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2014 WAGC Player Profiles: Europe (Part 2)

Friday June 27, 2014

Third in a series of profiles of players in the 35th World Amateur Go Championships, which will be held July 4-11 in Gyeongju, Korea.

Germany: Bernd Radmacher 4D (left), 42, lives in Meerbusch (near Düsseldorf, Cologne) where he’s “just looking after my children at the moment.” He’s been playing go for 25 years, placing second in the 2013 German Championship, and played in the 2008 WMSG amateur tournament in Beijing. He likes go’s “creativity and beauty, creating shapes on the board” and the game’s “magic, even for pros, who study it all their lives. It has surprises in every game.” Hobbies include other board games, and playing piano. Married, he has one daughter (18), and two sons (16, now 2-dan, and 13). 

Luxemburg:
Andreas Goetzfried 4D (right) is a 24-year-old student in the capital city of Luxemburg. He’s been playing for 10 years and like go because of “Its rather simple rules compared to its very complex structure.”

Netherlands: Merlijn Kuin 6D (left) is a 32-year-old Program Manager/Project Leader in Amsterdam who’s been playing go since he was 15. He’s been Dutch Go Champion “many times” and was part of the 2011 European Team Champion team. His favorite thing about go is that “It’s near infinite possibilities allows one to be creative and come up with new and surprising high level strategies to slowly but inexorably move towards control of the game and then give the game away during byo-yomi endgame.” He suggests “reinstat(ing) decent thinking time in the WAGC or should we change the name to WA Rapid GC?” His hobbies include reading, studying go strategy or teaching go and playing other strategy games and he enjoys “Teasing people in a hopefully fun way (for example by filling out online forms unconventionally)” In response to our query about non-go accomplishments he said “I’ve got a job. How much time do you guys think I have, next to becoming and staying 6d?”

Norway: Oeystein Vestgaarden 2D (right) is a 35-year-old project manager for digital learning software in Oslo. He won the Oslo Open in 2012 and 2013 and was the Norwegian participant in the 28th WAGC in 2007 and the 31st WAGC in 2010. He’s been playing since he was 19 and likes “The simplicity of the rules combined with being infinitely difficult to master. Go has a certain beauty that no other board games can match. On the more practical side, I like that the game is equally enjoyable in both silent ‘study-like’ environments and more relaxed environments like a café or pub.” For hobbies, “I sing in a choir, play the bass in a band, play football, indoor climbing, reading, mountain hiking.” Other accomplishments include working as an editor in a publishing company for seven years.

Poland: Stanisław Frejlak 4D (left) is an 18-year-old student in Warsaw. He’s been playing since the age of 6 and was Polish Youth Go Champion Under 16 in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2011, Under 18 champion in 2010 and Polish Go Champion in 2012. “My favorite thing in go is the exciting fights between big groups on which a game’s result depends.” Hobbies include maths and he was Laureate of Polish Mathematical Olympiad (2013, 2014) and took 3rd place with the Polish Team on “The Baltic Way mathematical contest” (2013).

Romania: Lucian Corlan 5D (right) says go is “A many-splendored thing.” His hobbies include reading, basketball and tennis. The 34-year-old software engineer hails from Bucuresti.

Serbia: Nikola Mitic 6D (left) is a 22-year-old student from Nis. He won the 2013 Serbian Championship and the 2014 Serbian Cup. He started playing at the age of 6 and likes “Fighting on the board, meeting people off the board.” Hobbies include reading, basketball, football, and video games.

Slovakia: Peter Jadron 4D (right) is a 33-year-old psychiatrist who currently lives in Karlstadt, Germany. He’s been playing for about 20 years and was the Slovakian Champion in 2008. “I like the fact, that only a well balanced combination of intuition, creativity, flexibility, knowledge and deep reading leads to success in the game of go,” he says. He’s married and has two children. Hobbies include cycling, nature, photography, classical music, composing and medicine.

