American Go E-Journal » 2021 » August

50 years aGO – August 1971

Monday August 30, 2021

By Keith L. Arnold, hka, with Patrick Bannister

Ōtake Hideo defends the All Japan First Place Title
Ōtake Hideo defends the All Japan First Place Title

From August 10 we see Ōtake Hideo 9d in triumph over Katō Masao 7d in the All Japan First Place Title. Ōtake’s 2-0 victory meant that he now had held the title for 4 straight years. (Game records: Game 1, Game 2.)

The first game of the Meijin Title took place on August 20 and 21. Fujisawa Shūkō, the title holder, confidently dominated his young challenger, Rin Kaihō…until he made one of his fateful blunders on move 131, going on to lose the game. Sakata Eio watches as Rin shares his thoughts with a dismayed Shūkō. (Game record: Meijin Game 1.)

Rin Kaihō wins Meijin Game 1
Rin Kaihō wins Meijin Game 1

On August 15, the ladies of Koyukai once again took on the best foreign players for the fourth time. The games ended 4-4-2 so for the first time the guests did not win. Wins by notables Manfred Wimmer, Horst Mueller, and James Davies were offset by losses by Richard Bozulich and James Kerwin.

On 29 to 30 August, Nihon Ki’in’s young professional players went on a biking trip at the Cycle Sports Center in Izu, by invitation from the Japan Bicycling Promotional Association (Nihon Jitensha Shinkōkai, which later would be absorbed into the present-day Japan Keirin Autorace Foundation).

Nihon Ki'in's young professionals on a biking trip
Nihon Ki’in young professional players on a biking trip

Photos courtesy of Go Review, Go Weekly, and Igo Club, game records thanks to GoGod

Share

Go Spotting: GOD, HUMAN, ANIMAL, MACHINE: Technology, Metaphor, and the Search for Meaning

Thursday August 26, 2021

“Imagine sitting down to a game of Go,” writes Becca Rothfeld in The New York Times, “not in a cafe or a park, where you could banter with your adversary or discuss strategy with onlookers, but alone in front of a screen. Your opponent is not a person but an algorithm, AlphaGo, a program created by Google’s machine-learning subsidiary, DeepMind. Squinting into the cool glare of your monitor, you manipulate digital pieces. You touch nothing tangible: You are unable to scrutinize the expressions of your faceless competitor.”

“These, roughly, are the strange and surgical circumstances under which Lee Sedol, one of the best Go players in the world, was vanquished in a best-of-five match in 2016,” Rothfeld writes. “As the essayist and cultural critic Meghan O’Gieblyn reports in her nimble new book, ‘God, Human, Animal, Machine: Technology, Metaphor, and the Search for Meaning,’ one former Go champion watched the game and exclaimed that AlphaGo’s winning maneuver was “not a human move.” Read the rest of the review here.

Thanks to Ted Terpstra for sending this in.

Share
Categories: Go Spotting,Main Page
Share

Second North American Youth Open to be held on KGS September 4th, registration closes September 1st

Wednesday August 25, 2021

The North American Youth Go Open is an annual open tournament sponsored by the American Go Foundation for all young players of all levels under the age of 18. “Since the US Youth Go Championship was discontinued many years ago, we all missed having it,” says Stephanie Yin. “The goal for the NAYO is to provide an opportunity for young players to once again compete in a high-standard North American tournament. We are proud to host the 2nd NAYO this year and believe to make this event the largest open youth Go tournament in North America.” Originally intended as a face-to-face competition, the first tournament was held online due to the pandemic. Organizers plan to hold the tournament in-person in the future, sponsored by the New York Institute of Go as well as the American Go Foundation.

The day will begin with a short and greeting ceremony, which all participants can join, at 11:30 – 11:45 AM EDT on Saturday, September 4, 2021. There is no rank requirement to enter. The top three players in each division – based on rank – will receive certificates and trophies. For registration, schedule, and rules, tournament video requirements, please visit the tournament website. Registration will close Wednesday, September 1. “Players can join other young fighters preparing for the tournament at the NYIG summer Go camp!” concludes Yin.

