American Go E-Journal » World

Iyama Retains Honinbo Title With 4.5-Point Win in Game 7

Saturday July 20, 2013

In the end, Iyama Yuta 9P’s hold on the Honinbo title came down to 4.5 points. That was Iyama’s margin of victory over Takao Shinji 9P in the final game of the 68th Honinbo title, which concluded on July 18 at 7:42p after 262 moves in Hadano, Kanagawa prefecture, Japan. This is the third time in three years that the Honinbo has gone the full 7-game distance, including last year when Iyama took the title from Yamashita Keigo 9P. Iyama and Takao began their grueling duel in mid-May with Iyama winning the first game. Takao quickly made up the loss by controlling the next two games. However, Iyama (right) was not intimidated and fought back in games four and five, giving himself a chance to capture the match in game six, but Takao quickly extinguished those hopes in just 194 moves to set up yet another dramatic final game for the match. In the decisive seventh game (left), Iyama, taking black, used almost half of his eight-hour time allowance during the first day alone. When Takao sealed the move (W74) at 5:07p on July 17, he had four hours and forty-eight minutes remaining while his opponent only had four hours and five minutes. At 9a the next morning, the tricky sealed move was revealed and

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“[changed] the flow of the game,” according to live game commentator Rin Kanketsu 7P. Yet up until move 70, either player could have taken the title. It was white’s tenuki at move 82 that was the crucial misstep that allowed black to secure thickness and give Iyama the advantage. White attempted to complicate the game at move 92 but Iyama stayed unfazed through the endgame and claimed victory with only two minutes left on his clock. In a post-game interview, Iyama said he felt fortunate to have held on to the title after such a challenging series. Takao felt lucky he made it to the end but was disappointed in his own performance. Since his most recent Honinbo title in 2007, Takao has tried to “reclaim the crown” three times to no avail. Iyama, on the other hand, holds five of the seven major Japanese titles (Kisei, Honinbo, Tengen, Oza, and Gosei) and also won the 25th Asian TV Cup at the end of June, proving his international prowess.
- Annalia Linnan, based on a more detailed report — including more photos and game records — on Go Game Guru; photos courtesy Go Game Guru

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Israeli Go Workshop Connects with Government Officials

Monday July 15, 2013

Senior officials at the  Israeli Ministry of Economy attended a special training session, linking economic concepts to go, at a conference near Jerusalem, on July 11th. “We were invited to lecture on Strategic Thinking and Decision Making Tools – Use of Go/ Baduk as a model,” reports Shavit Fragman, president of Mind Chain Baduk Club. “Baduk and economic concepts were discussed at length, with many demonstrations and illustrations. It drew a lot of attention (no one left or fell asleep) and participants reported it was the best workshop of the day. The audience also showed great interest in the baduk brochures and other available go materials, and expressed interest in continued sessions to further explore the concepts and model for use in their work and life. Since the beginning of the year Mind Go Club has demonstrated baduk to over 500 new people,” adds Fragman.  The presentation is available as a pdf here, more photos from the event are here. -Paul Barchilon.  Photo by Shavit Fragman.

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Go Dreams Come True at Osaka Camp

Thursday July 11, 2013

Going to Japan to train to play go is a dream for many western go players. It’s a dream come true for 32 players from around the world, who are now attending the 3-week Osaka Go Camp led by by Maeda Ryo 6P and Li Ting 1P. The camp started July 1, and most of the participants are from the United States, followed by Canada, France and Germany; all told, there are ten different nations represented by players ranging from 25-kyu up to 7-dan.

The daily schedule includes one league game and different kinds of professional lectures. Maeda is stressing the importance of endgame reading and gives out homework for that. The winner of the camp league will get the opportunity to play a teaching game against a professional 9-dan. The most promising candidate so far is Lionel Zhang 6D from the US, who has four wins and no losses thus far.

On the weekend there are friendly tournaments against local players visiting the camp. Some of them are regular visitors to the US Go Congress and were happy to be able to play in their hometown against westerners. Wednesday and Thursday are free days that can be used for sightseeing trips. There have already been trips to Kansai Kiin, Osaka Castle and Kyoto. Some people did not want to stop playing go for even a day and used their free time to pay a visit to the Kansai Branch of Nihon Kiin and challenged the people there.

