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SportAccord World Mind Games Day 4: China & Korea Sweep to Final Showdown in Men’s Team Tourney; Wang Chenxing & Yu Zhiying in All-China Women’s Individual Final; Redmond Audio Game Commentaries

Monday December 16, 2013

The third annual SportAccord World Mind Games are taking place December 12-18 in Beijing, China. Click here for latest go competition winner resultshere for Ranka Online’s full coverage and here for reports on all 2013 SportAccord World Mind Games competitions (chess, go, bridge, Chinese Chess & draughts). CLICK HERE TO WATCH GAMES LIVE! 
NOTE: At 9 pm EST (6p PST) on Monday, December 16, Michael Redmond 9P and E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock will provide live audio commentary on KGS on the SAWMG China-Korea men’s team final.  

China & Korea Sweep to Final Showdown in Men’s Team Tourney: In the fourth round of the men’s team event at the 2013 SportAccord World Mind Games China swept Europe 3-0 to remain completely undefeated. Korea rolled over North America 3-0, but on the top board in this match, the USA’s Huiren Yang (left), the oldest player competing, played an outstanding game against Korea’s top-rated pro Park Jeonghwan (right). The Koreans following the action on the monitor screens outside the playing room praised Yang’s opening and thought he had ample opportunity to win, even though Park prevailed in the end. In contrast, Daniel Daehyuk Ko was completely hamstrung by Kim Jiseok on board two, and Yongfei Ge, who tried an unusual opening with a three-stone corner enclosure on board three, was quickly beaten by Cho Hanseung. So China and Korea will meet on Monday to decide which team will take home the gold medals.

Attention now focused on the match between Japan and Chinese Taipei. The game on the top board, between Chou Chun-hsun (Chinese Taipei, black) and Fujita Akihiko (Japan, white) was played to a YouTube audience with live commentary from Michael Redmond. Black framed the lower side. When White made a capping invasion, Black jumped into the lower left corner. In the next twenty moves White let Black capture the corner but built a solid wall above it, reducing Black’s framework to thirty points of territory buried under the wall. ‘At this point I thought White had a slightly better position,’ Fujita said. After a black mistake in the choice of joseki in the top right corner and a favorable exchange on the top left, White had a taken over large area stretching from the left side into the center and had a clear lead. Black tried unsuccessfully to reduce White’s area, and then resigned. First game to Japan.

On board two, Hirata Tomoya (black) started well for Japan, but then made a life-and-death mistake and lost a big group. ‘This game was very tough for me,’ said his opponent Wang Yuan-jyun. ‘In the opening I made a mistake that let Black capture five stones and get a strong position. Then Black made a minor mistake and I caught up a little, but I made another mistake that let him thrust out into the center and I was then even further behind. My only chance was to attack one of his groups and try to kill it. This should not have been possible–there were many variations and none of them worked–but fortunately for me he overlooked a move and the group died.’ Second game to Chinese Taipei.

The result of the match now rested on the outcome on board three, where Japan’s eighteen-year-old Tsuruta Kazushi was playing Chinese Taipei’s fifteen-year-old Lin Chun-yen. “I felt that I had the advantage in the opening,” Lin said later. “I may have been about ten points ahead – but I lost that lead in the middle game. Now I was behind and the game was quite unfavorable for me, but I managed to regain the lead in the endgame. At the point when my opponent resigned I was about ten or fifteen points ahead.” Match to Chinese Taipei by a 2-1 score, putting them in a strong position to capture the bronze medals. They also won the bronze medal last year in men’s individual competition, after Japan beat them to take the bronze in mixed team competition two years ago.

