American Go E-Journal

Iyama wins third straight Meijin game, threatening to sweep Takao

Sunday September 27, 2015

The third game of the 40th Meijin title match was held at the Tokiwa Hotel in Kofu City, Yamanashi Prefecture on September 24 and 25. Playing2015.09.27_Iyama wins game 3 white, Iyama Yuta Meijin beat Takao Shinji Tengen by resignation after 148 moves. Iyama now needs just 2015.09.27_Meijin-Game 3one more win to defend his title. Eighty moves were played on the first day, and Takao commented: “I spoiled it on the first day.” Actually, however, according to Go Weekly, he did not play any moves that could clearly be labeled as dubious. Rather, as Takao indicated after the game, he had regrets about some of his moves, as in retrospect he didn’t feel that they were the best attacking moves. Thanks to his skill at settling weak groups, Iyama seems to have gained a slight edge. On the second day, Iyama drew further ahead. In the end, Takao had to play unreasonably, and Iyama wrapped up the game by attacking and bringing down a large group. The fourth game will be played on October 5 and 6. The pressure on Takao has increased; he will want to avoid a repeat of his 0-4 loss to Iyama in the 35th Meijin title match. This, by the way, is Iyama’s 13th successive win. He is now fourth on the list of most games won. He probably has more games left this year than most of his rivals, so he should move up a place or two.
- John Power

Categories: Japan,John Power Report

Can Giraffe Crack Go?

Sunday September 27, 2015

An artificial intelligence machine called Giraffe that has taught itself to play chess by evaluating positions much more like humans and in an 2015.09.27_computer-chessentirely different way to conventional chess engines may well be the future of AI, according 2015.09.27_MatthewLaito a recent report in the MIT Technology Review. “Straight out of the box, the new machine plays at the same level as the best conventional chess engines, many of which have been fine-tuned over many years,” the report says. The technology behind the new machine — developed by Matthew Lai (left) at Imperial College London –is a neural network that consists of several layers of nodes that are connected in a way that change as the system is trained. “Lai says it should be straightforward to apply the same approach to other games,” the report concludes. “One that stands out is the traditional Chinese game of Go, where humans still hold an impressive advantage over their silicon competitors. Perhaps Lai could have a crack at that next.”
Thanks to Fred D. Baldwin for passing this along.

Chang Qi Cup Round 2 Games Live Now on KGS and YouTube

Sunday September 27, 2015

The Chang Qi Cup Round 2 semifinal games are underway now and being broadcast live on KGS and YouTube. Qiu Jun 9P and Li Qincheng 1p2015.09.27_Chang Qi Cup Day 2 - YouTube are battling to force deciding matches; both lost their first-round matches yesterday, to Tuo Jiaxi 9P and Lian Xiao 7P, respectively.

The matches are being played live at the Student Organization Center at Hilles, Harvard University, in Cambridge, MA. Area go players are welcome to stop by and check out the action, including the Chang Qi amateur tournament also underway, sponsored by the American Collegiate Go Association and the Shanghai Ing-Changki Weiqi Education Foundation in conjunction with the Chinese Chang Qi Cup and the American Go Association.
- Chris Garlock

Categories: U.S./North America

Tuo Jiaxi 9P, Lian Xiao 7P Notch Wins in Chang Qi Cup Semifinal; Round 2 Sunday

Saturday September 26, 2015

In a nice bit of timing, the semi-finals of China’s Chang Qi Cup were held on US soil on Saturday, the day after Chinese President Xi Jinping2015.09.26_ChangQiTopBoardCollage capped his first U.S. visit with a meeting with President Obama and a black-tie state dinner at the White House. Four of the world’s strongest go players competed for the coveted title; Qiu Jun 9P, Lian Xiao 7P, Li Qincheng 1P and Tuo Jiaxi 9P. Lian Xiao 7P, playing black, won his game against Li Qincheng in 161 moves, shortly after the lunch break. One of the rising stars of the go world, Lian is ranked #11 in China (as of March 2015), has already won several domestic titles and continues to climb the rankings. This would be the biggest title of his career so far. Just after 4pm, Tuo Jiaxi 9P, playing white, edged out Qiu Jun 9P by a single point — the game is scored with Ing counting — in a 241-move nail-biter that had the more than 200 KGS viewers on the edge of their collective seats wondering who would triumph. Tuo Jiaxi is one of the top players in China. He won the 2014 LG Cup, has reached several quarter- and semifinals, and was ranked #1 in the country for a while back in 2013. He won this tournament in 2010, and should be one of the favorites this year to win the Chang Qi Cup. Tuo is #6 in the world, while Qiu is #23, according to Remi Coulom’s “It was a very close game for a long time,” Tuo told the EJ after the game, “but as a professional I’m used to playing long games so it was no problem.” He and Qiu know each other’s games so well that Tuo said he planned no special preparation, “just rest and relaxation.”

