American Go E-Journal

Registration Open for Youth Go League

Thursday February 22, 2018

aghs logo“The American Go Honor Society (AGHS) is holding its first online go league, and invites all U.S. youth players under the age of 18 to participate,” says Promotion Head Gabby Su.  “Participants will play ​3-4 games​ each month​ in a round robin ​system​. ​The league is divided into several divisions and works similarly to a ladder. At the end of ​a round​, players will get the chance to move up or down the ladder​ depending on how many points they earned​. The Youth Go League is a great opportunity to meet and play against other youth players from all over the United States. It is also a great way to practice playing more serious online games.​”

​For more details, click here. To register, click here.

“Surrounding Game”/KGS Simul Challenge set for Saturday

Thursday February 22, 2018

A special event will be hitting the KGS Go Server this Saturday, Feb 24. Dubbed the “KGS Simul Challenge”, a slew of strong2018.02.21_kgs-challenge players will assemble to play handicapped simul games against anyone online continuously from 3-9pm EDT. Jointly sponsored by KGS and the “Surrounding Game” documentary, the field will feature many of the film’s stars, including Andy Liu 1p, Gansheng Shi 1p, Mingming Yin 1p, and Myungwan Kim 9p. 

“Do you have what it takes to bring down one of these giants?” asks organizer Michael Fodera. All winners will receive a 1-month KGS membership subscription plus a free digital copy of The Surrounding Game. 

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Hajin Lee wins 2018 Jujo Ing Cup

Wednesday February 21, 2018

Hajin Lee 4P (right) took top honors in the 26th Jiang Zhu Jiu Ing Cup, held February 18 in San Francisco, CA. A total of 76 players 2018.02.21_Hajin Leecompeted for $3,000 in prizes at the Cup, which is sponsored annually by Ing’s Goe Foundation of California. This year’s event was held at the Google Community Space in San Francisco. The event was an exhibition of Mindfulness, hosted by Mindful Schools and included lectures on 2018.02.21_JiangZhuJiuusing go as a tool for Social Emotional Learning in K-8 classrooms. Robert Thomas (Executive Director of Mindful Schools) spoke on the importance of mindfulness for young students and the use of games such as go to foster well being. He was presented with a go set by Jiang Zhu Jiu at the award ceremony.

Players competed for four rounds in five sections with Hajin Lee winning the top “pro” section. Prizes in each section were given to 4th place. Section winners were Shia Zu (High Dan); Brian Yang (Expert); Ryan Lear (Intermediate); Xuan Wu (Novice). Click here for results.

Players in attendance came from China, the Netherlands, Alabama and southern California in addition to local San Francisco Bay Area contestants.

The day prior was the birthday of Jiang Zhu Jiu (above left) and the contestants gave a heart-pounding rendition of Happy Birthday at the award ceremony.

- report/photos by Ernest Brown

The Power Report (3): Meijin League; Marriage between go players; Kido Prizes; Iyama wins Shusai Prize; Promotions

Wednesday February 21, 2018

by John Power, special Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Meijin League: 
The first game in the third round of the 43rd Meijin League was played on February 1. Yo Seiki 7P (W) beat Takao Shinji 9P. Astonishingly, Yo has beaten Takao ten times to just one loss. With the third round almost completed, the only undefeated players are Cho U 9P and Shibano Toramaru; both of them have already had a bye, so their scores are 2-0. Recent results follow.
(Jan. 25) Cho U 9P (B) beat Yamashita Keigo by resig.
(Feb. 1) Yo Seiki (W) beat Takao Shinji by resig.
(Feb. 8) Hane Naoki 9P (B) beat Kono Rin 9P by resig.
(Feb. 15) Shibano Toramaru (W) beat Yamashita by 2.5 points.

Marriage between go players: Go Weekly reported that Mannami Nao 3P (age 32) married Ida Atsushi 8P (age 23) on February 12. Ida is a member of the Nagoya branch of the Nihon Ki-in; Mannami is going to move to Nagoya. Mannami said: “I want to support Ida 8-dan and look after our household.” It seems she plans to follow the lead of Kobayashi Izumi in subordinating her own career to her husband’s. In her case, it may involve some financial loss, as in recent years she has been the most popular woman professional for commentating jobs etc. at go events.

