American Go E-Journal

Your Move/Readers Write: Where’s U.S. Go News?; Jie Li Strong But Not Pro; More On Strong Go Clubs

Friday August 30, 2013

Where’s U.S. Go News? “No U.S. go news at all?” writes Allan Abramson in response to the 8/29 EJ, which featured reports on go in Japan and the UK. “Perhaps someone needs to be assigned to make or find news?”
We welcome go news from across the United States and around the world; send reports and photos to us at

Jie Li Strong But Not Pro: “While Jie Li is undoubtably quite strong, he’s not actually a professional, let alone 9P,” writes Pierre Mohan (“Where are the strongest Go Clubs” 8/29 EJ). “He’s an amateur,” confirms Brian Allen. “However, he is 9.27 in the AGA ratings, only a stone away from Myung Wan Kim 9p at 10.25 in the AGA ratings.”

More On Strong Go Clubs: “Regarding today’s ‘Your Move’ (“Where are the strongest Go Clubs” 8/29 EJ), Joy Craft may be interested in visiting the website of the Bay Area Go Player’s Association, since she lives in the SF Bay Area,” suggests Steve Burrall.


EJ & Ranka Coverage of 34th WAGC To Start 9/1

Thursday August 29, 2013

China and Korea are favorites again this year to win the 34th edition of the World Amateur Go Championships, which will be held on September 1-4 in Sendai, Japan. Beginning September 1st,  Ranka Online and the American Go E-Journal will provide full daily coverage of the championship.

The field of 62 players from as many countries will range in age from 14 to 57 and in official rank from 7 kyu to 8 dan. Yuqing Hu will represent China and Hyunjae Choi is playing for Korea; those two countries have not dropped a single game to any other country in this event since 2006. The players from perennially strong Chinese Taipei, Japan, and Hong Kong (Wei-shin Lin, Kikou Emura, and King-man Kwan) will also bear watching, particularly 14-year-old Lin, who will move on from the World Amateur to a pro career in Taiwan.

These Asians will be challenged, however, by a strong European contingent, led by Slovakian prodigy Pavol Lisy, who finished runner-up to former Chinese pro Fan Hui in this year’s European Championship. Joining Pavol will be four other young finalists from the European Championship: Thomas Debarre (France), Ilya Shikshin (Russia), Artem Kachanovskyi (Ukraine), and Nikola Mitic (Serbia). Also competing will be such established European stars as Ondrej Silt (Czechia), Csaba Mero (Hungary), Cornel Burzo (Romania), Merlijn Kuin (Netherlands), and Franz-Josef Dickhut (Germany).

Challenging the Asians and Europeans will be a pair of North American students: Curtis Tang (US), a UC Berkeley student who trained for a year at a go academy in China, and Bill Lin (Canada), who played in the World Mind Games last December and is coming off a 3-1 defense of his Canadian Dragon title.

The Southern hemisphere will be represented by Hao-Song Sun (Australia, 11th place at the 2008 World Mind Sports Games), Xuqi Wu (New Zealand, 12th place at the 2009 Korea Prime Minister Cup), and a pack of hopeful new players from South America and South Africa.

In the past the World Amateur Go Championship has been held in the spring, but this year the schedule was moved back because of the effects of the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011. Thanks to support from all over the world during the past two years, most of the regions hit by the earthquake are now recovering. It is hoped that through the game of go this tournament will give the world proof of the recovery and encourage the local people to press ahead with the long recovery process.
- Ranka Online
NOTE: This report has been updated to reflect Curtis Tang’s status as a college student, not high school.

Taylor Wins Gold at London’s Mind Sports Olympiad

Wednesday August 28, 2013

Paul Taylor 2d of the St Albans Go Club, UK took the gold medal for 19×19 go by just half a point at the 17th Mind Sports Olympiad (MSO) in London on Sunday August 25 (Mind Sports Olympiad Under Way in London, 8/18 EJ).

British Go Association (BGA) VP Tony Atkins 1d (right) of Reading, UK, who also organized the go events and ran a free introduction to the game, as well as acting as arbiter for the games, had to content himself with the second place silver medal. Michael Webster 1d of the Central London Go Club took bronze after a tie-break with Alistair Wall 1d of Wanstead Go Club, UK. Click here for full results.

In the previous afternoon’s 13×13 event, Chris Volk from Germany took gold, while the silver medal went to Jay Rastall. Martyn Hamer won the bronze, but only after a tiebreak playoff with Matthew Hathrell, who nevertheless won medals in several other events. Click here for full results.

Click here for full MSO medal awards.

