American Go E-Journal

ROUND 2 HIGHLIGHTS: DPR Korea Downs Japan, U.S. Squeaks By France, Austria Upsets Czechia

Wednesday May 26, 2010

“I didn’t expect to lose on the first day,” said Japan’s Yohei Sato after his second-round loss to Taewon Jo of DPR Korea. Sato “missed a move in the middle game, completely failed to see it,” he said, admitting “This is going to hurt. But perhaps it’s psychologically easier to lose to an opponent like this early on, instead of after winning five or six games in a row.” Thomas Hsiang 7d (U.S.) squeaked out a half-point win over a visibly distraught Thomas Debarre 5d (France). “After the opening I felt I was far ahead, but then he tried hard to catch up and I almost let him do it,’ said Hsiang.
In one of Day 1’s most surprising upsets, Bernhard Scheid 5d (Austria) defeated Ondrej Silt 6d (l)  of Czechia. Silt “made a joseki mistake and so I got the lead,” said Scheid, “but then he managed to complicate the game and my lead became less clear. But then he began to make mistakes in the endgame, and after a while he resigned.” Meanwhile, Lucian Corlan of Romania recovered from his morning defeat by beating Geert Groenen of the Netherlands, Pal Balogh of Hungary downed Yuxiang Lou of Singapore, Ofer Zivony of Isreal beat Kaikun Xie of New Zealand, Leszek Soldan of Poland prevailed over Emil Estuardo Garcia Bustamante of Mexico, and Frederik Blomback of Sweden outplayed Le Khanh Lam Bui of Vietnam. Meanwhile, on the top boards, the players from China, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, and the Republic of Korea rolled to victory over opponents from the Ukraine, Ireland, Denmark, and Switzerland. Summing up his game against Cheng-hsun Chen of Chinese Taipei, Ireland’s John Gibson (r) said “I resigned when I started getting into time trouble and realized that all my groups were dying. Chen had used up 10 minutes and 15 seconds of his time. It might have been 10 minutes and 30 seconds if I hadn’t helped him get his water bottle open. Perhaps that was the best thing I did during the game.’
- based on James Davies’ report on Ranka online; photos by John Pinkerton

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AT 20, PAIR GO LOOKS BACK AND AHEAD

Wednesday May 26, 2010

Pair go is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, and World Pair Go Association Vice President Hiroko Taki (l) looked back and ahead in an interview with Ranka on Tuesday. “When we started the pair go movement twenty years ago, we wrote a lot about the significance of fostering pair go, communication in black and white, international goodwill, and so on,” said Mrs. Taki. “At the time, there was a need to attract more players to the game of go, both in Japan and in western countries. There was a particular need to get more women into the game, and of course that would attract more men. We wanted to present pair go as a game played by ladies and gentlemen, to make it more accessible to women. Our no-smoking policy was a big change. Over these twenty years, I’d say that we have reached and exceeded our goals. In the future I hope to see pair go become an established part of every major go tournament.” Following on the success of the professional Pair Go World Cup held in Hangzhou last March, Mrs. Taki says “We’re hoping to hold more pair go world cups, not next year but perhaps once every four years, like the football world cup.” The next big international pair go tournament will be the Asia Games, where pair go will be one of the events. “Looking beyond that, the World Pair Go Association now has 64 member countries,” notes Mrs. Taki. “Our Chairman is Mr. Koichiro Matsuura, former Director-General of UNESCO, so we’re expecting to develop further under his leadership. We are also now participating in the International Go Federation, and will be working with them.” While the WPGA is developing pair go on the Internet, through Pandanet, Mrs. Taki stresses that “in pair go it’s always important for people to meet face to face over the board.”
- based on James Davies’ report on Ranka online; photo by Ivan Vigano

GO PHOTOS: At The WAGC Opening Ceremony

Wednesday May 26, 2010

TOP LEFT: in the casual playing room after the opening ceremonies & banquet

TOP RIGHT: American Go E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock (r) presents the brand-new American Go Yearbook to new International Go Federation President Zhenming Chang (l)

BOTTOM LEFT: A banquet staffer at the opening ceremonies

BOTTOM RIGHT: total concentration in the casual player’s room

photos by John Pinkerton

Categories: Go Photos
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ROUND 1 HIGHLIGHTS: Thailand Surprises Romania, Canada Routs Russia

