American Go E-Journal » Go News

How to get to the top boards at the Cotsen Open

Monday September 24, 2018

What’s the fastest way to the top boards at the upcoming Cotsen Open? Volunteer as a game recorder! No previous 2018.09.22_cotsen-2016-IMG_2015experience necessary but you do need a laptop with KGS on it and must be available all day Saturday and/or Sunday, October 13/14 at the Korean Cultural Center in Los Angeles. Free E-Journal caps and lunch for all game recorders, plus credit in all our coverage. Email journal@usgo.org ASAP if interested.

photo: top-board game recording at 2016 Cotsen; photo by Chris Garlock

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The Power Report (2/2): Kisei Leagues; Tournament to decide the Kisei challenger; 74th Honinbo League seats; Yamashita-Iyama pairing in Tengen sets new record

Monday September 24, 2018

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Kisei Leagues2018.09.24-kisei-league

S League: Below are the results of the games played in the final round of the 43rdKisei S League. On September 13, Takao Shinji 9P (B) beat Yamashita Keigo 9P by half a point. On September 17, Ichiriki Ryo 8P beat Kyo Kagen Gosei by resig. and Kono Rin 9P (B) beat Cho U 9P by 1.5 points. Yamashita had already clinched victory in the league in the fourth round, so this loss did not hurt him. However, Kyo Kagen’s loss was painful, as it meant ceding second place to Kono. There are no play-offs in the Kisei leagues: ranking takes precedence, so Kono qualifies for the final stage (see below). The bottom two players will drop to the A League.

A League: Murakawa Daisuke 8P took first place in the A League, which has eight members. Actually, he “tied” with three other players on 5-2—they were So Yokoku 9P, Yo Seiki 7P, and Shida Tatsuya 7P—but his number one ranking gave him precedence. Murakawa and Yo will be promoted to the S League in the next term (assuming the former does not become Kisei).

B Leagues: There are two B Leagues, each with eight members. A play-off was held on September 17, and Shibano Toramaru 7P (B2 winner on 7-0) (W) beat Akiyama Jiro 9P (B1 winner on 5-2) by resig.

C League: The C League is like a tournament in its own right: it has 32 players and is run by the Swiss System. Onishi Ryohei 3P won it 5-0.

Tournament to decide the Kisei challenger: The league winners above will participate in an irregular knock-out tournament to decide the challenger to Iyama Yuta. It works as follows: Onishi plays Shibano, the winner plays Murakawa, the winner plays Kono, and the winner plays Yamashita. The final with Yamashita is a “best-of-three” in which three games will never be played. The reason is that Yamashita will start off with a one-win advantage, so his opponent has to win two in a row. Otherwise, what would be the point of winning the top League? In theory, though, any of the 62 players in any of the five leagues could become Kisei, so it’s thought that professionals feel more incentive than with the former system.

74th Honinbo League seats: Three of the four vacant seats in the 74th Honinbo League were decided on September 6. Anzai Nobuaki 7P (W) beat O Rissei 9P by half a point; Anzai will make his debut in a league. Hane Naoki 9P (B) beat Takao Shinji 9P by 3.5 points; he makes an immediate comeback after dropping out of the previous league. Ichiriki Ryo 8P (W) beat Sakai Hideyuki 8P by resig.; he also played in the 71stLeague. The final play-off was held on September 10. Kono Rin (B) beat Mutsuura Yuta 7P by resig.; like Ichiriki, Kono last played in the 71stLeague. These players will join Yamashita Keigo 9P

Yamashita-Iyama pairing in Tengen sets new record: In my previous report, I noted that Yamashita Keigo had become the challenger to Iyama Yuta for the Tengen title. Subsequently, Go Weekly pointed out that this will be the 11th title match between these two, which sets a new record. So far, Iyama has lost only once. The previous record was ten, shared among three players in two pairings: Cho Chikun (eight wins) v. Kobayashi Koichi and Kobayashi Koichi (six) v. Kato Masao. Next is the current Meijin title match, which is the ninth match between Iyama (six) and Cho U. Equal fourth is Cho Chikun (seven) v. Otake Hideo.

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Categories: Japan,John Power Report
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DC Fall Open commentaries posted

Saturday September 22, 2018

Michael Redmond 9Ps commentaries — with E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock — on the recent DC Fall Open are 2018.09.22_Fall-Open-commentaries-2now posted on the AGA’s YouTube channel. Originally broadcast live on 2018.09.22_Fall-Open-commentaries-3Twitch on September 8 from the E-Journal’s new broadcast studio at the National Go Center, the commentaries cover all four Board 1 games, and there’s also an interview  with the tournament’s winner, Yuan Zhou.

The commentaries were produced by Nathan Epstein, with special thanks to Keith Arnold, Joel Cahalan, Nate Eagle, Jeff Fitzgerald, Stephen Hu, Gurujeet Khalsa and Gary Smith.