Wang Chenxing & Yu Zhiying in All-China Women’s Individual Final: In the fifth round of women’s repechage competition, played in the morning before the men’s team round, Wang Chenxing (China) was matched against Svetlana Shikshina (Russia) and Park Jieun (Korea) against Chang Cheng-ping (Chinese Taipei). Park and Chang played a classical opening, and their game looked close until Park isolated four of Chang’s eyeless stones on the lower side. Chang fought desperately to counterattack, and though she succeeded in slicing White apart, she could not kill the cut-apart pieces. Instead, another black group died and Chang resigned. In the Wang-Shikshina game, Wang forced a weak black group to live with just two small eyes. Both sides then made big territories elsewhere. Shikshina declined a chance to start a major fight and the game ended without incident, Wang winning comfortably by 10.5 points.

The final round of the women’s repechage was therefore played between Wang and Park. Their game proceeded until all the territories had been completed and only neutral points remained to be filled. At this point Park counted that she was a bit behind and resigned to take possession of the bronze medal. Wang will play China’s Yu Zhiying again on Tuesday to see who gets the silver medal and who gets the gold. While Wang was defeating Park, a playoff for fourth place was also taking place. Chang Cheng-ping (right) and Svetlana Shikshina (left) played a lively game that proceeded with lots of skirmishes but no decisive battles. Shikshina found herself increasingly on the defensive, however, forced to concede territory in order to keep her groups alive. Late in the endgame, when Chang succeeded in capturing five white stones in the center, Shikshina resigned. Fourth place therefore goes to Chinese Taipei’s Chang Cheng-ping while fifth place goes to Russia’s Svetlana Shikshina.
- James Davies, Ranka; photos by Ivan Vigano

Day 4 (Sunday, 12/15) Summary: (click on links for game records, uncommented unless otherwise noted)
Men’s team tournament (fourth round): Chinese Taipei 2-1 over Japan: Fujita Akihiko beat Chou Chun-hsun (Redmond commentary); Wang Yuan-jyun beat Hirata Tomoya; Lin Chun-yen beat Tsuruta Kazushi (Redmond commentary); China 3-0 over Europe: Fan Tingyu beat Fan Hui; Zhou Ruiyang beat Ilya Shikshin; Wang Xi beat Pavol Lisy; Korea 3-0 over North America: Park Jeonghwan beat Huiren Yang; Kim Jiseok beat Daniel Daehyuk Ko; Cho Hanseung beat Yongfei Ge
Women’s individual tournament
Fifth round: Wang Chenxing (China) beat Svetlana Shikshina (Russia); Park Jieun (Korea) beat Chang Cheng-ping (Chinese Taipei)
Sixth round: Wang Chenxing (China) beat Park Jieun (Korea)

Redmond Audio Game Commentaries: This year, in addition to the various video feeds made available by SportAccord, Michael Redmond 9P and American Go E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock are doing live audio game commentaries on KGS, which are also being posted on KGS Plus under Recent Lectures.“12/15/13 8:59″ is the commentary on the Men’s Team Round 4 game between Fujita Akihiko (Japan) and Chou Chun-hsun (Chinese Taipei); “12/15/13 9:29″ is the Tsuruta Kazushi (Japan) vs Lin Chun-yen (Chinese Taipei) Men’s Team Round 4 game.

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SportAccord World Mind Games Day 3: Yu Zhiying Clinches Medal in Women’s Individual Tourney; China & Korea Continue to Steamroll Men’s Teams, North America Blanked Again; Redmond Audio Game Commentaries Now Available; Benjamin Teuber on Playing Michael Redmond 9P and Studying in China; Draughted In: Why Zhao Hanqing Changed Games; Going to the Max

Saturday December 14, 2013

The third annual SportAccord World Mind Games are taking place December 12-18 in Beijing, China. Click here for latest go competition winner resultshere for Ranka Online’s full coverage and here for reports on all 2013 SportAccord World Mind Games competitions (chess, go, bridge, Chinese Chess & draughts). CLICK HERE TO WATCH GAMES LIVE! 
NOTE: At 9 pm EST (6p PST) on Sunday, December 15, Michael Redmond 9P and E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock will provide live audio commentary on KGS on Round 4 games from the World Mind Games.  

