American Go E-Journal

The Power Report (Part 1): Takao Makes Comeback as Judan; Iyama Sets New Prize Money Record; Computer versus Yoda

Sunday May 4, 2014

by John Power, EJ Japan Correspondent

Takao Makes Comeback as Judan: Six years after he last won a top-seven title, Takao Shinji 9P (left) has made a comeback, taking the Judan title from Yuki Satoshi with a win in the final game of the 52nd title match. Takao started off well in the best-of-five, winning the first game by half a point, but then the title holder fought back with his own half-point win, then took the lead in the third game. Takao saved his first kadoban in the fourth game, then won the deciding game. Below are details of the games played since my last report.
The third game was played at the Kuroyon Royal Hotel in Omachi City in Nagano Prefecture on April 10. Omachi, a town set at the foot of the Japan Alps, calls itself ‘the Alps igo village’ and actively promotes the game among its citizens. The Kuroyon Royal Hotel has hosted a game from the Judan title match for 21 years in a row. The game featured complicated fighting, but was evenly poised in the late middle game. Instead of taking some profit on move 158, Takao chose to attack an isolated black group. However, this backfired on him: Yuki found a clever tesuji to secure life and at the same time took the lead on territory.
The fourth game was held at the Kansai Ki-in in Osaka, Yuki’s home ground, on April 17. Playing with white, Yuki focussed a little too much on building thickness in the opening, letting Takao take the lead in territory. Yuki did his best to use his thickness to harass Black, but he missed his best opportunity to attack a weak black group. With no scope to create complications, Yuki resigned after Black 169.
The final game was played on Takao’s home ground, the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo, on April 21. In the nigiri to decide colors, Takao drew black. In the middle game, he played riskily because he thought he was behind, but that actually gave Yuki the chance to make a powerful attack, which really did put Takao behind. However, Takao managed to set up a double attack on two white groups. Yuki saved one of them, but slipped up with the other, missing the only move that would have saved it. He resigned after 167 moves.
This is Takao’s 13th title. Incidentally, he broke the monopoly of the top seven titles enjoyed by Osakan players since Iyama won the Meijin title in October last year.

Iyama Sets New Prize Money Record: Not surprisingly, considering he set a new record by winning six of the top seven titles, Iyama Yuta (right) also set a new record for most prize money won in one year. Often there is quite a big gap between first and second in this list, with the top player sometimes making twice as much as the next player; not so in 2013: Iyama earned over four and a half times as much as Cho U. Below is the list of the top ten (amounts are in yen). Note that these sums do not include income from teaching etc.
1. Iyama Yuta: 164,613,000 (about $1,600,000)
2. Cho U: 35,241,200
3. Takao Shinji: 30,846,000
4. Yamashita Keigo: 30,630,200
5. Kono Rin: 23,210,192
6. Xie Yimin: 14,582,100
7. Hane Naoki: 14,052,431
8. Kobayashi Satoru: 11,134,600
9. Mizokami Tomochika: 10,973,600
10. Shida Tatsuya: 10,420,500

Computer versus Yoda: Games between computers and professionals seem to be popular these days. In February, the program Zen played a series of 9×9 games and got within half a point of its professional opponent in one of them. On March 21, Yoda Norimoto 9P played two four-stone handicap games against Zen and another program, CrazyStone. Yoda beat Zen by resignation, but lost to CrazyStone by 2.5 points (Black gave a komi of half a point). In the UEC Cup, a computer-go tournament, held just before this, Zen had taken first place and CrazyStone second. Yoda’s comments after the games implied that he benefited from familiarity with Zen’s style of play, whereas he knew nothing about CrazyStone.