-report by Stephanie Yin

Share

Go Spotting: Beyond the Visible; Hilma af Klint

Monday August 23, 2021

“I always have enjoyed when people spot and report where a Go set or play has been viewed,” writes Rick Whitehead. “Last night I watched a documentary that I can’t imagine many of this community have seen;  ‘Beyond the Visible; Hilma af Klint’.  We watched it on Kanopy, but I think it’s viewable on a variety of streaming services.  They interview people about this female painter from circa 1910 or so.   One is a German man, an art historian, and in the background of the room next to where he’s talking (in his home) is a nice Go board on a side table with two nice Go bowls.  It’s never mentioned, but quite prominently appears each time they return to his interview. HIlma’s art is quite nice too, and historically relevant.”

Share
Categories: Go Spotting,Main Page
Share

INAF releases “Gosei vs. Kisei” game commentary

Sunday August 22, 2021

The Iwamoto North American Foundation, with co-sponsorship by the Nihon Kiin, has just released a special YouTube game analysis in English by Ichiriki Ryo 9p, current Japanese Gosei title holder. His opponent is the 7-crown champion Iyama Yuta, and the occasion was a December 2020 challenge match in the Tengen title series, dubbed “Gosei vs. Kisei”, the clash between the top two Japanese pros of 2020 – 2021. 

Share
Categories: Japan,Main Page
Share

Top pro titles: A primer

Saturday August 21, 2021

by Yuan Zhou 

73rd Honinbo title match (2018), Iyama Yuta 9p v. Yamashita Keigo 9p.

Most western go players are probably familiar with the top professional titles in Japan, but less so with those in China and Korea. Here’s a quick primer.  

The top three tournaments in Japan are the Kisei, Meijin, and Honinbo, all currently held by Iyama Yuta 9p, who’s been dominant for some years. The Honinbo is the oldest pro title in the world, first held in 1941: the current occurrence of the contest for that title is the 77th. The other four big Japanese titles are Gosei, Oza, Judan, and Tengen.  They also have been running for many years, and in terms of a long, stable tournament history, Japan is the best in the world.

The oldest title in Korea is the Myeongin, equivalent to the Japanese Meijin and to the Chinese Mingren. Currently being contested for the 44th time, it was discontinued for several years, but is being actively fought for this year. The last previous winner was Lee Sedol 9p in 2016. The final match this year is a five-game contest between Shin Jinseo 9p, who holds several other Korean titles and is currently considered number one in Korea, and Byun Sangil 9p. Shin Jinseo also holds several other Korean national titles and the Asian TV Cup. He defeated Ding Hao 6p of China for the latter title.

The oldest title in China is the Tianyuan, which was contested for the thirty-fifth time this year: Gu Zihao 9p defeated the previous holder of the title, Yang Dingxin 9p, by a score of 2-1. The next oldest Chinese national title is the Mingren, which was won most recently by Mi Yuting 9p. Ke Jie 9p, who has won more international titles than any other player currently active, has not done as well at the national level, but he does hold four national titles currently, including the Changqi Cup, which is one of the more prestigious titles, and the Qisheng. As a result he is considered number one in China.

There are also pro titles in Taiwan, of course, though the Taiwanese pros have not had much success at the international level. This is partly because the best Taiwanese players usually moved to Japan to play very early in their careers. Some of these have done quite well in Japan, such as the well-known Cho U 9p, Rin Kaiho 9p, and O Rissei 9p, all of whom have held some of the top Japanese titles. In fact, O Rissei 9p recently won the 1st Shinan International Senior Baduk Cup, playing for Taiwan and defeating such famous older players as Japan’s Kobayshi Koichi 9p and China’s Yu Bin 9p as well as Seo Bongsoo 9p of Korea. Both Cho U and O Rissei won the Japanese Kisei title three times in a row when they were playing as members of the Nihon Ki-in. O Meien is also a native of Taiwan who joined the Nihon Ki-in and won the Honinbo title in 2000 and 2001.

