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WAGC Day 2 Report: China, South Korea, and North Korea undefeated after 4 rounds

Monday June 5, 2017

by Thomas Hsiang, special correspondent to the E-JournalFor day 2 of the 38th World Amateur Go Championship, there were no major surprises at the top tables.  Round 3 in the morning saw US and Russia lose to China and North Korea respectively; Thailand lose to Czech; Austria lose to Hong Kong; and France lose to South Korea.  The Czech player Lukas Podpera caught a lot of attention after he beat Lai Yucheng from Taiwan yesterday.  In round 3 he played a strong game against the Thai representative Vorawat Tanapatsopol, a Go teacher from Bangkok, and won.  2017.06.05_wagc-Japan-Viet Nam

There were a number of strong games in round 4.  At the end, only three undefeated players remain – China, South Korea, and North Korea.  The round started with an exciting game between Hong Kong’s Chan Naisan and South Korean Lee Sangbin.  “Lee is just too strong”, sighed Chan after losing a well-fought game.  Lukas Podpera lost by just 0.5 point to North Korean Ri Jin-Ung (whose name was mis-spelled in yesterday’s report).  Anoother Go teacher, Romanian Cornel Burzo lost to China in a game that finished very late and attracted many Chinese Go reporters. The match between Japan’s Sakamoto Shusaku and Vietnam’s 12-year old Vo Duy Minh (right) also attracted a lot of media attention, although the result was hardly surprising.  Danny Ko recovered to defeat the player from Macao.
For round 5 on Tuesday, the top games will be China vs. North Korea, Finland vs. South Korea, Japan vs. Hong Kong, and US vs. Romania.
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WAGC Day 1 Report: Early strong pairings

Sunday June 4, 2017

by Thomas Hsiang, special correspondent to the E-Journal2017.06.04_wagc-danny-ko

The pairing for WAGC this year, as in 2016, uses a Chinese algorithm that does not pre-order the players. Therefore some early strong pairings have already taken place on the first day.  In round 1, Japanese 7D Sakamoto Shusaku met with South Korean Lee Sangbin, with Lee winning a tough match.  In the second round, Taiwanese representative 7D Lai Yucheng lost to Czech 7D Lukas Podpera by 2.5 points, producing the first major upset.  US representative Danny Ko fought a difficult battle with German Lukas Kraemer and achieved a 2-0 result.  After the game, former world champion Yoo Changhuh reviewed the game for the players in great detail and Danny said that he felt like he had improved from the review.  He will need the extra strength as he prepares to meet Chinese Bai Baoxiang in the third round.  Bai has won the WAGC once previously already.  Canadian representative Yujie Gong lost in the second round to long-time Polish mainstay Leszek Soldan and was 1-1 going into the second day.  Other players who drew special interest include the DPR Korea player Jin Ungri who, although listed only as 4D, defeated a number of famous North Korean players to emerge as the country’s first representative to WAGC in several years; the 12-year old Vo Duyminh from Vietnam and the 72-year old Zoran Mutabzija from Croatia, who the youngest and oldest players respectively.  Jin easily won his first two games so far, while the other two were both 1-1 with Vo given a forfeiture after he misread the schedule and was late by 25 minutes in the first round.  In the third round, the strongest pairings include Danny Ko vs. Bai Baoxiang, Russian Dmitry Surin vs. Lee Sangbin, and Hong Kong 7D Chan Naisan vs. Austrian Victor Lin.

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National Go Center opens “a very good place to play go”

Friday April 28, 2017

The new National Go Center opened Friday in Washington DC with an afternoon event featuring a ribbon-cutting and speeches by 2017.04.28_ngc-ribbondignitaries from as far away as Japan and as near as Northwest DC. Festivities continue today with a tournament starting at 9a (be there by 8:30 to register; follow the Board 1 action live on KGS) and then at 7p tonight a Member’s Access event that includes pianist Haskell Small and another pianist performing Small’s “A Game of Go,” an original composition inspired by a famous game by the legendary Shusaku. Michael Redmond and Chris Garlock will then do a commentary on one of the new games by Master/AlphaGo reprising their roles as commentators on the historic AlphaGo match a year ago. 

Center Executive Director Gurujeet Khalsa welcomed the assemblage and American Go Association president Andy Okun called the opening — attended by a full house — “very heartening” and said that “it’s clear that DC has risen to the challenge of building a community and a sustainable institution.” The Go Center, Okun declared, “is going to be e very good place to play go.”

