American Go E-Journal

THE TRAVELING GO BOARD: HANGZHOU’S TOWER OF GO

Thursday May 27, 2010

The Hangzhou Tian Yuan Tower (l) is a go player’s dream come true. Basically, once you step through the front door, you never have to leave again. Like upscale hotels around the world, the Tian Yuan contains well-appointed rooms and several different restaurants featuring Chinese cuisine, but this special place also include facilities for playing and studying go. To dispel any doubts about the building’s go theme, the fountain in front features a large go bowl and stones, a wall in the main lobby (below) has a huge go problem with the names of famous Chinese go players engraved on the stones, and the main restaurant is housed in a massive go bowl spinning slowly atop the building, providing dramatic – if hazy – views of the area’s famous lake district, as well as the rapidly burgeoning Qianjiang New City, a brand-new Central Business District that is planned to be the political, economic and cultural center of the Hangzhou city of the future. Completed just three years ago in 2007, the Tian Yuan is owned by the Hangzhou Go Association, which uses the first ten of the building’s 37 floors for go-related activities and rents out the rest to the hotel and other tenants. The Association’s administrative offices and go classrooms – called “combat rooms” in English – are on the fourth floor, along with an extensive wood-paneled library (l) of go books in Chinese, Japanese and Korean. The Association has already hosted a number of professional tournaments since the Tian Yuan opened – the facility is designed and equipped to handle the special needs of go tournaments as well as hundreds of players, officials and media — and the finals take place in the Ling Long Hall (r), a well-carpeted room on the fourth floor with low tables and leather-cushioned chairs. Down the hall, in Room 406, the Hangzhou Go Team – comprised of 10 pros who live at the Tian Yuan — trains for their tournaments. Next door, in Room 405, local go students play and study in the evenings. Tucked away in Room 410 is a go store (l) run by Yawei “Robert” Wu, who owns a factory in Hunan province that supplies a chain of nine such go shops across China. Here you’ll find everything from an inexpensive paper board to gobans made of bright yellow new kaya and his top-of-the-line board, a traditionally-carved Chinese-style board made of glossy dark wood that’s been buried for 80,000 years and sells for nearly $900 (though bargaining seems to be expected). A go museum is slated to open later this year, containing historic go boards and stones, pictures of famous Chinese players and more, including the oversized world map signed by all the players at the 31st WAGC. There are additional training rooms on the third floor, and several floors of hotel-style rooms for the pros and resident students, as well as visiting groups like Feng Yun 9Ps annual summer school, which is set for July this year. It’s possible to arrange a visit as an individual, but guide Lang Qin Fang says the cost would likely be prohibitive and they encourage those interested to instead join or organize groups such as Feng Yun’s. Although the area surrounding the Tian Yuan Tower is still very much a work in progress – restaurants and other cultural attractions are a cab ride away in the old downtown — the many attractions of Hangzhou’s West Lake District may prove irresistible for even the most dedicated go player.
- Chris Garlock; photos by John Pinkerton

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5 MINUTES WITH: Ofer Zivony, Israel

Thursday May 27, 2010

Ofer Zivony 3d of Israel taught himself to play go when he was 19 years old using a 9×9 board. His mother is an architect and his father, now retired, is a very powerful bridge player. Ofer tries to balance his time between studying go and seeing his girlfriend, who does not play, he says, smiling ruefully. Now 26 years old, he is attending the university in Jerusalem as a student in visual arts. Last year he won a scholarship to study go in South Korea. This improved his game and he came to China with a team to compete in a China-Korean tournament.
- None Redmond, special correspondent for the E-Journal; photo by John Pinkerton

ROUND 4 HIGHLIGHTS: China, Hong Kong, Korea & Chinese Taipei Top Field At Mid-Point of Tourney