Slovenia: Timotej Suc 3D (left) is a 30-year-old EM physician in Ljubljana. “I like complex battles,” he says, adding that “Because of go I have traveled many places in Europe and also elsewhere.” He’s been playing for 15 years and achievements include 1st place in the 50th Ljubljana Open in 2011, Slovenian team champion with the Ljubljana Go club  from 2005-2013,  Balkan student champion in 2007,  1st place in the 2005 Rijeka Open, 2nd place in the Slovenian championship in 2008 and 2012, and  3rd place in the Slovenian championship in 2010,’11 and ’13. He’s married and has three children (5y, 3y, 6m) and his hobbies include playing football.

Spain: Pau Carles 3D (right) is a 37-year-old salesman from Barcelona. Winner of the Spanish Go Championship in 2008, his favorite thing about go is “The friendship environment.”

Switzerland: Sylvain Praz 1k (left) is a 27-year-old history student who lives in Lausanne. He’s been playing go five years and his hobbies include reading, seeing friends and having a drink. His favorite thing about go is “When, during a game, anything else stops existing.”

Ukraine: Bogdan Zhurakovskyi 5D is a 26-year-old data analyst from Kyiv who holds a Phd in Statistics. He’s been playing since he was 11, and was the 2005 European youth vice-champion the 2008 Ukrainian champion and 2014 Ukrainian vice-champion. His favorite thing about the game is its “Mix of complexity and simplicity.”

United Kingdom (England): Francis Roads 1D (though he notes “formerly 4 dan”) is a Retired Music Education Advisor who lives in London. Roads (left) learned to play at 22, has been playing for 49 years and his titles are “Too many to count.” His favorite thing about go is “The people that you meet.” Hobbies include West Gallery Church Music and he currently serves as Honorary Secretary of the West Gallery Music Association, and Music Director of London Gallery Quire. He retired as Head of Music Curriculum Support for Essex County Council. “My selection as British representative to the 2014 WAGC results from the points system in our Challengers League, which rewards persistence as well as competence,” he notes.

Missing (we hope to include in a future edition): Azerbaijan, Denmark, Portugal, Russia, Sweden.

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Your Move/Readers Write: Danish-German WAGC Mix-Up

Friday June 27, 2014

“Firstly let me appreciate all the work with the journal,” writes Michael Marz. “I really enjoy it. This time (2014 WAGC Player Profiles: Europe (Part 1) 6/26 EJ), however, there is a mistake.  The German representative is Bernd Radmacher, who is also the person in the picture. The guy mentioned, Arne Ohlenbusch, is half German and half Danish, I assume he is the Danish representative.”
Excellent catch! Our apologies for the mix-up; Ohlenbusch is indeed the Danish rep (he lives in Germany, which was what confused us). We’ve corrected the original report and included German rep Bernd Radmacher in today’s player profile preview. 

2014 WAGC Player Profiles: Europe (Part 1)

Thursday June 26, 2014

Second in a series of profiles of players in the 35th World Amateur Go Championships, which will be held July 4-11 in Gyeongju, Korea. Fifty-seven players from a like number of countries and territories are scheduled to make the trip to Korea to compete in the four-day, eight-round Swiss system. Many will be veterans of previous tournaments held in Japan and China, some drawn back to WAGC competition after a long absence, perhaps by the chance to be part of the first WAGC held in Korea. As usual, the largest contingent will come from Europe (30 players) and the youngest from the Far East (15 players, including an 11-year-old from Indonesia). Click here for Ranka’s June 24 WAGC preview.

Austria: Matthias Frisch 1D, 21 (right), is a student and works in a hotel in Vienna. He first started playing five years ago “but I quit very fast and then I got interested in it again about three years ago.” His favorite thing about go is “not the game itself, but rather the people you meet.”  Hobbies include soccer and snowboarding; “I like to do many things if there is enough time besides my studies.”

Belarus: Aliaksandr Suponeu 1D (left) is a 64-year-old engineer who’s been playing go for 30 years. Winner of the Belarusian Championship, this will be his eighth World Go Championship.

Belgium: Dominique Versyck 2D (right) is a 31-year-old accountant in Lennik. He’s been playing for 9 years and says that “Each game is different, there is no luck involved, go is simply perfect!” His hobbies include chess and quizzes. He’s married, with a 2-year old son, and a daughter due at the end of October.