 

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The Power Report (1 of 2): Iyama makes best 16 in Samsung Cup; Iyama takes two-game lead in Meijin; Ichiriki to challenge for Oza title

Saturday September 22, 2018

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal2018.09.22_Samsung Iyama

Iyama makes best 16 in Samsung Cup:
The opening round in the 2018 Samsung Cup was held at the Samsung Insurance Campus in Korea on September 4 to 6. (It’s the 23rd cup, but apparently the sponsor is not numbering them that way any more; the full title of the tournament goes Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance World Masters 2018.09.22_Samsung left Shibano right ChenBaduk 2018.) The first round is like a tournament in its own right: the 32 players are split up into eight groups of four, who then play each other. Two wins take you to the next round (whether your score is 2-0 or 2-1) and two losses (0-2 or 1-2) eliminate you.
Japan was represented by Iyama Yuta 9P (right), Shibano Toramaru 7P (left), and Ryu Shikun 9P (right, below). The first two were Japan’s seeded players; Ryu won a seat in the Seniors division of the international qualifying tournament and was playing in the main tournament for the first time since 2001.2018.09.22_Samsung  Ryu right
In the first game (September 4), Shibano was the only one to pick up a win. He defeated Chen Yaoye 9P of China, who eliminated him from the Bailing Cup (see my previous report). Shibano had white and won by 4.5 points. Iyama Yuta (W) lost to Tang Weixing 9P (China) by resig. and Ryu (W) lost to Li Xiangu 5P (China) by 1.5 points. In the 2018.09.22_Samsung Yun Iyamasecond game, played the next day, Iyama (W) beat Yun Seongshik (left, below), an amateur player from Korea, by resig.; Ryu (B) beat Wu Guangya 6P (China) by resig.; Park Junghwan 9P (Korea) (B) beat Shibano by resig. In the third game (the 6th), Iyama (B) beat Tan Shui 9P (China) by resig.; Gu Zihao 9P (China) (W) beat Shibano by resig.; Li Xiangu (B) beat Ryu by 1.5 points.
Iyama was the only one to make it to the second round, but Shibano and Ryu were by no means disgraced, as scoring even one win at this level is impressive. Actually, Shibano was in what was dubbed the “group of death,” as the other three players (Park, Gu, and Chen) are all past or present world titleholders. Ryu, who at the “advanced” age of 46 qualifies as a senior, was ahead in his third game, but slipped up in the endgame. He was chagrinned to lose twice to the same opponent by the same small margin.
The second round will be played on October 1.2018.09.22_43meijin2_Iyama

Iyama takes two-game lead in Meijin: The second game of the 43rd Meijin title match was held at the Kakujoro a traditional inn, in Tahara City, Aichi Prefecture, on September 12 and 13. Cho U, the challenger, is know for his skill at fighting kos and he seemed to take the initiative when he connected a ko in the first fight on move 55. However, there was a lot of action still to come: the game extended to 336 moves, making it the second-longest game in a Meijin title match. Both sides made mistakes or errors in judgment, so the lead shifted back and forth. The game was decided when Cho suffered a hallucination on move 253. This was decisive. Iyama (right) won the game by 2.5 points. Iyama: “The result of the ko fight at the beginning was not favorable for me. I thought it would be a drawn-out game, but I was not confident. I didn’t have a clue about some of the things going on and thought I had messed up the game, but I took profit with border moves in the middle game.” Cho: “There were many positions in which I thought the game was easier for me. I got my last chance in the endgame, but I hallucinated and lost about three points. The content was not bad for me, so I will make a fresh start and do my best.” The third game will be played on September 25 and 26.

Ichiriki to challenge for Oza title: The play-off to decide the challenger for the 66thOza title was held at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo on September 13. It was fought between two players younger than the title-holder Iyama Yuta: Ichiriki Ryo 7P (aged 20) and Motoki Katsuya 8P (aged 23). Taking black, Ichiriki won by resignation after 239 moves. He will make his second successive challenge for this title and his fifth challenge overall to Iyama. The first game will be played on October 26.

