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The Traveling Board: Pete Schumer on the Nihon Kiin Summer Go Camp

Sunday September 18, 2016

The Nihon Kiin Summer Go Camp, an intensive training program targeted at non-Japanese go players, was held from 2016.09.18_schumer-nhk-redmond-IMG_5148August 21st through September 3rd at the Nihon Kiin in Tokyo. Vermont go player Peter Schumer was among those attending; here’s his report.

The 2016 Nihon Ki-in Summer Go Camp was attended by around 20 go enthusiasts from all over the world, all of whom were warmly welcomed and got to participate fully in all activities. World renowned professionals including Kobayashi Koichi 9d, Ishida Yoshio 9d, O Meien 9d, and Michael Redmond 9d gave regular lectures, went over famous games, and played several simultaneous games with the attendees. Sometimes you really had to pinch yourself that you were actually there hanging out with these stars of the go world. In addition to pro instruction, the daily routine was packed with go activities, including games, problems, tournaments, social events, and sightseeing to Kamakura, Asakusa, and Yokohama.

2016.09.18_schumer-nhk-tourney-IMG_5239Camp attendees had ample opportunity to play many games throughout the two weeks, participating in goodwill matches with college students, insei, and go clubs from around the city. Notably, attendees were given the unique chance to play in the Takara Shuzo Cup, the most popular amateur go tournament in Japan, which featured over 1,400 people this year.

The night before the first game of the Meijin title match, camp participants joined go legends including Cho Chikun 9d, Cho U 9d, Takemiya Masaki 9d (at right, with Schumer), Otake Hideo 9d, Iyama Yuta 9d, and Takao Shinji 9d to enjoy a lavish reception at the 5-star rated Hotel Chinzanso. The following day they were allowed to sit in the same room as the players for a few minutes during the match itself, which was 2016.09.18_schumer-nhk-takemiya-IMG_5350truly a special honor and very exciting.

The camp featured its own league system with participants playing against one another in a double-elimination tournament. The winner, a 4-dan from Europe, was given the honor to play a 3-stone handicap game against none other than O Meien 9d, with Michael Redmond providing live commentary.

All in all the go camp was enjoyable, highly educational, and well worth it; the price of the camp was very reasonable. The camp was a first-rate experience where you can improve your go, meet wonderful people from around the world, and get to enjoy some Japanese sites and culture.
- Edited by Brian Kirby

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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

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Categories: John Power Report
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Mexican Go Congress Breaks Records

Wednesday June 29, 2016

IMG_2831“The 3rd Mexican Go Congress turned out to be a huge success,” reports Mingming Stephanie Yin 1P. “The event was held June 18th-20th at the Tlatelolco Cultural Center in Mexico City, and was full of surprises for everyone. Three Professionals were invited: Hye-Yeon Cho 9p,  William Gansheng Shi 1p, and myself.  We held  game reviews, lectures, and simul games.   A new record high for the Mexican Open Tournament was set as well, with 56 players.   The participation in the Youth tournament was also pretty impressive, with a 36 player field in two categories,” said Yin. Mexican Go Association Youth Coordinator Sid Avila adds  “these kids are starting to compete at higher levels, some have already played in international tournaments and are also playing in the Open.”

“This is the 3rd time Mexico has run its Go Congress and every year the community is growing and people are more interested,” reports Mexican Go Association president Emil Garcia. “I believe the world of go is entering into a new stage of development, and we are really glad Mexico is catching this upheaval with the support of Associations such as KABA, the AGA, and the AGF,  who helped us bring the pros in. Undoubtedly Mexican go will keep growing having such big allies. I see a bright future for North American go as a whole.”IMG_2828

“On the last day, the pros were invited to visit a private Mexican elementary school named CIEA Pipiolo, which is the only elementary school with go as a school subject in Mexico City,” said Yin, “There are around 80 students ranging in age from 5-12 years old. Everyone is talented and extremely passionate about go. We three pros were separated and played pair go with the kids in teams.”

