American Go E-Journal » Go News

Race for US Open Masters “wide open” after upsets in fifth round

Tuesday July 24, 2018

Wei Ding 9P and Dalhoon Ahn’s 9P winning streaks in the US Open Masters ended Tuesday morning as they were defeated by2018.07.24 Andy Liu round 5 review Bin Fu 7d and Andy Liu 1P. That means there are now five players with 4-1 records (Ryan Li 1P is the fifth). Ahn “made two mistakes in the opening, and I got the better of him on two corners,” Liu told the E-Journal. “After that I had a pretty good lead.” Ahn “didn’t make any mistakes after that and was able to catch up a bit, but I just played really carefully.” Holding onto his lead “was really nerve-wracking,” Liu cheerfully admitted, “but I’m really good at managing my emotions now. I had some problems in the past winning won games, but now I know how to play safely.” He says he’s been watching a lot of AI games, “and they’re really good (at winning won games); they always keep their lead. So that was going through my head, how would a top AI keep its lead?” “This shows how good US pros are,” said Pro Coordinator I-Han Lui. “Now everyone has a chance at the title.” Round 6 is scheduled for Thursday morning; watch live on KGS, Twitch or YouTube
photo: Andy Liu and Dalhoon Ahn review their Round 5 game; report/photo by Chris Garlock


Go Congress Update (Late Edition): Wei Ding and Dalhoon Ahn leading in Masters; Seniors tourney popularity grows; Blackout at the Lightning Tournament

Monday July 23, 2018

Wei Ding and Dalhoon Ahn leading in Masters: Wei Ding and Dalhoon Ahn are in the lead in the US Open Masters, undefeated after four rounds. With 3-1 records are Ryan Li, Bin Fu, Zirui Song and Andy Liu. Click here  for complete results – and top-board game records. Click here for the US Open crosstab; add your game records by sending them to

Seniors tourney popularity grows: In just its third year, the Seniors Tournament has steadily grown in popularity, and this year, with Greg Kulevich directing, exceeded the original 40-player cap with a total of 46 participants. After two rounds, front-runners have emerged, but there are still two more rounds to play.
Undefeated Kyus: Moonhun Oh 1k, Bart Jacob 3k, Ray Heitman 5k, Frank Brown 6k (Moonhun Oh leads the tiebreaks)
Undefeated Dans: David C2018.07.23_Lightning-image4ho 5d, Eiji Hayashi 5d, Jon Thek 3d, and Jeff Horn 1d (David Cho leads the tiebreaks)

Blackout at the Lightning Tournament: Judging strictly by decibel level, the Lightning Tournament certainly sounds like the most fun, as stones fly and clocks are punched. This year saw an extra challenge, as the lights went out in the middle of the tournament (it was that kind of day; in mid-afternoon the Sadler Center was evacuated briefly when an overheated sensor set of fire alarms). Luckily the blackout didn’t last long, but every second counts in a game that is only 10 minutes with sudden death. Despite competition from a number of other popular offerings, the Lightning attracted 80 players on Monday night, split into tables of six competing in a fast-paced round robin style.
Dan table winners: Willis Huang 6d, Tianyuan Zhang 5d, Andrew Zalesak 3d, Soren Jaffe 4d, King Bi 3d, Jake Game 1d.
Kyu table winners: Terry Wang 2k, Billy Maier 3k, Tony Zhang 3k, Benjamin Coplon 5k, Tevis Tsai 6k, Tsulmuun Ganbatoor 8k, Josh Johnson 14k, Tonya Perez-Lopez 20k.
Playoffs continue through the week; Keith Arnold, as always, directed.
- reports by Julie Burrall and Matt Burrall; photos by Julie Burrall




Go Congress broadcasts reaching new audience heights

Monday July 23, 2018

The E-Journal’s US Go Congress broadcast coverage is achieving unprecedented audience levels this year, thanks to, 2018.07.24_FB_IMG_1532376461324which hosted their first official “Twitch Plays Go” event three months ago. All Go Congress broadcasts this week are being featured on the Twitch front page, and Saturday’s Pandanet City League final stream saw a total of more than 2,000 viewers, who witnessed an exciting 300+ move battle with a 2018.07.24_FB_IMG_1532376526014half-point finish. The EJ broadcast crew includes Stephen Hu, Nathan Epstein and Joel Cahalan, along with commentators (see below).

