American Go E-Journal » World

MLily Cup top eight matches begin

Saturday August 26, 2017

IMG_0975The final top eight players of the MLily Cup begun their games the morning of August 26th in Tongling at 12:30 on the dot. A clock issue that interrupted the game between Fan Yunruo 6P and Park Yonghun 9P in the first few minutes was quickly rectified by the competition officer and the game progressed smoothly.
-photo: Park Jungwhan 9P begins his top eight match against Chen Zijian 4P
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report/photo by Karoline Li, EJ Tournaments Bureau Chief

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Ryan Li’s journey to the top 16 of the MLily Cup

Wednesday August 23, 2017

IMG_0616by Karoline Li

Official MLily Cup tournament festivities kicked off Tuesday (local time) in Tongling City with a welcome dinner attended by players and association officials. Ryan Li 1P and his partner Stephanie Yin 1P (photo at right) sat down to talk with AGA National Tournament Coordinator Jeff Shaevel (photo at left on the right) and I after dinner to discuss the upcoming match and Li’s journey to reach this moment. He was born in Beijing, and began playing go with his father around the age of five. He attended a go school a few times a week, and by the time his family moved to Canada at age eight, he had achieved amateur 4 dan status. After the move to Canada, he played mostly online. “He didn’t have a teacher,” Stephanie explained. “He practiced and learned on his own.” When I asked when he started competing seriously, he explained that for a while he only played in a few local tournaments in Ottawa, and his first big competition was the 2010 Canadian Open. “I took second to Matthew Hu,” Ryan says. “That was the year he became a professional.” He represented Canada in the Korean Prime Ministers Cup that year. “I didn’t do much between 2010 and 2012,” Ryan laughs. Then he joined the Pandanet AGA City League team captained by Cathy Li 1P, and was a North American representative to the first MLily Cup. He lost in the preliminaries of the MLily, but his City League team has won the championship three times out of five. He played in the second pro qualification tournament, then won the third tournament in 2015 becoming the fourth North American professional go player. Both tournaments were directed by Jeff Shaevel. “The tournament venue was in Boston right by the ocean, and it was beautiful,” Ryan remembered. “ “It was freezing!” Jeff laughed, and though Ryan agreed he viewed that as a positive. “Well I’m Canadian, so I like the cold.”

The last few years, Li has also been busy studying. He earned his bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Toronto, and became interested in atIMG_0662mospheric sciences after an internship with a professor who worked in the field. After earning his degree he went straight into a PhD program in the field at Yale University in New Haven, CT. “Does the logic for that fit with the logic of go?” Jeff asked. “I knew you were going to ask that,” Ryan laughed. “No, they don’t really go together.” Ryan explained that atmospheric sciences involves a lot of programming, data science, and theory. “Which is easier?” Jeff pressed. “Definitely go,” Ryan answered right away. “I really enjoy playing go,” he continued, his love of the game evident. “It started as a hobby, but after all these tournaments and becoming pro, it’s beyond a hobby, but it’s still fun. It’s one of the things I enjoy most.”

Li will face Li Xuanhao 6P on August 24th (local time), at 12:30pm in the top 16 match. He has prepared for this game for months by reviewing games and competing at the US Go Congress — where he went 8-1 and took second place in the Masters — in San Diego, and is excited for the match. “I have no secret weapon,” he said with a smile. “I’m just going to play my best and try to play move by move. At this point, I’m trying to relax.” He gives a lot of credit to Stephanie Yin, who has been helping him prepare for his matches and acting as his coach. Jeff smiled as Ryan talked about his preparations and his attitude towards tomorrow’s match. “This is such a proud moment for me,” Jeff beamed. “The pro qualifiers are a big deal for us, but we’re never sure what our pros will be doing after they qualify, and to see you playing in this tournament and doing so well is the most exciting thing. Whatever happens, I’m very, very proud.”
-report/photos by Li, EJ Tournaments Bureau Chief

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Thomas Hsiang on IMSA past, present and future

Friday August 18, 2017

International Mind Sports Association Secretary General Thomas Hsiang discusses IMSA’s short- and long-term plans in a recent interview2017.08.16_Thomas-Hsiang-150x150 with Sports Destination Management. IMSA, which started with Bridge, Go, Draughts and Chess, added Xiangqi in 2015, just added Mahjong this year. Other games under consideration for membership include “electronic games, duplicate poker and cue sports,” Hsiang says. Next up on the IMSA calendar are the IMSA Elite Mind Games, Hsiang says, which “will be held in China in the second week of December.”

