American Go E-Journal

The Power Report (1): Iyama to challenge for two more titles; Kisei Leagues

Monday September 21, 2015

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal

Iyama to challenge for two more titles: At present, Iyama (right) has four titles — Kisei, Meijin, Honinbo, and Gosei – but he is making a 2015.09.21_Two in a row for Iyamadetermined effort to retrieve the glory days of his sextuple crown. All he has to do is to win back the two titles he lost towards the end of last year. His campaign is running smoothly and last week he won the play-offs to decide the Oza and Tengen challengers.

2015.09.21_Iyama (L) beat Yo Seiki in Oza play-offFirst of all, the final of the 63rd Oza tournament was held at the Kansai headquarters of the Nihon Ki-in in Osaka on Monday, September 7. Iyama (B) beat Yo Seiki 7P of the Kansai Ki-in by resignation after 157 moves (left). This earned him a rematch with Murakawa Daisuke Oza, also of the Kansai Ki-in, who took the title from him last year. Murakawa showed tenacity in recovering from a 1-2 deficit to win two games in a row. Yo Seiki has been securing excellent results recently, regaining his Honinbo League seat immediately after dropping out and reaching the best eight in an international tournament, the LG Cup, but if you want to take a title in Japan, virtually the only way to do so is by defeating Iyama Yuta. Interviewed after the game, Iyama commented: “Since losing in the Oza match last year, the desire to return to the same stage has been one of the major factors motivating me. I hope to make a better showing than last year.” 

Later in the same week, on Thursday, September 10, the play-off to decide the Tengen challenger was held at the same venue (games are 2015.09.21_Iyama (L) beat Yuki Satoshi in Tengen play-offusually played on the home ground of the higher-ranked player).  Taking white, Iyama forced Yuki Satoshi 9P (Kansai Ki-in) to resign after 228 moves (left). Yuki was also strongly motivated for this game, as he had won the title in 2010, but lost it to Iyama the following year. He actually got off to a slightly superior start, but slipped up in the early middle game (right)Iyama now has a big opportunity to regain his sextuple crown, but he is looking further ahead than that. After the Tengen game, he commented: “I’m 2015.09.21_last move in Tengen play-offhappy that the link to my goal of winning seven crowns has not been cut.” To keep this possibility open, Iyama has to make sure he keeps winning in the Judan tournament while fighting three title matches. The Oza title match starts on October 20 and the Tengen three days later.

Kisei Leagues: The final game in the S League of the 40th Kisei tournament was played at the Nihon Ki-in on September 10.  Playing white, Takao Shinji Tengen beat Kobayashi Satoru 9P by resig. The place in the league are: 1. Yamashita Keigo (4-1); 2. Murakawa Daisuke Oza (3-2); 3. Yoda Norimoto 9P (3-2); 4. Takao (2-3); 5. Yamashiro Hiroshi 9P (2-3); 6. Kobayashi (1-4). The top four players keep their seats, but actually Takao is not yet assured of staying in 4th place. If the winner of the B or C League were to 2015.09.21_40th-kisei-leagues-chartbecome the challenger, Takao would be bounced out. At that point, Yamashita would remain in the league, but the loser of the title match would take the number one seat in the S League, so Takao would also drop to the A League. This is yet another permutation in the complicated tournament system the Yomiuri Newspaper came up with.

Previously we reported that Kono Rin 9P had won the A League in the sixth round. In his last game, Kono (B) beat 25th Honinbo Chikun by 8.5 points, so he finished the league undefeated on 7-0. The game was played on September 10. On September 17, the play-off between the winners of the B1 and B2 Leagues was held. Yamada Kimio 9P (B2 winner) (W) beat Awaji Shuzo 9P by 8.5 points. Yamada thus earned a place in the tournament to decide the challenger. He is guaranteed a place in the A League next year. From the B1 League, Awaji (first on 5-2) and Ryu Shikun 9P (second on 4-3 — thanks to being ranked number one, he pipped the other three players [out of eight] who also finished on 4-3) will be promoted to the A League. They will be joined by So Yokoku 9P, who was second in the B League. Second place in the A League was also decided on September 17 when Ichiriki Ryo 7P (B) beat Cho Riyu 8P by resig. Ichiriki earns a place in the S League.
Tomorrow: Kyo Kagen wins two junior titles; Women’s Meijin League; Iyama ekes out narrow win in Meijin

Categories: Japan,John Power Report

Vienna Touchscreen Goban Wins Iwamoto Prize; “Surrounding Game” Runner-up

Monday September 21, 2015

A touchscreen go board built in the middle of a pedestrian shopping street in Vienna won this year’s World Wide Iwamoto Award from the European Go Center. Second place was taken by Will Lockhart and Cole Pruitt for their feature length documentary about go, “The Surrounding Game.”



