American Go E-Journal

2014 WAGC Player Profiles: Europe (Part 1)

Thursday June 26, 2014

Second in a series of profiles of players in the 35th World Amateur Go Championships, which will be held July 4-11 in Gyeongju, Korea. Fifty-seven players from a like number of countries and territories are scheduled to make the trip to Korea to compete in the four-day, eight-round Swiss system. Many will be veterans of previous tournaments held in Japan and China, some drawn back to WAGC competition after a long absence, perhaps by the chance to be part of the first WAGC held in Korea. As usual, the largest contingent will come from Europe (30 players) and the youngest from the Far East (15 players, including an 11-year-old from Indonesia). Click here for Ranka’s June 24 WAGC preview.

Austria: Matthias Frisch 1D, 21 (right), is a student and works in a hotel in Vienna. He first started playing five years ago “but I quit very fast and then I got interested in it again about three years ago.” His favorite thing about go is “not the game itself, but rather the people you meet.”  Hobbies include soccer and snowboarding; “I like to do many things if there is enough time besides my studies.”

Belarus: Aliaksandr Suponeu 1D (left) is a 64-year-old engineer who’s been playing go for 30 years. Winner of the Belarusian Championship, this will be his eighth World Go Championship.

Belgium: Dominique Versyck 2D (right) is a 31-year-old accountant in Lennik. He’s been playing for 9 years and says that “Each game is different, there is no luck involved, go is simply perfect!” His hobbies include chess and quizzes. He’s married, with a 2-year old son, and a daughter due at the end of October.

Bulgaria: Teodor Nedev 3k (left) is a 44-year-old teacher in Ruse. He’s been playing 10 years and won the 2013 Open Championship in Bulgaria (Pomorie). Go is “a representation of the Universe,” he says. Hobbies include reading books and extreme sports: he’s a master in martial arts (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Philippines), chess (International, Chinese, Japanese), healing arts and yoga.

Croatia: Zoran Mutabžija 5D (right) is a 69-year-old retiree. He’s been playing go for 49 years, winning the 1967 European Championship, 1st place in the 1971 European Championship, and was a first-place winner in the Croatian Championship many times. Hobbies include programming and his favorite thing about go is “Seeing places and people at tournaments.” He’s married and his children now run his web hosting company.

Czech Republic: Lukas Podpera 6D (left) is a 19-year-old student in Prague who’s been playing since he was 7 years old. His favorite thing about go is its “huge number of variations and creativity” and his hobbies include soccer, cycling and music.

Denmark: Arne Ohlenbusch 4D (right) is a 23-year-old postman in Oldenburg. He’s been playing for 10 years and his favorite thing about go is that there’s “basically no luck involved and you can use unlimited much time getting better.” Hobbies include soccer and pc games.

Finland: Juuso Nyyssönen 5D (left) is a 21-year-old student from Helsinki. He won the 2013 Finnish Championship. “Every game brings new surprises,” he says, “even though I’ve played thousands of games by now.”

France: Antoine Fenech 5D (right) is a 28-year-old mathematics teacher in Strasbourg. Titles include the 1996 and 1997 Under 12 European Youth Championship, the 2003 Under 18 European Youth Championship under 18  and the 2013 French Pair Go Championship. His favorite thing about go is “Travelling around the world and meeting people from different cultures.” Hobbies include soccer.

Ireland: John Gibson 4k (left) is a 65-year-old interior designer who lives in Dublin. He’s been playing since his early 20′s, won the 1992 Irish Handicap Championship and says that go is “Such a satisfying game. Great also for travelling and meeting new people wherever one goes.” He’s married and has three daughters, including one, Naomi, who won the Irish Ladies Go Championship in 1992 “but has not been active recently.” Hobbies include chess, Jamble, Pits, and tennis.

Italy: Niccolò Sgaravatti 2k (right) is a 24-year-old IT Developer in Padova. “This game is a constant challenge to see the reality of things,” he says. He enjoys “walking the hills, reading sages about anthropology, bronze age, biology and so on.”

Lithuania: Andrius Petrauskas 3D (left) is 39-year-old manager in Vilnius. He’s been playing since the age of 12 and has been Lithuanian champion several times. His favorite thing about go is that it’s an “Interesting, deep game.”
Tomorrow: Europe, Part 2.

