American Go E-Journal » Youth

China Leading in World Youth Championship

Monday August 15, 2011

E-J Youth Editor Paul Barchilon reporting live from Romania.
China is at the head of the pack in this year’s World Youth Go Championship, in Bucharest, Romania, with a first place lead in the Junior Division, and a finalist in the top 4 in the Senior.  Round 2 saw Liao Yuanpei 5d (China) take an early lead by defeating Shibano Toramaru 6d (Japan) in the Junior Division (under 12), while Ke Jie 2P (China), Koyama Kuya 6d (Japan) and Cheng Cheng-Hsun 7d (Chinese Taipei) all won their games in the Senior division.  Yuanpei continued his lead in rounds 3 and 4, by defeating Chinese Taipei and Korea in the Junior, while  Cheng-Hsun pulled a surprise upset in the Senior Division, by defeating 13-year-old Chinese pro Ke Jie, but then lost to Japan’s Kuya in Round 4, who in turn was defeated by Ke Jie in round 5.  The top four in each bracket are now set for the finals:  China, Japan, Korea, and Chinese Taipei in the Senior; China, Chinese Taipei, Korea, and the US in the Junior, which will be held Wednesday Aug. 17th.  American Junior contestant Aaron Ye 4d won entry into the finals by a stroke of luck – he drew China as his first opponent, a game he lost, but then gained three wins in a row by competing against other kids who had lost, narrowly edging Shibano Toramaru 6d (at left, in photo below, in his match against Singapore’s Yi Fei 3d).  For full results visit the WYGC website.  The E-J is partnering with EuroGoTV to provide coverage, and we are broadcasting games on KGS daily. Records of many games are here, and we are providing live video streaming of several boards as well.    The players will all take a break tomorrow, for the traditional day-off sightseeing trip, which will take us to Bran Castle, one of several that can claim some connection with Vlad Tepes, the real person behind the legend of Dracula.  We will also visit Peles Museum and castle, and visit scenic Gradistei in Brasov.  Assuming no parties are lost to vampires while we are gone, the finals will commence on August 17th, at 9 am GMT+2.  Look for live broadcasts on KGS from EuroGoTV1-4, with a corresponding video feed if possible.   Photos and story by Paul Barchilon: Top:  I am dubbing Yuanpei , at left, “the boy with too much time on his hands.”  Having recorded almost all of his games, I have noticed he barely uses any of the time on his clock, while his opponents, like Lee Ye-Chan 4d, at right, tend to run out of it.  Aside from playing faster, Yuanpei seems to play better as well, and is the only player at this event to be undefeated. Bottom:  neither of these boys made it to the top 4, but I felt this photo captured the spirit of the event.
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US Team Down One in World Youth Championships

Saturday August 13, 2011

E-J Youth Editor Paul Barchilon reports live from Romania.

Some of the strongest kids in the world have gathered here in Bucharest, Romania, for the 28th annual World Youth Go Championship, which began this morning August 13.  22 children, from 13 different countries, have all come to the beautiful Parcul Herestrau, Bucharest’s equivalent of Central Park, with the sponsorship of the Ing Goe Foundation.  Players arrived from all over the world on Friday, some as late as midnight local time.  Activities began with a Team Leader meeting in the morning, where first round opponents were selected by lottery, this was followed by a presentation on the Ing Rules from Yang Yu-Chia. The first round began at 3 pm, and was broadcast live on both KGS and EuroGoTV.  The opening ceremonies were held after the first round, and organizer Catalan Taranu has set a new standard by which to measure the event.  Three different Romanian dance troupes performed, ranging from break dance to traditional folk dancing, and representatives from the Chinese, Korean, and Canadian Embassies were all on hand to show their support for Romanian go.  Romania is at GMT +2, which makes the start time 11 pm PST in the US, but game records are available on EuroGoTV. We will be broadcasting both rounds daily (look for EuroGo TV in the English Game Room) 2 and 3 are Aug. 14, 4 & 5 will be on the 15th, and the finals will be on the 17th. I will be updating daily, with commented game records whenever possible.  US Junior Champion Aaron Ye 4d, age 9, drew Liao Yunpei 5d, age 10, of China for the first match, while Senior Champion Vincent Zhuang 6d, age 15 drew Vanessa Wong 5d, also 15, of the UK.  Both US players lost their first match, but spirits remain high.  The Chinese team leader, Huang Yizhong 7p, was kind enough to comment both game records for the E-J – which are included here as a freebie.  To get great benefits like this, join the AGA for weekly game records, a steal at only $10 for a youth membership.  Photo: Liao Yuanpei 5d, China (l) vs. Aaron Ye 4d, US (r), by Paul Barchilon.

