American Go E-Journal

Go World Classics: The Go Burglar

Saturday December 29, 2012

by William Pinckard

During the Edo period a go club, like a tea ceremony room or a kyoka poetry meeting, was a place where rank, station and sex were irrelevant: what mattered most was the skill of the participants. Such people came as close to forming a genuine meritocracy as was possible in class-conscious Japan in those days, and this must have been a large part of go’s appeal to new players.

The fact that go requires deep concentration over relatively long periods of time naturally leads to absent-mindedness in everything unrelated to the game at hand. The absent-minded go player is a stock joke in Japan like the absent-minded professor in the West. A fine example of this is the old story called Go Doro, ‘the Go Burglar,’ several versions of which are preserved in the public story-telling tradition of the Edo and Meiji periods.

Two friends who were addicted to go and were pretty evenly matched used to play every night until very late, so wrapped up in their games that they were oblivious to everything around them. This was a great nuisance to their families, but the worst part of it was their habit of smoking, for they were always spilling hot ash and making holes in the tatami as they lit their pipes from the burning coal in the tobacco tray.

Their wives kept scolding them about this until they had to quit playing altogether. But they couldn’t keep from thinking about go and wishing they could play again. One evening they hit upon a plan. “Let’s just stop smoking while we play! Instead, we”ll go out and have a pipe after each game!”

It’s a splendid idea, but of course they forget about it as soon as they get into their first game and start fiddling with their pipes. After a while one of them notices something. “Oy!” he calls out. “There’s no coal in the tobacco tray!” The wife thinks to herself “If I put a coal in the tray they’ll start burning holes in the tatami all over again. I’ll find something red and bring that instead.”

So from the kitchen she brings in a small red vegetable called a snake gourd and carefully pokes it down into the ashes of the tobacco tray, where it looks just like a bit of burning coal. The men don’t notice a thing, and after a while the wife goes to bed, satisfied that she has nothing more to worry about. On and on the two friends play, frowning and muttering at the go board, sucking away at their pipes and having a great old time.

Later that night a burglar sneaks into the back of the house. He stealthily fills his bag with everything he can get his hands on and hoists it over his shoulder. Just as he is about the take off he hears the click of a go stone. The burglar plays go too, so when that sound comes his curiosity is aroused. With the bag still slung over his shoulder he tiptoes toward the room where the two friends are playing and peeks through the door.

At first he just stands there, watching, but then moves close, bit by bit, until he’s right beside them. One player is about to make a move. the burglar simply can’t control himself. “That’s no good!” he exclaims, putting down the bag. “You ought to play on the other side!” A typical kibitzer’s remark.

Both men are studying the board. “Hey, onlookers are supposed to keep quiet,” says one. “This happens to be a crucial moment in the game.” He glances up briefly. “Who might you be, anyway?” he asks. Click goes a stone onto the board.

All three study the move. It’s a tense moment.

“I’m a burglar,” comes the reply.

“Hmmm…” Click goes another stone. “I see…” Click. “Well, make yourself at home…”

Originally published in Go World #45 (Autumn 1986); click here to find out more about Go World. graphic: cover of GW#95; a surinomo by Utamaro entitled Gods Playing Go. Date unknown. Recalling the Ranka theme, Utamaro depicts (from left to right) Juroujin (the god of Longevity), Benzaiten (the Goddess of Good Fortune), and Bishamonten (the God of Riches) engaged in a game of go (from the collection of Erwin Gerstorfer).

Categories: Go World
Share

SmartGo Books App Adds 4 Titles, Japanese & Spanish Translations

Friday December 28, 2012

The SmartGo Books app has just added four more e-books for a total of 52 books in English. The latest titles include both volumes of Cho Hun-hyeon’s Lectures on Go Techniques, Yilun Yang’s Tricks in Joseki and In the Beginning from the Elementary Go Series. And for those who prefer Japanese or Spanish, Michael Redmond 9P has translated his Patterns of the Sanrensei into Japanese, and the Spanish version of Yuan Zhou’s How Not to Play Go, translated by Brian J. Olive, has just been added. Readers can switch between English and the other language, or see both languages, “perfect for brushing up on your Spanish or Japanese,” says SmartGo’s Anders Kierulf. 38 Basic Joseki and The Endgame are also in the works, Kierulf adds.