Live broadcasts of pro commentaries and interviews can be found on the official AGA Twitch channel, and abridged version of the recordings are posted daily in the 2018 US Go Congress YouTube playlist, which includes:
- Pandanet-AGA City League Finals Board 1, Ryan Li 1p (W) vs Zirui Song 1p (B), commentary by Eodeokdung Lee 2p
- US Masters Round 1, Andy Liu 1p (W) vs Zirui Song 1p (B), commentary by Stephanie Yin 1p
- Redmond Cup Finals Game 1, Jeremy Chiu 7d (W) vs Aaron Ye 7d (B), commentary by Eric Lui 1p
- US Masters Round 2, Alan Huang 7d (W) vs Eric Lui 1p (B), commentary by Stephanie Yin 1p
- Interview with Nate Eagle, US Go Congress co-director.
photo source: Eodeokdung Lee 2p


Go Congress Updates: 13×13 tourney visited by phantom go player; Quick, here are the Youth Lightning table winners!; Dramatic AGA Board election results in; Playing Facebook’s AI

Monday July 23, 2018

13×13 tourney visited by phantom go player: There were 41 participants in the 13×13 tournament Sunday night, directedProcessed with VSCO with g6 preset by Jim Hlavka. The players were spread across seven tables with six players playing round robin at each table. To make the numbers work, the final table added a phantom go player, which honorably forfeited all its games and the tournament attendees took a moment to appreciate its sacrifice. Basic time was set at 15 minutes for each game with no overtime. From a mixed dan/kyu table, emerged an unbreakable three-way tie, and the dan player moved into the dan quarterfinals, while the two kyu players will compete for the kyu quarterfinals spot. The players in the quarterfinals are as follows:
Dan section: Ary Cheng (5D), Yiduo He (6D) Ye Sun (3D), and Seowoo Wang (2D)
Kyu section: Jim Conyngham (4K), Eric Hookway (10K), Joshua Johnson (15K), and the future winner of the face-off between Jasper Emerton (2K) and Darwin Kim (2K)
- report/photo by Julie Burrall

2018.07.22 Facebook Open Go simulQuick, here are the Youth Lightning table winners! Tianyuan Zhang 5d, Brian Wu 2d, Derek Zhou 19k.
- reported by Paul Barchilon

Dramatic AGA Board election results in: “Everybody won. Everything passed,” reports Arnold Eudell on the AGA Board Elections. Eastern: Gurujeet Khalsa; Central: Lisa Scott; Western: Christopher Saenz: At-Large: Paul Celmer. Details here.

Playing Facebook’s AI: Congress attendees got a chance to play Facebook’s go AI Sunday (left) in the first of three simul exhibitions, culminating in a Pair Go exhibition game Tuesday night in which Andy Liu and Ryan Li will each team up with OpenGo, competing for $4,500 in prizes, with commentary by Stephanie Yin 1P with Chris Garlock.
- photo by James Pinkerton






Go Congress Updates: So much go, so little time; More Congress coverage than ever

Sunday July 22, 2018

So much go, so little time: The first full day of the 2018 US Go Congress was packed with go, from the first rounds of the US 2018.07.22 simulOpen and the US Open Masters (the main tournament crosstabs have been updated; click here for the US Open and here for the Masters) to the first rounds of the Senior (55 and over) and Womens’ tournaments, and ending with the 13×13 tournament and the second round of the US Masters. In 2018.07.22 social-screenshotbetween was a jam-packed schedule of lectures, simuls and of course all the casual play attendees could fit in. Pro lectures this year are targeted by playing strength and there are special sessions like Andy Liu’s Beginner’s Boot Camp as well as the ever popular In-seong Hwang’s “Let’s Get the Go-Avengers,” which drew a standing-room-only crowd, and the first of three Facebook Open Go simuls. photo by Matt Burrall

More Congress coverage than ever: Whether you’re on-site at the Congress or keeping track from home, we have lots of ways to enjoy the Congress virtually, from reports on our Facebook page and Twitter stream to the free Congress mobile app, which has a very active social stream on which anyone can post and which features lots of on-the-spot posts by the EJ’s roving reporters and photographers. You can watch live streams of the top boards on Twitch or YouTube and there’s also live pro commentary on KGS.  