Wednesday May 26, 2010

Here are highlights of James Davies’ Ranka Online report on the first round at the WAGC: Kamon Santipojana 4d of Thailand surprised Lucian Corlan 5d of Romania when the 21-year-old Thai student took command of the game early…As previously reported (NO SURPRISES AT TOP IN PRELIM 1ST-ROUND WAGC RESULTS), Canada’s Yongfei Ge 7d defeated Alexey Lazarev 6d of Russia when the closely-matched game turned into a hard-fought rout, with Ge beating Lazarev by 24.5 points…See below for the game, with commentary by Michael Redmond 9P (at left with E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock). The evenly-matched contest between a pair of 3-dans from Mongolia and New Zealand also turned into a rout when the Chinese-born New Zealander, 15-year-old Kaikun Xie, easily forced opponent Oyutbileg Tsendjav to resign. Boonping Teng of Malaysia “outplayed me in the first part of the game” said the United Kingdom’s T Mark Hall, complaining of severe jet lag, ‘but then he made a blunder in a ko fight at the very end.’…The game between Csaba Deak of Brazil and Daniel Baumann (r) of Switzerland, both ranked 1-kyu, took a similar course, when Deak also “blundered (in the end) and had to resign.”…Perhaps the last closely-matched first-round game was also fought between kyu-level players John Gibson (2-kyu) of Ireland and Carlos Leon Rios Joels (1-kyu) of Peru. ‘I’m going to play quickly because I’m hoping to exploit my opponent’s nervousness at being in his first world championship,’ said Gibson. Click here for Ranka Online’s complete report. photos by John Pinkerton

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NO SURPRISES AT TOP IN PRELIM 1ST-ROUND WAGC RESULTS

Wednesday May 26, 2010

No surprises at the top in the first round of the World Amateur Go Championship, with China, both Koreas and Taipei winning their games handily. In North America, Thomas Hsiang 7d (US, left) beat Sotirios Ioannides 1k of Cyprus (r), Canada’s Yongfei Ge 7d defeated Alexey Lazarev 6d of Russia and Mexico’s Emil Bustamente 5d beat Janez Janza 3d of Slovenia. One unexpected result among European players was Thailand’s Kamon Santipojana 4d’s win against Romania’s Lucian Corlan 5d. By 6A EST, a complete first-round report – and perhaps a preliminary Round 2 report – will be posted on both the AGA website and Ranka Online.

PRESIDENTIAL GO: THE VIEW FROM THE TOP

Wednesday May 26, 2010

The view of the famous Hangzhou lake district was obscured by haze but all eyes in the 28th-floor suite at the Tian Yuan Tower were riveted on the go board inside. While preparations for the 31st annual World Amateur Go Championships were underway twenty floors below on Monday afternoon, outgoing International Go Federation President Hideo Otake 9P (l) and incoming IGF President Zhenming Chang  (r) were enjoying a quiet game (below, with commentary by Michael Redmond 9P) before a busy schedule that included the IGF General meeting, a press conference and the WAGC’s opening ceremonies and banquet. Chang is Vice Chairman and President of the CITIC Group, a major Chinese firm dealing in finance, real estate, resource development, manufacturing and telecommunications. He’s been playing since he was 9 years old. His middle school team was coached by players like Yigang Hua and Runan Wang, and he won the third New Physical Education Cup in 1979, which had previously been won by Weiping Nie and Zude Chen. He’s a strong proponent of go because of “it’s great training for the mind, especially for children.” As a businessman, he appreciates the game’s strategic aspects. “You learn that you can lose the battle but win the war. Or in business terms, that you can lose money but still come out ahead. You also learn to adapt to different situations, for example, to use different joseki in different positions.” After the game, the two men briefly discussed a few key points of play, then shook hands and stood up. It was time to turn their attention to other, perhaps less fun, but no less important, aspects of world go.
- includes reporting by James Davies and Chris Garlock; photo by John Pinkerton; game commentary by Michael Redmond 9P. CLICK “link” to download the sgf file or “read more” for an online game viewer

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NAKAYAMA’S QUIET FAREWELL

Wednesday May 26, 2010

It was a wet afternoon in Tokyo on May 23 when a quiet memorial service was held for the beloved and irrepressible Nakayama Noriyuki-sensei. As the hall at the Okura Hotel filled with Nakayama’s friends, there was time to contemplate the oversize photos showing Nakayama watching the legendary Go Seigen play tournament games. Nakayama’s appearance had not changed much over the years. There was no mistaking the impish smile, the shock of hair. Nakayama’s poetry was also displayed, with each stanza introducing another archaic, almost forgotten character of the ancient Japanese alphabet. In the next room, we paid our respects to Nakayama’s family and to Nakayama while a priest intoned the sutras before Nakayama’s photo, framed in an array of blue and white flowers. We gathered for a meal, after which several people spoke, including Otake Hideo 9P. Takemiya Masaki 9P spoke of Nakayama’s many books and how he had been the choice of so many top go professionals as their ghost writer because of his comprehensive knowledge of go as well as his skillful writing. Michael Redmond 9P also spoke, noting that Nakayama had been very popular in the United States, where he was a frequent and longtime visitor at the annual U.S. Go Congress. Nakayama touched many of us with his wit and wisdom, and the memorial service captured the quiet stillness that grounded both.
- None Redmond, special correspondent for the E-Journal; photo of Nakayama at the 2007 U.S. Go Congress by Chris Garlock

