American Go E-Journal

UK Preview: 3rd Isle of Skye Tournament This Weekend

Thursday March 13, 2014

One of the most beautiful and romantic UK tournament locations must surely be the Isle of Skye in Scotland’s Western Highlands, which this weekend, March 15-16, hosts the 3rd edition of its two-yearly tournament (alternating with the two-yearly Isle of Man Go Week). Despite its remoteness from most of the UK, 30 have already registered including Britain’s strongest native player, Matthew Macfadyen 6d, who rarely competes these days but who also entered – and won – the first two Skye tournaments.

Although the island’s economy was formerly dominated by crofting, these days tourism is its key money-spinner. Tournament organizer Carel Goodheir tells us that, for reasons which are not entirely clear, about 6,000 Chinese visit every year now, which is approximately twice the population of the largest settlement, Portree, where the tourney is held. So far none of them have entered but he hopes to find a way to bring the tourney to their attention in the future.

Forty years ago, when Goodheir first moved to the island, he estimates about 80% of the inhabitants  spoke the Scottish Gaelic as their main language, but nowadays less than 40% can speak it. Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, a public higher education college in Sleat, Skye, is the world’s only educational establishment using Scottish Gaelic as the medium of instruction. If you’ve never heard the language – which in 2000AD also had about 1600 speakers in the US, and  currently has over 2300 in Canada – check out this short (2′ 15″) BBC Alba (Gaelic service) TV report on the 1st Skye tourney in 2010, featuring Neil Mitchison explaining the game in Gaelic, and believed to be the only BBC coverage to date of a go tournament. The clip opens with co-organizer John Macdonald at the board playing Aideen O’Malley, a director of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig.

Click here for full tournament details

Report by Tony Collman, British correspondent for the E-Journal. Photo: Carel Goodheir mooring his boat at Portree with Honey the dog,  Old Man of Storr in background, by Ruth Goodheir

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Choi Cheolhan Conquers Nemesis Chen Yaoye in Jingdezhen Exhibition

Thursday March 13, 2014

The third annual Jingdezhen exhibition match finished on March 9 with Choi Cheolhan 9p finally victorious over long-time rival Chen Yaoye 9p. Establishing territory was tedious but the game remained relatively even up to move 134. However, both Chen (black) and Choi (white) began to stumble shortly after, making a series of mistakes until Choi secured the winning move at 182. They played a perfect endgame and Chen never had a chance to recover.

Before this game, Chen had won over twice as many games as Choi in their individual matches (10-4). From 2007 through 2012 alone, Chen defeated Choi in 8 consecutive games. Choi’s record since 2013, though, has been comeback material. Since 2013, Chen and Choi’s head to head record (including this game) is 3-1 in Choi’s favor.

Also known as the Tianxin Pharmaceutical Cup, the first Jingdezhen match was played in 2012 in its title city Jindgezhen (located in China’s Jiangxi province). The winner’s prize is 150,000 RMB (approx. 24.5k USD) and the runner up claims 100,000 RMB (approx. 16k USD). For more information about this year’s Jingdezhen exhibition match including photos, please visit Go Game Guru.
— Annalia Linnan, based on a longer article by Go Game Guru; photo and game record courtesy of Go Game Guru

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EuroGoTV Update: United Kingdom, Turkey, Serbia

Thursday March 13, 2014

UK: The Trigantius tournament finished in Cambridge on March 9 with Jon Diamond 4d in first, William Brooks 3d in second, and Toby Manning 3d in third. Turkey: Hulya Colak 4k lead the 2014 Turkish Women’s Championship in Ankara on March 8. Behind her were Sebnem Gurbuzel 4k in second and Evren Bicakci 5k in third. (Photo: Gozde Taskin 5k, place 7 of 19.) Serbia: Also on March 8, Zoran Jankovic 4d dominated the Radnicki Club Tournament in Kragujevac while Mihailo Jacimovic 1k came in second and Dragan Stojadinovic 8k placed third.
– Annalia Linnan,  based on reports from EuroGoTV, which include complete result tables and all the latest European go news; photo courtesy of EuroGoTV

