American Go E-Journal

London Club Issues Appeal for International Teams

Saturday September 7, 2013

The Central London Go Club is appealing for American — and other foreign — nationals living in the UK to help put the “International” back into the London International Teams Tournament on October 6.

The twice-yearly event has in recent times barely lived up to its billing, with the Nippon Club — the event’s host — the only non-British team in the Spring 2013 tournament. The trophy (pictured) that time was taken by a team from the land of “Cambridge” (see 4/19 EJ) to the amusement of team captain and British Championship 2013 challenger Andrew Simons.

Click here to download flyer with full details and entry form.

Tony Collman, British Correspondent for the E-J. Photo courtesy of the British Go Association’s website


Samsung Cup Down to Final 16

Friday September 6, 2013

When the smoke cleared on September 5 from the 32-player group stage of the 2013 Samsung Cup, just 16 players were left, including 11 from China and five from Korea. Japan’s players had all been eliminated, as had Eric Lui of the U.S. Lui lost to Komatsu Hideki and Lee Sedol. “Sedol was too strong for Eric,” says Myung-wan Kim 9P. “But he played very well against Hideki and almost won. I was very surprised how well Eric played.” (see below for Kim’s commentary on Lui’s game against Hideki; his commentary on the Lui-Sedol game will be in next week’s Member’s


Edition of the E-Journal; click here for details on how to join the AGA and receive the Member’s Edition) The next round will take place on October 8 and 10 with the following draw: Lee Sedol 9p vs Chen Yaoye 9p; Gu Li 9p vs Ahn Seongjun 5p; Qiu Jun 9p vs Gu Lingyi 5p; Park Junghwan 9p vs Zhou Ruiyang 9p; Shi Yue 9p vs Ke Jie 3p; Wu Guangya 6p vs Li Xuanhao 3p; Kim Jiseok 9p vs Fan Yunruo 4p, and Park Younghun 9p vs Tang Weixing 3p.
- includes reporting by Go Game Guru; click here for the full report, photos and game records.

Categories: World

2013 World Amateur Go Championship at a Glance: Reports & Game Commentaries

Friday September 6, 2013

From the first arrival in Japan of top amateur go players from 62 countries through eight rounds of competition — topped by Korea’s Hyunjae Choi 6D -- and ending with a visit to the tsunami-stricken South Sanriku, the American Go E-Journal — in cooperation with Ranka Online — provided comprehensive coverage of the 34th annual World Amateur Go Championship, held September 1-5 in Sendai. Click here for full final results; here for selected game records and here for the player roster. See below for a handy clickable index to our daily reports and 19 game commentaries, as well as a Ranka/EJ team photo.
Photos by John Pinkerton except as noted. 

WAGC Daily Recap (Final): Wednesday, September 4

Ranka Online WAGC Highlights: Wednesday, September 4

WAGC Daily Recap: Tuesday, September 3

Ranka Online WAGC Highlights: Tuesday, September 3

WAGC Daily Recap: Monday, September 2

Ranka Online WAGC Highlights: Monday, September 2

WAGC Daily Recap: Sunday, September 1

Ranka Online WAGC Highlights: Sunday, September 1

WAGC Round 1 Games & An Interview with Alexandr Bukh of Kazakhstan

The Traveling Go Board: The Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, Two Years Later

WAGC Venue Exposes Go to Public Eye

Advice from Top Amateurs on How to Get Stronger

International Go Federation Celebrates Successful Year

Players Arrive at 34th World Amateur Go Championship

EJ & Ranka Coverage of 34th WAGC To Start 9/1

Game Commentaries (by Michael Redmond 9P)

Round 1: Canada-Kazakhstan
Round 1: US-Phillipines
In these first-round games, very strong players make short work of their weaker opponents.

Round 2: Finland-Colombia
Round 2: Israel-Argentina
Round 2: US-Korea
Curtis Tang was one of the brilliant young Redmond Cup participants, winning five times to become one of only two players to earn the title of Redmond Meijin…

Round 3: Brazil-Belgium
 In this game, though Black makes no major errors, by move 72, White has established a clear lead; here’s how…
Round 3: Hungary-China
Hungary’s Csaba Mero handles a challenge well and gets a fairly severe attack going on Yuging Hu of China, but… 
Round 3: Indonesia-Austria
This game features an unorthodox opening by Black that actually works fairly well up to a point.  