American Go Foundation — and former AGA president — Terry Benson reminded the attentive audience of the long history of Japanese support for American go, noting that “JAL sponsored our first US Championship,” and that Japan’s Go Review was the primary source of go news and instruction in the 1960′s. He also pointed out that “the first U.S. Go Congress was held not far from here and was 2017.04.28_ngc-scrollorganized by some of the same folks who have now helped found this National Go Center.” Benson showed a go fan autographed with “strong heart” by Kajiwara and, choking up slightly, said that “go is not just a game for us, it’s something that can be so much more. The Go Center will be a crossroads for the world and that’s just what Iwamoto would have wanted.”

Nihon Ki-in chairman Hiroaki Dan (right, in photo at left, with Khalsa) — who flew in from Japan just for the opening — and Iwamoto North American Foundation Executive Director Thomas Hsiang (via recorded message) offered their hearty congratulations on the Center’s opening and wished the organizers well. Mr Dan noted that the Nihon Ki-In “is over 90 years old but go has been played in Japan for over 1,000 years and our goal is to help spread it throughout the world.” Also speaking were Mark Hitzig, Executive Director of the Japan-American Society of Washington and the Japan’s Deputy Chief of Mission Atsuyuki Oike, who said that “The go board is a universe of the entire world.”

After officially opening the Center with a ribbon-cutting, everyone headed up to the American Film Institute’s Silver Theatre in Silver Spring for a special private screening of the brand-new documentary “AlphaGo,” fresh from its world premiere last Friday at the Tribeca Film festival in New York City, after which many of the players, energized by the epic 2016 Lee Sedol-AlphaGo match, headed back to the NGC to play go.
- report/photos by Chris Garlock

 

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National Go Center opens Friday: free “AlphaGo” tix still available

Wednesday April 26, 2017

With the opening of the new National Go Center less than 48 hours away, excitement is building in the go community 2017.04.26_AlphaGo_Greg_Kohs_smand a full schedule of events is planned, highlighted by Friday night’s “AlphaGo” screening, followed by club play at the Center and then the Cherry Blossom tournament Saturday. See below for complete details.

Friday, April 28
3:30p: Grand Opening ribbon-cutting: Featured guests include Nihon Ki-in Chairman Hiroaki Dan and his wife Yasuko and Michael Redmond 9P. This is event is open to the public but space is very limited; register here.
7:00p: “AlphaGo” screens at AFI Silver Theatre: This is private event and free tickets are still available; email
journal@usgo.org. AGA members, their families and members of the go community are strongly encouraged to attend. The screening is at 7p at the AFI Silver Theatre in Silver Spring, MD, 8633 Colesville Rd, Silver Spring, MD 20910. (btw Chinese readers can check out this nice translation of our recent article on the AlphaGo movie)
AFTER THE SCREENING: The new National Go Center — 4652 Wisconsin Ave NW in Washington, DC –will  host its first-ever regular go play: help get the Center off to a great start!
photo: still from “AlphaGo”

Saturday, April 292017.04.26_ngc-in-process
9:00a: Cherry Blossom 2017, a 4-round AGA rated tournament. Pre-register here; space is limited and pre-registration for this historic first NGC tournament is strongly encouraged.
7:30p: Haskell Small’s “A Game of Go” and commentary by Michael Redmond 9P with Chris Garlock (Member Priority event; see note below)
The evening’s program begins with pianist Haskell Small and another pianist performing Small’s “A Game of Go,” an original composition inspired by a famous game by the legendary Shusaku.
Michael Redmond and Chris Garlock will then do a commentary on one of the new games by Master/AlphaGo reprising their roles as commentators on the historic AlphaGo match a year ago. Audience questions and comments are welcome! photo: the NGC’s main playing area during renovations earlier this month; photo by Chris Garlock

NOTE: Saturday night’s event is a “Member Priority” event. Space is limited and first priority will be given to those who have made a membership commitment to the NGC at the basic level of $60/year or more. Click here to join (note “membership” in message).

