American Go E-Journal

New Jersey Open canceled

Saturday February 4, 2017

This year’s New Jersey Open has been canceled, and will be discontinued indefinitely. One of the longest-running go 2017.02.04_2016NJO-IMG_6304tournaments in the U.S., the NJO — usually held in mid-February — had seen increased turnout in recent years, but ran into organizational problems this year. Princeton University, the longtime site of the tournament, “will not approve the event now unless it is entirely run by students,” says Tournament Director Rick Mott, “and we don’t have enough active students available to pull that off this year.” Another issue was Princeton’s ban on cash prizes. “We’re looking for other regional tournament activities to fill the gap,” says Co-Director Paul Matthews. Meanwhile, East Coast go players can mark their calendars for the nearby Philadelphia Spring Open tournament on March 12.


At the 2016 NJO; photo by Chris Garlock

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The Power Report (1 of 3): Fujisawa wins 29th Women’s Meijin League; Kono makes good start in Kisei challenge, Iyama evens the score

Saturday February 4, 2017

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal2017.02.04_Fujisawa (R) beats Aoki

Fujisawa wins 29th Women’s Meijin League: The last league game of 2016 was played on December 22. Suzuki Ayumi 7P (W) beat Sakakibara Fumiko 6P by resig. The final round of the league was held on January 12. Only two players were still in the running for league victory: Fujisawa Rina (below), on 5-0, and Okuda Aya 3P, on 4-1. Okuda needed to win herself and to have Fujisawa lose; there are no play-offs in this league, so, as the higher-ranked player, she would then come first. As it turned out, the gap widened. Fujisawa (W) beat 2017.02.04_Fujisawa RinaAoki Kikuyo 8P by 3.5 points (right), so she finished with a perfect 6-0 and won the league. Okuda lost to Suzuki Ayumi 7P (W) by resig., so she ended up on 4-2, which was good enough for 2nd place. In the third game played, Ishii Akane (W) beat Sakakibara Fumiko by resig. This will be Fujisawa’s first challenge for this title. Xie Yimin is a formidable opponent in the Women’s Kisei and has won it nine times in a row. She is aiming to become the first woman player to hold a title for ten years in a row. The first game will be played on March 1.

Kono makes good start in Kisei challenge, Iyama evens the score: Iyama Yuta was immediately under pressure as the 41st Kisei title match got off to a start. For the third time in his last four title matches, he lost the opening game.
The first game was played at the Sagi-no-yu-so, a traditional Japanese inn in Yasugi City, Shimane Prefecture on January 14 and 15. Holding a title game on Saturday and Sunday is a little unusual, especially playing on a Sunday. The reason was probably that2017.02.04_41kisei2 Iyama wins Iyama (right) is even busier than last year, as now he has Meijin League games to fit into his schedule. Iyama drew black in the nigiri, and the game started at 9 am. At first play was peaceful but slow, as each side tried to frustrate the opponent’s plans. With his 32nd move, a shoulder hit on the 5th line, Kono set out to erase Black’s moyo, provoking an attack by Iyama with move 37. Move 39 was the sealed move, played at 4:56 pm.
On the second day, Kono counterattacked and succeeded in linking up his group under attack. Iyama apparently gained a little from this exchange. Iyama had the lead in territory, but Kono bided his time, building thickness, then staked the game on a double attack on two black groups with move 94. Black managed to survive this attack, but during the course of subsequent fighting, Iyama suffered a hallucination that let White cut off and capture seven black stones in the centre. That decided the issue.
Kono: “I was not confident in my prospects when I attacked, but when I captured the seven stones I could see my way to a win. There were also bad points in my play, but I was able to fight all out.”
Iyama: “I didn’t know the correct way to save my center stones. I fought my hardest, so this result can’t be helped.”
The second game was played at the Sasa-no-ya, another traditional Japanese inn, in Kikuchi City, Kumamoto Prefecture on January 22 (another Sunday) and 23. Once again, Kono found himself attempting to reduce a moyo early in the game
(move 19). Later, with 69, Kono switched to White’s top left corner, but Iyama ignored him in favor of splitting Black’s bottom right position into two. This enabled him to capture three stones and take the lead in territory. There was a lot more action after that, with Kono making a fierce attack and playing do-or-die moves, but Iyama took care of his weak groups with precise play and maintained his lead. The game ended after 301 moves, and White scored a win by 5.5 points.
Iyama: “When the centre clash concluded, I realized that I looked like winning by a little. I made a mistake in the first game, so right to the end I focused on not making another.”
Kono: “I was behind in territory, so I thought I had no choice but to fight [at the top]. Perhaps there was a better way to attack in the centre.”
The third game will be played on February 8 and 9.

Tomorrow: Xie starts well in Women’s Kisei, Nyu catches up; Cho U wins 900th game

 

Categories: Japan,John Power Report
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AGA live commentary on LG Cup finals starts Sunday night

Saturday February 4, 2017

The AGA broadcast team is back at it, starting this weekend with the LG Cup Finals. On Sunday, the AGA’s own Gansheng Shi 1P will provide live commentary on our YouTube channel of the first game of the finals between Zhou Ruiyang 9p vs Dang Yifei 6p, starting at 7PM PST (10P EST).

Then, Tuesday the 7th and Wednesday the 8th, join Stephanie Yin 1P as she comments the next two games in the series.
YouTube commentary on all three broadcasts will begin at 7PM PST (10P EST), about halfway through these long games (main time is 3 hours per player).

