Date: Labor Day 9/5/16
Photographer: Felice Simon felicesimon.com
Go players: Micah Feldman and Alexandra Patz
Sunday September 18, 2016
Sunday September 18, 2016
The Nihon Kiin Summer Go Camp, an intensive training program targeted at non-Japanese go players, was held from August 21st through September 3rd at the Nihon Kiin in Tokyo. Vermont go player Peter Schumer was among those attending; here’s his report.
The 2016 Nihon Ki-in Summer Go Camp was attended by around 20 go enthusiasts from all over the world, all of whom were warmly welcomed and got to participate fully in all activities. World renowned professionals including Kobayashi Koichi 9d, Ishida Yoshio 9d, O Meien 9d, and Michael Redmond 9d gave regular lectures, went over famous games, and played several simultaneous games with the attendees. Sometimes you really had to pinch yourself that you were actually there hanging out with these stars of the go world. In addition to pro instruction, the daily routine was packed with go activities, including games, problems, tournaments, social events, and sightseeing to Kamakura, Asakusa, and Yokohama.
Camp attendees had ample opportunity to play many games throughout the two weeks, participating in goodwill matches with college students, insei, and go clubs from around the city. Notably, attendees were given the unique chance to play in the Takara Shuzo Cup, the most popular amateur go tournament in Japan, which featured over 1,400 people this year.
The night before the first game of the Meijin title match, camp participants joined go legends including Cho Chikun 9d, Cho U 9d, Takemiya Masaki 9d (at right, with Schumer), Otake Hideo 9d, Iyama Yuta 9d, and Takao Shinji 9d to enjoy a lavish reception at the 5-star rated Hotel Chinzanso. The following day they were allowed to sit in the same room as the players for a few minutes during the match itself, which was truly a special honor and very exciting.
The camp featured its own league system with participants playing against one another in a double-elimination tournament. The winner, a 4-dan from Europe, was given the honor to play a 3-stone handicap game against none other than O Meien 9d, with Michael Redmond providing live commentary.
All in all the go camp was enjoyable, highly educational, and well worth it; the price of the camp was very reasonable. The camp was a first-rate experience where you can improve your go, meet wonderful people from around the world, and get to enjoy some Japanese sites and culture.
- Edited by Brian Kirby
Friday September 16, 2016
The fifth year of the Pandanet AGA City League is starting soon. Register your team before October 16th to ensure your team is able to play. Please make sure to read the latest rules for the tournament. Email Steve Colburn to register or re-register your team. Any questions can also be sent to this address.
Friday September 16, 2016
The American Go Honor Society (AGHS) is looking for volunteers. “For all you high school students out there: Are you looking for ways to promote go?” asks new Co-President Brandon Ho. “The AGHS is still looking for applicants, and you’re free to join. The AGHS runs youth tournaments like the School Team Tournament and Young Lions, and by joining, you can help us run them.” Fill out the application here 2016AGHSOfficerApp (3) and email it to email@example.com. Applications are due by September 19 and officers will be selected by September 26.
Thursday September 15, 2016
The American Go E-Journal has several openings for game recorders for the upcoming Cotsen Open, the annual go tournament sponsored by go-lover Eric Cotsen, which will be held in Los Angeles, CA October 22-23 at the Korean Cultural Center Los Angeles. Game recorders will get a chance to broadcast top boards on KGS — an excellent learning opportunity — and each will receive an E-Journal cap. Experience not required but helpful; volunteers with their own laptops (with KGS already installed) preferred. Email Chris Garlock at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
photo: at the 2015 Cotsen; photo by Chris Garlock
Thursday September 15, 2016
Cho U wins Kisei A League: So Yokoku 9P was a little unlucky in the Kisei A League. He had won six games in a row and held the lead all the way (enjoying the sole lead in the 5th and 6th rounds), but he lost his final game to Cho U 9P on September 8 (taking black, Cho won by resignation). That left them tied on 6-1, but there is no play-off in the Kisei Leagues. Cho was ranked 4th to So’s 7th, so Cho won the league. He gets a seat in the irregular knock-out tournament to decide the challenger.
Yo to challenge for Oza title: A week after the Tengen challenger was decided, another play-off between a veteran player and a new star was held and resulted in a win for the latter. On September 8, the 21-year-old Yo Seiki 7P of the Kansai Ki-in beat Takao Shinji in the play-off to decide the 64th Oza challenger. Taking white, Yo had white and secured a resignation after 190 moves. He commented that he was inspired by Ichiriki’s success. Yo had a frustrating history in play-offs, having lost to Iyama Yuta both in the Oza play-off last year and in the Judan play-off the year. As that shows, Yo played a crucial role in giving Iyama the opportunity to secure his Grand Slam. The first game of the Oza match will be played on October 17.