Bulgaria: Teodor Nedev 3k (left) is a 44-year-old teacher in Ruse. He’s been playing 10 years and won the 2013 Open Championship in Bulgaria (Pomorie). Go is “a representation of the Universe,” he says. Hobbies include reading books and extreme sports: he’s a master in martial arts (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Philippines), chess (International, Chinese, Japanese), healing arts and yoga.

Croatia: Zoran Mutabžija 5D (right) is a 69-year-old retiree. He’s been playing go for 49 years, winning the 1967 European Championship, 1st place in the 1971 European Championship, and was a first-place winner in the Croatian Championship many times. Hobbies include programming and his favorite thing about go is “Seeing places and people at tournaments.” He’s married and his children now run his web hosting company.

Czech Republic: Lukas Podpera 6D (left) is a 19-year-old student in Prague who’s been playing since he was 7 years old. His favorite thing about go is its “huge number of variations and creativity” and his hobbies include soccer, cycling and music.

Denmark: Arne Ohlenbusch 4D (right) is a 23-year-old postman in Oldenburg. He’s been playing for 10 years and his favorite thing about go is that there’s “basically no luck involved and you can use unlimited much time getting better.” Hobbies include soccer and pc games.

Finland: Juuso Nyyssönen 5D (left) is a 21-year-old student from Helsinki. He won the 2013 Finnish Championship. “Every game brings new surprises,” he says, “even though I’ve played thousands of games by now.”

France: Antoine Fenech 5D (right) is a 28-year-old mathematics teacher in Strasbourg. Titles include the 1996 and 1997 Under 12 European Youth Championship, the 2003 Under 18 European Youth Championship under 18  and the 2013 French Pair Go Championship. His favorite thing about go is “Travelling around the world and meeting people from different cultures.” Hobbies include soccer.

Ireland: John Gibson 4k (left) is a 65-year-old interior designer who lives in Dublin. He’s been playing since his early 20′s, won the 1992 Irish Handicap Championship and says that go is “Such a satisfying game. Great also for travelling and meeting new people wherever one goes.” He’s married and has three daughters, including one, Naomi, who won the Irish Ladies Go Championship in 1992 “but has not been active recently.” Hobbies include chess, Jamble, Pits, and tennis.

Italy: Niccolò Sgaravatti 2k (right) is a 24-year-old IT Developer in Padova. “This game is a constant challenge to see the reality of things,” he says. He enjoys “walking the hills, reading sages about anthropology, bronze age, biology and so on.”

Lithuania: Andrius Petrauskas 3D (left) is 39-year-old manager in Vilnius. He’s been playing since the age of 12 and has been Lithuanian champion several times. His favorite thing about go is that it’s an “Interesting, deep game.”
Tomorrow: Europe, Part 2.

2014 WAGC Player Profiles: Asia

Tuesday June 24, 2014

First in a series of profiles of players in the 35th World Amateur Go Championships, which will be held July 4-11 in Gyeongju, Korea. The American Go E-Journal will once again be teaming up with Ranka  to provide comprehensive daily coverage of this major amateur tournament featuring top players from 74 countries and territories around the world. These are the players from Asia; missing are China, Indonesia, Korea, Macau, Mongolia, Vietnam; we hope to have their profiles in a future post. 

Brunei: Ho Soon Ang 2k (right) is a 24-year-old student who’s been playing for three years. His favorite thing about go is “Meeting new play style” and hobbies include badminton and PC games.

Hong Kong: Nai San Chan 6D (left) is a 21-year-old student at the Polytechnic University of Hong Kong. He’s been playing go since he was 6 and won the HK Go Open (2005-2010, 2013) was WAGC 2nd runner up (2009) and WAGC 3rd runner up (2008,2010). His favorite thing about go is “Fighting.” Hobbies include ball games.

Indonesia: Rafif Shidqi Fitrah 4D (right) is an 11-year-old elementary school student in Bandung. He started playing at age 7and says his favorite thing about go is “Attacking each other.” He was the runner up at the 2013 Japan Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science Cup Elementary School Team Competition as part of a team consisting of Rafif and Rafif’s two little brothers, Faishal Umar and Faiz Utsman. His hobbies include reading books.

