American Go E-Journal » World

AGA Inks Deals with Korea to Develop U.S. Pro System

Monday December 26, 2011

The American Go Association (AGA) in December signed agreements with Korea to promote a new professional players’ system in the U.S. AGA Board Chairman Andy Okun (right) signed the agreements with the Korea Baduk Association and the Korean go server TongYang Online (Tygem) December 19th in Seoul, Korea. “With the generous support of the KBA and Tygem, we are off to a great start,” Okun said. “These partnerships will help grow go in the U.S. and produce players who can win at the international level. This may be a long road, but with our partners’ help it will be a successful finish.” Said KBA Secretary General Yang Jae-Ho, “The KBA wants the AGA to grow, and is hoping to see American professional players who defeat Asian players in an international tournament.” He added that “I hope to see even bigger tournaments than the Samsung and LG Cup in America.” And Tygem CEO Jeong In-Soo (left, in photo) said that “I sincerely hope TongYang Online and the AGA will lead the globalization of baduk through our cooperation.” Tygem agreed to provide $30,000 annually to fund the AGA’s professional certification tournament, which will be broadcast exclusively via Tygem, which recently launched its English language website, and is seeking to expand its player base outside Asia. Under the KBA Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) – which Feng Yun 9P has complained was negotiated without participation by American professionals – KBA, as part of its cultural mission to spread go around the world, has agreed to allow AGA-certified North American professionals to compete in five major Korean tournaments and to provide them with low-cost training. Kim Myung-Wan 9P, the KBA representative to the U.S., will continue to support the AGA’s efforts, and will chair a committee designing the certification system and developing pro activities. Okun credited the two agreements to Kim’s “hard work and perseverance.”  Click here for the Tygem MOU.

Share

Fujitsu Cup Ends After 24-Year Run

Monday December 19, 2011

After a 24-year run, the Fujitsu Cup has ended. The popular international tournament – won this year by Park Junghwan (right), the youngest 9-dan pro in the world — featured top players from the Japanese, Korean, Chinese and Taiwanese professional go scene, joined by representatives of North and South America and Europe. “The Fujitsu Cup has been the most important event in promoting international go for the longest time,” said Thomas Hsiang, the American Go Association’s representative to the International Go Federation, where he’s vice president. “I personally was fortunate to have been one of the players.  The world of go owes a profound debt of gratitude to the Nihon Kiin and to Fujitsu for supporting and organizing this event for so many years.” Founded in 1988, the Fujitsu was organized by the Nihon Ki-in, the Kansai Ki-in and the Yomiuri Shimbun and sponsored by Fujitsu Ltd. “Many great games were played and recorded during that time,” said T. Urasoe of the Nihon Kiin. “It is a great shame that it will terminate. But we will continue to seek a chance to hold an international tournament in Japan.”

Categories: World
Share

China Tops World Mind Games Mixed Doubles

Sunday December 18, 2011

China took the gold medal in the SportAccord World Mind Games mixed doubles event, with Korea winning silver and Japan bronze. The U.S. team of Feng Yun and Jie Li (photo) defeated Europe’s Vanessa Wong and Catalin Taranu in the final.

Click here for Ranka Online’s full coverage of the World Mind Games, which ended on December 16th.

U.S. Only Remaining Barrier to World Mind Games Gold Medal for China

Tuesday December 13, 2011

Barring a miracle by the Americans against China, the winner of the Japan-Korea match in the SportAccord World Mind Games on December 14 will take the team silver while China takes the gold. China defeated Japan 4-1 in the 4th round Tuesday, while Chinese Taipei shut out the Americans, winning all five of their games by resignation. Korea swept the European team. The loser of the Japan-Korea match will take the bronze medal. The mixed doubles rounds are scheduled for Thursday and Friday.
- Based on James Davies’ detailed reports on Ranka Online, where you can also follow live matches, check out the schedule, results and participants.

Time Out for Kids: SportAccord Delegation Visits a Go Class in Beijing

Tuesday December 13, 2011

December 12 was a rest day for the go competition at the SportAccord World Mind Games, but for a dozen or so of the players and officials, it was an opportunity to pay an afternoon visit to the Zhang Guan Gun No. 3 Elementary School. This is one of the schools in Beijing where the pupils also learn to play go. About two dozen schoolboys, dressed in light blue school uniforms, were lined up inside the school gate to greet the bus carrying the players and officials, escort them to the school meeting room, and present them with self-made gifts.

“We played one-on-two simultaneous games with representatives from the 5th and 6th grades,” says Thomas Hsiang, a 7-dan. “My two opponents were 3D players and both took only three stones.  We played in their go classrooms, on tables specially made just for playing go.  It was there that one sees the future of go in China and understands why it will be hard for others to compete with the Chinese in go in the foreseeable future.”