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Video Commentary: “Giant-Killer” Ryan Li 1P on his Mlily win against Chen Yaoye 9p

Sunday July 30, 2017

Young North American pro Ryan Li 1P takes an in-depth look at his recent win in the MLily Meng Baihe Cup World Go Open Tournament against Chen Yaoye 9p in a brand-new 75-minute video commentary hosted by American Go E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock. “The 2017.07.30_Yaoye FINALtournament was a blast,” Li says. And though it wasn’t his first international tournament, Li admits it was “a real challenge to go up against players who have a lot more tournament experience than I do.” Li credits his study of Chen’s games and strong prep support from fellow North American player Stephanie Yin. “Just as in other sports,” Li says, “I think that a strong mentality is going to give you the edge in a tournament like this.”

Li, currently pursuing a Ph.D. in earth sciences at Yale, became the fourth AGA-certified pro in 2015. He has represented North America several times and scored wins over Asian pros before, including defeating Japan’s young talent, Mutsuura Yuta 2p, in the 2016 IEMG in China.

He will face Li Xuanhao 6p on August 24 in the top 16 of the MLily Cup. The winner receives about US $260,000 USD and the runner up close to $90,000.

[link]

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Categories: China,World
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Updates: East Bay Go Club formed; Australian Go Congress set; Kiseido sale on go books

Monday July 24, 2017

East Bay Go Club formed: The East Bay Go Club has just formed and meets Thursdays from 6:30PM to 9PM “at the beautiful new Games of 2017.07.23_east-bay-clubBerkeley” at 2510 Durant Ave. (near Telegraph Ave), reports Chris Russell. More details on the club’s website.

Australian Go Congress set: The Australian Go Congress is coming up September 28 – October 1 in Sydney. 2017.07.23_australiaThe third such event includes the 2017 Australian National Championships and has an iPhone/iPad-friendly site.

Kiseido sale on go books: Kiseido is having a sale of all English-language go books ordered through their book page. Recent and recommended books include The Basics of Life and Death, Handicap-Go and the Sanrensei Opening and An Encyclopedia of Go Principles. The sale runs through August 31.

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Pandanet Cup Internet World Amateur Go Championship free registration ends July 17

Tuesday July 11, 2017

Free registration for the Pandanet Cup Internet World Amateur Go Championship ends July 17. This is the world’s longest-standing internet tournament, and players are grouped by their playing strengths and regions of residence in the preliminary round.  Generous prizes are provided for final finishers in all playing bands.  The first round will start July 24.
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Categories: World
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Lego go set idea seeks support

Saturday July 1, 2017

While several different Lego chess sets have been created and marketed in recent years, David Fazekas thinks the Danish plastic brick company 2017.06.30_lego-go-setis missing a big opportunity. “After Deep Blue defeated Kasparov in 1997 Lego had made several official Lego chess sets,” says Fazekas, promotion executive for the PaGoda Go Association in Hungary. “Now that Deep Mind’s AlphaGo has defeated both Lee Sedol and Ke Jie it’s time for Lego to acknowledge go players with a Lego Go set!” Fazekas has developed a Lego go set prototype and submitted it on the Lego Ideas site, where he needs to gather 10,000 supporters to advance to the next step in the approval process. Thus far he has 754 supporters. “A go Lego set would reach kids in every country,” says Fazekas, “please take a moment to click to show your support for this project.” The word “lego” is derived from the Danish words “leg godt”, meaning “play well”.

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Pause the Clock: Reflections on Ryan Li’s historic victory

Thursday June 29, 2017

by Keith L. Arnold, hka2017.06.28_ryan-li

The American Go Association has come a long way since I first became active in 1985. In those days the place to be was on the East Coast with far more events and tournaments. But now, we have wonderful broadcasts of top professional games, and if you live on the East Coast, as I do, they don’t start until 1:30 in the morning, making the West Coast the place to be. Bleary-eyed bitterness aside, it is a great time to be a Western go fan, with access to world news, live streaming events and global opponents as close as your nearest screen.

Having just finished my Kickstarter download of “The Surrounding Game” documentary, which focuses its wonderful introduction to the world of go on the birth of our professional system, being confronted almost immediately with Ryan Li 1P’s victory over two-time world champion Chen Yaoye 9p last week was pure serendipity. There is a moment in the film where I express my skepticism about our pro system effort. I should explain, as I swallow some crow, that my main objection was always concern that we could not provide our new pros a living. I would sarcastically urge players to “keep your day job” at meetings when the topic came up, but I should confess that I also had concerns about how strong our pros would be.

Now, as we celebrate Ryan’s win, it’s a good time to take a moment to appreciate the route we have taken to get here, and why this is such an amazing accomplishment. Those of us used to the bullet train of the modern internet go world might benefit from a little history from the guy still riding the rusty bus several stops behind.

