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“Surrounding Game”/KGS Simul Challenge set for Saturday

Thursday February 22, 2018

A special event will be hitting the KGS Go Server this Saturday, Feb 24. Dubbed the “KGS Simul Challenge”, a slew of strong2018.02.21_kgs-challenge players will assemble to play handicapped simul games against anyone online continuously from 3-9pm EDT. Jointly sponsored by KGS and the “Surrounding Game” documentary, the field will feature many of the film’s stars, including Andy Liu 1p, Gansheng Shi 1p, Mingming Yin 1p, and Myungwan Kim 9p. 

“Do you have what it takes to bring down one of these giants?” asks organizer Michael Fodera. All winners will receive a 1-month KGS membership subscription plus a free digital copy of The Surrounding Game. 

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“The Surrounding Game” launches worldwide

Saturday February 17, 2018

Starting today, “The Surrounding Game” (2017) is now available worldwide on digital streaming, DVD and Blu-ray. The award-winning2018.02.15-surrounding-game-streaming documentary tells the story of go, from the four arts of ancient China to modern-day international competition, to the growth of the game in the West.

“I am so proud of everyone who worked on this project and brought their energy, their creativity, and their passion to it” says director Will Lockhart, “and we are all so excited to be able to finally offer the film for home use!” Click here for a short interview with Lockhart by AGA Broadcast Coordinator Michael Wanek.

In addition to the main feature, the filmmakers are releasing six never-before-seen deleted scenes and interviews. “This is some of our favorite material that didn’t quite make the final cut, and we think you’re gonna like it!” says Lockhart. The extras are included on the new DVD and Blu-ray discs, and are also available separately on digital download and streaming.

To meet the demand of an international audience, the film includes subtitle options in ten languages and counting. “We were blown away by all the requests we received from around the globe for translations” reports producer Cole Pruitt. “On the discs there are subtitles available in English, Spanish, French, German, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Russian – and Italian and Portuguese will be available on streaming as well. We want Go players around the globe to be able to use this film as a new way to spread the game, as we have seen firsthand its ability to connect with people outside of the gaming community.”

Available for streaming and download here, and on DVD and Blu-ray here.

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“The Surrounding Game” announces worldwide release

Thursday February 1, 2018

For everyone that’s been marking time until the general release of The Surrounding Game, your wait is nearly over.2018.01.25_surrounding-game-ReleaseAnnouncement

The documentary team just announced that February 15th will see the film released worldwide on DVD, Blu-ray, and instant digital streaming. Through their new web store (operational now, though with limited items) players will be able to also purchase film posters, 9×9 starter sets, and other film merchandise. As an added bonus the filmmakers will include six never-before-seen deleted scenes on the discs.

“Thanks to volunteers from around the globe, the movie now comes with subtitle options in many languages”, said co-director Cole Pruitt, “including Spanish, French, German, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Russian.We’re excited to share this extra material with all of you next month!”

February 24th will see KGS host the stars of the film as they play simultaneously against the online community.  Plans are for AGA commentators, including Michael Wanek, Will Lockhart and Andrew Jackson, to follow the action in a live-stream on the AGA YouTube channel.

The pending world-wide release will not preclude current offerings. For example, clubs or individuals will still be able to purchase the screening pack which, among other benefits, includes an official license to host a public screening of the film as many times as you want, to include including selling tickets.

To keep abreast of all things Surrounding Game, click here.

- edited by Charles “Doc” Sade

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Two new women’s world championships announced

Wednesday December 27, 2017

First is the SENKO CUP, organized by the Nihon Kiin, which will be held March 14-16 2018 in Tokyo.  Eight players are invited, including the top four finishers from the Japanese domestic version of the Senko Cup: Hsieh Yimin, Fujisawa Rina, Mukai Chiaki, and Nyu Eiko; Joanne Missingham (Hei Jia-jia) from Taiwan; and one each from South Korea, China, and Europe.
The second event is the Wu Chingyuan Cup (“Go Seigen” in Japanese pronunciation) to be held in Wu’s birth city Fuzhou of Fujian Province in China.  Twenty eight players will be invited for this late-April event, including possibly six from Europe and two from North America.  This event is sponsored by the Fuzhou city government, with support from Go Seigen’s family who donated the naming right.  In parallel, there will be an exhibition match between world champion Ke Jie and “a top AI program”.
- Thomas Hsiang
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Elite Mind Games wrap-up