Go Spotting: Teen Wolf Features Go Again

Wednesday March 12, 2014

MTV drama Teen Wolf again wove go into the latest episode, making two weeks in a row where the game has been featured prominently. Co-star Dylan O’Brien, as Stiles Stilinski, has been possessed by a dark fox spirit, the Nogitsune, who is controlling his mind and body.  Go is alluded to about twelve minutes in, when two werewolves are discussing strategy.  One is trying to use a chess board to figure out what Stiles would do, but the older werewolf observes “Chess is Stiles’ game, it’s not the game of a Japanese fox”.  Later, using psychic werewolf powers, Stiles’ friends are able to enter his mind, where they find him engaged in a game of go with the Nogitsune.  Like all good go players, he is immersed in the game, and deaf to the cries of his friends. It appears that while his mind is trapped in the go game, the Nogitsune has complete control of his body.  We see the board from multiple angles, with Stiles playing white.  Unfortunately, the only move he makes on the board is an empty triangle, although the board position is at least reasonable.  The spell is broken when Tyler Posey, as Scott McCall, transforms into a werewolf and his howl gets through to Stiles.  Suddenly realizing what is going on, Stiles looks up at the Nogitsune, and then sweeps all the stones off the board.  Just as well, nothing good would have come from that empty triangle anyway.  The go match appears at the 35 minute mark, and the entire episode can be viewed on the MTV website here. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Photo from the MTV website.

Categories: Go Spotting,Youth
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Go Classified: Players Wanted in Vancouver, WA

Tuesday March 11, 2014

Austin Freeman 2k, is looking for players in the Vancouver, WA, area. “I want to be able to play others in person instead of only over the computer, and I know there are others that feel like this too,” says Freeman. Interested parties can contact Freeman at his e-mail: austinjfreeman@live.com , or on KGS, where he plays as AffyTaffyC.

Categories: Go Classified
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Northern California Yilun Yang Workshop April 5th and 6th

Monday March 10, 2014

Popular go teacher Yilun Yang 7P will teach a two-day weekend workshop in Berkeley, California on April 5th and 6th. Author of many go books including Whole Board Thinking in Joseki and Fundamental Principles of Go, Mr. Yang is also a regular participant in the U.S. Go Congress, Cotsen Open, and other major go events.

The workshop is open to go players of all strengths; Mr. Yang’s unique teaching format enables students at all levels to get a lot out of the workshop. Mr. Yang will present a series of lectures addressing such topics as how to fight, when to invade versus reduce, how to determine the biggest point in the opening, how to handle crosscuts and many other situations that occur in every game you play. These algorithmic approaches are integrated with games, game analysis, and problem-solving sessions.

More information is available on the Bay Area Go website. Register early as capacity is limited, and advanced registration is required. Photo by Lisa Schrag.

Categories: U.S./North America
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Second Spring Go Expo Set for MIT

Sunday March 9, 2014

The American Collegiate Go Association (ACGA) — in conjunction with the Ing Foundation — is hosting its second annual Spring Go Expo on March 29 at MIT in Cambridge, MA, featuring simuls with professional go players. “Events include go variants and a brief history of go outreach around the world,” reports organizer Cole Pruitt, as well as “donation of several unique Ing Foundation-commissioned ‘trick boards’ to US universities, simuls before and after lunch, and a 2-3 person simul with Chang Hao 9P against American mid-dans with live commentary.” In addition to former world champion Chang Hao 9P, Hwa Xueming 7P and US pro Andy Liu 1P will be on hand, along with a delegation from China. “And as a special bonus, everyone who pre-registers  will receive a fan signed by Chang Hao 9P upon their arrival at the Expo!” Pruitt adds/ “We still have slots available for the simul, so if anyone is interested in playing a serious game against Chang Hao, they can contact us for more info.” Lunch will be provided, and the entire event is free of charge.
Read about the first Expo here: “Something For Everyone” at First Spring Go Expo 3/27/2013 EJ
photo: Chang Hao 9P (left) with ACGA co-founder Mike Fodera, one of the Expo’s main coordinators  

Categories: U.S./North America
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Podpera Takes Top Prize at European Youth Go Championships

Sunday March 9, 2014

Lukas Podpera 6d (left) of the Czech Republic won the Under-20 division of the 19th European Youth Go Championship (EYGC) held in Bognor Regis, England Feb 28 – Mar 3, thereby securing himself a place in the GLOBIS Cup World Youth Go Championship to be held in Japan on 8 – 11 May 2014 (see Nihon Ki-in Announces New Under-20 World Tourney, EJ 11/30). Jonas Welticke 4d of Germany was runner-up and Frenchman Tanguy LeCalve 5d took third place. In the Under-16s, the top three places went to Alexandru-Petre Pitrop 2d of Romania and Russians Grigorij Fiorin 4d and Viacheslav Kaymin 3d, in that order, and the Under-12 category was won by the only dan player in his age group, Spaniard Oscar Vazquez 2d, with Denis Dobranis 2k of Romania runner-up. 89 took part in all. Click here for full results. Click here also for the results of the pair-go and doubles, held on the Sunday evening, March 2.