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National Go Center opening schedule features Redmond, tournament, kid’s event

Monday April 17, 2017

With the opening of the National Go Center in Northwest Washington DC just two weeks away, a full schedule of events2017.04.16_ngc-logo-4 for the weekend of April 28-30 is being planned. All events take place at the NGC, 4652 Wisconsin Avenue NW, just two blocks from the Tenleytown Metro on the Red Line. Here’s a quick run-down of the schedule so far:

Friday, April 28
3:30p: Grand Opening ribbon-cutting
Featured guests include Nihon Ki-in Chairman Hiroaki Dan and his wife Yasuko and Michael Redmond 9P. This is event is open to the public but space is limited; register here.
7:00p: “AlphaGo” screens at AFI Silver Theatre; link for tickets coming soon!

Saturday, April 29
9:00a: Cherry Blossom 2017, a 4-round AGA rated tournament. Pre-register here; space is limited and pre-registration for this historic first NGC tournament is strongly encouraged.
7:30p: Haskell Small’s “A Game of Go” and commentary by Michael Redmond 9P with Chris Garlock (Member Priority event; see note below)
The evening’s program begins with Pianist Haskell Small and another pianist performing Small’s “A Game of Go,” an original composition inspired by a famous game by the legendary Shusaku.
2017.04.16_Match 1 - Google DeepMind ChallengeMichael Redmond and Chris Garlock will then do a commentary on one of the new games by Master/AlphaGo reprising their roles as commentators on the historic AlphaGo match a year ago. Audience questions and comments are welcome!
NOTE: Saturday night’s event is a “Member Priority” event. Space is limited and first priority will be given to those who have made a membership commitment to the NGC at the basic level of $60/year or more. Click here to join (note “membership” in message).

Sunday, April 30
12 noon: Free go instruction for beginners
12 noon: Children’s event, featuring free pizza, and a friendship match over Skype with children from Mexico City. Young players are strongly encouraged; click here if interested. Teachers and parents also welcome; this is a chance to meet others interested in promoting go in DC-area school programs and discuss how the NGC can support that.

 

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National Go Center heading for April 29-30 opening

Sunday March 12, 2017

With work on the new National Go Center in northwest Washington DC “coming along nicely,” the Center is on track for its2017.03.13_NGC-collage grand opening the weekend of April 29-30, reports Center executive director Gurujeet Khalsa. “Area go clubs and volunteers have come together with sponsorship from the Iwamoto North America Foundation to make the new Center a reality,” Khalsa (right) told the E-Journal during a tour of the Center on Sunday, March 12. The photo at left shows the main playing space as demolition work concluded just over a week ago; in the photo at right, from March 12, finishing work has progressed rapidly.

Plans for the grand opening include a 4-round AGA-rated tournament, a children’s 12-and-under friendship match over Skype with children from Mexico City, and a performance by composer Haskell Small of composition “A Game of Go,” setting a classic Shusaku game to two pianos and a video.

More events are planned for the NGC’s grand opening but with just over six weeks to go, Khalsa says “volunteers of every stripe are urgently needed,” including carpenters to help build shelving, and anyone willing to donate tables, chairs, go books and equipment. Contact him at gurujeet.khalsa@nationalgocenter.org.

photos by Gurujeet Khalsa (left) and Chris Garlock (right)

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The Power Report: Honinbo title match starts; Septuple crown in danger?

Wednesday May 11, 2016

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal2016.05.11_honinbo-venue

The first game of the 71st Honinbo title match was played in the Honinbo Shusaku Igo Memorial Hall (right) on the island of Inno-shima (Shusaku’s birthplace) in the city of Onomichi in Hiroshima Prefecture on May 9 and 10. This is Iyama Yuta’s first title defence since completing the first-ever Grand Slam of the top seven titles. The challenger is Takao Shinji 9P, who has a bad record against Iyama (13-30 before this match) but who took the Tengen title from him in 2014, thus slowing down his quest for the grand slam. Takao has also been in great form this year and, as of May 3, had 13 wins to one loss.

2016.05.11_Takao makes a good startTakao (left) drew white in the first game. During the middle game, Iyama (right) made a strong attack on a white group; Takao sacrificed it, getting an attack on two black groups as compensation. Later, Takao 2016.05.11_Iyama wonders where he went wrongwas able to force Iyama into a large ko fight that could potentially decide the game. Lacking ko threats, Iyama finished off the ko and let Takao revive his dead group. This trade was favorable for Takao. Iyama did his best to catch up, but couldn’t quite manage it. Takao likes to build thickness and in this case his thickness did him in good stead in the endgame. Iyama resigned after White 244. This was Takao’s first win against Iyama after a string of seven losses.

