American Go E-Journal

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

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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

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

Hobnobbing — and studying — at the Nihon Ki-in Summer Go Camp

Sunday October 13, 2019

By Peter Schumer

The Nihon Ki-in Summer Go Camp was held from August 20 – 29 at the Nihon Ki-in headquarters in Ichigaya, Tokyo.  Twelve nations were represented by some thirty participants of all playing levels, with almost a third hailing from the United States and Sweden with four or five players each.  The camp was a great success and each year the organizers pack in more activities and events to add to its appeal.  There are daily league games for both kyu and dan-level players, informative lectures from top pros, pro simuls, and some friendship matches with local amateurs, as well as evening outings to various go salons.  Some of the guest lecturers included Ishida Yoshio, Takemiya Masaki, Antii Tormanen, Kobayashi Chizu, Xie Yimin, and the always popular Michael Redmond. 

One outstanding highlight was watching the finals of the World Pair Go Championships held at a hotel in the lively Shinjuku district of Tokyo where several of us got to rub shoulders with the likes of Iyama Yuta and Cho Chikun.  Another special event was spending a few minutes sitting close to the players in the first game of the Meijin Championship at the stylish Chinzanso Hotel.  The players this year were the defending champion Cho U and the young challenger Shibano Toramaru. 

I should add that the base price for the camp is extremely modest (about $150), but you can pay extra (silver and gold level) which includes some perks such as a special banquet and several additional simuls and lessons.  And despite all the go events, there is actually plenty of time for leisure activities and sightseeing.  The camp has a warm and friendly atmosphere and you can’t help but improve your play at least a little bit.  I highly recommend it.

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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.

Rare triple ko at MGA Fall Tournament

Friday October 11, 2019

Twenty three players participated in the Massachusetts Go Association’s Fall Tournament held October 6 at the Boyleston Chess Club in Cambridge. Chi-Hse Teng 5k (pictured at right) swept with a 4-0 record.

In round three a triple ko developed in a game between Pei Guo 4d and Benjamin Gunby 1k. The tournament was played under Japanese rules, Tournament Director Eva Casey explained to the E-Journal. After some hasty internet research which suggested that under Japanese rules this game is a draw, Casey elected to award half a victory to each player. This allowed Gunby to take second place in the tournament with a most unusual 3.5-0 record.

Assistant Tournament Director Milan Mladenovic later pointed out that under AGA rules the players would have had to continue making outside ko threats which would have eventually resolved the situation.
– Roger Schrag

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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

Still time to register for Cotsen Open

Tuesday October 8, 2019

Over 100 are already registered for the 2019 Cotsen Open, coming up October 26-27, 2019 at MG Studio in downtown Los Angeles. The Cotsen Open features thousands of dollars in prizes, an extremely competitive Open Division, live commentary on top board games, masseuses to massage players during their games, free food truck lunches to all those who pre-register on both Saturday and Sunday of the tournament. And, as always, everyone who pre-registers and plays in all 5 of their matches has their full entry fee refunded. Pre-registration closes on Tuesday, October 22nd; register here.
NOTE: The E-Journal still has a couple game recorder slots available; game recorders — who must have their own laptops — receive EJ caps, $25 per game and the chance to observe top-board games at close range. Email journal@usgo.org if interested.

Eric Lui 1p crowned champion of 8th Virginia Open; Finalists set for Virginia State Championship

Tuesday October 8, 2019

8th Virginia Open Champion Eric Lui 1p

The 8th Virginia Open took place in Vienna, Virginia on September 28th and featured a 26-player field, including nine 5-dan and stronger players in the 10-person Open section. Eric Lui 1p emerged victorious in all three of his games to become the overall champion. Justin Teng 6d took second place after losing to Lui in the final round, while Qingbo Zhang 5d and Joshua Lee 6d took third and fourth place respectively. Among Virginia residents, Qingbo Zhang 5d, Joshua Lee 6d, Yaming Wang 7d, and Ran Zhao 5d qualified for the Finals of the Virginia State Championship, which will take place at a later time. In the Handicap division, Xuhui Zhang 3d, Derek Zhou 7k, and Adam King 15k won first place in their respective sections. All participants received a free Go Book courtesy of Hinoki Press and the Capital Go Club.

Players face off in Round 1 of the 8th Virginia Open
Group photo of attendees

The venue also hosted the Jinghua Cup, which was a three vs. three team match between alumni of Peking University and Tsinghua University. Liang Yu 6d and Sihao Li 3d were able to score crucial wins for Peking University to clinch victory with a 2-1 score. Fairfax County Cable TV came to the event mid-day to record some of the action as well as a presentation by Edward Zhang about the cultural aspects of Go in both the West and the East. Virginia House of Delegates member Mark Keam also visited the event to give a brief talk about how he sees Go as a metaphor for global society and a bridge to connect Asian and American culture. More photos from the event can be found in this album compiled by Liang Yu, Hejun Kang, and Anna Liu.

– report by Justin Teng

Upcoming Go Events: New York, Rochester, Seattle

Monday October 7, 2019

October 12: New York, NY
NYGA Monthly Tournament
Zhongfan Jian tournaments@ny-go.org 617-921-4105
Stephanie Yin nygo.nyga@gmail.com

October 12: Rochester, NY
15th Annual Greg Lefler Memorial Tournament
Steve Colburn steve@emptysky.org 585-703-3977
Tim Geary president@emptysky.org

October 12: Seattle, WA
24th Anniversary Party
Mike Malveaux programs@seattlego.org 206-545-1424

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