American Go E-Journal

Cotsen Game Recorders Wanted

Thursday September 15, 2016

The American Go E-Journal has several openings for game recorders for the upcoming Cotsen Open, the annual go 2016.09.15_2015-cotsen-P1000179tournament sponsored by go-lover Eric Cotsen, which will be held in Los Angeles, CA October 22-23 at the Korean Cultural Center Los Angeles. Game recorders will get a chance to broadcast top boards on KGS — an excellent learning opportunity — and each will receive an E-Journal cap. Experience not required but helpful; volunteers with their own laptops (with KGS already installed) preferred. Email Chris Garlock at for details.

photo: at the 2015 Cotsen; photo by Chris Garlock


The Power Report (2): Cho U wins Kisei A League; Yo to challenge for Oza title; Xie makes good start in Women’s Honinbo defence

Thursday September 15, 2016

Cho U wins Kisei A League: So Yokoku 9P was a little unlucky in the Kisei A League. He had won six games in a row and held the lead all the way (enjoying the sole lead in the 5th and 6th rounds), but he lost his final game to Cho U 9P on September 8 (taking black, Cho won by resignation). That left them tied on 6-1, but there is no play-off in the Kisei Leagues. Cho was ranked 4th to So’s 7th, so Cho won the league. He gets a seat in the irregular knock-out tournament to decide the challenger.

Yo to challenge for Oza title: A week after the Tengen challenger was decided, another play-off between a veteran2016.09.15_64oza_fin_end01 player and a new star was held and resulted in a win for the latter. On September 8, the 21-year-old Yo Seiki 7P of the Kansai Ki-in beat Takao Shinji in the play-off to decide the 64th Oza challenger. Taking white, Yo had white and secured a resignation after 190 moves. He commented that he was inspired by Ichiriki’s success. Yo had a frustrating history in play-offs, having lost to Iyama Yuta both in the Oza play-off last year and in the Judan play-off the year. As that shows, Yo played a crucial role in giving Iyama the opportunity to secure his Grand Slam. The first game of the Oza match will be played on October 17.
The Oza and Tengen challenges are perhaps signs that the post-Iyama generation is getting ready to move up. Before Iyama, the go scene was dominated by the “four stars of the Heisei era.” Of the four, Cho U and Hane Naoki haven’t
challenged for a while, but2016.09.15_35FHon Xie (R) Yamashita and Takao had been doing a good job of holding back the younger players (except for Murakawa Daisuke). There could be big changes in the make-up of the tournament scene in the next few years.

Xie makes good start in Women’s Honinbo defence: The first game of the 35th Women’s Honinbo title match was held at the Kashoen, a Japanese-style inn, in Hanamaki City, Iwate Prefecture on September 13. The challenger is Fujisawa Rina 3P. Playing black, Xie (right) forced a resignation after 151 moves. The second game will be played on September 26.

To 3-dan: Fujimura Yosuke (40 wins)

Categories: Japan,John Power Report

Youth Prevails Over Old Guard at Emory Tourney

Wednesday September 14, 2016

The theme of the day at the sixth Annual Emory University Chinese Student/Scholar GO Tournament had to be “Youth hands the Old Guard walking papers.”

Zhongfan Jian defeated Sooil Kim for top honors in the high Dan Division and Brandon Zhou had a strong showing defeating long time favorite Frank Luo for 3rd place. In this division Sooil Kim, Frank Luo and Eric Wang are the usual favorites but only Sooil got to the top three.

Held on Saturday, September 10 at Emory University, “It was a beautiful end-of-summer day” for the tournament, reports organizer Jeff Kerlagon. “Emory hosts a wonderful venue, and the Atlanta GO players are grateful for such a grand facility,” Kerlagon added.

In other results, Walter Langendorf topped the Kyu/Dan Division with an undefeated afternoon of 3-0 and Darrell Speck grabbed second place.


Categories: U.S./North America

The Power Report (1): Takao makes good start to Meijin challenge; Ichiriki to challenge for Tengen; Women’s Meijin League; New Star Li wins TV Asia; Honinbo League places

Wednesday September 14, 2016

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal2016.09.14_41meijin1 Takao wins

Takao makes good start to Meijin challenge: Takao Shinji 9P has already improved on his performance in his Meijin challenge last year. The first game of the 41st title match was held at its usual venue, the Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo, on August 30 and 31. Playing black, Takao showed exemplary shinogi (living with a weak group) skills in weathering a fierce 2016.09.14_41meijin1_01attack by Iyama Yuta Meijin. When the dust settled, he had a lead of about ten points on the board. Iyama missed his best opportunities to complicate the game and resigned after 207 moves. In view of Takao’s past record against Iyama, it’s too soon to say he has an edge, but he has certainly made the series more interesting for fans. The second game will be played on September 14 and 15.
At the party on the eve of the game, the players gave bouquets to Cho Chikun, who was the referee for the game. Having turned 60 on June 20, Cho is now entitled to use his Honorary Meijin title, though there’s a conflict with his title of 25th Honinbo Chikun. Cho said to the audience: “Wouldn’t you like to see a game to decide who’s stronger, the ordinary Meijin or the Honorary Meijin?” The audience cheered, but, needless to say, this game is not happening soon.