Redmond Cup Champions Return to Defend Their Titles Against New Challengers

Sunday July 22, 2018

Aaron Ye pictureThe 25th Redmond Cup preliminaries, for the strongest young players in North America, were held on KGS between March and June and ended with both of last year’s champions, Aaron Ye 7d and Ary Cheng 6d sweeping the Senior and Junior divisions respectively. Their challengers this year are Aaron’s longtime rival Jeremy Chiu 7d, and a newcomer to the Finals in the Junior, Frederick Bao 4d. Ye and Chiu competed against each other in the Finals of the Junior Division in 2014, with Ye taking the crown. Both kids have represented the US in international tournaments numerous times, and are the current stars of the North American youth scene. Learn more about the two Senior Division players below:

Aaron Ye (at left) is 16-years old and from Cupertino, California. He started playing go at the age of 6, and won the Junior Division of the US Youth Go Championships for three years in a row from 2010-2012. He went on to represent the US at the World Youth Go Championships three times, where he achieved 4th in 2011 and 6th in 2012 in the Junior Division ,and 3rd place in the 2016 Senior division. In addition, he represented the US in the Liming Cup and the World Amateur Go Championships. To add even further to his list of achievements, he achieved the title of Redmond Meijin in 2017 for winning the Redmond Cup five times–a feat that had only been accomplished by two other players in the history of the tournament. If he can hoist the championship trophy once more this year, he will have won the title more years than anyone else.

These days, Aaron doesn’t have much time to study go, but he plays casual games with his friends in his spare time and teaches go at a local Chinese school. For this upcoming match, Aaron told the EJ, “[Jeremy and I] had played many games in the past and through those games, I can tell that Jeremy is a talented player. I respect him a lot and wish him good luck for the game.” Outside of Go, Aaron enjoys playing tennis and watching Chinese dramas, particularly recommending Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms.

Jeremy Chiu pictureJeremy Chiu (at right) is 16-years old and from San Jose, California. He started playing go at the age of 5 through a class at his local Chinese school, and studies under Mingjiu Jiang 7p. While under the shadow of Aaron Ye’s dominance for many years in the US Youth Junior scene, he finally managed to defeat his rival in the Junior Division of the US Youth Go Championships, and placed 5th later that year in the World Youth Go Championships Junior Division. Chiu later represented the US again in the Senior Division of the World Youth Go Championships in 2015, where he placed 6th, as well as in the 2016 Korean Prime Ministers Cup and the 2016 International Amateur Pair Go Championships. Chiu is no stranger to success in the Redmond Cup, having won the Senior Division in 2016. He now has another chance to take down his rival this year.

Aside from taking lessons from Mingjiu Jiang 7p, Jeremy studies go by playing on Tygem and Fox and using AI to assist him with reviewing his games. When tournaments are coming up, he also does some tsumego and watches commentated games from his favorite pro, Meng Tailing 6p, on WeiqiTV. Jeremy credits AI for being an invaluable tool for analyzing positions, and says that it has had a large influence on his tendencies in the opening. He hopes to be able to perform better in tournaments, represent the US more in international tournaments, and one day become a professional Go player. When asked for his thoughts about this match, he said, “Aaron is and has always been a tough but fun opponent to play against; his aggressive style and precise reading often launches our games into intense fights. I’m hoping we’ll play some exciting games!” Outside of go, he participates in math competitions, the Future Business Leaders of America club, and enjoys playing the violin, piano, and video games.

In the Junior Division, 12-year old Ary Cheng 6d from Sunnyvale, California is defending his title for the 4th consecutive year, holding a dominating 6-1 record across his previous Finals matches. His 4th unique opponent, 11-year Frederick Bao 4d from Bethesda, Maryland, will take his first shot at dethroning the current king of the Junior scene.

