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World Amateur Go Championship: Rounds 2 & 3

Monday May 30, 2011

THIS JUST IN: Click here for all the latest news from the 2011 World Amateur Go Championships (WAGC) live from Japan, including a report on Round 4 results, reported by our colleagues at Ranka Online, the bulletin of the International Go Federation.

Round 2 of the 2011 WAGC started just after 1:30 on May 29 with all players present. This time the bye went to Mykhailo Halchenko of the Ukraine. The player with the bye receives a teaching game from one of the referees, so Mykhailo 5D found himself playing Yasuhiro Nakano 9P at two stones. This was a tough challenge, and Mykhailo went down to honorable defeat by resignation.

In the real competition, six players now faced opponents of equal rank. The game between Thomas Debarre of France and Cornel Burzo of Romania, both 6D and hopeful of finishing in the top ten, was particularly intense. The winner, by 3.5 points, was Burzo, who earned a pairing against China’s Baoxiang Bao in the next round. In another duel of 6D players, Merlijn Kuin of The Netherlands triumphed over Franz-Josef Dickhut of Germany, and in a clash between two 7D players, Chinese Taipei’s Tsung-Han Wu overcame Canada’s Jun Fan. These four players are also expected to contend for places in the top ten.

At the 5D level, Kanh Binh Do of Vietnam picked up his first win by downing former European champion Zoran Mutabzja of Croatia. At the 1D level, Francisco Pereira of Portugal overcame Michael Galero of the Philippines, and Aliaksandr Suponeu of Belarus bested Manitra Razafindrabe of Madagascar. At the 1k level, Miroslav Smid of Slovakia scored a win over Mario Miguel Aguero Obanda of Costa Rica.

Unlike Round 1, round 2 produced some upsets. In one of the most unusual games of the afternoon, Kamil Chwedyna 4D of Poland used his patented second-line opening to defeat Viktor Lin 5D of Austria. In the closest game Salvador Larios 1k of Mexico squeaked past Hock Doong Ho 1D of Malaysia by half a point, and in the biggest surprise of the day, James Hutchinson 1k of Ireland upended Torben Pedersen 3D of Denmark.

Round 3: Once again most of the spectators chose to watch the game of the Japanese player, Hironori Hirata (in photo at right). Yesterday they had seen him sail serenely past opponents from the United Kingdom and New Zealand, and this morning they expected him to do likewise against Morten Ofstad from Norway. For most of the game it looked as if their expectations would be fulfilled, but the Norwegian 4D did not give up easily and his perseverance was rewarded: a critical mistake in a life-and-death situation forced the Japanese 8D to resign. Mr Hirata accepted defeat with good grace and bowed in apology to his onlooking supporters.

The spectators then moved into the outer playing area to watch the game between Chi-hin Chan of Hong Kong and Tsung-han Wu of Chinese Taipei, which was still in progress. The outcome was impossible to predict: both players are young and strong, both represent territories where go is booming among the younger generation, and the position on the board was tense. After a thrilling endgame it was Tsung-Han Wu, clad in blue jeans, a plaid shirt, and a black vest and sporting earrings, who walked away the winner by a point and a half.

In another 1.5-point finish, Choltit Rattanasetyut of Thailand defeated Xiang Zhang of Singapore. The Thai player led throughout the first half of the game, but victory did not come easily: the lead changed hands twice before the end.

These results left the players from Norway, Chinese Taipei, and Thailand undefeated. Joining them in the all-victorious group were Baoxiang Bai (China), Woo-soo Choi (Korea), Kamil Chwedyna (Poland), and Eric Lui (US), who defeated opponents from Romania, The Netherlands, Spain, and Slovenia in round 3. The Poland-Spain game featured another remarkable opening. Playing black, Kamil Chwedyna placed his first four stones in a pon-nuki shape in the center of the board; then he fought his way to a 6.5-point victory. In the next round the players from China, Korea, and Chinese Taipei will tackle the players from Thailand, the US, and Norway.
- James Davies, Ranka Online; edited by Jake Edge

