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Chinese Professional Go Player and Pioneer Chen Zude Dies

Saturday November 3, 2012

Chen Zude, one of the first Chinese nine-dan professionals, died of pancreatic cancer in Beijing on November 1. He was 68.

“Though we’ve lost one of the go world’s brightest lights,” said AGA President Andy Okun. “We’re fortunate that Chen Zude inspired so many to follow in his path, leaving a community that, while saddened by this loss, is larger and stronger than ever.”

Credited as the first modern Chinese player to defeat a Japanese nine-dan (Iwata Tatsuaki) in an even game, Chen grew up during the “Cultural Revolution” era and was a self-taught player as well as a politically savvy go promoter, bringing the game from the status of “bourgeois decadence” to that a mind sport of national pride.  He is often considered the father of modern go in China and as go became integrated into the sports ministry in China, Chen was selected as the first president of China Qiyuan when it was established in 1992 to promote go as a profession.  He continued in that position until 2003 when it was passed on to Wang Runan.  Chen was also the first president of the Chinese Weiqi Association, a body that represents go on the international scene. In 1980, when Chen was playing in the “Xintiyu Bei” (New Sports Cup), he vomited blood and was diagnosed with stomach cancer, which he battled for 32 years.

“Because of his health, Chen never visited the US, but he often expressed his hope that the West would get to appreciate the fascinating game to which he devoted his life,” reports  International Go Federation (IGF) vice president Thomas Hsiang, who met Chen in Beijing in 2008.  “He always gladly hosted visitors from the West, giving them copies of his books and offering the full cooperation of China Qiyuan.” Chen’s study of fuseki “triggered the systematic study of fuseki both in China and Japan,” adds Frank Fukuda. “He also advocated and emphasized the cultural aspects of go, saying that it would bring peace and help people conduct themselves well.”
photo: Chen (second from left) in 2008 with Thomas Hsiang (second from right), Hua Yigang (then president of the China Qiyuan) and Hsiang’s wife, Joy (left).

Categories: World

37th Meijin Goes The Distance

Saturday November 3, 2012

In a seesaw match that’s been fought over 3,500 miles, the venerable Meijin tournament — one of the ‘big titles’ on the Japanese domestic circuit — now comes down to one final match November 12-13. Challenger Hane Naoki 9P forced a deciding Game 7 after defeating current title holder Yamashita Keigo 9P in the sixth game October 31 and November 1. The battle for the title of 37th Meijin has been waged from end to end of the island nation, beginning with the first match August 30-31 in sticky Tokyo, which Yamashita won, adding another notch to his 33-17 record against Hane. The contest then headed north to cooler Hokkaido, where Hane leveled the match at 1-1 on September 20-21. Having visited one end of the country, the players then traveled all the way south to the other end for Game 3 in Miyazaki, on September 27-28, where Hane won again to pull ahead 2-1 in the series. The match then moved back to the center of Japan, to Sendai, Miyagi, for Game 4 on October 10-11, where Yamashita dug deep and clawed his way back to even the score at 2-2. The Meijin title match was now almost back to where it started – both in terms of the score and the location – evened up and on the outskirts of Tokyo overlooking Sagami Bay, in Kanagawa Prefecture. This time, Yamashita turned the tables on Hane, edging ahead 3-2. For Game 6, the action moved to Atami, Shizuoka on October 31 and November 1, where Hane won Game 6 to stretch the Meijin title match out to a seventh and final game. The battle is now set to climax in Yamanashi, the top grape and wine region in Japan, where Yamashita and Hane will play one more game to decide who will lay final claim to the title of 37th Meijin. Click here for a more detailed blow-by-blow report on the tournament thus far, including game records (scroll down to “The 37th Meijin tour”).
- adapted from reporting on Go Game Guru


Categories: World

Lee Hobum Stops Tan Xiao’s Repeat Run in Nongshim Cup

Saturday November 3, 2012

Korea’s Lee Hobum 3P stopped the run by China’s Tan Xiao 7P to repeat his 4-win streak in this year’s Nongshim Cup. Tan racked up three wins before falling to the talented young Korean, who will face the next player in line for Japan when the tournament resumes in November. For the first time, Lee Changho, who won the first six Nongshim tournaments with 19 wins and 3 losses, won’t participate. Lee said he felt he wasn’t in top form and recommended that Park Junghwan 9P take his spot on the team. The Nonshim is a team event between China, Japan and Korea, which uses a win-and-continue format between 5-member teams. The first players of each team play each other and continue playing until defeated, when the second player then takes over and so on, until a team is out of players. Korea has dominated this event, winning it 10 times, while China has won twice and Japan just once.
Adapted from a report on Go Game Guru; click here for game records and more information.
Categories: World

Quadruple Ko: Gu Li vs Lee Sedol in the 17th Samsung Cup

Saturday November 3, 2012

An Younggil 8P takes a look at the most recent game between Lee Sedol 9P and Gu Li 9P in this game commentary from


Go Game Guru.  This game – which features a quadruple ko — is from the round of 32 of the 17th Samsung Cup, which took place during October in Korea. The semi finals will be in November and the finals in December. This is the 29th game between Lee and Gu, and so far, their record is the tied at 14-14. “Their games are always exciting and interesting to watch,” says Younggil.