Thursday May 27, 2010

(posted Thursday, May 27, 8P local time) After the fireworks in the preceding rounds, the fourth round on Thursday afternoon ended with no great surprises. On three of the top four boards, the undefeated players from China, Hong Kong, and Korea won by resignation against the previously undefeated players from the US, Sweden, and Poland. On the fourth top board Fernando Aguilar of Argentina played doggedly to the end against Cheng-hsun Chen of Chinese Taipei, but lost by 7.5 points.
At the other end of the field, four players picked up their first wins. Rodrigo Edmundo Carpio Cordero of Ecuador, at 7 kyu the tournament’s lowest-ranked player, scored a mild upset against Sandeep Dave 6k of India, and Pedro Miguel Martins Cremona of Portugal won by a generous margin against Csaba Deak of Brazil while Jose Miguel Gomez Pinto (l) of Chile won against Daniel Antonio Vargas Campos of Costa Rica and Joseph Michael Galero of the Philippines rebounded from his morning loss to Francesca Mauri by beating Jean Nepomucene Rakotondravelo of Madagascar by 17.5 points. Maria Puerta of Venezuela scored her second win of the day — and third win of the tournament — against John Gibson of Ireland (thus earning a fifth-round pairing against Ondrej Silt of Czechia, who defeated Thomas Debarre of France), while Italy’s Francesca Mauri lost to Bertan Bilen of Turkey. The next round on Friday morning will also see a showdown between China’s Chen Wang and Korea’s Hongsuk Song, the players from the two countries that finished first and second last year. This promises to be the most closely-watched of a slate of exciting matches scheduled for Friday morning by the tournament’s pairing computer. In preparation for the upcoming action, most of the players went on an evening sightseeing excursion and dinner party at Hangzhou’s famed West Lake on Thursday night.
- based on James Davies’ report on Ranka online; photo by John Pinkerton

ROUND 3 HIGHLIGHTS (UPDATED): High Anxiety for Chinese Taipei, All The Women Win, Sweden Notches 3rd Victory

Thursday May 27, 2010

(posted Thursday, May 27 5:11p local time) The Chinese pairing system in use at the WAGC produced a boatload of interesting matches in the third round Thursday morning. Taewon Jo of DPR Korea, who had defeated Yohei Sato of Japan in the second round, now found himself facing 11-year-old Cheng-hsun Chen of Chinese Taipei. The game began with two variations of the avalanche joseki in adjacent corners, leading to a large-scale game with each side amassing over a hundred points worth of territory, including captured enemy groups. Facing an imperturbable opponent, Chen appeared to be in a state of high anxiety in the middle game as referees, reporters, and players whose games had already finished began to gather around the board to watch. At the end, however, he was playing with quick confidence, wining on the board without needing komi. As previously reported, the third round’s big upset occurred on the twentieth board, where Maria Puerta 3k of Venezuela defeated Wan-kao Lou 5d of Macau. “For most of the game he was in control,” Puerta said. “He had a big territory and I had some dead groups, but then late in the game he let me capture four stones. Perhaps it was just lack of caution on his part, but that four-stone capture joined all my groups together, and inside the large space surrounded by them there was a group of his that only had one eye. He still had his big territory left, but it wasn’t enough, so he resigned.” Cementing the 100% women’s win in the round, Francesca Mauri of Italy defeated Joseph Michael Galero of the Philippines. On the other top boards, the players from China, Hong Kong, and Korea remained undefeated by beating opponents from Israel, Canada, and Austria. A pair of North and South Americans also remained defeated: Thomas Hsiang 7d (US) overcame a strong challenge by David Ormerod 5d (Australia), and Fernando Aguilar 7d (Argentina) defeated Pal Balogh 6d (Hungary). Leszek Soldan 5d of Poland likewise remained undefeated, beating Kamon Santipojana 4d of Thailand (in photo at right; see below for Michael Redmond 9Ps commentary on the game), and in an all-European match, 18-year-old Frederik Blomback 5d from Sweden scored his third straight win by handing veteran Christoph Gerlach 6d of Germany his second loss. In the fourth round, the four undefeated Far Eastern players will take on the four undefeated players from Europe and the Americas.
- Based on James Davies’ report on Ranka online; photo by John Pinkerton

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ROUND 3 HIGHLIGHTS: Venezuela Takes Down Macau, Chinese Taipei Defeats North Korea, Hungary Loses to Argentina

Thursday May 27, 2010

Venezuela’s Maria Puerta 3k (L) took down the much stronger – and younger — Wan Kao Lou 5d of Macau in the third round of the World Amateur Go Championships Thursday morning . The 54-year-old Puerta – who’s the President of the Venezuelan Go Association and a Director for the International Go Federation – won an enthusiastic round of applause from her fellow players during the lunch break. In other Round 3 results (click here for latest results, available by 6A EST), Thomas Hsiang 7d (U.S.) defeated David Ormerod 5d (Australia) but faces China’s Wang Chen in the 4th round (click on “read more” below for Michael Redmond 9P’s commentary on Hsiang’s half-point win over France’s Thomas Debarre in Round 2), Chinese Taipei defeated North Korea, Canada lost to Korea, Argentina defeated Hungary and Austria lost to Hong Kong.
- Chris Garlock; Click here for Ranka Online’s complete report. photo by John Pinkerton