The Oza and Tengen challenges are perhaps signs that the post-Iyama generation is getting ready to move up. Before Iyama, the go scene was dominated by the “four stars of the Heisei era.” Of the four, Cho U and Hane Naoki haven’t
challenged for a while, but Yamashita and Takao had been doing a good job of holding back the younger players (except for Murakawa Daisuke). There could be big changes in the make-up of the tournament scene in the next few years.
Xie makes good start in Women’s Honinbo defence: The first game of the 35th Women’s Honinbo title match was held at the Kashoen, a Japanese-style inn, in Hanamaki City, Iwate Prefecture on September 13. The challenger is Fujisawa Rina 3P. Playing black, Xie (right) forced a resignation after 151 moves. The second game will be played on September 26.
To 3-dan: Fujimura Yosuke (40 wins)
Wednesday September 14, 2016
The theme of the day at the sixth Annual Emory University Chinese Student/Scholar GO Tournament had to be “Youth hands the Old Guard walking papers.”
Zhongfan Jian defeated Sooil Kim for top honors in the high Dan Division and Brandon Zhou had a strong showing defeating long time favorite Frank Luo for 3rd place. In this division Sooil Kim, Frank Luo and Eric Wang are the usual favorites but only Sooil got to the top three.
Held on Saturday, September 10 at Emory University, “It was a beautiful end-of-summer day” for the tournament, reports organizer Jeff Kerlagon. “Emory hosts a wonderful venue, and the Atlanta GO players are grateful for such a grand facility,” Kerlagon added.
In other results, Walter Langendorf topped the Kyu/Dan Division with an undefeated afternoon of 3-0 and Darrell Speck grabbed second place.
Wednesday September 14, 2016
Takao makes good start to Meijin challenge: Takao Shinji 9P has already improved on his performance in his Meijin challenge last year. The first game of the 41st title match was held at its usual venue, the Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo, on August 30 and 31. Playing black, Takao showed exemplary shinogi (living with a weak group) skills in weathering a fierce attack by Iyama Yuta Meijin. When the dust settled, he had a lead of about ten points on the board. Iyama missed his best opportunities to complicate the game and resigned after 207 moves. In view of Takao’s past record against Iyama, it’s too soon to say he has an edge, but he has certainly made the series more interesting for fans. The second game will be played on September 14 and 15.
At the party on the eve of the game, the players gave bouquets to Cho Chikun, who was the referee for the game. Having turned 60 on June 20, Cho is now entitled to use his Honorary Meijin title, though there’s a conflict with his title of 25th Honinbo Chikun. Cho said to the audience: “Wouldn’t you like to see a game to decide who’s stronger, the ordinary Meijin or the Honorary Meijin?” The audience cheered, but, needless to say, this game is not happening soon.
Ichiriki to challenge for Tengen: Ichiriki Ryo 7P has become the second teenager to challenge for one of the top seven open titles. The first was the player whom he will be challenging. The play-off to decide the challenger for the 42nd Tengen title was held at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo on September 2. Playing white, Ichiriki beat Yamashita Keigo 9P by 4.5 points.
The title match with Iyama Yuta Tengen will start on October 21. Ichiriki will be 19 years four months old when the match starts. The holder of the Tengen and all the other top-seven titles is Iyama Yuta, who challenged for the 33rd Meijin title when he was 19 years three months old. Ichiriki commented: “One of my major goals was to challenge for a title while I was still a teenager, so I’m relieved to have pulled it off.”
There is a group of up-and-coming teenagers at the moment, but Ichiriki was probably the first of them to attract attention when he won a seat in the Kisei League at the age of 16 years nine months (still a record for any league). At 17, he became the youngest player to win the King of the New Stars title and came second in the NHK Cup, and in the same year he also won an international tournament for young players, the Globis Cup. This year he entered the College of Social Studies at Waseda University. A number of university students have turned professional after doing well in university tournaments, but this is the only case I can think of of someone entering university after already establishing himself as a top player. The go writer Akiyama Kenji claimed a while back in his column in “Go Weekly” that Ichiriki was a mathematical prodigy. According to Akiyama, someone had said to Ichiriki that he was barely a quarter of the age of the player he had played that day. Ichiriki asked when the player was born, thought for a couple of seconds and then said he was exactly 24.65% (or whatever) of the player’s age. Akiyama tested him for his article, but didn’t explore the ramifications of this talent.
Women’s Meijin League: One game in the second round of the 29th Women’s Meijin League was played on September 1. Okuda Aya 3P (B) beat Aoki Kikuyo 8P, the previous challenger, by half a point. This is her second win, so Okuda shares the lead with Fujisawa Rina 3P (Aoki is 1-1 and all the other players are 0-1).