- Adapted from a report on Go Game Guru
Categories: World

World Student Oza Registration Open

Monday October 29, 2012

The 11th World Students Go Oza Championship will be held in Tokyo,  from Feb 25 to March 1, 2013. Preliminary rounds will be held on the Pandanet IGS Go Server, and 16 students will be selected to proceed to the championship in Tokyo.  Details are on the website for the event.  “University/College students under the age of 30 can participate in the preliminary rounds,” says Makoto Moriwaki from Pandanet,  “we would like as many students as possible to participate in the internet tournament.”  The application deadline is Nov 25th, any questions can be directed to  The entry form is here.  -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.  Photo courtesy of Student Oza website.

NoVA Pumpkin Classic; Debarre’s 3rd French; Best School for Inseis?; Go & Strategy Club; Berlin Tourney; More Than Just a Game?

Monday October 22, 2012

NoVA Pumpkin Classic Reminder: Register at by 10P October 25 for the annual Pumpkin Classic in Arlington, VA. More details on the AGA-rated four-round tournament on the website.


Debarre Wins 3rd French Championship: Thomas Debarre 6d won his third French Championship title recently in Lyon, defeating Tanguy le Calve in the final. Here’s the game.
- Alain Cano

What’s The Best School for Inseis? Joy Craft wonders “what is the best school in the world for students who want to become pros?” Her son has been to a program in China and is looking into one in Korea and she’s curious what EJ readers would recommend. Email your suggestions to us at journal@usgo,org

Go and Strategy Club: Social thinker, venture investor and founder of the Russian School for Strategic Branding Efim Ostrovskiy runs the graphically striking Go and Strategy Club website, which has some interesting perspectives on the history of the game.

Berlin “Go to Innovation” Tourney: If you’re planning to be in Berlin next month, check out the 5th “Go to Innovation” tournament there, scheduled for November 16-18. The 8-round event has over 2,000 Euros in prizes.

More Than Just a Game? Saying that go is fundamentally a recreational board game like chess, the Washington State Department of Revenue Board of Tax Appeals recently denied the Seattle Go Center’s request for an exemption from local property taxes. The SGC had argued that go enhances the “functioning of individuals in society” and promoted cross-cultural understanding and tolerance, as required by state law governing such exemptions. “I guess someone who is clueless enough to think of chess as fundamentally a recreational board game is not going to appreciate the depth of Go,” said Forbes contributor Peter J Reilly in his fascinating column “Go Is More Than A Game Despite What State of Washington Thinks,” which quotes Thore Graepel, a Principal Researcher for Microsoft as saying that “Go is a great game that develops intellect and character.”


Cho-U Go App for Kids now on iPad

Monday October 8, 2012

The Nihon Ki-in has just released an English version of Cho-U’s 4×4 Go Puzzle. Cho-U 9P came up with all of the problems for the program, and has developed a clever system for introducing go to young children.  The app is available for iPhone and iPad, and is being offered on the App Store at an introductory rate of just 99 cents, until October 19th, when the price will increase to $2.99.  The app introduces a colorful cast of cartoon characters, including Minigo, a black cat, and Diego, a big white dog who is taking over the playground and won’t let the cats into his territory.  Children can enter story mode for flash animations that teach the basic principles of go as part of the cat’s quest to get back to the playground.  The graphics are terrific, and the stones are cats and dogs.  When “stones” are in atari, they shake and shiver (this can be turned off in settings for a bigger challenge).  The story is  interactive, and kids are asked to help Minigo solve various problems as he confronts various opponents. Players can also go to the free and challenge levels, where they can solve go problems directly.  The board size is limited to 4×4, but Cho-U has made very clever puzzles within this limitation.  Many of the problems revolve around seki, and you can choose what level to play with, or progress through the levels as you improve.  Players can also buy more problems for the program, which come with all new festive graphics.  The Snack Pack problem set gets you 100 problems, with chocolate and pink frosted donuts for pieces.  The Rainy Pack and the North Pole Pack offer additional cute themes and more complicated problems.  I bought the Rainy Pack for .99 and was charmed by frogs and snails playing on a lily pad field; the first problems I tried revolved around snapback.  This app is perfect for kids from 5 to 10 years old, and even older kids will enjoy some of the more challenging problems. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Picture courtesy of the Nihon Ki-in.

