American Go E-Journal » Columns

50 years aGO December 1970

Saturday December 26, 2020

by Keith L. Arnold, hka with Patrick Bannister

As of December 17th, Fujisawa Hosai 9 dan and Honda Kunihisa 8 dan hold the early lead at 2-0 in the 10th Meijin League.

Only one round has been played in the 26th Honinbo league. As we learned last month, Ishida qualified for the league, but dropped his first game against Kato Masao 6 dan. The victor is shown on the left in this match picture, with their teacher, the great Kitani, looking on. 2020.12.26-Kato defeats Ishida

The big news was the arrival of fellow Kitani disciple, Takemiya Masaki 6 dan 2020.12.26-Takemiya who, at age 19 became the youngest title challenger in history by defeating Fujisawa Meijin on December 1-2, and Sakata on December 16-17 to become the challenger to Ishida Yoshio in the Nihon Kiin Championship. He lost the first game, however, on December 23.

Finally, on December 27, the Nordrhein-Westfalen Championship was won by the strapping young man pictured. Veteran U.S. Go Congress-goers may recognize the German juggernaut Horst Sudhoff, who won the match in Dusseldorf. A regular feature at the Congress, Horst, win or lose, played the most games every year he attended, haunting the playing room and taking on all comers.

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50 years aGO – November 1970 Part Two – Keith L. Arnold, hka with Patrick Bannister

Saturday November 28, 2020

This month’s mystery pro question turned out to be much harder than I thought.  I asked you to identify the man in the picture at right, share his importance to Western go and finally, explain why we celebrate him this month.

Well, we only received one correct answer, and that only to the first two parts of the question.  I will let former AGA President, former International Go Federation (IGF) Director and current American Go Foundation (AGF) Treasurer Barbara Calhoun take it away. “I’ll take a stab that it is Yusuke Oeda. Don’t recognize the hair but it could be his face. Oeda was Michael Redmond’s sensei and was a prime mover in establishing the World Amateur Go Championship and the International Go Federation.”

Yusuke Oeda 9 dan, 1935-2010 was a student of Nobuaki Maeda.  In his E-Journal obituary, Barbara further elaborated on her friend’s efforts bringing the Meijin Tournament to New York, remarking “He was an emotional man who could relate to and communicate with people culturally different from him.”  Michael Redmond said that the lessons he learned from Oeda were not just about the game that became his career, adding that “Mr. Oeda was also generous with his knowledge of the fine points of Japanese language and culture, and he gave me a basic understanding of the country I live in” (7/26/2010 EJ).

My fondest memory of Mr. Oeda was watching him play simuls.  If you have had the pleasure of playing a simultaneous game with a professional, you understand the awe of watching their calm strength as they guide the game to a result that tests the amateur player.  They do not resort to strong player tricks but rather slowly wear down each opponent, happily winning or losing based on our performance.

That was not the Oeda way.  He preferred pairing himself with a young female professional, sharing the effort, but also playing moves designed to make his partner laugh, hilarious to watch as the young pro was torn between trying to maintain her professional demeanor and her natural reaction to Oeda’s mischief.

The final answer to this month’s quiz is explained in this picture of Ishida playing Oeda on November 12, 1970.  With his victory in this game, Ishida qualified for the Honinbo League and this game is the first one featured in Iwamoto’s (and Davies’) “The 1971 Honinbo Tournament” book, one of the great early Ishi press masterpieces.  The photo shows the moment where Ishida played move 11 (at the lower right corner of the book) “a new joseki developed at the Kitani Dojo”.  Oeda navigated the surprise move well, but gradually was out-maneuvered in an exciting game. (game record here).

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Redmond vs O Meien Sunday night

Friday November 13, 2020

Michael Redmond 9P’s next live game commentary will be on his recent game with O Meien (right), known for his quick fuseki and fighting ability. He became a pro in 1977, two years after moving to Japan, and advanced to 9 dan in 1992. A very determined fighter, with plenty of kiai, in February 25 2010, O Meien hit the 900 landmark by beating Ko Iso in the final prelim of the 35th Kisei. O won the Honinbo title in 2000 and held it the following year before losing it to Kato Masao in 2002. O took the Oza title from Cho Chikun in December 2002. In July 2012, O Meien won his sixth title, the 2nd Igo Masters Cup, beating Cho Chikun.

The live commentary is set for this Sunday, November 15, 7p EDT on the AGA’s Twitch channel, and will be hosted by American Go E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock.

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50 years aGO – November 1970

Wednesday November 11, 2020

by Keith L. Arnold, hka with Patrick Bannister

Fujisawa Shuko Meijin followed up on his victory with another title final. However, perhaps exhausted by his effort against youthful Rin Kaiho, he was defeated by his longtime rival, Sakata Eio, who returned to the world of titleholders with the Oza. Sakata won the first game in a mere 65 moves on November 5, and won the best-of-three match on November 19 (picture, game records).

