American Go E-Journal

2012 WAGC Round 5 Game Records

Tuesday May 15, 2012

DPRK-Korea (Commentary by So Yokoku 8P)UK-US (Commentary by So Yokoku 8P); Taipei-China (commentary by Yang  Shuang 3P); Czechia-Japan
On Board 2, China’s Qiao Zhijian chose a variation of the Dosaku opening and played his first ten moves in less than one second each, quickly constructing a huge black framework in the bottom half of the board…Click here for Ranka Online’s complete Round 5 report

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WAGC Short Takes: Yuan Zhou on Tygem & the U.S. Pro System; Nihon Ki-in Teams up with Cho U on New Go App; In the Gardens of the Guangzhou Chess Institute; A Glimpse of James Davies

Tuesday May 15, 2012

Yuan Zhou on Tygem & the U.S. Pro System: Yuan Zhou 7d warmed up for his World Amateur Go Championship appearance by playing on the Tygem server, where he told the E-Journal that “It was very easy and fast to get good games.” Heading into his fifth-round game against the UK’s Samuel Aitkin 4d, Zhou said he was pleased with his 3-1 record thus far, noting that his fourth-round win against Seizoh Nakazono 8d was the first time in WAGC history that the US had prevailed over Japan. He’s excited about the new American pro system now in development and looking forward to competing in the pro qualifier at the Maryland Open at the end of the month. “It’s so important for the future of American go,” Zhou said, “it will give hope to young American players that a go career is possible.”

Nihon Ki-in Teams up with Cho U on New Go App: Colorful cats, dogs and frogs danced on Taro Matsuo’s iPad as the Go World editor enthusiastically showed off the Nihon Kiin’s playful go app developed with top pro Cho U 9P. The new app features cute cartoon animals that guide a beginner through learning the fundamentals of go in a “fun and accessible way,” Matsuo said. Now available in the iTunes app store in Japanese (search for Nihon Ki-in or go), the hope is to release an English-language version later this year. The app joins other Nihon Ki-in apps including its tsume-go (life and death) app; IgoFree, for playing go in-person on an iPad, and e-publications including Go World, Go Weekly (featuring playable game records), and more than ten go books, “with two more due out next month,” Matsuo says proudly.

In the Gardens of the Guangzhou Chess Institute: Clouds of dragonflies flitted above us as we took in the view from the garden atop the Guangzhou Chess Institute. A waterfall burbled merrily nearby, giving a measure of relief from the oppressive heat. Built for the 2010 edition of the Asian Games, the Institute is a spectacular venue for go, chess and Chinese Chess events near scenic Baiyun Mountain, and includes two major playing halls, rooms for players and officials to stay in, and study rooms, as well as lush gardens and an impressive museum dedicated to the three games. The museum celebrates the Chinese origins of go, and the key figures in that history, from Ming emperor Yao, who legend says had it invented for his son, to Wu Qingyuan, known to the west as Go Seigen, the prodigy who triumphed so spectacularly in Japan, became one of the best players of all time and, with Kitani Minoru, broke away from the traditional opening patterns to develop modern go. Other Chinese go giants like Chen Zude, Nie Weiping and Gu Li are also highlighted, although all the museum text is in Chinese, leaving the western vistor to puzzle out things like the player’s names on the historical games on the walls (shown here by So Yokoku 8P). An exhibition of English-language panels covering much the same material were produced for the WAGC main playing area and perhaps will be displayed in the museum. The exhibits of boards, pieces and carved wood panels in the cool and shadowy museum are inviting in Guangzhou’s heat, but so too are the whisper of the breeze in the bamboo and rustle of the twisted pines in the Institute’s gardens, as the player’s stones click steadily along like cicadas in the trees.

A Glimpse of James Davies: James Davies does not flaunt his encyclopedic knowledge of the game of go, its history and players. It’s not his style. The author of elegant Ishi classics like An Introduction to GO, 38 Basic Joseki and Attack and Defense, who’s covering the WAGC for Ranka Online, Davies drifts about the playing area, seemingly aimlessly, keenly watching and listening, jotting down the occasional note, asking a quiet question or two of players exiting the playing area. Over six feet tall with a perfectly-trimmed bushy mustache that hides his expression but not the hint of a twinkle in his eyes, and always impeccably attired in a sports coat regardless of the oppressive heat, Davies’ comprehensive round-by-round reports and provide a keen eye for the telling detail, the way one player places his stones, the demeanor of another, the positional status of each game Davies turns his attention to. In another life, perhaps, the Baltimore native might have been a sportcaster, the kind with the true fan’s appreciation of the game and a gift for the sharp-eyed observation, dryly delivered.

