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Choi Jung Wins Female Myeongin at 15

Tuesday January 31, 2012

On January 26, 2012, Choi Jung 1P defeated Kim Miri 2P in Korea’s 13th Female Myeongin. At only 15 years of age, Choi also became the youngest female title holder in Korea – just 18 months after turning pro. En route to the final, Choi defeated the likes of Park Jieun 9P and Cho Hyeyeon 9P, but lamented the fact that she was unable to challenge Rui Naiwei 9P, because Rui recently to returned China. The cheeky youngster even went so far as to joke that Rui had run away from her. The Myeongin is Korea’s equivalent of the Japanese Meijin title. Choi’s next goal for 2012 is to get selected by a team to play in the popular Korean Baduk League. Congratulations Choi Jung!

- Jingning; Games and photos are available in her original article: Choi Jung makes her breakthrough in the 13th Female MyeonginPhoto: Choi Jung 1P (pictured) plays against Kim Miri 2P in the 13th Female Myeongin final.

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Huiren Yang 1P Wins N.A. Ing Cup Selection Tournament

Monday January 30, 2012

Huiren Yang 1P defeated Janice Kim 3P and Feng Yun 9P last weekend to win the right to represent North America at this

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year’s Ing Cup World Professional Goe Championship. Yang, taking White, beat Kim on January 28 (see below left for game record) and then, taking Black, defeated Feng Yun on January 29 (game record at right). The knock-out North American Ing Cup Selection Tournament was held on IGS. Established in 1988, the Ing Cup was the first worldwide international professional tournament. With $500,000 in prizes, it has the largest prize of any international tournament. Every four years, 24 top players from around the world are invited to play.

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John Tromp Faces a New Challenger in Shodan Go Bet Rerun

Sunday January 15, 2012

In a rerun of 2010′s Shodan Go Bet match, John Tromp will once again meet the challenge from a top computer go program, in a best-of-five match this week. The challenger is Zen19, a program which has already surprised many by achieving a rank of 4-5 dan on KGS. Tromp, whose last known rank was EGF 2 dan, won a similar match against David Fotland’s Many Faces of Go at the 2010 London Open Go Tournament, with a clean sweep of four games to nil. This time the match will take place on the KGS Go Server. Tromp will connect from his home in New York, while Zen19 (written by Yoji Ojima) will connect from Japan. You can watch the match live on KGS. Even if you don’t have an account on KGS, just click here and login as a guest to watch. The match will be played in the Computer Go room. Here’s the schedule for the games: Fri, Jan 13, 8pm US Eastern Time; Sat, Jan 14, 8pm US Eastern Time; Sun, Jan 15, 8pm US Eastern Time; Mon, Jan 16, 8pm US Eastern Time; Wed, Jan 18, 8pm US Eastern Time. NOTE: Zen has multiple accounts for when it uses different configurations and hardware. You can find the games under the accounts ‘tromp’ or ‘Zen19N’.

The Shodan Go bet was a $1000 dollar bet between John Tromp and Darren Cook, made back in 1997. Tromp staked money on the claim that he would not “be beaten in a 10 game match before the year 2011″ and Cook took him up on it. Even though Tromp won the bet in late 2010, the question of when computers will reach the level of ‘international shodan’ still hasn’t been formally resolved. Can Tromp do it again?

You can find out more about the Shodan Go Bet at Darren Cook’s website and visit John Tromp’s website to learn more about him. More details are also available at Go Game Guru.

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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.

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.”

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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