Share
Categories: China,Japan,Korea,Main Page
Share

The Power Report: Promotions, retirement and an obituary

Friday August 20, 2021

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Promotions
To 8-dan: Uchida Shuhei (150 wins; as of July 30)
To 7-dan (120 wins): Minematsu Masaki (as of July 6), Kato Yuki (as of July 9)
To 4-dan (50 wins): Takahashi Masumi (as of July 6); Otani Naoki (as of July 16); Seki Kotaro (as of July 27)

Retirement: Kanagawa Masaki
Born in Kanagawa Prefecture on June 26, 1955, Kanagawa was a disciple of Abe Yoshiteru 9P. He became 1-dan in 1975 and reached 8-dan in 2017. He retired on July 31 and was promoted to 9-dan. He took second place in the 2-dan, the 4-dan, and the 5-dan section of the Kisei tournament in 1976, 1979, and 1983 respectively.

Obituary: Harada Minoru
Harada Minoru died of a heart attack on July 10, aged 85. In his prime, he was one of the top amateur players in Japan while also pursuing a business career at Hitachi Manufacturing. He won the Amateur Honinbo tournament seven times, the Amateur Best Ten four times, and various other amateur titles. He was known as one of the “Top Four” amateurs, along with Kikuchi Yasuro, Hirata Hironori, and Murakami Bunsho. They monopolized the amateur titles and could all have been successful as professional players if they had wanted to, but perhaps they might not have become so well known.

Share

The Power Report: Sumire suffers setbacks but recovers; Most wins/Best winning streak

Thursday August 19, 2021

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Sumire v. Iyama at New Ryusei

Sumire suffers setbacks but recovers
   As reported on June 4, Nakamura Sumire saw her winning streak come to an end and in fact suffered successive losses to two 9-dans. Although she won what was her third successive game against a 9-dan, she then lost four games in a row, the worst losing streak of her career so far. However, she is now balancing losses with wins, including her first win in an international tournament against a formidable opponent.

(June 3) Sumire (W) beat Nakane Naoyuki 9p by 1.5 points Prelim. B, 60th Judan tournament).
(June 4) Sumire beat Iwasaki Seito (2 stones) by 4. This was an unofficial game. Iwasaki is blind in his right eye and has 0.01 vision in his left eye. With the cooperation of the Nihon Ki-in, he has become an insei. He started out in April in D Class, but quickly moved up to C Class. He attends a school for the blind, and, like Sumire, is in the first year of middle school. He plays on a board, called “aigo,” adapted for use by players with vision disabilities. A 2-hour commentary (in Japanese) on the game can be found here.

(June 10) Sumire lost to Takeshita Ryoya 1p (Prelim. B, 47th Gosei).
(June 15) Sumire (W) lost to Nyu Eiko 3p by 6.5 points (semifinal, 8th Hollyhock Cup?see article above). Reaching the final four is Sumire’s best result in a tournament so far. 
(July 1) Sumire (B) lost to Shuto Shun 8p by 1.5 (46th Kisei, C League).
(July 5) Sumire (W) lost to Koyama Terumi 6p by 3.5 (Round 2, main tournament, 40th Women’s Honinbo.) This was her fourth loss in a row.
(July 8) Sumire (W) beat Ueno Risa 1p by resig. (Round 1, main tournament, 6th Senko Cup). This was her first win in an official game for five weeks. 
(July 15). Sumire (B) beat Muramoto Wataru 3p by resig. (Prelim. A, 60th Judan. This game was played at the Kansai headquarters of the Nihon Ki-in.)
(July 18) Sumire (W) beat Kim Jaeyoung 6p (Korea) by half a point. (Sumire was given a sponsor’s wild-card seed in the 4th Wu Qingyuan [Go Seigen] Cup; see report above. Kim won this tournament in its first year, so this is an excellent result for Sumire and her first international win.)
(July 19) Sumire (W) lost to Zhou Hongyu 6p (China) by resig. (Round 2 of tournament above.)
(July 22) Sumire (B) beat Endo Yoshifumi 8p by 2.5 (Prelim. C, 70th Oza.)
(July 29) Sumire (W) lost to Iyama Yuta Kisei in round one of the New Ryusei tournament. This is an unofficial tournament, presumably because of its very short time allowance. Players start with one minute and get an extra five seconds every time they play a move (a system known as Fischer time, after its inventor Bobby Fischer). There are 32 participants in a knock-out; Sumire was chosen as one of two special seeds. After the game, she commented that she was “cut to pieces.” (The above information comes from the Net. The Nihon Ki-in is withholding news of the result until the game is televised on August 28.)
(August 2) Sumire beat Antti Tormanen 1p (Prelim. C, Tengen) (details not yet available).   
Sumire still has the second-most wins of all Nihon Ki-in pros but no longer the best winning percentage; see below. However, I have a problem. Go Weekly (and the Nihon Ki-in HP) gave her score as 29-8 as of July 16, compared to 26-8 as of July 9, but I can find only one result, listed above, for that week. A Net site that tracks her results didn’t have the two “missing” games either.