Round 4: Korea-Netherlands
Round 4: Russia-China
A fast but thin move early on by White sets off a cascading series of fierce battles in which the attack changes hands several times. 

Round 5: Japan-China
Black wins every ko fight in this game, but the cost is too high…
Round 5: Korea-Canada
Black doesn’t make any major mistakes in this undramatic game, yet White slowly but surely pulls ahead, building up an insurmountable lead…   
Round 5: US-Singapore

Round 6: China-Korea
This game is all about yose. The game is very close at move 101, when the endgame begins, and goes on for the next 150 moves…
Round 6: Japan-Russia
Kikou punishes an early overplay by Shikshin, but then slowly loses his advantage with slack moves and then falters in the endgame…  

Round 7: Korea-Russia
Black trades a large side for a center moyo but when White skillfully erases most of the moyo, Black’s position turns out to be too thin and things get steadily worse…
Round 7: China-Canada
After an even opening, White misses two chances to maintain the balance of territory and allows Black to get an unassailable lead… 

Round 8: Taipei-China
An unnecessary peep that turns out not to be sente gives Yuqing Hu 8D (China) a chance attack and suddenly Shin-Wei Lin 7D (Taipei) is in deep trouble…
Round 8: Ukraine-Korea
When White tries for a bigger territory, his move is just a bit too greedy, and Black immediately punishes it… 

 The Ranka-E-Journal Team (l-r): James Davies, Toshiko Ito, Ivan Vigano, John Richardson, Chris Garlock, Michael Redmond 9P, John Pinkerton, Yuki Shigeno. photo by Thomas Hsiang

Your Move/Readers Write: Thanks & Kudos; Gripping Stuff; Bol, Not Vonk

Friday September 6, 2013

Thanks & Kudos: “Thank you, thank you, thank you to Roger Schrag, (Go Spotting: Lan Su Chinese Garden in Portland 9/1 EJ)” writes Jean de Maiffe. “When I was in the Portland Chinese Garden in July, the board displayed appeared to have nothing whatever to do with the modern game of go. I almost wish I had taken a picture for the ‘then and now’ comparison. Kudos to whichever go player suggested the changes to the artist who had placed the stones attractively perhaps, but without knowledge of the game.”

Gripping Stuff: “Great coverage of the WAGC,” writes EJ British correspondent Tony Collman. “Gripping stuff. Thanks to Michael Redmond for the lucid commentaries.”

Bol, Not Vonk:
“The photograph accompanying the 9/1 news item ‘EuroGoTV Update’  is of Jan Bol, not Bert Vonk,” writes Jaap K. Blom.
We apologize for the error, which has been corrected.

The Traveling Go Board: The Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, Two Years Later

Thursday September 5, 2013

The agony of defeat and ecstasy of victory on the go board were put into perspective Thursday when the WAGC participants took a somber tour of South Sanriku in Miyagi prefecture, less than an hour from the tournament site in downtown Sendai, and one of the areas hardest-hit by the 2011 tsunami.

Although the region — a spectacular landscape of misty mountains, gently-waving rice fields, stands of bamboo, wide rivers and coastal views — has largely recovered since the disaster, the go players were uncharacteristically subdued as they took in the scope of destruction, with whole towns swept away. The three-story South Sanriku emergency center’s rusted skeleton bore mute witness to the towering wall of water that took the lives of so many; the few workers there who survived did so only by climbing the radio tower atop the building.