Categories: World
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CHINA TO LEAD IGF INTO NEW ERA

Tuesday May 25, 2010

The election of Chang Zhenming of China as President of the International Go Federation (IGF) highlighted the International Go Federation’s General Meeting (r) on Monday as the 31st edition of the IGF’s flagship event – the World Amateur Go Championship – formally launched in Hangzhou, China. “I will give my best effort to promote go to the whole world,” Chang promised, “Go is a benefit for everyone.” The other major news was that while there have been setbacks in the attempt to achieve recognition for go as an Olympic sport, mind sports are making significant progress. IGF Director Thomas Hsiang reported that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) includes mind sports as a category that has “no realistic chance of entering either the Summer or the Winter Olympics,” and so won’t be recognized. The good news is that SportAccord (formerly the General Association of International Sports Federation, or GAISF) is expanding its definition of sport to include mind sport and plans to sponsor a number of new events, including Mind Sport Games. Planning for a second World Mind Sports Games (WMSG) in August 2012 is now underway, with Manchester UK as the leading candidate to host. In even more exciting news, the International Federation of Poker has applied to become an IMSA and SA member, which has attracted interest from several major marketing firms, with which the IGF is now in discussions. Upcoming events either sponsored by the IGF or with major IGF involvement are the 21st International Pair Go Championships October 16-17 in Japan, the 16th Guangzhou Asian Games November 12-27 and the 32nd World Amateur Go Championship in Shimane, Japan.
- Chris Garlock; photo by John Pinkerton. Click here for the complete report and more photos on Ranka Online.

HANDICAPPING THE WAGC

Tuesday May 25, 2010

Sixty players from 60 countries and regions. Eight rounds over four days. For 31 years, the World Amateur Go Championships (WAGC) have assembled a global gathering of top amateurs to compete, meet and spread the game of go around the world. This year’s WAGC is being held this week in Hangzou, China, organized by the China Qiyuan, the Chinese agency responsible for board and card games, under the supervision of the International Go Federation, and co-organized by the Hangzhou Branch of the China Qi-Yuan (Chinese Go Association). After arriving on Monday and participating in the IGF General Meeting and opening ceremonies on Tuesday, the tournament proper commences on Wednesday morning. This year, DPR Korea, playing in the WAGC for the first time since 2006, joins China and the Republic of Korea as top contenders for the title. China’s Chen Wang is just 17 years old but won the Chinese Evening News Cup. Taewon Jo of DPR Korea, a veteran at age 21, won the individual amateur event in the World Mind Sports Games in 2008. And Hongsuk Song, a year older at 22, has been doing well in the Republic of Korea, winning the international Korean Prime Minister’s Cup last October and more recently taking the amateur Kuksoo title and the Korean Sports Cup. Two more 17-year-olds who bear watching are Nai San Chan of Hong Kong, China, and Thomas Debarre of France, who finished third and eighth, respectively, in the World Amateur Go Championship last year. Also hoping to place in the top eight are newcomers Cheng-hsun Chen (age 11, at left) of Chinese Taipei and Yohei Sato (29) of Japan, but they will be vying with a group of twenty other players ranked 5 dan and above, including established stars such as Ondrej Silt (23) of Czechia.
- Based on James Davies’ report on Ranka Online; photo (top right): panel in front of the WAGC playing site with signatures of the players (photo by Ivan Vigano); photo of Cheng-hsun Chen by John Pinkerton

E-JOURNAL’S WAGC COVERAGE COMMENCES

Tuesday May 25, 2010

The American Go E-Journal‘s special coverage of the World Amateur Go Championships (WAGC) begins with tomorrow’s edition. Each morning’s edition will include our reports through midday local time in Hangzhou, China; click here anytime for the latest live news, posted as it happens by the EJ/Ranka Online team. The daily WAGC E-Journals will also include special game commentaries usually only included in the Member’s Edition, provided as part of our support for world go. We hope you enjoy our complete coverage of the 31st annual competition among top amateur players from around the world, which runs through May 31. The weekly E-Journal will resume next week.
- Chris Garlock; photo: WAGC players warm up Monday morning; photo by John Pinkerton