Sunday December 17, 2017

The go activities during last two days of the IMSA Elite Mind Games included three medal competitions: pair go, men’s  blitz and2017.12.17_pair go last round - Canada vs EU women’s blitz.  The format for these tournaments were new: the six teams were divided into three tiers, China and Korea, Japan and Taiwan, Europe and America.  Then one team from each tier is drawn to form a group of three teams.  In the first day, each group play within the group to determine the three teams’ position. Then in the second day, the top 2017.12.17_pair-go medalistsfour teams from the two groups play two rounds to determine the top four finishers, while the two third place teams play to decide the 5th and 6th places.  In the end, Ke Jie from China won the men’s blitz, while Korea took the two other gold. Japan won all four bronze medals, a surprisingly good result.  Canadian pair Sarah Yu and Ziyang Hu (at left in photo above right) played hard to narrowly defeat Manja Marz and Mateusz Surma (above right) and took a valuable, lone, 5th place for the American team. Wan Chen lost to Manja Marz of Germany, and Mingjiu Jiang forfeited his game with Ilya Shikshin. For the whole event, Ziyang Hu was the top performer from America’s team, winning two games – one against Surma in team play and one in pair go.
During the closing ceremony, medals were awarded in all five mind sports represented by IMSA. China and Russia were the big winners, followed by Ukraine and Korea.  It was announced that the next chapter of this event will likely be held in mid-November, 2018. It is expected that the final details will be announced in February next year.
- Thomas Hsiang; photo above left: Pair Go finalists
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Elite Mind Games Day 4 report

Wednesday December 13, 2017

The last day of women’s team competition saw plenty of sparks, but the only surprising result was Fujisawa Rina defeating the2017.12.13_Women's team medalists world’s top-ranked female player from China, Yu Zhiying.  Japan was then in a position to tie or defeat China, depending on the outcome of the other game bewteen China’s Lu Minquan and Japan’s Nyu Eiko. In that a game, Nyu played well to be ahead for most of the game, but she slipped in the yose when both players were in byo-yomi.  After 6+ hours of play, the score was an unusual W+1.5 point due to a single-shared-liberty seki.  Another game that could have sent shockwave through the tournament was between Canada’s Sarah Yu and Korea’s Choi Jeong.  Sarah was in a difficult position from the start, but she fought hard and was about to win a large-group semeai with a favorable yose-ko.  Sarah was in byo-yomi 2017.12.13_Men's team medalistsand could not read in out, missing her chance.  She missed a second chance to create a triple ko, which would have tied the game according to the tournament rules. As a result, Korea took first place, China dropped to second, and Japan received a hard-earned bronze medal.
On the men’s side, the games were all lopsided.  Taipei could not follow its previous day’s performance and lost to Korea 0-2. In the end Korea was first, China second, and Taipei third.
Tomorrow the action switches to Pair Go and men’s and women’s blitz go. In two days, there will be three more medals to be won.  For all three tournaments, the first day will be a three-round preliminary.  Participants are divided into two groups.  Preset seedings separate China and Korea, Japan and Taipei, North American and Europe into the two groups.  The groups’ top finishers will meet to determine 1st and 2nd place, etc, in the second day.
- Thomas Hsiang; photos: (right) women’s medalists; (left) men’s medalists
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Elite Mind Games Day 2 report

Monday December 11, 2017

In today’s IMSA Elite Mind Games team competitions for both men and women, China drew North America, Korea drew Europe,2017.12.11_Mingjiu-KeJie and Taipei drew Japan.  China and Korea easily defeated their opponents to win 4-0; the suspense was with the closely matched games between Taipei and Japan.  For men, the top two Taiwanese players Wang Yuan-Jyun and Chen Shih-Yuan defeated Japan’s new stars Shibano Toramaru and Mutsuura Yuta.  For women, much attention was focused on the match between Joanne Missingham (Hei Jia-Jia) and the multiple title winner Fujisawa Rina (granddaughter of Fujisawa Shuko).  The game lasted over five hours, with Rina finally prevailing over the seemingly rusty Joanne.  The other game featured two shodans, the 15-year old Yang Tzu-Hsuan and the 17-year old Nyu Eiko, both having reached major title challenges this year in their countries.  Eiko, daughter of multi-time world xiangqi champion Zhao Guorong and Go 5p Niu Lili who is famous for 2017.12.11-IEMG logohave written Go Seigen’s books for the past 20+ years, calmly won over Tzu-Hsuan in their first of many anticipated matches to come.

For readers who are not familiar with the IMSA Elite Mind Games, this event is a replacement of the previous SportAccord World Mind Games held from 2011 to 2014.  A unique feature of these events is their strong involvement of Western players.  Not only is the prize fund spread out to all players, the format of play, which does not use simple knock-outs, also allows the Western players to play many games with the top pros from Asia, thus allowing valuable training experience for the former.  In today’s IMSA Executive Meeting, it was announced that IEMG will be continued for at least another two years.  In addition, new events are being developed, aiming to hopefully reach three IMSA events per year by 2019.