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Your Move/Readers Write: Nauseating Profiles; Clarifying Calculated Mistakes

Thursday June 26, 2014

Nauseating Profiles: “Reading the journal is part of my morning routine,” writes Chris Uzal. “Most of the time it is interesting, sometimes it’s not. Can’t win them all, of course. One of your articles today crossed over into the nauseous zone. This morning’s article about “player profiles” (2014 WAGC Player Profiles: Asia 6/24 EJ) is easily among the dumbest stories I’ve ever read. You want to inspire kids to play go? Articles like this is certainly not how you do it.”
Sorry you didn’t like the profiles; our intention is simply to introduce EJ readers to the players who will be competing at the upcoming WAGC, which we’ll be covering in greater depth starting at the end of next week. Thanks for taking the time to respond!

Clarifying Calculated Mistakes: “Just a quick reply to Michael Redmond’s comments on the Chess Life article!” (Michael Redmond 9P on “Calculated Errors” 6/24 EJ) writes Ed Scimia of About Chess. “I’m a lifelong chess player, and I can clarify a couple things that Michael brought up in his commentary. His concept of ‘calculated mistakes’ does exist in chess endgames as well: it is, of course, much easier for humans to play simplifying moves to reach an endgame situation they are certain is a win than to play the ‘perfect’ line according to a computer or deep human analysis (which may be much more complex and therefore tactically dangerous). In chess, nobody would consider those “sub-optimal” moves to be errors either, as long as they clearly lead to a win. In these situations, though, a player would be said to be winning by much more than a half-pawn. That advantage is enough to say that one player’s position is slightly better, but not enough to be certain they can actually win with best play from both sides (remember that in chess, a draw is a common and natural outcome for many games). I hope that helps!”

Michael Redmond 9P on “Calculated Errors”

Tuesday June 24, 2014

“The Chess Life article (Your Move/Readers Write: ‘Catching Chess Cheaters’ 6/23 EJ) says that ‘One interesting statistic is that players make 60 percent to 90 percent more errors when half a pawn ahead or behind compared to when the game is even,’” writes Michael Redmond 9P.

“How would you compare half a pawn in chess to a point advantage in go? I don’t know how big an advantage that is for chess masters, but I think that Regan’s observation that the players’ assessment of a game position — and the assumed emotional value — is affecting their ability to think is also true of go players, but to a lesser extent, depending on how big a half pawn is.”

“The article seems to imply that while the player at a disadvantage might have reason to play a high-risk/high-reward move, the winning player must try to play the correct move always. He uses this reasoning to conclude that the players are actually making errors. I suppose that chess, being a race to kill, does not allow for calculated mistakes, but this seems to be less true of go, and could indicate a difference in the endgame stage of the two games.”

“In go, there can be calculated ‘errors’ by the player with an advantage. As a go game nears its end, the leading player can often calculate a win without playing the optimum moves. My opinion is that top go players will sometimes choose technically incorrect moves when 2.5 points ahead, a calculated choice to simplify the game. Such calculated ‘mistakes’ by the winning player are usually minor, and two to three mistakes can add up to a one point loss in actual play when compared to the correct endgame sequence. Anything more than that is probably a ‘real’ mistake.”
photo: Redmond at the 2010 WAGC; photo by John Pinkerton

2014 WAGC Player Profiles: Asia

Tuesday June 24, 2014

First in a series of profiles of players in the 35th World Amateur Go Championships, which will be held July 4-11 in Gyeongju, Korea. The American Go E-Journal will once again be teaming up with Ranka  to provide comprehensive daily coverage of this major amateur tournament featuring top players from 74 countries and territories around the world. These are the players from Asia; missing are China, Indonesia, Korea, Macau, Mongolia, Vietnam; we hope to have their profiles in a future post. 

Brunei: Ho Soon Ang 2k (right) is a 24-year-old student who’s been playing for three years. His favorite thing about go is “Meeting new play style” and hobbies include badminton and PC games.

Hong Kong: Nai San Chan 6D (left) is a 21-year-old student at the Polytechnic University of Hong Kong. He’s been playing go since he was 6 and won the HK Go Open (2005-2010, 2013) was WAGC 2nd runner up (2009) and WAGC 3rd runner up (2008,2010). His favorite thing about go is “Fighting.” Hobbies include ball games.

Indonesia: Rafif Shidqi Fitrah 4D (right) is an 11-year-old elementary school student in Bandung. He started playing at age 7and says his favorite thing about go is “Attacking each other.” He was the runner up at the 2013 Japan Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science Cup Elementary School Team Competition as part of a team consisting of Rafif and Rafif’s two little brothers, Faishal Umar and Faiz Utsman. His hobbies include reading books.

