American Go E-Journal

Michael Redmond 9P on Pro Pair Go Tsumego 4

Thursday July 28, 2016

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Presented here is the 4th tsumego from Michael Redmond 9P’s coverage of the challenging tsumego problems featured at the 2016 pro pair go tournament. Michael gives the detailed solution tomorrow.

Michael mentions that the author of this tsumego, Oba Junya 7P, is well known for his pro level tsumego problems.

Categories: Pair Go
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Yang Shuang 2P Visits NOVA Go Club on Way to US Go Congress

Wednesday July 27, 2016

Last Monday, July 25th, the NOVA Go Club in Arlington, VA had a special visitor from China, Yang Shuang 2P. Ms. Shuang2016.07.27_NoVA-pro-visit (right) visited the club on her way to next week’s US Go Congress in Boston. She played a demonstration game, followed by review, with Josh Lee 6D. “We thought Josh had a chance with two stones and the additional handicap of our guest’s 31-hour flight to the DC area that day,” says Garrett Smith, “But Josh resigned after an exciting game.”
photo by Betsy Small

AGA Board Elections Close July 30

Wednesday July 27, 2016

Elections for three regional and one at-large American Go Association board seats close July 30. Each full member and chapter should have received their ballots for an online voting site through their AGA email on file. Any questions contact elections@usgo.org.
Categories: U.S./North America
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European Team Championship – an Interview with Antoine Fenech

Wednesday July 27, 2016

The European Team Championship is the opening event in St Petersburg at the European Go Congress. The defending champions France had qualified alongside teams from Russia, Romania, and Ukraine. In the end they finished in third place this year, losing in the first round to Russia, drawing in the second with the eventual champions Ukraine, before beating Romania in the final round. Here we (Revue Francaise de Go) present an interview with Antoine Fenech (AF), the captain of the French team.

RFG : Hello Antoine. To begin with, can you explain the principle of the Pandanet European Go Team Championship.
AF : The championship was created 6 years ago. It was one of the first big events to take place on the internet. The participating countries are separated into 3 divisions, with a system of promotion and relegation spots; France has always been in the first division. In the first division, there are 10 teams and they play a match (4 games contested by different players) every month, normally on Tuesday evening, on Pandanet, who is sponsoring the competition with about 20,000 Euros a year. At the end of the season, the 4 best teams are invited to contest the finals at the opening of the European Congress.

RFG : Do France often reach the finals?
AF : We participated 4 times in 6 years. In the beginning, we did not have high hopes and thought more of avoiding relegation. But actually we found ourselves in the fight for the qualification spots and since then this became out goal … until finally we won the tournament last year.

RFG : What did this victory change for you?
AF: I think that it was a catalyst for Go in France. Thanks to this competition, we had an objective on the European ladder. In actual fact, to be (individual) champion of Europe, it was probably a little beyond the reach of Thomas Debarre, Tanguy Le Calvé, or Benjamin Dréan-Guénaïzia. But to become team champions, thanks to the support of Fan Hui, it was within reach.

RFG : So for this year’s final, what were your thoughts?
AF: We arrived in poorer shape than last year, since we were only fourth in the league. We played Russia at home in the first round, and we were probably too scared of them. This initial defeat compromised our chances for the title, but we realised in the end that we were not so far from contention, as Russia were beaten by Ukraine against whom we drew! Finally, it showed us that, even without Fan Hui, the title is within our reach, and that motivates us even more for next year, even if the qualification phase is always difficult.

RFG : When we look at the results, we see that France is rather alone amongst many countries from Eastern Europe. How can you explain this?
AF : We have a young team and an excellent team spirit. If we look at our neighbours Germany, they also have strong youth players (Krämer, Obenaus, Welticke…) but they still pick the older generation, and they switch between the first and second division. We were able to better integrate our young players (Tanguy Le Calvé, Benjamin Dréan-Guénaïzia, and now Denis Karadaban). I hope that we will have one or two more new players there in 2 or 3 years.

RFG : Now concerning your role as Captain, how do you choose the line up for the team for each round?
AF: It is very simple, I send an email to the team before each match to see who is available. From the players who respond favourably, I try to build the most competitive team. Our team is rather homogeneous, so the absence of a single player is rarely crippling. We also use the principle that a player who won his last game has the right to play again in the following match should he choose to.

RFG : Do you take into account the opponents, for example if a French player has very good results against a particular opponent?
AF : Of course! For example in the finals, Thomas Debarre was very sad after his two initial defeats. We could have changed the line up for the final game against Romania, but Thomas is always very motivated by his games against Catalin Ţaranu. So we chose to stick with the same team, and we took the point!