Most affecting was a visit to the Okawa primary school where almost every student and teacher perished. The once-thriving community is gone, the houses destroyed, completely erased from the earth, leaving only the gutted school as a sad memorial to the young lives lost here. As the buses rolled through under grey and drizzling skies, guides explained how this empty patch used to be a community center, that one was a hospital, another was a neighborhood. Roads once lined with houses are now vistas of weeds and the occasional flash of a wild sunflower or glimpse of a white crane standing on a solitary leg. The rubble is gone and new houses and buildings are slowly rising. The rivers flow past quietly. Life goes on.
- Chris Garlock; photo by John Pinkerton 

WAGC Daily Recap (Final): Wednesday, September 4

Wednesday September 4, 2013

As expected, Korea’s Hyunjae Choi 6D wrapped up his sweep of this year’s World Amateur Go Championships on Wednesday with solid wins over Ukraine’s Artem Kachanovskyi, who came in an impressive third — the first time Ukraine has been a top finalist — and Ilya Shikshin of Russia, who took a very respectable 4th place. In addition to a significant haul of trophies (left), Choi’s win gives him more than enough points to now become a professional go player (click here for Ranka’s interview). China’s Yuqing Hu took second place, Slovakia’s Pavol Lisy was fifth, King Man Kwan of Hong Kong was sixth, Serbia’s Nicola Mitic was seventh and Kikou Emura of Japan was eighth. Canada’s Bill Lin finished in 10th place and Curtis Tang of the U.S. placed 14th. Nepal’s Suresh Bhakta Kayastha gamely brought up the rear of the 62-player field, failing to notch a single victory. Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bukh won the Asada Fighting Spirit Prize and Suzanne D’Bel of Malaysia won a special prize from Takemiya Masaki “for showing originality and good sense”; Takemiya singled D’Bel out for playing her first move on the tengen, calling it “true Cosmic Style.”

Canada’s Bill Lin told the E-Journal that he was “a bit disappointed” in his results. “I had expected to do better, but it was a tough draw and I came up short.” Tang (right, in checked shirt) was philosophical about his performance, saying that “After losing to strong players I still got strong players but I guess that’s just how they paired it up. I tried my best. I had chances against Korea and then I had a good chance to win my seventh-round game against Romania and get a shot at a top-eight finish, but I messed it up.” Both players noted the grueling 2-rounds-per-day pace. “I made sure to get to the sauna every day to ease the pressure,” Tang said. Click here for full final results; here for selected game records and here for the player roster.
- Chris Garlock; photos by John Pinkerton 

Ranka Online WAGC Highlights: Wednesday, September 4

Wednesday September 4, 2013

Rounds 7 & 8 Reports: Click here for James Davies’ reports on the final rounds of the 2013 World Amateur Go Championship.

Round 7: Korea-Russia: Things Get Steadily Worse
Ilya Shikshin 7D (Russia) trades a large side for a center moyo but when Hyunjae Choi 6D (Korea) skillfully erases most of the moyo, Shikshin’s position turns out to be too thin and things get steadily worse…click here for the commentary by Michael Redmond 9p, edited by Chris Garlock. Photo by John Pinkerton.

Round 6: Russia-Japan: Losing an Advantage
Kikou Emura 7D (Japan) punishes an early overplay by Ilya Shikshin 7D (Russia), but slowly loses his advantage with slack moves and then falters in the endgame. Click here for the commentary by Michael Redmond 9p, edited by Chris Garlock. Photo by John Pinkerton.

Round 6: Canada-China: Two Missed Chances
After an even opening, Bill Tianyu Lin 7D (Canada) misses two chances to maintain the balance of territory and allows Yuqing Hu 8D (China) to get an unassailable lead. Click here for the commentary by Michael Redmond 9p, edited by Chris Garlock. Photo by John Pinkerton.

Round 5: China-Japan: The Cost is Too High
Kikou Emura 7D (Japan) wins every ko fight in this game with Yuqing Hu 8D (China), but the cost is too high. Click here for the commentary by Michael Redmond 9p, transcribed by Chris Garlock. Photo by John Pinkerton.

PLUS: Liquorice, draniki or fried pizza? Players compare the food in Japan to what they’re used to at home. 