The professionals are not just teaching go; they also take time to show participants around. Especially going out for dinner with local people is very worthwhile. Nakano Yasuhiro 9P even gave an example of traditional Japanese music, giving a performance with a shamisen, a three-stringed, Japanese musical instrument. Click here for additional photos and reports on the camp’s blog.
- Jan Engelhardt, German Correspondent for the E-Journal; photo: a friendly tournament against locals

The Power Report: Korea and China Take the Prizes at Asian Indoor & Martial Arts Games; Cho U Stumbles in Meijin League; Kono Rin Makes Good Start in Gosei

Wednesday July 10, 2013

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the American Go E-Journal

Korea and China Take the Prizes at Asian Indoor & Martial Arts Games: On July 2, the finals of the individual male competition and the Pair Go tournament were held at the 4th Asian Indoor & Martial Arts Games. In the former, Tang Weixing 3P of China took first place, and in the latter victory went to the Chinese team of (Ms.) Gao Xing 1P and Peng Liyao 5P. The following day, the second stage of go competition started, that is, the male and female team championships. In the male team championship, three-player teams from ten countries started out in a four-round Swiss System tournament, which was followed by a knock-out tournament for the top four. The results of the Japanese team are given below (the team consisted of Hirata Tomoya 3P, Tsuruta Kazushi 2P, and Motoki Katsuya 2P), followed by details of the knock-out stage.

Round 1 (July 3). China beat Japan 3-0; Round 2 (July 3). Japan beat Hong Kong 2-1; Round 3 (July 4). Japan beat Mongolia 3-0; Round 4 (July 4). Japan beat Singapore 3-0. Japan qualified for the knock-out.
Knock-out stage: Semifinals (July 5). Korea beat Japan 2-1; China beat Chinese Taipei 3-0.
Final (July 5). Korea beat China 2-1.
Japan did not enter a team in the women’s team tournament. The results in the knock-out round were as follows: Semifinals (July 5). China beat Chinese Taipei 2-1; Korea beat Thailand 3-0; Final (July 5). China beat Korea 2-1.

Cho U Stumbles in Meijin League: Until very recently, Cho U (left) seemed to have victory in the 38th Meijin League more or less sewn up, but he has stumbled at the second-last hurdle and, if he loses in the final round, won’t even make a play-off for first place. Three games were held in the league last week. On July 1, Kono Rin 9P, taking black, beat Murakawa Daisuke 7P by 1.5 points. This game was played on a Monday because Kono had a title-match game scheduled for the following Saturday. On July 4, Hane Naoki 9P (W) beat Sakai Hideyuki 8P by 6.5 points and Takao Shinji 9P (W) beat Cho U 9P by 2.5 points. Cho U keeps the sole lead with a 6-1 score, but the problem for him is that the four players ranked above him in the league, that is, Hane, Iyama Yuta, Kono, and Takao, are all on 5-2. Hane and Iyama are playing each other in the final round, so one of them has to end up with 6-2. If Kono beats Cho in their game, they will both be 6-2. Takao, who is playing Yuki Satoshi, could also end
up on 6-2, making a four-way tie for first. However, the rule in the Meijin League is that only the two highest-ranked players in a multiple tie qualify for the play-off. That would be either Hane or Iyama and Kono. That makes it very simple for Cho: whatever happens, he has to win his final game.

Kono Rin Makes Good Start in Gosei: Kono Rin 9P (right) has got off to an excellent start in his challenge for the 38th Gosei title. Before this match began, his record against the defending champion, Iyama Yuta, was a dismal six wins to 14 losses; moreover, he had lost eight games in a row, including a wipe-out in last year’s Tengen title match. However, when the Gosei match started on July 6, he showed that past results are irrelevant to a title match. Taking black, he forced Iyama to resign after 161 moves. The game was played in Kanazawa City in Ishikawa Prefecture. The venue was in the Hokkoku Newspaper Meeting Hall , an ultra-modern 20-storey building that is the headquarters of one of the sponsors of the title, the Hokkoku (= North Country) Newspaper. The second game is scheduled for July 22.