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Go Spotting: “The Vegetarian”

Thursday February 2, 2017

“There is a nice allusion to go in Han Kang’s novel, The Vegetarian, winner of the 2016 Man Booker International Prize,” 2017.01.30_The_vegetarian_-_han_kangwrites Tony Koslow. On page 164 (2016 US paperback edition translated from the Korean by Deborah Smith):

There’s been a time when she could spend hours like this, weighing up all the variables that might have contributed to determining Yeong-hye’s fate. Of course it was entirely in vain, this act of mentally picking up and counting the paduk stones that have been laid out on the board of her sister’s life.

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In Memoriam: Evanston Go Club’s Ian Feldman

Wednesday February 1, 2017

Evanston Go Club member Ian Feldman passed away on Sunday, January 22 of an apparent heart attack. He was 74 years 2017.02.01_ian-feldmanold. Ian was, in long-time friend John Harriman’s words, “The most regular of regulars” at John’s go club and at the No Exit cafe go club when it was in existence. He attended the two current clubs for about 20 years, and was well-known for his intelligence, humor, and insight. Many beginners have benefited from his willingness to teach. Ian also attended numerous U.S. Go Congresses, where he placed as a 1 kyu one year.

“I’ll never forget a conversation we had at the 2002 Chicago Congress”, said EGC president Mark Rubenstein. “I was listening to music on headphones while playing one of my U.S. Open games. I missed an obvious move and lost a group, resulting in my resignation. After the game, Ian asked me why I was wearing headphones, and I told him it helped me relax. “You shouldn’t be relaxed while playing Go!”, he chided me. “You need to be on edge, so you can feel the threat of your opponent’s every move!” He was right, and his comment has stuck with me all these years.”

Ian’s family has donated his collection of go books to the Evanston Go Club. The books will become the Ian Feldman Lending Library, and will be available for club members to borrow any time.

photo courtesy Mark Rubenstein

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NJ Open Survey (updated)

Wednesday February 1, 2017

This year, Rutgers University Go Club is hosting one of the largest tournaments on the East Coast. The New Jersey Open will be held on a Saturday in March (exact date to be decided) in the Campus Center. AGA membership is not required. Must be 18+ to participate. Preregistration will begin in February, but if you’re interested in coming, please fill out the interest form linked here - your responses will let us know how much space we need to book.
(2/1/2017): We’ve just received word that the club has made the decision that holding the tournament this year is beyond their reach, and are cancelling their plans. Stay tuned for updates. 

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Northwestern University Exploring Go and Math

Tuesday January 31, 2017

Screen Shot 2017-01-31 at 4.56.26 PMNorthwestern University in Illinois offered a new course on go last semester. The course was designed to help students build number sense, understand math concepts, and practice mathematical thinking, and was offered through the Center for Talent Development. The course evolved from a joint research project set up in November, 2015, by Xinming Guo, founder of Go and Math Academy, and David Uttal, a professor of Psychology and Education at Northwestern University. Guo has been advocating go for years, integrating the game as a math manipulative in the classroom. Each year thousands of students in Chicago and its suburbs have opportunities to make their first contact with go. After a demonstration of go and its connections to math education, Professor Uttal suggested Guo develop a course on go and math for the CTD program at Northwestern University. The new course was offered to students for the first time this past fall.

Professor Uttal leads a research laboratory of undergraduate, graduate students, and post-docs investigating spatial cognition and STEM (Science Technology, Engineering and Math) education. With the help of Professor Uttal and his lab, the research now focuses not only on go and elementary math education, but also on go and spatial thinking. The project team is comprised of Professor Uttal, his doctoral student Yanning Yu, and Guo. “Once we have more research results, we are hopeful that a link can be established between go and fundamental cognitive skills of human beings,” says Guo.

“The course and research have generated rich data so far. Doctoral student Yu and another research assistant, who recorded the entire 8-week course, have made many surprising discoveries after just a preliminary analysis,” says Guo. Deeper analysis is continuing and will provide more supporting materials for the 2nd phase of the research. “Go is a gold mine for future researches, no, a diamond mine,” said Professor Uttal.

Guo shared his vision of bringing go to every school in his keynote speech at the US Go Congress in 2015. He continues to develop elementary go and math curricula to help students build solid math foundations, and also runs professional development seminars for teachers. “I hope that our research on the relationship between go and math can also make contributions to the history of go in the whole world,” said Guo. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.  Photo by Xinming Guo: Professor Uttal (l) and Xinming Guo (r) with the Northwestern CTD Catalog, fall 2016, which lists their go course under the math category.

Upcoming events in Canada

Monday January 30, 2017

Montreal Winter Cup – Saturday February 18th.

Brock Tournament (St. Catherine’s Ontario) February 25/26th weekend. One day event, details to be settled soon and posted to the CGA site 2017.01.29_crofton-hall

University of Toronto Winter Tournament – Sunday March 12

Toronto Spring Cup – Saturday April 1st and Sunday April 2nd

Ottawa Cup – Typically April 30th weekend, but no plans confirmed yet

Quebec Open – very reliably held Victoria day weekend (May 20-21)but not yet officially announced

Canadian Open – Vancouver, July 1st-3rd, at the Crofton House. The main tournament will be Saturday/Sunday, with Pair Go, playoffs, and possibly other side events Monday.

Click here for the Canadian go event schedule

photo: main playing hall for the 2017 Canadian Open

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Go Spotting: Reddit app

Monday January 30, 2017

“Reddit on their app download has a picture of the AlphaGo news,” reports Barry Physics. 2017.01.29_reddit

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Website tech issues resolved, Kiseido offers discounts on all go books

Sunday January 29, 2017

Kiseido’s recent website tech issues have been resolved, reports Richard Bozulich. Click here  to go to Kiseido’s new secure 2017.01.28_kiseidoURL. “In the meantime, until February 6, Kiseido is having a sale of all its books with with discounts of up to 15% and free shipping,” says Bozulich.