Japan: Kikou Emura 7D (left) is a 34-year-old graduate school student in Hyogo. He’s been playing since the age of four, and has won the 2006 sekaigakuseiouzasen, and the the 2012 and 2013 sekaiamaigosenshuken. He likes that “go is deep” and hobbies include mah-jongg and karaoke.

Malaysia: Suzanne D’Bel 3D (right) is a 24-year-old programmer living in Itabashi, Japan. She’s been playing since the age of 14 and says that “The broadness of the game means that go can be mixed with many interesting fields such as art and design, technologies, music, medical etc.” She also says the game is great for “Making new friends and partners!” Hobbies include traveling around to play go, crafting with electronics, mixture of art and technology, anime.

Nepal: Narendra Sowal 1D (left) is a 28-year-old small businessman in Bhaktapur. He’s been playing for 16 years and won the Nepal Go Championship in 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2014. Long term thinking is his favorite thing about go. He’s married with one son.

Singapore: Jia Cheng Tan 6D (right) is a 29-year-old engineer who’s been playing since he was 6. His favorite thing about go is “The calculation involved and requirement to play with an open mind to adapt to changes.”

Taipei: Yi-Tien Chan 7D (left) is a 21-year-old student from Changhua. He’s been playing since the age of 7 and loves the “Self challenge” of the game.

Thailand: Thanapol Tiawattananont 4D (right) is a 23-year-old student. He’s been playing since the age of 10 and says that go is “an art of life and a way of life. It’s a philosophy of life. And it makes friends all over the world!” Hobbies include soccer, table-tennis, travelling and bird-watching.

Go Classified: Seeking Japan Go Camp Attendees

Tuesday June 24, 2014

“I read about the Go Camp in Japan (Nihon Kiin Organizing Special Go Camp to Celebrate 90th Birthday 3/22 EJ) this summer,” writes Bob Barber. “I will be in Japan for a wedding, so I couldn’t actually join the Camp, but if I can fit it into my schedule, it would be interesting to hang on the sidelines and at least see some of my buddies whom I no longer see at Congress.” Anyone planning to attend can reach Barber at komoku@clear.net. The EJ is also interested in reports from the Camp; email journal@usgo.org

Categories: Go Classified
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For Sale: Treasure Chest Enigma

Tuesday June 24, 2014

With personal inscription by author Noriyuki Nakayama on flyleaf. Near new condition, 191 pages, with colorful book cover. Many remember Mr Nakayama, because of his great love for spreading understanding and communications with others around the world, about the value and beauty in go. For sale, $95 or best offer by July 15. Free shipping via priority mail within two days of payment by paypal or other agreed-upon means. Contact Ken Schatten at kschatten AT Alum DOT MIT DOT edu , or by phone at 301- 949-7855.

Categories: Go Classified
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Ali Jabarin Defeats Surma & Podpera to Become Second European Pro

Monday June 23, 2014

Israeli go champion Ali Jabarin 6d (right) has won the final knockout rounds of the European Pro Qualification Tournament at Vienna in Austria to become the second pro qualifying under the new European Go Federation (EGF) /CEGO pro system (see Pavol Lisy First European Pro – EJ, 6/1). He beat Mateusz Surma 6d of Poland then Lukáš Podpera 6d of Czechia in the two closely-fought knockout rounds comprising this third and final stage of the competition to select two pros from sixteen of Europe’s strongest amateur players. Israel, though not geographically part of Europe, is usually treated as European in international sporting contests and is an EGF member-state. The games were played at the Freie Waldorfschule Wien West on Friday June 20 as a preliminary to the Vienna International Go Tournament, which Jabarin also won, in a field of almost 100. The pro qualification tournament was overseen by Wang Runan, the President of the Chinese Weiqi Association.

The two new pros, Pavol Lisy and Ali Jabarin, will receive their certificates – at which point they officially gain professional status – at the upcoming 58th MLily-WeiqiTV European Go Congress in Sibiu, Romania next month (July 26 – August 9), where they will still be entitled to compete as amateurs. After that they will go to Beijing for another six months’ intensive training. Next year will see the first Bonus Point and Grand Slam Tournaments as well as another Pro Qualification Tournament to select a further two pros. These special tournaments are all part of a complete professional system which is detailed in the EGF/CEGO Agreement (pdf, 6.85Mb).

Click here for full details of the 2014 Pro Qualification Tournament, including results, game records and more.