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The Power Report: Iyama One Win Away From Defending Honinbo Title; Iyama Wins 25th TV Asia Cup, Secures Japan Its First International Title In Eight Years; 38th Kisei Leagues Update; Japan Eliminated From Asian Indoor And Martial Arts Games

Monday July 1, 2013

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the American Go E-Journal

Iyama One Win Away From Defending Honinbo Title: The fifth game of the 68th Honinbo title match was held at the Hotel Hankyu Expo Park in Suita City on June 24 and 25. This was another irregular Monday/Tuesday game because of the hectic schedules of both players (Wednesday/Thursday is usual for two-day games). Suita City is in Osaka Prefecture, the home ground of Iyama, so the overwhelming majority of the fans who attended the party on the eve of the game were rooting for him. Takao was unfazed, however. In his speech, he commented that he now understood the feelings of his favourite baseball team, the Chiba Lotte Marines (from the prefecture to the east of Tokyo), when they were playing the Osaka-based Hanshin Tigers on their home ground. His humor may not have converted the fans but it won him generous applause. In reply, Iyama apologized for his inability to think of anything witty to say despite being an Osakan (natives of Osaka are known for their wit and dominate the ranks of comedians in Japan) and said he would make his statement on the go board. As it turned out, Iyama was as good as his word. After a fierce struggle featuring a series of kos, he took advantage of a hallucination by Takao in a capturing race involving yet another ko and took the lead in the ensuing trade (not the first in the game). Takao fought on valiantly, but had to resign after 242 moves. Having taken a 3-2 lead, Iyama has two chances to pick up the win that will complete his first successful Honinbo defense. He had made a good start to the week, but there was even better to come.

Iyama Wins 25th TV Asia Cup, Secures Japan Its First International Title In Eight Years: Japan’s last victory in an individual world title came in the 17th TV Asia tournament when Cho U won the final on June 17, 2005. That was a good year for Japan, as Cho had also won the 9th LG Cup on April 20, and the Japanese team won the Nong Shim Cup team tournament, which started in the autumn of 2005 and concluded on February 24, 2006. Since then, however, Japanese fans have suffered so many disappointments that they have scaled back their expectations on the international scene. However, that may be changing with the founding of the national team, known as Go Go Japan. Everyone admits that Japan lacks the depth of China and Korea, especially among the younger generation of players, but things have started to look up with the success of Takao and Iyama in the opening rounds of the current LG Cup. Iyama has followed up his success there with an outstanding performance in the 25th TV Asia tournament, which this year was hosted by Japan and staged at the Hotel New Otani in Tokyo on the last three days of June. Japan’s representatives this year were Yuki Satoshi and Iyama, who took first and second places respectively in this year’s NHK Cup. Both of them won their first-round games, but Yuki was eliminated in the semifinal by Pak Cheong-hwan (or Jong-hwan), a 20-year-old Korean who has established himself as the world’s number one over the last two or three years. He was outplayed by Iyama in the final, however, and had to resign after 198 moves. This gives Iyama his first international title (not counting an invitational tournament he won in China May 2001; the games are given in Go World 126). However, Japanese fans will be expecting a lot more from him.
photo courtesy Go Game Guru, which also has a report on the tournament.
Full results:
Round 1 (June 28). Yuki Satoshi 9P (Japan) (W) defeated Jiang Weijie 9P (China) by 2.5 points; Iyama Yuta 9P (Japan) (W) d. Yi Ch’ang-ho 9P (Korea) by resig.; Wang Xi 9P (China) (W) d. Yi Se-tol 9P (Korea) by resig.
Semifinals (June 29). Pak Cheong-hwan 9P (Korea) (W) d. Yuki by 5.5 points; Iyama (W) d. Wang by resig.
Final (June 30). Iyama (W) d. Pak by resig.
Incidentally, White won all games in this tournament, which is a little unusual. Note that Yi Se-tol took part as a substitute for Pak Hong-seok 9-dan of Korea. As the previous winner, he had a seeded place, but was unable to take part, as he is doing his military service.

38th Kisei Leagues Update: On June 27, three games were played in the Kisei leagues. In the A League, Yoda Norimoto 9P (W) defeated Yamashiro Hiroshi 9P by resignation. Yoda is now 1-1 and Yamashiro 0-2. In the B League, Murakawa Daisuke 7P (W) beat Hane Naoki 9P by resignation and Kono Rin 9P (W) beat Mizokami Tomochika 8P also by resignation. That made Murakawa, now on 2-0, the sole leader of the league, but it was for only one day. On June 28, there was a somewhat surprising result when Cho Chikun, 25th Honinbo, (W) defeated Takao Shinji 9P by half a point. This may sound a little disrespectful towards Cho, who is one of the all-time greats, but he is already 57, so one would have expected Takao to beat him. Takao doesn’t seem to have maintained the outstanding from he displayed in the LG Cup. (This game was played on a Friday, which is unusual, to give Takao more time to recover from the Honinbo game at the beginning of the week.) As a result, Cho joined Murakawa at the top of the B League.

