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The Power Report: 2019 review

Tuesday February 18, 2020

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Most wins
Shibano Toramaru, the youthful new Meijin, topped this list for the third year in a row. Considering the level of his competition now, as he’s playing top-flight opponents in leagues and title matches, that’s a significant achievement and testimony to his great form for most of the year. Also significant are the two best results ever attained by female players, with Ueno Asami and Fujisawa Rina coming third and fourth respectively. In particular, their good results against male players show that the level of women’s go is steadily rising. Here are the top 12.

  1. Shibano Toramaru: 52 wins, 18 losses
  2. Ichiriki Ryo 8P: 47-14
  3. Ueno Asami, Women’s Honinbo: 44-25
  4. Mutsuura Yuta: 38-20; Fujisawa Rina, Women’s Hollyhock Cup: 38-28
  5. Otake Yu 3P: 36-12
  6. Kono Rin 9P: 35-18
  7. Iyama Yuta Kisei: 34-27
  8. Suzuki Shinji 7P: 33-15; Son Makoto 7P: 33-19
  9. Kyo Kagen 8P: 32-17
  10. Xie Yimin 6P: 31-23

Most successive wins

  1. Ichiriki Ryo, Fujita Akihiko 7P (twice): 16
  2. Kono Rin: 13
  3. Yokotsuka Riki 7P, Fujisawa Rina: 12
  4. Hane Naoki Gosei: 11
  5. Shibano Toramaru, Adachi Toshimasa 6P, Muramoto Wataru 2P (twice), Nyu Eiko 2P: 10

Best winning percentage

  1. Ichiriki: 77.05
  2. Otake Yu, Fujita Akihiko (30-10): 75
  3. Shibano Toramaru: 74.29
  4. Oomote Takuto 3P (20-7): 74.07

2019 Prize-money promotions
There are three ways to earn promotions. One is through cumulative wins, which is the slow way. The fast way is through a tournament success, which will enable a low-ranked player to skip some intervening ranks. The conditions are fairly complicated, so here is a summary. Promotion to 7-dan: challenging for one of the bottom four (Oza, Tengen, Gosei, Judan) of the top seven titles; winning the Agon Kiriyama Cup or the Ryusei tournament; winning a place in the Kisei S League or the Honinbo or Meijin League. To 8-dan: winning one of the bottom four of the top seven titles; challenging for one of the top three titles (Kisei, Meijin, Honinbo); coming second in an international tournament. To 9-dan: winning a top-three or an international title; winning one of the bottom four of the top seven titles a second time. In theory, a new 1-dan could go straight to 9-dan by this system. In practice, however, it’s unlikely because it would take close to two years to go from the first qualifying round to a top-three title match, during which time a player strong enough to do this would have already made 2-dan or 3-dan.
The third way to get promoted is by coming first or second in the prize-money list for each dan from 1-dan to 5-dan; the top 6-dan is also promoted. Only prize money won in the top seven titles is counted. These promotions take effect on January 1 and are based on the previous year. (Players who earn promotions through the cumulative-wins system are not considered.) The promotions for 2019 are given below.

To 7-dan: Adachi Toshimasa
To 6-dan: Terayama Rei, Yo Chito
To 5-dan: Onishi Ryuhei, Koike Yoshihiro
To 4-dan: Otake Yu, Hirose Yuichi
To 3-dan: Seki Kotaro, Torii Yuta
To 2-dan: Chotoku Tetsushi, Sakai Yuki

Top prize-money winners for 2019 (in yen)

  1. Iyama Yuta: 108,259,237 (about $984,000)
  2. Shibano Toramaru: 67,669,600
  3. Ichiriki Ryo: 36,847,129
  4. Cho U: 32,272,656
  5. Fujisawa Rina: 26,593,572
  6. Yamashita Keigo: 26,177,458
  7. Kono Rin: 25,230,600
  8. Hane Naoki: 21,004,400
  9. Ueno Asami: 20,777,172
  10. Kyo Kagen: 19,044,240

Top news of 2019
The readers of Go Weekly chose the following as the hottest news topics of the year.

  1. Shibano Toramaru’s breakthrough
  2. The blossoming of Nakamura Sumire
  3. The rising dragon Ueno Asami
  4. Iyama Yuta stays on top
  5. The new Gosei Hane Naoki
  6. Death of Ogawa Tomoko
  7. Busy year for Fujisawa Rina
  8. Retirement of Lee Sedol
  9. Cho U’s win in China-Japan Agon Kiriyama Cup
  10. Ichiriki’s success rapid-go titles
    Just missing the top ten was Sakai Hideyuki retiring from go to resume his medical career.

