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The Power Report: Xie defends Women’s Kisei; Ishii Kunio wins 1,000th game

Wednesday March 9, 2016

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Xie defends Women’s Kisei: The challenger for the 19th DoCoMo Cup Women’s Kisei title was Yoshihara Yukari 6P, 2016.03.09_Xie wins WomMeijinwho held this title for three years in a row before losing it to Xie in 2010. The opening game of the title match was held at the Hotel Sun Life Garden in Hiratsuka City, Kanagawa Prefecture on January 21. It was a very exciting contest, with the lead switching back and forth, but Xie (right) managed to pull ahead by half a point in the endgame. The second game was held at the Ryusei Studio in the basement of the Nihon Ki-in in Ichigaya, Tokyo on February 1. It was another close game, but Xie, playing black, won by 2.5 points. Xie thus defended the Women’s Kisei title with straight wins and maintained her triple crown. She has now held this title for four years in a row and six times overall and has extended her tally of titles to 22.

Ishii Kunio wins 1,000th game: Ishii Kunio 9P, best known these days as the teacher of Iyama Yuta, has won his thousandth game. He reached the landmark with a win over Yamashiro Hiroshi 9P in the preliminary round of the Masters Cup. His record is 1,000 wins, 603 losses, 1 jigo. He is the 18th player at the Nihon Ki-in to win a thousand games and, at 74 years three months, is the oldest; he is in his 59th year as a pro. He is also the first such member of the Kansai branch of the Nihon Ki-in. He commented that while he regrets not having won a title, in a way he is proud of the fact that he is the first such player to reach this mark.
When asked which was his most memorable game, Ishii answered in detail. ‘I guess my win over Lee Chang-ho [in the 2001 Fujitsu Cup]. Besides that, I have strong memories of my win on white with no komi in the rating tournament over Ishida Yoshio 7P when he held the Honinbo title. Ishida was probably not psyched up for the game. The game when I beat Fujisawa Shuko to win a place in the Honinbo League; the game when I beat Rin Kaiho in the main section of the Judan tournament when he was Meijin. Sakata Eio Sensei stood and watched the whole game. When it was over, he said: “I’m astonished, really astonished. What was your name?” This is still a vivid memory. They are not counted among the thousand, but I also have vivid memories of the best-of-three match with Nie Weiping in the Japan-China go Exchange when I played as a substitute for Kobayashi Koichi and won 2-1.’ Ishii also mentioned that his only form of study is looking at Iyama’s games.

Promotions
To 9-dan: Nakane Naoyuki (200 wins) (as of Feb. 19)
To 6-dan: Takemiya Yoko (as of Feb. 16), Kanai Tenpei (as of Feb. 23) (90 wins)
To 5-dan: Ando Kazushige (as of Feb. 5), Inagaki Yo (as of Feb. 19) (70 wins)
To 3-dan: Tsuneishi Takashi (40 wins, as of Feb. 5)

Promotions based on prize money
The annual promotions based on prize-money earnings for the previous year were announced in the February 8 issue of Go Weekly. They are listed below.
To 7-dan: Ms. Suzuki Ayumi
To 6-dan: Muramatsu Hiroki, Suzuki Shinji
To 5-dan: Yanagisawa Satoshi, Fujita Akihiko
To 4-dan: Ito Masashi, Numadate Sakiya
To 3-dan: Yo Chito, Koyama Kuya
To 2-dan: Sotoyanagi Sebun, Cho Zuiketsu
Tomorrow: Okura Prizes for Pair Go founders; 49th Kido Prizes; Xie makes good start in Women’s Meijin defence; Kono wins first game in Meijin League; International tournaments

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Categories: Japan,John Power Report
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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.

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The Janice Kim Files – Game On

Monday July 13, 2015

(or what I learned during my two-year vacation from playing games) by Janice Kim 3P

PastedGraphic-1For me go and poker are the same. As they are like two sides of my same coin, I find the optimal strategy in go is to know everything, and in poker, to be random.

Humans are not randomizers, they require computers, or cards, and even those require perfect input for true randomization. A good watch with a sweeping second hand can take care of a lot in poker. If you develop the strategy of eyes going to your watch, as if you’re the smartest Princess Bride in the world poisoning a cup, basing your actions entirely on the position of a watch hand on the dial, you will be about as random as humans get. I look pretty much like Lee Chang-ho would playing poker, a Stone Buddha in a skirt and heels, a non-sentient target no more than a table’s-length away, which is why it is oh-so-perfect.