The Public Touchscreen Go Table project was the work of a team led by Daniel Bösze, board member of the Austrian Go Federation, who wrote the software and negotiated with the city of Vienna to install the board. The project about a year and a half from start to opening ceremony and cost about $20,000 out of pocket, not including donated project planning and coding time, including $11,000 for the board itself. Since it opened in October 2014, the table has been averaging about 100 games a day, benefiting from a location on one of the busiest shopping streets in Mitteleuropa, Mariahilfer Straße. The board has room for two games at a time and is shielded from sun and rain by two large parasols. Bösze was awarded €1,000 for first place.
Pruitt and Lockhart meanwhile were awarded second place and a €500 “encouragement award” for their film, with which EJ readers are familiar. It is currently being finished up so it can be submitted to film festivals this fall and winter. It will premiere in Spring 2016.

Third place, also €500, went to Proyecto Gakko no Go, which since 2008 has taught go to low-income children at in the Jesús Maestro School in Petare, Caracas, Venezuela, one of the more marginalized and dangerous favelas in the country. The project was organized by Sister Marsela Mujica of the Catholic organization Fe y Alegria, who became enchanted by the Hikaru no Go manga. Starting with essentially nothing, she received support from the Venezuelan Go Association, Fe y Alegria, the Thai Go Association, Sociedad de Intercambio Internacional de Go, the Colegio Japones de Caracas and the International Go Federation, along with teaching visits from Argentinian player and organizer Fernando Aguilar.

“My congratulations to the three winners and hats off all the people who submitted projects,” said AGA president Andy Okun, who along with Aguilar and a half dozen other go officials and organizers, served on the Iwamoto Award jury. “It is amazing what people can do when they are tireless and dedicated.” The Iwamoto Awards seek to encourage projects that promote the spread of go. They are named for the late Japanese champion Iwamoto Kaoru, a tireless advocate for go for many decades, and are run by EGC with support from the European Go Federation and Nihon Ki-in.

Details of all the submitted projects can be found on the EGC website.
- Andy Okun

Categories: Europe

First IMSA Elite Mind Games Announced; 4 North American Players Needed

Saturday September 19, 2015

The first International Mind Sports Association Elite Mind Games (IEMG) will be held January 5-12, 2016 in Huai-An City, Jiangsu Province, China. The North American team will comprise three male players and one female player. All participants will have travel, accommodation, and visa application expenses paid for. Players will all receive prize money, a minimum of €1,000, which, after IGF surcharge, will be around $1,000.

Online playoffs will be held on the weekend of October 3-4 with tie-breakers on Oct. 10-11 (if needed). Players will need to budget the entire weekend as the online selections will likely begin at 9:00am PST / 12:00pm EST and end in the late afternoon/evening.

Eligibility: US/Canadian Citizenship. US players must have had continuous AGA membership for a year and have been resident in the US for six of the last 12 months. Interested players must email by Sunday, September 27th.

According the International Go Federation, the format will be the same as the fourth Sport Accord World Mind Games (men’s team event, women’s individual event, pair go). The Men’s team competition is a round-robin, the women’s is a double-elimination with extra games to determine all places, and pair go is a straight knockout.


Third Haylee Match Set for Saturday; 1-1 Against AGA Pros

Friday September 18, 2015

2015.09.02_Haylee The third of Haylee’s (Hajin Lee 3p) live stream demonstration matches with AGA pros is set for this Saturday evening at 7 p.m. Eastern time on YouTube. Haylee is 1-1 so far, having won against Calvin Sun 1p but lost against Gansheng (William) Shi 1p. In each episode, Haylee does a short interview about the life and go career of the player, plays a game online while thinking out loud, and then reviews the game with the player. Tomorrow night’s game is against Ryan Li 1p.

Categories: U.S./North America

Go Spotting: “The Broken Seal” and the Mystery of Yamamoto’s Missing Go

Thursday September 17, 2015

“Quite unexpectedly I found an interesting reference to go in a non-fiction book that I am currently reading, ‘The Broken Seal,’ by Ladislas 2015.09.13_TheBrokenSealFargo,” writes Erwin Gerstorfer.

2015.09.13_Isoroku Yamamoto“This book, first published in 1967, deals with the hidden war between American and Japanese code breakers from WW1 to Pearl Harbour. In discussing Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto (left), the “brain” behind the attack on Pearl Harbour, Fargo mentions that Yamamoto was considered one of the strongest go players in the Japanese Navy (he enjoyed other games too, like Shōgi, Bridge and Poker).