Japan: Kikou Emura 7D (left) is a 34-year-old graduate school student in Hyogo. He’s been playing since the age of four, and has won the 2006 sekaigakuseiouzasen, and the the 2012 and 2013 sekaiamaigosenshuken. He likes that “go is deep” and hobbies include mah-jongg and karaoke.

Malaysia: Suzanne D’Bel 3D (right) is a 24-year-old programmer living in Itabashi, Japan. She’s been playing since the age of 14 and says that “The broadness of the game means that go can be mixed with many interesting fields such as art and design, technologies, music, medical etc.” She also says the game is great for “Making new friends and partners!” Hobbies include traveling around to play go, crafting with electronics, mixture of art and technology, anime.

Nepal: Narendra Sowal 1D (left) is a 28-year-old small businessman in Bhaktapur. He’s been playing for 16 years and won the Nepal Go Championship in 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2014. Long term thinking is his favorite thing about go. He’s married with one son.

Singapore: Jia Cheng Tan 6D (right) is a 29-year-old engineer who’s been playing since he was 6. His favorite thing about go is “The calculation involved and requirement to play with an open mind to adapt to changes.”

Taipei: Yi-Tien Chan 7D (left) is a 21-year-old student from Changhua. He’s been playing since the age of 7 and loves the “Self challenge” of the game.

Thailand: Thanapol Tiawattananont 4D (right) is a 23-year-old student. He’s been playing since the age of 10 and says that go is “an art of life and a way of life. It’s a philosophy of life. And it makes friends all over the world!” Hobbies include soccer, table-tennis, travelling and bird-watching.

35th World Amateur Go Championship Set for Gyeongju, Korea

Wednesday June 18, 2014

The 35th World Amateur Go Championships will be held July 4-11 in Gyeongju, Korea. The American Go E-Journal will once again be teaming up with Ranka  to provide comprehensive daily coverage of this major amateur tournament featuring top players from 74 countries and territories around the world.

The WAGC is organized by the International Go Federation; this year the preparatory work is being done at the Korea Baduk Association in Seoul, Korea. The tournament venue will be the Hyundai Hotel in the Bomun Lake resort area of Gyeongju, a former capital of Korea once famed for its architectural and other riches. Now it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a major tourist destination, participants will find much to see, both on and off the go board.

Beginning next week, the E-Journal will run a series of profiles of WAGC players to familiarize readers with the competitors.

2013 World Amateur Go Championship at a Glance: Reports & Game Commentaries

Friday September 6, 2013

From the first arrival in Japan of top amateur go players from 62 countries through eight rounds of competition — topped by Korea’s Hyunjae Choi 6D -- and ending with a visit to the tsunami-stricken South Sanriku, the American Go E-Journal — in cooperation with Ranka Online — provided comprehensive coverage of the 34th annual World Amateur Go Championship, held September 1-5 in Sendai. Click here for full final results; here for selected game records and here for the player roster. See below for a handy clickable index to our daily reports and 19 game commentaries, as well as a Ranka/EJ team photo.
Photos by John Pinkerton except as noted. 

Reports
WAGC Daily Recap (Final): Wednesday, September 4

Ranka Online WAGC Highlights: Wednesday, September 4

WAGC Daily Recap: Tuesday, September 3

Ranka Online WAGC Highlights: Tuesday, September 3

WAGC Daily Recap: Monday, September 2

Ranka Online WAGC Highlights: Monday, September 2

WAGC Daily Recap: Sunday, September 1

Ranka Online WAGC Highlights: Sunday, September 1

WAGC Round 1 Games & An Interview with Alexandr Bukh of Kazakhstan

The Traveling Go Board: The Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, Two Years Later

WAGC Venue Exposes Go to Public Eye


Advice from Top Amateurs on How to Get Stronger


International Go Federation Celebrates Successful Year


Players Arrive at 34th World Amateur Go Championship


EJ & Ranka Coverage of 34th WAGC To Start 9/1

Game Commentaries (by Michael Redmond 9P)

Round 1: Canada-Kazakhstan
Round 1: US-Phillipines
In these first-round games, very strong players make short work of their weaker opponents.

