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Ryan Li 3P and Calvin Sun 1P join European professionals to form new Transatlantic Pro League, first round May 15th

Monday May 10, 2021

The North American Go Federation (NAGF) is joining the European Go Federation’s (EGF) Pro League to form a new Transatlantic Pro League, starting on May 15th. All EGF-certified and NAGF-certified pros have been invited to compete. Six European pros – Ilya Shikshin 4P, Ali Jabarin 2P, Artem Kachanovski 2P, Pavol Lisy 2P, Andrii Kravets 1P, Tanguy le Calve 1P – and two North American pros – Ryan Li 3P, Calvin Sun 1P – have confirmed their participation. The EGF held a qualification round for top European amateur players, in which Remi Campagnie 6D and Oscar Vazquez 6D earned seats in the league. The ten Pro League competitors will be divided into two groups, with the top two players from each group advancing to a play-off.

The Transatlantic Pro League is sponsored by the EGF, NAGF, AI Sensei, and BadukPop. The prize money for the winner is €1000 EUR. League games will be live-streamed on the EGF Twitch Channel on Saturdays and Sundays from 12:00 EDT (18:00 Central European Time) starting May 15th. For more information, visit the league website.


NAGF announces Professional Rank Promotion System

Thursday May 6, 2021

The North American Go Federation (NAGF) has published its new professional rank promotion system, opening the way for NAGF pros to earn higher ranks based on their performance in professional tournaments. The new system will be applied to all the NAGF-certified professional players retroactively. As a result, Ryan Li and Eric Lui have been promoted to 3P and 2P respectively. For details about the system, please refer to the official NAGF Professional Rank Promotion System document or visit the NAGF website.

-report and photos provided by Hajin Lee 4P


The Power Report: Woman power hits Japanese go

Sunday May 2, 2021

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Sumire vs Goto Shungo
Nakamura Sumire
Sumire vs Nobuta
Women’s Meijin: Rina defends

The highlight of this month’s report is the extraordinary recent success of Nakamura Sumire, who leads three statistic-related lists for all Nihon Ki-in pros: most wins, best winning percentage, and best winning streak. However, it is not only the youngest pro who is making waves; her seniors are also doing very well. While contemporary women players benefit from the recent increase in women-only tournaments, this is certainly beginning to look like a golden age for women’s go in Japan. This report focuses on Nakamura Sumire and Fujisawa Rina.

Sumire leads lists of top performers
With the tournament year almost a third completed, Sumire and her female colleagues are dominating the statistical categories. Lists are given below (dated to April 30).

Most wins
1. Nakamura Sumire 2P: 21 wins 2 losses; Ueno Asami, Women’s Kisei: 21-7
3. Nyu Eiko 3P: 18-8
4. Kyo Kagen Judan: 16-7
5. Fukuoka Kotaro 2P: 15-3; Motoki Katsuya 8P: 15-5
7. Seki Kotaro 3P: 14-2; Shibano Toramaru Oza: 14-6; Suzuki Ayumi 7P, Kato Chi
e 2P: 14-8
11. Ida Atsushi 8P, Fujisawa Rina Women’s Honinbo: 13-3; Kondo Toshiki 1P: 13
-4; Xie Yimin 6P: 13-7; Mukai Chiaki 6P: 13-12

The top three are all women, as are eight of the top 15, so they have a majority. Offhand, I can’t recall this happening before.

Best winning streaks
10: Nakamura Sumire (since March 18)
7: Fujisawa Rina (since March 29), Otani Naoki 3P (since March 8), Seki Kotaro
 (since March 22)
6: Ito Masashi 5P (since March 8)
5: Ichiriki Ryo Tengen (since March 18)

Best winning percentage: On 91.3%, Sumire has no rivals in sight.

