American Go E-Journal

The Power Report (1): Iyama defends Judan title; Gosei Play-off; Shin wins 4th Globis Cup

Monday May 8, 2017

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal2017.05.08_Judan4 Yo

Iyama defends Judan title: The fourth game of the 55th Judan title match was played at the Kansai Headquarters of the Nihon Ki-in in Kita Ward, Osaka on April. 21. This is the home ground of the defending champion, Iyama Yuta. After some fierce 2017.05.08_Judan Iyama Yomiddle-game fighting, the game was expected by observers to be decided in the endgame, but the challenger, Yo Seiki (right), made an oversight, so he had to resign after 196 moves. With move 99, Yo plunged into a capturing race that he couldn’t win. He pulled out of it when he realized his mistake, but the damage was already done. He played on, but his efforts to stage an upset were unavailing. That gave Iyama a lead of 3-1, so he won the match. He defended the Judan title that had earned him his grand slam last year and also maintained his sextuple crown. This is his fourth Judan title overall and his 43rd title. The Judan prize is 7,000,000 yen. Incidentally, there was no party on the eve of the fourth game, which is a little unusual. The idea was to help the players concentrate on the contest.

Gosei Play-off: Motoki Katsuya 8P (left) will begin his challenge to Iyama Yuta for the Honinbo title on May 9. In the meantime, he has reached the play-off to decide the challenger to Iyama for the Gosei title, which shows that his Honinbo success is no fluke. This is the first time Motoki has reached2017.05.08_Motoki wins league the final, but his opponent is Yamashita Keigo 9P, who has played in seven Gosei play-offs and won four of them (he has won the title once, back in 2000). Results of the semifinals:
(April 17) Yamashita Keigo 9P (W) beat Ichiriki Ryo by resig.
(April 20) Motoki Katsuya 8P (B) beat O Rissei 9P by resig.
Incidentally, Motoki and Yamashita will also run into each other in the quarterfinals of the Tengen tournament.

Shin wins 4th Globis Cup: The 4th Globis Cup was held on the Tokyo campus of the main sponsor, the Globis Graduate School of Management, from April 21 to 23. It featured an all-Korean final, so it was certain that Korea would pick up its first win in this international tournament for teenaged players. The full name is the 4th Globis Cup World Go U-20 (players need to be under 20 as of 1 January). In the final, held on April 23, Shin Jinseo 7P (W) beat Byeon Sangil 5P by resignation after 250 moves. First prize is 3,000,000 yen. This result was another disappointment for the home team, which had got two players to the final in the inaugural tournament (Ichiriki Ryo beat Kyo Kagen), but it was some consolation to see Ichiriki take third place and the new young star Shibano Toramaru come fourth. The first stage of this tournament is four mini-leagues, in which two wins take you to the quarterfinals and two losses eliminate you. Full results are given below.
Group League Round 1 (April 21). Xie Erhao 4P (China) (W) beat Ichiriki Ryo 7P by resig.; Byeon Sangil 5P (Korea) (W) beat Kyo Kagen 4P (Japan) by resig.; Gu Jihao 5P (China) (B) beat Yo Chito 4P (Japan); Shin Jinseo (W) beat Mutsuura Yuta 3P (Japan) by resig.; Shibano Toramaru 3P (Japan) (W) beat Jian Jingting 2P (Chinese Taipei) by resig.; Zhang Ruijie 2P (Cho Zuiketsu, Japan) (B) beat Willis Huang 7D (USA) by resig.; Huang Yunsong 6P (China) beat Jie Hui Kwa 7D (Singapore); Shin Minjun 5P (Korea) (W) beat Viacheslav Kaymin 7D (Russia) by resig.
Group League Round 2 (April 21). Ichiriki (W) beat Huang by resig.; Jian (B) beat Kyo by resig.; Yo (B) beat Kaymin by resig.; Mutsuura (W) beat Kwa by resig.; Byeon (B) beat Shibano by resig.; Xie (B) beat Zhang by resig.; Huang (W)
beat Shin Jinseo by resig.; Gu (B) beat Shin Minjun by resig.
Group League (Round 3) (April 22) Ichiriki (W) beat Zhang by resig.; Yo (B) beat Shin Minjun by resig.; Shibano (B) beat Jian by resig.; Shin Jinseo (W) beat Mutsuura by resig.
Quarterfinals (April 22). Ichiriki (B) beat Huang by resig.; Shibano (B) beat Gu Jihao by 3.5 points; Byeon (B) beat Yo by resig.; Shin (W) beat Xie on time.
Semifinals (April 23). Byeon (B) beat Ichiriki by resig.; Shin (B) beat Shibano by resig.
Play-off for 3rd (April 23) Ichiriki (W) beat Shibano by resig.
The second and third tournaments were won by Chinese players. Ironically, the three Chinese representatives this year all qualified immediately for the quarterfinals with two straight wins, but were all eliminated in this round. This
was the first time that Japan got three players into the quarterfinals.