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Readers Write: Kindle Go Update

Saturday May 14, 2011

“Any plans for a game of go version for Kindle?” wondered Dave Gagne here back in March (Kindle Go? 3/28 EJ). We’ve subsequently had two Kindle go sightings: Cristian sent us a link to Adrian Petrescu’s blog; Petrescu’s most recent post on May 5 says that “KindleGoban (r) and KindleChess will both be released this summer.” And  Mike Yankee reports that “all three volumes of Cho’s Encyclopedia Of Life And Death (as well as other tsumego collections) are downloadable as .pdf files here; these can be viewed directly on the Kindle although the diagrams are small.”
Keep us posted on these and other go news developments at journal@usgo.org

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4th Yuan Zhou Workshop Held in NC

Monday May 9, 2011

“Go is not just a a simple game,” said Yuan Zhou 7d (r) at the 4th Yuan Zhou North Carolina Go Workshop, held May 6-8 in Raleigh, North Carolina. “It is deeply connected to the philosophy of life. That is one reason why parents want their children to learn go. It teaches values and decision making skills that are important.” Fourteen people from the local clubs, Virginia, and Maryland participated in the three-day event. Zhou employed his characteristic combination of humor, philosophy, and rigorous game analysis to help elevate the games of players of all ranks, with particular emphasis on the need to understand the value and efficiency of each move. The workshop was sponsored
by the Triangle Go Group of Durham, North Carolina.
- Paul Celmer, Chapter Head, Triangle Go Group

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Categories: U.S./North America
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AGA Go Camp Confirmed for Summer Fun

Monday April 18, 2011

The AGA East Coast Go Camp has finalized details for this year’s camp, which will be held at the Madison Suites Hotel in Somerset, New Jersey, July 23-30. Mingjiu Jiang 7p and Yuan Zhou 7d will be the primary teachers.  Jiang, one of the driving forces behind the incredibly successful Bay Area (CA) scene, and organizer of the Zhujo Jiang youth tourney every year, has a proven track record with kids.  He counts some of the strongest youth in the country among his students.  Zhou, one of the most popular teachers on the East Coast, is also well known for his many books on go.  His deep insight into what kyu players are failing to see make his lessons all the more valuable.  “Students aged 8 – 18 are invited to spend a week playing go and making friends,” says camp director John Mangual.  “Double-digit kyus, upper-level dans, and anyone in-between can all participate. At previous camps, beginning players rapidly improved between 5 – 10 kyu levels in just one week, while advanced players improved their fundamentals and learned more about life and death, joseki and midgame fighting.   Our professional staff will make camp worthwhile for even the strongest amateurs.  The camp is an exciting chance to play go face to face, instead of just online,” adds Mangual. For more information, visit the camp page here, or e-mail Mangual at agagocampeast@usgo.org. - Photo: Kids take a break from studying to bury one of their counselors in pillows, photo by Amanda Miller (who is at the bottom of the pillow pile) from last year’s camp. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.

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WORLD GO NEWS ROUND-UP February 8-14: Choi Cheolhan wins the Kuksu; Did Lee Changho resign too early?; Cho U and Yamashita Keigo advance to NEC Cup final

Monday February 14, 2011

Choi Cheolhan wins the Kuksu. Choi Cheolhan 9P (l in photo) added yet another title to his growing list this year by defeating Lee Changho 9P (r) by resignation in the fourth round of the 54th Kuksu on February 14. Choi won the series 3-1. This also marks an unfortunate milestone for Lee Changho, who is currently without a title. It’s the first time since the late 1980s that Lee has not held a single title. Did Lee Changho resign too early? In the 24th Fujitsu Cup preliminaries on Februrary 9, Lee Changho 9P lost to Won Sungjin 9P by resignation in the first round of play, thus eliminating him from the main tournament. This will be the first time since 1994 that Lee Changho has not participated in the main tournament. The controversy surrounding this particular game is the question of whether Lee resigned too early. Cyberoro is reporting that pros who have analyzed the game believe that Lee should not have resigned and are puzzled with his decision. Others cite Lee’s precipitous slide in performance over the past year, among other things like his recent marriage, as an explanation. For further updates on the controversy, see the discussion at Life in 19×19. Cho U and Yamashita Keigo advance to NEC Cup final. In the 30th NEC Cup semifinals, Cho U 9P and Yamashita Keigo 9P both won their respective matches against Kono Rin 9P, current NEC title holder, and O Meien 9P. Cho and Yamashita will now face one another in the final (date TBA). While Cho has participated in the NEC Cup title match three times and won it twice, in 2004 and 2007, this will be Yamashita’s first.
- JustPlayGo; edited by Jake Edge

