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World Amateur Go Championship: Rounds 2 & 3

Monday May 30, 2011

THIS JUST IN: Click here for all the latest news from the 2011 World Amateur Go Championships (WAGC) live from Japan, including a report on Round 4 results, reported by our colleagues at Ranka Online, the bulletin of the International Go Federation.

Round 2 of the 2011 WAGC started just after 1:30 on May 29 with all players present. This time the bye went to Mykhailo Halchenko of the Ukraine. The player with the bye receives a teaching game from one of the referees, so Mykhailo 5D found himself playing Yasuhiro Nakano 9P at two stones. This was a tough challenge, and Mykhailo went down to honorable defeat by resignation.

In the real competition, six players now faced opponents of equal rank. The game between Thomas Debarre of France and Cornel Burzo of Romania, both 6D and hopeful of finishing in the top ten, was particularly intense. The winner, by 3.5 points, was Burzo, who earned a pairing against China’s Baoxiang Bao in the next round. In another duel of 6D players, Merlijn Kuin of The Netherlands triumphed over Franz-Josef Dickhut of Germany, and in a clash between two 7D players, Chinese Taipei’s Tsung-Han Wu overcame Canada’s Jun Fan. These four players are also expected to contend for places in the top ten.

At the 5D level, Kanh Binh Do of Vietnam picked up his first win by downing former European champion Zoran Mutabzja of Croatia. At the 1D level, Francisco Pereira of Portugal overcame Michael Galero of the Philippines, and Aliaksandr Suponeu of Belarus bested Manitra Razafindrabe of Madagascar. At the 1k level, Miroslav Smid of Slovakia scored a win over Mario Miguel Aguero Obanda of Costa Rica.

Unlike Round 1, round 2 produced some upsets. In one of the most unusual games of the afternoon, Kamil Chwedyna 4D of Poland used his patented second-line opening to defeat Viktor Lin 5D of Austria. In the closest game Salvador Larios 1k of Mexico squeaked past Hock Doong Ho 1D of Malaysia by half a point, and in the biggest surprise of the day, James Hutchinson 1k of Ireland upended Torben Pedersen 3D of Denmark.

Round 3: Once again most of the spectators chose to watch the game of the Japanese player, Hironori Hirata (in photo at right). Yesterday they had seen him sail serenely past opponents from the United Kingdom and New Zealand, and this morning they expected him to do likewise against Morten Ofstad from Norway. For most of the game it looked as if their expectations would be fulfilled, but the Norwegian 4D did not give up easily and his perseverance was rewarded: a critical mistake in a life-and-death situation forced the Japanese 8D to resign. Mr Hirata accepted defeat with good grace and bowed in apology to his onlooking supporters.

The spectators then moved into the outer playing area to watch the game between Chi-hin Chan of Hong Kong and Tsung-han Wu of Chinese Taipei, which was still in progress. The outcome was impossible to predict: both players are young and strong, both represent territories where go is booming among the younger generation, and the position on the board was tense. After a thrilling endgame it was Tsung-Han Wu, clad in blue jeans, a plaid shirt, and a black vest and sporting earrings, who walked away the winner by a point and a half.

In another 1.5-point finish, Choltit Rattanasetyut of Thailand defeated Xiang Zhang of Singapore. The Thai player led throughout the first half of the game, but victory did not come easily: the lead changed hands twice before the end.

These results left the players from Norway, Chinese Taipei, and Thailand undefeated. Joining them in the all-victorious group were Baoxiang Bai (China), Woo-soo Choi (Korea), Kamil Chwedyna (Poland), and Eric Lui (US), who defeated opponents from Romania, The Netherlands, Spain, and Slovenia in round 3. The Poland-Spain game featured another remarkable opening. Playing black, Kamil Chwedyna placed his first four stones in a pon-nuki shape in the center of the board; then he fought his way to a 6.5-point victory. In the next round the players from China, Korea, and Chinese Taipei will tackle the players from Thailand, the US, and Norway.
- James Davies, Ranka Online; edited by Jake Edge