Kido Prizes: The 51st Kido Prizes were announced in the latest issue of Go Weekly. Winners were as follows:
Most Outstanding Player: Iyama Yuta
Outstanding Player: Ichiriki Ryo
New Stars: Mutsuura Yuta (for winning the Agon Kiriyama Cup), Shibano Toramaru (for winning the Ryusei title)
Woman’s Prize: Fujisawa Rina
International Prize: Iyama Yuta
Most wins: Shibano Toramaru (53)
Best winning percentage: Kyo Kagen 7P (80.3%)
Most successive wins: Iyama Yuta, Shibano Toramaru: 16
Most games played: Shibano Toramaru
The most interesting point here is the appearance of three women in the top ten (five in the top 20, 11 in the top 52). In part, this reflects the fact that players like Xie Yimin and Fujisawa Rina do fairly well against male players, but another factor is the increase in the number of women’s titles. This has also led to a big increase in the prize money available (see list below): the two newest women’s tournaments, the Hollyhock Cup, previously known as the Aizu Central Hospital Cup, and the Senko Cup actually having the most prize money. The former, which has completed four terms, is worth 7,000,000 yen to the winner, and the latter, held twice so far, is worth 8,000,000 yen.

Here are some statistics for 2017.
Most wins

  1. Shibano Toramaru: 53 wins, 13 losses
  2. Kyo Kagen: 45-11
  3. Ichiriki Ryo: 44-20
  4. Iyama Yuta: 42-12
  5. (Ms) Fujisawa Rina: 40-23
  6. Shida Tatsuya 7P: 38-11; Mutsuura Yuta 7P: 38-12
  7. Motoki Katsuya 8P: 36-14
  8. (Ms) Xie Yimin: 34-22
  9. (Ms) Mukai Chiaki 5P: 33-18
  10. Cho U: 30-14; (Ms) Ueno Asami 1P: 30-15; Yamashita Keigo: 30-22
  11. (Ms) Nyu Eiko: 27-23

Best winning percentage

  1. Kyo Kagen: 80.36%
  2. Shibano Toramaru: 80.3%
  3. Iyama Yuta: 77.78%

Most successive wins

  1. Iyama Yuta, Shibano Toramaru: 16
  2. Takei Takashi 7P, Mutsuura Yuta: 13

Most prize money won

  1. Iyama Yuta: \159,814,000 (about $1,480,000)
  2. Ichiriki Ryo: \25,237,300
  3. Takao Shinji: \24,595,000
  4. Fujisawa Rina: \24,049,700
  5. Yamashita Keigo: \21,807,300
  6. Kono Rin: \21,713,400
  7. Motoki Katsuya: \20,977,400
  8. Xie Yimin: \20,472,400
  9. Shiba Toramaru: \18,908,700
  10. Mutsuura Yuta: \16,996,200

Iyama wins Shusai Prize: The 55th Shusai Prize, which honors the outstanding player of the previous year, was awarded to Iyama Yuta. This prize usually goes to the player who wins the top Kido prize; Iyama has received it six times in a row (matching the record of Kobayashi Koichi) and seven times overall (behind Cho Chikun’s nine).

Promotions
The automatic promotions based on prize money won in 2017 were announced recently in Go Weekly. Details follow.
To 2-dan: Ueno Asami Torii Yuta
To 3-dan: Koike Yoshihiro, Yokotsuka Riki
To 4-dan: Tanaka Nobuyuki, Koyama Kuya
To 5-dan: Tsuruta Kazushi, Adachi Toshimasa
To 6-dan: Son Makoto, Numadate Sakiya
To 7-dan: Shiraishi Yuichi
There has also been one promotion by the cumulative-wins system.
To 8-dan: Ri Ishu (150 wins, as of Jan 19)

Feb. 28 deadline for early-bird savings on Japan Go Congress/Osaka Go Camp

Wednesday February 21, 2018

Early-bird deadline for the third Japan Go Congress and sixth Osaka Go camp is February 28. Click here for details and to save2018.02.20_osaka-camp-300x300 5000 JPY or email osaka.go.2018@gmail.com

Categories: Japan,Main Page
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In Memoriam: Roger P. Hjulstrom

Tuesday February 20, 2018

Roger P. Hjulstrom passed away on February 13 after a brief illness. He was 62. A self-taught go player and early AGA member,2018.02.19_Roger P. Hjulstrom Hjulstrom (right) enjoyed sharing his love of the game, and taught hundreds of people how to play over the course of decades. He kept the score sheets of tournaments that he organized on a shelf next to the dining table, along with many go books. He also kept a stash of extra chairs to provide additional seating for go gatherings at his house.

