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Ryan Li’s journey to the top 16 of the MLily Cup

Wednesday August 23, 2017

IMG_0616by Karoline Li

Official MLily Cup tournament festivities kicked off Tuesday (local time) in Tongling City with a welcome dinner attended by players and association officials. Ryan Li 1P and his partner Stephanie Yin 1P (photo at right) sat down to talk with AGA National Tournament Coordinator Jeff Shaevel (photo at left on the right) and I after dinner to discuss the upcoming match and Li’s journey to reach this moment. He was born in Beijing, and began playing go with his father around the age of five. He attended a go school a few times a week, and by the time his family moved to Canada at age eight, he had achieved amateur 4 dan status. After the move to Canada, he played mostly online. “He didn’t have a teacher,” Stephanie explained. “He practiced and learned on his own.” When I asked when he started competing seriously, he explained that for a while he only played in a few local tournaments in Ottawa, and his first big competition was the 2010 Canadian Open. “I took second to Matthew Hu,” Ryan says. “That was the year he became a professional.” He represented Canada in the Korean Prime Ministers Cup that year. “I didn’t do much between 2010 and 2012,” Ryan laughs. Then he joined the Pandanet AGA City League team captained by Cathy Li 1P, and was a North American representative to the first MLily Cup. He lost in the preliminaries of the MLily, but his City League team has won the championship three times out of five. He played in the second pro qualification tournament, then won the third tournament in 2015 becoming the fourth North American professional go player. Both tournaments were directed by Jeff Shaevel. “The tournament venue was in Boston right by the ocean, and it was beautiful,” Ryan remembered. “ “It was freezing!” Jeff laughed, and though Ryan agreed he viewed that as a positive. “Well I’m Canadian, so I like the cold.”

The last few years, Li has also been busy studying. He earned his bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Toronto, and became interested in atIMG_0662mospheric sciences after an internship with a professor who worked in the field. After earning his degree he went straight into a PhD program in the field at Yale University in New Haven, CT. “Does the logic for that fit with the logic of go?” Jeff asked. “I knew you were going to ask that,” Ryan laughed. “No, they don’t really go together.” Ryan explained that atmospheric sciences involves a lot of programming, data science, and theory. “Which is easier?” Jeff pressed. “Definitely go,” Ryan answered right away. “I really enjoy playing go,” he continued, his love of the game evident. “It started as a hobby, but after all these tournaments and becoming pro, it’s beyond a hobby, but it’s still fun. It’s one of the things I enjoy most.”

Li will face Li Xuanhao 6P on August 24th (local time), at 12:30pm in the top 16 match. He has prepared for this game for months by reviewing games and competing at the US Go Congress — where he went 8-1 and took second place in the Masters — in San Diego, and is excited for the match. “I have no secret weapon,” he said with a smile. “I’m just going to play my best and try to play move by move. At this point, I’m trying to relax.” He gives a lot of credit to Stephanie Yin, who has been helping him prepare for his matches and acting as his coach. Jeff smiled as Ryan talked about his preparations and his attitude towards tomorrow’s match. “This is such a proud moment for me,” Jeff beamed. “The pro qualifiers are a big deal for us, but we’re never sure what our pros will be doing after they qualify, and to see you playing in this tournament and doing so well is the most exciting thing. Whatever happens, I’m very, very proud.”
-report/photos by Li, EJ Tournaments Bureau Chief

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Ryan Li 1P ready to face next opponent in the MLily top 16

Saturday August 19, 2017

IMG_4795Ryan Li 1P is gearing up for his next match in the  MLily Meng Baihe Cup World Go Open Tournament (MLily Cup), achieving his place in the top 16 after a stunning upset win against Chen Yaoye 9P (photo at right) in the last round on June 21st; see the story and game record here“My goal going into the match was to not let him win too easily,” Li (right) said of preparing for the June match with Chen. In an interview at the recent U.S. Go Congress, Li said that he was excited for the match against Chen as a learning opportunity since Chen is a world champion who had previously beaten Ke Jie 9P. During the match, there was a moment at the beginning of the endgame, after all the groups had been settled, when Li realized he could actually win. “He told me that it felt like his heart would pop out of his chest,” Stephanie Yin 1P said with a smile. Li remembers that his first professional go tournament was as an amateur player invited to participate in the MLily preliminaries in 2012 where he lost in the first round, and he characterizes his place in the top 16 of this year’s MLily as a life achievement. “I’ve always wanted to be in the top 16 in a professional go tournament,” he says. “I set that goal right before this tournament started, and it immediately happened. It’s just amazing.” Ryan Li is only the fourth professional go player to be certified by the AGA, winning the January 2015 pro certification tournament, and when not playing go, he is pursuing a PhD in atmospheric sciences at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.