Yu Zhiying Clinches Medal in Women’s Individual Tourney: How does men’s go differ from women’s go? Aside from superficial matters such as the players’ average height, some have pointed to a temperamental difference: women tend to play more impetuously–to start a fight at the drop of a hat; men tend to play more patiently, laying deep strategic plans that only slowly mature into victory, sometimes with little or no fighting at all. Others find men’s go more coldly logical and women’s go more ‘human’. Womanly qualities were on full display in the centerpiece game in the fourth round of women’s individual competition at the SportAccord World Mind Games on December 14th. The two players, China’s Wang Chenxing and Yu Zhiying (right), the last remaining undefeated duo, came out fighting to kill from the word ‘go’. Black (Ms Wang) laid out a loose group on the left side. White (Ms Yu) immediately surrounded it, with lethal intent. Black, with equally lethal intent, cut off and attacked some of the surrounding white stones. White defended them by attacking an adjacent black group, and so it went, both players carefully pondering their moves, with the life of their stones at stake. And then this battle royal had a heartwarming ‘human’ outcome. Every single threatened group lived. Peace descended on the board, the pace of play quickened, and in the end Yu Zhiying won by 5.5 points (click here to see the Michael Redmond’s game commentary), ensuring a berth in the final, one win away from a gold medal, and assured of at least the silver.
- James Davies, Ranka; click here for the rest of his report on the Women’s Individual competition. 

China & Korea Continue to Steamroll Men’s Teams, North America Blanked Again: The powerhouse men’s teams from China and Korea continued their dominance in the third round Saturday, with China sweeping Japan on all three boards and Korea chastening the European team — exuberant after their victory over North America in the previous round — with a perfect 3-0 score. The North American team suffered their third straight shutout defeat, this time at the hands of the Chinese Taipei team (NA’s Huiren Yang, at left, plays Taipei’s Chou Chun-hsun). These games amply displayed the “manly” qualities of strategy and deliberation. The young Japanese team in particular seemed determined to make the most of their opportunity to take on three of the best players in China, and their games were among the last to end, even though they all ended in resignation. Two other players, both amateurs, who strove patiently against strong professional opponents were North America’s Daniel Daehyuk Ko, who lost to Wang Yuan-jyun by 12.5 points, and Europe’s Pavol Lisy, who stayed in a tough contest against Korea’s Cho Hanseung until fairly late in a game that was broadcast live via YouTube, with commentary by deputy chief referee Michael Redmond 9P and American Go E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock. The duo also took time to do live audio commentary on KGS on two Men’s Teams Round Two games. - based on a report by Ranka’s James Davies

Day 3 (Saturday, 12/14) Summary: (click on links for game records, uncommented unless otherwise noted)
Men’s team tournament (third round): China 3-0 over Japan: Fan Tingyu beat Fujita Akihiko, Zhou Ruiyang beat Hirata Tomoya, Wang Xi beat Tsuruta Kazushi; Korea 3-0 over Europe: Park Jeonghwan beat Fan Hui, Kim Jiseok beat Ilya Shikshin, Cho Hanseung beat Pavol Lisy; Chinese Taipei 3-0 over North America: Chou Chun-hsun beat Huiren Yang, Wang Yuan-jyun beat Daniel Daehyuk Ko, Lin Chun-yen beat Yongfei Ge (Redmond Commentary).
Women’s individual tournament (fourth round): Yu Zhiying (China) beat Wang Chenxing (China), Park Jieun (Korea) beat Oh Jeonga (Korea), Chang Cheng-ping (Chinese Taipei) beat Joanne Missingham (Chinese Taipei), Svetlana Shikshina (Russia) beat Natalia Kovaleva (Russia).

Redmond Audio Game Commentaries Now Available: This year, in addition to the various video feeds made available by SportAccord, Michael Redmond 9P (at left in photo) and American Go E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock (at right) are doing live audio game commentaries on KGS, some of which are also being posted on KGS Plus under Recent Lectures. “12/14/13 9:52″ is the commentary on the Men’s Team Round 3 game between Yongfei Ge 6D and Chun-yen Lin 9P (starts at 6:53); “12/14/13 8:56″ is the commentary on the Women’s Individual Round 4 game between Yu Zhiying and Wang ChengXing (starts 3:43).