The events were organised on behalf of the British Go Association (BGA) by – mainly – Toby Manning, Tony Atkins and Sue Paterson,  and ran alongside the British Go Congress (see Double Victory for Cornel Burzo at British Go Congress, 3/3 EJ) at the Butlins Holiday Park, where competitors had full access to the many facilities and entertainments available for youngsters there. Japanese professionals Minematsu Masaki 6P and Kobayashi Chizu 5P (right) were in residence throughout, teaching and reviewing games. Kobayashi told the EJ she was impressed by the talent of the young Europeans, but stressed that to reach the highest levels it will be important for them to get good professional tuition, the earlier the better.

Click here for the BGA’s EYGC blog, including Tony Atkins’ memoir of the event, and here for their picture gallery.

Report by Tony Collman, British correspondent for the E-Journal. Photos courtesy of the British Go Association: Lukas Podpera proudly displays his trophy and national flag alongside Kobayashi Chizu; pro guests Minematsu Masaki 6P (left of photo) and Kobayashi Chizu 5p take time out by the sea.

Bitcoin.io: A New Server With Unique Prizes

Sunday March 9, 2014

What do you get when you cross the world’s oldest game with the newest form of currency? A bitcoin go tournament, such as the ones being organized online every week at Bitcoingo.io. “Bitcoins are an ideal currency for an international game like go,” founder Steven Pine told the EJ.  “It allows students and teachers to connect and transact without concern for currency exchanges or waiting on a check or wire transfer to clear. The same is true for tournaments. I think the currency has lots of potential to transform the go community in many positive ways.”

Anyone can sign up, enter a tournament and begin playing on Bitcoin’s own Python/mySQL-based server. Komi is 6.5 points, and each player starts with 15 minutes; there are five 30-second overtime periods. Territory counting is used but no full rule set has been formally adopted. A tournament win earns the victor at least one point, depending on how many points their opponent has. A new tournaments starts, and the old one finishes, at midnight each Saturday. The self-paired “most points” format favors active competitors, so if you plan to play to win, you may need a comfy chair. The winner of the February 10 tournament had 78 points.

Bitcoins are notoriously unstable – last week it was discovered that as much as 5% of the total bitcoin money supply had been stolen from a prominent exchange without detection several years ago; the exchange declared bankruptcy. (NY Times 2/25/14) If you plan to convert your winnings to real-world money you may face a challenge. The weekly pot has been 6,000,000 “satoshis” but before you start planning your retirement, you should know that it breaks down to about $40 depending on the bitcoin’s daily value relative to the USD. (On 3/1/14 one bitcoin was valued at $556.85 on Coindesk, which monitors exchanges, down more than ten percent from just ten days before.) “Although the ‘satoshi’ – the smallest fraction of a bitcoin that can be transacted, currently .00000001th of a bit coin —  is not well-known, we decided to use it as a base unit to drive home the point that bitcoins are easily divisible and can facilitate micro payments,” Pine said. “Some services talk about ‘millibits,’ but we thought it would be more fun for people to win like 1,000,000 satoshis.” Pine and cofounder Jonathan Hales are underwriting the prizes themselves, hoping that tournament and teaching fees will make the site revenue positive.

If you check it out, bear in mind that it’s a work in progress.  Traffic is very low; a private room on an established server would probably bring in more users. But if you enjoy checking out new servers, Steven and Jonathan will appreciate your visit!
- Roy Laird 

Tournament Boosts Membership

Sunday March 9, 2014

In “a nice little follow-up” to the recent New Jersey Open, organizer Rick Mott reports that “We got 22 new members and 34 renewals, for a total of 56 memberships out of 135 total attendees.” Of those, Mott notes that “almost half – 26 — were youth memberships.”
photo by John Pinkerton 

Categories: U.S./North America
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