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YKNOT Tourney Launches Saturday on KGS

Monday January 17, 2011

More than 120 members of the American Go Association will vie for nearly $3,000 in prizes in the inaugural Young Kwon National Online Tournament (YKNOT), which begins this Saturday. The field includes AGA Life Members from Asia and Europe as well as AGA members in the United States – click here for complete list — and dan winners will be awarded Korean Baduk Association’s Dan-level certificates. Nearly twenty players applied or renewed their AGA membership to qualify to play YKNOT, and over a dozen players tested their web camera and Skype during the Q/A session last Saturday. With many players are new to online tournaments, co-director Zhiyuan ‘Edward’ Zhang is strongly recommending that all players familiarize themselves with the relevant software. “A reliable internet connection is critical,” Zhang adds. He notes that while it may seem inconvenient at first to have to use software and a web camera, “we are confident that the benefits of low costs, no transportation expenses, more supervision, and a quasi face-to-face experience far outweigh the drawbacks.” For details and complete YKNOT notices, click here. Tournament pairings will be announced soon. The tournament will be held over five days: January 22, 23, 29, 30 and February 5; game times are 1p ET for dan and 6p ET for kyu divisions.

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Seattle Tourney Honors Jin Chen 7d’s Memory

Monday January 10, 2011

More than two dozen go players recently celebrated Jin Chen 7d’s life by playing the game Chen loved. The Seattle Go Center hosted the 2011 Jin Chen Memorial Tournament on January 2, with 26 players from across the country competing in the 3-round event. Many more visited the Center to watch the tournament and to pay their respects to the parents of Jin Chen, “a near master of one of the most complex strategy games in the world,” who accidentally fell to his death in January 2009. The tournament was held the day before what would have been Chen’s 24th birthday. The event showed that “friends and family of Jin Chen are moving on and celebrating,” Shan Chen told the E-Journal. “The Seattle Go Center has a great history and cultural values, and we are proud that Jin is part of it.” Click here for the Bellevue Reporter’s account and here for more photos of the tournament.

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Xbox’s Path of Go The New Hikaru No Go?

Monday January 10, 2011

Judging by the flood of fan mail we received over the holiday break, The Path of Go — the new Xbox LIVE game – is quite the gaming hit, at least in the go community. “I just played The Path of Go with my 8 year old grand daughter and we could not get her to stop,” writes longtime go player and organizer Ernest Brown. “The three year old wanted to try also. This should be a great thing for promoting go.  In fact I believe we will get a bump in people wanting go lessons similar to the Hikaru No Go phenomena.  I think this beginning could attract more attention from the computer gaming community as well.  I hope it gets Bill Gates more engaged with go!”