- Chris Garlock; photos by John Pinkerton

WAGC Game Report: Round 5

Tuesday May 15, 2012

Tuesday, May 15: On Board 2, China’s Qiao Zhijian chose a variation of the Dosaku opening and played his first ten moves in less than one second each, quickly constructing a huge black framework in the bottom half of the board…There were fewer fireworks on Board 1, but after a good opening and a bad middle game, Korea’s Hyunjoon Lee outplayed DPRK’s Ri Kwang Hyok in the endgame and then won the final one-point ko to prevail by 2.5 points…On Board 7, Samuel Aitken (UK, at right ) used his fifth move to make a three-space extension from the third line to the second line, a new pattern that has been appearing in professional games. He and Yuan Zhou (US) battled it out for the next two and a half hours, but in the end Aitken resigned…On Board 9, Lukas Podpera (Chechia) and Japan’s Nakazono Seizo also battled it out for two and a half hours, but today Nakazono’s Japanese supporters had the satisfaction of seeing Japan’s amateur Honinbo score a convincing win in the longest game of the round. The fastest was the game between Mongolia and Portugal, over in less than an hour and described as ‘an easy win’ by Portugal’s Daniel Tome. The most dramatic involved the players from Romania and Singapore: “I had the game in my pocket for at least 90% of the time,’ said Romania’s Cornel Burzo after it ended, ‘but with the clock counting the time, I got stressed and tried to shorten the process by killing a group. The moment after I played the stone I realized it was a catastrophic mistake. I went from something like a hundred points ahead to a hundred points behind.” Click here for the complete report on Round 5. Click here for Round 5 game records, including Taipei-China (commentary by YangShuang 3P); Czechia-Japan; DPRK-Korea; UK-US.
- adapted from James Davies’ Ranka Online report; photo by John Pinkerton

WAGC Go Players on Destiny, Predicting the Weather and Managing a Disco Bar

Tuesday May 15, 2012

One of just two women players at this year’s World Amateur Go Championship, Chile’s Leslie Perez (top left) says it was “destiny” that she learned to play go, taught by a classmate at university in Valparaiso where she was studying for her bachelor’s degree in computer science. She’s playing at 4k at the WAGC but had reached 1k on KGS a few years ago before her studies cut back her playing time. She’s now studying for a Ph.D in Belgium, “but I’m still playing go” she tells James Davies in a Ranka Online interview. In other interviews, Norway’s Pal Sannes (bottom right) reveals that he works for the Norwegian Meteorological Institute, predicting the weather…Yuan Zhou (US, top middle) talks about being “quite pleased” about losing to his student Josh Lee…Malaysia’s Zaid Waqi (bottom left) discusses developments in Malaysian go…Kerem Karaerkek (Turkey, top right) talks about his work as a mountain guide, guitarist and disco bar manager…Japan’s Nakazono Seizo (bottom middle) says that his go salon’s 6-point komi, permitting drawn games, “works fine.”
- adapted from James Davies’ report on Ranka Online; photos/collage by John Pinkerton

2012 WAGC Round 4 Game Records

Tuesday May 15, 2012

US-Japan (Commentary by So Yokoku 8P); HongKong-China (Commentary by So Yokoku 8P); Czechia-Taipei (Uncommented)
With all players present except the still missing Moroccan, the afternoon round started a few minutes early…Click here for Ranka Online’s report.   

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2012 WAGC Round 3 Game Records

Tuesday May 15, 2012

China-Macau (Commentary by Yang Shuang 3P); DPRKorea-Austria; Japan-Korea; Slovakia-Romania
Fifteen minutes before the start of Round 3 on May 13, Qiao Zhijian, the main Chinese contestant, was already seated at his board…Click here for Ranka Online’s report on the round. 

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This Week’s Go Calendar: Seattle

Monday May 14, 2012

May 20: Seattle, WA
Iwamoto Youth 19×19 Tournament
Brian Allen manager@seattlego.org 206.545.1424

Get the very latest tournament information.