Tomorrow: Cao wins World Go Legends; Cho Chikun first to 1500 wins

Categories: John Power Report

Nominations open for 2017 AGA Board elections

Sunday May 7, 2017

This year three American Go Association (AGA) regional Board of Director seats are in play for the Eastern, Western, Central regions. The current terms of office expire this September. If you know of someone who you believe would offer guidance and service to the AGA consider making a nomination. Nominations, including self-nominations may be made by full members for the region in which the member resides and must be received by June 15, 2017. Nominations and questions must be emailed to Click here for complete election information and qualifications.
Categories: U.S./North America

AGA Master Review Series, Game 35: Master [W] vs. Jiang Weijie 9p [B]

Saturday May 6, 2017

“The new moves that Master plays are often hard to understand, but Master makes them work,” says Michael Redmond 9p in this video commentary, hosted by 2017.05.06_AGA Master Review Series, Game 35Chris Garlock of the AGA E-Journal, of the thirty-fifth game of Master (AlphaGo). In this game, Master plays white against Jiang Weijie 9p. “In this analysis I attempt to explain two unusual corner sequences.” Jiang Weijie won the LG cup in 2012, after taking several Chinese titles.


Shubert hands KGS over to new management

Wednesday May 3, 2017

KGS founder Bill Shubert has handed over management of KGS — the largest Western-based international go server in the2017.05.03_kgs world — to a new team. “Building and running KGS was incredibly exciting, and I’m very proud of how popular it is and how many people enjoy and use it every day,” said Shubert in a recent post. “But in recent years I haven’t been able to give KGS the attention and effort that it deserves. I’m thrilled that the AGF and the new KGS management team are ready to take it over! With their resources and skills we can all expect great changes for KGS.” The American Go Foundation has assumed stewardship of the server, and, according to the post, plans to stabilize it financially and support the upgrades needed to make KGS even more accessible and more usable to the go world.

“We’d like to thank Bill for his contribution to the game of Go and the Go community in the years he’s dedicated to this service,” said the KGS admin team, comprised of head Administrator Akane Negishi (KGS sweety), Lee Schumacher (KGS lelliot), who will handle KGS operations and Oren Laskin (KGS oren), who will focus on development. “We hope to continue to uphold his high standards and continue to make KGS the best go server.”

“This is a big moyo move for the AGF.” said AGF President Terry Benson. “To reach more kids and more players we need to build the community of online players into a force to spread the game.”