Benjamin Teuber on Playing Michael Redmond 9P and Studying in China: The promising young German Benjamin Teuber 6D took on Michael Redmond 9P in a special exhibition match held Saturday morning. South African Victor Chow (‘RoseDuke’), the winner of the SAWMG 2013 Pandanet tournament, was originally slated to play, but Teuber (at left in photo) — who’s currently studying go in China — substituted at the last minute when Chow was unable to attend. The game was calm with Teuber playing a very solid opening, but when he failed to use his thickness to attack, he slowly but surely fell behind. In the Ranka interview, Teuber talks about the new go training program being held in China for top European players and playing soccer with Gu Li.

Draughted In: Why Zhao Hanqing Changed Games: Once a fervent go player, 19-year-old Zhao Hanqing (right) began to study international draughts in 2008 and has already secured victory in the World Championship (Junior Girls). She is currently taking part in the draughts competition at the SportAccord World Mind Games being held in Beijing. Find out more about why she switched games and how China is promoting mind games.

Going to the Max: As games wrap up each day in the playing room at the Sport Accord World Mind Games venue in the Beijing International Conference Center, the review room next door fills up with players, pros and fans who review their games while keeping an eye on monitors showing the games still being played. The rapid clicking of go stones competes with the excited swirl of languages from around the world. Eventually, as darkness falls outside, the game room will empty, the day’s results will be marked on the scoreboard, and even the most hard-core players will tear themselves away from the go boards. For now. Until tomorrow, when the cycle begins again.
- Chris Garlock; all photos this page by Ivan Vigano

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SportAccord World Mind Games Day 2: North America & Japan’s Men’s Teams Winless as China-Korea Final Looms; All-China Final in Women’s Individual; PLUS: Svetlana Shikshina 3P Moves to Canada; What We Can Learn from Chess & Japan’s Yoshida Mika Considers Flamenco

Friday December 13, 2013

The third annual SportAccord World Mind Games are taking place December 12-18 in Beijing, China. Click here for latest go competition winner results, here for Ranka Online’s full coverage and here for reports on all 2013 SportAccord World Mind Games competitions (chess, go, bridge, Chinese Chess & draughts).

Day 2 (Friday, 12/13) Summary (click on links for game records, uncommented unless otherwise noted): Men’s Team: China 3-0 over Chinese Taipei: Fan Tingyu beat Chou Chun-hsun, Zhou Ruiyang beat Wang Yuan-jyun, Wang Xi (left in photo) beat Lin Chun-yen (right). Korea 3-0 over Japan: Park Jeonghwan beat Fujita Akihiko, Kim

Jiseok beat Hirata Tomoy (Redmond commentary), Cho Hanseung beat Tsuruta Kazushi, giving Japan an 0-6 record after two rounds. Europe 3-0 over North America: Fan Hui beat Huiren Yang, Ilya Shikshin beat Daniel Daehyuk Ko, Pavol Lisy (click left for Redmond commentary) beat Yongfei Ge, leaving the N.A. team winless after two rounds.
Women’s individual: Wang Chengxing (China) beat Joanne Missingham (Taipei); Yu Zhiying (China) beat Park Jieun (Korea); Chang Cheng-peng (China) beat Yoshida Mika (Japan); Oh Jeonga (Korea) beat Fujisawa Rina (Japan); Natalia Kovaleva (Russia) beat Dina Burdakova (Russia); Svetlana Shikshina (Russia; click left for Yang Shuang 2P’s KGS game variations) beat Sarah Jin Yu (Canada). Note: Michael Redmond 9P and Chris Garlock did live audio commentary on the Round 2 Missingham-Jeonga game on KGS but because they recorded the game and did variations in the same file (instead of cloning), the record’s trees are a bit of a mess; it’s attached here for those interested.

