by John Power, Japan Correspondent
Ida fights back in Judan: Ida Atsushi 8P suffered some setbacks recently but he also won his first open title, as detailed in our last report,
and he seems to be taking his cue from the latter. In the second game of the 53rd Judan title, Ida (W) defeated Takao Shinji Judan (left) by resignation after 220 moves, so he has evened the score in the match at 1-1. Takao fell behind when he missed the best move in a fight: he read a variation out correctly for 17 moves but hallucinated about the result. The game was played on March 26 at the Old Tanaka Family Residence in Kawaguchi City, Saitama Prefecture. This is a three-story Western-style brick house built during the Taisho period (1912-26), with a Japanese-style building, tea house and garden being added later. The whole complex was designated a Nationally Registered Tangible Cultural Asset in 2006. The game was played in the teahouse. The third game will be played on April 9.
Yamashita keeps sole lead in Honinbo League: The last game of the sixth round in the 70th Honinbo League was played on March 26. Yamashita Keigo 9P (B, right) beat Ryu Shikun 9P by resignation. He improved his score to 5-1 and hung on to the sole lead. All the games in the final round will be played on April 2. Two other players, Ida Atsushi 8P and Cho U 9P, are on 4-2 and so still have a chance of winning the league. Cho U plays Yamashita in the final round; if Yamashita wins, he becomes the challenger; if Cho wins, he will be tied with Yamashita and could meet him in a play-off. The word is “could,” because if Ida wins his final game against Yo Seiki 7P, creating a three-way tie, only the top two-ranked players qualify for a play-off, which would mean Ida and Yamashita. If a play-off is necessary, it will be held on April 6.
To 8-dan (as of March 27): Kurotaki Masanori (150 wins)
To 3-dan (as of March 24): Kyo Kagen (40 wins)
Crazy Stone wins computer go tournament: The 8th UEC Cup Computer Go Tournament was held at the Electrical Communications University in Chofu City in Tokyo on March 14 and 15 with 22 programs competing. In the preliminary tournament, the programs that won the 6th and 7th cups, Crazy Stone (developed by Remy Coulom of France) and Zen (developed by Team DepZen of Japan) took first and second place in the seven-round Swiss System preliminary tournament, but Zen suffered an upset loss in the quarterfinals of the knock-out stage. Zen is rated 5- or 6-dan on KGS, but it lost to Nomitan, a Japanese program rated as 2- or 3-dan on KGS. In the final, Crazy Stone beat DolBaram, a Korean program developed by Lim Jae-bum. Two commemorative games were played with Cho Chikun (25th Honinbo Chikun) on March 17. Taking four stones, DolBaram won, but on three stones Zen lost.
American Go E-Journal
The Power Report: Ida fights back in Judan; Yamashita keeps sole lead in Honinbo League; Promotions; Crazy Stone wins computer go tournament
Sunday March 29, 2015
by John Power, Japan Correspondent
Sunday March 29, 2015
Chess Grandmaster Tiger Hillarp has become a dan go player on KGS, according to a recent post on Hillarp’s blog, Chess at the Bag of Cats. “It might seem like a rather small step for mankind, but it felt quite big to me and merited a rather bouncy and ungraceful dance around the livingroom,” wrote Hillarp, who also includes two game commentaries. We were alerted to this news by a post by Michael Bacon on his Armchair Warrior blog, which includes GM Peter Heine Nielsen’s comment about “The tradition of the best Japanese board game players to be interested in a game other than their ‘main’ one.” Bacon has been learning go and writes that “Having playing chess most of my adult life, Go is like entering a portal into a completely new and different universe.”
Saturday March 28, 2015
EYGC: The UK had six players representing it at the European Youth Go Championships held on March 12-15 in Zandvoort am Zee in the Netherlands. The team ended with a score of 14 points out of 36. 5 members played in the Under 16 section, and 1 in the Under 12 section. Photos and results can be found at the official 2015 European Youth Go Championship website.
Pandanet Go European Team Championship: On March 17, Britain dropped their first point of the season with a draw against Portugal. Bulgaria drew with Croatia and South Africa beat Greece to claim third place. The British team remains at the top of the C League.
Saturday March 28, 2015
Students under the age of 25 who register for the Nihon Ki-in Summer Go Camp before May 31 will get 10% off the program fee. The intensive training program for non-Japanese go players who want to raise their level and improve their go skills will receive “excellent lectures and workshops every day by highly-selected and richly-experienced professionals of the Nihon Ki-in.” The camp runs August 21 through September 3 at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo. In includes a special training program on August 27 at ‘Sugi no yado’ where the legendary Fujisawa Shuko hosted his famous ‘Shuko training camp’ each year with promising young professionals.
