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The Power Report: Aoki To Challenge For Women’s Kisei; Iyama Keeps Grand Slam Dreams Alive; First Round Of Meijin League Completed; Honinbo League Update; Women’s Meijin League; Korea Wins New International Tournament

Friday January 3, 2014

by John Power, EJ Japan Correspondent

Aoki To Challenge For Women’s Kisei: For the third year in a row, the Women’s Kisei title will feature a clash between Aoki Kikuyo 8P (right) and Xie Yimin. The play-off to decide the challenger was held at the Ryusei Studio, a TV studio for the cable TV go and shogi channel located in the basement of the Nihon Ki-in at Ichigaya in Tokyo, on December 16. Taking white, Aoki defeated Ishii Akane 2P by resignation after 256 moves. Aoki won this title from Xie in 2012, but lost it back in 2013. The best-of-three title match for the 17th title will begin on January 23.

Iyama Keeps Grand Slam Dreams Alive: Iyama Yuta played an important game on December 17. If he is to have a chance of scoring a full-fledged grand slam next year, he first of all has to become the challenger for the Judan title, the only one of the top seven not in his keeping. To do this, he needed to win two more games. The first was the semifinal, held on the 17th. Taking black, he defeated Mizokami Tomochika 8P by resignation, so he has reached the play-off to decide the challenger. His opponent will be the winner of the other semifinal, Takao Shinji 9P.

First Round Of Meijin League Completed: Two games in the 39th Meijin League were played in mid-December, completing the first round. On the 16th, Takao Shinji 9P (B) defeated Yuki Satoshi Judan by resignation. On the 19th, Kono Rin 9P (W) beat Ko Iso 8P, also by resignation.

Honinbo League Update: On December 19, two games were played in the 69th Honinbo League. Cho U 9P defeated league newcomer Ida Atsushi 7P (left) by just half a point to secure a plus record. He and Ida are both on 2-1. The other league newcomer, Yo Seiki 7P, picked up his first win after starting with two losses. Taking black, he beat Sakai Hideyuki 8P by 3.5 points.

Women’s Meijin League: One game was played in the 26th Women’s Meijin League on December 19. Ishii Akane 2P (B) beat Okuda Aya 3P by resignation, but both players have lost their places in the league. The top four keep their places, but four players already have three wins, so Okuda, now on 1-4, can’t catch up. Ishii is on 2-4 and has played all her games; she has a bye in the final round. Kato Keiko 6P leads the league on 4-1.

Korea Wins New International Tournament: Yet another new international tournament has been founded in China (there are so many now that it’s hard to keep track). The latest arrival is the Zhugang Cup World Weiqi Team Championship, organized by the Chinese Weiqi Association and the Guangzhou City Physical Education Congress. Presumably Zhugang is the name of the sponsor, but I have no information about this. The new tournament is for three-player teams, who play one-on-one games up to the final.

The first Cup was held from December 20 to 25, starting with a preliminary round on the 20th, followed by a ranking tournament from the 22nd to the 24th to decide the 16th to 5th places. The top four teams met in semifinals and the top two played a final, all on the 25th; uniquely for an official tournament, the final took the form of a consultation game, with the players on each team conferring about their moves. There were some famous consultation games in  prewar Japan, but they were not in official tournaments. Another novel feature of the tournament is that Japan, China, and Korea each fielded a second team, made up of players who had won international tournaments. These are the teams with “W” after the country’s name (“W” seems to be short for “wild cards”).

First of all, here are the placings in the ranking tournament (ties were broken by win totals).
1. Korea 5-0
2. China: 4-1
3. China W: 4-1
4. Korea W: 3-2
5. Japan W: 3-2
6. Japan: 3-2
7. Chinese Taipei: 3-2
8. Hong Kong: 3-2
9. Thailand: 2-3
10. USA: 2-3
11. Germany: 2-3
12. Australia: 2-3
13. Ukraine: 2-3
14. Czech Republic: 1-4
15. Canada: 1-4
16. Macao: 0-5

In the semifinals, Korea beat Korea W 3-0 and China beat China W by the same margin. In the final, the Korean team of Kang Tong-yun 9P, Ch’oe Ch’eol-han 9P, and Pak Cheong-hwan 9P (B) beat the Chinese team of Shi Yu 9P, Zhou Ruiyang 9P, and Chen Yaoye 9P by resignation. Presumably in order to allow for the extra time required for the players to consult, the time allowance for this game was four and a half hours per team, followed by byo-yomi of 60 seconds x 5 times. This is probably the longest time allowance for an international tournament so far. (For the other games, the time allowance was two hours 45 minutes, with the same byo-yomi.)