Seattle Go Center Signs New Lease, Reaffirms Ties with Nihon Ki-in

Thursday December 27, 2012

Expressing “heart-felt thanks” to the Nihon Ki-in, the Seattle Go Center on December 21 signed a new lease agreement with the Nihon Ki-in that runs through 2016, with an option to renew through 2021. The agreement ended a dispute over the possible sale of the Center (Nihon Kiin Urged Not to Sell Seattle Go Center 3/4/2012 EJ), “providing for our continued management and occupancy of the Iwamoto Building in support of our mission to promote the game of go and encourage cultural exchange in the spirit of Iwamoto-sensei,” the Center said in a press release. “To a large extent,” the release noted, “this new agreement simply formalizes the understanding the two organizations have always had, and ensures that misunderstandings will not occur in the future.” Nihon Ki-in President Norio Wada was singled out for praise by the Center, which said that the new agreement “not only formally extends the relationship between our two organizations, but reaffirms our ties to one another, (and) was only made possible by the vision and leadership the Nihon Ki-in provided throughout this process.” Saying that the Seattle Go Center “remains deeply grateful to the Nihon Ki-in for its support, generosity, and guidance since the Seattle Go Center’s inception in 1994,” the Center pledged to “strive to justify their faith in us, now and far into the future.”
photo: Attorney Deborah Niedermeyer 14k and Notary Daniel Cooper 3d watch Seattle Go Center President Andrew Gross 2k sign new lease. Photo by Brian Allen.

 

Categories: U.S./North America
Share

EuroGoTV: December 27

Thursday December 27, 2012

Moscow Cup Final: The Moscow Cup Final, played from 12/22-23 in Moscow, Russia, was won Andrej Cheburkahov 5d, second was Natalia Kovaleva 5d and third was Vjacheslav Kajmin 2d… La Carboneria: The La Carboneria, played on 12/22 in Sevilla, Spain, was won by Adrian Arellano 6k, second was Nicolas Ballesteros 7k and third was Adrian Dominguez 9k… Three Dragons: The Three Dragons, played from 12/22-23 in Kyiv, Ukraine, was won by Volodymyr Kokozei 4d, second was Dmytro Yatsenko 5d and third was Andrii Denysenko 1k… Dnipropetrovsk Region Championship: The Dnipropetrovsk Region Championship, played from 12/22-23 in Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine, was won by Kostiantyn Lopatenko 3d, second was Andrii Vdovin 2d and third was Dmytro Shevchenko 2d… Velikogoricki jesenski go-turnir: The Velikogoricki jesenski go-turnir, played on 12/22 in Velika Gorica, Croatia, was won by Mladen Smud 1k, second was Lovro Furjanic 1d and third was Daniel Zrno 2k… Gosente Winter Tournament: The Gosente winter tournament, played on 12/33 in Riga, Lativa, was won by Dmitrij Kravchenko 3k, second was Anita Juzova 4k and third was Martins Livens 4k… Ukrainian Meijin Title Match: The Ukrainian Meijin Title Match, played from 11/18 to 12/23 in Kyiv, Ukraine was won by Artem Kachanovskyi 7d (r), second was Andrii Kravets 6d.- adapted from EuroGoTV, which includes winner reports, crosstabs, game records and photos. Edited by Taylor Litteral

Categories: Europe
Share

2012 SportAccord World Mind Games Overview: Reports, Photos, Games & Commentaries

Tuesday December 25, 2012

The American Go E-Journal collaborated with Ranka Online and SportAccord to provide comprehensive coverage — including our first-ever video broadcasts — of the recent 2012 SportAccord World Mind Games (SAWMG), held December 12-20 in Beijing, China. See below for a selection of highlights of the E-Journal coverage or click here for all of Ranka’s reports.

REPORTS

SAWMG Go Tourney Makes a $plash; Ranka Interview Japan’s Murakawa Daisuke & Mukai Chiaki, Russia’s Natalia Kovaleva & Ilya Shikshin, Hungary’s Rita Pocsai and Csaba Mero and the UK’s Vanessa Wong
Korea Tops China to Win World Mind Games Pair Go Championship
Pair Go Final Features China-Korea Showdown; School Visit; Redmond Exhibition GameRound 7 Report; Sun Naijing: The Ranka InterviewChoi Chulhan 9P Wins Men’s Gold, Li He 3P is Women’s Champion; Lin Chi-han 9P: The Ranka Interview
Men’s & Women’s Finals Set for Sunday; Semi-Finals; Game Commentary: Round 6: Lin-Kang
Round 4: Final Knockouts; Interview with Bill Lin; Game Commentary: Round 4: Park-Missingham
Round 2: The Elimination Round; Round 3: Then There Were 24; Game Commentary: Round 3, Chen-Park (China-Korea)
The Players Arrive; Press Conference; Opening Ceremony; LIVE from the SAWMG: Redmond, Bogdanov, Missingham & Lin; Game Commentary: Round 1 (China-Korea)Second Edition of SportAccord World Mind Games BeginsRedmond to Provide Live Commentaries on World Mind Sports Games
New SportAccord World Mind Games Website Launched
SportAccord World Mind Games Set for Dec. 12-19 in Beijing Sun Naijing Wins Trip to SportAccord World Mind Games
9/12 Deadline for SportAccord World Mind Games Online Tournament Registration
Big Prizes in SportAccord World Mind Games Online Tournament
AGA to Hold Tournaments to Select Players for 2012 SportAccord World Mind Games

