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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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Park Younghun Wins 12th Maxim Cup

Monday April 11, 2011

On April 7 2011, Park Younghun 9P won the 12th Maxim Cup, beating Lee Changho 9P by half a point in the second match. Park won the first match several weeks ago (March 21), and with two wins he took the best of three title.

Two masters of endgame

Both Lee and Park are famous for their accurate counting and endgame skills. Go fans used to say that if Park and Lee played and the winning margin was half a point, the winner would be Lee. However, now people say that if the winning margin is half a point, the winner will be Park.

In November last year Park also won the Korean Myeongin (Korea’s equivalent of the Japanese Meijin).

The Maxim Cup

The Maxim Cup is a rapid Korean domestic tournament for 9 dan players only. This year, the tournament was held on the beautiful Jeju Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is popular with tourists.

Stone Babushkas?

Lee was accompanied by his wife and, prior to the match, revealed that the couple were very happy and plan on having two or three children. Given that Lee’s nickname as a Go player is “Stone Buddha”, perhaps the little ones could be called the “Stone Babushkas”? Before you ask, there was no mention of whether the children would learn Go.

After the match, a reporter asked Lee how he felt about losing his dominance of the baduk world after more than two decades. Lee was non-plussed, and replied that he did not mind as long as he could still play a good and interesting game.

- Jingning; based on her original report at Go Game Guru, which includes more pictures and game records.

Park Jieun Wins Jeongganjang Cup

Monday April 4, 2011

In a much anticipated match between two of the strongest women go players in the world, Park Jieun 9P defeated Rui Naiwei 9P by resignation in the final round of the 9th Jeongganjang Cup on March 28. Rui was the favorite going into the final game, defeating all three of her challengers in the previous rounds. In the end it came down to the last two remaining players from China and Korea and Team Korea prevailed, pulling out a remarkable victory in this historic tournament.
- JustPlayGo; edited by Jake Edge

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Zhuang Sweeps World Youth Qualifier

Monday April 4, 2011

Dark horse candidate Vincent Zhuang 5d pulled off a surprise victory in the World Youth Go Qualifier this past weekend on KGS.  Zhuang, who is 14, only narrowly made it to the finals at all.  A last -minute change in the age requirements by the Ing Foundation disqualified two older players with better records, allowing only kids under 16 next August to compete. Interestingly, the AGHS Young Lions Tourney in November of last year foreshadowed this result, with Zhuang beating two of the same finalists who would compete in this year’s WYGC qualifier. On Saturday, April 2, Zhuang got off to a great start by defeating Hugh Zhang 7d, who was the top seed in the four player double elimination finals.  Next he took down Andrew Lu 6d, eking out a 1.5 point win in a complicated fighting game.  Round 3 saw Lu knocking out Zhang, and set the stage for the finals the following day.  With everything on the line, Zhuang and Lu went at it Sunday morning.  They played at a break-neck pace, despite having an hour each, with neither willing to give an inch as the game exploded into heavy fighting again.  Zhuang carved out large territories on the right and left sides, and sacrificed a center group, to pull ahead and win the game.  His victory will carry him all the way to Romania, where he will represent the US in the WYGC.  In the Junior Division (under 12) nine-year-old Jeremy Chiu 1k upset some apple carts in his own right, knocking out Sammy Zhang 2d, and setting the stage for a showdown with 8-year-old Aaron Ye 3d, who is undefeated in the event.  As both players live in the Bay Area, their final matches will be played in person, at the BAGPA ratings tourney on Saturday the 9th. - Paul Barchilon, EJ Youth Editor.

Japan Disaster Relief Update (updated 4/3)

Sunday April 3, 2011

(updated with details on the 4/23 NYC tourney and a PayPal account for the Kansai Kiin) “Many go players and clubs have asked where they could send money for disaster relief in Japan,” reports American Go Association President Allan Abramson. “For example, New York City go organizer Boris Bernadsky and other New York players are planning an April 23 Tsunami Relief Tournament to raise funds for relief, and next week’s NOVA Cherry Blossom tournament also will be dedicated to disaster relief.”

“For direct donations, here is what I have learned so far,” Abramson tells the E-Journal:

The Kansai Kiin has a disaster relief fund. Bank name: The Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ,  Kawaramachi Branch (Branch Code:003); Account No.: Ordinary Account 311018, Account Name: Kansaikiin. You can also now donate via PayPal: kochi@Kansaikiin.jp

Pandanet also has a disaster relief fund: Bank: Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation; Branch: Marunouchi Branch (Branch Code: 245); Account Number: 1441312; Swift Code:  SMBC JP JT

The Nippon Foundation has two ways to contribute: through the Sasakawa Peace Foundation (http://www.spfusa.org/care.htm) or directly through the Nippon Foundation. It may be necessary to have routing/Swift numbers for the two banks, and these have been requested for U.S. donations and will be posted as soon as they’re available.

Mexican Youth Sponsor Contest

Sunday April 3, 2011

Mexico is hard at work on developing a serious go community among kids, an effort led by Siddhartha Avila, a teacher at Pipiolo Art School in Mexico City. “Last December we organized an open tournament for children, and 37 kids participated from 4 different schools, ” reports Avila, ” those 37 kids are 90% of the youth go players for the whole country.”  Avila’s group, Comunidad Mexicana de Go Infantil y Juvenil, are sponsoring an international art contest for kids to help boost the community.  More information, including an application, can be found here. Go among kids is “growing faster than with adults, where the national tournaments haven’t had more than 40 players ever,” said Avila. “It’s ok to promote go among adults, but I seriously believe that the key for go development at this moment is working with children and taking it to a national level.”  The Mexican kids are playing internationally too, having entered three teams in the recently-concluded AGHS School Team Tourney, and even scoring a bronze medal in the intermediate division.  Avila’s students have become regulars at the monthly Tiger’s Mouth tournaments as well, which are sponsored by the AGF.
- Paul Barchilon, EJ Youth Editor

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