North America & Japan Men’s Teams Winless as China-Korea Final Looms: On the basis of international tournament results during the current century, China and Korea seemed likely to have the advantage in their matches, but Chinese Taipei’s near-upset of Korea in the first round raised doubts about the size of that advantage. In the second round on Friday, however, the Chinese and Korean teams prevailed handily over Chinese Taipei and Japan. The match between Europe and North America was harder to predict. North America had won a similar match two years ago, but by a close 3-2 score, and this year the European team had the advantage of youth. 

In the game between Russia’s Ilya Shikshin (left in photo) and Daniel Daehyuk Ko (right) of the U.S., Shikshin “started out with a complex opening pattern in which my opponent made several mistakes, so I got the lead,” Shikshin told Ranka. “I think I was about twenty points ahead. After that I tried to play simple moves, and my opponent started to take risks, trying to draw me into an error, but in the end I killed a dragon and he resigned.” 

Slovakia’s Pavol Lisy, on the other hand, “had a bad opening” against Canada’s Yongfei Ge, “but then somehow I caught up and even pulled ahead. At one point I thought I was going to win by about six points, nearly the size of the komi. Then something happened to a group of mine in the corner. At first it looked as if I was going to lose all my territory there. I was terrified, but I thought for ten minutes and found a way to rescue it, and after I did, my opponent resigned.”

Women’s Individual Tournament Rounds 2 & 3: Triumph for China, Disaster for Japan & North America, Mixed for Rest: 
The results on Day 2 were a complete triumph for the two Chinese players, a disaster for the women from Japan and North America, and a mixture of wins and losses for the women from Korea, Chinese Taipei, and Russia. The six winners remain in contention, and Joanne Missingham and Park Jieun, who recorded their first losses, are also still in contention. The two Chinese, Wang Chengxing and Yu Zhiying, will contend for the final undefeated position in Round Four. Click here for the complete Ranka report. 

Svetlana Shikshina 3P Moves to Canada: The Russian-born Korean professional (left) moved to Canada in late June 2013 and talks to Ranka’s James Davies about the challenges of her new life there.

What We Can Learn from Chess: FIDE Chief Executive Officer Geoffrey Borg (right) on an unexpected common link between chess and go and Russia’s Ian Nepomniachtchi on lessons from the cheating scandals in chess.

Japan’s Yoshida Mika Considers Flamenco: After her “tragic loss” to young Chinese star Yu Zhiying 4P, Yoshida, former winner of the Women’s Honinbo, tells Ranka’s John Richardson “maybe my future is in flamenco,” which she took up again earlier this year.

- photos by Ivan Vigano/Ranka Online 

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Lee Sedol’s Commented Games, Volume II: Another Triumph

Sunday November 17, 2013

Book Review of Lee Sedol’s Commented Games:  Volume II (Baduktopia)

by Fritz Balwit

The arrival of the English version of Lee Sedol’s Commented Games Volume I in 2011 fulfilled a dream of our go study group: a high-quality, detailed view into the highest levels of the art of go as practiced by the Korean super-talents.  We had worked our way through stacks of old Go Worlds, graduated Slate and Shell’s magnificent Fairbairn volumes on Go Seigen’s famous Jubangos. But here was something new and different: Lee Sedol, the world’s number one player famed for games of staggering complexity, uncompromising fighting spirit, quadruple ko and half-point wins. I was immediately struck by the superb quality of the books. Everything from the paper to the layout and its large diagrams made for a most enjoyable reading experience. There are just three games in each volume, but the depth of the commentary more than compensates.

