American Go E-Journal

WORLD GO NEWS ROUND-UP September 7-13: Bingshen Cup final set; Samsung Cup final 16

Monday September 13, 2010

Park vs. Hei in Bingshen Cup finals. In the 1st Binshen Cup (AKA the Qionglong Cup), Park Jieun 9P (r) of Korea and Hei Jiajia 1P representing Oceania (Australia) both won their semifinal matches and will face each other in the title match September 14th. Park defeated China’s Tang Yi 2P by 7.5 points, and Hei defeated China’s Zheng Yan 2P by resignation. One of the more notable first-round matches was between Rui Naiwei 9P and Tang Yi, with Rui losing to Tang by 5.5 points. The Qionglong Cup is a women only international tournament. (game recordsSamsung Cup down to 16 players. The final sixteen players for the 15th Samsung Cup (tournament bracket) were decided on September 10. Korea’s Choi Cheolhan 9P, Park Jiyeon 2P, Lee Changho 9P, and Park Yeonghun 9P all won their respective games, giving Korea a total of 10 players in the main tournament. China’s Gu Li 9P, Zhou Ruiyang 5P, Wang Tao 3P, and Kong Jie 9P all won their respective games, giving China a total of 5 players. Yamashita Keigo 9P clinched his spot in the main tournament on September 9th, and is the only Japanese representative in this year’s final tournament. Keigo incidentally was the only Japanese player in last year’s final tournament as well. Of the eight remaining block-tournament matches, several are worth noting. Park Jiyeon, the only female player to advance to the main tournament, defeated Tuo Jiaxi 3P by resignation. Lee Changho was able to redeem himself against Tan Xiao 5P, after losing to him in the first round, and defeated Xiao by resignation. Xiao lost his second-round match against Han Sanghoon 5P, which then put him back into the losers bracket to face Changho. Despite his loss, Xiao played very well in this game. And finally, Gu Li defeated Korean amateur Min Sangyoun by resignation after 133 moves. (game records and more game records)
- JustPlayGo; edited by Jake Edge

Categories: World
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EUROPEAN GO NEWS: Munster Novices Best Ulster in Interprovincials

Monday September 13, 2010

The 2010/11 Interprovincials — a competition based around Ireland’s four traditional provinces, or kingdoms — kicked off on KGS last weekend. Munster’s coach had sacked the entire team after their wooden spoon finish in last year’s competition, bringing in a novice squad full of fresh blood. Ulster meanwhile had chosen much the same team, the only new player being Karl Irwin, currently teaching maths in China. The novice Munster squad, captained by Anthony Durity, used their handicap stones very well and pulled off a well-earned victory 2-1. Dangerously for them though, they suffered some rank promotions in the course of their victory. Perhaps this will tell in their games against Leinster and Connaught. In other Irish go news, the Belfast Open is coming up in two weeks.
- Ian Davis, Irish Correspondent for the E-Journal

Categories: Europe
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EUROPEANS FORM PRO LEAGUE

Monday September 13, 2010

Twenty of Europe’s top players have decided to form The European Professional Go Organization, in partnership with EuroGoTV, according to a press release that followed a meeting at this year’s European Go Congress. The founders include four players with Asian pro certification –Guo Juan 5P, Catalin Taranu 5P, Alexandre Dinerchtein 3P and Diana Koszegi 1P – along with sixteen other top players. EPGO will organize a yearlong European Professional Go League, resulting in annual certification certification of 12 EPGO “pros.” As we understand it, this will differ from the semi-permanent certification process in Japan, China and Korea. Pros will have to re-earn their status each year or face decertification.

Categories: Europe
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THE RETURN OF BADUKBOOKS

Monday September 13, 2010

Alexandra Urban’s Badukbooks is back in business. Badukbooks specializes in a veritable treasure trove of Korean go books, many never seen – or very hard to find – in the West. A wide range of material, from the Baduk Nara book series for beginners to life and death books – choose from the just-published Hye-Yeon’s Creative Life & Death I, the 4-volume Sahwal series or the 20-volume Classic Life & Death collection – to Lee Chang-ho’s 2-volume “Brilliantly Beautiful Endgame,” and the “New Moves, New Shapes” yearbooks from 1999 and 2000. Though many of the books are in Korean, some are in English, and each are clearly marked on the site. After a year-long hiatus, Urban says she’s back in Korea “this time at least for 3 years,” and is willing to try to track down any Korean go book Western players are interested in.