Round 2: Finland-Colombia
Round 2: Israel-Argentina
Round 2: US-Korea
Curtis Tang was one of the brilliant young Redmond Cup participants, winning five times to become one of only two players to earn the title of Redmond Meijin…

Round 3: Brazil-Belgium
 In this game, though Black makes no major errors, by move 72, White has established a clear lead; here’s how…
Round 3: Hungary-China
Hungary’s Csaba Mero handles a challenge well and gets a fairly severe attack going on Yuging Hu of China, but… 
Round 3: Indonesia-Austria
This game features an unorthodox opening by Black that actually works fairly well up to a point.  

Round 4: Korea-Netherlands
Round 4: Russia-China
A fast but thin move early on by White sets off a cascading series of fierce battles in which the attack changes hands several times. 

Round 5: Japan-China
Black wins every ko fight in this game, but the cost is too high…
Round 5: Korea-Canada
Black doesn’t make any major mistakes in this undramatic game, yet White slowly but surely pulls ahead, building up an insurmountable lead…   
Round 5: US-Singapore

Round 6: China-Korea
This game is all about yose. The game is very close at move 101, when the endgame begins, and goes on for the next 150 moves…
Round 6: Japan-Russia
Kikou punishes an early overplay by Shikshin, but then slowly loses his advantage with slack moves and then falters in the endgame…  

Round 7: Korea-Russia
Black trades a large side for a center moyo but when White skillfully erases most of the moyo, Black’s position turns out to be too thin and things get steadily worse…
Round 7: China-Canada
After an even opening, White misses two chances to maintain the balance of territory and allows Black to get an unassailable lead… 

Round 8: Taipei-China
An unnecessary peep that turns out not to be sente gives Yuqing Hu 8D (China) a chance attack and suddenly Shin-Wei Lin 7D (Taipei) is in deep trouble…
Round 8: Ukraine-Korea
When White tries for a bigger territory, his move is just a bit too greedy, and Black immediately punishes it… 

 The Ranka-E-Journal Team (l-r): James Davies, Toshiko Ito, Ivan Vigano, John Richardson, Chris Garlock, Michael Redmond 9P, John Pinkerton, Yuki Shigeno. photo by Thomas Hsiang

The Traveling Go Board: The Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, Two Years Later

Thursday September 5, 2013

The agony of defeat and ecstasy of victory on the go board were put into perspective Thursday when the WAGC participants took a somber tour of South Sanriku in Miyagi prefecture, less than an hour from the tournament site in downtown Sendai, and one of the areas hardest-hit by the 2011 tsunami.

Although the region — a spectacular landscape of misty mountains, gently-waving rice fields, stands of bamboo, wide rivers and coastal views — has largely recovered since the disaster, the go players were uncharacteristically subdued as they took in the scope of destruction, with whole towns swept away. The three-story South Sanriku emergency center’s rusted skeleton bore mute witness to the towering wall of water that took the lives of so many; the few workers there who survived did so only by climbing the radio tower atop the building.

Most affecting was a visit to the Okawa primary school where almost every student and teacher perished. The once-thriving community is gone, the houses destroyed, completely erased from the earth, leaving only the gutted school as a sad memorial to the young lives lost here. As the buses rolled through under grey and drizzling skies, guides explained how this empty patch used to be a community center, that one was a hospital, another was a neighborhood. Roads once lined with houses are now vistas of weeds and the occasional flash of a wild sunflower or glimpse of a white crane standing on a solitary leg. The rubble is gone and new houses and buildings are slowly rising. The rivers flow past quietly. Life goes on.
- Chris Garlock; photo by John Pinkerton 

