Welcome to the American Go Association

Upcoming Go Events: Tel Aviv, San Diego, Middlebury, Washington DC

Monday October 14, 2019

October 17-19: Tel Aviv, Israel
Israeli Open Go / Baduk Championship
Shavit  info@go-mind.com +972-54-4500453

October 20: San Diego, CA
Yilun Yang Lecture
Ted Terpstra ted.terpstra@gmail.com 619-384-3454

October 26: Middlebury, VT
Second Annual Vermont (and Friends) State Championship
Peter Schumer schumer@middlebury.edu 802-388-3934

October 26: Washington, DC
NGC Pumpkin Classic
Gurujeet Khalsa gurujeet.khalsa@nationalgocenter.org 703-626-0777

Get the latest go events information.

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The Power Report: FineArt wins computer AI go tournament; Hane takes Gosei title; Shibano wins Meijin title

Monday October 14, 2019

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

FineArt wins computer AI go tournament

The 2019 China Securities Cup World AI Open, a tournament to decide the world’s top go-playing computer program, was held in Rizhao City in Shandong Province, China, from August 21 to 25. Fourteen programs from China (8), Japan (1), Korea (2), Chinese Taipei (1), Hong Kong (1), and Belgium (1) took part. Fine Art (China) showed overwhelming strength, beating Golaxy (also China) 4-1 in the final. Third place went to HanDol of Korea and fourth to Leela Zero of Belgium. Japan had high hopes for Globis-AQZ, but after coming third in the first section of the tournament, it was beaten into fifth place in the knock-out stage. This tournament was just one part of a large-scale go festival with various kinds of tournaments for amateurs and professionals. The AI tournament was in its third year. DeepZenGO of Japan won the first tournament and Golaxy of China the second.

Hane takes Gosei title

The fifth game of the 44th Gosei title was played at the headquarters of the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo on August 23. The challenger, Hane Naoki 9P, had made a good start by winning the first two games, but Kyo Kagen had fought back to win the third and fourth games, so for the first time in five years the title match went the full distance. The game started at 9 a.m. and finished at 6:19 p.m. There was a fierce fight involving a ko, but Hane came out on top and forced a resignation after 150 moves. He made a comeback as Gosei after a gap of eight years (he won the 36th title). At the age of 43, Hane is the oldest titleholder, but, unlike perhaps in Korea or China, this doesn’t cause much comment in Japan. For the record, this is his 9th top-seven title and his 25th overall. First prize is worth 8,000,000 yen (about $74,500).

Shibano wins Meijin title

The 44th Meijin title match was another rare title match not involving Iyama Yuta. The title holder was Cho U (aged 39), who made a comeback last year, taking the title from Iyama. The challenger was Shibano Toramaru 8P, aged 19, who is the top teenaged player in Japan. After losing the opening game, Shibano won four games in a row to take the title. He turns 20 on November 9 (two days before the scheduled seventh game if the match had gone the distance), so he became the first teenaged Meijin, in fact, the first teenager to hold a top-seven title. Briefly, the course of the match was as described below.

The first game was held at the Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo in Bunkyo Ward on August 27 and 28. The challenger (white) took a big lead, but the titleholder played a do-or-die move and pulled off an upset.

The second game was played in Cho U’s hometown of Taipei. Cho (white) took the initiative in the opening, but he made a miscalculation on the second day and had to resign after 195 moves. Shibano commented that he was relieved to pick up a win.

The third game was played at the Gifu Grand Hotel in Gifu City, Gifu Prefecture, on September 17 and 18. Shibano won by resignation after 234 moves. So far, white had won all the games.

The fourth game was played at the Takarazuka Hotel in Takarazuka City, Hyogo Prefecture, on September 25 and 26. Taking black, Shibano won by resignation after 233 moves.

The fifth game was played at the Atami Sekitei, a traditional Japanese inn, on October 7 and 8. Taking white, Shibano won by resignation after 252 moves. This made his score 4-1, so he took the title.

Shibano set a couple of significant records with this victory. At 19 years 11 months, he is the first teenaged Meijin, as mentioned above. The win carries with it an automatic promotion to 9-dan (as of Oct. 9). Shibano reached the top rank in five years one month, which is a new speed record (the old record was Iyama’s seven years six months).

Shibano has been setting records since he became a pro. When he was 17 years eight months old, he won the 26th Ryusei title and last year he beat one of the world’s top players, Ke Jie, in the 4th Japan-China Ryusei play-off. In person, he’s quiet and unassuming, but on the go board he is aggressive and always looks for the strongest move. He’s well informed about AI go and plays a lot on the net, especially with Chinese players. He’s said to play up to 30 games a day.

Tomorrow: Ueno to challenge for Women’s Honinbo; Ueno reaches Ryusei final; New members of Honinbo League

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Alexander Qi wins first NYGA Monthly Tournament

Monday October 14, 2019

Alexander Qi 4 dan, with a 3-1 record, won the dan-division championship at the New York Go Association’s first NYGA Monthly Tournament, held on October 12 in Little Neck, NY. Twenty-eight players ranked from 21 kyu to 4 dan competed in a 4-round, handicapped AGA-rated tournament.

Niel Li and Toranosuke Ozawa also finished 3-1 in the dan division, but tied for second place with lower SOS scores. Su Jiayang 1 kyu,won the higher kyu division, while Lucas Yang 15 kyu won the lower kyu division.

Starting next year, the NYGA Monthly Tournaments will become the qualifying competitions for the NYGA Grand Final, a season-ending championship featuring the top eight players of the NYGA Monthly Tournaments This annual event will feature live broadcasting and professional commentary. Further details will be released on the NYGA’s website and social media.

The NYGA Grand Final will have a single-elimination format, played by the top eight players with the highest NMT rankings at the end of the season. Players earn NMT ranking points by competing in the 12 NYGA Monthly Tournaments starting January 2020. The Grand Final is expected to take place in the third week of December 2020.

The grand prize for the champion is $500+, subjected to increase from sponsorships and donations.

Felipo (Zhongfan) Jian, Tournament Director

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2019 Congress broadcasts posted to AGA’s YouTube channel

Friday October 11, 2019

The broadcasts from the 2019 US Go Congress in Madison, WI have now been published on the Official AGA YouTube channel – check out the playlist to access pro commentaries on the Pandanet-AGA City League Finals and all seven rounds of the US Masters, featuring Yoonyoung Kim 8p, Yilun Yang 7p, Mingjiu Jiang 7p, Jennie Shen 2p, Ryan Li 1p and Stephanie Yin 1p, as well as various special interviews. If you want to jump to a particular segment, just head to the comments section and choose the corresponding timestamp. These videos were originally broadcast live on Twitch; if you want to support more future broadcasts, please subscribe and become an AGA member. Thanks again to the E-Journal’s 2019 broadcast team and special thanks to Stephen Hu for producing the videos for our YouTube channel.

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U.S. Go Congress survey

Wednesday October 9, 2019

The single biggest Go event in North America each year, the U.S. Go Congress draws hundreds of Go players from across the country for a week of events, and attracts thousands of viewers to broadcasts of the top boards. Whether you’ve ever attended a Congress or not, organizers would like your opinions on a few basic questions so that they can make next year’s Congress – set for August 1-9 in Estes Park, Colorado — an even better event. Click here now to complete the survey.

2019 U.S. Go Congress; photo by Chris Garlock
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Problem of the Week

Endgame Tesuji

White to play