Tomorrow: Kono and Yuki Secure Kisei League Places; Japanese Team Plays in Chinese League; Yamashita Keeps Sole Lead in Meijin League

Categories: Japan,John Power Report

Seattle Go Center Supplements Youth Scholarships for Go Congress

Sunday May 4, 2014

Using a gift from the Seattle Chapter of the AGA, the Seattle Go Center will provide up to $300 in additional scholarship funds to youth from the State of Washington who are attending the US Go Congress.  “We would like to help with travel costs for qualified youth from our area,” reports Go Center manager Brian Allen. The total funds available are $1,200; if there are more than four qualified youth by May 30, they will divide up the $1,200 proportionately.  The Seattle Go Center funds are intended as a supplement to the current AGF scholarships for the Go Congress.

If youth have already completed their AGF scholarship application, no additional forms will be needed for the supplemental scholarship funds. They should simply notify Paul Barchilon, who is administering the AGF scholarships, that they are interested in the additional help. For more information about the AGF Go Congress scholarship program, and to apply, click here.  Photo: Teacher’s Workshop at the 2013 Go Congress. Story and Photo by Brian Allen.


Categories: Youth

Go Quiz: Biggest U.S. Open?

Saturday May 3, 2014

Meet Me In St Louis? No, there are no current plans for a Congress in St. Louis, just your film buff quizmaster’s way of introducing the unanimous answer to this week’s quiz. Everyone got the link between four Congress cities and another event. “World’s Fair, at a guess,” replied tournament directing expert Ken Koester, adding, with his usual eye for detail, that “technically the Chicago Congress was in a suburb, not city limits proper.” Speaking of details, Peter St. John provides “World’s Fair (or Expo) Seattle 1909 and 1962, NY 1964 and 1862, San Francisco 1915 and 1939, Chicago 1893 and 1933.” Congrats to this week’s winner, Esteban Ley of McKinney, TX, chosen at random from among those answering correctly.

Correction: I was afraid that there might be an Asian pro who had been born in Asia and sure enough the great John Fairbairn wrote in to say that “The answer to the quiz about pros born in the west was wrong. Kim Chun-u was born in Sydney, and (Francis) Meyer is only the second from North Carolina: An Tai-hun was a Tar Heel before him. My prize of a crate of bourbon may be donated to the next US Congress.” Thanks John for the great addition, and though we don’t do prizes for the quiz, I happen to know that 2014 Congress Director Mathew Hershberger is almost as big of a bourbon fan as your quizmaster, and the good news is that New York City is NOT a dry campus!

This Week’s Quiz: With the 2014 U.S. Go Congress coming up this summer in New York City, which Congress had the biggest US Open field, in number of unique players? Was it Tacoma 2005, Lancaster 2007, Washington 2009 or Santa Barbara 2011? Click here to submit your responses and favorite bourbons and here to check out — and sign up for — the 2014 US Go Congress.
- Keith Arnold, HKA, Quizmaster; photo: the main playing area of the 2013 US Go Congress by Phil Straus 

Categories: Go Quiz

Your Move/Readers Write: Earliest Indication of Go in North America? & Another Turn-Based Site

Saturday May 3, 2014

Earliest Indication of Go in North America? “I was just reading the latest copy of the Archaeology Magazine, May/June 2014 and I came across an article by Samir S. Patel about the early Chinese work camps in North America,” writes Sam Zimmerman. “In the article on page 41 they showed a picture of ‘gambling pieces’ (right) from a British Columbia camp of the 1850s-1860s. They certainly look like they are wei-chi stones and they may be the earliest indications of the game being played North America. I have contacted Archaeology Magazine in hope so getting more information.”
See also: ‘The Archaeology of Internment’  5/9/2011 EJ 

Another Turn-Based Site: “In your latest newsletter you mentioned that Yahoo was ceasing its online gaming site (Website Update: Yahoo Go Gone 5/2/2014 EJ) and listed several sites where you could play turn-based go,” writes Jim Hopper. “You failed to list a site located at which is also a nice place to play people all over the world a variety of games including go. Check it out.”
- graphic from Archaeology Magazine courtesy Doug Ross, Simon Fraser University

Kim Young-Sam 7d Wins Paris Tournament

Friday May 2, 2014

Kim Young-Sam 7d won the 42nd International Paris Go Tournament, which was held April 19-21. Kim was undefeated in the 6-round tournament, atop a reduced field of 66 players due to “snafus with the tournament site and late announcement” reports SmartGo’s Anders Kierulf 3d, whose 2-4 result earned him 11th place. Dai Junfu was second and Noguchi Motoki took third; complete results here. Click here for Kierulf’s blog post, which includes his game records.

