American Go E-Journal

Redmond’s Reviews, Episode 13: Redmond 9p v. Cho U 9p

Saturday January 19, 2019

Michael Redmond 9p, hosted by the AGA E-Journal’s Chris Garlock, takes a break from analyzing the AlphaGo self-played games2019.01.18_Redmond-ChoU2018-screengrab to review his own recent game against Cho U 9P. This game was played just a few days after Cho U became the Meijin and Redmond — who went into this game with a 2-2 record against Cho — says he can see 2019.01.18_Redmond-ChoU2018-screengrab2“how much studying with computer programs has changed Cho’s game.” Cho is “a very precise player,” Redmond says, which makes him very tough in the middle and endgame, but “even top professional players have a hard time assigning exact values to positions in the opening” and “the big change I saw in this game is that Cho seems much more confident in his opening, and knew exactly what the computer values were for the various positions in the opening.” Redmond also shares his own experiences with studying with a go AI.

These videos are made possible by the support of the American Go Association; please consider joining today!

Video produced by Michael Wanek & Andrew Jackson.

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Cho Hunhyun 9P’s memoir published in English

Friday January 18, 2019

“I don’t know anything else but Go…However, it doesn’t mean I don’t know about life.” Thus begins “Go with the Flow: How the 2019.01.17 Go With The FlowGreat Master of Go Trained His Mind,” the memoirs of Cho Hunhyun, one of the greatest go masters in history, now published in English and available on Amazon. A Korean professional since the age of nine, Cho has won 1,935 matches and amassed 150 professional titles, more than any player in the world. He’s held all of the open tournaments in Korea three times, in 1980, 1982 and 1986, and has won 11 international titles, third most in the world behind Lee Chang-ho (21) and Lee Sedol (15).

A bestseller in Japan and China as well as Korea, “Go with the Flow” breaks new ground for go books. “We in the West now have many books and teachers that can instruct us how to play the game,” writes AGA president Andy Okun, “but few that tell us what it is like to be a top Go player.” Cho “does this with great openness,” Okun continues, “telling us his emotions, his feelings and perceptions, as he goes through the very taxing life necessary to have a chance to be a champion…What emerges is the portrait of a remarkable man, who had a rich, full life and wide-ranging interests, but all concentrated in a sense by the lens of Go. It was a joy to read.”

Cho’s memoir also includes “many episodes about players who earned Cho’s respect,” writes Michael Redmond 9P, “giving us a fascinating collection of stories about the best Go players of the 20th century…This book can be enjoyed by anyone who has an interest in Go or Asian culture.”

“The strength to think,” writes Cho, “is the only beacon that helps one get through life. Along the journey, we learn more about ourselves.”

Joseph Chaves wins MGA Winter Handicap

Wednesday January 16, 2019

Eight kyu Joseph Chaves went 4-0 to win the Massachusetts Go Association’s annual Winter Hand2019.01.06_Joseph_Chaves_and_Benjamin_Gunby_both_3_and_0_facing_off_in_game_4icap Tournament on January 6. A total of 18 players ranging from 6 dan to 13 kyu competed in the tournament at the Boylston Chess Club in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Chaves earned $50 for his first-place finish; tied for second place the following 3-1 players won $10 apiece: YiLin Xu 6d, Benjamin Gunby 3k, Eric Reid 4k, Josh Greene 12k and Albert Brox 13k.
- report/photo by Eva Casey, Tournament Director and Tournament Coordinator of the Massachusetts Go Association. Click here  to see more photos. 
photo: Joseph Chaves and Benjamin Gundy, both 3-0, face off in Round 4

Free new ebook offers window into studying go in China

Monday January 14, 2019

bookcoverHave you ever wondered what it would be like to study in a Chinese go school? Sinan Djepov of Bulgaria, rated 5d by the European Go Federation, recently spent three months studying go at Ge Yuhong Go Academy in Beijing as part of the CEGO Academic Programme. This program, a collaboration between the EGF and Chinese company CEGO teams up pros from China with teachers from Europe to train young players who will become the next generation of top players.

