American Go E-Journal » World

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.

 


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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

Chen Yaoye Wins Chunlan Cup to Take First Major International Title

Thursday June 20, 2013

Six years after becoming the youngest 9-dan professional, Chen Yaoye 9P (right) finally broke through on the world stage when he defeated Lee Sedol 9P (at left in photo) 2-1 on June 20 to capture the Chunlun Cup and win his first major international title. This was Chen’s fourth attempt at an international title and it was smiles all round as he finally made his long overdue breakthrough. Lee seems to make a habit of being present at special milestones in Chen’s career and looked genuinely pleased for Chen. The last time these two met in an international final was in 2007 at the 19th Asia TV Cup, where Chen was promoted to become the youngest (at the time) 9-dan professional.

In other news from the 9th Chunlan Cup, Jiang Weijie 9P defeated Kong Jie 9P in the playoff to take third place. The Chunlan Cup is an invitational go tournament for 24 top players from around the world. In addition to players from China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan, a European and a North American representative are also invited. The top 8 seeded players proceed directly to round two, while the remaining 16 play a single elimination round, knocking out 8 players. After the first round, the remaining 16 players compete in a knockout tournament, culminating in a best of three final. The tournament is sponsored by Chunlan Group, a Chinese conglomerate with interests in the air conditioning, domestic appliance, automotive, finance and alternative energy industries.

The Chunlan Cup uses Chinese rules, with a komi of 7.5 points, and offers a prize of $150,000 USD to the winner.
- based on a more detailed report on GoGameGuru, which includes game records and more photos

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The Power Report: China Dominates 18th LG Cup; Catching Up On “Go Go Japan”; 4th Asian Indoor & Martial Arts Games to Include Go

Monday June 17, 2013

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

China Dominates 18th LG Cup: The opening rounds of this Korean-sponsored international tournament were held in the city of Kangnung (also written Gangneung) in Korea on June 10 & 12. An excellent report has already been presented (Korea Knocked Out In LG Cup Stunner; Japan Fights On 6/13), so this report will fill in some some details.

The main news is undoubtedly the great success of the new young generation of Chinese players, who took six of the quarterfinal places. However, Japan also made a good start: with just four seeded players taking part (it failed to win any seats in the qualifying tournament), it secured two quarterfinal places, its best result for some years. Also, although he was eliminated in the 2nd round, Kono Rin 9P scored an excellent win in the first round, beating the player who recently won the Ing Cup, Fan Tingyu 9P of China.

The interesting point about the Chinese success is that the main contribution
is not being made by its senior players, such as Gu Li 9P, but by players in their teens and early 20s (I include ages below for the Chinese players to demonstrate this). It really does seem that by your late 20s you are past your peak in China and also in international go. This is also borne out by the early elimination of such great Korean players as the two Yis, Ch’ang-ho and Se-tol, Pak Yeong-hun, Pak Cheong-hwan, and others; these are names to conjure with, but they don’t overawe the Chinese youngsters. Japan operates by different rules, of course; apart from Iyama, its top players are in their thirties.

Full results for the opening rounds:
Round One (June 10): Kono Rin 9P (Japan) (B) defeated Fan Tingyu 9P (aged 16) (China) by resignation; Iyama Yuta 9P (Japan) (W) d. Zhang Tao 3-dan (aged 21) (China) by resig; Takao Shinji 9P (Japan) (B) d. Hong Seong-chi 9P (Korea) by resig; Mok Chin-seok 9P (Korea) (B) d. Hane Naoki 9P (Japan) by half a point; Kim Seong-chin 2P (Korea) (W) d. Gu Li 9P (aged 30) (China) by resig; Li Zhe 6P (aged 23) (China) (B) d. Kang Tong-yun 9P (Korea) by resig; Zhou Ruiyang 9P (aged 22) (China) (B) d. Ch’oe Ch’eol-han 9P (Korea) by resig; Yi Se-tol 9P (Korea) (B) d. Xie Erhao 1P (aged 14) (China) by resig; Li Qincheng 2P (aged 14) (China) (W) d. Pak Yeong-hun 9P (Korea) by resig; Guo Yuzhang 3P (aged 20) (China) (B) d. Cho Han-seung 9P (Korea) by resig; Xia Chenkun 2P (aged 20) (China) (W) d. Kim Chi-seok 9P (Korea) by half a point; Tuo Jiaxi 3P (aged 22) (China) (B) d. Yi Ch’ang-ho 9P (Korea) by resig; Yi Yeong-ku 9P (Korea) (W) d. Xiao Zhenghao 8P (Chinese Taipei) by resig; An Hyeong-chun 4P (Korea) (W) d. Shi Yue 5P (aged 22; winner of the 17th LG Cup) (China) by 5.5 points; An Cho-yeong 9P (Korea) (W) d. Han Yizhou 2P (aged 16) (China) by resig; Chen Yaoye 9P (aged 23) (China) (W) d. Pak Cheong-hwan 9P (Korea) by resig.