A Go expo was held on November 6 at the Tokyo Department Store. It included a fourth match between the Koyukai ladies and the “Western” team, which was victorious including players Richard Bozulich, James Davies and Stuart Horowitz.

Go History Quiz! Pictured on the right in this GoWeekly ad is a professional go player – Who is he? if you know the answer, part two of this quiz will be easy – what is his significance to Western go? And finally, and a bit harder, why do we ask about him this month? We will share your responses in a follow up column later this month.

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50 years aGo – October 1970

Friday October 16, 2020

by Keith Arnold, ska, with Patrick Bannister

Sad news on October 8, Germany’s Dr. Felix Duebell (left), passed away at age 90. Known as the “German Honinbo,” Dr. Duebell studied under Shusai and was the recipient of the first Okura prize. He was posthumously awarded the rank of 6 dan, back when that was truly strong. His role in organizing Go in Germany and Europe cannot be overstated.

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But the promised main event this month was the culmination of the Meijin title. The big smiling black and white photo of Shuko tells the story. On October 6/7 Shuko took the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead.  Shuko looks content in this picture (right) from early in the game, and who would not be in front of that beautiful kaya board (below). Find the game record here.

The title was won on October 16/17 as we see a huge crowd gathered at the finish (below). Look closely at the picture, can you find Abe Yoshiteru (but you find him in the back of all of this sort of picture.  Or perhaps to you spot Kato Masao, or Ishida Akira, author of Ishi Press’s “Attack and Defense.” Finally, I think I see a young Cho Hun-hyeon. Let us know if you spot anyone else!

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Redmond on Ke Jie vs. Xie Ke Sunday night

Friday September 18, 2020

This week’s live Sunday night game commentary by Michael Redmond 9P will feature a hot-off-the-board game between Ke Jie and Xie Ke at the 9th ING Cup. “The game was well fought,” says Redmond. Tune in at 8p EDT this Sunday, September 20 on the AGA’s Twitch channel.
Meanwhile, check out all the videos available on the AGA’s YouTube channel, including the AlphaGo vs AlphaGo selfplay series, Redmond’s Reviews and AlphaGo vs. The World.

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50 years aGo – September 1970

Thursday September 17, 2020

by Keith L. Arnold, hka with Patrick Bannister

On September 9 a young man traveled to Japan from Seattle, intending to stay for one year. That man was James Davies, and I think he has been there ever since, producing many of the true classics of Western Go literature including “Life and Death” and “Tesuji”.

A changing of the guard was noted when Sakata lost to Otake in the final game of the Meijin league. This loss dropped Sakata from the league. This same year saw Takagawa dropped from the Honinbo League after more than 20 years as the title holder or member of the league.

The European Go Congress ended on September 13 in Vienna, with Jurgen Mattern of Germany winning the European Championship.

A certain S. Horowitz of the USA was staying in Tokyo and working as an assistant editor of Go Review, according to Go Review.

But the dominant topic of the month was the the struggle for the Meijin title between Rin Meijin and challenger Shuko. Rin looks quite pleased to even the score with a win in the second game played September 7 and 8. That’s the back of the late Go Seigen’s head in the foreground. Rin won again in the third game, played on the 15th and 16th, but Shuko evened the score at 2-2 with a win in game 4 on September 24-25. We will see who wins next month.

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Redmond live commentary this Sunday at 8p EDT

Friday September 11, 2020

Michael Redmond 9P returns with a new live game commentary this Sunday, September 13 at 8P EDT on the AGA’s Twitch channel. The game will be another one from the archives, played in 1951 between Go Seigen and Yamabe Toshiro.

Not as well-known as Go Seigen, Toshiro was one of the Three Crows (together with Fujisawa Hideyuki and Suzuki Keizo). He challenged for the 1959 Oza, 1965 Honinbo and 1980 Tengen titles, and became editor of the Gendai Joseki Jiten, a notable joseki dictionary. He is also remembered for playing the longest recorded professional game, 411 moves, against Hoshino Toshi in the 1950 Oteai.

In related news, Redmond’s AlphaGo vs AlphaGo series now runs through Game 42, posted on September 4, and the AlphaGo vs The World series just added Game 31, Li Qincheng 9p (W) vs. AlphaGo Master (B). “Watched them all,” says Mario Krenn. “Absolutely stunning!”

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The Power Report: Kataoka wins 1100 games; Sumire’s progress

Thursday August 27, 2020

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Kataoka wins 1100 games
A win former titleholder Kataoka Satoshi 9P picked up on July 23 was his 1100th in the 48 years three months of his career (12th fastest). He is the 16th player to reach this mark and the 14th at the Nihon Ki-in. The landmark win came against Fujisawa Kazunari 8P in Preliminary B of the 46th Gosei tournament. His 1000th win came against the same opponent. He has suffered 598 losses and had 4 jigo, giving him a winning percentage of 64.8, which is ninth best.