Categories: U.S./North America

Cuban Mind Sports Conference gets underway

Wednesday May 3, 2017

by Roy Laird
The first Cuban Mind Sports Conference got underway today (Wednesday) in Camaguey, the island’s second largest city, at the Santa Cecilia Conference Center in the Plaza de los Trabadores under the auspices of the University of Camaguey. Under the watchful gaze of several images of Che Guevara, seventy or so participants assembled for the kickoff. Dr. 2017.05.04_cuba-lairdLazaro Bueno, the principal organizer, introduced Thomas Hsiang, the Executive Director of the International Mind Sports Association (IMSA), which helped to sponsor the event. Dr. Hsiang explained the rigorous criteria for admission to IMSA, and reviewed recent developments such as the University-Industry Cooperative Program, through which anyone who achieves dan level in go is guaranteed a job. The university, where the program began, now partners with more than 30 local businesses. After a brief discussion of Chinese go, Dr. Hugo Beltre spoke about various orthopedic injuries he has treated in many mind sports competitors, possibly the first such presentation at a mind sports conference. After a lunch break, the afternoon was devoted to a Cuban – American informal friendship matchup, and a demonstration of contract bridge.
To this observer, Cuba seems to be a remarkably friendly and welcoming place. I am staying at a “Casa Familiar,” a very picturesque small hotel with seven rooms, a rooftop bar, and its own restaurant. Prices are almost embarrassingly low. My lovely room is only $40 per night, and I found a decent slice of pizza for about $.25. At the same time, there are surprising challenges. No Internet, and some wireless phone plans do not work here. You have to purchase a card and be in the right place to use it. But that adds to the charm – no Internet dishes, no cell towers, and forget about any chain restaurant you have ever heard of. There are two separate currencies, with similar denominations, but one is worth 25 times the other, so keeping them straight is important. Fortunately, the unfailingly honest and helpful Camagueyans were always eager to help. The streets, often barely wide enough for one car, twist and wind through the city, but the downtown area is small and easy to learn. Street traffic includes bicycles, pedicabs, horse-drawn carts, and a few cars now and then, many of them vintage autos from the 1950s. On a nighttime walk, I felt quite safe. Many buildings that seemed abandoned during the day turned out to be occupied, and the residents had thrown their doors and windows wide open. In many cases they could have reached out and shaken my hand as I passed without getting up. A group of perhaps 50 people had gathered in a side street, listening quietly as a middle-aged woman spoke passionately to them. When I passed by later on my way home, they were still there.
The conference continues tomorrow and Friday, and appears to be a harbinger of great things to come, in Camaguey and perhaps throughout Cuba. Dr. Bueno told us that the university plans to begin a serious program of research into the benefits of competitive games. Considering Cuba’s prominence in the world of chess, it seems likely that we can expect great things from our neighbor to the south. The next time there’s an event in Cuba, sign up if you can!

Categories: Latin America

AGA Master Review Series, Games 29 and 50

Wednesday May 3, 2017

Game 29: Jennie Shen 2p, hosted by Andrew Jackson, translates Meng Tailing 6p’s commentary and adds her own analysis2017.05.03_AGA Master Review Series, Game 29 Master of Master’s (AlphaGo) 29th game. In this game, Master plays white against Mi Yuting 9p. Click here for the video.

Game 50: Michael Redmond 9P, hosted by American Go E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock, takes a look at another Ke Jie-Master game. In this game, Redmond says, “Ke Jie tries Master’s moves on the AI: up to Black 13, this is actually the same fuseki as in Game 20, with Master as Black and Park Junghwan as White. Ke Jie plays Master’s moves with Black, maybe to see how Master is going to handle it.” Click here for the video.


4th Mind Sports Championship to be held this August

Tuesday May 2, 2017

The Qatari Tourism Authority and the Mind Sports Academy will co-host the 4th Mind Sports Championship this August in 2017.05.02_qatar-mindsportsDoha, Qatar, writes Michael Fodera. In addition to go, the event features scrabble, chess, and E-sports.

The go portion of the event has a similar structure to the US and European Go Congresses, including a week-long main tournament from 9a to 1p each day, with a break in the middle of the week for a 3-round Diehard Tournament. Pro workshops, lectures, and simultaneous games are held in the afternoons, with evening activities featuring a 9×9, 13×13, blitz, and pair go tournaments. An Awards Ceremony will be held at the end of the tournament, featuring over $40,000 in cash and prizes. Click here for a full schedule and registration details.
“If you’re a diehard go player, a fan of a variety of Mind Sports, or even just looking for a new travel destination, this event has you covered,” says Fodera. For questions about the event, contact Fodera at
Categories: World

Eric Lui 1P wins first National Go Center tournament

Sunday April 30, 2017

Eric Lui 1P swept the first tournament held at the brand-new National Go Center in Washington, DC. The Cherry Blossom2017.04.30_Lui-Chen-mr-dan Festival Go Tournament was held on Saturday, April 29, with a field of 48 comfortably breaking in the new Center, which just opened Friday. “Everyone played well,” Lui said, “especially Jiang Xinying in the second round, who I had a lot of trouble with; she played very tough.” The final round against Zhaonian Chen was also an exciting match, with a rapid flurry of complicated moves at the end as Lui’s overtime periods steadily slipped away but in the end Chen came up short on points and had to resign, leaving Lui with a perfect 4-0 record. The Board 1 games were all broadcast live on KGS and the last two games were streamed on the AGA’s Facebook page.
photo: Mr Dan from the Nihon Kiin watches final at National Go Center between Eric Lui (right) and Zhaonian (Michael) Chen; photo by Chris Garlock