This is just one loss, so, my headline notwithstanding, Iyama will not yet be 
too worried. The second game will be played on May 23 and 24.

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Your Move/Readers Write: Computer Chess v. Go is Apples & Oranges

Sunday March 6, 2016

“Apples and oranges,” writes Chris Uzal in response to our 2/29 report, Chess Players Counsel Calm As Computers Close in on Go “Chess has not come to terms with the fact that the game is over. Kasparov lost almost 20 years ago. The most recent computer cheating scandal was last year. Chess players have been facing a brute force program whenever a computer is on the other side of the board. Go players will be facing an 2016.03.03_apples-orangesartificial intelligence. Chess players can give their judges tools to show the best move for a certain rating. Go players will not be able to distinguish human moves versus artificial intelligence moves. Judges will have no such tools. Go players online may soon be faced with a situation that any game slower than blitz will not be accepted. Go players who want a slow, deep game won’t bother with humans once they can gain access to the likes of AlphaGo. Human to human, real-life games will be either very casual, teaching or tournament. Go will become a more philosophical and sublime endeavor. Not necessarily a bad thing. There are too many players using their rank as a measure of mental prowess. People either do not know or do not care about the ancient greats like Shusaku or the not so ancient Go Seigen. Those are just ghosts if they are known at all. AlphaGo would be a welcome symbol of the summit for the game of Go. If you’re not AlphaGo, and you’re not, get back to studying life-and-death. Bottom line: I look forward to playing, losing and learning in the new artificial intelligence era.”
The first game in the Lee Sedol-AlphaGo match will be Tuesday, March 8, 8p PST (11p EST). The match will be livestreamed on DeepMind’s YouTube channel with English commentary by Michael Redmond 9p with American Go E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock.

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“Invincible” Re-Issued & Cool Go Stamps

Sunday September 14, 2014

In cooperation with Kiseido, GoShopkeima.com has just issued the fourth printing of John Power’s classic “Invincible: The Games of Shusaku.”2014.09.13_netherland-go-stamps “We still believe that all serious go players eventually want to have this book as a real book,” says GoShopkeima.com’s Peter Zandveld. There’s lots more cool go stuff at the site, including go stamps he designed. Though they can only be used for mail sent within The Netherlands, we’re pretty sure go players can come with other creative uses for them. Zandfeld developed the site with Marianne Diederen and Kim Ouweleen. 

 

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Go Quiz: How Many Western Professionals?

Sunday April 20, 2014

You Know, Like Grover Cleveland*: The fun of last week’s quiz is that there are more Honinbo heads than people. Quiz vet Reinhold Burger explains: “Thanks for this; I learned something. I knew that Shuei had stepped aside for Shuho, resuming the leadership after Shuho’s death. But I had not realized that Shugen had done the same for Shuei. So you have the symmetrical-looking sequence: Shugen, Shuei, Shuho, Shuei, Shugen. Interesting :)” Peter Schumer also cautioned that, while as heir Shusaku is often referred to as Honinbo, he died before he took over the house. So the seven of you who chose 19 different heads, as opposed to the total of 21 were correct. As for the anonymous person who chose 57, that was, of course, the number of “known Communists in the US State Department” according to a classic film. Congrats to Peter Schumer of Middlebury, VT, our randomly selected winner from among those submitting the correct answer.

This Week’s Quiz: The AGA will be qualifying one more new professional this year. This weekend one player will qualify for the AGA Pro Qualifier (to be held later this year) at the first Washington Open Baduk Championship (click here to register) and another next month at the 41st Maryland Open (click here to register). Pictured is your quizmaster congratulating Andy Liu for winning a spot in the first qualifier in 2012, which he went on to win. So our question this week is how many “Western” pros will our new pro be joining? To qualify, in addition to the AGA’s three pros, they must be (or have been) a pro born outside of the traditional Asian go nations, and certified as a pro by a national organization. Is the answer 12, 13, 14 or 15 Western professionals? Click here to submit your answer, and put your list of pros in the comments (in case we missed someone) and feel free to include your response to my bonus quiz “57 communists” movie reference.
photo by Gurujeet Khalsa

* Cleveland served as 22nd and 24th President of the United States, the only president to serve two non-consecutive terms (1885–1889 and 1893–1897).

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