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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.

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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

The Power Report: Takao Evens Score in Honinbo; Kisei Leagues; Kono or Matsumoto to be Gosei Challenger:

Sunday June 2, 2013

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

Takao Evens Score in Honinbo Title Match: Takao Shinji 9P has a notoriously bad career record against Iyama Yuta Honinbo, but he has shown that past results may be irrelevant. After losing the first game in his challenge for the 68th Honinbo title, Takao roared back with a strong win in the second, played on May 28 & 29, so the match is level. There was plenty of drama in the game, with three important ko fights.  The first was worth over 50 points and led to a major trade, but neither side took the lead. Another big trade followed the second ko fight, but once again the game remained evenly poised. Shortly after this (on move 205), Iyama made a small misjudgment , letting Takao take the lead. Iyama resorted to yet another ko but was unable to make up his deficit, so he resigned after 244 moves. The third game will be played on June 5 & 6.

Kisei Leagues: Two games were played in the 38th Kisei Leagues on May 23. In the final game in the first round of the A League, two of the big guns in the league clashed. Takao Shinji 9P, the top-ranked player in the league, beat Hane Naoki 9P, who is the second-ranked player; taking white, Takao won by half a point. This win may have given him some momentum for the Honinbo title match. The B League was one game behind the A League. The game on the 23rd was a match-up between two veteran players, Kobayashi Satoru 9P and Yamashiro Hiroshi 9P; the former is a former Kisei (beating Cho Chikun in 1995), and Yamashiro came within an ace of winning the title in 1992 (he had the lead late in the 7th game but lost it in the endgame). Taking black, Kobayashi beat Yamashiro by resignation.
        The first round of the B League was completed on 30 May. Taking white, 25th Honinbo Chikun (Cho Chikun) defeated Kono Rin 9P by resignation to make a good start to this year’s league.

Kono or Matsumoto to be Gosei Challenger: The semifinals in the 38th Gosei tournament were held on May 23. In one, Matsumoto Takehisa 7P (W) beat Akiyama Jiro 9P by 1.5 points; in the other, Kono Rin 9P (B) beat Cho Riyu 8P by half a point. Either Kono or Matsumoto will challenge Iyama Yuta for the Gosei title, but we don’t have a date for the final yet.

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KBA Names Two Pros for US Go Congress

Wednesday May 29, 2013

The Korea Baduk Association is sending Kim Hyunghwan 6p and Lee Dahye 4p to the US Go Congress in Tacoma this year. Kim Hyunghwan, 27, is a student of famed teacher Kapyong Kwon, whose students include Lee Sedol 9p and Park Junghwan 9p. He distinguished himself as a youth player, and was unbeaten in the 2001 WYGC in Maui, Hawaii, becoming pro the following year. The Maui experience  prompted him to study English. He is also a student of Chinese and teaches go at university clubs. Lee Dahye, 28, aside from representing Korea in international play, is a specialist at teaching beginners, expertise she will be sharing as an instructor at the first ever AGA classroom teaching certification workshop at Congress. Since 2008, Lee has amassed an impressive record broadcasting lessons on Baduk TV, K-Baduk and Cyberoro (you can see some of her lessons on YouTube here).  She has also taught soldiers in Korea’s military, students at university clubs, and multicultural youth. She  edited the Korean edition of Hikaru no go as well. Most relevant for the teaching workshop, she is co-author of the Korean-English go book, Falling in Love with Baduk, which will be distributed to workshop students free in PDF form (it is available for download through the AGF here as well). She graduated Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, majoring in Japanese, and is in graduate school in the same university. -Andy Okun, with assistance from Myungwan Kim 9p. Photo: Lee Dahye 4p

Mlily Cup Preliminaries

Saturday May 25, 2013

The preliminary rounds for the first Mlily Cup concluded May 24th, in Beijing, China.  The cup is organized by the International Go Federation (IGF) and the China Qiyuan, and sponsored by Hengkang Jiaju Technology Company.  The cup is held every other year, thus supplementing the other IGF-organized biannual tournament: the Bailing Cup. With a top prize of RMB 1.8 M (about USD 280K), Mlily ranks near the top of all international titles.  Just as in Bailing, the Mlily Cup takes on an “open” format:  All professionals may enter in the preliminary rounds; as may all amateurs after winning online selection tournaments.   Ryan Li won the selection tournament from North America, and was the US amateur representative.  Jujo (Zhujiu) Jiang 9P entered as an American pro; while Rui Naiwei 9P entered as a Chinese pro.  All three lost in the first round.  The popular Joanne Missingham 6P(Hei Jia-jia) entered as a Taiwanese pro, and won her section of 11 players, to move on to the main tournament.  - Report by Thomas Hsiang. Photo from the Mlily website: Zhang Xuan 8p (l) has been one of the top female players in China. She is married to Chang Hao 9P.  Joanne Missingham 6P (r) is leading a new generation of strong young female players; she is representing Taiwian.

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Chen Yaoye Shines Again at 27th Annual Tianyuan

Wednesday May 22, 2013

Yaoke ChenChen Yaoye 9P took his fifth consecutive Tianyuan title when he bested Gu Lingyi 5P on May 15. Although Gu joined the top ten Chinese pros in 2009, and was once viewed as one of China’s “most promising” players, he wasn’t able to dethrone Chen.

Chen himself was in a similar situation five years ago when he secured the Tianyuan title from six-time victor Gu Li 9P. As Gu Li defeated Chen in his first international final, at the 10th LG Cup in 2006, some could say Chen’s counter-attack was a long time coming. Before he can even contemplate matching Gu Li’s six-year streak, however, Chen will need to focus on his upcoming match against Lee Sedol 9P in the final round of the 10th Chunlan Cup, on June 17. He will also have to watch out for this year’s Korean Chunwon champion Park Younghun 9P at the China Korea Tengen playoff, rumored to take place in September. Unlike the stereotypical Korean combative style, Park (like Chen) is more flexible. According to Jing at Go Game Guru, “he’s a master of the endgame and tends to prefer more peaceful, territory oriented games.”

For more information about the Gu Lingyi - Chen Yaoye match, including photos and game records, please visit gogameguru.com.

-Annalia Linnan, based on a longer article by Go Game Guru

Correction: Mlily Healthcare is the Sponsor

Tuesday May 21, 2013

The E-J mistakenly reported that the Mlily Cup was possibly sponsored by the Mlily Hotel, in yesterday’s Power Report.  In fact, The Mlily Cup World Open Tournament is sponsored by Healthcare Co., Ltd.  Thanks to Ke Lu for pointing out the error.
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