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Redmond Plays Redmond

Saturday August 6, 2011

Michael Redmond 9P treated the winners of his namesake tournament to a special simultaneous game at the US Go Congress Friday August 5th.  The six players were current Redmond Cup champions Aaron Ye 4d, age 9, Calvin Sun 7d, age 14; last year’s winners:  Redmond Meijin Curtis Tang 7d, age 18, and Oliver Wolf 3d, age 12; and current runners-up Gansheng Shi 7d, age 17, and Sammy Zhang 4d, age 11.  It was the Junior Division that scored points though, with both Ye and Wolf notching wins against Redmond, at 4 stones, while all of the Senior contestants lost! – Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.  Photo:  Nine-year-old Aaron Ye 4d (l) forces Michael Redmond 9P to take heed.or : Former Redmond Junior Champion Oliver Wolf 4d, age 12,  gives Michael Redmond 9P cause to reflect.
- report/photos by Paul Barchilon

Sun and Ye Sweep Redmond

Wednesday August 3, 2011

Calvin Sun 7d and Aaron Ye 4d both won their second round matches in the Redmond Cup Tuesday, Aug. 2nd, at the US Go Congress.  Sun, who placed second to Gansheng Shi 7d in the qualifiers, ended up sweeping the finals with two wins in a row.  Redmond finals are a best two out of three matches, so there will not be a third round.  In the Junior Division, Sammy Zhang 4d fought valiantly, but was overwhelmed by Ye in both matches.  All four kids won a free trip to congress to compete, and will split a $1,000 prize fund from the AGF.  This year they will receive a special treat as Michael Redmond 9p will present the Redmond Cup in person at the awards banquet at the US Go Congress. Sun’s second round win is below, all of the final matches are on the crosstab – Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.  Photo: Gansheng Shi (l) and Calvin Sun (r).

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Sun and Ye Leading in Redmond Cup

Monday August 1, 2011

Calvin Sun 7d and Aaron Ye 4d both won their first round matches in the Redmond Cup this afternoon.  Sun, who is 14,  battled Gansheng Shi 7d, age 17, in the senior division, while Ye (at left above) squared off against Sammy Zhang 4d (at right) in the Junior Division.  Ye, who is only 9 years old, took his afternoon nap before the 3 pm match against Zhang, who is 11.   The games were broadcast live on KGS, and Redmond Meijin Curtis Tang 7d, provided live commentary.  Tang, who has won the Redmond Cup five times, has competed against both Sun and Shi, and knows their styles well.  Hundreds of observers checked out the action in the English Game Room, where E-J staff broadcast the games on USGO1, 2, and 3.  Tangs commentary is attached in this game, the Jr. Division match is up on the congress crosstab.  Round 2 will be at 3 pm PST on Tuesday, Aug. 2, again with commentary by Tang, the third round will be on Thursday the 4th, at 3 pm. – Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.  Photo: Aaron Ye 4d 9 (l) vs. Sammy Zhang (r) while Redmond Cup founder None Redmond looks on.  