Of course this is only truly useful if you are not looking at your cards at all, so as not to introduce the possibility of fear in yourself, and playing against the best cash players in the world, and aren’t an actual threat to the way of life to wealthy and powerful, testosterone-enhanced, actively aggressive people. And then you have to have enough chips neatly stacked in front of you, or maybe with one almost toppling over, to enrage enough or entice enough to engage enough to get any play. The buy-in on such where-are-you-on-the-guest-list events is steep if you aren’t backed.  Continue reading…)

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Categories: The Janice Kim Files
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Your Move/Readers Write: Life-Lessons of Go; Did Go Save Edward Lasker’s Life?

Wednesday February 25, 2015

Life-Lessons of Go: “If life is a game of go. I wish I (could) place my first move again.” (Go Spotting: “Go Stone” Tweet 2/22 EJ) “And that is 2015.02.24_lasker-life-gothe life-lesson of go,” writes Terry Benson. “We don’t get to play our first stone again. As in sports, we have to ‘suck it up’ and look for the next best move with our mistakes glaringly in full view. Go ‘is’ life.”

Did Go Save Edward Lasker’s Life? “What I find most remarkable about Lasker’s story (Go Spotting: Lasker’s “Chess Secrets I learned from the Masters” 2/23 EJ) is that one can argue that go saved Lasker’s life,” writes Vernon Leighton. “Out of college, Lasker worked for a multinational German corporation. He wanted to be transferred to the Japan unit so that he could study go. His company said that he had to be fluent in English to work in Japan. He got a transfer to England to work on his English. WWI broke out and he was jailed as an enemy national. He was transferred to the United States, where he settled and lived the rest of his life. Had he not been in England, he might have been drafted into the German army and killed in a trench in France. Therefore, go may have saved his life.”
photo from LIFE Magazine 18 May 1942

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Your Move/Readers Write: BGC Bullseye; More on Studying Pro Games

Saturday January 24, 2015

BGC Bullseye: “Although I left Brooklyn behind several years ago, the description of the Brooklyn Go Club (Go in NYC: An Insider’s Guide 1/21 EJ) is disturbingly accurate,” writes Solomon Smilack. “Thank you for the laugh.”

More on Studying Pro Games:
“This is a widely debated and discussed topic (Your Move/Readers Write: How Do You Study Pro Games? 1/20 EJ),” writes Dennis Wheeler, “and one can find numerous discussion threads on this very topic in the Life in 19×19 discussion forum. There also may not be just one answer, as I believe the answers can be as varied and personal as the people who give them. And I too would love to hear opinions from EJournal readers who are professional players themselves.” Wheeler goes on to suggest that “Professional games show us how the game should be played, as opposed to the jumbled misguided (yet fun) mess we often play. Why not try to learn from the best? Or just simply enjoy the beauty of a well played game.”

 

 

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GoGameGuru and AGA offer Joint BadukTV English Holiday Membership Promotion

Monday December 8, 2014

Anyone who joins, renews or extends their membership with the AGA between now and New Year’s Day will receive two months of free access to2014.12.02_Watch-Baduk-TV-in-English BadukTV English, AGA President Andy Okun announced. “We’re grateful to GoGameGuru, David Ormerod and the folks at BadukTV for this generous offer,” Okun said.  People who are already BadukTV English subscribers can opt instead for a free go book (US shipping address only, limited choice of titles). AGA life members who request it can take advantage of the two months without doing anything, as it would be tricky to extend their memberships, Okun said.  Baduk TV English takes the best of the 24-hour Korean cable channel Baduk TV, with lessons, game commentary and problems analyzed by professionals, and adds English subtitles.  There are several hundred hours of material in the library already and new material all the time. After joining or renewing, click here to take advantage of the offer.

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Game Theorist Frank Lantz on why go should be “A little less Tang Dynasty and a little more NASCAR”

Wednesday August 13, 2014

“We should do a better job embracing and celebrating go’s status as the deepest, most challenging competitive game in the world, deeper than chess, harder than poker,” said New York University Game Center Director Frank Lantz in the keynote speech last Saturday night opening the 2014 US Go Congress in New York City. In a riveting 45-minute multimedia presentation on ‘Go in the New Age,’ Lantz urged hundreds of assembled go players to challenge their own assumptions about how to popularize the game. A self-described “terrible amateur despite a lifetime of off-and-on study,” Lantz described go as “a beautiful work of vibrant culture” and in a tour de force performance that melded history, art and culture, insisted that despite being more than 4,000 years old, go is not an ancient antique, “It’s alive here and now,” he said excitedly. Go, he suggested, should not be content to be a game of interest only those intrigued by the arcane.