Djepov recently published a new ebook entitled, Go Studies: A History of Adventure, in which he presents new opening ideas, joseki changes, creative moves, and also his experience of what it is like to study go in a Chinese go school in the 21st century. He has made the ebook available for free. You can download your copy in PDF format from his Explore Baduk website.

2019 Osaka go camp dates announced

Monday January 14, 2019

The 7th Osaka Go Camp has been announced for June 23 – July 112019.01.14_osaka-camp. Ryo Maeda 6p, long a favorite at the annual U.S. Go Congress, is once again the host and chief organizer.

The camp includes league games in the mornings and teaching programs — in English — with professionals in the afternoons. On days off, there are organized day trips to places like downtown Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, as well as a two-day trip to Ise and Iga. There will also be a friendship tournament with the Ise Go club, and sightseeing includes Ise grand shrine and Ninja museum. A few events will be held at the Kansai-Kiin, where most of the camp’s professionals — including Maeda — are from.

 

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Upcoming Go Events: Palo Alto

Monday January 14, 2019

January 19: Palo Alto, CA
South Bay Go Tournament
Adam Bender abender@gmail.com

Get the latest go events information.

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AlphaGo vs. AlphaGo; Game 26: Using dead stones

Saturday January 12, 2019

Michael Redmond 9p, hosted by the AGA E-Journal’s Chris Garlock, continue their popular series with a review of the 26th 2019.01.12_AG-26-thumbnailgame of the AlphaGo vs. AlphaGo selfplay games. The 50-game series was published by Deepmind after AlphaGo’s victory over world champion Ke Jie 9p in May 2017.2019.01.12_AG-26-redmond-garlock

Black builds a large moyo and White occasionally drops a stone in, and they’re all dead, until they come back to life. “It’s not really clear what White’s trying to do, but eventually all of the dead stones get used a lot, which is the main story of this game” says Redmond. “Thank you so much for continuing this series!” posted Yi Sheng Siow. “I always get a big smile on my face when I see a new one of these pop up!” added Rory Mitchell. “I’m really looking forward to watching it right after I finish cooking supper!”

These videos are made possible by the support of the American Go Association; please consider joining today!

Video produced by Michael Wanek & Andrew Jackson.

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The Power Report (4 of 4): Honinbo League; 44th Meijin League; Fujisawa sets record

Saturday January 12, 2019

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal2019.01.11_Honinbo League

Honinbo League: Two players share the lead in the 74th Honinbo League: Hane Naoki 9P, at 42 a veteran, and Ichiriki Ryo, aged 21. Both are on 3-0; they are not slated to play each other until the sixth round, in March. Recent results:
(Nov. 29) Yamashita Keigo 9P (W) beat Ko Iso 8P by resig.
(Dec. 6) Hane Naoki 9P (B) beat Shibano Toramaru 7P by resig.; Ichiriki Ryo 8P (W) beat Yo Seiki (Yu Chengqi) 8P by resig.
(Dec. 13) Kono Rin 9P (B) beat Anzai Nobuaki 7P by resig.

44th Meijin League: The new Meijin League got off to a start on December 6 with the newest member, previous Meijin 2019.01.11_Meijin LeagueIyama Yuta, taking on one of the league newcomers. The first round has now been completed. Results to date:
(Dec. 6) Iyama Yuta (W) beat Mutsuura Yuta 7P by resig.
(Dec. 13) Yamashita Keigo 9P (B) beat Son Makoto 7P by resig.; Murakawa Daisuke 8P (B) beat Suzuki Shinji 7P by resig.
(Dec. 20) Kono Rin 8P (B) beat Shibano Toramaru 7P by resig. This was Kono’s 800th win.