Lee actually wrote three books during a six-month hiatus in his tournament schedule while he worked out some kinks in his relationship with the Korea Baduk Association. Volume Two,  now available from GoGameGuru, begins with Lee’s fantastic triumph in Game 3 of the LG Cup against Lee Changho 9P. Lee devotes 100 pages to this game alone. Large diagrams head the chapters and typically include a general point of strategic advice or an insight into the psychology of the game. Indeed, the book abounds in the latter sorts of reflections, both in Lee’s own words and those of the writer, his sister, Lee Sena, who glowingly covers aspects of Sedol’s personal development and the ups and downs of his career. Game Two, against Chang Hao 9P, similarly runs to more than 100 pages and includes commentary and annotated variations at a depth I have never seen before. However, the last game is the best of all. Again, the opponent is the Lee Changho 9P. This time, the occasion is the World Oza 2006. Whereas the first two games will surely repay careful study and help players of all levels to improve their understanding of whole-board vision, deep reading, modern joseki and the like, the last game is best approached as a lesson in humility. I suggest you play through this game with a 6-dan, as we did at our club. He was utterly flummoxed by it and unable to predict the moves or discern the flow of the game.  Lee’s avowed dislike of being “coerced” by his opponent manifests itself in a taut duel of nerves in which each player defiantly shifts the location of the battle in what appears, even to strong amateurs, to be chaotic mayhem. The strangeness of this game has its own beauty and excitement, but don’t expect to pick up any tips.

Baduktopia deserves high praise for putting out these splendid books on one of the most exciting players of our generation. (Click here for a review of Volume 1.) The editorial decision to include few but thoroughly commented games with a limited number of moves per diagram results in a book that you can read anywhere, even without a board.  The biographical materials add a nice dimension to our appreciation of the life of a professional Go player. All in all, I recommend Lee Sedol’s Commented Games: Volumes I and II without reservation. We await with eagerness the arrival of the promised third volume.

Balwit (in cap at right in photo above) was The American Go Foundation’s 2011 teacher of the Year

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Rex Weyler on Life Lessons Learned from Go

Wednesday July 17, 2013

It was the problems that hooked Rex Weyler. The Greenpeace founder had just learned go from writer Rick Fields (“Chop Wood, Carry Water”) “and Rick gave me a beginner’s book — Ishigure’s In The Beginning, I think — and I took it home that night in 1981 and the life and death problems were so fascinating that the game absolutely hooked me. Weyler, a reknowned environmental activist and journalist, has been playing go ever since. When he co-founded the Hollyhock learning center on Cortes Island in British Columbia the following year, Weyler made sure that a go workshop was included, initially led by Canadian go player Roy Langston, and then for many years by American James Kerwin 1P. After a hiatus, the Hollyhock go workshop returned this year, this time with Janice Kim 3P, and of course Weyler, who has moved back to Cortes Island, was there. “Go fits in with the way I see the world,” Weyler told the E-Journal in an interview earlier this week in his home overlooking a spectacular view of Lake Hague. “I trained in math but became a writer, and go is a wonderful combination of logic and aesthetics. And the better you can balance the two, the better you can play.” After more than three decades of playing, Weyler says “I’m still learning lessons from go that apply to life. Be aggressive but show retraint; it’s okay to be optimistic but that’s not a strategy. You’ve got to get outside and see the bigger picture,” Weyler says, speaking as both a go player and ecologist. “Go, if you play well, teaches you different ways of thinking.”
- report/photo by Chris Garlock; photo: Weyler (l) playing with former AGA President Phil Straus at Hollyhock. Learn more about Weyler’s work on his website.

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Categories: U.S./North America
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The Power Report: Cho U Wins Crucial Game In Meijin League; Takao Takes Lead In Honinbo Title Match; Kono To Challenge Iyama For Gosei Title; New Professional Couple

Sunday June 9, 2013

by John Power,  Japan Correspondent for the American Go E-Journal

Cho U Wins Crucial Game In Meijin League: Thanks to defeating his most formidable opponent, Cho U 9P (right) is a lot closer to ecoming the challenger for the 38th Meijin title. In a game played on June 1, Cho (taking black) defeated Iyama Yuta Honinbo by resignation, improving his record to 6-0 and keeping the sole lead. Iyama had been one of just two players with only one loss, but, with his score now 5-2, the best he can hope for is a tie for first, but that will happen only if Cho loses both his remaining games; his opponents are Takao Shinji 9P and Kono Rin 9P. The other player with one loss is Hane Naoki 9P, who is on 4-1; he has already played Cho, so he has to rely on the above-mentioned pair for help in catching up. Incidentally, Saturday games are quite unusual, but Iyama is extremely busy, what with Honinbo games in successive weeks. On June 6, Sakai Hideyuki 8P (B) defeated Yuki Satoshi Judan by resignation. This was Sakai’s first win in the league, to six losses, while Yuki still has not opened his account. He is now 0-6 and has suffered a dismal 16 losses in a row, spread over three Meijin leagues.