GAME COMMENTARIES
Pair Go Final: China-Korea 
Pair Go Round 3: Russia-Canada
Pair Go Semi-Final: China-Japan

Exhibition Game: Redmond-Sun
Round 7 (Men’s Individual Final): Choi (Korea) – Kang (Korea)
Round 7 (Women’s Individual Final): Rui (China) – Li (China)
Round 6: (Women’s Individual) Missingham (Taiwan) – Kovaleva (Russia)
Round 6: (Men’s Individual) Lin (China) – Kang (Korea)
Round 4: (Women’s Individual) Park (Korea) – Missingham (Taiwan)
Round 3: (Men’s Individual) Chen (China) – Park (Korea)
Round 2 (Men’s Individual): Jiang (China) – Kang (Korea)
Round 1 (Men’s Individual): Tuo (China) – Cho (Korea)
Round 1, Men’s Individual: Shiksin (Russia) – Murakawa 

(Japan)

2012 SportAccord World Mind Games Go Broadcasts (YouTube Videos)
Top-board live game commentaries with IGF Media Officer and American Go E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock and 9-dan professional Michael 
Redmond
, includes interviews with Janice Kim 3P, Pair Go founder Mrs Taki, longtime go author James Davies, European Go Federation President Martin Stiassny
Russian Go Federation Vice-President Victor Bogdanov and more.

Daily Go Broadcasts (All)

Michael Redmond 9P and Janice Kim 3P Interview Each Other

Pair Go Finals: Choi-Choi (Korea) – Li-Jiang (China)
Pair Go Semi-Finals: Li-Jiang (China) – Mukai-Murakawa (Japan)

Men’s Final: Choi (Korea) – Kang (Korea)

 

GO SPOTTING: Go Sets at Barnes and Noble

Tuesday December 25, 2012

Here’s an exciting sign of the times: a stack of go sets in the “Classic Games” section of Barnes and Noble. And not just buried on the shelf, but stacked in the aisle, a higher-profile position, priced at $34.95 each. We found this display on New York’s Upper West Side: other stores may not feature it as prominently, but according to the set, B&N commissioned a Chinese manufacturer to produce this set exclusively for them, so they must hope to sell a lot of sets.  The board folds and locks to hold the 360 pieces (not 160 as listed on the B&N website) when not in use. The stones are made yunzi style (flat on one side). Many players prefer the double-convex stones, which are easier to pick up after a game, but yunzi stones have their fans; during post-game analysis, just flip them over to recall which moves were actually played in the game. A few short years ago, books about go were a rarity in mainstream bookstores, Seeing such a prominent display of actual playing equipment inspires hope that our favorite game has finally hit the big time. This version may not quite be ready for prime time; according to the picture on the website, the hoshi, or star points, seem to be missing. Imagine what the Chinese workers who made these sets must have thought.  Nice as it is to see go going mainstream, discerning shoppers can find nicer sets at Yellow Mountain Imports (check out their portable sets, some under $10), Kiseido or Yutopian.
- Roy Laird 

Categories: Go Spotting
Share

Openings for Guo Juan Internet Go School ’13 Term

Monday December 24, 2012

Guo Juan’s Internet Go School is now accepting enrollments for its online group class for the first term of the new year. The class begins January 19-20, 2013, and participants will also receive a 20% discount on a year’s membership for Guo’s audio lectures. The school’s teaching faculty includes Guo Juan 5P, Jennie Shen 2P, Young Sun Yoon 8P and Mingjiu Jiang 7P. Click here for details and to register.