Round 2 (June 12): Takao (B) d. Guo by resig; Iyama (W) d Yi Yeong-ku by 1.5 points; Chen (B) d. Kono by resig; Li Qincheng (W) d. Mok by resig; Li Zhe (B) d. An Hyeong-chun by resig; Tuo (B) d. Yi Se-tol by resig; Zhou (B) d. An Cho-yeong by 2.5 points; Xia (W) d. Kim by 2.5 points.

Quarterfinal pairings (November 11): Iyama vs. Chen, Takao vs. Tuo, Zhou vs. Li Qincheng, Li Zhe vs. Xia.
photos: (top right): Team China (from left): Yu BinLi ZheZhou Ruiyang and Xia Chenkun; (bottom left): 18th LG Cup quarter finalists (from left): Chen Yaoye, Iyama Yuta, Tuo Jiaxi, Takao Shinji, Li Zhe, Xia Chenkun, Li Qincheng and Zhou Ruiyang. Photos courtesy Go Game Guru

Catching Up On “Go Go Japan”: Two places out of eight may not seem a spectacular success, but for Japan it’s a big improvement on recent results. The go media here has been giving much of the credit to the foundation of a national team. Since I omitted to report on this earlier, now is a good time to catch up. Go Go Japan, the name of the national team, was chosen in a poll of go fans and announced on May 20 (the first word is English and the second refers to the game). The actual founding of a national team by the Nihon Ki-in and the Kansai Ki-in is dated to April 1 this year; the aim is to promote solidarity in international competition and to improve results. Members are the top 15 players in the prize-winning list, players with previous good results in international tournaments, the winners of the King of the New Stars, Hiroshima Aluminium Cup, the Okage Cup and Nakano Cup, the top ten women players, and all teenaged players, with the last-mentioned given the status of trainees (all of the above must volunteer for the team, though). This is quite a large pool, but there’s some overlap and the membership for the opening year, including coaches and playing coaches, amounts to 32 players. In theory, training camps and other events may be held, but the main activity so far has been setting aside Fridays and Saturdays for senior members of the team to play training games on the Net with the junior players. The most famous of the 30 players on the team are Iyama Yuta, Yamashita Keigo, Hane Naoki, Cho U, Takao Shinji, Kono Rin, Yuki Satoshi, and O Meien. Coaches are Yamashiro Hiroshi, who is also Vice President of the Board of Directors of the Nihon Ki-in, and Cho Riyu 8-dan, with Cho U and Takao acting as playing coaches. It’s hard to know how much of a boost the formation of the national team gave to the players competing in the LG Cup, but it’s certainly the focal point of the news coverage in Japan. Local fans are certainly hoping that this opening success is not a flash in the pan.