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World Go News May 2011

Monday May 30, 2011

36th Kisei League

On 24 May 2011, the Nihon Ki-in announced players who will take up the last four spots in the 36th Kisei League. Seto Taiki 7P of the Kansai Ki-in, Akiyama Jiro 8P, Kono Rin 9P and Kobayashi Koichi 9P. These players were selected based on playing through single knock out preliminary matches and will join top performers from the 35th Kisei League. The winner of the 36th Kisei League will earn the right to challenge Kisei title holder, Cho U 9P, in 2012 for the 36th Kisei. The 36th Kisei League players are Iyama Yuta 9P, Yamashita Keigo 9P, Hane Naoki 9P, Kato Atsushi 8P, Kono Rin 9P, Seto Taiki 7P, Takao Shinji 9P, Yamashiro Hiroshi 9P, Yoda Norimoto 9P, Ryu Shikun 9P, Kobayashi Koichi 9P and Akiyama Jiro 8P.

Joanne Missingham turns 17

On 26 May 2011, Joanne Missingham 5P, who plays professionally under her Chinese name, Hei Jiajia, turned 17 while playing in the 4th Taiwan Qiwang, a Taiwanese Go tournament. She received a received birthday cake in the shape of a Go board as a surprise gift from fans. The cake even had edible stones! Missingham’s rapid promotion (she was promoted to 2P in late 2010 and 5P in early 2011) has not escaped the notice of international Go bodies. Japan has invited her to take part in this year’s Nakano Cup, a prestigous tournament for under-20s. Previous winners of this tournament include none other than this year’s Judan and Bosai Cup winner, Iyama Yuta, who won the Nakano Cup in 2005, 2006 and 2007.

32nd World Amateur Go Championships begin

On 28 May 2011, as a prelude to the 32nd World Amateur Go Championship (WAGC), Otake Hideo 9P played an exhibition match with local school girl Ohara Moeka in a Castle Game reenactment at Matsue Castle in Shimane Prefecture. Ohara was a quarter finalist at the Japanese Girls High School Go Tournament in the individual division and received a 3 stone handicap from Otake. Both players donned elaborate kimonos to evoke the Edo period, during which the famous Castle Games took place. Shimane Prefecture was the birth place of two famous players – Honinbo Dosaku in 1645 and Iwamoto Kaoru in 1902.

- Jingning; based on her original report at Go Game Guru. Photos: Joanne Missingham 5P (top right) and Ohara Moeka reenacts castle game with Otake Hideo 9P (bottom left)

Iyama Yuta Wins Bosai Cup for Japan

Wednesday May 18, 2011

Iyama Yuta 9P has surprised many in the Go world, defeating first Lee Sedol 9P and then Gu Li 9P, to bring the Bosai Cup home for Japan.

The 1st Bosai Cup was an invitational even held in Chongqing, China. The format is similar to the Super Meijin, with one player from each of China, Japan and Korea being invited. Three matches were played to determine the winner.

In the first match, Iyama beat Lee in 205 moves, to take his place in the final. Gu then knocked Lee out of the competition and challenged Iyama. On May 18, Iyama continued his good form, winning the tournament in 208 moves.

Is this the final step in Iyama Yuta’s rise to the top? Japanese go players and Iyama’s fans around the world certainly have something to celebrate today. Congratulations Iyama Yuta!

For more details, visit: Iyama Yuta defeats Gu Li, Japan wins Bosai Cup at Go Game Guru.

- David Ormerod; compiled from the reports on Go Game Guru. Photo: Iyama Yuta 9P on top of the world, receives the Bosai Cup.

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Iyama Yuta defeats Lee Sedol

Monday May 16, 2011

This year’s Chongqing International Golden Buddha Mountain Tourism and Cultural Festival (in China) features a three-way invitational tournament between the world’s top pros. The tournament is being called the Bosai Cup and Korea’s Lee Sedol 9P, China’s Gu Li 9P and Japan’s Iyama Yuta 9P are competing. These three are facing one another in a series of three exhibition games. Gu drew a bye in the first round, so Lee and Iyama played today (May 16 2011).

