Thursday January 8, 2015
Though frigid temperatures on Thursday closed schools around Boston and coated the Nantasket Beach with frozen surf, the action was hot on the boards at the AGA pro qualification championship. Ryan Li returned to form Thursday morning in the deciding AGA pro qualification championship top-bracket match against Matthew Burrall, taking just 120 moves to win the game, another crowd-pleaser with plenty of complicated fighting. Li advances to play Jeremy Chiu in the next round, which will be broadcast live at 4p Thursday on KGS. Click here for latest results and game records.
Eric Lui awaits the winner of the Li-Chiu match, having defeated Ben Lockhart Thursday morning to assure his berth in the semi-finals. In the other morning match, Daniel Gourdeau, still battling a nasty cold, needed just 118 moves against Ricky Zhao to advance to the next match, which will be played on Friday against Matthew Burrall. Zhao placed 7th, as Yuan Zhou had to withdraw due a family emergency.
- report/photos by Chris Garlock
Wednesday January 7, 2015
Ryan Li 7d defeated Eric Lui 7d by 7.5 points in the final round of the round-robin section of the ongoing AGA professional qualification tournament. In other Round 7 action, Ben Lockhart beat Jeremy Chiu, Ricky Zhao defeated Matthew Burrall and Yuan Zhou – in his second consecutive half-pointer – beat Daniel Gourdeau. Click here for results, game records and the grid for the championship section of the tournament.
In the first round of the championship section on Wednesday afternoon, Matthew Burrall bounced back from his disappointing performance in the round robin to upset Ryan Li in a thrilling game that had hundreds of viewers guessing until the final moments, when Li’s resignation surprised the crowd, which had been hotly debating the close score. The two are now 1-1 (the first meeting in the round robin counts as the first game) and will meet again in the next round. Ricky Zhao only lasted 125 moves against Eric Lui and Ben Lockhart beat Daniel Gourdeau by 7.5 points, so Lui and Lockhart will play Thursday morning, as will Gourdeau and Zhao. As usual, Yuan Zhou’s game was the last of the day’s to finish; this time, however, despite his best endgame efforts, he came up 2.5 points short and he and Chiu will await their opponents in Thursday’s afternoon round.
- report/photo by Chris Garlock
Wednesday January 7, 2015
The American Go Yearbook 2014 Member’s Edition Collection has just been released. The annual compilation is one of the benefits of membership in the American Go Association, collecting the content of the Member’s Edition of the American Go E-Journal, the largest English language go publication in the world. “We appreciate member support of the AGA and hope that our members will find this collection a valuable and useful resource,” said EJ Managing Editor Chris Garlock. Click here for details on AGA membership. New this year (just added): all 2014 sgf files in a handy downloadable zip file.
Each week the E-Journal delivers original content from a team of contributors that now includes Michael Redmond 9P, Myung-wan Kim 9P, Yilun Yang 7P, Guo Juan 5P, longtime teacher Yuan Zhou 7D, the inimitable Kazunari Furuyama, as well as new US professionals Gansheng Shi 1P and Calvin Sun 1P.
The Yearbook also includes the EJ’s special reports on the 2014 U.S. Go Congress, the 2014 World Amateur Go Championship and the 2014 Cotsen Open. The handy online resource gathers links to this wealth of material, enabling members to quickly find what they’re looking for on a month-by-month list. Once selected, game records or PDFs open up quickly and easily for review or download. Click here for details on AGA membership.
Wednesday January 7, 2015
After winning both rounds on Tuesday, Ryan Li 7d and Eric Lui 7d – both 6-0 – have locked up the top-seed positions for the final stage of the AGA Pro Qualification Tournament (APQF). They’ll meet Wednesday morning (9:30a on KGS) for the round-robin’s final game; in the event that they meet again in the finals, the result of this game will count towards the final result. The APQF Championship section begins Wednesday afternoon (4p on KGS) to determine this year’s AGA professional. In the modified single-elimination tournament, one player will emerge with the designation of Professional and two runners-up will be named as seeds for next year’s tournament. Click here for latest results and game records, as well as an explanation of the tournament format.