Tomorrow: Iyama close to defending Kisei title; Iyama ahead in international final; Park wins New Year’s Cup

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AlphaGo vs. AlphaGo; Game 36: The ladder game

Friday February 14, 2020

Chocolates and flowers are popular Valentine’s Day gifts but what go players really want is another AlphaGo game commentary and Michael Redmond 9P and Chris Garlock deliver with their latest AlphaGo vs. AlphaGo game commentary, Game 36 of the series, going up on the AGA’s YouTube Channel at noon today, a bit earlier than the usual 6p release time.

“The most interesting thing to me about this game is the way AlphaGo handles ladders,” says Redmond. “Earlier versions seemed to have some trouble with them, but not AG and in this game, AlphaGo devises some original ways to handle them.” Redmond poses a number of problems for Garlock to solve, and the Twitch audience — the commentary was originally streamed live on the AGA’s Twitch channel — gets involved. Follow the AGA’s Twitch channel and get notified of live streams.

[link]

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Redmond on AG-AG Game 37 tonight on Twitch

Thursday February 13, 2020

Tune in to the AGA’s Twitch channel tonight at 7p EDT to catch Michael Redmond 9P and Chris Garlock with their latest live game commentary on the AlphaGo vs AlphaGo series. “This is amazing content,” says viewer Funaru, “like the Go TV channel we never got in the West.” Viewers will be able to ask Redmond and Garlock questions during the liver commentary.

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Redmond’s Reviews, Episode 19: Michael Redmond 9P vs Kudo Norio 9P

Friday February 7, 2020

Michael Redmond 9P and Chris Garlock return with their latest Redmond’s Review, Episode 19, posted on the AGA’s YouTube Channel.

Kudo is a seasoned 9-dan professional in his late 70s. Though not as well-known in the West as some other players, he’s posted good records throughout his career and was a contender for titles from the 1970s through the 1990s, including taking the Oza from Cho Chikun and the Tengen from Rin Kaiho. “He’s a very steady player,” says Redmond. “As a younger player he had an attacking style, and doesn’t bother so much about territory. Still what you might call a very thick player, he likes to build strong positions and doesn’t like to be under attack. He’s got a well-balanced game with a solid opening. And interestingly for a player of his age, he’s been integrating a lot of AI stuff too.” Redmond also discusses how he prepares for matches like these, although he warns viewers at the outset that “This is not a well-played game on my part, so you can probably learn more” from his opponent’s play.

The commentary was originally streamed live on Twitch, which gave viewers a chance to interact with Redmond and Garlock, who will be live-streaming more game commentaries in the weeks ahead on the AGA’s Twitch channel, which you can follow to get notified of live streams.

Video produced by Stephen Hu, Allen Moy, Chris Garlock and Andrew Jackson.

[link]

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Redmond’s Reviews, Episode 18: Michael Redmond 9P vs Ri Ishu 8P

Friday January 31, 2020

Tune in to the AGA’s YouTube Channel at 6p EST today when Redmond’s Reviews Episode 18 with Chris Garlock and Michael Redmond 9p is released.

In this episode, Michael reviews his Oza tournament game with Ri Ishu 8P from Taiwan. This game, played in Tokyo, came after Redmond’s win against Otake, and was the final game in the Oza B section. “Ri Ishu is a very strong young player,” says Redmond. This game features some modern, post-AI joseki, “and then a fairly dangerous fight develops near the end of the game, so the game actually resembles AG-AG 35

The commentary was originally streamed live on Twitch, which gave viewers a chance to interact with Redmond and Garlock, who will be live-streaming more game commentaries in the weeks ahead on the AGA’s Twitch channel. Follow the AGA’s Twitch channel and get notified of live streams.

Video produced by Stephen Hu, Allen Moy, Chris Garlock and Andrew Jackson.

[link]

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Redmond on AG-AG Game 36 tonight on Twitch

Thursday January 30, 2020

Michael Redmond 9P and Chris Garlock return to the AGA’s Twitch channel tonight at 7p EDT with their latest live game commentary on the AlphaGo vs AlphaGo series. ” Entertaining and enlightening review,” commented SpaceTimeMachine on the previous commentary. “I recommend this series to my friends all the time.”

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50 years aGO – January 1970

Tuesday January 28, 2020

Keith Arnold, hka with Patrick Bannister

Perhaps the best evidence of time flying appears in an ad in the January issue of Go Review.  A Deluxe Go set  is offered for sale – Cherry bowls, 7.5mm Clamshell and Slate stones and a two inch thick Kaya board for the princely sum of $110, shipping from Japan included.