Japan Eliminated From Asian Indoor And Martial Arts Games: The first five rounds of the individual men’s championship and the Pair Go in the 4th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games were held on June 30 and July 1 in Incheon City in Korea. In the former event, 22 players from 11 countries took part. Tsuruta Kazushi 2P scored 2 wins to 3 losses and Sada Atsushi 1P 3-2 in the Swiss System preliminary round (Sada beat Tsuruta in Round 5), but both were eliminated, as only the top four players qualify for the final round. In the Pair Go preliminary round, also a Swiss, the team of Okuda Aya 3P and Hirata Tomoya 3P scored 3-2, as did Rina Fujisawa 1P and Motoki Katsuya 2P. Both teams were eliminated. The final rounds of the above tournaments will be played on July 2.

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SportAccord-Pandanet Cup Online Go Tournament Registration Opens

Sunday June 30, 2013

Registration procedures for the 2013 SportAccord-Pandanet Cup Online Go Tournament have just been announced. Participants must be amateurs and may choose to enter one of four classes (“bands”): open, 4d-1k, 2k-7k, 8k-17k. Except in the Open class, players are required to have a registered and IGS-confirmed rank. In addition, players may choose one of three geographic regions to play their games. Registration starts now and ends on August 18. The preliminary rounds will be played August 22 through September 12. This tournament is supported by SportAccord and Pandanet and organized by the International Go Federation and Pandanet. It also concurrently serves as the 18th Pandanet Cup Internet World Amateur Go Tournament. Players may advance based on their results within their class and region. Generous prizes are provided by the sponsors, including a round trip to the Third Beijing SportAccord World Mind Games for the open champion. Further prizes are provided for regional and class winners. In addition, anyone who finishes six or more games in the preliminary rounds is eligible for lottery prizes provided by SportAccord. In 2012 these prizes included an iPad, Swatches and cameras, and comparable prizes will be offered in 2013. Click here for details and registration forms.
- Thomas Hsiang

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Mind GO Club Re-Opens This Week in Rehovot, Israel

Tuesday June 25, 2013

The Mind GO club’s second largest go club in Israel is re-opening this week. The club, in Rehotot at Weizmann Science Institute, is opening under the auspices of Professor Peleg, Dean of Mathematics faculty at the Institute. Meetings start this Wednesday, June 26, 20:00 in the Ziskind building (Math and Computer Science), second floor, room 261. All are welcome. Shavit Fragman first opened the club at the Weizmann Science Institute in 2004 and it was run then successfully run for several years by Dr. Andreas Doncic from Sweden. For further details, contact Shavit @ 054-4500453.

Mexican Youth Go Flourishing

Monday June 24, 2013

The Mexican Children’s Go Tournament drew 65 players May 18th in Mexico City. Organized by Pipiolo Art School and the Buddhist Temple Eko-ji, where the tournament was hosted, the event was divided into five sections: 4k-15k, 16k-20k, 21k-25k, 13×13 and 9×9.

“Go has been a regular subject at our elementary school for 5 years,” reports Siddhartha Avila, “the tournaments are a way of gathering children, having fun, testing their performance at the board, practicing mutual learning and teaching, and also encouraging peer respect and other values. This year the Principal, Marcela Zepeda, approved a new project teaching Go to K2-K3 students, and they played in the 9×9 board section. A group of young Taiwanese players took part in the tournament, tracing new bridges to share cultures and experiences through go, their top player Leon Lee won the 4k-15k section with a perfect 4 wins.”

Winners Report: 4k-15k: 1. Leon Lee, 2. Omar Zavala, 3. Lilian Zavala; 16k-20k: 1. Adam George, 2. Carlos Gallegos, 3. Amir George; 21k-25k: 1. Angel M. Mendez, 2. Ana R. Contreras, 3. Axel E. Fematt; 13×13 board: 1. Jordi Cirujeda, 2. Marcos A. Gonzalez, 3. Alberto I. Buendía; 9×9 board: 1. Aquiles Echevarria, 2. M. Fernanda Zamora, 3. Kairi Ochoa. – Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Photo by Siddhartha Avila.

 


The Power Report: Iyama Evens Score in Honinbo; Cho’s Lead Improves in Meijin League; 38th Kisei League Update; Promoted After 38 Years

Sunday June 23, 2013

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the American Go E-Journal

Iyama Evens Score in Honinbo Title Match: Both Iyama Honinbo and the Honinbo challenger Takao Shinji have been very busy this month, sandwiching a trip to Korea for the LG Cup in between the third and fourth games of the 68th Honinbo title match. When they left Japan, Takao (left, in Game 2) was in great form whereas Iyama was in a bit of a slump, having just lost two Honinbo games and a crucial game in the Meijin league. Both of them did well in the LG Cup, but perhaps Iyama gained more by having his self-confidence restored.