Categories: Calendar
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U.S. Beats Japan in Controversial 4th-Round WAGC Game

Monday May 14, 2012

The fourth-round contest between the US and Japan turned into a controversial and dramatic slugfest involving a series of severe attacks, both players in overtime, a key losing move in the late middle-game, a ko fight with both players in their last period of overtime and a sudden loss by Japan on time, complicated by a clock dispute that went all the way up to the tournament’s chief referee. See So Yokoku 8P’s commentary on the game to see what all the excitement was about. Click here for Ranka Online’s complete reports on Rounds 3 and 4 (including a more detailed report  on the US-Japan game), here for the latest results and here for Round 3 game records and Round 4 game records.
- Chris Garlock; photo: Nakazono (left), referees Liu and Sun (center) and Zhou; photo by John Pinkerton

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Daniel Smith Wins Bob Barber’s 70th Tourney

Sunday May 13, 2012

Daniel Smith 2d took top honors at the May 12 “It Was 20 Years Ago Today” tournament in Chicago, IL. Not a Beatles song reference, the title refered to this being the 20th anniversary — to the month — of Tournament Director Bob Barber’s (at right, at work) first tournament. This was the indefatiguable organizer’s 70th imaginatively-named competition and the 65-year-old — who claims to have “never lost even a single game” at one of his tournaments — says he plans to keep going “for at least another 20 years.” He also noted that three people who played in his first event two decades ago were there this time as well: Ian Feldman, David Rockwell, and Chris Greene. “Greene is also the publisher of Hinoki Press, which generously donates a book to each player at Chicago tournaments,” Barber said.
Winner’s Report: 1st Place High Dan: SMITH, Daniel 2d; 1st Place Low Dan: CHENG, Lixin 1d; 1st Place High Kyu: YU, Patrick 3k; Tie 1st Place Mid Kyu: ROHDE, David 5k & GABELMAN, Joel, 5k; 1st Place Low Kyu: DAVID, Brian, 10k. All six of these players won all four of their games; 36 players participated. photo by Daniel Smith

Categories: U.S./North America
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WAGC Game Report: Round 2

Sunday May 13, 2012

Despite a good opening, the United States’ Yuan Zhou 7d became the second seeded player to suffer defeat when he lost to 13-year-old Chen Cheng-Hsun 7d (at left) of Taipei  in just 152 moves. “I wasn’t prepared to play such a tough player on the first day,” Zhou confided to the E-Journal. “But it’s great to see such strong young players.” When Cheng-Hsun competed in the WAGC in Hangzhou in 2010 he was thinking of going directly from primary school into a professional career. Instead, he took the more normal course of entering middle school, but his playing strength has continued to improve and he would already be serious competition for a lot of professionals.

The game between Nadeem Prem 3d (Brazil) and Leslie Perez 4k (Chile, at right) developed into a contest worth watching, despite the wide disparity in listed rankings. Overcoming the six-stone ranking difference, Perez won handily by 17.5 points to score the tournament’s first win by a woman; her Chinese counterpart, Fang Xiaoyan, the tournament’s only other female player, had already lost her second-round game to Andreas Gotzfried of Luxembourg.

In the Japan-Netherlands game, an early mistake by Mr Nakazono gave Alexander Eerbeek the lead, and he did not seem about to give it back. As the game progressed Mr Nakazono’s expression became increasingly grim, but in the end he managed to kill a large group and Alexander resigned. Japan had had a close call, but had earned the right to face Korea in the next round.

In the Czechia-Germany game, Czechia (Lukas Podepera) launched a fierce attack on a large German group, forcing it to struggle for a minimal life with just two eyes, and kept the pressure up relentlessly until Germany (Benjamin Teuber) resigned. Ten minutes later, Slovenia (Matoh Leon 5d) prevailed over Argentina (Eduardo Lopez Herrero 5d). The winners of these two games will meet in Round 3.

The last game to end, at 4:55, was the one between the North Korean and Hungarian players, Ri Kwang-Hyok (at left) and Pal Balogh. ‘My opponent made a mistake in the opening and I got the lead,’ said Balogh, ‘but I quickly matched him with a mistake of my own. After that I think I was still ahead, but I gave him a chance to attack and he took it.’ Balogh persevered to the end but lost by 9.5 points. Ri Kwang-Hyok, a veteran of the 2010 Asian games, is another player who would be serious competition for many professionals. Although Balogh looked shaken, his final comment was, ‘I feel happy with the way I played.’
- adapted from James Davies’ report on Ranka Online; click here for latest results; Click here for online game records for the following Round 1 games: Finland-UK; Hungary-DPRKorea (Commentary by So Yokoku 8P; Taipei-US (Commentary by So Yokoku 8P); photos by John Pinkerton