WAGC Daily Recap (Final): Wednesday, September 4

Wednesday September 4, 2013

As expected, Korea’s Hyunjae Choi 6D wrapped up his sweep of this year’s World Amateur Go Championships on Wednesday with solid wins over Ukraine’s Artem Kachanovskyi, who came in an impressive third — the first time Ukraine has been a top finalist — and Ilya Shikshin of Russia, who took a very respectable 4th place. In addition to a significant haul of trophies (left), Choi’s win gives him more than enough points to now become a professional go player (click here for Ranka’s interview). China’s Yuqing Hu took second place, Slovakia’s Pavol Lisy was fifth, King Man Kwan of Hong Kong was sixth, Serbia’s Nicola Mitic was seventh and Kikou Emura of Japan was eighth. Canada’s Bill Lin finished in 10th place and Curtis Tang of the U.S. placed 14th. Nepal’s Suresh Bhakta Kayastha gamely brought up the rear of the 62-player field, failing to notch a single victory. Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bukh won the Asada Fighting Spirit Prize and Suzanne D’Bel of Malaysia won a special prize from Takemiya Masaki “for showing originality and good sense”; Takemiya singled D’Bel out for playing her first move on the tengen, calling it “true Cosmic Style.”

Canada’s Bill Lin told the E-Journal that he was “a bit disappointed” in his results. “I had expected to do better, but it was a tough draw and I came up short.” Tang (right, in checked shirt) was philosophical about his performance, saying that “After losing to strong players I still got strong players but I guess that’s just how they paired it up. I tried my best. I had chances against Korea and then I had a good chance to win my seventh-round game against Romania and get a shot at a top-eight finish, but I messed it up.” Both players noted the grueling 2-rounds-per-day pace. “I made sure to get to the sauna every day to ease the pressure,” Tang said. Click here for full final results; here for selected game records and here for the player roster.
- Chris Garlock; photos by John Pinkerton 

Ranka Online WAGC Highlights: Wednesday, September 4

Wednesday September 4, 2013

Rounds 7 & 8 Reports: Click here for James Davies’ reports on the final rounds of the 2013 World Amateur Go Championship.

Round 7: Korea-Russia: Things Get Steadily Worse
Ilya Shikshin 7D (Russia) trades a large side for a center moyo but when Hyunjae Choi 6D (Korea) skillfully erases most of the moyo, Shikshin’s position turns out to be too thin and things get steadily worse…click here for the commentary by Michael Redmond 9p, edited by Chris Garlock. Photo by John Pinkerton.

Round 6: Russia-Japan: Losing an Advantage
Kikou Emura 7D (Japan) punishes an early overplay by Ilya Shikshin 7D (Russia), but slowly loses his advantage with slack moves and then falters in the endgame. Click here for the commentary by Michael Redmond 9p, edited by Chris Garlock. Photo by John Pinkerton.

Round 6: Canada-China: Two Missed Chances
After an even opening, Bill Tianyu Lin 7D (Canada) misses two chances to maintain the balance of territory and allows Yuqing Hu 8D (China) to get an unassailable lead. Click here for the commentary by Michael Redmond 9p, edited by Chris Garlock. Photo by John Pinkerton.

Round 5: China-Japan: The Cost is Too High
Kikou Emura 7D (Japan) wins every ko fight in this game with Yuqing Hu 8D (China), but the cost is too high. Click here for the commentary by Michael Redmond 9p, transcribed by Chris Garlock. Photo by John Pinkerton.

PLUS: Liquorice, draniki or fried pizza? Players compare the food in Japan to what they’re used to at home. 

WAGC Daily Recap: Tuesday, September 3

Tuesday September 3, 2013

Korea’s Hyunjae Choi (left) virtually locked up the 2013 World Amateur Go Championship in the sixth round Tuesday afternoon with a solid 4.5-point win over China’s Yuqing Hu (right) for a perfect 6-0 record (click here for the game record with commentary by Michael Redmond 9P); Hu will almost certainly take second place. But with the two final rounds yet to play on Wednesday, the rest of the top slots are still very much up for grabs. Five-game winners include Ilya Shikshin of Russia (who beat Japan in the sixth round), Artem Kachanovskyi of the Ukraine (who defeated Finland in the 6th), Nikola Mitic of Serbia and Canada’s Bill Lin, who lost to Korea in the fifth round Tuesday morning and narrowly bested Chinese Taipei by 1.5 points in the sixth.

The win by Korea ends a two-year run by China, which won the WAGC in both 2012 and 2011. Kikou Emura’s back-to-back losses on Tuesday extinguished Japan’s hopes of recapturing the WAGC title for the first time since Satoshi Hiraoka won in 2006.
- Chris Garlock; photo by John Pinkerton