Saturday March 28, 2015
Through May 31, Kiseido is having a sale of all English-language go books; order 3 or 4 books and get free shipping; order 5 books or more and get 10% off the listed price with free shipping. Kiseido has also obtained two kaya go boards with legs, one with tenchimasa grain and the other with tenmasa grain. Also, Chess and Go: A Comparison, the second in a series of essays by Richard Bozulich, is now available.
Saturday March 28, 2015
Trigantius Tournament: On March 7, the Trigantius Tournament was held in the Cambridge University Social Club. Taking the Trigantius Trophy, and his second title since taking up tournament Go at the start of 2015, was London’s Charles Hibbert (3d) with three straight wins. Other three game winners include Alison Bexfield, Yuji Tanaka, Martin Harvey , Philip Smith, Richard Mullens, Fred Zhu, and Ben Murphy. 52 players participated in all.
Friday March 27, 2015
Thursday March 26, 2015
Karoline Burrall (right) has exchanged her role as AGA Tournament Coordinator for work as a Congress correspondent for the AGA E-Journal. “We owe Karoline a huge debt for the tireless work she put in and the extremely professional and skilled job she did in the tournament coordinator position,” said AGA President Andy Okun. “We couldn’t have gotten by without her tremendous effort.” Longtime Southern California player Cherry Shen (left) has taken on the Tournament Coordinator title and the bulk of the job, including managing foreign representative selection. Like Burrall, Shen comes from a family of go players including father Gary Shen, a frequent Congress volunteer and So Cal regular. “Cherry has long shown willingness to help out in many go events and I’m grateful to her for volunteering again,” said Okun. Among other things, Shen won an AGF college scholarship in 2010, represented the US at the World Mind Games in Lille, volunteered for the American Collegiate Go Association, taught go in an elementary school and served as translator for “The Surrounding Game” team. She lives and works in New York, where her day job is in finance, Okun said.
The Power Report: Ida surrenders lead in Honinbo league to Yamashita; Ida wins NHK Cup; Meijin League; Go lessons in train station; Iyama defends Kisei title; 57-year gap in women’s game; Retirements
Wednesday March 25, 2015
Ida surrenders lead in Honinbo league to Yamashita: Ida Atsushi 8P (right) held the sole lead after the first four rounds in the 70th Honinbo League and seemed to be headed for a rematch with Iyama Yuta Honinbo. However, he has stumbled badly in the latter part of the league, with successive losses. As reported previously, he lost his fifth-round game with Kono Rin 9P in February. In his sixth-round game with Takao Shinji Tengen, played on March 12, Ida (W) lost by resignation. This follows on his loss to Takao in the first game of the Judan title match. Takao already had no chance of retaining his league place, so, as the Japanese idiom has it, Ida was “kicked by a dead horse.” Go Weekly conjectured that Takao perhaps wanted to make sure Ida didn’t get into the habit of winning against him. On 4-1, Yamashita Keigo finds himself in similar position to last year, that is, in the sole lead after five rounds, with the difference that he has already got his game with Ida out of the way. Ida is on 4-2 and his remaining game is against Yo Seiki 7P. Yamashita has two games left and will play Ryu Shikun 9P and Cho U 9P. Cho and Kono are both on 3-2 and also have a chance of winning the league outright or ending in a tie for first.
Ida wins NHK Cup: Although he lost two important games in the Honinbo League and the first Judan game, not everything went wrong for Ida Atsushi recently. In the final of the 62nd NHK Cup, telecast on March 15, Ida beat Ichiriki Ryo 7P and set a new record for the youngest player to win this title. Ida is 20 and he beat the 17-year-old Ichiriki. The game was a fiercely fought one, but Ida, playing black,
forced Ichiriki to resign after 257 moves. This is Ida’s first win in an official tournament.
Meijin League: Two games were played in the 40th Meijin League on March 12. Kono Rin 9P (W, left) beat Hane Naoki 9P by resignation and Murakawa Daisuke Oza (B) beat So Yokoku 9P by resignation. Kono and Murakawa both go to 3-1 and share the provisional lead. Another game was played on March 19. Ko Iso 8P (B) beat Kanazawa Makoto 7P by 8.5 points. Ko joins Kono and Murakawa on 3-1. They are followed by two players on 2-1: Yamashita Keigo and Takao Shinji.