All three pros issued a joint message for the kids: “It’s wonderful to be here with all of you, our futures of go. We hope that you will enjoy playing go, learning go, and some of you may become professionals in the future.” Yin adds “I believe that the world of go will expand much more quickly than we expected. As professional go players, we will do our best to promote, teach, and help. We also hope that more schools will include go as a subject in America. I am seeing a brighter future for the world of go.”

For full standings from the congress click here.  For youth standings, click here.  Story by Stephanie Yin, pictures by Yin, Emil Garcia and Tonatiuh Zama

 

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2016 Nihon Ki-in Go Camp Set for August 23-September 1

Tuesday March 22, 2016

The Nihon Ki-in Go Camp 2016 will be held for 10 days from August 23 through September 1 at the Nihon Ki-in.2016.03.21_nhk-summer camp

“The Summer Go Camp will be held for overseas go players who want to improve their go level and to experience Japan’s rich go culture and to make friends with the participants from around the world!” say organizers. The Go Camp 2016 will provide participants with unique and content, including playing in Japan’s most popular amateur tournament, teaching games and special commentaries by legendary players, plus visit and watch the first game of the Meijin Title Match at the Four Seasons in Tokyo.

Other features: Go Seigen’s secret story and his “best game* will be introduced by a professional who is very familiar with Go Seigen. Participants will enjoy goodwill matches with Japanese University students. Special sightseeing programs in/around Tokyo will be also available.

Register before June 30 and the program fee will be 29,800 JPY (45,000 JPY) after that. For inquiry or registration:
email overseasdept@nihonkiin.or.jp

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Categories: Japan
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Your Move/Readers Write: Weiqi Teacher Needed in Maryland; Go Photo; Turing, Mrs Morcom and Go; Taranu’s Timing; Wrong Rank; Go in WSJ

Monday January 18, 2016

Weiqi Teacher Needed in Maryland: The Hope Chinese School  is looking for a go teacher for a Saturday afternoon class, reports Edward Zhang. “It’s a great school with several hundred students registered.” The class is at Winston Churchill High School, 11300 Gainsborough Road, Potomac, MD 20854. Hourly rate is at least $23; contact Ms. He 703-585-7164.

Go Photo: “Young Buddhas playing the game we love,” writes Richard Simon. Snapped January 08 on Roosevelt Ave. near Main St., 2016.01.17_simon-go-figuresFlushing, NY in a store window by Felice Simon.

Turing, Mrs Morcom and Go: “Not sure if anyone has submitted this one,” writes John Hager, “but in the book ‘Alan Turing: The Enigma‘ (chapter 3) it mentions that Turing taught his friend’s mother, Mrs. Morcom, to play go. “Also mentioned (is that) not much go (was) played at Princeton when Alan Turing was in residence.”
Speaking of Princeton, we have it on good authority that this year’s New Jersey Open — the 57th — will be held March 19-20; details should be posted on our calendar soon.

Taranu’s Timing: “Aren’t you forgetting Romania’s Catalin Taranu?” writes Michael Alford. (Our “Finland’s Tormanen becomes pro shodan, 12/30 Power Report” said that Tormanen “is the first Westerner to become a professional at the Nihon Ki-in since the late Hans Pietsch 6P in 1997.”) “I think Catalin became Nihon Kiin pro in 1998. Catalin is 5p.”
The Igo Nenkan (the Yearbook put out by the Ki-in) just gives 1997 as the year both Pietsch and Taranu became pros. Go World 79 (page 9) has more details. Catalin Taranu won the qualifying tournament at the Nagoya branch of the Nihon Ki-in and became pro 1-dan in April (probably as of April 1, as that is the usual practice, but this is not specified). Go World says: “Catalin was followed by Hans Pietsch at the Tokyo branch of the Nihon Ki-in. . . . Hans was given special permission to become professional shodan and he made his debut in late April.” So Hans is the most recent before Antti, though just by a matter of weeks. Btw, Catalin, like Michael Redmond, became pro the legitimate way, strictly through competition. (They are the only two. None of the Western pros at the Korean Ki-in made it through competition.) Hans Pietsch, Manfred Wimmer, and James Kerwin were all given special permission to become pro. However, the probationary status is regularized when you gain promotion, as Wimmer and Hans did. Hans earned promotion to 4-dan on merit.
– John Power

Wrong Rank: “…this is mostly tongue in cheek,” writes Keith Arnold. “In your nice thank you article (AGA Pro Tourney: Final Results and Team Credits) you got one of the ranks wrong. You list ‘Eric Lui 7d’…missed your first chance to say ’1p’ Had to do it.”

