American Go E-Journal

WAGC GAME COMMENTARIES: Round 6

Saturday May 29, 2010

See below for Michael Redmond 9P’s commentaries on five Round 6 game records (click on “link” to download the sgf or “read more” for the online viewer): Ondrej Silt 6d (Czechia, at right) vs Fredrik Blomback 5d (Sweden); Song Hong Suk 7d (S Korea) vs Chan Nai San 7d (Hong Kong); Wang Chen 7d (China) vs Cheng-Hsun Chen 6d (Chinese Taipei); Gerardus Petrus Gronen 6d (Netherlands) vs Fernando Aguilar 7d (Argentina); Yohei Sato 6d (Japan) vs Kasper Hornbaek 5d (Denmark)
CLICK HERE for latest standings, courtesy of Alain Cano.

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WAGC GAME COMMENTARIES: Round 5

Friday May 28, 2010

See below for Michael Redmond 9P’s commentaries on four Round 5 game records (click on “link” to download the sgf or “read more” for the online viewer): Cheng-Hsun Chen 6d (Chinese Taipei) vs. Nai San Chan 6d (Hong Kong); Fernando Aguilar 7d (Argentina) vs. Yohei Sato 6d (Japan); Leszek Soldan 5d (Poland) vs. Yongfei Ge 7d (Canada); Alexey Lazarev 6d (Russia) vs. Bogdan Zhurakovskyi 5d (Ukraine).
CLICK HERE for latest standings, courtesy of Alain Cano.

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ROUND 5 HIGHLIGHTS: S. Korea Beats China, Hong Kong Over Chinese Taipei, DPR Korea Defeats U.S., Japan Downs Argentina

Friday May 28, 2010

(Posted May 28 2P local time) The rain that began during the previous evening’s excursion to West Lake was still falling Friday morning , lending a misty aspect to the view from the Tian Yuan Tower, where players were gathering for the fifth round of the World Amateur Go Championship. At the top board, Hongsuk Song 7d (r) of Korea and Chen Wang 7d (l) of China silently eyed each other, while at board two, Naisan Chan of Hong Kong awaited his opponent Cheng-hsun Chen of Chinese Taipei, who arrived shortly, accompanied by his mother, beaming for photographers. Next were Yohei Sato of Japan and Fernando Aguilar of Argentina, facing each other in silence while at the next board, Taewon Jo of DPR Korea was seated facing an empty chair, waiting for Thomas Hsiang of the United States, who arrived after the official start time but beat the forfeit deadline with minutes to spare.
The first of the top games to finish was Chinese Taipei and Hong Kong, Chen against Chan, with Chan winning by resignation. “I had a bad opening,” said the 17-year-old boy from Hong Kong, “but Chen made a mistake in the middle game and I captured three or four very important stones. He played on for about a hundred moves after that, but I didn’t give him any chance to catch up. He plays very well, but he is very young and hasn’t had enough experience yet, so he gets nervous during the game and that leads to mistakes.”
Next up was DPR Korea-U.S., with Taewon Jo winning. “This was similar to my loss against the Chinese player (Chen Wang),” Hsiang said. “Both of them played a very balanced game. In both games I tried to initiate fighting, but they avoided it altogether. Then in the endgame they landed punch after punch. They are so strong that they can hold off in the opening and middle game, and if there are no accidents, then in the endgame we mortals just cannot catch up. From the one game I’ve played with each of them, I can’t say which is stronger. They don’t need to fight against a player like me. If they play each other, then perhaps we’ll see some fighting.”

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Japan-Argentina was the third top game to end, Japan’s Sato winning by resignation. “This was a tough fight right from the opening,” Sato said, “the kind of game in which one false step would be fatal for either side. Aguilar played extremely strongly. He never let up, always making the most severe move. He made some overplays, however, and that’s where I got ahead.” (click on “link” at left or “read more” below for Michael Redmond’s commentary on Aguilar’s Round 4 game against Chinese Taipei’s Cheng-Hsun Chen)
That just left the game between Wang and Song. The Korean Song had taken an early lead on a joseki exchange in the top right corner and was playing conservatively to defend it, but Wang was not giving up. The game continued through ko fight after ko fight, both players intent on the board, their expressions revealing nothing. One by one, the other games finished, Czechia over Venezuela, Hungary over France, Colombia over Thailand, Canada over Poland, Russia over the Ukraine, Serbia over Israel, Sweden coming from behind to beat Singapore, Mexico losing on time to Denmark. Eventually Wang and Song were the only two still playing, surrounded by a crowd of two dozen spectators. Both players were in byo yomi. Song was playing most of his moves in ten to twenty seconds, while Wang several times went dangerously close to the thirty-second mark. Another ko exchange took place. Referees brought in additional bowls of stones. Finally, as his clock announced twenty-five, Wang tapped the board twice and slumped back in his seat in defeat. A post-mortem immediately began, with two former world amateur champions assisting: last year’s champion Yuching Hu, who had been giving a live commentary on the Wang-Song game on Chinese television, and Daichun Li, world champion in 2001, who currently coaches Hangzhou’s amateur and professional teams. After nearly half an hour the players and analysts went upstairs for lunch, Song to prepare for Friday afternoon’s showdown with Chan of Hong Kong, Wang to prepare for a game with Chen of Chinese Taipei.
- based on James Davies’ report in Ranka online; photo by John Pinkerton. A Round 6 report should be posted online by 7A EST