“There is a huge online audience of game players who play games that require study and intelligence, not just fast fingers,” he said, describing how video, multiplayer and other e-games have huge audiences worldwide. He urged the US go community to develop a significant, interesting go presence on Twitch, “where there are millions of these people” and suggested marketing go to this audience with the theme “Go is the most difficult strategic game ever invented.” We should “worry less about the beauty and age of go in marketing it,” Lantz said, and emphasize the game’s difficulty and challenge.

Stars and a global rating system are important too, Lantz said. “It should be as easy to follow top go players as it is to follow an NBA team. Who’s the best player in the world? That gives other players – especially young ones – someone to follow and to emulate.” Tournaments also should be easier to follow, he added. “What’s a ‘jubango’” he asked, noting that Gu Li and Lee Sedol, two of the top players in the world, are currently competing in a one-on-one showdown that no-one outside the go world – and arguable many inside – don’t really understand and therefore find it hard to follow.

“We should be a little less Tang Dynasty and a little more NASCAR,” Lantz argued.  The speech garnered an enthusiastic response and Lantz’ analysis and suggestions have doubtless been a topic of discussion at this week’s Go Teacher’s Conference at the Go Congress. Lantz became known to the go community because of his lecture ‘Go, Poker and the Sublime’ at the at the 2011 Game Developers Conference (Life and Death and Middle Pair: Go, Poker and the Sublime 10/30/2012 EJ).
- Chris Garlock, with Peter Freedman; photos by Phil Straus

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Go Spotting: The “High-Brow” Game and An Unlikely Place

Thursday June 19, 2014

The Highbrow Game: Go is classified as a “high-brow” game in a chart detailing “the best and worst of art and popular culture,” in a 1949 issue of LIFE magazine, reports Molly Fitzpatrick on nerve.com .  “Looking at the other classifications, I am unsure whether it’s a compliment or not,” says EJ reader Garrett Bredell, who sent us the link. “But nice to see it mentioned anyway.”

An Unlikely Place: “My father spotted a go reference in a very unlikely place!” writes Alicia Seifrid. “An opinion article by Bob Pinato  in the latest issue of Microwave Product Digest spoke about the current world political situation, and it mentioned go in reference to China’s recent policy of claiming of nearby islands.  The author likened this to a real-life version of ‘GO, the ancient Asian game of power and strategy.’”

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Game Theorist Frank Lantz to Keynote US Go Congress

Monday April 21, 2014

Frank Lantz, noted game theorist, developer and teacher, will deliver the keynote address at the 2014 US Go Congress opening ceremonies on Saturday, August 9th at 7 p.m., at the Hotel Pennsylvania in New York City. Now the director of a graduate program in game theory and development at New York University, Lantz became known to the go community because of his lecture ‘Go, Poker and the Sublime’ at the at the 2011 Game Developers Conference (Life and Death and Middle Pair: Go, Poker and the Sublime 10/30/2012 EJ). In 2005 Lantz co-founded area/code, a New York based developer that created cross-media, location-based, and social network games. In 2011 area/code was acquired by Zynga and became Zynga New York. In 2012, The New York Times referred to Lantz as a “reigning genius of the mysteries of games” following his design of iPhone puzzle game Drop7.

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Go Spotting: Upgo.info to Crowdsource Game Play Globally; Weichi in Age of Wushu; China Adopting Go to Foreign Policy Strategy?

Monday December 23, 2013

Upgo.info to Crowdsource Game Play Globally: “Upgo.info is angel funding meets go tournaments meets Mechanical Turk,” explains one upgo founder. “A start-up is only as strong as its best go player,” says another. Video explains how the site will “use the latest in big-data technology,” maximize the untapped strength of Japanese retirees and “crowdsource game play” globally.
Thanks to David Doshay for passing this along.

Weichi in Age of Wushu: Go plays a key role in Age of Wushu, a popular MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game), reports Taylor Litteral.  “Age of Wushu takes place in ancient China during a time period where martial arts legends are born,” says Litteral. “Weiqi — or go — stakes its claim as being one of the four cultural life skills which is advanced by answering go problems, and Age of Wushu players can even play weiqi against each other.”  In the picture an npc (non-player character)  tells the player about weiqi.

China Adopting Go to Foreign Policy Strategy? “China is playing the classic game of weiqi, wherein it slowly expands influence through steps that are not a threshold to violence and do not trigger a forcible response,” says Douglas Paal, director of the Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, in a recent Bloomberg news report about how “China Adopts Board-Game Strategy to Blunt U.S. Pivot to Asia.” The foreign policy strategy emerging from China’s new leadership “may include a series of incremental steps calibrated to blunt U.S. influence across Asia and sow doubt about America’s commitment to its allies in the region,” the report suggests.
Thanks to Chris Roose for passing this along. 

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Categories: Go Spotting
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