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Japanese Insei Win Friendship Matches With U.S. Youth

Monday July 25, 2011

Ten of America’s young players competed against Japanese insei online last Thursday, July 21, in the first-ever youth friendship matches between the two countries.  The insei, who are studying professionally at the Nihon Kiin, walloped the US team with a 7-3 record.  The insei played live from the Nihon Kiin, while their US counterparts were competing from all across the country.  The matches were held on the Japanese Yugen no Ma Go Server, which is accessible in English through wBaduk.com.  On the top board, US favorite Calvin Sun 7d lost against Shodai Hirano 6d, both boys are 14 years old.  The two youngest competitors were both 9, Asami Ueno 6d (in pink bow above) and Aaron Ye 4d.   Ueno got off to a good start, with a large capture in the corner, and then proceeded to create living groups effortlessly everywhere she invaded, before Ye was forced to resign.  It wasn’t all losses though, Vincent Zhuang 6d, Andrew Lu 6d, and Ashish Varma 4d pulled out all the stops to win their games.  Zhuang, who along with Ye will represent the US at the World Youth Go Championships in Romania next month, scored a commanding win by resignation against 11-year-old Kazuma Yamaguchi 6d, while Lu bested Saeka Iwata 6d.  The darkhorse victory went to 16 year old Ashish Varma 4d, who vanquished Tomohiro Watanabe 6d, age 15.  A full players gallery, with pictures, results and game records is available on Tigersmouth.org. The members edition of this story contains a commented game record on Varma’s win, by Feng Yun, 9P.  AGA youth membership is a steal at only $10, and gets you commented games every week in your mailbox, click here to join.
- Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.  Photo: Japanese insei at the Nihon Kiin, by Tom Urasoe.

71 Turn Out at Mexican Youth Go Championships

Sunday July 17, 2011

Mexico City drew 71 kids to it’s recent youth tournament, held June 4th.  ”The children were from different schools and clubs, and ranged in rank from 30k to 10k,” reports organizer Siddhartha Avila,  ”this was a great opportunity to round up the majority of young players in the same place, and to make new friends. After this we’re looking forward to  consolidating the existing go clubs, and to eventually create more go programs for youth in México.  The event wouldn’t have been possible without the collaboration of go teachers, players, and volunteers who offered their efforts to run the tournament.  We want to thank them as well as the AGF for their donation of 20 sets of  stones, which we needed to make this possible.” Winners Report: 1st: Fernando Álvarez 13k, 2nd: Vicente A. Cortez 17k, 3rd: Adam S. George 13k. Full results here. A retro style photo album from the event, by Alma Juárez is here.  -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor, photo by Alma Juárez.

US Youth to Play Japanese Insei

Sunday July 17, 2011

Ten of America’s youth players will compete in the first ever friendship matches with Japanese insei this coming Thursday, July 21st.  The insei are youth that are studying to become professionals in Japan, their lifestyle has been portrayed in the Hikaru no Go manga and anime, inspiring countless American kids to reach for the stars themselves.  Insei in classes B through D will compete, as will the top four high school players in Japan, according to Nihon Ki-in Overseas Coordinator Tom Urasoe.  The match has been organized by AGA Youth Coordinator Paul Barchilon, who chose the ten member US team based on both playing strength and dedication to the go community.  The matches will be held on the Japanese Yugen no Ma Go Server.  An English language version of the client is available at Wbaduk.com games will be held in the Japanese Go Room.  The US team, and a list of their opponents, can be found on Tigersmouth.org.  To observe the matches, download the client and create an id.  Matches will be held Thursday, July 21, at 5 pm PDT. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.  Image: insei characters from Hikaru no Go