WAGC GAME COMMENTARIES: Round 4 (China-US; Hong Kong-Sweden; South Korea-Poland)

Friday May 28, 2010

Michael Redmond 9P has picked out a single significant point to comment on in each of these three Round 4 game records (click on “link” to download the sgf or “read more” for the online viewer):
China-US; Hong Kong-Sweden; South Korea-Poland

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WAGC UPDATES: Twice The Coverage; Chinese Pairing; Where To Get Shanghai Coffeeshop Lessons

Friday May 28, 2010

Twice The Coverage: Ranka online and the American Go E-Journal have teamed up again this year to provide comprehensive coverage of the WAGC. While there’s some overlap between the two sites’ reports, each site has a great deal of original content, so you’ll want to check both to get the full picture. Several recent Ranka posts of special interest include an interview with WAGC Chief Referee Lingdai Chen and player comments on what it’s like “Losing to the Best” amateur players in the world. Also, check out the Ranka site for WAGC latest results and a collection of game records.

Chinese Pairing: “You mentioned the Chinese pairing system producing interesting results in the Round Three Highlights article this week,” writes Steve Colburn. “Could you give us any information on how it is different than other pairing systems?” According to James Davies’ Round 3 Ranka report, “After the first two rounds, all but one of the fifteen players with two wins had taken black and white in one game each, so following the Chinese system, they were paired for the third round in order of the player numbers they had drawn before the tournament began. The highest numbered (1, Korea) played the second highest (5, Canada) and so on down to the fifteenth highest in this group (57, Sweden), who played the highest numbered player (2, Germany) in the one-win group. The one-win and zero-win groups were paired similarly, with the lowest numbered player in the one-win group (60, Vietnam) being drawn down against the highest numbered player in the zero-win group (7, Chile). All very clear and fair.”

Where To Get Shanghai Coffeeshop Lessons: “I’m going to Shanghai soon,” writes a reader, “is there anyway to find” the coffeeshop in the “Coffee Shop Lessons” (5/23 EJ) report?” Contact Danny Wang at Danny.Wang@live.com for directions, as Wang tells the EJ that “we may be moving in the near future.”

PRICE INFORMATION CUP FINISHES PRELIMS

Friday May 28, 2010

Lee Changho 9d defeated Yoo Changhyuk 9d by resignation on Wednesday. Theirs was the last League A preliminary game, and eight players now remain in the 6th Price Information Cup: Lee Changho, Park Yeonghun, Lee Sedol, Park Junghwan, Choi Cheolhan, Heo Yeongho, Won Sungjin, and Kang Dongyun.
- JustPlayGo

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GO PHOTOS: Pictures of Concentration

Friday May 28, 2010

- Photos by John Pinkerton

5 MINUTES WITH: Francesca Mauri, Italy

Thursday May 27, 2010

Francesca Mauri is surprised to be here.  “I should learn to play this game,” the 5-kyu said as she emerged from her second-round game. Someone else was supposed to represent Italy at the WAGC, but when he became ill and wasn’t able to attend, she got the nod.  Mauri learned go 20 years ago, discovering the game from reading Trevanian’s novel Shibumi.  She found the go club in Milan and was so serious about learning to play that she insisted on using the full board, but then about a decade ago, she stopped playing and says she “forgot everything.” Now she has started to play again and here at the WAGC she has become excited by her fellow players’ enthusiasm and she plans to return home and play more seriously.  The organizer of the House of Games where many different mind games are played, Mauri attended the World Mind Sports Games in Beijing in 2008 and has been impressed by the tremendous determination for excellence she’s seen in Asia. On the other hand, she’s a bit less sanguine about Chinese taxi drivers, who she’s convinced are “crazy and rude, but have great reflexes.”
- None Redmond, special correspondent for the E-Journal; photo by John Pinkerton

The “Impossible” Tian Yuan Tower Problem

Thursday May 27, 2010

This is the go problem on the lobby wall in the Hangzhou Tian Yuan Tower (see story below) where this year’s World Amateur Go Championship is being held. According to our guide, “it’s impossible to solve this problem” but we have faith in our readers. Send us your solution (sgf files only!) and we’ll pick a winner at random from those submitting correct answers. Bonus points for telling us the name of the problem (classic Chinese problems often have poetic names) and for the names of the famous go players engraved on the stones. Send to journal@usgo.org
- Chris Garlock; photo by John Pinkerton

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