Zenki and Tsuruyama Atsushi Advance; Mukai Chiaki to Challenge; Olleh KT down to Eight

Monday August 30, 2010

Han Zenki and Tsuruyama Atsushi advance in Daiwa Cup: Surprising second round results from the Daiwa Cup have two of Japan’s top professionals being defeated by less well-known 7 dans.  The first was Han Zenki 7P who defeated current Daiwa Cup title holder Kono Rin 9P by resignation. The second was Tsuruyama Atsushi 7P who defeated O Rissei 9P by resignation.  Han became a pro 1996 at age 19, while Tsuruyama turned pro in 1999 at the age of 18. Mukai Chiaki to challenge Xie Yimin for Female Honinbo: In the final challenger-decision match for the 29th Female Honinbo, Mukai Chiaki 4P defeated Umezawa Yukari 5P by resignation, giving her the nod to challenge Xie Yimin 5P for the title. Mukai Chiaki is 23 years old, became a professional in 2004, and was promoted to 4 dan just this year. She is a student of Honda Sachiko. Her two sisters, Mukai Kozue 1P and Mukai Kaori 2P, are professionals in the Nihon Ki-in as well. The first round of the title match will be played on October 6th. Olleh KT down to eight as Yun Junsang 8P defeats Kim Jiseok 7P: In their sixth round game, Yun won by resignation over Kim in the inaugural edition of the Olleh KT Cup, which is a Korean professional tournament sponsored by the telecommunications company Olleh KT. This is their first sponsored tournament with total prize money of 700 million won.
- JustPlayGo; edited by Jake Edge

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BY 2.5, SAKAI HIDEYUKI IS THE NEW GOSEI

Friday August 27, 2010

In a true Cinderella story, Sakai Hideyuki 7P has become the new Gosei by defeating Cho U 9P by 2.5 points in the fifth and final round of the 35th Gosei, winning the series 3-2. This is Sakai’s first major title win, which also ended Cho’s four consecutive years of holding the Gosei title. Sakai’s only title win prior to this was the Kansai Ki-in Championship in 2003.  For a long time, he was the strongest amateur go player in Japan, and by winning his first major title at 37, he has defied those that say that only youth can accomplish such things.  When he won the World Amateur Go Championship in 2000, he was awarded professional 5 dan by the Kansai Ki-in (after defeating two 5D and two 7D players). He was also the first player in Japan to be awarded a special amateur 8 dan diploma.
- JustPlayGo.com

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IGOLOCAL, GROWING RAPIDLY, YET TO HIT CRITICAL MASS

Thursday August 26, 2010

Barely a month after launching, IgoLocal already has more than a thousand users. IgoLocal enables players to find and contact each other, and there are now 1131 users in 62 countries, with 449 of those in North America and 570 in Europe. The network is growing at 35 new members each day, reports founder Chuck Thomas, “and that number is trending upwards.” Users “are still figuring out how to use the system to the best benefit of their communities,” says Thomas. “1,100 users may sound like a lot of go players, but it’s actually an absurdly tiny number when spread throughout the entire planet.” Thomas says he can “easily envision a quarter million users on this system,” and says that “At the current rate, it may be another two months before we begin to reach critical mass.  This is fine – the users who are already on the system are able to go about their business, and one day they’ll receive a PM or even a game challenge from a previously-unknown rival, who is well matched to their rank.” Thomas points out that “Igolocal keeps working for you even if you forget about it for a while,” and admits that “Even I have only the faintest idea what the end result will be. This has never been done before.” Two hundred of the IgoLocal users are dan-level or stronger and two professionals are also registered, Jennie Shen 2p in Santa Barbara, and An Young-gil 8p in Sydney, Australia. The site supports six languages, English, French, German, Dutch, Russian and Japanese, and volunteers are now working on Italian, Polish and Chinese translations.

WORLD GO NEWS ROUND-UP August 16-23

Monday August 23, 2010

Sakai Hideyuki evens Gosei 2-2 with Cho U. Sakai Hideyuki 7P defeated Cho U 9P by 3.5 points in the fourth round of the 35th Gosei title match. The series is now tied at 2-2, with the final game to be played on August 27th. Lee Changho defeats Lee Sedol in Myeongin league play. In the final regular League A game of the 38th Myeongin, Lee Changho 9P defeated Lee Sedol 9P by resignation. Sedol’s loss eliminates him from the main tournament, finishing with a 2-3 league record. Lee Changho finished with a 3-2 league record but will now enter into a playoff match with An Kukhyun 2P, who also finished at 3-2. The winner will join Kang Dongyun 9P in the main tournament. Agon Cup Second Round Results. Qiu Jun 9P, Chen Yaoye 9P, Chang Hao 9P, and Piao Wenyao 5P each won their respective second round matches in the 12th Agon Cup, putting them in the semifinals. The defending Agon Cup title holder, Sun Tengyu 4P, lost to Jun by resignation. In the other three matches, Wang Xi 9P, Gu Li 9P, and Jiang Weijie 5P each lost their respective games to Yaoye, Hao, and Wenyao. The semifinals will be played on August 30th. Jiang Weijie and Li Zhe tied in Mingren challenger match. In the first game of the 23rd Mingren challenger match, Jiang Weijie 5P defeated Li Zhe 6P by resignation.  In the second game Zhe narrowly defeated Weijie by half a point. Park Yeonghun clinches 1st round spot in Myeongin. Park Yeonghun 9P clinched a first round spot in the 38th Myeongin by defeating Kim Kiyoung 5P by 3.5 points in the last round of League B play for each player. Yeonghun will now advance to the final tournament with a 4-1 record. The last regular game for League B will pit Cho Hanseung 9P against Park Jeonggeun 4P on August 26th. The winner of that match will then play a tie breaker with Won Sungjin 9P, who has a 3-2 record, to determine who among the remaining League B players will join Yeonghun in the tournament finals. Lee Sedol 9P, Choi Cheolhan 9P, and Won Sungjin 9P win in round one of the 54th Kuksu. Each won by resignation. Mok Jinseok 9P will play Ko Geuntae 7P on August 20th and Heo Yeongho 7P will play Lee Chungyu 3P on August 29th to complete the first round (game records).
- JustPlayGo

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