Li will face Li Xuanhao 6P in Tongling, Anhui on August 24th, and he used the 33rd US Go Congress as training to prepare for the match. He won eight of nine games in the US Open Masters Division, taking second place and losing only to tournament champion Wu Hao 2P of China. On top of his Go Congress training, he has been studying his opponents’ game records for the past year, and says Li Xuanhao’s style is calm; he expects playing against Li to be difficult, and not just because of his calm, solid style. “I know him pretty well,” Ryan says. “If I were playing someone else, I could review games with him and discuss strategy, but since he’s my opponent of course that would be awkward.” What is he most looking forward to? “I’m really looking forward to all the time before the match, because I’m still in the top 16 right now,” Ryan laughs. Stay tuned for our on-site coverage of the top 16 of the MLily Cup this week.

-report by Karoline Li, EJ Tournaments Bureau Chief; photo by Stephanie Yin 1P

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Video Commentary: “Giant-Killer” Ryan Li 1P on his Mlily win against Chen Yaoye 9p

Sunday July 30, 2017

Young North American pro Ryan Li 1P takes an in-depth look at his recent win in the MLily Meng Baihe Cup World Go Open Tournament against Chen Yaoye 9p in a brand-new 75-minute video commentary hosted by American Go E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock. “The 2017.07.30_Yaoye FINALtournament was a blast,” Li says. And though it wasn’t his first international tournament, Li admits it was “a real challenge to go up against players who have a lot more tournament experience than I do.” Li credits his study of Chen’s games and strong prep support from fellow North American player Stephanie Yin. “Just as in other sports,” Li says, “I think that a strong mentality is going to give you the edge in a tournament like this.”

Li, currently pursuing a Ph.D. in earth sciences at Yale, became the fourth AGA-certified pro in 2015. He has represented North America several times and scored wins over Asian pros before, including defeating Japan’s young talent, Mutsuura Yuta 2p, in the 2016 IEMG in China.

He will face Li Xuanhao 6p on August 24 in the top 16 of the MLily Cup. The winner receives about US $260,000 USD and the runner up close to $90,000.

[link]

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Categories: China,World
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Ryan Li 1p upsets Chen Yaoye 9p to move to MLily Final 16

Wednesday June 21, 2017

American Go Association pro Ryan Li 1p, of Canada, has defeated two-time world champion Chen Yaoye 9p in the second round of the MLily Meng Baihe Cup2017.06.21_Li-Yaoye World Go Open Tournament.

Li, who the day before defeated Cheng Honghao 2p in a 363-move game, played as black against Chen. After a fierce middle game fight, Li (left) settled his groups and took a small lead. The two got into a lengthy ko fight but Li held on to win by 2.5 points at the end of the 327-move game (see game record below). The four-and-a-half-hour game was broadcast live on the AGA’s YouTube channel with commentary by Jennie Shen 2P with Andrew Jackson, and can be viewed here.

The 27-year-old Chen’s accomplishments as a pro include defeating Lee Sedol 9p in the 2013 Chunlan Cup and Ke Jie 9p, the top current player, for the 2016 Bailing Cup, as well as winning 17 other national and continental titles.

Li, who is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in earth sciences at Yale, became the fourth AGA-certified pro in 2015. He has represented North America several times and scored wins over Asian pros before, including defeating Japan’s young talent, Mutsuura Yuta 2p, in the 2016 IEMG in China.

He will face Li Xuanhao 6p on August 24 in the top 16 of the MLily Cup. The winner receives about US $260,000 USD and the runner up close to $90,000.
- reported by Edward Zhang; editing by Andy Okun, sgf file produced by Myron Souris

[link]

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MLily: Ryan Li 1p Vs. Chen Yaoye 9p in Second Round; AGA Broadcasts

Monday June 19, 2017

2016.04.06_Ryan-Li-1st_IEMG_-Feb-27-2016-11-038China Korean Tengen 2013The AGA Broadcast team will provide coverage of two games from Round 2 of the 3rd Lily Cup tomorrow, June 20th, starting at 10:30 p.m. PDT (UTC-7), with commentary by Jennie Shen 2p. Our very own Ryan Li 1p, winning yesterday against Cheng Honghao 2p, now faces world champ Chen Yaoye 9p. Elsewhere in the tournament, Wang Haoyang 6p scored an upset win against Shin Jinseo, the rising Korean phenom, which wins him the chance to play DeepZenGo in round 2.

Join us at http://www.youtube.com/c/usgoweb/live or http://twitch.tv/usgoweb !

 

kf_zen_01The MLily cup is the first traditional tournament in which AI players are seeded just as their human counterparts, and it may also be the last, with Tygem China News reporting that no future Chinese tournaments will allow AI entrants.