Go in WSJ: “Here’s a nice article freshly enpixellated in the Wall Street Journal on go and computers,” writes Matt Bengtson.

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Categories: U.S./North America
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Yoonyoung Kim 4P visits Seattle

Friday December 25, 2015

yoonyoung at simuls Two baduk teachers visited Seattle in December,  courtesy of the Korean Amateur Baduk Association (KABA).  Yoonyoung Kim 4P, a Korean tournament winner, and Hyunwoo Kim, who is completing the Baduk Studies program at Myongji University, taught a weekend workshop, played simultaneous games, and attended the Pair Go Gala.  The weekend workshop on Dec. 12-13 was attended mostly by single digit kyu players, and was taught in English.  The well prepared teachers led the students through tesuji problem sets, and gave lectures on invasions and reductions.  They also reviewed student games and questions, and presented one of Yoonyoung Kim’s professional games.  Sonny (Sung-Chul) Cho 6d said he “was very much impressed by their sharp analysis of Go games and theory”.

Not much has been written about Yoonyoung Kim in English, but she is a tournament player to watch for.  She became a pro in 2007, and is now 26 years old. Just days before she came to Seattle, she beat Ahn Jo Young 9P in the GX Caltex Qualified.  He is the known as the “Half Point Magician” since he defeated many top players including Lee Sedol and Gu Li by the smallest margin.  In 2014, Yoonyoung Kim made the top 32 in the Samsung Masters World Championship.  She defeated Fan Yunuo, a young Chinese prospect, but lost to Murakawa Daisuke only by two and a half points and did not move to the best of 16 round.   In 2010 she was on the Korean female team for the Asian Games, and won a gold medal as part of that team.  She also won the Women’s Kisung tournament in 2010, and was first runner up in the 2011 Women’s Kook-Soo  Tournament.

Hyunwoo Kim, a former Korean insei,  is finishing coursework at Myongji University, and actually needed a written excuse for missing one of his classes.  His excellent excuse was written by Lee Anne Bowie, who is President of the Seattle Go Center, and a former high school teacher.  Hyunwoo has taught go in many places, including ten months in New Zealand.  Yoonyoung and Hyunwoo were warm and friendly teachers, able to help students at many levels.  Photo: Yoonyoung Kim reviewing simul game.  Photo and Report by Brian Allen.

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Categories: U.S./North America
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Japanese Go Exchange Visits Mexico

Sunday November 29, 2015

7“Mexico gladly welcomed the Sociedad Internacional de Intercambio de Go  (SIIG) from Japan, for the first three days of October,” reports Sid Avila. SIIG is a delegation of players, built mainly by retired business men and women, who travel around the world playing and sharing through go.

This is the fourth time SIIG has visited Mexico, and they went to three locations on this trip: Pipiolo art elementary school where Siddhartha Avila teaches a curricular go program; National University, where Emil Garcia leads a team of instructors who teach at open workshops; and Ejoki Buddhist Temple where Ricardo Quintero teaches go on weekends.

Ms. Marcela Zepeda, the principal of  Pipiolo, introduced the Japanese group to the students on the first day. The children performed traditional dances and Mexican songs, followed by a rengo atari-go game with kindergarden children, and a three round pair-go tournament with 36 pairs of Japanese go players and Mexican school children mixed.

The university venue, on October 2nd, was the Contemporary Arts University Museum square, where a Mexico-Japan tournament was held in a 4 round system. Japan won all four rounds and a crystal tablet was given to  SIIG President Sugime Masanao by Daniel Morales, the Mexican Go Association’s treasurer, as acknowledgment of their visit. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor, with Emil Garcia and Sid Avila. 