Iyama beat Lee by resignation and took the first spot in the final. In a rematch of last month’s 3rd BC Card, Gu will play Lee for the second spot in the final. The match starts at 1:00pm, May 17, Beijing time (1:00am US Eastern Time) and will be replayed live on Cyberoro. The May 18 match will be replayed the following day, also starting at 1:00pm Beijing time.

Can Iyama Yuta bring a win home for Japan?

- Jingning; based on her report Lee Sedol, Iyama Yuta and Gu Li go head-to-head at Go Game Guru, which includes the game record. Photo: (from left) Lee Sedol, Gu Li and Iyama Yuta.

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World Amateurs Set for Japan May 26-June 3

Monday May 9, 2011

The 32nd annual World Amateur Go Championship (WAGC) will be held later this month in Matsue City in Japan’s Shimane Prefecture. Seventy top amateur players from 70 countries and territories will compete to be the best amateur in the world. The tournament runs Thursday, May 26 May through Friday, June 3, and for the third year the E-Journal and Ranka Online are teaming up to bring you complete coverage of this exciting event, with daily updates including game records, commentary, photos, player profiles and news about the tournament.

Lee Sedol Prevails in 5-Match Battle to Win BC Card Cup

Monday May 2, 2011

Lee Sedol 9P has won the 3rd BC Card Cup World Baduk Championship, defending his title against Gu Li 9P, in an exciting five-match showdown.

At press-time last week, the E-Journal reported that the 3rd BC Card Cup final was tied at one all. What an exciting week fans of professional go have had since then!

Lee pulled ahead in Game Three, staging a surprise reversal after Gu led for most of the game. Gu, playing white, made a small overplay in the late middle game, invading black’s position at the top with move 146. Lee met this with unrelenting force and an iron will. He managed to kill all of white’s invading stones, bringing himself back into the game and going on to win by half a point.

Game Four was the most complicated of the series, opening with a new and fiendishly difficult variation in the lower right. The fighting spread from there and didn’t stop for the whole game. Many assumed the game was over and that Lee had won the title when he took a decided advantage at move 134. However, Gu kept fighting and pulled off an even more amazing reversal with his brilliant play from move 173 onwards. Be sure to check out An Younggil 8P’s commentary.

Given the preceding games, there was a lot of excitement around the fifth and final match. The game itself was relatively peaceful and, unfortunately for Gu, Lee took the lead after Gu misjudged a ko around move 70. After this, Lee demonstrated how to win a won game, trading his way around Gu’s strong challenges and leading things into the endgame. Gu resigned after all his opportunities to reverse the game had been eliminated, giving Lee Sedol his second consecutive win in the BC Card Cup. This also resolves the deadlock in the head-to-head record between these players, with the record now tilting in Lee’s favor at 14-13.

- David Ormerod; compiled from the collected reports on the BC Card Cup at Go Game Guru. Photo: (from left) Lee Sedol, Rui Naiwei, Jujo Jiang and Gu Li review Game Four of the final.

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Pray for Japan Festival Raises $1,300

Monday April 25, 2011

The Mexican youth go community helped raise funds for the Japanese at their Pray for Japan Festival on April 16th. “It was a great event,” reports organizer Siddhartha Avila, “we had 50 people participating, both children and adults, at the go workshop. Ranging from absolute beginners to dan players, everybody was teaching and learning, the public came by to learn about go during the day and we held the tournament at the end.  It was a cultural event with many activities like painting, sculpture and photography exhibitions, conferences,  music, movies, and workshops where children taught go and gomoku  to the public. All the artistic and cultural activities at the festival raised approximately $1,300 (in US dollars). The funds were transferred to the Japanese embassy in México City.”  More photos from  the event are here. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Photo by Siddhartha Avila.

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Lee Sedol Evens Score With Gu Li in BC Card Cup Final

Monday April 25, 2011

The finals of the 3rd BC Card Cup started this week, with Lee Sedol 9P of Korea facing off against Gu Li 9P of China.