Sumire’s progress
In my previous report (Aug. 4), I reported on the start of “Sumire’s Oro Challenge,” four three-game matches with Korean players arranged by the Cyber Oro, server, which runs the Nihon Ki-in’s home page. Things started badly when Sumire was unable to pick up a win against Korea’s number two woman player Kim Chaeyoung. However, taking black, she won the second game in her series with Suh (also spelled Seo) Neung-uk 9P. Taking black, she won by 3.5 points. This is no mean achievement, as Suh (aged 62) is no journeyman 9-dan; unfortunately for him, when he was at his peak, Korean go was dominated by Cho Hunhyun and Suh Bongso; he took second place in 13 tournaments. The games with Sumire were played on July 17 and 18. Suh had the lead in the second game, but Sumire pulled off an upset. Sumire had the lead in the third game, but this time she was the one to suffer an upset.

Today (writing on August 16), brief details of the remaining two matches were finally published (the go press shuts down for O-bon in midsummer; this is a kind of All Souls’ Day; dead relatives are said to return to visit their relatives; in an ordinary year, millions of people would return to their ancestral homes and visit the family graveyard). The report is very brief: Sumire lost 0-3 to Suh Bongsu, but picked up a win against Jeong Yujin 1P.

The final result was one-sided, but, as usual with these special projects, Sumire was ridiculously outmatched. In that context, she deserves to be commended for her win against the 9-dan. Playing the legendary Suh Bongsu is also an honour shared by none of her contemporaries in Japan. Incidentally, Sumire has now played nine games against five 9-dans and won two of them. Just to recap: besides the games described above, she beat Baba Shigeru 9P on November 28 last year, lost to Hane Yasumasa 9P on January 16 this year, and lost to Sakaguchi Ryuzo 9P on February 24 this year.

A Sumire brand has appeared. A major sauce manufacturer created “Sumire-chan’s Barbecued Meat Sauce” (“chan” in an affectionate title used for young children) and distributed it free to participants in a go festival held at the Umeda Go Club in Osaka on July 19, 26, August 2 and 9. It was also sold for 300 yen a bottle. As far as I know, it is not being generally distributed.

Promotion
To 6-dan: Kawai Shoji (90 wins)

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The Power Report: Moon wins Globis Cup; Takei wins Discovery Cup; Kisei S League; Ichiriki wins 45th Gosei

Wednesday August 26, 2020

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Moon wins Globis Cup
The 7th Globis Cup, an international tournament for players under 20, was originally scheduled for May 8 to 10, but was delayed by the virus. It was finally held on the net on August 1 and 2. The winner was the 17-year-old Moon Minjeong 2P of Korea. In the semifinals, he beat Liao Yuanhe 8P of China. The final was played on the afternoon of the second day; taking white, Moon beat Li Weijing 8P by resig. First prize is 3 million yen (about $28,150).

Takei wins Discovery Cup
The Discovery Cup is a new tournament for players and inseis at the Nihon Ki-in and the Kansai Ki-in 18 or under and 2-dan or under. After a Net preliminary round, the top eight faced off in a three-round Swiss tournament held at the Nihon Ki-in on August 11. No inseis or women players made the cut. Takei Taishin 1P scored three wins in a row and took the prize of 200,000 yen ($1,876).

Kisei S League
The contest has heated up in the 45th Kisei S League, with four players on 2-1. Kyo Kagen, who had made the best start, stumbled in the third round. Results since my previous report follow. For the record, Yamashita Keigo 9P and Yo Seiki 8P, both on 4-1, share the lead in the A League. Recent results:
(July 20). Murakawa Daisuke 9P (B) beat Kono Rin 9P by resig.
(July 30) Ichiriki (W beat Kono Rin 9P by resig.
(August 3) Takao Shinji 9P (W) beat Kyo Kagen 8P by resig.

Ichiriki wins 45th Gosei
Ichiriki Ryo 8P had nine titles but so far no top-seven ones. That changed with his 3-0 victory over Hane Naoki in the 45th Gosei title match. The result of the first game was given in my previous report. The second game was played at the Central Japan headquarters of the Nihon Ki-in on August 3 but being on home ground didn’t help Hane. Playing black, Ichiriki won by resignation. The third game was played at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo on August 14. This was Hane’s 44th birthday, but fate was not kind to him. Playing white, Ichiriki forced a resignation after 160 moves. On his sixth top-seven title challenge (the others were all to Iyama Yuta), he was finally successful, and, as luck would have it, his first title was one of which his family’s newspaper is a co-sponsor. With his 10th title, Ichiriki is already 24th in the all-time title standings in Japan.

Tomorrow: Kataoka wins 1100 games; Sumire’s progress

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