Tony Collman, British Go Correspondent for the E-J. From a report for the BGA by Tony Atkins. Photos courtesy of Atkins’ website.

Your Move/Readers Write: Strongest Go Clubs?; “First 20 Hours” Redux

Wednesday August 28, 2013

Strongest Go Clubs? “Can you tell me where the strongest go clubs are in the US?” asks Joy Craft. “I live in CA near Stanford University and want to know what cities in the US have serious clubs with professional players.”
Jie Li 9P has been showing up at the Greater Washington Go Club lately, the Seattle Go Center routinely hosts pros and strong players, and we hear that very strong players show up at clubs in LA and San Francisco as well. If other clubs have strong players attending, email us at Club contact info is online here.

“First 20 Hours” Redux: “In the book “The First 20 Hours: How to Learn Anything…Fast” by Josh Kaufman, there is a whole chapter devoted to Go in a nutshell,” reports Vincent DiMattia.
See our 6/18 report Expert On “How to Learn Go in 20 Hours”

The Power Report: Summer Round-up from Japan (Part 3): Kisei Leagues Update; 8th Samsung Cup Qualifying Tournament; 26th Women’s Meijin League Starts; Murakawa to Battle Shida in Agon Kiriyama Cup Final; Yamashita Keigo or Akiyama Jiro to be Tengen Challenger: Yashiro Kumiko Promoted

Wednesday August 28, 2013

E-Journal Japan Correspondent John Power catches us up on go events in Japan and international events in which Japanese players took part. Click here for Part 1 and Part 2.

Kisei Leagues Update
July 25: (A League) Yamashiro Hiroshi 9P (W) d. Yamashita Keigo Meijin by 3.5 points. (B League) Murakawa Daisuke 7P (B) d. Takao Shinji 9P by 1.5 points; Mizokami Tomochika 8P (W) d. 25th Honinbo Chikun by resig.
August 8: (B League) Takao Shinji 9P (W) d. Mizokami Tomochika 8P by resig.
August 15: (A League) Yoda Norimoto 9P (B) d. Cho U 9P by 1.5 points; Yamashita Keigo Meijin (W) d. Kobayashi Satoru 9P by resig.

To review the state of the leagues, Yamashita Keigo, on 3-1, will win the A League if he wins his final game. The previous Kisei, Cho U, has dropped to 1-3,
so he has to worry about keeping his place. The B League is lagging a little
behind. Murakawa Daisuke, on 3-0, has the sole lead; next is 25th Honinbo Chikun on 2-1.

8th Samsung Cup Qualifying Tournament: The Samsung Cup has become the most diversified of the international tournaments, offering seats to players in various categories through the large-scale qualifying tournament: general (which could be interpreted as meaning purely on strength), senior, female, and world. The number of seats at stake in these sections respectively was 14, 2, 2, and 1. Only one of the 30 Japanese players who made the trip to Seoul to compete was successful: Komatsu Hideki 9P (aged 46), who won a place in the senior section for the second year in a row. The qualifying tournament was held in Seoul from August 2 to 7. Komatsu had to win five games in a row to get into the main tournament. The seeded players from Japan are Takao Shinji and Yuki Satoshi. The opening round, a complicated double elimination, will be held from September 3 to 5.

26th Women’s Meijin League Starts: The new Women’s Meijin League has got under way and first round and the first two games in the second round have been played. (25 July) Suzuki Ayumi 6P (B) d. Okuda Aya 3P by 1.5 points; Ishii Akane 2P (W) d. Mukai Chiaki 5P by resig. (August 1) Suzuki Ayumi 6P (B) d. Yoshida Mika 8P by half a point; Kato Keiko 6P d. Chinen Kaori 4P by forfeit.
(August 8). Kato Keiko 6P (W) d. Ishii Akane 2P by resig.

Murakawa to Battle Shida in Agon Kiriyama Cup Final: Two new stars will battle it out in the final of the Agon Kiriyama Cup: Murakawa Daisuke 7P of the Kansai Ki-in (aged 22) and Shida Tatsuya 6-dan of the Central Japan branch (Nagoya) of the Nihon Ki-in (also 22). In the semifinals, held on August 19, Murakawa (W) d. Cho U by resignation and Shida (B) defeated Ichiriki Ryo 3-dan by half a point. The final will be held in Kyoto on October 5.