Most wins (as of July 31)
1. Ueno Asami, Women’s Kisei: 35-13
2. Nakamura Sumire: 31-10 (75.6%) (note that the last two games given above are not included)
3. Fukuoka Kotaro 2p: 27-4 (86.6%). Fukuoka was on a winning streak that stopped at 13, so he is level with Sumire for the best winning streak so far this year.
4. Fujisawa Rina: 23-10; Motoki Katsuya 8p: 23-11; Kyo Kagen Judan: 23-12; Nyu Eiko 3p: 23-28. Tsuneishi Takashi 4p: 22-2 (at 91.6%, the best winning percentage); Ichiriki Ryo Tengen: 22-5 (his 12-game winning streak stopped a few weeks earlier); Seki Kotaro 4p: 22-7.
   At present, there are four women players in the top ten.

Best winning streak
11: Tsuneishi Takashi
9: Otake Yu. Sumire’s father, Shinya 9P, briefly entered the list with 5-in-a-row, but was unable to keep his streak going.

Share

50 years aGO Special – You Were There in July 1971

Wednesday August 18, 2021

by Keith L. Arnold, hka, with Patrick Bannister and guest contributor John Tilley

James Kerwin at Nihon Ki'in
James Kerwin at Nihon Ki’in. Photo courtesy of Go Review.

We enjoy bringing these glimpses of go history each month, and we love hearing from you.

This month we received not just thanks, but precious additional info from 50 years ago regarding July 1971. John Tilley, author of GO: International Handbook and Dictionary, worked in the overseas department of the Nihon Ki’in, and proofread many of the early Ishi Press books. And he was there…

“James Kerwin is having a paid teaching game with Takenaka 4d. You could buy a ticket for a lesson at the reception at the Nihon Ki’in Chūōkaikan and this gave you a game plus review with one of the professionals – I am guessing that the whole lesson would have been 45-60 minutes and cost about 1,000 Yen. In one of the back issues of Go Review the fact that Kerwin had a lot of lessons was mentioned.

“I remember watching Takenaka-sensei with interest, as he was waiting for his next student he would play though jōseki after jōseki using just the white stones. The professional next to him in the photo and near the camera is I think Sakakibara 9d – giving a five stone lesson.”

John also supplemented our report regarding the 4th Asahi Best Ten Pro-Amateur Match –

GO: International Handbook and Dictionary
GO: International Handbook and Dictionary

“Eight of the games were 2 stones and the other two were even – the amateurs who played the two even games both won – against Ishida Yoshio and Kajiwara. (I am guessing no komi). Kanazawa (the 13 year old sensation) beat Hashimoto Utarō on 2 stones by 5 points.”

We return John’s best wishes, and look forward to providing more information from our readers, in those instances where – you were there.

Share

NAGF Pro Qualification Tournament postponed

Tuesday August 17, 2021

Due to growing concerns about the COVID outbreak across North America, the NAGF has postponed the Pro Qualification Tournament scheduled for this week. 

Ryan Hunter and Justin Teng putting up the banner at the National Go Center in preparation for the now-postponed NAGF Pro Qualification Tournament

Organizers carefully considered the rapid increase in the rate of new cases particularly in Washington DC, where the tournament was to be held. The tournament would have taken place indoors at the National Go Center over many hours — which is a serious concern for viral spreading — and the Delta variant is known to make even some fully vaccinated people sick.

“I recognize this is a bitter disappointment, most especially for the players,” said AGA president/NAGF chair Andy Okun. “But the safety of the players and their families back home, as well as the tournament staff, had to our highest priority.”

The new dates of the tournament are yet to be announced.

Share