The fourth game of the series was played in the city of Shiroishi (which means ‘white stone’) in Miyagi Prefecture, which was heavily hit by the March 11 earthquake two years ago. The game was held on a Noh stage in a building called Hekisuien that is devoted to traditional arts (besides the Noh stage and auditorium, there is also a traditional tea house). This was the first official game ever held on a Noh stage, and the players wore traditional dress, at least on the first morning, to match the occasion.

In the game, Iyama, who held black, started out by going for territory, letting Takao build influence. When Takao sealed move 60 at the end of the first day, it was generally felt that the position was a little advantageous for him. However, Iyama adopted a very skilful shinogi strategy on the second day, sacrificing a few stones to rescue a group under attack. This turned the game in his favor, and he set the seal on victory by making another sacrifice while expanding his moyo. Takao eventually resigned after 167 moves. He commented later that he had made a miscalculation in the play after the sealed move and that he had kept playing just to see what would happen.

Every game in a title match is important, but some are more crucial than others. Ishida Yoshio (the 24th Honinbo Shuho) believes that the fourth game often plays a significant role in a contest between closely matched players. In this case, the difference was that Iyama leveled the score at 2-all rather than having Takao take a two-game lead. The fifth game is being played June 28-29. photo courtesy 2014 European Go Congress website

Cho’s Lead Improves in Meijin League: Cho U didn’t play a game in the 38th Meijin League last week, but still his position improved, as his nearest rival suffered a setback. Hane Naoki had been the only player on one loss, but in a game played on June 17 he lost to Murakawa Daisuke 7P. Taking white, Murakawa secured a resignation. He is considered the most promising player of his age group at the Kansai Ki-in; this was his third win, so he now has quite a good chance of keeping his place in the league (one more win will make that certain). Hane joins Iyama Yuta, Kono Rin, and Takao Shinji in the two-loss group. In another game played on the same day, Kono Rin 9P improved his score to 4-2 by defeating Mizokami Tomochika 8P; Kono had white, and Mizokami resigned. The latter is now 1-5, but could still force a play-off for a place in the next league if he wins both his remaining games and Murakawa loses both of his.

38th Kisei League Update: Two games, both in the A League, were played on June 20. Cho U 9P suffered an early setback to his hopes of making a Kisei comeback when he lost to Yamashita Keigo Meijin. Taking white, Yamashita won by 3.5 points. On 2-0, he is now the only undefeated player in the A League. Cho U is 1-1. In the other game, Kiyonari Tetsuya 9P of the Kansai Ki-in (B) defeated Kobayashi Satoru 9P by 7.5 points. Both players are now 1-1.

Promoted After 38 Years: Ms. Kitani Toshimi, a member of the Osaka branch of the Nihon Ki-in, has earned promotion to 2-dan, 38 years after qualifying as a professional. Born in 1952, she became 1-dan in 1975. She qualified for 2-dan under the cumulative-win
promotion system by winning 30 games.

Correction: There are four go events at the upcoming Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games, not three, as previously reported (4th Asian Indoor & Martial Arts Games to Include Go 6/17 EJ). I based my report on this event on the local press release here, and as Japan is not entering a women’s team, I incorrectly assumed there was no such event.

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North American Youth Overwhelm Europe in Transatlantic Match

Friday June 21, 2013

For the second consecutive year, top young North American players have defeated their European counterparts in the Transatlantic Youth Go Friendship Match. “The Europeans lost by a large margin last year,” reports organizer Andrew Huang, “and were certainly looking for a more positive result this year. However, the North American team was keen to stifle the Europeans’ ambitions, and won the first seven games, eventually finishing with an 8-2 victory. We are looking forward to another exciting event next year, as the European team will be thirsty to exact revenge.” The match was held June 2 on KGS, and marked the fifth year for the Transatlantic Youth Tourney. Ten players representing the United States and Canada teamed up for North America, while ten European youngsters  were chosen from Russia, Germany, France, Austria, Romania, Czechia, Slovakia, and Poland to compete for the Europeans. Lawrence Ku and the American Go Honor Society organized the event, which was held in the Transatlantic Youth Go Tournament room on KGS.  Previous years events are listed here; for this year’s results, click here. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Image by Paul Barchilon, based on a graphic from DairyReporter.com