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PARK JUNGSANG WINS FIRST OLLEH KT CUP

Thursday May 27, 2010

Park Jungsang 9d defeated Hong Kipyo 4d by 11.5 points in the inaugural Olleh KT Cup, a Korean professional tournament sponsored by the Olleh KT telecommunications company. This tournament, with a total of nearly $600,000 (700 million won) in prize money.
-from JustPlayGo

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KIM SEONGJAE EVENS SCORE IN MYEONGIN A-LEAGUE

Thursday May 27, 2010

Kim Seongjae 3P defeated An Kukhyun 1P by 4.5 points, giving both players a 1-1 standing in League A play of the 38th Myeongin. An Kukhyun’s earlier victory came against Lee Changho 9d (click here for more information on this match). Sponsored by High1 Resort, the Myeongin is currently the richest tournament in Korea, with about $712,000 in prize money.
-from JustPlayGo

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LEE SEDOL ADVANCES TO PRICE INFORMATION CUP FINALS

Thursday May 27, 2010

Lee Sedol 9P advanced to the finals of the Price Information Cup after defeating Kim Jiseok 7P by resignation after just 114 moves in the final game of League B play. Jiseok, who has experienced a bumpy start this year, was last year’s Price Information Cup winner. Lee Changho and Yoo Changhyuk will play the final league game on May 26th.
-from JustPlayGo

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LEE CHANGHO LEADS TEAM NETMARBLE TO VICTORY

Wednesday May 26, 2010

Lee Changho 9P earned a win in the first stage of league play in the 2010 Korean Baduk League Cup when Jong Sungji resigned after 135 moves. Combined with wins from Kim Seongjae 3P and Song Taekon 9P, Changho’s win gave Team Netmarble a 3-2 victory over Team Kixx.
-from JustPlayGo

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KOREA AND CHINA DOMINATING RIVALRY AMONG MAJOR GO POWERS

Wednesday May 26, 2010

With the 31st annual World Amateur Go Championships now underway and being held this year for only the second time in China, a look at the current status of the longtime rivalry between the three major go powers is instructive. There are nine currently active international tournaments – the Nongshim, Ing, BC Card, Jeongganjang, Asian TV, Fujitsu, LG, Samsung, and Chunlan — that involve China, Japan, and Korea. Half of the latest winners of these are Chinese, and the other half are Korean. The most recent victory by the Japanese was four years ago, at the 7th Nongshim Cup in 2006 when Yoda Norimoto 9P, in the final game, managed to defeat “iron door” Lee Changho 9P of Korea, who had finished off a win for the Koreans in the first six editions of this win-and-continue team tournament. Several titles have been completely controlled by the Chinese and Koreans. The Ing Cup, which currently has the biggest purse, has been won five times by Koreans and once by Chinese. The Japanese were runners-up twice. The international BC Card Cup, which includes a Taiwanese representative and has one-hour basic time and 30 seconds byoyomi, has been won once by a Korean representative and once by a Chinese. The Jeongganjang Cup, a team event for women pros, has been split five-three between Korean (five wins) and Chinese teams. Others, mostly longer-running events, have had occasional Japanese winners. The Asian TV Fast Game Cup (ten minutes and then thirty seconds) has been won nine times by Japanese players, most recently by Cho U 9P in 2005. Otherwise, the Koreans have seven victories versus five for the Chinese. This is the only event in this group won more often by the Japanese than by either of the other two countries. The Fujitsu is the longest-running of these tournaments and the most fully international. It guarantees a place in the main tournament for representatives from the Americas and Europe as well as Taiwan. On rare occasions one of these representatives has won a game. The Koreans have triumphed in it fourteen times, the Japanese six, but the Chinese only twice. The LG Cup saw the only win of one of this group of events by a Taiwanese player, Zhou Junxun 9P in 2007. Otherwise the Koreans have seven wins and the Chinese four, with the Japanese coming out on top twice. The Samsung is open to all pros and some amateurs in the early stages. It has been won twice by the Japanese, three times by the Chinese, and nine times by Koreans. The Chunlan also includes Western and Taiwanese representatives. It has seen four victories by Koreans, two by Chinese, and one by a Japanese representative. If international events that are no longer held were included, the percentage of Japanese victories would be greater since they had better results in earlier days. At present it is clear that the battle for international dominance is between Korea and China. Korea was clearly dominating until very recently, but China is now making a strong challenge for the top spot.
- Bill Cobb, based on reports on Sensei’s Library, Go News and GoGameWorld

Categories: World
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