Thanks to everyone who sent in reviews (Path of Go Available on Xbox 12/23/2010); “It’s a fun game,” wrote Joshua Ward. “It has a story mode that I was able to play through fairly quickly. The story mode is good for beginners as it plays entirely on a 9×9 board and teaches them the basics of the game. There is a multiplayer function to the game as well. You can go onto Xbox Live and play against other people on a 9×9, 13×13, and 19×19 board.” Here’s an edited excerpt of Christian Haught’s review: The game’s plot is interesting. You begin by being summoned to the residence of a wise old go master, who teaches you the basics of go. He then informs you of a twin you didn’t know of, who possesses go prowess like you, but who could never learn how to lose with grace. Leaving to pursue the Path of Go, he left his – and now your – master, who allows you to leave to look for your twin. This is an interesting setup for the game, as it hints to leading to a suspenseful final game between you and your twin, who has an odd habit of leaving games unfinished, which the masters you meet along the way ask you to finish. The control system for the game is relatively simple to understand, graphics were really well done and the three dimensional effects are impressive, adding a sense of depth and realism to the game. The insertion of your xbox live avatar into the game is also carried out quite well, as they make it seem as though your avatar belongs in the game, not just coded in. The settings in which the game takes place are also beautifully put together, and look like places you could find in nature. The computer that you play against is also decently strong, sometimes even forcing players who are more then just beginners into a corner. I wonder how that will work with players who are new to the game, but I imagine that this will force newer players to improve at a more rapid rank. Even if you have never played a game of go in your life, the game starts out with an excellent tutorial that introduces many of the beginning basics. These are, of course, added onto as the game proceeds, but these few beginner tips will allow you to get the basic understanding of the game and begin your journey into becoming a skilled go player. I imagine that most players will be at least 18k in rank, if not higher, by the end of this game.
- click here for the original version of this review

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The Man Behind the YKNOT Tournament

Monday December 20, 2010

Open to U.S. players of all levels and featuring a prize purse of nearly $3,000, the new Young Kwon National Online Tournament (YKNOT) is being billed as one of the largest western online go tournaments yet. “Even if you just joined the AGA or renewed your membership, you’re eligible to play as long as you’ve resided in the U.S. for six months in the past year and you can play online (KGS)” Tournament Director Yixian Zhou told the E-Journal. Click here for free registration. A former U.S. Open Champion, Mr. Kwon (r) is a 7-dan from Pearl River, NY. A retired data processing executive, he’s enjoying his golden years playing tennis, traveling and playing go. Though he was exposed to the game as a youngster watching his father play, he didn’t formally learn go until his freshman year at Seoul National University. While he thinks his go strength has gradually weakened in recent years, he tries to “maintain the fire” in him by continuing to play. “My goal is to promote go in the United States through increasing the AGA’s membership,” Young Kwon told the EJ. “I am committed to supporting this tournament as an annual event.” He adds that “Go has helped me in shaping my thought process, life style and career. Go forces you to apply strategic thinking and problem resolution at the same time. The combination of the two elements changes throughout the game, and that is why we love the game so much. It is simply an application of the economic principle– the most gains with the smallest resources.” Mr Kwon also has a broader vision of go activities in North America, noting that “Matches between two countries are very healthy for spreading go, so I hope that we can set up ‘country to country’ matches in the future. European and South American countries are strong potential candidates.”
- Edward Zhang

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Canada Wins 3rd Youth Friendship Match

Monday December 20, 2010

Over 300 go fans showed up on KGS to watch the future of North American go display their talent at the 3rd US-Canada Youth Friendship Match. Neither team disappointed, with many exciting games featuring intense fighting. The 7-player Canadian team won all but the last two boards, repeating their dominance of the U.S. in last year’s edition of the friendship match. On the top board, Calvin Sun, the U.S. WYGC representative, battled Ryan Li, the runner-up in the 2010 Canadian Open. Li gained an early edge, claiming a lot of territory, but a weak group during the midgame gave Sun a chance. However, Li squeaked out life, and Sun could not gain any advantage while attacking the group, giving Li the victory. The Canadians asserted their dominance in the next few boards as well, with Gansheng Shi, Tianyu (Bill) Lin, Jianing Gan, and Andrew Huang all claiming commanding victories, leaving Ben Lockhart and Vincent Zhuang as the only victorious members of the U.S. team. With such a strong showing from both teams, the North American team will definitely make for an exciting matchup against European youth in the 3rd Transatlantic Youth Go Match in Spring 2011. Full results are here.
- Special report by Lawrence Ku

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