Fan Hui Wins French Open

Wednesday September 4, 2013

Fan Hui won the Open French Championship on September 25, near Perpignan in the south of France. There were 30 participants; Thomas Debarre took second, and Fred Donzet (left) was third. The selection for the 2014 WAGC will be at Rouen later this year, from the eight higher active players of the moment (although Fan is now a French citizen, as a professional he cannot represent France at the amateur event). Click here for more information (in French), including results and photos.
- Laurent Coquelet, French Correspondent for the E-Journal. NOTE: the player on the right is Cesar Lextrait, not Fan Hui, as originally reported. photo by Claire Rioualen.

Categories: Europe

Pandanet-AGA City League Season 2 Set; 9/15 Deadline to Join

Tuesday September 3, 2013

Preparations have begun for the second season of the Pandanet-AGA City League, with the first round set for Saturday, September 28. “This will be a full season with one round per month from September 2013 to June 2014,” says Karoline Li. Organizers are also looking for volunteers to help run the league. The new season’s schedule, rules and regulations will be updated on the Pandanet-AGA City League website. “The D League, in which teams have the largest range of strengths from kyu to dan players, will be a handicap league this season so as to make the games more enjoyable for all players,” adds (name). Any new teams looking to join the leagues must email team information to by September 15. Entry of teams into individual leagues will be handled on a case-by-case basis; while it may be possible for strong new teams to be placed into the higher leagues, no new teams will be placed directly into the A league. In order to enter the A league, a team must advance from the B league. If existing teams have any changes to make between seasons, email “The AGA is looking for volunteers to assist!” says Steve Colburn. “We need league managers to provide support for each individual league of six teams.” Anyone interested in helping out should email
photo: 2013 League champions Team Los Angeles with TD Jon Boley (left) and AGA Tournament Coordinator Karoline Burrall (r); photo by Phil Straus

Only a Passing Matter

Tuesday September 3, 2013

In the recent US Go Congress, there were a lot of exciting half-point games. There was also some confusion over AGA rules and passed stones. On the top two boards of the US Open on the same day, for example, one game finished with black winning by a half-point while on the other, white won by half a point. How could this happen? Here’s an updated explanation of AGA rules, originally published back in 1992 when the rules were new.

In an even game with 7 and ½ komi, if White must make the third pass at the end of the game, that stone does change the score (from the traditional territory count) but does not (except rarely*) change the apparent result. The reason is a matter of parity.

Under AGA rules players alternately fill in any dame and both pass one stone to indicate the end of the game. That’s a design feature of AGA rules to avoid language problems and end game confusion and has no effect on the result.

If Black plays the last stone on the board, White – under AGA rules – also hands over a third pass stone. Why and what is the effect?

When Black plays last on the board, the number of stones played by both players (not including pass stones) must be odd. Since the board is odd (361), the territory after filling in prisoners will be even. (Odd minus odd equals even.) So any difference in the scores of the two players must also be even: 2, 4, 6, 8, etc. (e.g. 33 – 27 or 32 – 26).

If White is behind by 6 points (territory count) and gets 7 ½ komi, White wins by 1½ . The additional pass stone prisoner reduces the victory to ½ point, but White still wins. If White is behind by 8 and gets 7 ½ komi, White loses by ½ point. The additional pass means White is down 1 ½ points – just a bigger loss.

And if White plays last on the board, there is no third pass stone and no issue.

*Note, if there is a seki (or a combination of sekis) with an odd total number of shared liberties, the parity of points on the board changes and the added White pass stone can appear to change the result in a 1 point game. The combination happens very rarely – less than 1/1000. The Congress game between Matthew (Zi Yang) Hu 1p (w) vs Yuhan Zhang 7d (b) (U.S. Go Congress Recap/Preview: Wednesday, August 7 8/6 EJ; click here for the game) is the first reported example since AGA rules were introduced in 1991. But the “change” is an illusion. AGA rules are designed to produce the same result whether counted by territory or area. The last pass stone does that and the 7 1/2 point komi compensates White for Black’s last dame advantage. In addition, if you counted by traditional territory rules with a 6 1/2 point komi, this game would end the same: White loses by half a point.
- Terry Benson, with Dennis Wheeler and Phil Straus; photos of the Hu-Zhang game by Chris Garlock 

Categories: U.S./North America