Fujisawa sets record: Fujisawa Rina (aged 20) set a new record for most wins by a woman player when she beat Suzuki Shinji 7P in Preliminary B of the 58th Judan tournament on December 24. This was her 42nd win in 2018, one more than the record set by Kobayashi Izumi 6P in 2001. Taking black, Fujisawa won by resignation. On the 27th, she won another game, so her final record was 43 wins to 23 losses. She tied for second place in the most-wins list with Ichiriki Ryo 8P, the highest a woman player has ever placed. (I plan to cover 2018 stats in my next report, which will also feature the first game of the Kisei title match.) Fujisawa’s comment: “I’m happy I was able to top my personal best of 40 wins. This year, my form improved in the latter part of the year and I was able to play above my strength.”

Promotion
To 3-dan: Sotoyanagi Sebun (40 wins, as of Dec. 7)

The Power Report (3 of 4): Iyama defends Tengen, sets new record; Fujisawa to challenge for Women’s Kisei; Chunlan Cup: all-Korean final

Thursday January 10, 2019

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Iyama defends Tengen, sets new record: The fourth game of the 44th Tengen title match was held at the Hotel New 2019.01.10_44tengen5_1Awaji in Sumoto City, Hyogo Prefecture on December 10. Taking white, Yamashita Keigo 9P won by 2.5 points after 262 moves. Iyama attacked positively in the opening and secured an advantage, but Yamashita launched a do-or-die attack and pulled off an upset. The fifth game, the last big game of the year, was held at the Tokushima Grandvrio Hotel in 2019.01.10_tengen4 YamashitaTokushima City on December 19. At his peak, Iyama was often able to wrap a match up quickly, reducing the burden on himself of constant title defenses, but this was his third successive match to go the full distance. Yamashita drew black in the nigiri. Once again, Iyama took the lead in the opening, and this time the challenger’s attempt to stage an upset was unsuccessful. Yamashita resigned after 188 moves. After a hectic autumn/winter tournament season, Iyama ended the year in top form. He has now won the Tengen four years in a row, so he can aim at qualifying for the honorary title next year. This was his 43rd top-seven title, putting him in the sole lead ahead of Cho Chikun. It is his 54th title overall and maintains his quintuple crown. No one will bet against his chances of restoring his septuple crown in 2019. Cho Chikun had a comment: “He’s not even half my age. It’s a great honor for me to be overtaken by a fantastic player like Iyama.”

Fujisawa to challenge for Women’s Kisei: The play-off to decide the challenger for the 22nd Women’s Kisei title was 2019.01.10_WKisei R Fujisawaheld in the Ryusei Studio in the basement of the Nihon Ki-in on December 10, and it featured yet another clash between Fujisawa Rina (right) and Xie Yimin. Taking white, the former won by resignation after 174 moves. This is the only women’s title Fujisawa has never won; in fact, it’s the first time she got past the second round (out of four) in the final knock-out section. The best-of-three title match with Ueno Asami will begin on January 17. Incidentally, this will be the first time Fujisawa (20) will face a younger opponent in a title match (Ueno is 17).

Chunlan Cup: all-Korean final: Korean players are doing their best to push back against the ascendancy of Chinese players in international tournament recently. The semifinals of the 12th Chunlan Cup were held in Zhejiang Province in China on December 17 and 19. Both featured Chinese-Korean pairings and both ended in narrow victories for the Korean side. Park Junghwan 9P (W) beat Ke Jie by half a point and Park Yonghyun 9P (B) beat Dang Yifei 9P by one and a half points. The final is scheduled for June.
Tomorrow: Honinbo League; 44thMeijin League; Fujisawa sets record

The Power Report (2 of 4): Fujisawa takes Women’s Honinbo title; Kobayashi Koichi scores 1,400th win; Rin Kanketsu wins SGW Cup; Gu wins Japan-China Agon Kiriyama Cup play-off

Wednesday January 9, 2019

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal2019.01.09_2018 WHon 4 Fujisawa

Fujisawa takes Women’s Honinbo title: The fourth game in the 37th Women’s Honinbo title match was held at the Tokyo headquarters of the Nihon Ki-in on December 5. Taking white, Fujisawa Rina forced a resignation after 224 moves and took the title from Xie Yimin with a 3-1 score. This is Fujisawa’s third concurrent title: she also holds the Hollyhock Cup and the Women’s Meijin. It is the third time she has won this title, and it is her ninth title. First prize is 5,500,000 yen (about $50,000). Xie is now without a title to her name for the first time in 11 years. Note: Michael Redmond was the referee for the match.

