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NAGF announces Professional Rank Promotion System

Thursday May 6, 2021

The North American Go Federation (NAGF) has published its new professional rank promotion system, opening the way for NAGF pros to earn higher ranks based on their performance in professional tournaments. The new system will be applied to all the NAGF-certified professional players retroactively. As a result, Ryan Li and Eric Lui have been promoted to 3P and 2P respectively. For details about the system, please refer to the official NAGF Professional Rank Promotion System document or visit the NAGF website.

-report and photos provided by Hajin Lee 4P

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The Power Report: Woman power hits Japanese go

Sunday May 2, 2021

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Sumire vs Goto Shungo
Nakamura Sumire
Sumire vs Nobuta
Women’s Meijin: Rina defends

The highlight of this month’s report is the extraordinary recent success of Nakamura Sumire, who leads three statistic-related lists for all Nihon Ki-in pros: most wins, best winning percentage, and best winning streak. However, it is not only the youngest pro who is making waves; her seniors are also doing very well. While contemporary women players benefit from the recent increase in women-only tournaments, this is certainly beginning to look like a golden age for women’s go in Japan. This report focuses on Nakamura Sumire and Fujisawa Rina.

Sumire leads lists of top performers
With the tournament year almost a third completed, Sumire and her female colleagues are dominating the statistical categories. Lists are given below (dated to April 30).

Most wins
1. Nakamura Sumire 2P: 21 wins 2 losses; Ueno Asami, Women’s Kisei: 21-7
3. Nyu Eiko 3P: 18-8
4. Kyo Kagen Judan: 16-7
5. Fukuoka Kotaro 2P: 15-3; Motoki Katsuya 8P: 15-5
7. Seki Kotaro 3P: 14-2; Shibano Toramaru Oza: 14-6; Suzuki Ayumi 7P, Kato Chi
e 2P: 14-8
11. Ida Atsushi 8P, Fujisawa Rina Women’s Honinbo: 13-3; Kondo Toshiki 1P: 13
-4; Xie Yimin 6P: 13-7; Mukai Chiaki 6P: 13-12

The top three are all women, as are eight of the top 15, so they have a majority. Offhand, I can’t recall this happening before.

Best winning streaks
10: Nakamura Sumire (since March 18)
7: Fujisawa Rina (since March 29), Otani Naoki 3P (since March 8), Seki Kotaro
 (since March 22)
6: Ito Masashi 5P (since March 8)
5: Ichiriki Ryo Tengen (since March 18)

Best winning percentage: On 91.3%, Sumire has no rivals in sight.

Sumire’s progress
Below are the results of games Sumire has played since my last report (posted on April 6).
(April 1) Sumire (W) beat Yoshihara Yukari 6P by 7.5 points (main tournament, round 1, 40th Women’s Honinbo). This was her first game on entering junior high.
(April 5) Sumire (W) beat Okada Yumie 6P by resig. (Prelimin. C, 47th Meijin tournament).
(April 12) Sumire (W) beat Mizuno Hiromi 5P by resig. (prelim. final, 6th Senko Cup).
(April 14) Sumire (W) beat Hara Masakazu 3P by 6.5 (semifinal, First Tournament, 46th Kisei).
(April 15) Sumire beat Sakaguchi Ryuzo 9P (Prelim. C2, 60th Judan).
(April 17). Sumire beat Yang Zixuan 4P by resig. and Yu Lijun (W) by resig. Yang and Yu are two of the top women players in Taiwan. These games were played as part of an unofficial match (more details in my next report).
(April 22) Sumire (B) beat Nobuta Shigehito 6P by resig. (Prelim. C, 47th Meijin).
(April 28) Sumire (B) beat Konishi Kazuko 8P by resig. (main tournament, round  one, 8th Women’s Hollyhock Cup; played at the Kansai Ki-in). At 12 years, one month of age, Sumire set a new record for the youngest player to reach the best four in a women’s tournament. (The previous record was 15 years eight months, set by Fujisawa Rina in the Women’s Meijin.)
(April 29) Sumire (B) beat Goto Shungo 9P by 12.5 points (Prelim. C, Judan). This gave Sumire a winning streak of ten games in official games, but if you include unofficial games it was 15 in a row. Her record for the year is 21-2.

