A brand new go server — go9dan.com — is launching with a bang, with ten of the world’s top professionals set to play for $100,000 in prizes in the World Go League Invitational. Also, in order to encourage the American Go Association’s new pro system, Lee Sedol will play a ten-game series against the two new U.S. professionals, Andy Liu and Gansheng Shi.
The new browser-based online go platform “aims to bring global go enthusiasts of all skill levels together,” Michael Simon tells the E-Journal. Simon is CFO and Head of English Activities for 82 Limited, an online game company based in Hong Kong and San Francisco that’s operating the new server, which is set to launch its beta version on Sunday, December 16 (at 00:01 PST, 03:01 EST).
“I’m sure a lot of American players and enthusiasts are going to be excited to watch this series,” says American Go Association President Andy Okun, “I know I am. We’re very grateful to go9dan and Lee Sedol for arranging such a cool contest.”
The league will run from the end of January to April, and includes Lee Sedol, Lee Changho, Kong Jie, Xie He, Chen Yaoye, Park Junghwan, Kim Jisuk, Park Younghoon and Shi Yue. The 10-game series between Lee Sedol and the new American professionals will run one game per week beginning in January; if the U.S. team is at black or better at the end of the series, they will win $1,000 apiece.
The new server’s features include the ability to observe and play multiple games, a teaching game auction, rated and unrated tournaments, and the opportunity to play against professional world go champions. There will be no need to download a client in order to play, and no limit to the number of players allowed on the server.
Beta launch will be in English and Korean on December 16, with full launch in Chinese and Japanese added on January 20. Members who sign up early will be eligible for events and promotions, including free memberships and virtual currency.