For decades, American players had no chance to play a professional at all, certainly not in a serious game. Apart from occasional, usually Japanese, pro tours, we could only look at their game records, on paper, received months after the games were played. We s2017.06.28_ryan-li-close-uptudied, and we played as much as we could – usually once a week at our local clubs.

The US Go Congress was the first change. Beginning in 1985, American go players, at least for a week, once a year, could grab a simul or three from professional go players. But this only made the gap seem all the more vast. In 1986 at the first Seattle Go Congress, our strongest player Charles Huh played Sakata 9 dan in a two stone one-on-one exhibition game. Sakata, one of the greatest players in history, was no longer at his peak form, yet Huh was helpless at two stones, and that was with Sakata outside most of the time on smoking breaks.

In the 1990s, Western players started to have chances to play professionals in serious matches during the annual Fujitsu Qualifiers. Still the gap seemed evident – as Michael Redmond 9P played for a decade without a loss to an amateur player. But the 1990s also brought the internet. Access to news, sgfs, opponents and unlimited chances to play began to increase the Western level of play. While I do not mean to diminish the efforts of our early professional teachers — Feng Yun, Yilun Yang, Zhujiu Jiang, Ming-jiu Jiang, James Kerwin and others — the steady shrinking of time and distance provided by the internet has broadened, amplified and, arguably, exceeded their efforts.

More and more opportunities to play pros arrived, and Western players started to win. On the one hand, I do not think this was a matter of percentages — more games does not guarantee more wins — I think we were actually getting stronger. However, the wins were often against non-active pros, certainly not against current top international players.

All that changed last week. In a serious international event, a Western pro defeated, not just a pro, not just a 9 dan, but a 9 dan world champion in his prime. It is an accomplishment for Western go that is simply unequaled. Before this week, I would argue that our greatest accomplishment was Eric Lui’s third place in the World Amateur Championship. We cannot forget the significant accomplishments of Michael Redmond 9P, but because he trained in Japan, I submit that Redmond’s success is the success of a Westerner, not the success of Western go.

Ryan Li 1P, homegrown and homemade, has announced to the world that we are more than a grateful recipient of support and a vacation opportunity; we are now a force to be reckoned with. We also owe an enormous debt of thanks to Myungwan Kim 9 dan.  Without his vision, help and guidance we would not have been able to put Ryan where he clearly deserved to be.

a western pebble
slung across the mighty seas
brings down a champion


photos courtesy Ryan Li

 

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Internet World Amateur Go Tournament now accepting registration

Friday June 23, 2017

The longest-running internet tournament, the 22nd Pandanet Internet World Amateur Go Tournament (IWAG) is now accepting registrations. The free registration requires the player to have an established rank on Pandanet, which is established after playing 20 games there.  Depending on their playing strengths, the players are divided into five groups.  First-round winners are selected from Asia, Americas, and Europe by a 2:1:1 ration to play a knock-out tournament in the higher rounds.  Generous prizes are provided.
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WAGC Update: Only China remains undefeated

Tuesday June 6, 2017

by Thomas Hsiang, special correspondent to the E-Journal2017.06.07-wagc-hq

The morning’s round 5 was highlighted by an exciting game between China and DPR Korea, won by China with the smallest margin of 0.5 point.  US rep Danny Ko lost to Cornel Burzo and fell to the 2-loss group.  Japan’s Sakata Shusaku has been playing well since he lost in the second round.  He met Hong Kong’s Chan Naisan and played a strong game from the start, giving his opponent no real chance of coming back.

In the afternoon, the top game was China vs. Korea. Because of the large number of spectators, the playing area had to be screened off by a “chair wall”.  The game lasted well after all other games had finished and remained close.  But in the end, Korea made a yose mistake and had to resign.  Japan defeated Romania and sent Burzo to two losses.  Russia’s veteran Dmitry Surin defeated Czech Lukas Podpera to remain the only 1-loss Western player.  Danny Ko played Thailand’s Vorawat Tanapatsopol and fell behind by quite a bit late in the game and had also entered his last period of 30-second byo-yomi. But Ko played a well-designed whole-board yose trap to overtake his opponent.  When his opponent resigned, Danny Ko had played his last sixty or so moves within the last byo-yomi period.
Entering the last two rounds tomorrow, the picture is clearer.  Having won all his games, China’s Bai Baoxiang has the championship in his control.  There are five countries at one-loss: Japan, Korea, DPR Korea, Taiwan, and Russia.  These six will play each other in round 7: China vs. Russia, Korean vs. Taiwan, and Japan vs. DPR Korea.

photo: WAGC headquarters hotel; Guiyang Sheraton set next to a large Ming-dynasty temple
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