Ichiriki to challenge for Tengen: Ichiriki Ryo 7P has become the second teenager to challenge for one of the top seven open titles. The first was the player whom he will be challenging. The play-off to decide the challenger for the 42nd Tengen title was held at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo on September 2. Playing white, Ichiriki beat Yamashita Keigo 9P by 4.5 points.
The title match with Iyama Yuta Tengen will start on October 21. Ichiriki will be 19 years four months old when the match starts. The holder of the Tengen and all the other top-seven titles is Iyama Yuta, who challenged for the 33rd Meijin title when he was 19 years three months old. Ichiriki commented: “One of my major goals was to challenge for a title while I was still a teenager, so I’m relieved to have pulled it off.”
There is a group of up-and-coming teenagers at the moment, but Ichiriki was probably the first of them to attract attention when he won a seat in the Kisei League at the age of 16 years nine months (still a record for any league). At 17, he became the youngest player to win the King of the New Stars title and came second in the NHK Cup, and in the same year he also won an international tournament for young players, the Globis Cup. This year he entered the College of Social Studies at Waseda University. A number of university students have turned professional after doing well in university tournaments, but this is the only case I can think of of someone entering university after already establishing himself as a top player. The go writer Akiyama Kenji claimed a while back in his column in “Go Weekly” that Ichiriki was a mathematical prodigy. According to Akiyama, someone had said to Ichiriki that he was barely a quarter of the age of the player he had played that day. Ichiriki asked when the player was born, thought for a couple of seconds and then said he was exactly 24.65% (or whatever) of the player’s age. Akiyama tested him for his article, but didn’t explore the ramifications of this talent.

Women’s Meijin League: One game in the second round of the 29th Women’s Meijin League was played on September 1. Okuda Aya 3P (B) beat Aoki Kikuyo 8P, the previous challenger, by half a point. This is her second win, so Okuda shares the lead with Fujisawa Rina 3P (Aoki is 1-1 and all the other players are 0-1).

Li wins TV Asia: new star for China: The TV Asia Cup is a tournament for the TV go champions of China, Korea, and Japan. This year the 28th Cup was hosted by Japan and held at the New Otani Hotel in Tokyo from September 2 to 4. Unfortunately, for the host country, its representatives were eliminated on the first day, so the tournament became Korea vs. China. Korea probably was the favorite, as it fielded the world’s number, Park Junghwan, and this century’s number one, Lee Sedol (seeded as last year’s winner). However, it was two teenagers who made it to the final: Shin Jinseo 6P of Korea and Li Qincheng 2P of China. The seventeen-year-old Li beat the 16-year-old Shin and became the youngest player to win this title. He also won the junior tournament, the 3rd Globis Cup, this year, so this is his second international title. His win earned him promotion to 9-dan. That may be a new record for the youngest 9-dan (Ke Jie became 9-dan at the age of 18 last year). Results follow:
(Sept. 2) (Round 1) Li (B) beat Cho U 9P (Japan by resig.; Park Junghwan 9P (Korea) (b) beat Terayama Rei 4P (Japan) by resig.; Shin (B) beat Mi Yuting 9P (China) by resig.
(Sept. 3) (Round 2) Li (B) beat Yi Sedol 9P (Korea) by resig.; Shin (W) beat Park by resig.
(Sept. 4) (final) Li (B) beat Shin by resig.

Honinbo League places: We have already reported that Ko Iso and Yuki Satoshi have won places in the upcoming 72nd Honinbo League. They will be joined by Hane Naoki 9P and Mitani Tetsuya 7P. Hane (W) beat Murakawa Daisuke 8P by resig. on September 5; Mitani (B) beat Shibano Toramaru 2P by resig. on September 8. Mitani will be making
his debut in the league. If the 16-year-old Shibano had won their game, he would have set a new record for winning a league place just two years after becoming a professional.

Tomorrow: Cho U wins Kisei A League; Yo to challenge for Oza title; Xie makes good start in Women’s Honinbo defence

Categories: John Power Report

Go Spotting: Buzzfeed’s “10 Awesome Board Games” and Bananya

Tuesday September 13, 2016

Buzzfeed’s “10 Awesome Board Games”: Go made Buzzfeed’s list of “10 Awesome Board Games You Probably Haven’t Heard Of” back in 2012. It came in at #6, 2016.08.27_buzzfeed-logobehind Eureka, The Settlers of Catan, Dominion, Diplomacy and Say Anything, but it did beat out Agricola, Wits & Wagers, Puerto Rico and Betrayal at House on the Hill. “While ‘Go’ is, in essence, two players just taking turns laying stones on a grid,” says BuzzFeed, the level of depth to the game is actually astounding.
photo: Luis de Bethencourt / CC BY http://2.0 / Flickr: luisbg; thanks to Joshua Guarino for passing this along. 

2016.08.27_Bananya Episode 3


Bananya: In the current season of the anime series “Bananya,” the main character is seen watching TV during Episode 3 with one of the channels being a televised go game, reports Grant Farmer. “Bananya watches the game for about 12 seconds and, as a cat who lives in a banana, does not understand the game,” says Farmer. “The nature documentary style narrator of Bananya asserts it was a good move, but admits to not actually knowing.” 