Korean Kim-In Cup Invites Foreign Players

Tuesday September 25, 2012

If you’ve been looking for an excuse to head to Korea to play go, the Kim-In Cup could be just the ticket. The 6th Kim-in Cup International Senior Baduk Competition, sponsored by both KBA and KABA, will be November 2-5 in Gangjin, Korea; players must pay their own way to Seoul “but food and accommodation is paid for and if you arrive on the right day, the bus to Gangjin is paid too,” says AGA President Andy Okun, who will head up the U.S. delegation. “They really want a good turnout from overseas,” Okun added.  Men have to be 50 or older and women 30 or older to participate. There will be three events: the Men’s Team Tournament (4 players per team), a Women’s Team Tournament (4 players per team) and an Individual Tournament (1~5 Dan). Gangjin is in Jeollanam-do, known as a scenic and less-developed part of Korea, with towering mountains, rugged coastline and numerous islands.  The town is the main producer of Korea’s famed celadon pottery, and the food is said to be very good.  Deadline for registering is October 19; email for more details and entry forms.

WBaduk Intercontinental Team Cup Registration Deadline Extended

Saturday September 15, 2012

The deadline American entries in the second WBaduk Intercontinental Team Cup (WBaduk Intercontinental Team Cup Seeks American Players 9/4 EJ) has been extended to October 13th. Anyone can play in this 3-continent tournament that pits players from each of the participating continents —America, Europe and Asia – in a last-man-standing prelim to choose three 5-player teams that will then play off in the finals. Free registration, $10,000 in prizes.

Categories: World

AGA Pro Tourney Game Records Posted; Women Who Get Go; Vogue interviews Xie Yimin; GoGoD Publishes Chinese Classic in E-Book Form; Go Mention in Stevie McCabe Mystery; Nice Go

Wednesday September 12, 2012

AGA Pro Tourney Game Records Posted: AGA-TYGEMGO Pro Tournament game records for both the main tournament and the Exhibition League have been added to the AGA Professional System page on the AGA website. To see the tournament draw – and download game records – scroll down to “Results.” Thanks to Dennis Wheeler and Steve Colburn for their work on this.

Women Who Get Go: Go has been catching on recently among young women in Japan, Daniel Krieger reported in The Japan Times earlier this year (The women who get go 5/15/2012). “Just last year, it started to get more popular,” said Mayumi Otsuka, 29, who has been hosting monthly get-togethers since last year at a go parlor in Osaka where she and her 27-year-old sister, Satomi, have been working (and playing up to 10 times a day) for the past three years. International Go Federation vice president Thomas Hsiang said that “To facilitate the next big change, we need a model” like a “Bobby Fischer” of women’s go, and suggested that the two best bets on the pro scene are 18-year-old Joanne Missingham, who is a sensation in Taiwan, and Hsieh Yi Min (Xie Yimin), a 22-year-old prodigy who came to Japan 10 years ago and is now at the top of the women’s game. photo: Yasuko Mantani (left) and Aya Kitano commence a game of go at the Shinsaibashi Igo Salon in Osaka. photo by AIMI NAKANO, courtesy The Japan Times

Vogue interviews Xie Yimin: In a related story, GoGameGuru’s David Ormerod reports that “Vogue Taiwan and the fashion house Chanel recently did a video interview with Xie Yimin, the Women’s Honinbo Meijin in Japan. It’s part of a series of interviews with directors, musicians, go players – basically artists.” Although the video is in Mandarin, GoGameGuru has posted an English transcript along with the video here. “When I first arrived at the Nihon Kiin, I had to learn to kneel while I played,” Xie Yimin says in the interview. “I would kneel until my legs and feet went numb. However, my Go Sensei (teacher) said that, before the goban, one must learn to display a modest demeanour before one can become strong at Go.”

GoGoD Publishes Chinese Classic in E-Book Form: GoGoD has issued another e-book on Amazon: Gateway To All Marvels. Gateway is special edition of the 1347 Chinese classic Xuanxuan Qijing (Gengen Gokyo in Japanese), which John Fairbairn says “is surely the most significant go book ever produced. It has become the foundation for virtually every problem book since, as well as being the main source for early go theory.” The new e-book version “brings together every problem and every variant from perhaps every subsequent edition, and discusses how the almost 500 problems and their solutions have evolved and varied, and also how even modern professionals often disagree on the correct solutions or, dare we say it, trip up,” Fairbairn adds. Previous GoGoD e-books include Inoue Genan Inseki and The Life of Honinbo Shuei, also available on Amazon.

Go Mention in Stevie McCabe Mystery: “Go is mentioned in the fifth novel in the Stevie McCabe mystery series, No Shadow in the City by John Callaghan, a Scottish author,” reports Su Co Chon Duc (Marjorie E. Hey). “In Chapter 4, there are several pages introducing go to the private investigator, Stevie McCabe. It is mentioned again in passing in Chapters 6 and 29. There’s some mayhem, but there are no ripping viscera, no splintering skulls. Yes, there are sexual encounters, because the characters have real lives, but no lingering erotica. It is marked for For Adults because of language.” While the first four books are available in paperback and Kindle format, Su Co Chon Duc notes that this book is currently only available on Kindle.

Nice Go: Bob Barber reports that go pops up in “Mr. Nice,” a 2010 film about a Welsh drug dealer. “There’s a minute of go at minute 19,” says Barber.