In the early days of computer go, Hjulstrom wrote his own go-playing program, and his interest in go was only heightened by the AlphaGo phenomenon. He continued to play in person weekly, and online against computers, improving his playing strength.

He once told a story about how he had invited several Chinese go players from nearby Virginia Tech, for one of the many go get-togethers in his home in Blacksburg, Virginia. The players were from different parts of China, and at one point began discussing the correct way to make dumplings. Soon, Roger’s kitchen was filled with flying flour and excited people sharing their own methods for the ancient arts, translated to a distinctly human, and warm meeting of minds and hearts.

The family will have a service in Massachusetts near his childhood home.

The Power Report (2): Ida keeps lead in Honinbo League despite loss

Tuesday February 20, 2018

by John Power, special Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Xie wins LG Cup: The best-of-three final of the 22nd LG Cup was held at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo in early February. This is a Korean-sponsored tournament, but the finalists were Iyama Yuta of Japan and Xier Erhao of China, so the sponsors were probably happy to see the game staged overseas. The Nihon Ki-in stepped forward because a Japanese representative had made an international final for the first time since Cho U in 2005 (the 9th LG Cup, which Cho won). Japanese fans are keen to see international success, so staging the tournament made sense for the Nihon Ki-in. Letting Iyama play on home ground might also help him. Xie Erhao, who is just 19, was virtually unknown here, so expectations were high that Iyama would score his first success in a major international tournament. However, Xie is a member of the top group of young players in China, where he is best known for reaching the semifinals of an international tournament, the Bailing Cup, when he was 14. In fighting ability, he turned out to be more than a match for Iyama. In the first game, played on February 5, Xie (W) scored a convincing win, securing a resignation after 180 moves. In the second game, played on February 7, Iyama was doing badly, but he managed to pull off an upset win by half a point. However, in the third game, played on February 8, Xie displayed precise reading and excellent positional judgment and won by resignation after 226 moves. This is Xie’s first international title. First prize is 300,000,000 won (about $280,000).

Park wins New Year’s Cup: The sixth CCTV New Year’s Cup, a tournament held by a Chinese TV station to celebrate the Chinese New Year, was held in Beijing on February 5 to 7 (actually a little before the Chinese New Year, which came on February 16 this year, but CCTV wanted to telecast the games before the winter Olympics started). This is an irregular knockout tournament for the top players from China, Korea, and Japan. Ke Jie represented China, Park Junghwan Korea, and Ichiriki Ryo Japan. The Japanese representative should have been Iyama Yuta, but he was busy with the LG final. The selection of the player challenging Iyama in the Kisei title match to take his place could be taken as de facto recognition of Ichiriki’s standing as Japan’s current number two. In these three-player knockout tournaments, the players draw lots for the initial pairing, in which two of them play each other; the winner then plays the third player; the winner of that game then meets the winner of the first game in the final.
In the first game, Park (white) beat Ichiriki by resignation after 196 moves. The latter then played Ke; taking black, Ichiriki had a good game, but Ke managed to pull off an upset, winning by 2.5 points. In the final, Park (white) beat Ke by resignation after 184 moves. Park’s victory came after four successive wins by China. I also read on the Net that this win enable Park to displace Ke as the world’s number one in a popular ranking system.
Btw, the report in Go Weekly mentioned that, thanks to his match with AlphaGo at the Future of Go summit last year, Ke Jie became well known to the Chinese public. As a result, he received an award as the top sportsman of the year, beating our world champions in sports like table tennis. Ke commented that his followers on Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter, increased nearly one hundredfold, to just under four million.

Ida keeps lead in Honinbo League despite loss: After five rounds in the 73rd Honinbo League, Ida Atsushi 8P, the unsuccessful challenger from four years ago, seems to have a good chance of getting another crack at Iyama Yuta, also known as Honinbo Monyu. Ironically, he has held on to the sole lead despite losing his latest game. In the final game of the fourth round, Ida beat Kobayashi Satoru 9P by 2.5 points; this took his score to 4-0, and he was the only undefeated player. In the fifth round, Ida lost to Yo Seiki, but his nearest rival, Ko Iso 8P, also lost his fifth-round game, so Ida remained one point clear of the field. In another interesting game in the same round, league newcomer Shibano Toramaru 7P beat Kobayashi Satoru 9P; this improved his score to 3-2, so he now has a good chance of keeping his place in the league despite his bad start (two losses in the opening three rounds). Results since my last report are given below.
(Jan. 25) Ida (B) beat Kobayashi Satoru by 2.5 points.
(Feb. 1) Shibano Toramaru (B) bear Kobayashi Satoru by resig.
(Feb. 8) Yo Seiki 7P (B) beat Ida by resig.
(Feb. 15) Hane Naoki 9P (B) beat Ko Iso by resig.