Kobayashi Koichi scores 1,400th win: On December 6, Kobayashi Koichi (B) defeated Yoshihara Yukari 6P by resig. in 2019.01.09 Kobayashi 1400ththe preliminary round (called by the English name of “first tournament”) of the 44th Kisei tournament. This was his 1,400th win, making him the third Nihon Ki-in player to reach this landmark, after Cho Chikun and Rin Kaiho. His record is 1400 wins, 744 losses, 2 jigo; his winning percentage is 65.3, which is the best of the three. The 66-year-old Kobayashi took 51 years eight months to achieve this feat. Kobayashi: “Someone told me [I was close], but when the game started I forgot about it. Even though I have been playing such a long time, I am just as passionate as ever about go. I want to keep playing until I’m no longer physically able to.”

Rin Kanketsu wins SGW Cup: The SGW Cup Golden Mean Tournament is an unusual new tournament: it is open to 2019.01.09_sgw Rinplayers aged from 31 to 60 who have not won one of the top seven open tournaments or the Ryusei or Agon Kiriyama titles. The main section of the tournament, a four-round Swiss System for 16 players (who qualified in a preliminary tournament held on the Net) was held at the Nihon Ki-in on December 8 and 9. After three rounds, there were two players with three wins, Rin Kanketsu 8P and Anzai Nobuaki 7P, so their fourth-round clash became the “final.” Taking black, Rin won by resignation. First prize is 2 million yen (about $18,000). Having won this title, Rin “graduates” and can no longer play in it. However, it is not an official tournament, so results are not included in players’ lifetime tallies. Third place was taken by Cho Riyu 8P, who beat the oldest participant, Yamashiro Hiroshi 9P (aged 60), in the final round. According to “Go Weekly,” “golden mean” refers to solid players of a certain age who don’t have as many opportunities to play as the top players or young players, for whom there are many youth tournaments. Apparently this is the first time the Swiss System has been used for Japanese professionals. The participants may not have been the top players, but a big crowd of fans turned out for a public commentary by Cho Chikun.

Gu wins Japan-China Agon Kiriyama Cup play-off: The Agon-Kiriyama Cup 20th Japan-China Play-off was held at the Shaka-san Dai-Bodaiji Temple, the headquarters of the Agon sect of Buddhism in Kyoto, on December 9. The game was actually played in a teahouse in the 2019.01.09 JC Agon Gugrounds of the temple called the Snail Hermitage (Kagyu-an). It matched the holders of the Japanese and Chinese versions of the Agon Kiriyama Cups, Ichiriki Ryo 8P and Gu Jihao 9P. The 20-year-old Gu is not well known in Japan, but he is a member of the group of players born between 1995 and 2000 that now dominates Chinese go. He jumped from 5-dan to 9-dan in 2017 when he won the 22nd Samsung Cup. Gu drew black in the nigiri. Like most professional games these days, there were many signs of AI influence, but Gu’s 7th move was a diagonal move made popular in the 19th century by Honinbo Shusaku and known as “Shusaku’s kosumi.” At the time, Shusaku commented that no matter how much time passed, this would never become a bad move. It has now held up for over a century and a half. Gu said after the game that recently AI programs had often recommended this move. The game was marked by fierce fighting, with Ichiriki launching an aggressive double attack at the decisive point in the middle game. Gu was able to cope with it, so Ichiriki had to resign after 185 moves. China has now won this play-off 15 times to Japan’s five.
At the press conference after the game, Gu was asked how he used AI. His answer: “All professionals are using AI. In the national team, I am training with Fine Art every day. I also use AI after I go home. I don’t play games with AI. I have resigned myself to the difference in level.”
Tomorrow: Iyama defends Tengen, sets new record; Fujisawa to challenge for Women’s Kisei; Chunlan Cup: all-Korean final