In an unscheduled event, Andrew Okun (right), the American team captain, dropped in on a lesson in a regular classroom to give some second graders a chance to practice their English. They peppered him with questions. Where do you live? Los Angeles. Do you like chicken? Yes. Do you also like duck? Yes. Do you like ice cream? Yes, I like it too much (patting midsection). After ten minutes or so, Okun ended the session with a question to the class: Do you like studying English? The class went wild in shouting Yes.

Back in the go classroom the games were still in progress. On the whole, the pupils were acquitting themselves well but finding that without a handicap, beating world-class professional players and even world-class European amateurs and IGF Vice Presidents is not so easy. Unfortunately, the bus had to leave and some of the pupils’ parents had come to get them, so the games were cut short, farewells were bid, and a smiling group of players and officials returned to the Beijing Intercontinental Grand Hotel.

- James Davies, with additional reporting by Thomas Hsiang; photos courtesy Ranka Online; where you can read Davies’ full report.

China Likely to Win Gold in World Mind Games; U.S. Contender for 5th

Sunday December 11, 2011

In the third round of the team competitions at the SportAccord World Mind Games in Beijing, China, the United States finally scored a team win when Mingjiu Jiang forced Catalin Taranu to resign, after Andy Liu and Feng Yun won against Cornel Burzo and Vanessa Wong, reports Thomas Hsiang.  Jie Li, however, lost by 2.5 points to Cristian Pop in a game that both players thought Jie had won.  Kevin Huang then lost to Jan Simara, making the team score 3-2.  The US will now probably finish 5th.

The other match, pitting China against Korea, attracted the attention of a lot of the Chinese pros. Wang Runan, Hua Yigang, Hua Xueming, and Yu Bin – the president, vice president, men’s team coach, and women’s team coach of China Weiqi Association – all showed up to watch.  There were lively discussions in the study room around the several large-screen TV’s showing the key games.  In the game between Kong Jie and Lee Sedol, Kong had a good opening and took the lead early on.  But Lee fought back with a clever maneuver to reverse the situation and won at the end.  On the second table, Gu Li (right) trailed Choi Chulhan early, causing tense moments among the Chinese audience.  But, in a marvelous display of his recent strong form, Gu fought back little bit by little bit.  In the end he found a ko and took a firm lead when Choi could not find a large enough threat for the ko.  With Xie He and Li He winning, China was assured of a 3-2 victory.  China will now probably win the gold medal.

Between Korea and China, there have been three international mind-sport team clashes.  In the 2008 WMSG and the 2010 Asian Games, Korea won both by a 4-1 score.  So for China, this was a sweet victory indeed.

In the third match, Japan won surprisingly easily with a score of 4-1 against Chinese Taipei.  Only Yamashiro Hiroshi lost on the second table to Hsiao Cheng-hao.  Japan will now probably take the bronze.

Tomorrow (12/12) is the off day for Go.  SportAccord and the Beijing government have arranged a visit for some of the go players to a middle school for a teaching and promotional event.  Representing US and EU will be Mingjiu Jiang and Vanessa Wong.
Click here for James Davies’ detailed reports on Ranka Online, where you can also follow live matches, check out the schedule, results and participants.
photo courtesy Ranka Online

Japan, Korea & China Sweep EU, US & Chinese Taipei in World Mind Games

Saturday December 10, 2011

“Today’s games were uneventful,” reports Thomas Hsiang from Day Two of the SportAccord World Mind Games in Beijing, China.  “Japan, Korea, China cruised to 5-win victories versus the EU, US, and Chinese Taipei teams.  Andy Liu played against Park Jeonghwan today (12/10) and said he was thoroughly impressed. ‘I did not even know how I lost.  Park’s play was perfect’”.  Chinese Taipei’s popular Hei Jia-jia played a tough game against Li He, a game featured on the net broadcast.  The game also attracted many pros in the study room.  After an early exchange that favored Li, Jia-jia fought furiously back in an exciting fighting game.  But in the end she still fell short.”

Tomorrow will see the EU pitted against US; the winner will avoid a last-place finish.  Also, China and Korea will crash to produce the likely champion team.  Japan will play Chinese Taipei for a probable third place.

“Andy Okun and I had a two-hour interview with Lee Youngho, brother of Lee Changho, and Xie Rui, the top Weiqi reporter in China who works for Titan Journal, a sports newspaper.  Based on this interview, Titan will publish a feature story about go in America in its next issue.”