-   Thomas Hsiang; photo: Mingjiu Jiang (left) vs. Ke Jie

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Microdosing study to use go to test creativity

Tuesday August 29, 2017

For years now, reports Inverse, trendy Silicon Valley bros have been sustaining a slight buzz by microdosing, claiming a few potent hits of LSD can supercharge a workday. Until now, there hasn’t been much in the way of science to back it up, but Amanda Feilding hopes to change that. 2017.08.27_Does LSD Microdosing Make You SmarterFeilding is founder of the Beckley Foundation and a leading researcher in the field of psychedelics and consciousness. She’s got a plan to prove that microdosing LSD makes you a better problem solver. She’s throwing the established protocols for evaluating cognition and creativity out the window in favor of a much more straightforward objective: How do test subjects fare when playing the ancient Chinese game of Go?

It’s a protocol imagined from her experiences among friends as students of physiology and psychology more than 50 years ago. “We were working very, very hard,” she tells Inverse. “And as recreation in the evenings, we used to play the ancient Chinese game of Go. I found that I won more games if I was on LSD, against an opponent I knew well. And that showed me that, actually, my problem-solving, my creative thinking, was enhanced while on LSD.” Feilding’s study, to be run through the Beckley/Imperial Research Programme, is designed to have 20 participants take a dose of LSD at 10, 20, and 50 micrograms (a typical recreational dose is 100 micrograms) and also a placebo. Each time they will complete questionnaires on their mood and other vectors, will undergo brain scans, and will play Go against a computer.

“The tests of creativity, which are current, like Torrance Test, they don’t really test for creativity. They test more for intelligence, or word recognition, or whatever,” says Feilding. “They can’t test those ‘aha’ moments in putting new insights together, whereas the Go game does test for that. You suddenly see, ‘Aha! That’s the right move to enclose the space.’”
- from The Plan to Prove Microdosing Makes You Smarter 

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“Invisible” available online; Yuan Zhou’s “AlphaGo vs. Ke Jie 9P”; Go World/AGJ issues available; Dino Pair Go

Sunday August 27, 2017

“Invisible” available online: “Invisible: The Games of AlphaGo” is now available online. ‘It’s a fascinating account,” says John Power, author of “Invincible: The Games of Shūsaku.” “I strongly recommend Invisible to any go player interested in the present and the future 2017.08.27_alphago-vs-ke-jieof go.”

Yuan Zhou’s “AlphaGo vs. Ke Jie 9P”: Also just out is Yuan Zhou’s “AlphaGo vs. Ke Jie 9P” from Slate & Shell and available through Amazon. Despite losing all three games,2017.08.27_pair-go-dinos Ke Jie did better than any one else had, and Yuan Zhou gives a thorough and insightful analysis of the match and reflects on the significance of AlphaGo for the go community.

Go World/AGJ issues available: You recently published a letter about the donation of go books to libraries (which I have already done) but I have heard nothing about libraries housing go magazines,” writes Joel Sanet. “I have a complete set of Go Worlds and the print version of the American Go Journal (there might be one issue missing) that I am willing to donate for the cost of reimbursement of  shipping which I estimate to be in the range of $40 each. Any library that is interested can contact me at yosdan30@comcast.net. BTW I have not see the NY Times crossword puzzle reported by Roy Schmidt but I suspect the answer to the clue “Travel edition of a classic board game?” is “on the go go.”

photo: a particularly intimidating couple at the Pair Go Tournament at the recent U.S. Go Congress; photo by Eric Wainwright 

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Moments from the MLily Cup: Days three and four

Saturday August 26, 2017

fullsizeoutput_c0dHua Xueming 7P’s Go philosophy is familiar
“No matter who I play with, if I’m playing a game of Go I am enjoying myself,” Hua Xueming 7P said through a translator during the Ruilong Primary School visit. “Even just last night I played four games, until midnight!” In the discussion room during the top eight round, she played a four-stone game with Jeff Shaevel (photo top right). Competition Officer Liu Jing 8P expressed similar feelings at the event, emphasizing that when he sees children playing and enjoying Go it makes him happy, because it reminds him of when he played as a child and how much he enjoyed it.

fullsizeoutput_c10Players began the top eight round with choosing for color
All in unison, following announcements of Wang Runan 8P, President of the Chinese Weiqi Association, players took stones from their bowls to choose for color, arranged the bowls appropriately, and started their clocks to begin the top eight round games. Park Jungwhan 9P and Chen Zijian 4P chose black and white respectively (photo top left).

Nie Weiping 9P joins the discussion room
In the discussion room during the top 16 matches, Hua Xueming played a go game with tournament sponsor Ni Zhanggen while everyone watched the tournament games projected on a fullsizeoutput_c1ascreen at the front of the room. During the top eight matches Hua Xueming 7P, Nie Weiping 9P, and Yu Bing 9P focused on a lively review of the tournament games in progress (photo bottom right).

fullsizeoutput_c16Semi-finalists chosen and paired
Competition Officer Liu Jing 8P introduced each of the four semi-finalists and prepared the box from which each player would choose their position and opponent for the best-of-three semi-final round (photo bottom left).
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report/photos by Karoline Li, EJ Tournaments Bureau Chief

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