Park Looking to Even the Score in Ing Cup; Live Commentary on Tygem Sunday Night

Saturday December 22, 2012

After Fan Ting Yu 3P’s decisive win over Park Jung-hwan 9P in the first game of the Ing Cup final, Game Two is set for Sunday evening, 8:30p EST (5:30 PST). The AGA’s Myung-wan Kim 9p will give another live commentary in English on the game, broadcast on Tygem’s World Server, which has ample capacity for everyone who wants to watch. In Game One, Fan was ahead going into the endgame, Kim said. “White did make some mistakes in the endgame, but still black could not overcome the margin, so he overplayed and the result was a disaster for black.” Game Three, along with four and five if necessary, will be played in January. photo: Myung-wan Kim at the 2012 Cotsen Open; photo by Chris Garlock

Categories: World
Share

SportAccord World Mind Games: SAWMG Go Tourney Makes a $plash; Ranka Interview Japan’s Murakawa Daisuke & Mukai Chiaki, Russia’s Natalia Kovaleva & Ilya Shikshin, Hungary’s Rita Pocsai and Csaba Mero and the UK’s Vanessa Wong

Saturday December 22, 2012

SAWMG Go Tourney Makes a $plash: The SportAccord World Mind Games (SAWMG) $400,000 in prizes makes the recently-concluded event the fourth largest international men’s tournament in 2012 — after the BC Card, Samsung and LG Cup tournaments — reports International Go Federation (IGF) Vice President Thomas Hsiang, who notes that this year’s go prize pool was doubled from last year. It’s also the richest international women’s tournament ($185,000 in prizes) and pair-go tournament ($66,000), Hsiang adds, as well as “the first international professional tournament run by the International Go Federation.” photo: medalists in the Men’s Individual tournament (l-r): Kang Dongyoon (silver, $40,000); Choi Chulhan (gold, $100,000); Lin Chi-han (bronze, $30,000); photo by Ivan Vigano

Murakawa Daisuke (Japan)
Born near Osaka, Murakawa Daisuke (below, at left) made professional shodan with the Kansai Kiin at age 11. He has been a frequent member of the Japanese team at the International New Stars tournament, where he has played alongside such current greats as Iyama Yuta and Xie Yimin in competition against young professional teams from China, Chinese Taipei, and Korea. This year, just before

the World Mind Games began he earned a place in the Japanese Meijin League, and he celebrated his 22nd birthday during the individual competition in Beijing. Click here for the interview.

Mukai Chiaki (Japan)
Though not a title winner in Japan, Mukai Chiaki (at right) has challenged for women’s titles six times, and was promoted this year to 5 dan. She has frequently represented Japan in international competition, and has done well in team and pair competition at both SportAccord World Mind Games, earning three bronze medals. Ranka spoke with her after the individual competition, in which she defeated Su Sheng-fang of Chinese Taipei in between losses to Rui Naiwei of China and Choi Jeong of Korea, and again after the pair competition. Click here  for the interview.

Natalia Kovaleva (Russia)
Natalia Kovaleva (below, at left) began competing in tournaments in the Far East in 2004, when she and Alexei Lazarev won three games at the International Amateur Pair Go Championship in Tokyo. A high point in her career so far came at the World Mind Sports Games in Beijing in 2008, where she won a game from a Japanese professional opponent. For the past couple of years she has been working for the Russian Go Federation. Ranka spoke with her after the first pair round, in which she and Ilya Shikshin lost to Japan’s Mukai Chiaki and Murakawa Daisuke. Click here for the interview.

Ilya Shikshin (Russia)
Three-time European champion Ilya Shikshin (at right) comes from a go-playing family that includes his sister Svetlana, who has played professionally in Korea. At this year’s World Mind Games he lost to Japanese and Chinese opponents in the first two rounds of individual competition to earn a five-day break, after which he partnered with Natalia Kovaleva in the pair competition and took fifth place, best among the pairs from outside the Far East. Ranka talked with him after the first round of the pair event. Click here for the interview.

Rita Pocsai and Csaba Mero (Hungary)
Ranka interviewed the Hungarian pair, Rita Pocsai (at left), a university student studying special education, and Csaba Mero (right), a statistical programmer, after their loss to the Chinese pair in the first round of the pair-go competition at the World Mind Games. Click here for the interview.

Vanessa Wong (UK)
During the gold medal individual matches, Ranka had a chance to speak with European women’s champion Vanessa Wong (at left in photo at right, with Pair Go partner Jan Hora), who was born in Hong Kong, and came to England to go to boarding school. Click here for the interview.
photos by Ivan Vigano 

 

Free Lessons for Youth

Saturday December 22, 2012

If you are under 18, there is still time to apply for free teaching lessons from professionals, through the  American Go Foundation.  Yi Lun Yang 7P, Janice Kim 3P, and  Jennie Shen 2P, will offer lessons online to students who qualify.  Applicants must be AGA members, currently in grades K-12, and not had private  professional lessons before (attending a lesson at a previous congress is not a problem).  Applicants will be judged on their demonstrated interest in go, their short essays and any letters of recommendation.   Finalists may be asked to play a game against a strong amateur to confirm their enthusiasm.   Six lessons will be provided to each player selected.  The deadline for applications is January 1 2013. Apply to get stronger today, click here to download the form.   -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.