Sumire’s progress
Below are the results of games Sumire has played since my last report (posted on April 6).
(April 1) Sumire (W) beat Yoshihara Yukari 6P by 7.5 points (main tournament, round 1, 40th Women’s Honinbo). This was her first game on entering junior high.
(April 5) Sumire (W) beat Okada Yumie 6P by resig. (Prelimin. C, 47th Meijin tournament).
(April 12) Sumire (W) beat Mizuno Hiromi 5P by resig. (prelim. final, 6th Senko Cup).
(April 14) Sumire (W) beat Hara Masakazu 3P by 6.5 (semifinal, First Tournament, 46th Kisei).
(April 15) Sumire beat Sakaguchi Ryuzo 9P (Prelim. C2, 60th Judan).
(April 17). Sumire beat Yang Zixuan 4P by resig. and Yu Lijun (W) by resig. Yang and Yu are two of the top women players in Taiwan. These games were played as part of an unofficial match (more details in my next report).
(April 22) Sumire (B) beat Nobuta Shigehito 6P by resig. (Prelim. C, 47th Meijin).
(April 28) Sumire (B) beat Konishi Kazuko 8P by resig. (main tournament, round  one, 8th Women’s Hollyhock Cup; played at the Kansai Ki-in). At 12 years, one month of age, Sumire set a new record for the youngest player to reach the best four in a women’s tournament. (The previous record was 15 years eight months, set by Fujisawa Rina in the Women’s Meijin.)
(April 29) Sumire (B) beat Goto Shungo 9P by 12.5 points (Prelim. C, Judan). This gave Sumire a winning streak of ten games in official games, but if you include unofficial games it was 15 in a row. Her record for the year is 21-2.

Fujisawa Rina’s good run
Fujisawa Rina has also been doing very well and has maintained her place as the top woman player. Three recent successes are described below.
1. Promoted to 5-dan: On April 8. Fujisawa Rina scored her 70th win as a 4-dan and so qualified for promotion to 5-dan (effective as of the following day). This takes her halfway up the promotion ladder.
2. Defends Women’s Meijin title: The 32nd Hakata Kamachi Cup Women’s Meijin title match ended in another triumph for Fujisawa. The best-of-three was scheduled to be played at the Tokyo headquarters of the Nihon Ki-in on April 16, 18, and 20, but, as it turned out, the third day wasn’t necessary. In the first game, Fujisawa, the defending title holder, drew black and beat Ueno Asami, Women’s Kisei, by 1.5 points. In the second game, Fujisawa (W) won by resignation after 216 moves. According to Go Weekly, the games were tougher for Fujisawa for longer periods than for her opponent, but she played with greater precision in the crucial fights and overturned Ueno’s lead in each game. Fujisawa has now held this title for four terms in a row, but there was a gap of a year before it secured a new sponsor. She also holds the Women’s Honinbo and Hollyhock titles. In all, she has won 17 titles.
3. Enters Kisei C League: On April 29, Fujisawa (W) beat Matsumoto Takehisa 8P by 1.5 points in the final round of the 46th Kisei First Tournament and so won a seat in the C League for the first time. Xie Yimin has already qualified for the league, and Ueno Asami and Nakamura Sumire have also reached the final round. This is a notable achievement, though this league is not on a par with the Honinbo or Meijin leagues. The Kisei tournament actually has five leagues, with the S League (six players) on top, followed by the A League (eight) and two B Leagues (eight players each). Next is the five-round C League, which has 32 players; the top finishers are promoted up and players drop out immediately on suffering their third loss. 


Nominations being accepted for 2021 AGA Board Election

Monday April 26, 2021

Three American Go Association (AGA)  Board of Director seats are in play for the Eastern, Western, and Central regions. The current terms of office expire this September. If you know of someone who you believe would offer guidance and service to the AGA consider making a nomination. Nominations, including self-nominations, may be made by full members for the regional seat in which the member resides and must be received by June 15, 2021. Nominations and questions must be emailed to Click here for complete election information and qualifications.


50 years aGO – April 1971

Friday April 23, 2021

By Keith L Arnold, hka, with Patrick Bannister

Kajiwara Takeo
Kajiwara Takeo

The month began with Kajiwara Takeo 9d, the sharp tongued author of Direction of Play, defeating Sakata Eio on April 1 in the Asahi Best Ten. His subsequent win over Ōtake Hideo placed him in the best of five final against Ishida Yoshio. (Game record: Otake-Kajiwara.)

Ishida, of course, is the busy man of the month, winning his final game of the Hon’inbo League over Fujisawa Shūkō, unable to help his nephew, Fujisawa Hōsai, who was losing his match to Sakata at the same time. And so, Ishida won the league with a 6-1 record. (Game record: Shūkō-Ishida.) The first game of his challenge against Rin Kaihō was played on April 26-27, and did not go well, he was convincingly defeated. (Game record: Ishida-Rin.)