RFG : Between two seasons, are there departures and additions to the squad?
AF : In the first year, our team was experimental with many “old” players present. From this generation, only Frederic Donzet still played actively and continued to participate. Today, he is no longer playing in tournaments but is still part of the team, who has not seen any departures since the second year. We have also steadily integrated more and more young talents (Benjamin, Tanguy et Denis) as I have already said. We also had the support of Fan Hui, who became French and joined the team, in helping us become champions of Europe. This year, he had less free time and took a break from the competition. As we are not short of numbers, we keep the inactive players on the team if they want to restart playing. Evidently, we continue to bring aboard the young players who make 5-dan.

RFG : Do you see yourself continuing in the role of French Team Captain for a long time?
AF : As long as we keep up this team spirit, this motivation and this dynamic, and so long as the players haven’t had enough of me, I stay! It must be understood that we have quite a different mode of operation to the other countries, who often rely on a hardcore of 4 or 5 players. They share their winnings between a smaller group, but they always have to be available for each round. I think that our strength lies specifically in our ability to be a group of 7 or 8 players. In any case, as captain, it is like this that I want to continue to manage our team.

RFG : Thank you Antoine for making yourself available to our readers !
AF : Thank you !

Based on the original interview in Revue Francaise de Go.

Categories: Europe
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Fan Hui 2P: “AlphaGo is a new Lee Changho”

Wednesday July 27, 2016

Given AlphaGo’s dominant performance in last March’s match against Lee Sedol 9P it was no surprise that the July 26 2016.07.27_fan-huipresentation the the European Go Congress by Fan Hui 2P (right) on behalf of DeepMind attracted a huge audience. DeepMind’s Aja Huang is scheduled to present the keynote at the US Go Congress this Saturday and on July 24 tweeted that “We will soon be posting some special commentaries on the Lee Sedol games + for the first time ever some AlphaGo vs. AlphaGo games! Fan Hui will give more details in his speech in the EGC.”

Although many in the go community might have been devastated after the the AI program defeated Lee Sedol 4-1, Fan Hui said he feels quite the opposite. From his point of view AlphaGo is a perfect teacher who can educate not only about aspects of the game but psychology and spirituality as embodied in the saying that “Greed can’t win.” AlphaGo, said Fan Hui, strives to find the best move, and does not commit to any conventional patterns or ”good” or “bad” moves listed in books or shown by pros or teachers. Thus, AlphaGo dares to be free to play any move. 2016.07.27_alphago-unorthodox-moveMany players could have been jaded after studying the tangled mess of josekis, tesujis or hametes so Fan Hui suggested that AlphaGo helps to break free and simply enjoy trying to be the best. Fan Hui compared Alpha Go to Lee Changho, who is famous for not showing any emotion when he plays, just as AlphaGo does not attribute any emotional characteristics to the moves.

Fan Hui also showed some moves from AlphaGo’s games against itself. Some of the AI program’s moves can really challenge our go beliefs, he said, citing the unorthodox attachment at left. But AlphaGo rates this the best move here, which may mean the Chinese fuseki will not be the same in the future. Click here for the video of Fan Hui’s presentation.
- Daria Koshkina; photo by Michail Krylov

Categories: Europe
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Team Relay Go the “Next Big Thing”?

Wednesday July 27, 2016

Will go events soon include cheerleaders? Team Relay Go as developed in Asia has incorporated a number of NBA 2016.07.27 relay-go2basketball franchise concepts, including teamwork, timeouts, huge live audiences and, yes, even cheerleaders. Greater Washington DC players tried out the idea in May when Team Virginia and Team Maryland squared off in Tysons Corner, VA. Coached by Qiao Shiyao 1P, each team included three players (though 4-7 per team is more typical), sending in one player each per quarter, which is 40 moves in 30 minutes.

In the first quarter, Yong Chen 1D (MD), successfully invaded to Zhao Zhao 5k’s (VA) moyo, while Coach Qiao 1P showed better variations for white to audiences in the nearby discussion room. The live broadcast in the tournament room was via iphone-iMac Facetime.

While everyone felt white’s 30-point comeback was a “mission impossible,” Lin Lu 8d (VA) started the relay by building a bigger moyo in the second quarter. Maryland’s strong player Muyuan Wang 3d might have wanted to play safe to keep his team’s big lead, but an inadvertent overplay triggered a huge battle in the mid-game, which soon turned into a game-deciding chase of a 20-stone black “dragon.”

2016.07.27 relay-go3In the third quarter, event host Edward Zhang 6D (VA) further reduced the eye-shape of black’s dragon. Players are allowed to take one timeout per quarter, but in the excitement of the chase, Team Maryland forgot to call timeout for help from Coach Qiao 1P and Team Virginia won by resignation after a ko-fight in the 4th quarter.

Due to the strength difference of the player pairs, the live audience was often surprised, and the discussion room filled with laughter and sometimes puzzlement. The review was also a good opportunity for players to hear the perspectives of both professionals and fellow amateurs, and many admitted lacking review and group discussion despite years of playing.