AGA BOARD TO REVIEW 10-GAME RULE

Monday September 13, 2010

In its monthly meeting Sunday, the American Go Association’s Board of Directors had a preliminary discussion of Feng Yun 9P’s objections (AGA’S 10-Game Rule Assailed By Feng Yun 9P 9/6) to the 10-game rule for international eligibility, according to board member and chair-elect Andy Okun. The board agreed to continue the discussion at a special meeting set for this Wednesday, September 15.  “We set the special meeting because we want to have enough time to go in depth into the issues raised by Feng Yun, as well as to the extensive debate her comments sparked on the AGA chapter e-mail list, which we have all been reading,” Okun said. “A number of people want to hear from us on this question and the time we had in the regular meeting wouldn’t have allowed us to do it justice.” Board members have also been following the thread on the topic on Life in 19×19.

Categories: U.S./North America
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JUSTIN TENG WINS UMD TOURNEY

Monday September 6, 2010

Justin Teng 3d (r) won the 2010 University of Maryland Back to School Go Tournament on Saturday, September 4 in College Park, MD. Twelve players participated in the 3-round tournament. Teng’s only loss was a four-stone handicap game against 8 year-old Yunhuang Zhao (l). Wayne Zhang 20 kyu and Kevin Chin 4 kyu were both undefeated, with three points each. Steve Mount was the Tournament Director. photo by Steve Mount

Categories: U.S./North America
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WORLD GO NEWS ROUND-UP August 31 – September 6: Myeongin Semis; Yamashita Keigo Advances; Lee Sedol Defeats Lee Changho; Iyama Yuta takes Meijin Lead; Tuo Jiaxi Upsets Kong Jie; Kim Jiseok Advances; Jiang Weijie vs. Gu Li in Mingren

Monday September 6, 2010

Myeongin Semifinals in Place. Lee Changho 9P defeated An Kukhyun 2P by 1.5 points in the 38th Myeongin League A playoff match. He now advances to a three-round semifinal match against Park Yeonghun 9P. In League B, Won Sungjin 9P defeated Kim Kiyoung 5P by resignation in their playoff match. Sungjin also advances to a three-round semifinal match against Kang Dongyun 9P. The winners of each semifinal best-of-three series will face one another for the Myeongin title. Yamashita Keigo Advances to NEC Cup Semifinals. Yamashita Keigo 9P defeated Yuki Satoshi 9P by a convincing 11.5 points in the second round of the 30th NEC Cup to advance to a semifinal matchup with O Meien 9P.  The remaining second-round match will be played on September 6 between the current NEC Cup title holder Kono Rin 9P and challenger So Yokoku 8P. The winner of that game will advance to the semifinals to play Cho U 9P. Lee Sedol Defeats Lee Changho in First Round of Price Information Cup. Lee Sedol 9P (l in photo) takes a 1-0 lead in the Price Information Cup by beating Lee Changho 9P (r) by resignation.  The second round in the best-of-three series will be held September 15. Iyama Yuta takes 1-0 lead in Meijin. Defending Meijin title holder Iyama Yuta 9P defeated Takao Shinji 9P by 6.5 points in the first round of the 35th Meijin title match. Takao held the title in 2006, after defeating Cho U 4-2. The second round will be played on September 16-17. Tuo Jiaxi Upsets Kong Jie in Qiwang Second Round. In the 6th Qiwang, Tuo Jiaxi 3P defeated current title holder Kong Jie 9P by resignation. In other second-round matches: Li Zhe 6P defeated Piao Wenyao 5P; Wu Guangya 6P defeated Tan Xiao 5P; Peng Liyao 5P defeated Nie Weiping 9P; Gu Lingyi 5P defeated Chang Hao 9P; Xie He 7P defeated Shi Yue 5P; Zhang Li 5P defeated Ding Wei 9P; Qui Jun 8P defeated Chen Yaoye 9P. Kim Jiseok Advances to Caltex Semifinals. In the third round of the 15th GS Caltex Cup challenger tournament, Kim Jiseok 7P defeated Choi Cheolhan 9P by resignation to advance to the semifinals.  That round will have Kim against Won Sungjin 9P on September 29th and Park Yeonghun 9P against Lee Younggu 8P on September 15th. Jiang Weijie vs. Gu Li in Mingren. Jiang Weijie 5P defeated Li Zhe 6P by resignation in the third and final match to decide the challenger for the 23rd Mingren title. Jiang will face Gu Li 9P for the title.
- JustPlayGo; edited by Jake Edge

Categories: World
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NEW STUDY FINDS PLAYING GO MAKES BRAINS GROW