The semifinals are a best-of-three series, so the players will meet again on Sunday, September 27; the games will be broadcast live on KGS (starting at 9:30a EST) with commentary on the AGA’s YouTube channel. Depending on the results, there may be final round(s) on Monday.

The semifinals were held in Cambridge, MA at Harvard’s Student Organization Center at Hilles, sponsored by the American Collegiate Go Association (ACGA), the Shanghai Ing-Changki Weiqi Education Foundation and the American Go Association (AGA), which also hosted the inaugural American Chang Qi Tournament, drawing over 200 go fans to both play and watch on a gorgeous sunny fall day.
The Changqi Cup is one of China’s most generously sponsored tournaments, with a winner’s prize of about $70,000 USD. It’s jointly hosted by the Chinese Go Association and the Shanghai Branch of the Ing Foundation. The tournament first started in 2004 in memory of Ing Chang-ki.
- report/photos/collage by Chris Garlock; translation assistance by Cheng Hao; tech support by Steve Colburn

Boston Buzzes on Eve of Chang Qi Cup

Thursday September 24, 2015


East Coast go players — especially those in the Boston area — are counting down the hours to this weekend’s first 2015.09.24_Chang-Qi-dinnerAmerican Chang Qi tournament. The tournament is being held September 26-27 in conjunction with the semi-finals of the 2015 Chang Qi Cup, at which four top pros from China will compete for a berth in the Chang Qi Cup finals. The weekend promises a go bonanza for both players and observers, who will be able to compete in the amateur tournament as well as watch the pro games; for those who can’t make it in-person, there will be full coverage of the entire weekend’s events on the AGA’s live broadcast channel (starting at 9a EST on Saturday), on KGS and in the E-Journal.  Online registration (free) is continuing, but there will be on-site registration from 8:30 to 9:30 on Saturday. Visit the ACGA’s website for more details.
Photo: Chinese Chang Qi delegation at dinner at the Yenming restaurant near Harvard Square Thursday night.  Standing (l-r): Qiu Jun, Lian Xiao, Li Qin Cheng, Tuo Jia Xi (click here for their profiles) and AGA President Andy Okun. Seated (l-r): Shao Weigang 9p, Ying Ming-haw, son of the founder of the Ing Foundation, Hua Yigang 8p, former president of China Qiyuan, currently VP of Chinese Weiqi Association  and Wang Yi 5p, captain of the Chinese National Weiqi team. 

Student Pair Go Qualifier This Weekend

Thursday September 24, 2015

318The 2nd World Students Pair Go Championship is coming up in December, and the United States is searching for a male and female representative through a pair go qualifying tournament.

The online pair go qualifying tournament will be held this weekend with a possible extension to Monday if needed. The winners of the qualifiers will get 50 percent of the round-trip airfare cost, and the meals will be covered from Friday evening to Tuesday morning. The championship will be held in Tokyo, Japan from December 4th to the 8th, and this will be a 4-round Swiss system with a 45 minute sudden death time limit.

To be eligible for the tournament and the championship, you must have been an AGA member for at least one year, an amateur player,  an undergraduate or graduate student of a University/College, under the age of 30, a US citizen, and you must have lived in the US for at least six years in the last twelve years

Interested players should email with their names and best method of contact as soon as possible as we need to select a representative by October 1st. Please email even if you don’t have an immediate partner. - Austin Freeman. Photo from World Amatelur Pair Go Website.

18-year-old Andy Zalesak 2D Knocks Out Top Players to Win Triangle Memorial Tournament

Wednesday September 23, 2015

The Triangle Go Group of central North Carolina hosted the 15th Triangle Memorial Tournament at its traditional outdoor setting in Umstead 2015.09.23_Triangle-tournamentState Park in Cary NC on September 19.  The sensation of this year’s tournament was 18-year-old Andy Zalesak 2D, who defeated the top four rated players to capture Section A, his second 4-0 sweep of a North Carolina tournament this year.  Sharing second place at 3-1 were Dalan Robertson and John Moore.  Other section winners were Kerianne Squitire and Bob Bacon, 3-1 in Section B (6-7k); Vincent DiMattia, Alvin Chen, and Dale Blann, all 3-1 in Section C (9-11k); and Alex Kuang 16k with a perfect 4-0 in Section D.