Arakawa wins the All Japan Amatuer Ladies Championship
Arakawa wins the All Japan Amateur Ladies Championship

April 6 saw Arakawa Kazuko upset Miyashita Suzue in the All Japan Amateur Ladies Championship. The photo captures the precise, dramatic moment when Arakawa, left, captures a large group to clinch the victory.

The British Go Championship required a final post Leeds Go Congress game between Jon Diamond and Tony Godard before Mr. Diamond prevailed on April 17 in London.

Finally, the First Gaijin Hon’inbo was held at Iwamoto’s Go Salon in Tokyo. Hugh Hudson, of San Diego, California, defeated M. Hall and Ishi Press’s Richard Bozulich to win the handicap event, securing promotion to 2k for his efforts.

Photos courtesy of Go Review


Rujun Ding 6d wins tenth annual San Diego Go Championship

Thursday April 22, 2021

Rujun (Larry) Ding 6d of Palo Alto, California beat Qipeng Luo 7d of Champaign, Illinois in the final round of the Open section to win the Tenth Annual San Diego Go Championship with a record of 5-0. Ding won a ko fight at the end of the game to pull ahead for a 7-stone victory. Kyle Fenimore (NY) and Mani K Sanford (MI) placed second and third with 4-1 records in the 18-player Open section.

The 2021 SD Go Championship had its largest turnout ever with 73 players, representing 17 states, competing. Among the 32 players from California, 21 were from the San Diego Go Club. This was the second year that the tournament was held online due to the pandemic, with one game per week over five weeks. AGA membership was required of all players and there is hope that since the AGA Board has approved online ratings, that the tournament will be rated by the new AGA online rating system.

In the Handicap division there were eight sections. The winners were:

1) 3d-1.5d    Patrick a Ferl (CA)
2) 1k-1.5k     Wanqi Zhu (IL)
3) 1.6k-2.3k  Michael Mei (CA)
4) 2.8k-3.7k  Jerry Young (TX)
5) 4.2k-5.5k  Duncan Harris (MI)
6) 5.7k-6.5k  Juliet Zhang (NJ)
7) 7.3k-10k   Terri Schurter (NJ)
8) 11.5k-25k Lewis Lin  (NY)

All winners were awarded a redesigned 2017 Go Congress San Diego Go Club T-Shirt. This was the fourth online tournament organized by the San Diego Go Club during the pandemic. The club will continue to provide opportunities for online go competition as long as it is unsafe to play face-to-face. Hopefully, by Thanksgiving weekend SDGC will be able to hold the 4th Annual California State Go Championship in person.

-report and photo provided by Ted Terpstra      


Registration Open for AGHS Youth vs. Adult Charity Event

Monday April 19, 2021

“Registration for the AGHS Youth vs. Adult Charity event is now open!” says Promotion Head Jenny Li, “Anti-Asian violence and hate crimes have been on the rise, so we want to take this time to raise awareness and appreciation for Asian culture. As much as it is an inspiration for all, the game of Go we have today is a result of millennia of Asian culture, built up and passed down through the generations. We hope the AGHS values of collaboration and opportunity can translate to supporting the AAPI community. We welcome all players to participate. The three rounds will be held in KGS’s AGHS Tournament Room on June 12 at 1 PM, 3 PM, and 5 PM EDT. Each table will be played in a round robin format between 3 adult players and 3 youth players. The registration deadline for this event is June 5, 11:59 PM EDT.”

For more information about rules and regulations, click here.

To register for the event, click here.


NYIG announces Go Dojo in Midtown Manhattan, Path to Pro training

Sunday April 18, 2021

NYIG’s Manhattan location

“I still remember how desperate Go players were when we heard the news that the New York Go Center would permanently shut down. It finally disappeared no matter how hard we tried,” says Stephanie Yin, the president of the New York Institute of Go. “The NY Go Center was not only a place for Go players to play Go, but also like a big family. It was a place for people to laugh, share stories, forget about pressure and unhappiness, and just enjoy some Go time.” The NYIG team is happy to announce that a location for that big family is back! The NYIG headquarters has been permanently set in Mid-town Manhattan. It is a 3600 square feet commercial building on W 49th street and only a 10-minute walk to Central Park. The place now is under renovation, with plans for a grand opening in September. 