The first round of the best-of-three Redmond Cup Finals kicks off at the 2018 US Go Congress on 7/22 at 3 pm with live video commentary by Eric Lui 1p and the Honorary Keith Arnold 4d, as well as a live broadcast of both divisions’ Finals games on KGS. Stay tuned to find out whether Aaron Ye can distinguish himself as a legend, or if Jeremy Chiu can close the curtains on Aaron’s reign. -Justin Teng, Redmond TD


Sudden death at the 9×9 tournament

Sunday July 22, 2018

The evening unrated tournament series at the U.S. Go Congress kicked off Saturday night with the 9×9 tournament, directed by 2018.07.21 9x9 tourneyPete Schumer, who just returned from Maeda’s summer go camp in Japan. Fifty three players, with ranks ranging all the way from 30 kyu to 7 dan, were split into tables of six to play a round robin of five games to determine a winner for each table to move on to the playoff rounds. 9×9 games are generally pretty short, but with just an hour to complete the tournament (the building was closing at 10pm), the time limit on the games was just 6 minutes for each player, with no overtime. Moving on to the playoffs will be: Aaron Ye 7d, Do Khanh Bing 5d, Nick Sibicky 4d, Vo Minh Duy 4d, Jake Game 1d, Terry Wong 2 k, Eli Fenster 5k, John Christensen 13k, and Bethany Nyborg 18k. Stay tuned for updates on playoff results.
- Matt Burrall; photo by Chris Garlock


The Power Report (Part 3 of 3): Kyo makes good start in Gosei; Kobayashi Koichi wins tournament for senior players; Ryu wins seat in 2018 Samsung Cup; Yamashita leads S League; Cho U keeps lead in Meijin League; Promotions; Obituary: Nishigami Yoshihiko 9P

Sunday July 22, 2018

by John Power, special Japan correspondent for the E-Journal2018.07.22_Gosei2 Kyo

Kyo makes good start in Gosei : The 43rd Gosei best-of-five title match got off to a start on June 23. The venue was the Hokkoku (North Country) Newspaper Hall in Kanazawa City, Ishikawa Prefecture. The Hokkoku Newspaper is a member of the Newspaper Igo Federation, a group of 13 regional newspapers that sponsor the Gosei tournament.
This year the challenger is Kyo Kagen 7-dan, who is making his title-match debut. He was born in Taiwan, where he is known as Hsu Chiayuan (Xu Jiayuan in Pinyin). Kyo has 2018.07.22_Gosei2 Iyama Kyoalready made a name for himself as one of the most promising younger players in Japan; he was promoted to 7-dan in 2017, when he won a seat in the Kisei S League. He will turn 21 onDecember 24. In the first Gosei game, he drew white and forced Iyama to resign after 226 moves. Kyo made a very severe attack that brought Iyama to his knees. Of the time allowance of four hours each, Kyo had three minutes left; Iyama was down to his last minute.
The second game was played at the Nihon Ki-in headquarters in Tokyo on July 6. The game concluded after 271 moves with Kyo (black) winning by 1.5 points. Once again Kyo slugged it out toe to toe and took the lead. Iyama’s septuple crown seems to be in serious danger. The third game will be played on July 3.

Kobayashi Koichi wins tournament for senior players: According to Go Weekly, tournaments for around eight 2018.07.22_Kobayashi with Wang Runanplayers are popular in various places in China and “legendary” Japanese and Korean players are sometimes invited to take part. On July 1 and 2, the city of Shaoxing in Zhejiang Province held the 1st International Weiqi Great Players Tournament to commemorate the building of a weiqi hall. (Shaoxing is a city of five million and is well known for the rice wine of the same name.) The participants were all top players in the last century, so I will give all the results (all players are 9-dan; I don’t have full details of the games).

(Round 1, July 1) Ma Xiaochun (China) beat Yang Jaeho (Korea), Kobayashi (Japan) beat Rin Kaiho (representing Chinese Taipei), Cao Dayuan (China) beat Seo Bong-soo (Korea), Nie Weiping (China) beat Takemiya Masaki.
(Round 2, July 1) Kobayashi beat Ma, Nie beat Cao.
(Final, July 2) Kobayashi (W) beat Nie by 4.5 points.
First prize was 200,000 yuan ($30,000)

Ryu wins seat in 2018 Samsung Cup: The international preliminaries for the current Samsung Cup were held in Seoul from July 2 to 7 with about 380 players taking part in the various sections. They included 35 players from Japan, of whom just one was successful: Ryu Shikun 9P in the Senior division. He will be competing in the main tournament for the third time and the first time since 2001.