Takao Takes Lead In Honinbo Title Match: All the momentum now seems to be with Takao Shinji 9P (left) in the 68th Honinbo title match. In the third game, played in the Hokkaido city of Kushiro on June 5 & 6, he defeated the defending champion Iyama Yuta and took a 2-1 lead. Playing black, Takao forced a resignation after 167 moves. In its report, Go Weekly was unable to specify a losing move for Iyama; he apparently played no dubious moves after the opening, so Takao must have gained an advantage in the first fight of the game, in which he sacrificed corner stones to set up a squeeze on the outside. Iyama has now lost three important games on the trot; the fourth Honinbo game, scheduled for June 17 & 18, will be a crucial one for his title defense.

Kono To Challenge Iyama For Gosei Title: In the final of the 38th Gosei tournament, Kono Rin 9P (B) defeated Matsumoto Takehisa 7P by 1.5 points, so he will challenge Iyama Yuta Gosei for the title. Kono challenged Iyama for the Tengen title last November, but lost three straight; he will be hoping to improve on this record in what will be his first Gosei challenge. The title match starts on July 6.

New Professional Couple: On June 4, Suzuki Ayumi 6-dan and Rin Kanketsu 7-dan got married at a hotel in Karuizawa. Rin commented: “There’s a perfect balance of supply and demand in our marriage: I like composing life-and-death problems and my wife likes solving them.” As far as I know, this is the 16th marriage among Nihon Ki-in professionals.

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Categories: Japan,John Power Report
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Virtual Go a Labor of Love for Games Programmer

Wednesday May 29, 2013

When Glenn Fiedler first came to go in 2004, he was immediately taken with the aesthetic side of the game, the black and white stones, their biconvex shape, the sound they make hitting a wooden board.  “I especially loved the way go stones wobble and how stone placement becomes irregular as the game progresses, because the go stones are just slightly larger than the grid,” he told the EJ.  Playing on a computer, though, was not the same experience.  “When I play go on a computer it feels like I’m playing on a magnetic board. In real life, I don’t want to play on a magnetic board. I wanted to make a go board that I could play on the computer that felt like I was really playing go.”  The desire led the Australian Fiedler to a career change.  He became a network game programmer with a specialization in physics and started developing methods of synchronizing physics simulations across multiple computers.  “I ended up inventing new techniques and talking at GDC (Game Developers Conference) about how to network physics simulations. And all the techniques I invented were originally thought up because I wanted to network a simulation of a go board and stones!”

Now, after finishing work on his latest project at Sony, “God of War: Ascension,” Fiedler has finally turned his attention to programming go.  The idea is not to provide an AI opponent, but instead provide a beautiful and compelling simulation of an actual 3D goban and stones that other developers could include in existing go software like SmartGo or Many Faces of Go, Fiedler said.  It is a painstaking step-by-step effort he is chronicling in a blog on his website, Gaffer on Games.  The blog lays out the code and the physical reasoning behind it.  Fiedler hopes to make some commercial use of the software eventually, though it will be hard to do.  In the meantime, that’s not what’s on his mind. “I’ve had some time to work on my dream project after almost 10 years. It’s really satisfying.” -Andy Okun.  Diagram of a stone from Fiedler’s blog: Gaffer on Games.