Monday September 6, 2010

Serious study of go causes actual physical changes in the brain. That’s the stunning finding of a Korean group of neuroscientists who studied the difference between “long-term trained players” and“inexperienced controls.”  In their paper, which appears in the August 2010 issue of Neuroimage, Lee et al. report that they found “larger regions of white matter . . . that are related to attentional control, working memory, executive regulation, and problem-solving.” Their findings also suggest that “experts tend to develop a task-specific template for the game, as compared to controls . . . [and] were less likely than were controls to use structures related to load-dependent memory capacity.” In other words, experts don’t think harder, look at more variations or read farther than the rest of us; they use “spatial processes” – pattern recognition – to see better moves than the rest of us immediately. The researchers used a special type of fMRI –voxel-based diffusion-tensor imaging — to compile their data. This is a fairly well-established method: last year British researchers used the same process to show that “motor learning” – in this case, juggling – produced similar changes. The findings that strong players use something like “intuition” to see better moves tends to confirm previous research such as Chase and Simon’s classic 1973 study, where it was discovered that master chess players see more meaningful “chunks” when briefly glancing at a position than “woodpushers.” “Chunk theory” is now a widely accepted way of understanding how trained brains work. Reitman’s 1976 paper furthered our understanding of expert processes by studying an “expert” go player (Jim Kerwin, who went on to become the first Western pro) and then-beginner Bruce Wilcox (later the author of NEMESIS, the first computer go program) and confirming the basic tenets of “chunk theory.” Other research has examined whether go playing brains may have different — and hopefully more desirable — general qualities than non-playing brains.  The Deoksoo Study is one of several suggesting that serious go students may acquire more sophisticated cognitive abilities in other areas. In 2003, Chen et al. showed that go players use many different areas of the brain; similar chess studies have shown more localized activation. Lee et al.’s study takes our understanding one giant step further – high-level cognitive training has a physical impact on the brain, just as hitting the gym does for the body. This finding has enormous implications for the eternal “nature-nurture” debate. The current conventional wisdom is, “We are what we’re born with,” not “We are shaped by our experiences.” The brain’s ability to think clearly, manage emotions and perform the other work that makes us human is seen largely as biological, inborn, brain-based. “Big pharm” ads tell us over and over that the way to fix our depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, ED, etc. is to tweak our brain chemistry with a pill.  Teachers and parents often label struggling students, then begin the quest for the perfect pill that will fix the ADHD, bipolar disorder or whatever. But what if the pills don’t work? If it’s an inborn biological problem, what’s the solution? Fortunately, we now know that certain kinds of experience can actually improve the physical brain.  As the authors say, “long-term Baduk training appears to cause structural brain changes associated with . . . higher-order cognitive capacities, such as learning, abstract reasoning, and self-control, which can facilitate education and cognitive therapies.” Other questions now arise. Are some activities more growth-promoting than others? Probably. Does the brain change more in players who begin at a younger age? Does the increased white matter in go players’ brains just help them to play well, or is the increased “throughput” capacity useful in other areas as well?  One would think so, but there’s no evidence – yet.  To learn more, check out “Go and Cognition” by Peter Shotwell, in the Bob High Memorial Library.
– by Roy Laird; additional reporting by Hajin Lee 3P

Categories: World
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NEW IN PRINT 2010 (PART II): A Beginner’s Bonanza

Monday September 6, 2010

by Roy Laird
The past year has produced a notable bumper crop of books for beginners and newer players — the so-called DDK (double-digit kyu) range. Jonathan Hop, a 3D amateur, published So You Want To Play Go?, a three-volume series that aims to give the reader the knowledge to improve ten ranks per book; if it works, at the end you’ll be ready to aim at shodan. Click Volume One, Volume Two and Volume Three to learn more about each book. 21st Century Baduk for Beginners is the latest offering from Sung-rae Kim, the author of several other works in the growing number of English-language works from Korean publishers. Some of these early efforts suffered somewhat from clumsy English, but Diana Koszegi 3P helped with this translation, suiting it more fully to the idioms of the English language. Finally, we note the publication of Go Made Easy by Sam Sloan. Sloan, better known as the last non-lawyer to argue before the Supreme Court, and for suing the US Chess Federation, has also written beginner’s books and DVDs on chess, shogi, Chinese chess and poker, while also delving into more, um, unusual subjects. Visit his home page for more information. All the new beginner books are available from Yutopian.
Next week: Six More Important New Works

YOUR MOVE: Readers Write: Missing Game Files?

Monday September 6, 2010

MISSING GAME FILES? “If its not a membership issue (MEMBER’S EDITION? 8/24 EJ),” writes Dennis Wheeler, “then maybe instead of looking for attachments, look for links.” That’s correct: the EJ no longer has attached files for Member’s Edition content; to access the content, either click on “link” and then save the .sgf file to your computer, or click on “read more” and then you can either download the .sgf file or use the online viewer to replay the game.