4th Asian Indoor & Martial Arts Games to Include Go: The 4th Asian Indoor & Martial Arts Games will be held in Incheon City in Korea from June 30 to July 5. Eight sports will be featured, including go, chess, billiards, bowling, and kick boxing. Participation represents yet another advance in raising the profile of go as a sport in Asia, following the major breakthrough in having it included as a regular competition sport at the 16th Asian Games in 2010. The Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games are organized by the Olympic Committee of Asia and are held every four years in the year before the Asian Games. They are staged at the same venue, and Incheon will host this event and the 17th Asian Games next year. There are three go events: male individual, Pair Go (referred to as Rapid Mixed Team on the event’s HP), and male team. Ten countries or territories are taking part: Korea, China, Japan, Chinese Taipei, Malaysia, Singapore, Mongolia, Vietnam, Chinese Hong Kong, and Macao. Countries with professional organizations are fielding teams of low-dan, young players. The players representing Japan will be Hirata Tomoya 3P (aged 19), Tsuruta Kazushi 2P (aged 18), Motoki Katsuya 2P (aged 17), Sada Atsushi 1P (aged 17), Okuda Aya 3P (aged 24) and Fujisawa Rina 1P (aged 14).

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New AGA Pro To Play in First Korean Tournament

Saturday June 15, 2013

Gansheng Shi 1p, who qualified with Andy Liu 1p as an AGA pro in last year’s certification tournament, is scheduled to play in his first Korean pro tournament, the KT-Olleh Cup, on Monday June 17th.  The young Canadian will play alongside Korean professionals and even receive a small game fee for playing.  Top prize in the tournament is $100,000.  The KT-Olleh is one of five tournaments that the Hankuk Kiwon (KBA) agreed to allow newly certified AGA pros to play in, and the first to start since Shi traveled to Korea last month. The next scheduled of the five is the Samsung Cup in August.  “My goal in tournaments would be to win at least one game but it seems very difficult,” Shi told the EJ.  Shi is studying at the Choong-Am Dojang in Seoul, with travel support from the AGA and tuition support from the KBA.

Shi says he is enjoying Korea, Korean food, and some new friends. He describes the Choong-Am as a “really quiet nice place to focus on go,” although he had difficulty adjusting at first. “I started off in league C … The first 2-3 weeks were really bad and I had a horrible losing record of something like 3-9, then I managed to stabilize in the league and was able to stay in league C without being moved to league D.  The new month just started and I have been doing great so far, winning most of my games and I really hope to move to the next league after this month.”  Shi fills his days with self-study of pro games and life and death until lunch, a game and then review with a teacher in the afternoon, more self-study and some exercise, and then a game after dinner. “I do feel like I’m progressing, because I have been improving in my record and winning a lot of games lately. Perhaps that is just me stabilizing but I do feel that I am learning a lot in the dojang.”  -Andy Okun.  Photo: Shi playing a simul at the Spring Go Expo earlier this year, from The Surrounding Game’s Facebook Page.

A Google Doodle for Go Seigen?

Wednesday June 12, 2013

On Go Seigen’s 99th birthday, Go Game Guru renewed the call for a Google Doodle next year on the go master’s 100th birthday.

Google regularly changes the logo on their homepage to mark the anniversary of important events and celebrate the achievements of great scientists and artists. These are called Google Doodles.

“Since Go Seigen will turn 100 in 2014, we thought it would be great if we, as a community of go players, could convince Google to celebrate Go Seigen’s 100th birthday with us,” said Go Game Guru’s David Ormerod. “Not only would this be a great way to mark the world’s greatest go player becoming a centenarian, it would also introduce many new people to this fascinating game.”

Email proposals@google.com and ask them to celebrate Go Seigen’s 100th birthday on June 12, 2014. Click here for Go Game Guru’s report, which includes an overview of the life of the “living legend.”

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The Power Report: Cho U Wins Crucial Game In Meijin League; Takao Takes Lead In Honinbo Title Match; Kono To Challenge Iyama For Gosei Title; New Professional Couple

Sunday June 9, 2013

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

Cho U Wins Crucial Game In Meijin League: Thanks to defeating his most formidable opponent, Cho U 9P (right) is a lot closer to ecoming the challenger for the 38th Meijin title. In a game played on June 1, Cho (taking black) defeated Iyama Yuta Honinbo by resignation, improving his record to 6-0 and keeping the sole lead. Iyama had been one of just two players with only one loss, but, with his score now 5-2, the best he can hope for is a tie for first, but that will happen only if Cho loses both his remaining games; his opponents are Takao Shinji 9P and Kono Rin 9P. The other player with one loss is Hane Naoki 9P, who is on 4-1; he has already played Cho, so he has to rely on the above-mentioned pair for help in catching up. Incidentally, Saturday games are quite unusual, but Iyama is extremely busy, what with Honinbo games in successive weeks. On June 6, Sakai Hideyuki 8P (B) defeated Yuki Satoshi Judan by resignation. This was Sakai’s first win in the league, to six losses, while Yuki still has not opened his account. He is now 0-6 and has suffered a dismal 16 losses in a row, spread over three Meijin leagues.