In the play-off for third place, held on the same day, China W beat Korea W 3-0. The individual results here were as follows (all players are 9P): Gu Li (B) beat Cho Hun-hyeon by resig.; Chang Hao (W) beat Yu Ch’ang-hyeok by 7.5 points; Kong Jie (B) beat Yi Ch’ang-ho by resig. Just for the record, the Japan W team, which ended above the regular team, was made up of Kobayashi Koichi, Cho Chikun, and Takemiya Masaki. The members of the regular team were O Meien, Ryu Shikun, and Mizokami Tomochika.
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Mexican Kids Sharpen Tourney Skills

Monday December 30, 2013

“The kids at our school, Gimnasio de Go,  had a very busy December with three tournaments  at different places,” reports Mexico City organizer Siddhartha  Avila.  ”On December 4th Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México ran the El otro Tesuji  tournament organized by college and high school students. We sent four elementary school representatives, Paula Corona, Valeria Gonzalez, Mariana García and Omar Zavala-who got 3rd place, pictures here. On December 7th, our group played in the Biblioteca de México, Torneo de Go 2013, a children’s tournament organized by myself,  in collaboration with Biblioteca de México José Vasconcelos, a library where we are offering free go workshops on Saturdays. Winners report: 1st place: Fernanda; 2nd place: Diego Alí and Akira; 3rd place: Naohmi and Kairi. Pictures here.  Finally, on December 13th, we played in the Torneo de Go Invierno 2013, this was our winter elementary school go tournament, which was divided in two brackets.” Winners report: 20kyu-25kyu division: 1st place: Sebastián; 2nd place: Marcos; 3rd place: Diego Alí; 10kyu-19kyu division: 1st place: Omar; 2nd place: Diego Armando; 3rd place: Valeria, pictures here. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.  Photo by Siddhartha Avila: At Biblioteca de México José Vasconcelos

Upcoming European Tournaments: European Youth Go Championship, British Go Congress

Wednesday December 25, 2013

European Youth Go ChampionshipThe British Go Association will host the 2014 European Youth Go Championship in conjunction with the British Go Congress from February 28 through March 3 in Bognor Regis, a resort town on England’s south coast. The EYGC will be split into three age groups: under 12, under 16, and under 20. The British Go Congress will include a lightning tournament, the British Open, a teaching event, and pair go. British Go Association (BGA) members can enjoy discounts for all British Go Congress events. Discounted rates on accommodations are available for all players who make reservations through the official EYGC website. To register for either tournament or for more information including a full schedule, prizes, and the latest news, please visit the official European Youth Go Championship home page.
—Annalia Linnan; for complete listings, check out the European Tournament Calendar; photo courtesy of British Go Association

US Team Advances in Zhu Gang Cup World Team Go Championship

Friday December 20, 2013

The US team has advanced from the preliminary tournament in first Zhu Gang Cup World Team Go Championship, which runs December 19-26 in Guangzhou, China. “Mingjiu Jiang 7P led the effort with a perfect 3-0 performance on Board 1,” reports fellow team-mate Zhaonian (Michael) Chen 8D. The sixteen teams in the final tournament have been finalized and includes many of the best players in the world, including Gu Li, Chen Yaoye, Lee Changho, and Park Jungwan.

 

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China Wins World Mind Games Pair Go Tournament; Meeting the Masters; Do Bridge Players Have All The Fun?

Wednesday December 18, 2013

China’s Chenxing Wang 5P and Ruiyang Zhou 9P (left) defeated Chinese Taipei’s Joanne Missingham 6P and Yuan-Jyun Wang 6P on Wednesday to win gold in the SportAccord World Mind Games (SAWMG) Pair Go competition. The 3-round event capped the third annual SAWMG competition, which included men’s team and women’s individual events in go, as well as competitions in chess, bridge, draughts and Chinese Chess, and ran December 12-18 in Beijing, China. The bronze medal was won by Park Jieun and Kim Jiseok, the pair from Korea. Click here for full go coverage on Ranka Online, complete event coverage on the SportAccord World Mind Games website – including video commentaries by Michael Redmond 9P on the SAWMG YouTube channel — and of course on the usgo.org website. Coverage this year included audio commentaries by Redmond on KGS; check KGS Plus under Recent Lectures.

Days 5&6 (Tuesday, 12/16 & Wednesday, 12/17) Summary: (winners denoted with links; click on links for game records, uncommented unless otherwise noted)
Round 1 (12/16): Europe (Kovaleva-Fan)-China; Korea-North America; Europe (Shikshin-Shikshina)-Japan; Chinese Taipei-Europe (Burdakova-Lisi).
Round 2 (12/16): Europe (Burdakova-Lisi)- North America; China-Japan (Redmond commentary); Europe (Shikshin-Shikshina)- Europe (Burdakova-Lisi); Chinese Taipei-Korea.
Round 3 (12/17): China-Chinese Taipei (Redmond commentary);  Japan-Korea; Europe (Burdakova-Lisi)-Europe (Shikshina-Shikshin).

