Saturday October 26, 2013
It takes a lot to get the guys at the Korean Go Club in Los Angeles to stop playing. Their moves are fierce and the concentration is total. But on Friday, they put down their stones and looked up from their boards as Dae-won Suh, President of the Asian Go Federation (AGF) and Vice President of the Korean Amateur Baduk Association (KABA) and Dalsoo Kim, Secretary General of the AGF announced that the club — an AGA chapter — will be the first overseas branch of KABA.
The United States was chosen because of the ongoing collaboration between the Korean and American go communities, especially last year’s inauguration of the US pro system through the Tygem-AGA Pro Tournament. “This is just the fifth professional go system in the world,” said an obviously proud Suh, who’s also a former Korean Ambassador. “We very much hope it will prosper.” And Los Angeles was selected because “it has the largest Korean population outside of our country,” he added. Another connection is the Korean Cultural Center, which this weekend is hosting the Cotsen Open for the second year. “We’re very glad that the KCC can host this tournament again this year and hope that it will help discover new talents,” Suh said.
Ambassador Suh also noted that “there were lots of Korean professionals at this year’s U.S. Go Congress,” adding that the Korean Baduk Association (the professional player’s association in Korea) and KABA “have committed to supporting the U.S. go scene,” including training like that offered by Myung-wan Kim 9P, who beamed quietly in the back of the Korean Go Club as the officials made their remarks. “All of this, we hope, will help promote go in the United States,” said Suh.
AGA President Andy Okun welcomed the move and called KGC organizer Gary Choi “a real friend to the go community and the AGA for a very long time,” and thanked the club’s players “for being so welcoming when we come here and for supporting AGA events like the Cotsen.” Okun also extended an enthusiastic welcome and congratulations to KABA’s new branch, saying that “LA is the right place” for this step.
Korean Consul General Yeonsung Shin closed the brief ceremony — which was also attended by Hajin Lee 3p, Chosun Daily reporter Hongryal Lee, Cyberoro reporter Kim Soo Kwang, KABA staffer Jong-geun Lee and 2015 Go Congress organizer Josh Larson — by announcing that he and Ambassador Suh are interested in working with the AGA to organize a Consul’s Cup and Shin, Suh and Okun could later be seen discussing plans. But first Okun was invited to take on Kim Younghwan 9p — the “Younghwan Wizard” — who quickly demonstrated his ability to give more handicap stones to amateur players than any other pro, and still win.
- report/photos by Chris Garlock
Wednesday October 23, 2013
Go-playing university/college students under the age of 30 can still register for the qualifying prelim for the 12th World Students Go Oza Championship, which will be held February 24-28, 2014 in Tokyo. Sixteen students from around the world will gather in Japan to decide the world’s number one student player. There will be an online preliminary round on Pandanet to select the 16 student players. Click here for details. University/college students under the age of 30 are eligible to participate.
Wednesday October 23, 2013
Nearly forty leaders met to discuss “spreading weiqi to the world” in Beijing on September 23. The summit gathered a number of heavyweights in the Chinese go community, including Ma Xiaoming and Xia Guozhu from China’s Association for International Friendship with Foreign Countries, Liu Siming, Wang Runan, Hua Yigang and Wang Yi from the Chinese Weiqi Association, Li Lizhen from the headquarters of the Confucius Institute, and Wang Ping from China’s National General Administration of Press and Publication. In addition, executives from different media companies were invited, including Window of Golden Street (WGS), Sina, eWeiqi, Sohu, Blue Focus and Qingfeng.
Both Ma and Liu emphasized the urgency of promoting go globally and praised the “Weiqi Travelling Worldwide” project, while Shao Qiang from WGS proposed the idea of a China-US Go Congress. The influential level of the summit attendees is the highest in many years, a strong indication of China’s interest in global Weiqi cooperation.
- Alice Zhang, translated by Rainy Han and Zhiyuan ‘Edward’ Zhang
Tuesday October 15, 2013
After 20 years out of print, Kiseido’s “Handicap Go” was released in an extensively revised and rewritten edition earlier this year. However, reports Anders Kierulf, it may have to be reprinted again soon, as the ship carrying a thousand copies sank in the Indian Ocean last June. “Fortunately, we were insured and the insurance company already paid us the full value,” Richard Bozulich says. “There is a story floating around that the ship was carrying arms for Syrian rebels and the Russian Navy sank it so those arms would not get to Syria,” says Kierulf. Bozulich plans to be at the Cotsen Open later this month. Meanwhile, “Handicap Go” is now available in SmartGo Books, which has a new website, and Kiseido is having a pre-Christmas sale of books until November 15.
Monday October 14, 2013
Korea and China fought it out for the top spot in the 8th Korea Prime Minister Cup International Amateur Baduk Championship, held October 10-15. Korean student Park Jae-geun 6d, 17, took first place with a win over China’s Li Fu 8d, 39, principal of the Haikou FuLi Go Training Center. The US representative, Hugh Zhang 7d, came in 16th place with five wins, his only loss being to the 4th place finisher from Hong Kong. Canada’s Bill Lin came in a very strong 3rd place also with five wins and a loss, to the winner Park. The US player was seeded somewhat lower than Canada’s because of mixed US results in prior years, according to tournament organizers. The tournament attracted 62 players from all over the world to the small industrial city of Gumi in the province of Gyeongbuk-do. Gumi was the birthplace of the late Korean leader Park Jeong-hee and benefited from a great deal of industrial development during his 1961-79 time in power, growing from a village to a major city with Samsung, LG and other factories.