Li wins TV Asia: new star for China: The TV Asia Cup is a tournament for the TV go champions of China, Korea, and Japan. This year the 28th Cup was hosted by Japan and held at the New Otani Hotel in Tokyo from September 2 to 4. Unfortunately, for the host country, its representatives were eliminated on the first day, so the tournament became Korea vs. China. Korea probably was the favorite, as it fielded the world’s number, Park Junghwan, and this century’s number one, Lee Sedol (seeded as last year’s winner). However, it was two teenagers who made it to the final: Shin Jinseo 6P of Korea and Li Qincheng 2P of China. The seventeen-year-old Li beat the 16-year-old Shin and became the youngest player to win this title. He also won the junior tournament, the 3rd Globis Cup, this year, so this is his second international title. His win earned him promotion to 9-dan. That may be a new record for the youngest 9-dan (Ke Jie became 9-dan at the age of 18 last year). Results follow:
(Sept. 2) (Round 1) Li (B) beat Cho U 9P (Japan by resig.; Park Junghwan 9P (Korea) (b) beat Terayama Rei 4P (Japan) by resig.; Shin (B) beat Mi Yuting 9P (China) by resig.
(Sept. 3) (Round 2) Li (B) beat Yi Sedol 9P (Korea) by resig.; Shin (W) beat Park by resig.
(Sept. 4) (final) Li (B) beat Shin by resig.
Honinbo League places: We have already reported that Ko Iso and Yuki Satoshi have won places in the upcoming 72nd Honinbo League. They will be joined by Hane Naoki 9P and Mitani Tetsuya 7P. Hane (W) beat Murakawa Daisuke 8P by resig. on September 5; Mitani (B) beat Shibano Toramaru 2P by resig. on September 8. Mitani will be making
his debut in the league. If the 16-year-old Shibano had won their game, he would have set a new record for winning a league place just two years after becoming a professional.
Tomorrow: Cho U wins Kisei A League; Yo to challenge for Oza title; Xie makes good start in Women’s Honinbo defence
Tuesday September 13, 2016
Buzzfeed’s “10 Awesome Board Games”: Go made Buzzfeed’s list of “10 Awesome Board Games You Probably Haven’t Heard Of” back in 2012. It came in at #6, behind Eureka, The Settlers of Catan, Dominion, Diplomacy and Say Anything, but it did beat out Agricola, Wits & Wagers, Puerto Rico and Betrayal at House on the Hill. “While ‘Go’ is, in essence, two players just taking turns laying stones on a grid,” says BuzzFeed, the level of depth to the game is actually astounding.
photo: Luis de Bethencourt / CC BY http://2.0 / Flickr: luisbg; thanks to Joshua Guarino for passing this along.
Bananya: In the current season of the anime series “Bananya,” the main character is seen watching TV during Episode 3 with one of the channels being a televised go game, reports Grant Farmer. “Bananya watches the game for about 12 seconds and, as a cat who lives in a banana, does not understand the game,” says Farmer. “The nature documentary style narrator of Bananya asserts it was a good move, but admits to not actually knowing.”
Monday September 12, 2016
DeepMind has just published extensive new commentaries on the historic AlphaGo-Lee Sedol match, played earlier this year in Seoul. Fan Hui 2P, who first faced AlphaGo in October 2015, has teamed up with Gu Li 9p and Zhou Ruiyang 9p to conduct “exhaustive analysis” not only of the five games between AlphaGo and Lee Sedol, but of three games AlphaGo played against itself shortly before the match. The commentaries provide both analysis of the moves as well as insight into AlphaGo — and its team — behind the scenes, including the AI’s realtime assessments and tidbits such as “it is clear from AlphaGo’s data that it prefers White.” For anyone who watched the games in March, these commentaries provide a fascinating opportunity to see them with a fresh eye.
“We found its ideas both exciting and inspiring, and it became clear to us that AlphaGo represents not only a scientific and technological advancement, but also a milestone in human understanding of Go,” says Fan. “Unconstrained by human biases, and free to experiment with radical new approaches, AlphaGo has demonstrated great open-mindedness and invigorated the game with creative new strategies…AlphaGo has created a unique and extremely powerful approach to the game of Go.
Noting that “no one strategy can guarantee a player’s success,” Fan adds that “learning from these games is sure to have a positive, enlightening impact on one’s Go strength and style.”
- Chris Garlock. With Michael Redmond 9P, Garlock co-hosted DeepMind’s English game commentaries on the AlphaGo-Lee Sedol match.