Yamashita leads S League: After three rounds, Yamashita Keigo has the sole lead in the 43rdKisei S League with a score of 3-0. He is followed by Kono Rin 9P and Kyo Kagen 7P, both on 2-1. In the A League, three players on 3-1 share the lead: Murakawa Daisuke 8P, So Yokoku 9P, and Yo Seiki 7P. In the B1 league, Tsuruyama Atsushi 7P has the provisional lead with 5-1, but Akiyama Jiro 9P, on 4-1, also has only one loss. In the B2 League, Shibano Toramaru, on 6-0, has the sole lead.

Recent results in the S League:
(June 14) Ichiriki Ryo 8P (B) beat Cho U 9P by resig.
(June 21) Kono Rin 9P (W) beat Takao Shinji 9P by resig.
(July 13) Yamashita (W) beat Kyo Kagen by resig.

Cho U keeps lead in Meijin League: Cho U 9P not only has the sole lead in the 43rd Meijin League on 6-0, he is now two points clear of the field. The only other player with a chance of becoming the challenger is Shibano Toramaru 7P, who is on 4-2. If Cho wins his seventh-round game, against Ko Iso 8P, or if Shibano loses his, with Kono Rin 9P, Cho will win the league. If Cho loses, his final game against Takao Shinji 9P will assume greater importance. Recent results:
(June 7) Yamashita Keigo 9P (B) beat Murakawa Daisuke 8P by resig.; Shibano Toramaru 7P (B) beat Hane Naoki 9P by 3.5 points.
(June 14) Ko Iso 8P (W) beat Kono Rin 9P by 1.5 points.
(June 28) Cho (W) beat Yo Seiki 7P by 4.5 points.
(July 5) Yamashita Keigo 9P (W) beat Takao Shinji 9P by resig.; Yo Seiki 7P (W) beat Hane Naoki 9P by resig.

To 8-dan: Rin Kanketsu (Lin Hanjie) (150 wins; as of July 6)
To 3-dan: Cho Zuiketsu (Zhang Ruijie) (40 wins; as of June 19)
To 2-dan: Utani Shunta (as of June 8), Seki Kotaro (as of June 26) (both 30 wins)

Obituary: Nishigami Yoshihiko 9P
Nishigami Yoshihiko died of colon cancer on June 30. Born in Osaka on March 16, 1941, Nishigami became a disciple of Hosokawa Chihiro 9P. He became 1-dan at the Osaka branch of the Nihon Ki-in 2in 1960, reached 8-dan in 1989, retired in 2006 and was promoted to 9-dan.


2018 U.S. Go Congress launches in Williamsburg

Sunday July 22, 2018

Heavy daylong rains may have slowed the arrival in Williamsburg, VA of some of the hundreds of go players at the 2018 U.S. Go 2018.07.21_go-congress-fife-drumCongress, but it didn’t dampen their spirits in the slightest, as old friends and new connected and hit the boards. New York City swept DC in the finals of the Pandanet City League — watch for full details soon — and the first round of the 9×9 tournament was held after the opening ceremonies. The U.S. Open commences at 9a sharp Sunday morning;  watch live on Twitch or YouTube and there will also be live pro commentary on KGS.  Plus check out lots of photos and reports on Facebook and Twitter and the free Congress mobile app not only has all the information attendees need  — including latest schedule updates, pairings and more — but a cool social stream as well, where we’ll be posting additional photos and reports, handy for anyone in the world who wants to see what’s going on at this popular event. photo: a fife and drum corps welcomes go players to historic Williamsburg; report/photo by Chris Garlock


The Power Report (Part 2 of 3): Iyama defends Honinbo title; Fujisawa defends 5thHollyhock Cup