Following tradition, lunch was provided for the players and all entry fees, plus an additional donation from the club, were returned to the players in prizes.  The tournament honors the memory of two Duke mathematics professors, Joe Shoenfield and Richard Scoville, who for decades played go daily at lunchtime and were mainstays in creating a go tradition in central North Carolina.
Charles Alden; photo: Andy Zalesak (right) vs. Dalan Robertson at the Triangle Memorial Tournament; photo by Bob Bacon


Categories: U.S./North America

Why We Play: Michael Albert 8k

Wednesday September 23, 2015

Age: 212015.09.24_Michael-Albert
Years playing go: 7
Lives in: Richfield, Minnesota
Home Club: Twin Cities Go Club

“Before I started playing go, I was constantly bullied and abused. Once I discovered Hikaru No Go, I have not looked back. Since I started playing go my life has changed. I play not only to better myself as a human being but to communicate with others who do not speak my language. It is because of go I now have friends from all over the world: China, Japan, Korea and Mexico, just to name a few. I play go because it saved my life. I play go because it lets me be me.”

Why do you play? Tell us in 100 words or less your favorite thing about the game of go, include your name, age, how long you’ve played go, where you live and your home go club, and email to Be sure to include a current photo!

Categories: Why We Play

The Power Report (2): Kyo Kagen wins two junior titles; Women’s Meijin League; Iyama ekes out narrow win in Meijin

Tuesday September 22, 2015

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal

Kyo Kagen wins two junior titles: Kyo Kagen 3-dan (right) is continuing his impressive form and has won two titles in the last week. On 2015.09.21_Kyo wins King of New StarsSeptember 13, the semifinals and final of the 2nd Yucho Cup Youth Championship/Nakano Koji Memorial 2015.09.21_King of New Stars Game 2were held at the Nihon Ki-in. In the semifinals, which started at noon, Kyo (W) beat Yo Seiki 7P by resig. and Motoki Katsuya 7P (W) beat Son Makoto 3P, also by resig. The final started at 3 o’clock, and Kyo (B) beat Motoki by resig. after 143 moves. This is an unofficial title sponsored by the post office bank (Yucho) for players under 21 and under 8-dan. Kyo also won the 10th term of the Nakano Cup, the predecessor of this tournament. These games were sandwiched in-between the first and second games of the 40th King of the New Stars title match. In the first game, played on September 11, Kyo (B) beat Hirata Tomoya 4P by resig. after 175 moves. In the second game (September 16, above left), Kyo (W) won by resig. after 194 moves, so he took the title with straight wins. This is his first official title. He turns 18 on the 24th.
Women’s Meijin League: One game in the 28th Women’s Meijin League was played on September 10. Fujisawa Rina Women’s Honinbo (W) beat Chinen Kaori 4P by 7.5 points. On 2-0, Fujisawa shared the lead with Mannami Nao 3P. This game completed the second round. On September 17, Okuda Aya 3P (W) defeated Mannami Nao by resig. and Kato Keiko 6P (B) defeated Suzuki Ayumi 6P by 3.5 points. Mannami is now 2-1, along with Okuda. If Fujisawa Rina wins her third-round game, she will have the sole lead.

2015.09.21_A painful half-point lossIyama ekes out narrow win in Meijin: The second game of the 40th Meijin title match was played at the Hotel Oncri (written “onkuri” in Japanese) in the hot spring resort of Furuyu in Saga City, Kyushu on September 17 and 18. After very complicated fighting in the first 150 moves, the challenger, Takao Shinji 9P, took the lead around move 170, but he slipped up at least twice in the endgame, letting Iyama Yuta Meijin catch up and then stage an upset. Iyama, who had black, won by half a point (right). Losing a game like this is very painful and puts the challenger under a lot of pressure. Incidentally, this win was Iyama’s twelfth in a row. Another statistic: this win by the player with black stopped a winning streak of seven by White in games between these two players. Overall, Iyama now leads Takao 25-13, and White has won 23 of these games. The third game will be played on September 24 and 25.

Categories: Japan,John Power Report

Second Volume of Yuan Zhou’s “Deep Thought: Extremely Thoroughly Commented Pro Games” Released

Tuesday September 22, 2015

Responding to popular demand, Slate and Shell has just published a second volume of “Deep Thought: Extremely Thoroughly Commented Pro 2015.09.13_DeepThought-coverGames,” by popular author Yuan Zhou. It contains three games with virtually every move explained and almost every diagram showing only one new move. “Unlike normal problem books, the ‘problems’ here are not limited to local situations,” says Slate and Shell publisher Bill Cobb. “You must always keep in mind the whole board. Read this way, the books provide an excellent study of opening, middle game, life and death, and endgame problems, considered in terms of what is going on elsewhere in the game.” Sample pages can be seen on the web site. Available now at a special introductory price.