Categories: Japan,Main Page
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Yuan Zhou sweeps DC Chinese Lunar New Year tourney

Monday February 19, 2018

Forty five players participated in the 11th annual Chinese Lunar New Year tournament on February 10th. The event was held2018.02.19_Ching-Sung Chin(l)-yuan-zhou-khalsa-clny for the first time at the National Go Center in Washington DC with 2018.02.19_dc-screenshot_stream_room_camoverall first place going to Yuan Zhou 7D with a 4-0 record. Josh Lee 6D was second at 3-1.

Nathan Epstein has been building up the broadcasting capabilities at the National Go Center and was joined in the broadcast room by local AGA Pro, Eric Lui 1P, for live streaming of all rounds on Twitch. They were joined with remote live commentary by Sichen Zhong, Michael Fodera, Stephen Hu, and Robert Tirak.

Other winners this year were:
3D-4D division – Frederick Bao 4D (1st), Bryan Kim 4D and Yangqing Sun 3D (2nd)
1D-2D division – Quinn Baranoski 2D (1st), Ryan Hunter 2D and Chang Choi 1D (2nd)
1K-5K division – Patrick Sun 5K (1st), Kathy Qiu 3K and Mike Lash 4K (2nd)
6K-8K division – Sarah Crites 6K (1s2018.02.19_Ching-Sung Chin(l) Hank Chao (r) IMG_5133t), Bob Crites 6K and Joon Lee 6K (2nd)
9K-12K division – Alvin Pee 12K (1st), Raymond Luo 10K (2nd)
13K-19K division – Qidi Xu 15K (1st), Julian Turim 15K (2nd)
20K+ division – Antonina Perez-Lopez 20K (1st), Ethan Tung 22K and Justin Wang 30K (2nd)

“A special thanks to our sponsors for this tournament who have donated great trophies and prizes each year,” said Gurujeet Khalsa. Dr. Yeni Wong, Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO), Culture Center of TECRO, and Financial Accounting Tax Specialists, Inc. as well as the organizers: Great Falls Go Club, (Dr. Ching-Sung Chin) and Hai Hua Community Center (Mr. Hank Chao).

photos: bottom left: Ching-Sung Chin (left), Khalsa and Hank Chao (right); top left: Twitch stream room; top right: Ching-Sung Chin, Yuan Zhou and Khalsa. 

AlphaGo vs. Alphago; Game 16: “Unusual and different”

Monday February 19, 2018

This game features the mini Chinese opening, and “It’s a fighting game and gets exciting pretty quick,” says Michael Redmond 9p2018.02.16 AlphaGo16 in his commentary on the AlphaGo self-play game. “It’s unusual and different.”
“Thanks so much for continuing the AlphaGo 50 Self-Played-Game Series!” said commenter dontbtme. “It has a very unique flavor while still displaying diverse openings, plus the players being equally matched, the tension rarely drops till the very end.”

Click here for Redmond’s video commentary, hosted by the AGA E-Journal’s Chris Garlock, and see below for the sgf commentary. To support this content, please consider joining or renewing your membership in the American Go Association; click here for details.

Video produced by Michael Wanek and Andrew Jackson. The sgf files were created by Redmond, with editing and transcription by Garlock and Myron Souris.

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The Power Report (1): Murakawa to challenge for Judan; Ueno wins Women’s Kisei; Yashiro to challenge for Women’s Meijin title

Monday February 19, 2018

by John Power, special Japan correspondent for the E-Journal2018.02.19_Murakawa-56jyudan0_1-2

Murakawa to challenge for Judan: The play-off to decide the challenger for the 56th Judan title was held at the Kansai Ki-in in Osaka on January 25. Murakawa Daisuke 8P (right) of the Kansai Kiin, playing white, beat Shida Tatsuya 7P of the Nagoya branch of the Nihon Ki-in by resignation. Murakawa, who won the 62nd Oza title in 2014, will make his first challenge for the Judan title. Shida missed his chance to make his first top-seven title challenge. The best-of-five with Iyama Yuta will start on March 6.