The NYIG headquarters (official name TBA) will become the first physical Go Dojo in America. Plans for study abroad programs, intensive training, monthly tournaments, the New York State Championship, classes, membership, and Pair Go Night are in the making. Stay tuned for updates at The NYIG team is open to potential collaborations.

Shortly after the AGA pro qualification tournament in Washington, DC this summer, the NYIG will host the North American Youth Open and New York Youth Open. From June 28 to July 16 at 1:30-4:30 pm EDT, Ryan Li 1p will hold a three-week Path to Pro intensive training class. Registration now is open to all ages! For more information, please visit

-report and photo by Stephanie Yin 1P


The Power Report: 76th Honinbo League: Shibano has sole lead; Meijin League: Ichiriki and Hane share lead; Ichiriki wins Shusai Prize; Promotions/Retirement/Obituaries

Wednesday April 7, 2021

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

76th Honinbo League: Shibano has sole lead: We may well see a rematch of the players who fought the Honinbo title match last year. With only one round to go, Shibano Toramaru has the sole lead on 5-1. Next are three players on 4-2: Kyo Kagen, Ichiriki Ryo, and Hane Naoki. Shibano meets Hane in the final round; even if he loses, he will qualify for a play-off. It’s already decided that the bottom four players will lose their league seats.
Recent results follow.
(March 4) Sada Atsushi 7P (W) beat Hane Naoki 9P by resig.
(March 11) Kyo 8P (B) beat Ichiriki 8P by resig.; Onishi Ryuhei 7P (B) beat Tsuruyama Atsushi 8P by resig.
(March 18) Shibano Toramaru Oza (W) beat Ko Iso 9P by resig.  

Meijin League: Ichiriki and Hane share lead: With four rounds completed, two players, Ichiriki Ryo and Hane Naoki, remain undefeated, but each has already had his bye, so their scores are 3-0. Third is Kyo Kagen on 3-1.
Recent results:
(March 4) Yo Seiki 8P (W) beat Yamashita Keigo 9P by 4.5 points.
(March 11) Shibano (W) beat Kono Rin 9P by 1.5; Hane Naoki 9P (W) beat Anzai Nobuaki 7P by 2.5.
(March 18) Kyo Kagen 8P (W) beat Motoki Katsuya 8P by resig.; 

Ichiriki wins Shusai Prize: The Shusai Prize for 2020 was awarded to Ichiriki Ryo 8P in recognition of his outstanding record in winning two top-seven titles, the Gosei and the Tengen, achieving the best results by a Japanese player in international go, and winning a number of Kido Prizes (see my report of Feb. 21). (I wonder if a triple-crown winner has ever missed out on the Shusai Prize before, but it’s understandable if the selection committee wanted a new face–Iyama has won eight of the last 12 Shusai Prizes.) 

To 5-dan: Horimoto Mitsunari (70 wins; as of March 9)
To 3-dan: Ms. Nakajima Mieko (40 wins; as of Feb. 23); Ms. Hoshiai Shiho (40 wins; as of March 5). Hoshiai is one of the best-known women professionals in Japan, as she is the main M.C. of the NHK Cup. Also, Oda Teppei (40 wins; as of March 19)
To 2-dan: Nakamura Sumire (30 wins, as of March 16); I Ryo (30 wins; as of March 19) 

Yoshioka Kaoru retired as of February 28. He was born in Saga Prefecture on March 1, 1960. He became a disciple of Yasunaga Hajime, qualified as 1-dan in 1980, and reached 8-dan in 2013. He was promoted to 9-dan after his retirement. 

Yamada Wakio: Died of a cerebral infarction on Feb. 17. Born in Osaka on May 12, 1969, he became a disciple of Yamashita Yorimoto 7P and made 1-dan in 1984, reaching 7-dan in 1993. He was posthumously promoted to 8-dan. With his older brother Yamada Shiho 7P and younger brother Yamada Kimio 9P, he was a member of the Kansai branch of the Nihon Ki-in.