Lee is the defending champion, and qualified for the finals by beating up-and-coming countryman Park Junghwan 9P. Meanwhile, Gu defeated Heo Yeongho 8P to challenge Lee in the final. The first two matches were played on April 23-24 and the score is currently tied at one game apiece, with Lee evening the score in the second game.

This leaves many go fans waiting in suspense to see how the match continues, with the head-to-head record between these two players deadlocked at 12-12. Even the readers at Go Game Guru are evenly divided over who will win the final, with a poll about the outcome split at 50/50 at press-time.

Lee Sedol was in high spirits at the pre-final press conference and banquet in Seoul, admitting to the media that he was no match for Gu when it came to drinking. After Game Two, Lee said that he was lucky to win, after an unsatisfactory opening and that Gu must have made a miscalculation in the middle game. The next game will be on April 26.

- Jingning; based on her report 3rd BC Card Cup: One win apiece in the final at Go Game Guru, which includes the game records.

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Ye Sweeps WYGC Qualifier

Monday April 18, 2011

Eight-year-old Aaron Ye 3d (at left) fought his way to victory in the Jr. Division qualifier for the World Youth Go Championships (WYGC), and will be going to Romania to represent the US in August.  The initial rounds were held online, with a live final at the BAGPA ratings tourney in Palo Alto, CA, on April 9th.  Ye faced serious competition throughout the event, and almost lost to Jeremy Chiu 1k (at right) who is just nine years old himself.  Ye made a strong showing in this event last year, but lost in the finals.  He studies with Mingjiu Jiang 7P, and has worked very hard on his game this past year.  Chiu’s AGA rank is lagging behind his ability, he is pushing 3d on KGS, and had a very strong performance in the recent School Teams Tourney, helping his team win first place.  In the semi-finals, Chiu knocked out Sammy Zhang 2d, while Ye defeated Luke Zhang 1d, setting the stage for a showdown between the pint-sized prodigies the following weekend.  Chiu got off to a strong start, and dominated the game, but an endgame error gave Ye the win at the last minute. Today’s 

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game commentary by Feng Yun 9P shows how both players could have improved their game.  The E-Journal is pleased to have Feng Yun on board for youth commentaries, and members can get game reviews like this in their e-mail box every week.  We are making today’s commentary available to everyone, as an incentive to join the AGA.  Youth memberships are only $10, and get you great games like this, as well as guaranteeing you will be invited to events like the USYGC and the Redmond Cup.  To join, click here. -E-J Youth Editor Paul Barchilon.  Photos:  Aaron Ye at left, Jeremy Chiu at right.

Chen Yaoye holds 25th Tianyuan against Zhou Hexi

Monday April 18, 2011

The 25th Tianyuan Tournament has ended with Chen Yaoye 9P successfully defending his title against up and coming Chinese player, Zhou Hexi 4P.

Chen Yaoye 9P (left) vs Zhou Hexi 4P

Zhou was tipped by punters to have a good chance against Chen in this challenge. He was one of three ‘tiger cubs’ who made it to the semi final and he won the right to challenge Chen by defeating stalwart and Chinese head coach, Yu Bin 9P. Unfortunately, this was not to be his year and Chen held the title with two consecutive wins – taking the best of three matches.

Chen’s own path to winning Tianyuan, for the third year in a row, is also quite remarkable. At the age of 19, in 2009, Chen successfully challenged Gu Li 9P, who himself had held the title for six consecutive years. In 2010, Chen once again held the Tianyuan, defending a strong challenge by none other than Gu Li. By winning Tianyuan in consecutive years, Chen has equalled the winning streaks of Liu Xiaoguang 9P and Ma Xiaochun 9P.

During the post game interview, Chen said he was quite lucky to win the first match, with white and black both becoming embroiled in a live or die battle. When asked about the second match, Chen said that he was quite nervous and benefited from a miscalculation on Zhou’s part. Of Zhou’s game, Chen has nothing but praise, saying that Zhou is a very strong opponent and very difficult to beat.

- Jingning; based on her report Chen Yaoye holds 25th Tianyuan against tiger cub at Go Game Guru, which includes the game records.

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