 
 
 

Here is Ryan Li’s monster 363(!) move 1st round win over Cheng Honghao 2p:

[link]

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Ke Jie Edges Lee Sedol by Half-Point to Win MLily Cup; AGA YouTube Coverage Draws Record Audience

Tuesday January 5, 2016

Ke Jie 9P edged out Lee Sedol 9P by the narrowest of margins — a half-point — to win the MLily Cup Monday night in a dramatic deciding fifth game that drew a record number of viewers to the AGA’s 2016.01.04_youtube-screencap2YouTube channel, where Myungwan Kim 9P and Andrew Jackson provided blow-by-blow commentary to a nailbiting audience that hit just over 14,000 at its peak, far surpassing the previous record of 400 viewers. The winner collected not just this year’s MLily international title and a purse of over $300,000, but bragging rights in the classic showdown between two go titans, one a seasoned veteran from Korea, the other a young rising star from China. The battle see-sawed back and forth, taking fans of both players on a wild ride, and went on until just past midnight on the West Coast, drawing intense attention worldwide — especially in Korea and China — and the AGA’s broadcasting efforts, anchored by Kim and Jackson, brought the match to a much broader gaming audience on YouTube and Twitch. A report on Myungwan Kim’s commentary was also featured in the Chosun news, helping to drive thousands of Korean viewers to the AGA’s YouTube channel as well. The coverage even inspired one viewer to donate to the AGA. “I had such a blast on the live MLily Cup Game moderated by Andrew Jackson with the Myungwan Kim 9p comments) that I just donated $50 to the org, this is truely awesome!” wrote Indigonauts. “This is amazing that I can watch a professional #baduk match in English now. Thanks @theaga,” added Christopher Annanie on Twitter. The AGA broadcast team also included Kevin Hwang, Peter Nelson, Steven Hu, Nick Sibicki, and more (we’ll update this more completely asap).
- Chris Garlock

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Despite Datacenter Attack, AGA Doubles Down on Coverage of MLily Cup and AGA Pro Qualifier

Sunday January 3, 2016

The year is barely a few days old and it’s already been an exciting one for the American Go Association. Hundreds tuned in on January 1 to 2015.01.03_aga-pro-day1grpMyungwan Kim 9Ps commentary on our YouTube channel for the third round of the MLily 2016.01.03_MLily Cup Game 3Cup battle between go titans Lee Sedol and Ke Jie. Then an attack on the datacenter that hosts our site took the AGA’s website down until midday Sunday (though we were able to get some preliminary content out via our Facebook and Twitter feeds on Saturday and early Sunday), just in time for our coverage of the 4th AGA Professional Qualifier at the Hotel Normandie in Los Angeles. And as the AGA pro event began to wind down for the day early Sunday evening, our coverage of the fourth round of the MLily began. “After the pro qualifications, I thought I’d have a go overdose, but no way,” said one YouTube viewer, “let’s watch this game.”

AGA Pro Qualifier coverage continues all week, with game broadcasts beginning at 9:30a PST and 3P PST daily, along with continuous posts on Facebook and Twitter, plus game highlights on YouTube. And if a fifth game is needed in the MLily Cup, we’ll broadcast that as well; stay tuned for complete details.

report/photos by Chris Garlock

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AGA’s MLily Cup commentary delayed to Wednesday

Tuesday December 29, 2015

The AGA’ live game commentary on the MLily Cup finals between Lee Sedol 9P and Ke Jie 9P will begin with Game 2 on Wednesday, December 2015.12.29_MLilyShow2TitleCard30, not Tuesday 12/29 as previously announced. Myungwan Kim 9Ps commentary will begin at 9pm PST (midnight EST) on the AGA’s YouTube channel.
graphic by xhu

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AGA to broadcast live commentary on MLily Cup finals this week

Monday December 28, 2015

The AGA will provide live game commentary this week on the upcoming MLily Cup finals between Lee Sedol 9P and Ke Jie 9P. The first game is tomorrow (2015.11.26_Ke-Jie-Lee-Sedol-MLily-Cup-t-150x150Tuesday), December 29; Myungwan Kim 9Ps commentary will begin at 9pm PST (midnight EST) on the AGA’s YouTube channel. Games 2 and 3 are scheduled for 12/30 and 1/1; if the best-of-five contest goes longer, games are scheduled for January 3 and 4, if necessary.

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Categories: China,Japan,Korea
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Lee Sedol 9P to face Ke Jie 9P in MLily Cup Final

Thursday November 26, 2015

Lee Sedol 9P (right) defeated Ahn Seongjun 6P and Ke Jie 9P (left) beat Park Younghun 9P in the semifinals of the second MLily Cup, played November 22-252015.11.26_Ke-Jie-Lee-Sedol-MLily-Cup-t-150x150 in Hefei, China. The Ke Jie-Park Younghun showdown — relayed live on the AGA’s YouTube channel with commentary by Myungwan Kim 9P — was one of the most interesting matches of the year.

Ke Jie is ranked #1 in China, is virtually undefeated as White in 2015 and proceeded to the final of the 2015 Samsung Cup in early November by defeating Lee Sedol. Meanwhile, Park Younghun is in his second heyday in 2015. He’s ranked #3 in Korea, and he proceeded to the final of 20th LG Cup by defeating Tuo Jiaxi 9p about only a week ago.

Lee Sedol is currently ranked #2 in Korea, and Ahn Seongjun is ranked #7. 

Click here for more analysis, photos, game records and game commentary by Younggil An 8P on Go Game Guru.

- Go Game Guru
Update (12/24): Ke is not, as originally reported, undefeated this year on white; in fact he has lost twice.

 

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Categories: China,Japan,Korea
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