Miyazaki Hiroshi: Died of aspiration pneumonia on March 2 at the age of 85. Miyazaki was born in Tokyo on June 23, 1935. He became a disciple of Kobayashi Seiichi 6P. He made 1-dan in 1960 and reached 5-dan in 1972. He was promoted to 6-dan after his retirement in 2002.


The Power Report: Sumire extends winning streak, sets new record in promotion to 2-dan

Tuesday April 6, 2021

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Sumire extends winning streak, sets new record in promotion to 2-dan: Nakamura Sumire is going from strength to strength: she extended her winning streak to ten games and with the last of these wins, in a game played in the morning on March 15, secured promotion to 2-dan (effective as of the following day). At 12 years zero months of age, she broke a Nihon Ki-in record that had stood for 52 years. It was set by Cho Chikun, who made 2-dan when he was 12 years three months old. She also pushed Iyama Yuta, who became 2-dan at 13 years three months, into third place. On top of that, she took sole first place in the successive-wins list; it’s possible that she is the first woman player to top this list, but I could be wrong. Unfortunately, her streak came to an end in the afternoon of the same day. Sumire commented that she was happy to have made 2-dan while still (barely) an elementary-school pupil (she starts middle school in April). Just for the record, of the 13 Nihon Ki-in pros who debuted in April 2019, Sumire was the fourth to be promoted and the first of the eight female players in this group. Later in March, she also won a special tournament for teenagers (see preceding article). More details are given in the list of results since my last report below.
(March 1). Sumire (W) beat Tahara Yasufumi 7P (28th Agon Kiriyama Cup, Prelim. C). This win was a one-day-early birthday present to herself.
(March 10) Sumire (B) beat Tamura Chiaki 3P by resig. (preliminary, 6th Senko Cup).
(March 11) Sumire (W) beat Tajima Shingo 6P by half a point (First Tournament, Kisei tournament; incidentally, Tajima is a disciple of her father’s).
(March 15) In the morning, Sumire (B) beat Matsubara Taisei 6P by resig. (Prelim. B, Agon Kiriyama Cup). In the afternoon, she lost to Koyama Kuya 4P (W) by resig. in the same tournament. 
(March 18) Sumire (W) beat O Keii 2P by resig. in the 8th Women’s Hollyhock Cup prelim. and qualified for the main tournament.
(March 29) Sumire (B) beat Rafif Shidqi Fitlah 1P by resig. (Prelim. C, 47th Gosei tournament). This was her final game as an elementary-school pupil; her record this year is 13-2, which is not a bad first quarter, and her cumulative record to date is 51 wins to 26 losses. Sumire commented: “It was a difficult game, but at no stage was it bad for me.” Asked about her record, she responded: “It’s nice that I’ve won more games than I expected.” (Fitlah 1P of Indonesia made his debut as a professional in April 2020. He was born on July 12, 2002.)

Note: There was a lot of speculation about when Sumire’s promotion would come, but it was not easy to calculate, as not all games are counted in the list of cumulative wins. Her actual record when she got promoted was 49 wins, 25 losses, but only 30 of the wins counted for promotion. (Eligible domestic tournaments are the top seven open titles, King of the New Stars, Ryusei, Hiroshima Aluminum Cup, Agon Kiriyama Cup, Gratitude Cup, and SGW Golden Mean. Notably missing are women’s titles and the NHK Cup. International tournaments include: Samsung, LG, Bailing, MLily (but not the preliminary tournaments for these four), Nong Shim, Chunlan, Globis, World Go Championship, Xin-Ao, Tianfu Cup (previous two held only once each so far), and National Champion Mountain Range Cup. Notably missing are the Ing Cup, because of unorthodox rules, such as buying extra time with stones, and international women’s titles. (An additional reason for confusion is that tournaments sometimes change status, being made official. The best—or worst, depending on your point of view—example is the Hiroshima Aluminum Cup. Xie Yimin won the first cup, but she missed out on a place in go history as the first woman to win an official tournament open to both males and females because it did not become an official tournament until the sixth term.

Tomorrow: 76th Honinbo League: Shibano has sole lead; Meijin League: Ichiriki and Hane share lead; Ichiriki wins Shusai Prize; Promotions/Retirement/Obituaries