Round 5: In the game between Eric Lui and Yuan Zhou, Zhou’s premature attack in the early middle game resulted in a trade that left both players with large territories, but Lui’s was larger as both players finished a peaceful yose; when Zhou’s two stones were cut off in the middle there was no place left to catch up. Ricky Zhao made a very sharp attack on Ryan Li’s upper side group, but once Ryan settled, Zhao’s invasion of the right side couldn’t reduce Li enough. A fairly quiet game between Ben Lockhart and Daniel Gourdeau got exciting quickly when Lockhart cut off a large group of stones in the center. Gourdeau found a ko for life but had to give up too much to win it and came up short by 12.5 points. Matthew Burrall and Jeremy Chiu’s balanced game with large territories was upended when Chiu lived in sente in Burrall’s corner while Burrall was in time trouble, forcing his resignation.
Round 6: Daniel Gourdeau came out of the opening slightly ahead and when Jeremy Chiu made two slow moves in the middle game Chiu fell further behind and resigned after 143 moves. Ben Lockhart got in trouble early against Ryan Li and though he complicated the game effectively, Li converted enough of his thickness to territory to win by resignation. When Ricky Zhao’s attack on Eric Lui’s unsettled group fizzled, he was never able to erase Lui’s territorial advantage and Lui won yet another resignation. Lastly the lead shifted hands several times in the game between Yuan Zhou and Matthew Burrall, in the end coming down to a ko that proved decisive in Zhou’s half-point win.
One of the highlights of the day was the appearance of Myungwan Kim 9P and his friend and student Mark Lee — the 2014 US Open Masters Division winner – as game recorders, pitching in on the E-Journal team to ensure that all the games were broadcast. Kim will be doing a live game commentary on the Wednesday morning round, starting around 10:30a.
photos: top right: Myungwan Kim fills in as a game recorder on Board 1 while EJ Managing Editor Chris Garlock takes photos; bottom left: Mark Lee records the Board 3 game between Ryan Li and Ben Lockhart.
Monday January 5, 2015
Ryan Li and Eric Lui, undefeated after four rounds, are leading the race for the 2015 AGA Pro Qualification Tournament finals later this week. Ben Lockhart is close behind at 3-1. Click here for latest results and game records. Rounds 5 and 6 will be broadcast live on KGS at 9:30a and 4:00p Tuesday.
Monday dawned bright and chilly as a stiff breeze out of the north blew away the few remaining storm clouds off the coast in Hull, Massachusetts. Ben Lockhart arrived early at the US Pro Qualification Tournament playing area in search of coffee, and the rest of the players arrived just before the 9:30a start of the third round. Ricky Zhao was the last to arrive, slipping into his Board 1 seat opposite Jeremy Chiu seconds before TD Jeff Shaevel officially began the round. His was the first game to finish when a battle between three running groups claimed a fourth and Zhao resigned a few moves later. On Board 2, Yuan Zhou had a very difficult time after Ryan Li reduced his only territory to a manageable size and Li won comfortably, extending his winning streak to 3-0. The game on Board 3 was a marathon effort by both players, with Matthew Burrall prevailing over Daniel Gourdeau by just 1.5 points. Eric Lui effectively exploited the potential aji of an earlier trade to cut off Ben Lockhart from the center and take control of the Board 4 game and Lockhart notched his first loss, while Lui went to 3-0.