For me it was not too surprising that Yamamoto played go, as many members of the Japanese Navy were fond of it (see e.g. Ukiyo-e below right), but I did not know that he was such a strong player. However, when I checked the curriculum vitae of Admiral Yamamoto in Wikipedia I got another surprise. While go is listed on the German Wiki among other games that Yamamoto enjoyed, in his English Wiki entry go is not mentioned at all. This is quite a contrast to the fact that he was an expert go player.2015.09.13_JapaneseNavyGoPlayers

Yamamoto was killed when American codebreakers identified his flight plans and his plane was shot down.


Categories: Go Spotting

Why We Play: Devin Fraze 3K

Wednesday September 16, 2015

Years playing go: 3
Lives in: Columbus, Ohio
Home club: Columbus Igo Club

“I love to travel. In the past, I always sought out swing dancing events as I traveled. Now, I often search for local go clubs or tournaments. Thanks to go, I’ve made friends all over the world. I’ve trained in the mountains of Costa Rica, played in the back alleys of Korea, competed in China and Ecuador, and hitch-hiked and cycled from New York to California visiting every club along the way. My opponent and I may not always speak the same language, but when I sit down across a board from them our hands begin to talk. Through grunts, sighs, and bursts of laughter we engage in a deep and meaningful conversation and by the end, I’ve made a new friend.”

Why do you play? Tell us in 100 words or less your favorite thing about the game of go, include your name, age, how long you’ve played go, where you live and your home go club, and email to Be sure to include a current photo!

Categories: Why We Play

Your Move/Readers Write: Honinbo Sansa’s deathbed poem

Wednesday September 16, 2015

“Here is an example of another kind of verse, a famous kyoka (mad poem) attributed to Sansa, the first Honinbo and founder of that line,” 2015.09.16_Honinbo_Sansawrites Keith Arnold in response to Paul Celmer’s recent query (Searching for a literary go reference 9/9 EJ). “He is said to have composed it on his deathbed, which would date it at 1623. As a demonstration, perhaps, of mu-shin, and not without a touch of grim humor, he makes his own imminent death the subject.”

Go narabaya
ko ni mo tatete
iku beki wo
shinuru michi ni wa
te hitotsu mo nashi

If this were go
I’d start a ko fight
and surely live,
but on the road to death
there’s no move left at all.

This is from an article, Some Senryu about Go by William Pinckard who often contributed to Go World.  I found it on the Kiseido site, but I suspect it was originally published in Go World 15 and in the second edition of the Go Almanac.”
(Thanks also to Peter Schumer, who also sent in this poem)

Myungwan Kim 9p Visits Mexico City Go Class

Wednesday September 16, 2015

Myungwan Kim 9p fields questions on September 2 from students at Pippiolo in Mexico City, where instructor Siddhartha Avila (to his left) teaches as part of a very successful curriculum for preschool and elementary school children. One asked Kim who his strongest three opponents have been, and when he answered Lee Changho, Lee Sedol and Cho Hoon Hyun, the kid immediately said “Have you played Gu Li?!”
- report/photo by Steven Burrall

Categories: Latin America,Youth

Burrall Father-Son Team Tops Davis-Sacramento Fall Tourney

Monday September 14, 2015

Matthew Burrall 7d and Steve Burrall 3d topped the Davis/Sacramento Go Club Fall Tournament, tying for first place after tie-breakers. The tournament was held September 5th at the Arden-Dimick library in Sacramento. “We had 16 players, our largest number in a few years,” reports organizer Willard Haynes. “It was also the strongest field that we have ever had.” There were five dan level players ranging from 1 dan to 7 dan. “One player, Jeremy Cook 9k, came all the way from Los Angeles,” Haynes adds. The lower division was won by Cordell Newmiller, 8k by tie breaker. Laura Holeman 12k, played in her first AGA tournament.

Categories: U.S./North America

WMSG Qualification tournaments start this month in Boston

Monday September 14, 2015

The selection process for the 2016 World Mind Sports Games (WMSG) will begin at the upcoming American Chang Qi Cup in Cambridge, MA, on September 26 – 28, says AGA President Andy Okun.   Although plans have not been formally announced, it is expected that the 2016 WMSG will be held in Macau, China. Prior WMSG competitions (2008 in Beijing, and 2012 in Lille France) invited large teams for both women and men. “That means that some players will have a chance to make the team with lower ratings than usual for our international events,” said Okun. “The existing qualification points system is being modified to include the lower ranks, and will be used for selection of both the men’s and women’s teams.” Other tournaments intended to be used as qualifiers include the Cotsen in Los Angeles, the New Jersey Open, The Maryland Open and at least two online tournaments; other tournaments that meet certain criteria may also be designated as qualifiers. The points system will also select for invitations to the North American Masters and may be used for other invitations that come up from time to time, Okun said.