Iyama defends Kisei title:  The second game of the 42nd Kisei title match was held at the Hachinohe Hotel in Hachinohe City, Aomori Prefecture, on January 25 and 26. After a solid opening, a difficult fight started. Unlike the first game, in which Ichiriki had some chances, Iyama (left), playing black, kept the initiative throughout and secured a resignation 2018.02.19_Iyama-42kisei4_10after 171 moves. This win may have been a little disheartening for Ichiriki, who had now lost 11 games in a row to Iyama (all title games, including the NHK Cup final). The third game was held at the Olive Bay Hotel in Nishiumi City, Nagasaki Prefecture, on January 31 and February 1. The venue is a little unusual: it is a luxury hotel that was originally built as a guest house for the Oshima Shipbuilding Group and is located right next to a shipbuilding yard. This game was marked by complicated fighting among multiple unstable groups that spread from the top through the centre to the bottom. Perhaps the key move was a brilliant sabaki (settling a group) move with which Iyama (white) foiled a fierce attack by Ichiriki (below right); this led to a counterattack by Iyama. In the desperate fighting that followed, Iyama’s sharper play enabled him to seize the initiative. Ichiriki resigned after White 238. He now faced his first 2018.02.19_Ichiriki-42kisei4_11kadoban (a game that can lose a series).

   The usual pattern in a best-of-seven is to alternate breaks of one week and two weeks. So far, however, in this match games were being played once a week. The reason was to free up some time for both players to represent Japan in international tournaments (see reports below). Both players failed in these tournaments, so as far as psychological aftereffects were concerned, conditions were perhaps even. The fourth game was played at the Ofunato Citizens Culture Hall in Ofunato City, Iwate Prefecture, on 2018.02.19_Xie left, Iyama right-22lg3_2February 15 and 16. Once again, Ichiriki (white) was unable to get an advantage in the middle game, so he staked the game on a large-scale counterstrategy. However, Iyama calmly parried his attack, even letting him bring a dead group back to life, since he could secure a safe territorial lead anyway. Ichiriki continued to go all out, but his play was unreasonable and he had to resign after Iyama killed a large group.

   This was a very disappointing series for Ichiriki. In his first title match with Iyama, the 42nd Tengen at the end of 2016, he had at least won a game, but now he had been shut out in three successive title matches. Becoming challenger for three titles in a row is actually an impressive achievement, but it sets you up for some rough treatment at the hands of the grand slam champion. For Iyama, this was his sixth Kisei title in a row, the second-best run in this title after Kobayashi Koichi (who won the 10th to 17th titles). He had now maintained his grand slam for four months (since winning back the Meiijin title on October 17 last year). This is his 49th title, which puts him in sole fourth place, behind Cho Chikun (74), Sakata Eio (64), and Kobayashi Koichi (60). He is also sitting on a winning streak of 14 games in title matches, so he may challenge his personal record of 18 successive title-match wins. The Kisei prize is 45 million yen (about $416,000). The age of Iyama continues.

Ueno wins Women’s Ki2018.02.19_Yashiro-30fmeijin0_1-2sei: The second game of the 21st DoCoMo Cup Women’s Kisei best-of-three title match was held in the Ryusei studio at the Nihon Ki-in on January 29. Taking black, Ueno Asami 2D, the challenger, forced Xie Yimin to resign after 253 moves. This was her second win, so she dethroned the champion and won her first title at the age of 16 years three months. This set a new record in this title, beating Xie’s 20 years two months, but not threatening the overall record for women’s titles—Fujisawa Rina’s winning the Women’s Aizu Central Hospital Cup (now called the Hollyhock Cup) at 15 years nine months. Ueno’s prize is 5,000,000 yen (about $46,000).

Yashiro to challenge for Women’s Meijin title: The play-off to decide the challenger to Fujisawa Rina for the 30th Women’s Honinbo title was held at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo on February 1. Playing white, Yashiro Kumiko 6P (left) beat Izawa Akino 4P by resignation after 200 moves. Yashiro, who is 41, will be making her first challenge for this title. She won the 24th and 25th Women’s Honinbo Titles in 2005 and 2006. The best-of-five match starts on February 28.

Tomorrow: Xie wins LG Cup; Park wins New Year’s Cup; Ida keeps lead in Honinbo League despite loss