With the sun shining brightly but temperatures steadily dropping into the teens, the players gathered Tuesday afternoon for the fourth round in the Minot Ballroom at the Nantasket Beach Resort. Matthew Burrall took on Benjamin Lockhart on Board 1 and as usual sketched out a massive moyo that Lockhart then reduced while attacking Burrall’s one weak group on the board. After an exciting ko fight the game was nail-bitingly close but Lockhart had a narrow lead that Burrall, down to his last byo-yomi period, could not erase and he resigned. On Board 2 Yuan Zhou prevailed over Ricky Zhao, patiently enduring a small disadvantage until choosing the last possible moment to live in Ricky’s corner. Daniel Gourdeau had the unenviable task of trying to derail the Ryan Li Express on Board 3 and though he managed to deftly fend off several severe attacks, by the middle game Li was already ahead on the board and Gourdeau still had problems to deal with and resigned. Jeremy Chiu had a similar problem on Board 4 in his game against Eric Lui, the other undefeated player, and though he lasted a bit longer, the result was the same, with Lui notching his fourth win by resignation. Lui, by the way, is the front-runner in a “Who will become the next AGA pro?” poll on lifein19x19.com. With a total of just 13 votes recorded thus far, Lui has 7 votes, Ryan Li has 4 and Yuan Zhou and Ben Lockhart each have one.
- report/photos by Chris Garlock; top right: 2014 AGA Pro Qualification Tournament players: top row (l-r): Matthew Burrall, Jeremy Chiu, Daniel Gourdeau, Ryan Li; Bottom row: Ben Lockhart, Eric Lui, Ricky Zhao, Yuan Zhou. Bottom left: Li, Burrall and Lockhart review a game. More photos on the AGA’s Facebook page
Monday January 5, 2015
Students from Mexico City won top honors in the ORION-Latin American Youth Go Team Tournament, held Nov 29-30th on the OGS Go Server, reports Siddhartha Avila. The Gimnasio de Go team, led by Mexican siblings Lillian and Omar Zavala, both 9k, and joined by Diego Luciano 25k, won all four matches. Chile’s Colegio Luterano team came in second, while Ecuador’s Academia de Go came in third. A total of 36 kids and teens competed, with three players per team. Schools from México, Venezuela, Ecuador and Chile all participated. The winning team also played a one round team match against students from Dongjak Academy in Korea, which included Jihyuk Yoon, 3k, age 8, Doohyun Kim, 5k , age 6, and Sungjae Cho 6k, age 7, the Koreans won all three matches. Full results are here, while pictures and reports (in Spanish) can be found here. - Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Photo: Students in Chile competing on OGS.
Sunday January 4, 2015
Ryan Li, Eric Lui and Ben Lockhart won their first- and second-round games Sunday at the AGA Pro Qualification Tournament to take an early lead in the 7-round round-robin section of the two-part tournament. Click here for complete tournament results and game records. The tournament is being held at the Nantasket Beach Resort in Hull, MA, January 4-10. The games are being broadcast live on KGS by the E-Journal at 9:30a and 4:30p (EST).
Temperatures had risen overnight, melting the snow that had fallen Saturday night, and a few hardy surfers could be glimpsed in the waves just across the beach from the resort. The players posed for a group photo (right) before the first round and the tournament commenced shortly afterwards.
The seaside town is quiet this time of year, matching the silence in the playing room as the top-ranked players grappled on the boards. Hundreds watched online as fierce battles unfolded; three of the first-round games were decided by resignation. Jeremy Chiu was the first to fall, resigning his Board 1 game after just 89 moves after a bad start when he misplayed a joseki that allowed Ryan Li to capture a group in the corner and get outside thickness. Chiu mounted a creditable attack on one of Li’s groups but Li played calmly and when he settled his group Chiu gracefully gave up. On Board 2, Matthew Burrall started a complicated middle-board fight because he was behind on points against Eric Lui, but came up a couple of liberties short and had to resign. And on Board 4 Daniel Gourdeau and Ricky Zhao’s even bigger and more complicated fight ended when Gourdeau used an attack on Zhao’s center group to cut off and kill another group. The Board 3 game between Ben Lockhart and Yuan Zhou was the last to finish and the only one to be counted. Observers thought Zhou had a small lead coming out of the middle game but he was short on time and Lockhart played a very sharp endgame to win by a comfortable 10.5 points.