Yamashita Keigo or Akiyama Jiro to be Tengen Challenger: The semifinals of the 39th Tengen title were held on August 22. Yamashita Keigo Meijin (B) beat Cho U 9P by resignation and Akiyama Jiro 9P beat Yo Seiki 3P, also by resignation. The winners will meet in the final to decide the challenger to Iyama Yuta. Cho U has had a terrible summer: he missed a chance to challenge for the Meijin title, he dropped out of the running in the Kisei league, and he lost in the Tengen and Agon Kiriyama Cup semifinals. Not so long ago, when he was winning three or four titles every year, he looked a certainty to challenge the record for most titles won, but now his prospects don’t look nearly as good. The record, 72 titles, is held by Cho Chikun (25th Honinbo Chikun); Cho U is in sixth place with 38.

Yashiro Kumiko Promoted: Ms. Yashiro Kumiko was promoted to 6P (90 wins) on July 12.

Categories: Japan,John Power Report

Popular Teacher’s Workshop to Return at 2014 Go Congress

Tuesday August 27, 2013

The Teacher’s Workshop will be offered again at the 2014 Go Congress, according to AGA VP Chris Kirschner.  “The howling success of the 2013 Workshop indicates that this will become a regular Go Congress event,” he told the E-Journal.  The Workshop had 21 hours of programming, with some of the sessions repeated.   Certificates for 8 hours of participation were earned by 40 teachers who ranged from 15 kyu to 5 dan.  Go teachers who did not attend the workshop are welcome to join the announcement/discussion list for the Workshop, which is being moderated by Bill Camp.  To join the list, just email BillPhotos: top right: Go Phrase Guessing Game devised by Korean Pro Dahee Lee (at back); bottom left: Chris Kirschner; bottom right: Bill Camp.  Photos/report by Brian Allen

The Power Report: Summer Round-up from Japan (Part 2): Kita Fumiko Inducted Into Hall Of Fame; Iyama To Challenge For Meijin Title

Tuesday August 27, 2013

E-Journal Japan Correspondent John Power catches us up on go events in Japan and international events in which Japanese players took part. Click here (link) for Part 1. 

Kita Fumiko Inducted Into Hall Of Fame: At a July 16 meeting at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo, Kita Fumiko, honorary 8-dan, became the first woman to be inducted into the Go Hall of Fame. Kita (1875-1950) was the adopted daughter of the pioneering woman player Hayashi Sano (1825-1901). She became professional 1-dan in 1891 and reached 3-dan in 1895. In the same year, she married the head of the Kita No school, Kita Roppeita, and retired from active play. She made a comeback in 1907 and achieved good results, leading to her being promoted to 4-dan by the Hoensha group in 1911. In 1921 she became the first woman player to reach 5-dan. She played an important role in the founding of the Nihon Ki-in in 1924. She retired from active play and devoted herself to teaching. After her death, she was promoted to 7-dan and then to 8-dan. She is famed as “the mother of women’s go” and had many disciples, one of whom, Sugiuchi Kazuko 8-dan, is still active.

Iyama To Challenge For Meijin Title: After the 38th Meijin League ended in a tie between Iyama Yuta Kisei and Kono Rin 9P, a play-off to decide the challenger to Yamashita Keigo was held on August 5. Iyama drew black and beat Kono by resignation. This win gives Iyama a chance to regain the title that he lost to Yamashita Keigo in 2011. It also means that he will set yet another record by becoming the first player ever to appear in all top-seven title matches in one year. That will also give him a chance to revive the dream of holding all the top seven titles simultaneously (he would need to win all his title matches up to the Kisei next year, then regain the Judan title).

Below is an update of Meijin League results since my last report.
Round 7 (July 18). Yuki Satoshi 9P (B) d. Mizokami Tomochika 8P by half a point. This was the last game in the seventh round and it put an end to Yuki’s losing streak of 16 games over three leagues. His loss made demotion from the league certain for Mizokami; even though he had only one win, as a seeded player he could have retained his league seat if he had won his final two games. Three players, Yuki, Mizokami and Sakai, now had only one win with one round to go, so Murakawa Daisuke, with three wins, became certain of retaining his place.
Round 8 (August 1): As has become the practice in recent years, all the games in the final round were played on the same day, to ensure a dramatic finish. If Cho U won, he would win the league outright and become the challenger. If he lost his game with Kono Rin, Kono would end in a tie for first with the winner of the game between Iyama Yuta and Hane Naoki. Kono Rin 9P (B) d. Cho U 9P by resig; Yuki Satoshi Judan (B) d. Takao Shinji 9P by resig; Murakawa Daisuke 7P (B) d. Mizokami Tomochika 8P by resig; Iyama Yuta Kisei (B) d. Hane Naoki 9P by resig.
The final order in the league was: 1st, Iyama 6-2; 2nd: Kono 6-2; 3rd Cho U 6-
2; 4th Hane 5-3; 5th Takao Shinji 5-3; 6th Murakawa 4-4. Yuki (2-6), Mizokami
(1-7), and Sakai Hideyuki 8P (1-7) lost their places.
In an interview after the play-off, Iyama said that he was lucky. He was not
just being modest. When he was beaten by Cho U in the seventh round (actually the sixth round for Cho, his score was 5-2 compared to Cho’s 6-0, so his prospects didn’t look very good. Fortunately for him, other players managed to defeat Cho in his last two games. This is an example of relying on “tariki” (the strength of others) instead of “jiriki” (one’s own strength). It worked for Iyama.