Tomorrow: Kisei Leagues; Tournament to decide the Kisei challenger; 74th Honinbo League seats; Yamashita-Iyama pairing in Tengen sets new record

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Capture go app for iPhone

Thursday September 20, 2018

Image-1There is a new capture go app for Apple devices, designed for the very young.  “I created this app for my six-year-old grandson who was showing interest in my go playing, but was not yet mature enough to understand ko fights, trade-offs, and sacrifice,” says developer Tim Hoel.  The app walks users through rules and basic concepts, all with spoken narration.  Beginners can see examples of how situations play out, and then find solutions themselves. Simple lessons build from there, of which there are several, and then you can play against the computer.  It has three difficulty levels, so players can move up against the machine.  At level three, it is smart enough to occasionally catch even an experienced player.  Level one stays easy enough to keep young kids from getting frustrated.  Lessons can be reviewed at any point, and the rules are printed out in a separate tab as well. As this is capture go, and not regular go, one has to keep playing until one or more stones  are captured.  Passing is not an option, which means you will need to fill in your own eye if there are no other moves. Young players likely won’t make it to this point anytime soon, but when they do, it is arguable they are ready for full go. “Capture Go is a great way to get started because the rules are a little simpler and the goal is easy to understand, but it still teaches a lot about recognizing liberties, contact fights, forcing sequences, and planning ahead,” adds Hoel.  iPhone and iPad users can find the free app in the App Store, there is no Android version. -Paul Barchilon, EJ Youth Editor

 

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AGA chapters reaping rewards of building membership

Monday September 17, 2018

AGA chapters have been accumulating “tons of points” since the launch of the Chapter Reward Points program, reports Steve Colburn. The program operates similarly to an airlines or credit card rewards program; chapters are awarded points when AGA members affiliated with that chapter do things that earn points – sign up as full members of the AGA, play rated games, etc  – which can then be used by chapters to get reimbursed for activities related to the promotion of American go. “For example, if you have 35,000 points, that covers your chapter membership for the year,” Colburn says. Click here for program details, including that the formula for calculating point awards gives a bonus award to small and medium chapters to encourage their growth.  “I hope that your local chapter can benefit from this program,” Colburn added.

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NC championship set for Sept 22

Sunday September 16, 2018

The North Carolina State Go Champion will be determined in a day-long tournament on September 22 at Umstead State Park in north Raleigh. Competitors from across the state will vie for the title, with prizes and trophies awarded in multiple divisions. The State Go Champion wins a cash prize along with a trophy. All AGA members are eligible to play. However, to be awarded the title of “North Carolina State Champion” you must be an amateur go player who resides in North Carolina at least 50% of the year. Students are eligible.

PREREGISTRATION IS REQUIRED for first round pairing and an early start. To participate in the first round you must register before 8:00 PM Friday, September 21st. This is an AGA rated tournament; you must be an AGA member to play. Register here.

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ICYMI: Ethan Wang wins first official AGA state championship in PA; Tianfu Cup Prelim crosstab posted; Summer of Outreach in Seattle; Janice Kim in NM; Kissinger on AI and go:

Sunday September 16, 2018

Sometimes folks send in reports late, sometimes those reports just get lost in the EJ in-box, but eventually we do catch up…

Ethan Wang wins first official AGA state championship in PA: The Penn Go Society had the2018.09.16 PA state championship distinction of holding the first tournament under the new AGA State Championship system. Held April 28-29 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, more than 40 players attended the event at the Wharton Center for Student Life. In the Dan division, Chase Fu came in first and Ethan Wang and Yu Liang tied for second. In the Kyu division, Alexander Qi took first and Jino Choung and Evan Springer tied for second. $1000 in cash prizes were distributed.  “The Penn Go Society looks forward to next years state championship and looks forward to seeing other states join this system,” said Benjamin Sauerhaft Coplon.

Tianfu Cup Prelim crosstab posted: The crosstab for the 2018 Tianfu Cup Preliminary is now up, and includes the game records. Thanks to TD Jeff Shaevel, Steve Colburn, Dennis Wheeler and Todd Heidenreich for their work getting this done.

Summer of Outreach in Seattle: July was busy for the Seattle Go Center outreach crew, with events on three weekends.  July 1, players from Seattle Go Center and South Sound Go Club staffed a table at the Seattle Storm women’s professional basketball game during the Storm’s “Japan Night” event, and introduced the game to approximately 50 young sports enthusiasts. The following weekend, July 7 and 8, we were at the two-day “Japan Fair” in Bellevue, WA, where Dave Snow’s collection of Hikaru no Go hangings attracted attention from young adults who were in middle school when HnG was new.

2018.09.16-Bart-Jacob-05-01Bart plays go in Cape Town: “While on holiday in Cape Town, South Africa, I was able to stop by the Cape Town Go Club and play a few games,” writes Bart Jacob. “I am on the right side of picture, along with Christian, Sam, Chris and Michael from Cape Town.”