Fujisawa Rina’s good run
Fujisawa Rina has also been doing very well and has maintained her place as the top woman player. Three recent successes are described below.
1. Promoted to 5-dan: On April 8. Fujisawa Rina scored her 70th win as a 4-dan and so qualified for promotion to 5-dan (effective as of the following day). This takes her halfway up the promotion ladder.
2. Defends Women’s Meijin title: The 32nd Hakata Kamachi Cup Women’s Meijin title match ended in another triumph for Fujisawa. The best-of-three was scheduled to be played at the Tokyo headquarters of the Nihon Ki-in on April 16, 18, and 20, but, as it turned out, the third day wasn’t necessary. In the first game, Fujisawa, the defending title holder, drew black and beat Ueno Asami, Women’s Kisei, by 1.5 points. In the second game, Fujisawa (W) won by resignation after 216 moves. According to Go Weekly, the games were tougher for Fujisawa for longer periods than for her opponent, but she played with greater precision in the crucial fights and overturned Ueno’s lead in each game. Fujisawa has now held this title for four terms in a row, but there was a gap of a year before it secured a new sponsor. She also holds the Women’s Honinbo and Hollyhock titles. In all, she has won 17 titles.
3. Enters Kisei C League: On April 29, Fujisawa (W) beat Matsumoto Takehisa 8P by 1.5 points in the final round of the 46th Kisei First Tournament and so won a seat in the C League for the first time. Xie Yimin has already qualified for the league, and Ueno Asami and Nakamura Sumire have also reached the final round. This is a notable achievement, though this league is not on a par with the Honinbo or Meijin leagues. The Kisei tournament actually has five leagues, with the S League (six players) on top, followed by the A League (eight) and two B Leagues (eight players each). Next is the five-round C League, which has 32 players; the top finishers are promoted up and players drop out immediately on suffering their third loss. 

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Nominations being accepted for 2021 AGA Board Election

Monday April 26, 2021

Three American Go Association (AGA)  Board of Director seats are in play for the Eastern, Western, and Central regions. The current terms of office expire this September. If you know of someone who you believe would offer guidance and service to the AGA consider making a nomination. Nominations, including self-nominations, may be made by full members for the regional seat in which the member resides and must be received by June 15, 2021. Nominations and questions must be emailed to elections@usgo.org. Click here for complete election information and qualifications.

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50 years aGO – April 1971

Friday April 23, 2021

By Keith L Arnold, hka, with Patrick Bannister

Kajiwara Takeo
Kajiwara Takeo

The month began with Kajiwara Takeo 9d, the sharp tongued author of Direction of Play, defeating Sakata Eio on April 1 in the Asahi Best Ten. His subsequent win over Ōtake Hideo placed him in the best of five final against Ishida Yoshio. (Game record: Otake-Kajiwara.)

Ishida, of course, is the busy man of the month, winning his final game of the Hon’inbo League over Fujisawa Shūkō, unable to help his nephew, Fujisawa Hōsai, who was losing his match to Sakata at the same time. And so, Ishida won the league with a 6-1 record. (Game record: Shūkō-Ishida.) The first game of his challenge against Rin Kaihō was played on April 26-27, and did not go well, he was convincingly defeated. (Game record: Ishida-Rin.)

Arakawa wins the All Japan Amatuer Ladies Championship
Arakawa wins the All Japan Amateur Ladies Championship

April 6 saw Arakawa Kazuko upset Miyashita Suzue in the All Japan Amateur Ladies Championship. The photo captures the precise, dramatic moment when Arakawa, left, captures a large group to clinch the victory.

The British Go Championship required a final post Leeds Go Congress game between Jon Diamond and Tony Godard before Mr. Diamond prevailed on April 17 in London.

Finally, the First Gaijin Hon’inbo was held at Iwamoto’s Go Salon in Tokyo. Hugh Hudson, of San Diego, California, defeated M. Hall and Ishi Press’s Richard Bozulich to win the handicap event, securing promotion to 2k for his efforts.

Photos courtesy of Go Review

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Rujun Ding 6d wins tenth annual San Diego Go Championship

Thursday April 22, 2021

Rujun (Larry) Ding 6d of Palo Alto, California beat Qipeng Luo 7d of Champaign, Illinois in the final round of the Open section to win the Tenth Annual San Diego Go Championship with a record of 5-0. Ding won a ko fight at the end of the game to pull ahead for a 7-stone victory. Kyle Fenimore (NY) and Mani K Sanford (MI) placed second and third with 4-1 records in the 18-player Open section.

The 2021 SD Go Championship had its largest turnout ever with 73 players, representing 17 states, competing. Among the 32 players from California, 21 were from the San Diego Go Club. This was the second year that the tournament was held online due to the pandemic, with one game per week over five weeks. AGA membership was required of all players and there is hope that since the AGA Board has approved online ratings, that the tournament will be rated by the new AGA online rating system.

In the Handicap division there were eight sections. The winners were:

1) 3d-1.5d    Patrick a Ferl (CA)
2) 1k-1.5k     Wanqi Zhu (IL)
3) 1.6k-2.3k  Michael Mei (CA)
4) 2.8k-3.7k  Jerry Young (TX)
5) 4.2k-5.5k  Duncan Harris (MI)
6) 5.7k-6.5k  Juliet Zhang (NJ)
7) 7.3k-10k   Terri Schurter (NJ)
8) 11.5k-25k Lewis Lin  (NY)

All winners were awarded a redesigned 2017 Go Congress San Diego Go Club T-Shirt. This was the fourth online tournament organized by the San Diego Go Club during the pandemic. The club will continue to provide opportunities for online go competition as long as it is unsafe to play face-to-face. Hopefully, by Thanksgiving weekend SDGC will be able to hold the 4th Annual California State Go Championship in person.

-report and photo provided by Ted Terpstra      

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