Categories: Japan,John Power Report

The Power Report: Summer Round-up From Japan (Part 1): Iyama Defends Gosei Title, Maintains Quintuple Crown; Yuki Reaches Third Round Of Mlily International Tournament

Monday August 26, 2013

I spent the summer traveling overseas (that is, away from Japan, where I live), so in a 3-part series this week I will catch up on go events in Japan and international events in which Japanese players took part. Some of these may have been reported on previously in the E-Journal so these reports will provide additional information of interest.
- John Power

Iyama Defends Gosei Title, Maintains Quintuple Crown: In the 38th Gosei title match, Kono Rin 9P made an excellent start, winning the first two games, but defending champion Iyama Yuta Kisei (right) fought back to defend his title with three straight wins. The third game was played at the Kansai Headquarters of the Nihon Ki-in in Osaka on July 26. Taking white, Iyama picked up his first win of the series, edging Kono by 1.5 points. This win could have been predicted, as Iyama has never lost a title match (this was his 14th) with straight losses. This was a fairly quiet game in which Iyama exploited a small slip by Kono in the middle game, then played steadily to keep his lead. The fourth game was played at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo on August 9. Taking black, Iyama secured a resignation after 189 moves. Iyama took the lead in territory, then wrapped up the game by living inside Kono’s moyo. For the deciding game, played on August 23, the title went back to Iyama’s home ground, the Kansai Headquarters of the Nihon Ki-in. Kono won the nigiri and so took black. In some very difficult fighting that started in the middle game, Iyama took a small lead and once again carefully nursed it to the end of the game. The final margin was 2.5 points. This is Iyama’s first defence of the Gosei title and his 19th title overall.

Yuki Reaches Third Round Of Mlily International Tournament: Three Japanese started out in the first round of China’s new international tournament, the 1st Mlily Cup, but only one made it to the third round. That was Yuki Satoshi of the Kansai Ki-in, who frequently represents Japan in international tournaments, despite his “advanced” age, by international standards, of 41. I have reported on this tournament previously, but there are some added details below. Note that I give only a selection of the results in the first two rounds.
Round 1 (Chinese Qiyuan, Beijing, July 9; China 41 players, Korea 18, Japan 3, Chinese Taipei 2): Yuki Satoshi 9P (Japan) (W) defeated Cheong Seung-hyun amateur (Korea) by resig; An Dongxu 4P (China) (B) d. Yamashita Keigo 9P (Japan) by 2.5 points; Li Qinsheng 2P (China) (W) d. Piao Wenyao 9D (China) by resig; Lei Zhenkun 1P (China) (W) d. Yi Ch’ang-ho 9P (Korea) by resig; Peng Quan 7P (China) (B) d. Pak Cheong-hwan 9P (Korea) by resig; Hu Yaoyu 8P (China) (B) d. Murakawa Daisuke 7P (Japan) by resig; Yi Se-tol 9P (Korea) (W) d. Chang Hao 9P (China) by resig; Na Hyeon 3P (Korea) (W) d. Shi Yue 9P (China) by 2.5 points; Mi Yuting 4P (China) (B) d. Kang Tongyun 9P (Korea) by resig; Ch’oe Ch’eol-han 9P (Korea) (W) d. (Ms.) Song Ronghui 5P (China) by resig. (China 25 wins, Korea 6, Japan 1)
Round 2 (Chinese Qiyuan, Beijing, July 11): Yuki (W) d. Li Qincheng 2-dan (China) by resig; Mi Yuting (W) d. Yi Se-tol by resig; Kong Jie 9P (China) (B) d. Chen Yaoye 9P (China) by resig; Cho Han-seung 9P (Korea) (B) d. Qiu Jun 9P (China) by resig; Gu Li 9P (China) (W) d. Na Hyeon by resig. (China 13 wins, Korea 2, Japan 1)
Round 3 (August 9, Shanghai): Wang Xi (B; at left in photo above) d. Yuki (at right in photo)by resig; Dang Yifei 4P (China) (B) d. Tang Weixing 3P (China) by resig; Zhou Ruiyang 9P (China) (W) d. Guo Jianchao 5P (China) by resig; Wu Guangya 6P (China) (B) d. Hu Yaofeng 5P (China) by half a point; Lian Xiao 4P (China) (B) d. Ch’oe Ch’eol-han 9P (Korea) by 1.5 points; Gu Li (W) d. Hu Yaoyu by resig; Wang Lei 8P (China) (B) d. Cho Han-seung by 1.5 points; Mi (B) d. Kong Jie by half a point. (China won all eight games.)
Quarterfinals (August 11, Shanghai; I don’t have winning margins): Gu (W) d. Wang Lei; Zhou (B) d. Lian; Wang Xi (B) d. Wu; Mi (W) d. Dang.
In the semifinals, to be played in September, Gu plays Zhou and Wang plays Mi.
- photos courtesy Go Game Guru