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Tuo Jiaxi 9P, Lian Xiao 7P Notch Wins in Chang Qi Cup Semifinal; Round 2 Sunday

Saturday September 26, 2015

In a nice bit of timing, the semi-finals of China’s Chang Qi Cup were held on US soil on Saturday, the day after Chinese President Xi Jinping2015.09.26_ChangQiTopBoardCollage capped his first U.S. visit with a meeting with President Obama and a black-tie state dinner at the White House. Four of the world’s strongest go players competed for the coveted title; Qiu Jun 9P, Lian Xiao 7P, Li Qincheng 1P and Tuo Jiaxi 9P. Lian Xiao 7P, playing black, won his game against Li Qincheng in 161 moves, shortly after the lunch break. One of the rising stars of the go world, Lian is ranked #11 in China (as of March 2015), has already won several domestic titles and continues to climb the rankings. This would be the biggest title of his career so far. Just after 4pm, Tuo Jiaxi 9P, playing white, edged out Qiu Jun 9P by a single point — the game is scored with Ing counting — in a 241-move nail-biter that had the more than 200 KGS viewers on the edge of their collective seats wondering who would triumph. Tuo Jiaxi is one of the top players in China. He won the 2014 LG Cup, has reached several quarter- and semifinals, and was ranked #1 in the country for a while back in 2013. He won this tournament in 2010, and should be one of the favorites this year to win the Chang Qi Cup. Tuo is #6 in the world, while Qiu is #23, according to Remi Coulom’s GoRatings.org. “It was a very close game for a long time,” Tuo told the EJ after the game, “but as a professional I’m used to playing long games so it was no problem.” He and Qiu know each other’s games so well that Tuo said he planned no special preparation, “just rest and relaxation.”

The semifinals are a best-of-three series, so the players will meet again on Sunday, September 27; the games will be broadcast live on KGS (starting at 9:30a EST) with commentary on the AGA’s YouTube channel. Depending on the results, there may be final round(s) on Monday.

The semifinals were held in Cambridge, MA at Harvard’s Student Organization Center at Hilles, sponsored by the American Collegiate Go Association (ACGA), the Shanghai Ing-Changki Weiqi Education Foundation and the American Go Association (AGA), which also hosted the inaugural American Chang Qi Tournament, drawing over 200 go fans to both play and watch on a gorgeous sunny fall day.
The Changqi Cup is one of China’s most generously sponsored tournaments, with a winner’s prize of about $70,000 USD. It’s jointly hosted by the Chinese Go Association and the Shanghai Branch of the Ing Foundation. The tournament first started in 2004 in memory of Ing Chang-ki.
- report/photos/collage by Chris Garlock; translation assistance by Cheng Hao; tech support by Steve Colburn

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US Go Congress Launches in St Paul

Saturday August 1, 2015

Hundreds of go players from around the world — including the first-ever delegation from Cuba — gathered Saturday on the campus of the 2015.08.01_birds-eye-viewUniversity of St. Thomas in St Paul, Minnesota for the 31st annual US Go Congress. Old friends reunited and new ones were made across the go boards that spilled out of the main playing room into the student center’s atrium (photo).

The US Open/Masters tournament begins on Sunday; play is scheduled to begin at 9a (CST); top boards will be broadcast live on KGS (look for usgo accounts) and pro commentary by Jennie Shen will begin at 10a. Other highlights of the Sunday schedule include a live Haylee go match; click here for the complete schedule.

Keep up with all the E-Journal’s Congress reports this week on the AGA website, on Facebook — “American Go Association” — and Twitter — @theaga. New this year: live video broadcasts of games; watch on our YouTube channel (usgoweb).
- report/photo by Chris Garlock

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Korean Youth Tourneys

Tuesday July 7, 2015

The Korean Baduk Association is inviting any interested youth to two different events.  Airfare is not covered, but accommodations, meals, and all local transport is.  The World Youth Baduk Festival will be held in Inje, Gangwon, from August 1-4.  Students from Elementary school up through College are all invited.  The 2nd Kuksu Mountain Cup will be held August 7-12 in Jeolla South Province, the age limit is under 15, but slightly older is also acceptable.  All levels of players are welcome. Contact youth@usgo.org if you are interested in attending any of these events.

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