Balwit Named Teacher of the Year

Sunday July 17, 2011

Portland go teacher Fritz Balwit has been selected as the American Go Foundation’s Teacher of the Year. “My selection is a great honor,” says Balwit, “it has been a unique privilege to introduce go to children. They immediately recognize its magical properties, and are receptive to its aesthetic allure at an intuitive level. I have found that it brings people together in friendly collaboration based on respect and shared appreciation. I hope to continue working with kids in schools and to create a space at our local go salon where kids can discover the beauty of the game.  I teach go daily at Portland English Language Academy where I also teach English as a second language. We have a very lively group that plays for fun. Many of the Korean, Japanese and Taiwanese students are newly introduced to their traditional game. These are mostly younger adults and a few teenage kids. One kid- Shohei Jinno- came forward in a class and shyly mentioned his rating was 6 dan; he subsequently rolled over all Oregon players at the AGA tournament in Salem.”
Balwit started showing up on the radar in 2008, according to longtime organizer Peter Freedman: “For a number of years he had taught chess in the public schools, but about the time I met him he had recently fallen in love…with go.  He morphed his chess clubs into ‘chess/go clubs’, but in fact all his chess clubs became go clubs.  During 2008 he had clubs in seven schools.  As a result of his efforts over 125  children and youth were exposed to go, and 90 played in one of the school go clubs.  Fritz also ran several go camps during school breaks.”  Many of the programs Balwit launched in 2008 continued in the following years, and he is running five programs now.  ”I’ve assisted Fritz teach at many of these schools,” adds Freedman, ”I call him ‘the pied piper of go’ in Portland.  He has a magical way with children. He is gentle, funny, articulate, gives out tons of positive reinforcement, and continually amazes me with the way he explains go to children, making it more than a game.  He talks about how in go you must share, just as in life. When talking about building a wall, he remarked, ‘If you don’t play here there will be a little hole for a ferret to crawl through.  You don’t want a ferret running around in your house, do you?”  Actually, Fritz has two ferrets running around his real life house, along with three children ranging from elementary to middle school age, all of whom play go. One of them was his assistant in the go club he organized at her school.” Balwit has won an all expenses paid trip to the US Go Congress in Santa Barbara, where he will be honored at the awards banquet.  He will be speaking at the congress as well, in a special round table for teachers, and anyone who wants to work with kids, on Tuesday, Aug. 2, at 5:00 pm.  -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.  Photo by Fritz Balwit: Balwit (r) teaching his son Theo (l).

Shi and Ye Top Redmond Cup Qualifiers

Monday July 11, 2011

Gansheng Shi 7d and Aaron Ye 4d placed first in the Redmond Cup qualifiers, held online over the past few months.  The Senior Division, for kids aged 12-17, was dominated by Shi,  a 17 year old Canadian, who won the Redmond in 2008 and 2009.  He was undefeated in the qualifier, but faced very strong competition from his own country, with Tianyu Lin 7d, age 14, and Jianing Gan 7d, age 15, almost making it to the finals.  From the U.S., three-time  Redmond champion Calvin Sun 7d, age 14, fought his way into the top four.  Sun got off to a a rough start, losing in rounds 2 and 3, but then rallied, defeating both Gan and Lin in a playoff to earn the right to face Shi at the Go Congress.  In the Junior Division, for kids under the age of 12, nine-year-old Aaron Ye 4d was undefeated.  He faced strong competition from a bevy of pint-sized prodigies in the Bay Area, including last years USYGC champion Kevin Fang.  It was Sammy Zhang 2d, age 11, who held his ground though, making it to the finals for the upcoming playoff at the Congress.  All four finalists have won a free trip to the US Go Congress, to compete for the Redmond Cup.  The final matches will be held on July 31, Aug. 2, and Aug. 4, at 3p PST, and will be broadcast live on KGS.
- E.J. Youth Editor, Paul Barchilon. The Members Edition of the E-Journal includes a game review of Sun’s final match with Lin by Feng Yun 9P.  Sun catches a large dragon to make a decisive win, but Feng Yun shows us  how Lin could have escaped with a throw-in. To get the EJ Member’s Edition, click here for details on AGA membership.