Categories: Europe

Website Update: Yahoo Go Gone

Friday May 2, 2014

Yahoo go fans will have to search elsewhere for their online gaming: Yahoo has shut down their “classic” games after 15 years. “The go, chess, Checkers and the rest of what they call ‘parlor games’ are shut down with no definite return,” reports Robert DeLisle. Check out where to play go online on the AGA’s online go page.
- Greg Smith, AGA website team

Physics Central Podcast on “Beating the Game of Go”

Friday May 2, 2014

“Beating the Game of Go” is the title of a recent Physics Central Podcast. “Researchers in France want to model the game as a complex network. Other examples of complex networks include airplane flight plans, social networks, neurons in the brain, and fungal communities, to name a few. By modeling Go as a complex network, the researchers hope to find patterns and symmetries that could assist scientists who are working on Go-playing programs, that they hope will some day beat the best human Go players (something that already been accomplished in Chess).” The report also has a number of interesting and useful go links.

Categories: Go Spotting

First Batch of Pros Confirmed for U.S. Go Congress

Thursday May 1, 2014

Feng Yun 9P, Myungwan Kim 9P, Yang Yilun 7P and Stephanie Yin 1P have confirmed that they’ll be teaching at this year’s U.S. Go Congress. Pro delegations from Japan, China and Korea are also expected. The weeklong event will be held August 9-17 in New York City and features pro lectures and simuls, as well as rated and unrated tournaments. Click here to register.
- photo: Stephanie Yin, playing on Board 2 at the recent Washington Open Baduk Tournament, checks out the Board 1 game between Andy Liu 1P (right) and Kevin Huang 7d. photo by Chris Garlock

Cuba-Mexico Youth Visit “A Beautiful Experience”

Thursday May 1, 2014

The recent Cuba – Mexico go exchange (Cuban Go Community Hosts Visits by Mexican Youth & Japanese Teachers 4/15 EJ) “was a big event and a beautiful experience,” said Rafael Torres Miranda, President of the Academia Cubana de Go. The go competition between Mexican and Cuban school children was held April 14-18 in Havana. Five Mexican children, accompanied to Cuba by a relative, and seven Cubans participated, ranging from age 7 to 11 and from 13 to 20 kyu in strength. The event was featured on Cuban television.
- Bob Gilman; photos courtesy Rafael Torres Miranda; collage by Chris Garlock

Categories: U.S./North America

N.A. Player Selection Tourney for Samsung Cup 2014 Announced

Wednesday April 30, 2014

The Korean Baduk Association has once again invited the AGA to send three North American representatives to compete in the World division of the Samsung Cup World Baduk Masters 2014 in Korea. Interested players must be 5D+ citizens or permanent residents of North America, have resided in North America for 6 of the past 12 months, and have maintained continuous AGA membership (does not apply to Canadian players) for the past year. Players will be responsible for their travel and lodging expenses; the tournament will provide a $1,000 incentive to each player to help cover some costs.
To select the players the AGA will hold a flexible scheduling tournament on KGS during the second half of May with default rounds on May 20, 23, 27, and 30. This schedule is designed so that the possible times for each round includes at least one weekend day. The selected players will play in the combined preliminaries set for August 3-6. Those interested and eligible must fill out this electronic form to register by Friday, May 16. Skype will be required for all players.
- Karoline Burrall