Takao Takes Lead In Honinbo Title Match: All the momentum now seems to be with Takao Shinji 9P (left) in the 68th Honinbo title match. In the third game, played in the Hokkaido city of Kushiro on June 5 & 6, he defeated the defending champion Iyama Yuta and took a 2-1 lead. Playing black, Takao forced a resignation after 167 moves. In its report, Go Weekly was unable to specify a losing move for Iyama; he apparently played no dubious moves after the opening, so Takao must have gained an advantage in the first fight of the game, in which he sacrificed corner stones to set up a squeeze on the outside. Iyama has now lost three important games on the trot; the fourth Honinbo game, scheduled for June 17 & 18, will be a crucial one for his title defense.

Kono To Challenge Iyama For Gosei Title: In the final of the 38th Gosei tournament, Kono Rin 9P (B) defeated Matsumoto Takehisa 7P by 1.5 points, so he will challenge Iyama Yuta Gosei for the title. Kono challenged Iyama for the Tengen title last November, but lost three straight; he will be hoping to improve on this record in what will be his first Gosei challenge. The title match starts on July 6.

New Professional Couple: On June 4, Suzuki Ayumi 6-dan and Rin Kanketsu 7-dan got married at a hotel in Karuizawa. Rin commented: “There’s a perfect balance of supply and demand in our marriage: I like composing life-and-death problems and my wife likes solving them.” As far as I know, this is the 16th marriage among Nihon Ki-in professionals.

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Third International Children’s Art Contest

Wednesday June 5, 2013

The popular International Children’s Go Art Contest is back for the third year in a row, and children are invited to submit their pieces.  Last year’s contest drew almost 70 entries, from ten different countries, and this year organizers hope to pull in even more.  The entries will be exhibited at the US Go Congress in Tacoma, in August.  The categories will be for under 12 and under 16, with three winners, and 2 notable entries in each category.  Magnetic go sets for the top six winners will be provided by Yellow Mountain Imports.  To see some highlights of last year’s entries, visit the online gallery on the Go Symposium site.  The contest also has a Facebook page here.  Complete entry information is available in the pdf file attached to this link (right click to download once it takes you to the page with the file) GoArtContest2013. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor

Hsiang Elected IMSA General Secretary, Urges Strong N.A. Players to Participate in 2013 SportAccord World Mind Games

Monday June 3, 2013

Longtime International Go Federation and American Go Association official Thomas Hsiang (second from right) was elected General Secretary of the International Mind Sports Association (IMSA) at the 2013 SportAccord Convention held during the week of May 28 in St. Petersburg, Russia. IMSA also announced that the 2013 and 2014 SportAccord World Mind Games (SAWMG) will be held December 12-18 in Beijing for both years. For 2013, North America is invited to send a three-man team and one female player to compete for a total prize fund of $400,000 USD. “For North American players, this will be the most lucrative international tournament,” Hsiang told the E-Journal. For example, the team would get $9,000 if they defeat Europe; the female player would get $2,000 if she places 8th; and the pair would get $5,000 if they defeat Europe. “The AGA is planning a selection tournament, possibly using the NAMT event, to select our representative,” Hsiang said. Strong players, especially pros with North American citizenship, are encouraged to make inquiries with the AGA tournament coordinator, at tournaments@usgo.org. The IMSA executive committee also elected the following officials: President: Kirsan Ilyumzhinov (FIDE); Deputy President: Harry Otten (FMJD); Treasurer: Marc de Pauw (WBF). In addition, Geoffrey Borg (FIDE) was designated the Executive Director. photo: Hsiang (second from right) with IGF Secretary General Yuki Shigeno (far right); photo by Ivan Vigano