- report by Andy Okun; photo by Ling Shan
Thursday October 10, 2013
News has belatedly reached us of the death of two former Philadelphia go players, Hugh Albright and John Bender.
Albright, who died of heart failure at 82 in 2011, “was an avid go player in the ’80′s and ’90′s,” says former AGA President Phil Straus. He “played regularly at the Philadelphia Go Club, which met in my house in the 80′s, and was a very active participant in East Coast tournaments.” A retired professor of mathematics and former dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at La Salle University, Albright was a Christian Brother who lived for 40 years in the Christian Brothers community in Mount Airy, Philadelphia. “Never did he show anger or impatience of criticism,” said fellow Brother Edward Davis. “He had a wonderful sense of humor and a passionate enjoyment of life.” Albright “enjoyed chess and played basketball in his younger years,” according to his obituary. He also played the piano and studied Gregorian chant.
The 44-year-old Bender – ”the fastest-learning go player” Straus ever taught – ”known on Wall Street as the troubled genius who’d quit the billionaire track without explanation in 2000 and retreated to a fortified compound in the Costa Rican jungle” died there mysteriously on January 8, 2010, reports Ned Zeman in “Love and Madness in the Jungle,” published May 7, 2013 in Outside Magazine. Originally thought a suicide, authorities have since charged Bender’s wife with his murder. Bender “went from beginner to 4-dan very quickly,” says Straus. Bender “Gave a talk about go attitude at the 1987 Go Congress,” Straus says. “Didn’t think blunders were important. Only plans were important. ” “His progress in the game was amazing,” agrees Wing Luk, who knew Bender when he was a student at Penn in 1985. “John and I together went to North Philadelphia to play against the Koreans a number of times.” This and other remembrances of Bender are on Jonathan Kaplan’s blog. photo: John and Ann Bender at their 1999 wedding; photo courtesy Outside Magazine
Saturday October 5, 2013
Registration is now open for the qualifying prelim for the 12th World Students Go Oza Championship, which will be held February 24-28, 2014 in Tokyo. Sixteen students from around the world will gather in Japan to decide the world’s number one student player. There will be an online preliminary round on Pandanet to select the 16 student players. Click here for details. University/college students under the age of 30 are eligible to participate in the online preliminary round.
Sunday September 29, 2013
The go part of the 2013 SportAccord Mind Sport Online Tournament has just gone into the final stage. Over 1000 go players worldwide participated in the largest-ever online tournament. Three regional preliminary tournaments were held for Asia, Europe and Africa, and the Americas. The winners from four separate rank divisions in each region then participate in the finals. Many prizes are provided by Pandanet and by SportAccord, including tablet computers, digital cameras, etc. The top winner from the Open division will win an all-expense-paid trip to Beijing to observe the Third SportAccord World Mind Games held December 12-18 and to receive his trophy. In addition, all players who finished the preliminary round will be placed in a lottery pool for a grand prize of an iPad. The games are held on the Pandanet Internet Go Server (IGS). Click here for finalists, schedule, go client, and other details.
- Thomas Hsiang
Thursday September 26, 2013
Every other year since 2003, a top Chinese and top Korean player play an exhibition match in Fenghuang City, China. The grand prize is 400,000 RMB (approximately $65,000 USD) and the runner up receives 280,000 RMB. What makes the Ancient City of the Phoenix Cup unique are the 361 human go stones (left) that mimic the game on a 31.7 x 31.7 meter board.
This year, Chinese player Chen Yaoye 9p defeated Korean player Park Junghwan 9p by 14.5 points in a 50 minute sudden-death match. White (Chen), favored in the opening, took a lead after two major ko fights, and stayed ahead until the end after 298 moves. For more information on this year’s Ancient City of the Phoenix Cup including game record and photos, please visit Go Game Guru.
– Annalia Linnan, based on a longer article by Go Game Guru
Tuesday September 17, 2013
Wang Chenxing 5P (left) secured her first major international title when she defeated Yu Zhiying 5p in the 4th Bingsheng Cup on September 12. On her journey to the final round, Wang defeated last year’s winner Rui Naiwei 9P, Xie Yimin 6P, and Li He 3P.
However, 15-year-old Yu deserves recognition in her own right. If she had defeated Wang, she would have broken the world record for youngest international title holder in the go world. The current record is held by Lee Changho 9p for his win at the 3rd Tongyang Securities Cup in 1992 when he was 16 years and 6 months. At 15 years and 10 months, Yu’s triumph would have shattered Lee’s 20-year streak.
First played in 2010, the Bingsheng Cup remains the only women’s individual international go tournament. It draws the top 16 players from China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Europe, North America, and Oceania. Named after Sun Zi (aka Sun Tzu), the author of The Art Of War, the Bingsheng Cup is held annually at the Sun Wu Memorial Hall on Qionglong Mountain in Suzhou, China. For more information about the 4th Bingsheng Cup including photos, a post-game interview with Wang, and game records, visit Go Game Guru.
- Annalia Linnan, based on a longer article by Go Game Guru; photo courtesy of Go Game Guru