Categories: Go Spotting

DeepMind Publishes AlphaGo-Lee Sedol Commentaries After “Exhaustive Analysis”

Monday September 12, 2016

DeepMind has just published extensive new commentaries on the historic AlphaGo-Lee Sedol match, played earlier this year2016.09.12_AlphaGo Games – English  DeepMind in Seoul. Fan Hui 2P, who first faced AlphaGo in October 2015, has teamed up with Gu Li 9p and Zhou Ruiyang 9p to conduct “exhaustive analysis” not only of the five games between AlphaGo and Lee Sedol, but of three games AlphaGo played against itself shortly before the match. The commentaries provide both analysis of the moves as well as insight into AlphaGo — and its team — behind the scenes, including the AI’s realtime assessments and tidbits such as “it is clear from AlphaGo’s data that it prefers White.” For anyone who watched the games in March, these commentaries provide a fascinating opportunity to see them with a fresh eye.

“We found its ideas both exciting and inspiring, and it became clear to us that AlphaGo represents not only a scientific and technological advancement, but also a milestone in human understanding of Go,” says Fan. “Unconstrained by human biases, and free to experiment with radical new approaches, AlphaGo has demonstrated great open-mindedness and invigorated the game with creative new strategies…AlphaGo has created a unique and extremely powerful approach to the game of Go.

Noting that “no one strategy can guarantee a player’s success,” Fan adds that “learning from these games is sure to have a positive, enlightening impact on one’s Go strength and style.”
- Chris Garlock. With Michael Redmond 9P, Garlock co-hosted DeepMind’s English game commentaries on the AlphaGo-Lee Sedol match. 

Categories: Computer Go/AI

Qingbo Zhang 5D Tops NOVA Back-to-School Tourney

Monday September 12, 2016

Qingbo Zhang 5D topped the NOVA Back-to-School tournament, which was held on Saturday, September 10 at George 2016.09.12_NOVABTS16Mason Law School in Arlington VA. Twenty players participated.
The winners were: First place: Qingbo Zhang, 5D, 4-0; Diego Pierrottot, 4K, 3-1 and John Launchbury, 4K, 3-1 (tied); Patrick Sun, 5K, 3-1; Sarah Crites, 10K, 4-0; and Betsy Small, 12K, 4-0.
Second place: Frederick Bao, 4D, 2-2; Zhao Zhao, 5K, 2-2; Anderson Barreal, 8K, 2-2; and Robert Cole, 12K, 2-2.
photo: the three 4-0 winners (l-r): Qingbo Zhang, Betsy Small, and Sarah Crites.
- report/photo by Allan Abramson
Categories: U.S./North America

The Traveling Board: Bart Jacob finds a Go Kaisho in Tokyo

Monday September 12, 2016

While in Tokyo recently on business, Bart Jacob found his way to “this very nice Go Kaisho near my hotel in Nihonbashi”2016.09.12_bart-jacob-tokyo where he played a couple of games with Soma-san (right). “I believe the street is shin-ohashi, near the suitengumae station and a short walk from the Royal Park Hotel.”

On his last day in Tokyo, Jacob found “very nice boards, stones and bowls” at Nakamura Goban Ten. “One special board sold for around $100,000 (Yes..that is USD). Others were in the 10,000 range. I was going to buy a set of slate and she’ll stones for $300…but they only took cash.” Store details: TEL03-3351-5360, 東京都港区新橋4丁目31-7, TOKYOTO NINATOKU SHINBASHI 4-31-7

Categories: Traveling Go Board

N.A. Student Pair Wanted to Play in World Students Pair Go Championship

Wednesday September 7, 2016

The AGA is seeking a student pair to represent the USA and Canada in the 3rd World Students Pair Go Championship. This event, which features exclusively college/university/graduate students, will be hosted in Japan at the same time as the International Amateur Pair Go Championship from December 2nd to December 7th of this year. To be eligible to compete, a pair of players must meet the following requirements: One male, one female player per pair; Must be current college/university/graduate students (no high school students); Under the age of 30; Must not be a student in a professional go organization (i.e. no insei); Must be an American / Canadian citizen. Note – the players will be responsible for paying 50% of the cost of round-trip airfare to and from Tokyo, Japan. The rest of the costs (lodging and meals) will be provided by the Japan Pair Go Association. There will be an online qualifier to determine the North American representatives on September 17th. Interested players should contact and, or immediately.

Go Classified: Go Players Wanted in Manassas, Delaware and Tennessee

Wednesday September 7, 2016

Manassas VA players wanted: Beginning player looking for others to learn from and to play with in the Manassas VA area. Please contact Bill at

Delaware Go Players Wanted: Southern Delaware area; email

Players Wanted — Northeast Tennessee: I am looking for people to play in person in northeast Tenn. My rank is 5 kyu on KGS, and I live in Johnson City. I might be open to teaching someone new but would prefer someone close to my rank. Please contact Tom at, and we can play on a weeknight or on weekends at a cafe or restaurant.