Go lessons in train station: The headline is a little misleading, but that’s how Go Weekly reported it. To celebrate the 120th anniversary of the opening of the Japan Railway station at Ichigaya (the closest station to the Nihon Ki-in), go lectures and teaching games by professionals were staged in an Italian restaurant on the second floor of the building over the station on March 6 and 7. Around 30 people attended the introductory lectures given by Mizuma Toshifumi 7P. About the same number of people played teaching games with five professionals. Not only were these events free of charge, there were also complimentary drinks and snacks.
Iyama defends Kisei title: Iyama Yuta (right) emerged from one of the worst slumps of his career just in time for the 7th game of the 39th Kisei title match. After Iyama started the match with three wins, Yamashita fought back. Last year, the Kisei title match between these two followed the same pattern, but Yamashita ran out of steam in the sixth game, letting Iyama clinch his title defence. This year, Yamashita won three games in a row and his momentum seemed to be unstoppable. There were bad omens for Iyama. At the end of last year, he took a 2-1 lead in both the Oza and Tengen title matches, but went on to lost both by 2-3. Now he had missed three chances to defend his Kisei title. In short, he had missed seven chances to clinch a title win. Also, in the past there have been nine best-of-sevens in which one player won the first three games and the other the next three and in six cases the player making the comeback has won the seventh. It’s unlikely that players pay as much attention to statistics like these as go journalists or fans, but Iyama was certainly looking vulnerable. The game was played at the Ryugon inn in Minami Uonuma City in Niigata Prefecture on March 19 and 20. Being the seventh game, the nigiri to decide the colors was held again, and Iyama drew black. It may sound like a contradiction, but he played calmly but aggressively. Yamashita also fought hard, so the game became a very complicated one, with strategic sacrifices being made by both sides. The turning point seems to have come when Iyama played a move that looked like bad style but that cut off some white stones and made them heavy. They became a burden on Yamashita, and thereafter Iyama held the initiative. Despite attempts to complicate the game by white, he held on to the lead and won by 5.5 points after 216 moves. This is Iyama’s third Kisei title in a row and his 28th title overall. He also retains his quadruple crown. Having turned the corner with this win, he will probably face his Honinbo and Meijin defences with renewed confidence. The Age of Iyama continues!
57-year gap in women’s game: Sugiuchi Kazuko 8P (left) is 88 years old but still an active player (as is her husband Masao, who is six years older). In the final of Preliminary A in the Women’s Honinbo tournament, Sugiuchi (B) beat Nagashima Kozue 2P, who is aged 31, by 2.5 points, so she won a place in the main tournament for the first time in 15 years. Sugiuchi won the predecessor of this tournament, the Women’s Championship, four times in a row (from 1953 to 1956). I don’t know what the record age gap is (it’s probably held by her husband), but it would be nice to see a game between Sugiuchi Kazuko and the 16-year-old Fujisawa Rina.
Retirements: Two players are retiring as of March 31. They are Su Kaiseki 7P and Sato Machiko 2P. Both will be promoted by one rank. Su was born in Shanghai on September 22, 1948 and qualified as a pro at the Nihon Ki-in in 1968. He reached 7-dan in 2000. Sato was born on January 20, 1949. She became a disciple of Kitani Minoru, qualified as a pro in 1972 and was promoted to 2-dan in 1981. She is the wife of Sato Masaharu 9P.
Wednesday March 25, 2015
After-school go club teachers in Seattle have often used handouts with go problems, but this year they have started giving each student their own workbook with their name on it. The results were surprising: the beginners really liked the books, sometimes more than playing. One student told me he was going to sign up for the spring session just so that he could finish his workbook! The go clubs are in local elementary schools, and most of the students are in grades 1-3. The Center is mostly using English translations of the “Level Up” books by Lee Jae-Hwan, with some of the “Speed Baduk” workbooks by Kim Sung-Rae as well.
The workbooks have been an education for the teachers as well. The books use a lot of repetition, and progress much more slowly than the typical introductory class at the Seattle Go Center. “Level Up” doesn’t introduce the concept of “two eyes” until the end of the 2nd volume. Apparently, the students like the repetition, as it makes the problems seem easy. But over time, they get a thorough grounding in the fundamentals. The “Level Up” series has 10 volumes; the “Jump Level Up” series follows that.
Finding the beginning volumes of either series in the U.S. can be hard, but the “Level Up” books can be ordered directly from Korea. They are shipped by international surface mail, so it takes a while for them to arrive. One order took about 2 weeks, another order, about 8 weeks. To order books, contact Baduktopia at email@example.com. More information on Baduktopia can be found on Facebook. Photo/Report by Brian Allen