Thursday July 19, 2018

by John Power, special Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Iyama defends Honinbo title: The fourth game of the 73rdHoninbo best-of-seven title match was held at the Hotel Hankyu Expo Park in Suita City, Osaka Prefecture, on June 12 and 13. Yamashita Keigo 9P, the challenger, who had white, 2018.07.19_Honinbo5 Yamashita Kataoka 9P moustache Iyamatook the initiative in the fighting on the first day and went into the second day with a slight advantage. But on the evening of the second day he flinched in the face of an all-out do-or-die challenge by Iyama Yuta (or Honinbo Monyu) and in a flash his lead was upset. He resigned after 189 moves. Iyama had now won three games in a row, so Yamashita faced a kadoban. Incidentally, this is the third year in a row that this hotel was scheduled to host a Honinbo game, but on the previous occasions the match ended before it reached the hotel.
The fifth game was played at the Konjakutei inn in Aizu Wakamatsu City, Fukushima Prefecture, on June 30 and July 1. Playing white, Iyama secured a resignation after 228 moves and won the match 4-1. As in the previous game, Yamashita played well and seemed to have the initiative in the middle-game fighting on the second day, but when he launched an attack there was a chink in his armor; Iyama seized the opportunity to unleash a fierce counterpunch that Yamashita was unable to handle. He fought on until he ran out of options.
The prize money is 30,000,000 yen (about $278,000). Iyama has now held the Honinbo title for seven years in a row, so he has matched the record of Sakata Eio (16th to 26th terms); his next goals will be the nine-in-a-row posted by Takagawa Shukaku (7th to 15th terms), then Cho Chikun’s record of ten in a row (44th to 53rd). This is Iyama’s 52nd title. He is in fourth place after Cho Chikun (74), Sakata Eio (64), and Kobayashi Koichi (60), but in his tally of big-three titles (19) he is second only to Cho (29). Also, he has won 41 top-seven titles, just behind Cho’s record of 42.
Like the venues for the first and second games, the venue for the fifth game has a connection with the Meiji Restoration 150 years ago. The restoration of imperial rules was made possible by the victory of the clans supporting the restoration over those supporting the Tokugawa shogunate. After an attack by Imperial forces on Edo, the last shogun, Yoshinobu, surrendered in May 1868, but the Aizu clan, which supported the Tokugawas, continued fighting. The imperial army attacked Aizu Wakamatsu in October and the city surrendered in early November. The most famous incident in this part of the war was a mass suicide of 19 teenaged Aizu samurai in the White Tiger Corps when they concluded (prematurely) that their side had lost. This episode has been very popular in literature and film. For details of the war, check out “the Boshin war” in Wikipedia2018.07.19_Hollyhock Fujisawa and for the suicide “the Byakkotai.” The players visited the White Tiger graves to make offerings the day before the game.

Fujisawa defends 5th Hollyhock Cup: The games in the 5th Aizu Central Hospital Women’s Hollyhock Cup best-of-three were held in the space of eight days. The first two games were held in the Konjakutei, a traditional Japanese inn, in Aizu Wakamatsu City in 2018.07.19_Hollyhock3 Xie Redmond referee FujisawaFukushima Prefecture with just one rest day between them; the score was a tie, so the deciding game was played at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo after a break of four days. Xie made a good start in her bid to seek revenge for her loss to Fujisawa last year when she pulled off an upset win in the first game, but Fujisawa fought hard to take the next two games, thus defending her title.
Game 1 (June 15). Xie (W) by resig.
Game 2 (June 17). Fujisawa (W) by resig.
Game 3 (June 22). Fujisawa (B) by resig.
Fujisawa won the inaugural term, so she has now won this title three times. By my count, this is her eighth title. First prize is 7,000,000 yen (close to $65,000).
(Note: Until the third term, this tournament was a knock-out, with the previous winner starting out in the final stage and the final being just one game. Last year the final became a best-of-three, with the winner to defend the title this year. It has taken two years to transform the title to the usual challenger format.)

Tomorrow: Kyo makes good start in Gosei; Kobayashi Koichi wins tournament for senior players; Ryu wins seat in 2018 Samsung Cup; Yamashita leads S League; Cho U keeps lead in Meijin League; Promotions; Obituary: Nishigami Yoshihiko 9P