“Team Relay Go has had an explosive growth in Asia in the last two years,” said Shiyao Qiao 1P, a member of the Shenzhen Team in the 24-team City Weiqi League in China. “I’m very pleased that everyone had a blast in this team relay go event, and I look forward to teaching and promoting go more in the U.S. in the near future.” The newly emerged City Weiqi League attracted sponsors quickly and the 2016 season total prize rose to over $360,000 USD.
- reporting and photos courtesy Edward Zhang

Categories: U.S./North America
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Michael Redmond 9P on Pro Pair Go Tsumego 3 (Answer)

Wednesday July 27, 2016

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Presented here is the answer to the 3rd tsumego from Michael Redmond 9P’s coverage of the challenging tsumego problems featured at the 2016 pro pair go tournament.

The author of this tsumego is Kono Rin 9P. Michael explains what you may notice as a curious part of this position:

White’s 2 non-attached stones do not change the problem’s result, but have the effect of pruning one of two correct variations for Black at move 5 of the answer, and another alternative answer later in the correct sequence, thus limiting Black to only one variation throughout the entire correct answer. In tsumego, there must be only one correct first move, but serious tsumego composers will avoid variations later in the answer as well.

Categories: Pair Go
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Tennis/Soccer Congress Alert

Tuesday July 26, 2016

Tennis-playing go players who want to burn off some energy on the courts are invited to join E-Journal Managing Editor 2016.07.26_Phil-Straus-Chris-Garlock-go-on-football-field-50-yard-lineChris Garlock on the Boston University tennis courts next week. “Bring your tennis gear!” Garlock urges, fresh off league victories for both his 3.5 and 7.5 combo teams. Terry Benson invites those who prefer to handle balls with their feet to join him for the usual afternoon soccer scrimmage. Details on both TBA; email journal@usgo.org
photo: Garlock and Phil Straus introduce go to the gridiron at the 2015 Go Congress 

Michael Redmond 9P on Pro Pair Go Tsumego 3

Tuesday July 26, 2016

[link]

Presented here is the 3rd tsumego from Michael Redmond 9P’s coverage of the challenging tsumego problems featured at the 2016 pro pair go tournament. Michael gives the detailed solution tomorrow.

The author of this tsumego is Kono Rin 9P. Michael gives a solution hint for what you may notice as a curious part of this position:

White’s 2 non-attached stones do not change the problem’s result, but have the effect of pruning one of two correct variations for Black at move 5 of the answer, and another alternative answer later in the correct sequence, thus limiting Black to only one variation throughout the entire correct answer. In tsumego, there must be only one correct first move, but serious tsumego composers will avoid variations later in the answer as well.

Categories: Pair Go
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New from Kiseido: “300 Joseki Problems”; “Close Encounters with the Middle Game” & Discounted Slate & Shell Stones

Monday July 25, 2016

“300 Joseki Problems”: The final installment of “Graded Go Problems for Dan Players,” Kiseido’s popular seven-2016.07.24_300 Joseki Problemsvolume dan players’ series, is now available. Aimed primarily at 3-dan to 7-dan players, “300 Joseki Problems” – a continuation of Volume 3 of the series — is divided into two sections, each featuring 150 problems. The first section analyzes local joseki problems, allowing the reader to expand their understanding of local patterns. The second section takes the reader on to the next level, presenting whole-board joseki problems from real professional games, where the global situation must be taken into account.

At times, the correct move is not a standard joseki move, but an innovative move, requiring the reader to “think outside the box.” Consequently, readers will not only gain joseki knowledge, but will gain a real understanding of what joseki means, and how it can be applied to unique positions that might arise in real games. Note that even though the problems in this book are rated as high as 7-dan, Kiseido says the book is actually suitable for players 1-dan and above; even if the correct answer is hard to find, simply studying the answers to get exposure to new ideas and joseki innovations is enough to improve your game.

2016.07.24_Close Encounters with the Middle Game“Close Encounters with the Middle Game”: The game of go is often decided in the middle game. Players strong at the opening can gain an early advantage. Players with precise endgame skills can gain points to finish the game. But excelling at the middle game is the surest way to victory. And what better way to improve middle game expertise than to learn from the best? Michiel Eijkhout’s “Close Encounters with the Middle Game” presents 32 crucial middle-game positions that arose in top professional games. Each position is analyzed in detail, explaining how the players were thinking during the middle game, highlighting the techniques needed to gain an advantage during middle-game fighting. If you’ve ever been confused by professional moves, wondering about alternatives – what moves were good, bad, or difficult to judge – you’ll want to check out this “entertaining journey through the realm of professional go.”

Slate and Shell Stones: Kiseido reports that slate and shell stones are becoming more and more difficult to come by due to a tremendous increase in demand and go players willing to pay premium prices. Fortunately, Kiseido has managed to obtain a small supply of “Jitsuyo grade” stones, and is offering them at a discounted price. Click here for details and to order.
- Brian Kirby