Winner’s Report
First place: Eric Lui, 1P, 4-0; Qingbo Zhang, 5D, 3-1; Yanqing Sun, 3D, 3-1; Quinn Baranowski, 1D, 4-0; Isaac Weiner, 2K, 3-1; Anderson Barreal, 7K, 4-0; Brandon Sloan, 8K, 4-0; Lewis Reining, 13K, 2-2

Second place: Zhaonian Chen, 7D*, 3-1; James Pinkerton, 5D, 3-1; Benjamin Armitage, 2D, 2-2; Nathan Epstein, 1D, 2-2; Jiayang Su, 1K, 2-2; Zhao Zhao, 5K and Patrick Sun, 5K, 2-2 (tie); Joon Lee, 10K, 2-2; Dennis Ting, 16K, 2-2

* (AGA policy is that top amateur rank is 7D, consistent with international practice, even if the AGA rating is 8D). Note that NOT present at the award presentation were: Zhaonian Chen, Jiayang Su, Lewis Reining, and Dennis Ting.


2017 Cherry Blossom Round 1: Chou-Chen

2017 Cherry Blossom Round 2: Chen-Huang

2017 Cherry Blossom Round 3: Huang-Lui

2017 Cherry Blossom Round 4: Lui-Chen

Categories: U.S./North America

AGA Master Review Series, Game 33: Gu Li 9p [W] vs. Master [B]

Sunday April 30, 2017

“This game against Gu Li features 3 of Master’s favorite moves, Black 5, 7, and 11,” says Michael Redmond 9P in his latest commentary with American Go E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock. “While playing opening moves that seem to 2017.04.30_AGA Master Review Series, Game 33indicate a big moyo strategy, Master doesn’t seem to be trying to surround, but goes more for control of the flow of play.”


National Go Center opens “a very good place to play go”

Friday April 28, 2017

The new National Go Center opened Friday in Washington DC with an afternoon event featuring a ribbon-cutting and speeches by 2017.04.28_ngc-ribbondignitaries from as far away as Japan and as near as Northwest DC. Festivities continue today with a tournament starting at 9a (be there by 8:30 to register; follow the Board 1 action live on KGS) and then at 7p tonight a Member’s Access event that includes pianist Haskell Small and another pianist performing Small’s “A Game of Go,” an original composition inspired by a famous game by the legendary Shusaku. Michael Redmond and Chris Garlock will then do a commentary on one of the new games by Master/AlphaGo reprising their roles as commentators on the historic AlphaGo match a year ago. 

Center Executive Director Gurujeet Khalsa welcomed the assemblage and American Go Association president Andy Okun called the opening — attended by a full house — “very heartening” and said that “it’s clear that DC has risen to the challenge of building a community and a sustainable institution.” The Go Center, Okun declared, “is going to be e very good place to play go.”

American Go Foundation — and former AGA president — Terry Benson reminded the attentive audience of the long history of Japanese support for American go, noting that “JAL sponsored our first US Championship,” and that Japan’s Go Review was the primary source of go news and instruction in the 1960′s. He also pointed out that “the first U.S. Go Congress was held not far from here and was 2017.04.28_ngc-scrollorganized by some of the same folks who have now helped found this National Go Center.” Benson showed a go fan autographed with “strong heart” by Kajiwara and, choking up slightly, said that “go is not just a game for us, it’s something that can be so much more. The Go Center will be a crossroads for the world and that’s just what Iwamoto would have wanted.”

Nihon Ki-in chairman Hiroaki Dan (right, in photo at left, with Khalsa) — who flew in from Japan just for the opening — and Iwamoto North American Foundation Executive Director Thomas Hsiang (via recorded message) offered their hearty congratulations on the Center’s opening and wished the organizers well. Mr Dan noted that the Nihon Ki-In “is over 90 years old but go has been played in Japan for over 1,000 years and our goal is to help spread it throughout the world.” Also speaking were Mark Hitzig, Executive Director of the Japan-American Society of Washington and the Japan’s Deputy Chief of Mission Atsuyuki Oike, who said that “The go board is a universe of the entire world.”

After officially opening the Center with a ribbon-cutting, everyone headed up to the American Film Institute’s Silver Theatre in Silver Spring for a special private screening of the brand-new documentary “AlphaGo,” fresh from its world premiere last Friday at the Tribeca Film festival in New York City, after which many of the players, energized by the epic 2016 Lee Sedol-AlphaGo match, headed back to the NGC to play go.
- report/photos by Chris Garlock


Categories: U.S./North America