Report by Tony Collman; photos: (right) Ali Jabarin in Round 5 v Mateusz Surma, courtesy of Vienna 2014 pairings/results page, (left) Chinese Weiqi Association President Wang Runan (at right) congratulates Jabarin, EGF President Martin Stiassny seen at far left, by Lorenz Trippel.

Your Move/Readers Write: ‘Catching Chess Cheaters’

Monday June 23, 2014

Chess Life recently published a fascinating article, ‘Catching Chess Cheaters’ centered on using computers and statistics to detect cheating in chess,” writes John Pinkerton. “It covers many related topics of interest to go players such as rating inflation, comparing players of different generations, the statistics of move quality, and computational complexity theory. One interesting statistic is that players make 60 percent to 90 percent more errors when half a pawn ahead or behind compared to when the game is even. It’s believed to be a cognitive effect, not the result of high-risk/high-reward play, because it’s seen in both the player ahead and the player behind.” Graphic courtesy Chess Life; cover photography by Luke Copping

The Power Report: Ida Picks Up First Win In Honinbo Title Match; Kisei Leagues; 39th Meijin League

Sunday June 22, 2014

by John Power, EJ Japan Correspondent

Ida Picks Up First Win In Honinbo Title Match:Faced with his first kadoban (a game that can lose a series) in the 69th Honinbo best-of-seven, Ida Atsushi 8P (right) fought strongly and killed a large group of his opponent, Iyama Yuta Honinbo. This keeps his chances of becoming the youngest tournament Honinbo alive, but Iyama will be doing his best to see that it’s just a consolation prize. The fourth game was played at the Olive Bay Hotel in the town of Saikai in Nagasaki Prefecture on June 18 and 19. Saikai is a ship-building center, and the Olive Bay Hotel is a luxury hotel built to accommodate customers. In the game, an invasion by Iyama, playing white, in the top right corner let Ida build strong thickness on the right side. Later, when Iyama invaded the bottom right as well, Ida countered very aggressively. With his 63rd move, he proclaimed his intention of killing White’s group. Iyama is usually an expert at rescuing weak groups, but not this time. He tried to turn the lost group into a sacrifice by aiming at a squeeze on the outside. When Ida foiled this, Iyama had to resign. The game lasted just 139 moves. This is Ida’s first win against Iyama. Avoiding the shut-out will be a big relief, while outfighting Iyama will give him confidence. Even so, the next game, scheduled for June 30 and July 1, will be another kadoban.

Kisei Leagues: Three games have been played in the 39th Kisei Leagues recently. The results are given below.
(June 12) (B League) Murakawa Daisuke (W) beat Cho Riyu8P by resig.
(June 19). (A League) Kono Rin 9P (B) beat Ichiriki Ryo 7P by resig.; (B Leagu
e) Yoda Norimoto 9P (W) beat Yuki Satoshi 9P by resig.
In the A League, Kono Rin 9P, on 2-0, has the provisional lead. In the B League, Murakawa Daisuke 7P, on the same score, has the provisional lead.

39th Meijin League: In a game played on June 19, Takao Shinji 9P (W) beat Murakawa Daisuke by resig. Takao (left) is now 3-3, so his chances of keeping his place have improved. Murakawa drops to 1-5, so he is close to losing his place. Yamashita Keigo 9P, on 6-0, is two points clear of the field.

Categories: Japan
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Melchior Chui Wins UK Go Challenge for Schools

Sunday June 22, 2014

The 2014 UK Go Challenge for Schools was won by Melchior Chui 9k of Cambridge with second and third places going to siblings Roella 12k and Edmund Smith 13k respectively, also both of Cambridge. The finals were held at Milton C of E Primary School in Milton, near Cambridge, England on Saturday June 21st, and were the culmination of heats played in schools throughout the year, each of which comprised five rounds of 13×13 go.Twenty-five youngsters took part in the finals, which are not restricted to those who have taken part in the heats. Click here for full list of winners.

The top three winners and the challenger all won cash prizes and they and all age group winners got a framed certificate showing their achievement. Click here for full format details of the competition, which started in 2004 and is organized by the British Go Association and modeled on the earlier successful UK Chess Challenge.

The traditional caption contest to put words into the mouth of the logo go stones (above) in promotional material for the year was won by Benedict Steele of Milton with the caption, “Jump ahead of the competition!”

Report by Tony Collman, British correspondent for the E-Journal. Logo courtesy of UK Go Challenge website.
Correction: The Challenge started in 2004, not 20 years ago, as originally reported.