Click here for James Davies’ more detailed reports on Ranka Online, where you can also follow live matches, check out the schedule, results and participants.
photo: SAWMG Opening Ceremonies; collage courtesy Ranka Online

 

 

U.S. Team Comes Close But Fails to Upset Japan in 1st Round of SportAccord World Mind Games

Friday December 9, 2011

Results from the first day’s team competitions at the SportAccord World Mind Games in Beijing, China on December 9 went pretty much as expected, Thomas Hsiang tells the E-Journal, with China, Japan, and Korea winning against EU, US, and Chinese Taipei. “Chinese Taipei nearly pulled an upset when Chen Shih-iuan defeated Lee Sedol, and Hei Jia-jia (Joanne Missingham) won against Kim Hyemin.  In the game that finished last, the young boy Wang Yuan-jun — only 14! — was leading in his game against Lee Younggo.  Lee finally prevailed and dashed Chinese Taipei’s hope for a big upset.”

The U.S. lost to Japan 0-5, but Andy Liu and Jie Li (right) both had their chances, Hsiang reports. “Andy played ‘fast and very smart’ against Sakai Hideaki, according to Gu Li and Kong Jie, the two Chinese world champions.  Gu Li spent more than an hour watching Andy and told me afterwards that he was very impressed and ‘that unknown young man had a good game and many chances to win’.  Jie lost to Yamashiro Hiroshi by just a half-point, and also had many chances to win, according to Kong Jie.  So our young players made a very positive impression.”

EU lost to China 0-5.

The broadcasting schedule for December 10 will feature the game between Hei Jia-jia and Li He — “the ‘game of the two beauties,’ as they say here in China,” says Hsiang. Tentatively, Andy Liu will be featured on the 14th when he plays against Xie He from China.

Click here for James Davies’ more detailed reports on Ranka Online, where you can also follow live matches, check out the schedule, results and participants.

In other news, Hsiang reports that “the International Go Federation (IGF) held a special Board Meeting today (12/9). I invited (AGA Board member) Andy Okun (in dark blue shirt in photo below) as an observer. Many things were discussed, including an IGF proposal that will fund two projects in the Americas: the AGA’s plan for an international go symposium and the Iberoamerican Go Federation’s plan to start a pilot project teaching go in Venezuela schools.  This proposal now moves forward to IMSA.”  The AGA’s plan to establish a pro system was met with great enthusiasm and encouragement, Hsiang reports. The IGF is starting to plan the next round of the SportAccord World Mind Games that will now be featured for at least five years.  Hsiang and Yuki Shigeno will again represent the IGF in negotiations with SportAccord.  Brunei will be next IGF member, with Kazistan likely to follow. The Ing Foundation will apply to become a new Association Member of IGF; its president, Mr. Ying Ming-haw, has been invited to become an at-large Director of the IGF.  WAGC 2012 will be held in Guangzhou, May 11-18, and the 2012 WAGC 2013 will be held in Japan, with site selection and date to be announced in May 2012.  There is still no site contract for World Mind Sports Games II in 2012 and the event is unlikely to take place.
photos: US team player Jie Li (top right); team captains (bottom left); photos courtesy Ranka Online.

SportAccord World Mind Games Kick Off Friday, 12/9

Thursday December 8, 2011

Preparations for the first edition of the SportAccord World Mind Games are in full swing, reports Thomas Hsiang. The Games kick off on Friday, December 9 and “There will be broadcast of events everyday during the tournament on the internet,” Hsiang tells the E-Journal.  The IGF’s Ranka Online will also be providing coverage and the EJ will relay highlights. The go broadcast is from 1500 to 1600 Beijing time (US EST 0200 to 0300) and can be watched live on the SportAccord Youtube Channel or on the IMSA channel. The go event schedule: Team Tournament, December 9, 10, 11, 13, 14; Pair Tournament, December 15, 16; off day, December 12.

In the team event, US will play against:  Japan (12/9); Korea (12/10); EU (12/11); Chinese Taipei (12/13); China (12/14). The US playing order is Mingjiu Jiang, Jie Li, Andy Liu, Kevin Huang, Yun Feng. The EU’s schedule: China (12/9); Japan (12/10); US (12/11); Korea (12/13); Chinese Taipei (12/14). The EU playing order is Catalin Taranu, Christian Pop, Cornel Burzo, Jan Simara, Vanessa Wong.

Won Seongjin Wins 16th Samsung Cup

Thursday December 8, 2011

After several months of preliminaries and finals, the 16th Samsung Cup wrapped up surprisingly quickly this week, with a three game match between Won Seongjin 9P and Gu Li 9P. The games were played over three consecutive days starting on December 5, 2011. Won clinched the third game on December 7, scoring a 2-1 win, as well as his first major international title. Both players are renowned for their thick and powerful fighting styles, but many go fans expected Gu, who’s known as ‘muscle man’ in Asia, to defeat ‘Won punch‘ in the heavyweight stakes. Even if Gu’s fans were disappointed with the results, they can’t have been disappointed with the games, which thoroughly demonstrated the power and creativity of both masters.
- Jingning; Games and photos are available in her original article: Won Seongjin wins 16th Samsung Cup! 

Photo: Gu Li 9P (left) and Won Seongjin 9P play the opening of the second game.

Categories: World
Share