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Second Life Launches Go League Tournament

Wednesday April 10, 2013

Two dozen go players from around the world gathered in a beautiful old Japanese style dojo for a brand-new tournament on April 1. Lush bamboo rustled in the breeze while the sea whispered nearby. But the only real thing was the go. The tournament is taking place in “Second Life,” the popular 3D simulator world with millions of users all over the world. The online virtual world enables many different kinds of activities, including playing go. Second Life’s Kido Go Club is a beautiful old Japanese style location where your 3D avatar can play and review your games online using voice chat. The games are saved on the server in SGF format and can be downloaded. The Meijin League — which runs through the end of the month –  tournament is the largest in Second Life history. It has two subdivisions with 12 registered participants each, the first 7d-9k, the second 10k-30k. Players are from the United States, Russia, Japan and many European countries. Each subdivision is a round-robin where players arrange the time of their games and both leagues will reward the first right places with Linden Dollar prizes, the in-game currency. Five matches took place on April 1, when the League launched; The very first day was marked by five Go matches. The games will last at least till the end of April and new participants can still join the tournament. Click here for more on playing go in Second Life.
- Daria Koshkina

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Korean Comic’s Go View of Corporate Life

Sunday February 17, 2013

A new Korean comic book provides a view of Korean corporate life through the eyes of a former go player. In Misaeng, artist/author Yoon Taeho “ describes the claustrophobic interpersonal relations between employees of Korean corporations, focusing on the banality of everyday life and the little struggles and tiny victories of survival in a corporate culture,” writes Emanuel Pastreich on his blog, Korea: Circles and Squares.

“The protagonist of Misaeng is Jang Gurae, a young man who starts out as an apprentice to the national baduk Association. After his father’s sudden death, Jang Gurae finds his family in serious financial straits. When he fails to qualify as a baduk player, he enters the corporate world. Quiet and introspective, baduk is the underlying formula for his survival.” Pastreich calls Misaeng  “a remarkable work of art that deserves to be widely read and analyzed.” Unfortunately, it’s currently only available in Korean.
Thanks to Go Game Guru’s David Ormerod for passing this along.

 

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Categories: Go Art,Go Spotting
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GoGameGuru: Expanding the Nexus of Useful Go Information

Sunday February 10, 2013

GoGameGuru, the online go “hub” founded in 2010 by Australians David Ormerod, An Younggil 8P and Jingning Xue, started with a bang – literally. Ormerod and Xue were among the 469 passengers flying from Singapore to Sydney when one of the engines exploded four minutes into the flight. The captain was credited with averting what could have been one of the worst air disasters in history. In the wake of this narrow escape, Ormerod reassessed his life priorities, and dedicated himself to bringing go to the West, with the help of his two friends. “More than anything else, Western go needs a steady stream of new players,” Ormerod told the EJ. The result, GoGameGuru (GGG), is a rapidly-expanding nexus of useful information from the ground up, as well as premium services and products for everyone, especially new and intermediate players. A growing collection of essays such as “Thinking Big in Go” and “5 Tips for Dealing with Unexpected Moves” is available, along with problems, game analysis, extensive news coverage of important tournaments and events, and a weekly newsletter claiming more than 5,000 subscribers. GGG has a related Scoop.it account, where visitors and and specifically tailored search algorithms find and suggest related content, and account owners can easily distribute stuff and grow their communities of interest..

Part of GoGameGuru’s idea is to also operate a successful business. “If GGG can be financially viable, we’ll have more time and resources to introduce go to
more people,” says Ormerod. “If we achieve our goal, the market for go products and services will grow, making a better business environment for everyone.” Last summer, GGG established a partnership with Korea’s BadukTV, making 24/7 go TV available in the US. A subscription also includes access to translated lectures. More recently, GGG has opened an online store, featuring affordable and premium goods. All equipment ships for free, and to support American Go, and GGG will donate 10% of the proceeds from any sale to the AGA (when you use this link). When GGG says “premium,”  they’re not kidding – the finest board available will set you back a cool $100,000. Personally, I’m not sure I need to own that one (some more reasonable options also look very nice), but I’d love to play a game on it some time. Use this link to do your shopping and support the AGA at the same time!
- Roy Laird

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