Janice Kim in NM: On September 1, Janice Kim 3p, offered game reviews for players in Albuquerque and Santa Fe. In commenting on game records brought in by local area players, she introduced her overall thoughts about how to play and how to study. She said that she finds players in the US are strong in the opening game but tend to be relatively weak at life and death. She stressed the importance of being able to visualize a sequence in your head. As an exercise, she put up a common joseki on a board, then took it off and asked one of the players to put it up using only black stones. Here’s an example (right). She said that in playing a game she looks for an “I win” move. To find such a move, you must have a good assessment of the overall game status, i.e., you must count. If you judge that you are ahead, the next step is to ask yourself, “How can I possibly lose this game?” and then to take the necessary steps to lock it up. If you judge that you’re behind, “agitate.” You must take risks. “If you lose, it doesn’t matter whether you lose by a half point or twenty.”
- Bob Gilman, Albuquerque Go Club

Kissinger on AI and go: “AlphaGo defeated the world Go champions by making strategically unprecedented moves—moves that humans had not conceived and have not yet successfully learned to overcome,” wrote HENRY A. KISSINGER in “How the Enlightenment Ends” in the June Atlantic. “Are these moves beyond the capacity of the human brain?” Before AI began to play Go, “the game had varied, layered purposes,” Kissinger continues. “A player sought not only to win, but also to learn new strategies potentially applicable to other of life’s dimensions. For its part, by contrast, AI knows only one purpose: to win. It “learns” not conceptually but mathematically, by marginal adjustments to its algorithms. So in learning to win Go by playing it differently than humans do, AI has changed both the game’s nature and its impact. Does this single-minded insistence on prevailing characterize all AI?” And, reflecting on AlphaGo Zero’s mastery of the game on its own, Kissinger wonders “What will be the impact on human cognition generally? What is the role of ethics in this process?”

 

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Cotsen Open website back up; pre-register for full benefits

Saturday September 15, 2018

The website for the 2018 Cotsen Open is back up. The tournament is on October 13th-14th; pre-registration will close on2018.08.01-cotsen-open Tuesday, October 9th, at 11:59pm. Day-of registration will also be available for $25. Pre-registration comes with benefits, including $20 entry fee and free food truck lunch on both days. As always, everyone who pre-registers and plays in all 5 of their matches has their full entry fee refunded. Also on tap: the Kogi food truck both Saturday and Sunday and Yilun Yang will do his pro game on Sunday.

 

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In Memoriam: Dr. Chun-Shan Shen

Thursday September 13, 2018

By Thomas Hsiang2018.09.13_Shen CS

Dr. Chun-Shan Shen, a multi-time US go champion, passed away on September 12 at the age of 86.  Dr. Shen was born in 1932; received his B.S. degree in physics from the National Taiwan University in 1955 and Ph.D. in astrophysics from the University of Maryland in 1961.  He worked briefly at Princeton University, then NASA, before taking a teaching position at Purdue University.  In 1973 Dr. Shen returned to Taiwan and joined the faculty of Tsinghua University.  In 1988 he became a Minister Without Portfolio in the Taiwanese government.  In 1989 he returned to Tsinghua as the Dean of Science and became Tsinghua’s President in 1994 until his retirement in 1997.

Dr. Shen was well-known for his deep and broad knowledge in many topics.  He famously delivered many lectures bringing astrophysics and space science to the general audience, both in US and in Taiwan.  He was a prolific writer, authoring hundreds of articles on educational policies, politics, and literature, with many deep insights, some of which changed history.  For example, he is credited with suggesting the use of “one country, two systems” policy that eventually peacefully resolved the China-Taiwan and China-Hong Kong quandaries.  Another famous example was how he eased the bloodshed during the 1980 “Formosa Incident”.  That year, a group of Taiwanese took to the street to seek political freedom.  When the protest turned violent, many people were arrested.  Then-president Chiang Ching-Kuo had wanted to severely punish the protestors, including executing a couple of the leaders.  Dr. Shen took upon himself to dissuade Chiang, defending the protestors as patriotic and intelligent young people.  Chiang yielded, bringing a potentially violent episode to a peaceful closure.

Dr. Shen published a number of books, including the three famous autobiographies “Three Chapters of a Floating Life”, “Another Chapter”, and “An ‘After’ Chapter”.  In them he first described the three important parts of his life: science, go and Bridge, and literature; followed by a discussion of his view on the politics in Taiwan; ending with an honest, almost cutting, look into his relationships with the women in his life and a discussion on life and legacy.

During Shen’s earlier life in US, he was among the top go players.  AGA old-timers will remember his many battles with Takao Matsuda in the 1960’s for the “US Honinbo” title, predating the current “US Open Championship”.  His last visit to an AGA event was in 1997, when he came to the Lancaster Congress and won every game he played.  None of them counted because he did not register in the US Open.  Still, he cheerfully crowned himself the “Off-Stage Champion”!

In addition to go, Dr. Shen was a top-notch Bridge player.  He joined the Taiwanese team that won second place in the 1969 and 1970 Bermuda Cup, the only world championship at that time, finishing only to the legendary Italian Blue team.

Most of all, to many who have interacted with him, Chun-Shan was a fun, humorous, honest, and devoted friend.  He was never pretentious, never aloof; his great intellect was never overbearing.  He will be greatly missed.

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