Meeting the Masters: Students at the Huajiadi Experimental Primary School in Beijing got a chance to meet some of the SportAccord World Mind Games’ top go players and officials on Tuesday. The school is known for its cutting-edge approach to teaching and boasts nearly a thousand junior grade go players. The guests were greeted by two rooms of children buzzing with excitement. In the first classroom, a hands-on lesson on nakade grabbed the children’s attention, and in the second the pupils quickly settled down and answered questions about the history and rules of the game. The guests were then taken downstairs to the gymnasium, where boards had been set out for the 40 kids who would take on top professionals in nine-stone handicap games….click here for complete report.

Do Bridge Players Have All The Fun? “Let’s have dinner! We drink vodka!”  Not the first words you would expect to hear after the tense final of an international go final. But this is how bridge superstar Fulvio Fantoni greeted the rival Polish team at the conclusion of the Pairs Open at the 2013 SportAccord World Mind Games. “We’re all good friends – we’ve known each other for many years,” Fantoni says… click here for full report

 

U.S. Team to Play in 1st Zhu Gang Cup World Team Go Championship

Tuesday December 17, 2013

Mingjiu Jiang 7P (center), Stephanie (Mingming) Yin 1P and Zhaonian (Michael) Chen 8D will make up a U.S. team at the upcoming Zhu Gang Cup World Team Go Championship. The brand-new event for both professionals and amateurs features a significant prize-money pool and runs December 19-26 in Guangzhou, China. It’s hosted by the Chinese Weiqi Association  and the Guangzhou All-Sport Federation.

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Game Commentary: Redmond on the Samsung Final

Thursday December 12, 2013

After a very calm start for both players, Lee Sedol 9P starts to attack in the middle game of the Samsung Game 2 final (Korean Fans Shocked By Loss in Samsung Cup Final As Tang Weixing 3P Sweeps Lee Sedol 9Pon

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December 11, sparking a very exciting fight, where I’ve concentrated most of my comments. Tang Weixing 3P ably parries Lee’s attack and after the dust settles it’s a very close game.

- Michael Redmond 9P 

 

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Korean Fans Shocked By Loss in Samsung Cup Final As Tang Weixing 3P Sweeps Lee Sedol 9P

Wednesday December 11, 2013

Chinese rising star Tang Weixing 3P (left) has overcome Korean legend Lee Sedol 9P (right) to claim the 2013 Samsung Cup. Before the match, played December 9-11 in Suzhou, China, Lee said that he was desperate to win for his country. Having won the Samsung Cup four times, Lee, the defending champion, was considered the favorite by many, including his challenger, but Tang, in his debut in an international final, showed nerves of steel to win the title 2-0. The first game was an intense battle that came to a thrilling climax in a complex ko fight. Many commentators thought that Lee had won this fight with some clever exchanges, as did Lee himself. However Tang was equal to the task, extending his threats and gaining enough from the ko to win by half a point. In the second game Lee, holding black, went on the offensive from the get-go and established a commanding position. Once again, however, Tang resisted solidly to claw his way back, and in the end black did not have enough points. It has been 17 years since Korea has not claimed a major international title. This had Korean fans cheering for Lee in the Samsung final, the last major tournament of the year. Instead, Tang reaffirmed the recent Chinese dominance, leaving Korea winless in 2013. Click here for Go Game Guru’s report on the Samsung semi-finals, which includes interviews with Lee and Tang, photos and game records from the semis.
- Ben Gale, Korea Correspondent for the E-Journal

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Mi Yuting Triumphs at 1st MLily Cup

Sunday December 8, 2013

1st MLily Cup 2013The 1st MLily Cup finished on December 6 with China’s newest 9d player Mi Yuting (left) at the helm. On his journey to his breakthrough win, the 18-year-old Mi defeated Lee Sedol 9p, Kang Dongyun 9p, Kong Jie 9p, Dang Yifei 4p, and Wang Xi 9p. Final challenger Gu Li 9d hoped to end his three-year runner-up streak but Mi dominated 3-1.

The MLily Cup is a biennial international go tournament sponsored by MLily Meng Baihe. It is intended to alternate with the Bailing Cup every other year. For more information about this year’s MLily Cup including photos and game records, please visit Go Game Guru.
— Annalia Linnan, based on a longer article by Go Game Guru; photo courtesy of Go Game Guru

China & Japan Top Pair Go Futian Cup

Saturday December 7, 2013

China and Japan split top honors at the “Futian Cup” 3rd Shenzhen International Pair Go Masters Tournament in China November 24-26. Chinese pros Kong Xiang-ming 8P and Ma Xiao-Chun 9P (right) bested three other professional pairs from South Korea (Yung Young-min 3P & Cho Hoon-Hyun 9P), Japan (Tomoko Ogawa 6P & Masaki Takemiya 9P) and Chinese Taipei (Wang Jing Yi 2P & Lin Hai Feng 9P) to win 100,000 Yuan (about $16,500), while the Japanese pair won the amateur division. Judy Debel of the Seattle Go Center and Ted Terpstra of the San Diego Go Club (at left) represented the American Go Association at the Futian Cup, placing fourth. China was second, and Europe was third. Click here  for game records (playable on PandaNet) and photos.

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