On January 15, Sekiyama Riichi, the first tournament Honinbo, passed away.  He was the teacher of Kajiwara Takeo 9 dan

We will be seeing a lot of Ishida Yoshio in this series, as he begins his dominance in this period.  But he still had time for fun, as shown in this striking photo.  Below is a photo of the second game of the Nihon Kiin Championship against the champion, Ohira.  This was the only game Ishida lost, securing the title 3-1 on January 20-21.  Game records of the match here. Game 1; Game 2; Game 3; Game 4.

Here in the United States, Takao Matsuda 6 dan of New York, author of the famous Matsuda Go Letters, won the New Jersey Open, defeating Takahiko Ishikawa 5 dan of Philadelphia in an all-Japanese final.  Ishikawa was a judo instructor, and was the All Japan Judo Champion two years in a row.

League matches started with the New Year.  Pictured at right is Kajiwara Takeo taking black against Fujisawa Hosai 9 dan  in the Meijin league on January 21st.  Perhaps you can see Kajiwara’s first move, on tengen.  An expert on the fuseki, Kajiwara played the move to offset Hosai’s penchant for mirror go.  Did it work? Find out in the game record here.

Finally, just to show that we have not come that far, a go computer was demonstrated by Toshio Ikeda of Fujitsu.  The computerized board, 2 meters square, could solve “any problem given to it” but could not play a full game.  A steal at $30,000 dollars.  The article concludes “one day we may yet have a computer become a pro!”  Pictured next to Ikeda is Go Seigen.  Ikeda was an avid go player and rule expert, his “On the Rules of Go” was published posthumously by Fujitsu in 1992.  Here’s a game between Ikeda and Go Seigen.

photos courtesy of Go Review, Igo Club and GoBase.org, game records courtesy of SmartGo/GoGod

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AlphaGo vs. AlphaGo; Game 35: The ko that wasn’t

Saturday January 25, 2020

Michael Redmond 9P and Chris Garlock return with their latest AlphaGo vs. AlphaGo game commentary, Game 35 of the series, posted on the AGA’s YouTube Channel.

The game features “A lot of intense fighting in the center of the board that sort of spreads to the corners,” says Redmond. Plus, “We’ll see some ko’s, as well as some ko’s that didn’t happen.”

The commentary was originally streamed live on Twitch, which gave viewers a chance to interact with Redmond and Garlock, who will be live-streaming more game commentaries — some AlphaGo vs. AlphaGo and some of Redmond’s games — on January 30 on the AGA’s Twitch channel. Follow the AGA’s Twitch channel and get notified of live streams.

[link]

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Double Redmond on Twitch tonight

Thursday January 23, 2020

Michael Redmond 9P and Chris Garlock return to the AGA’s Twitch channel this Thursday, Jan. 23 at 7p EDT with two brand-new live game commentaries. Both will be on games by Redmond in the Judan B elimination tournament last year, one against Shiraishi Yuichi, the other against Kudo Norio, who won the Oza in 1977 and the Tengen in 1997. “Lots of fighting and dead groups,” says Redmond. “The high point of the game against Kudo was that I calculated a difficult endgame to win by half a point and got it right.”

“Love these commentaries,” says viewer Frank van Will about the latest Redmond Review (Redmond’s Reviews, Episode 17: Michael Redmond 9P vs. Takao Shinji 9P). “The analysis of the lower right corner joseki was fascinating,” added hippophile. “You could have gone on for an hour and I would have been happy!”


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Redmond’s Reviews, Episode 17: Michael Redmond 9P vs Takao Shinji 9P

Friday January 17, 2020

Tune in to the AGA’s YouTube Channel at 6p EST today when Redmond’s Reviews Episode 17 with Chris Garlock and Michael Redmond 9p is released.

In this 93-minute episode, Michael reviews his Meijin tournament game with Takao Shinji 9P, which he calls his “best game of the year,” or as he also puts it, “my one half-decent game.” Most of the time, Redmond adds, “I seem to have the right idea” in this game, which features a lot of fighting. Takao held the Meijin title three years ago, dropped out of the league the next year, and the following year made the league’s final section. “He’s still at the top of the tournament scene in many ways,” Redmond says, noting that Takao is in the highest league of the Kisei tournament. A prodigy from an early age, Takao “played a thick, influence-oriented style, until he was confronted by Cho U,” whose territory-oriented style “inspired Takao to adapt his style and he does more fighting nowadays.” Chris and Michael also chat about what they were up to during their break from producing video commentaries, along with an update on their AlphaGo book-in-progress.

[link]

The commentary was originally streamed live on Twitch, which gave viewers a chance to interact with Redmond and Garlock, who will be live-streaming more game commentaries — some AlphaGo vs. AlphaGo and some of Redmond’s games — on January 23 and 30 on the AGA’s Twitch channel. Follow the AGA’s Twitch channel and get notified of live streams.

Video produced by Stephen Hu, Allen Moy, Chris Garlock and Andrew Jackson.

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