Categories: Japan,John Power Report

MacFadyen Sweeps Isle of Man Go Festival Main Tourney

Monday August 26, 2013

The 11th Isle of Man International Go Festival finished up on Friday August 23, bringing an end to a week of go and social activities for about fifty players. The Festival, which opened on August 18, hosted three tournaments, the Main, Afternoon and Handicap.

The Main was taken with a 5-game sweep by  former British and European  Champion Matthew MacFadyen 6d of Leamington, UK, with Matthew Cocke 5d of Epsom, UK in second and Piers Shepperson 4d, also of Epsom, third. Click here for full results.

In the shorter Afternoon tourney, Shigehiko Uno 4d of the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo prevailed with a full three wins, while James Hutchinson 1d of Belfast took second place and Toby Manning 2d of Leicester, UK third. Click here for full results.

The handicap tournament was won by young Edmund Smith 15k of Milton School, who beat Oscar Selby 11k in the final round. Richard Hunter 3d of Bristol won the 13×13 event. The Japanese husband and wife team of Shigehiko Uno 4d and Keiko Uno 20k won the rengo.

The event took place at the Cherry Orchard Apartments in Port Erin on the Isle of Man, a small island off the west coast of Scotland. Although it is one of the British Isles, it is not strictly part of the UK, being a self-governing British Crown Dependency. It is perhaps most well-known internationally for the TT motorcycle races.

Click here for the preliminary report on the British Go Association website, and here for an updated report of prize-winners and side events.

Tony Collman, British Correspondent for the E-J. photo by Seamus Whelan, courtesy of Cherry Orchard Apartmentswebsite.
NOTE: this post was updated 8/27 with several corrections and the handicap tourney results.

Categories: Europe

Phoon Wins AGF Scholarship

Monday August 26, 2013

Joey Phoon 5k is the winner of the American Go Foundation’s College Scholarship. Phoon is off to college on familiar turf this month, as he starts the fall term at George Mason University, site of the 2009 Go Congress, which he attended when he was 14. “Walking through campus brings back memories of running through the rain to get to simuls and occasionally getting lost in the huge campus,” Phoon told the E-Journal. Phoon started a go club at George C. Marshall High, in his junior year. “At first it was only me and a couple of friends that I had taught in preparation for the club,” said Phoon, “but we slowly gained momentum and gained member after member. At the end of the year we had 11 members. Every Wednesday we would play a few games then review life and death problems. From just these sessions, the students learned quickly and got to 20 kyu within a couple weeks. I took two of the members to their first AGA rated go tournament and one of them won first place in the 25 kyu division. The go club carried on the following year and we gained 3 new members.” Phoon says running his club “made me understand that teaching a complete stranger is different from teaching a friend. They may be complete novices when it comes to the game but they show great potential. I hope now that I have graduated they will continue the club, and promote go to other people.”

Phoon says going to the Go Congress as a young man had a big impact on him: “Us Eastern shore kids finally got a chance to participate in one of the largest go events in the Western hemisphere. Naturally, my friends from the Great Falls Go Club and I decided to attend as it was a once in a life time chance for us. The Go Congress gave me a chance to meet children around my age throughout the United States that had an interest in go. Not only that, but I met many famous pros along the way like Ryo Maeda and Feng Yun. Their lectures were not only compelling but also gave me a glimpse into the pro go world. Overall, go has changed the way I look at life and how I treat every situation. Rather than focusing on a particular aspect of life, stepping back sometimes can help you find a better solution, because then you can see life from a broader point of view.”

The AGF College Scholarship is presented annually, usually to one male and one female student. There were no female applicants in this past cycle though, so only one scholarship was awarded. Applications for the AGF Scholarship are open through November 20th, and interested students can find more information on the AGF Website. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Photo by Joey Phoon.