The town was completely fogged in by the time the players reconvened at 4:30p for the second round. What few sounds there were over the next few hours were distant and muffled as the players focused even more intently than they had in the morning round. At one point a loud argument between two hotel patrons erupted just outside the playing room but the players were so engrossed that no-one seemed to even notice. The Board 1 game between Matthew Burrall and Ryan Li was a classic territory vs. influence game involving some very fluid positions and deep reading. Though Burrall did manage to establish a fairly substantial central moyo in the end it wasn’t enough to compensate for Li’s bankable territory. On Board 2 Daniel Gourdeau’s slight joseki mistake gave Eric Lui an early cash lead; unable to recover, Gourdeau was the first to resign in the second round. Ben Lockhart and Ricky Zhao met on Board 3 in an exciting game that saw a number of daring trades but in the end Zhao came up short and had to resign as well. On Board 4, the youngest and the eldest player in the field faced off: Yuan Zhou, 40, has won many US titles and is an experienced teacher and author of go books, while 12-year-old Jeremy Chiu is one of the US’ strong youth players. Neither player made any blunders and the game stayed knife-edge close right through the end. It was the last to finish — fortunately, AGA President Andy Okun teamed up with Brian Lee to record the 4-hour game — and Chiu edged Zhou by just 1.5 points.
- report/photos by Chris Garlock; more photos on the AGA’s Facebook page
Saturday January 3, 2015
Snow fell steadily outside as top US go players gathered in the Nantasket Beach Resort just south of Boston on Saturday night. The third AGA Pro Qualification Tournament, which will determine the next US professional, begins Sunday at 9:30a (EST) and TD Jeff Shaevel reviewed the tournament schedule and rules for the assembled players. AGA President Andy Okun thanked the players — Eric Lui 7d, Ryan Li 7d, Yuan Zhou 7d, Jeremy Chiu 6d, Daniel Gourdeau 7d, Ricky Zhao 7d and Ben Lockhart 7d (Matthew Burrall 6d was en route from California) – “for coming so far and for taking the time this week to compete at this high level. We’re looking forward to some great games.”
Morning rounds will begin at 9:30a and afternoon rounds at 4:30p and the games will be broadcast live on KGS; watch the AGA website, Twitter @theaga and Facebook feeds for regular updates.
- report/photos by Chris Garlock. Photos: (left) Okun delivering the tournament’s go stones and bowls; (right) Shaevel reviews rules with players.
Wednesday December 31, 2014
Saying that “Our chapters are the foundation of the AGA,” American Go Association Board Chair Gurujeet Khalsa today announced the start of a new rewards program for AGA chapters. Similar to an airline or credit card rewards program, AGA chapters can now accumulate points when they get new or renewing members or when their members play AGA-rated games. Points can then be used to get reimbursed for expenses incurred in activities that promote American go. “We want to support chapter activities that grow American go and do it in a way that encourages new ideas and sharing of best practices,” said Khalsa. Click here for details on how the new program works.
Sunday December 28, 2014
Eight top US go players will gather just outside Boston next week to determine the next US professional. Play in the 3rd AGA Pro Qualification Finals starts on Sunday, January 4 and ends on January 10. The games will be broadcast live on KGS from the Nantasket Beach Resort by the E-Journal; morning rounds will begin at 9:30 AM and afternoon rounds will begin at 4:30 PM. The players are Eric Lui 7d, Ryan Li 7d, Yuan Zhou 7d, Jeremy Chiu 6d, Daniel Gourdeau 7d, Ricky Zhao 7d, Ben Lockhart 7d, and Matthew Burrall 6d. The tournament will be played in two parts, a Round Robin Prelim Sunday through Wednesday, followed by the Championship Thursday and Friday. Jeff Shaevel is the Tournament Director, AGA President Andy Okun will be on hand and Chris Garlock and Andrew Jackson will head up the EJ recording team.
photo: Calvin Sun, winner of the 2nd AGA pro tourney in January 2013; photo by Dennis Wheeler.