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The Power Report (1): Murakawa to challenge for Judan; Ueno wins Women’s Kisei; Yashiro to challenge for Women’s Meijin title

Monday February 19, 2018

by John Power, special Japan correspondent for the E-Journal2018.02.19_Murakawa-56jyudan0_1-2

Murakawa to challenge for Judan: The play-off to decide the challenger for the 56th Judan title was held at the Kansai Ki-in in Osaka on January 25. Murakawa Daisuke 8P (right) of the Kansai Kiin, playing white, beat Shida Tatsuya 7P of the Nagoya branch of the Nihon Ki-in by resignation. Murakawa, who won the 62nd Oza title in 2014, will make his first challenge for the Judan title. Shida missed his chance to make his first top-seven title challenge. The best-of-five with Iyama Yuta will start on March 6.

Iyama defends Kisei title:  The second game of the 42nd Kisei title match was held at the Hachinohe Hotel in Hachinohe City, Aomori Prefecture, on January 25 and 26. After a solid opening, a difficult fight started. Unlike the first game, in which Ichiriki had some chances, Iyama (left), playing black, kept the initiative throughout and secured a resignation 2018.02.19_Iyama-42kisei4_10after 171 moves. This win may have been a little disheartening for Ichiriki, who had now lost 11 games in a row to Iyama (all title games, including the NHK Cup final). The third game was held at the Olive Bay Hotel in Nishiumi City, Nagasaki Prefecture, on January 31 and February 1. The venue is a little unusual: it is a luxury hotel that was originally built as a guest house for the Oshima Shipbuilding Group and is located right next to a shipbuilding yard. This game was marked by complicated fighting among multiple unstable groups that spread from the top through the centre to the bottom. Perhaps the key move was a brilliant sabaki (settling a group) move with which Iyama (white) foiled a fierce attack by Ichiriki (below right); this led to a counterattack by Iyama. In the desperate fighting that followed, Iyama’s sharper play enabled him to seize the initiative. Ichiriki resigned after White 238. He now faced his first 2018.02.19_Ichiriki-42kisei4_11kadoban (a game that can lose a series).

   The usual pattern in a best-of-seven is to alternate breaks of one week and two weeks. So far, however, in this match games were being played once a week. The reason was to free up some time for both players to represent Japan in international tournaments (see reports below). Both players failed in these tournaments, so as far as psychological aftereffects were concerned, conditions were perhaps even. The fourth game was played at the Ofunato Citizens Culture Hall in Ofunato City, Iwate Prefecture, on 2018.02.19_Xie left, Iyama right-22lg3_2February 15 and 16. Once again, Ichiriki (white) was unable to get an advantage in the middle game, so he staked the game on a large-scale counterstrategy. However, Iyama calmly parried his attack, even letting him bring a dead group back to life, since he could secure a safe territorial lead anyway. Ichiriki continued to go all out, but his play was unreasonable and he had to resign after Iyama killed a large group.

   This was a very disappointing series for Ichiriki. In his first title match with Iyama, the 42nd Tengen at the end of 2016, he had at least won a game, but now he had been shut out in three successive title matches. Becoming challenger for three titles in a row is actually an impressive achievement, but it sets you up for some rough treatment at the hands of the grand slam champion. For Iyama, this was his sixth Kisei title in a row, the second-best run in this title after Kobayashi Koichi (who won the 10th to 17th titles). He had now maintained his grand slam for four months (since winning back the Meiijin title on October 17 last year). This is his 49th title, which puts him in sole fourth place, behind Cho Chikun (74), Sakata Eio (64), and Kobayashi Koichi (60). He is also sitting on a winning streak of 14 games in title matches, so he may challenge his personal record of 18 successive title-match wins. The Kisei prize is 45 million yen (about $416,000). The age of Iyama continues.

Ueno wins Women’s Ki2018.02.19_Yashiro-30fmeijin0_1-2sei: The second game of the 21st DoCoMo Cup Women’s Kisei best-of-three title match was held in the Ryusei studio at the Nihon Ki-in on January 29. Taking black, Ueno Asami 2D, the challenger, forced Xie Yimin to resign after 253 moves. This was her second win, so she dethroned the champion and won her first title at the age of 16 years three months. This set a new record in this title, beating Xie’s 20 years two months, but not threatening the overall record for women’s titles—Fujisawa Rina’s winning the Women’s Aizu Central Hospital Cup (now called the Hollyhock Cup) at 15 years nine months. Ueno’s prize is 5,000,000 yen (about $46,000).

Yashiro to challenge for Women’s Meijin title: The play-off to decide the challenger to Fujisawa Rina for the 30th Women’s Honinbo title was held at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo on February 1. Playing white, Yashiro Kumiko 6P (left) beat Izawa Akino 4P by resignation after 200 moves. Yashiro, who is 41, will be making her first challenge for this title. She won the 24th and 25th Women’s Honinbo Titles in 2005 and 2006. The best-of-five match starts on February 28.

Tomorrow: Xie wins LG Cup; Park wins New Year’s Cup; Ida keeps lead in Honinbo League despite loss

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Upcoming Go Events: San Diego, Irvine, Portland

Monday February 19, 2018

February 25: San Diego, CA
7th Annual San Diego Go Championship
Ted Terpstra ted.terpstra@gmail.com 619-384-3454

March 3: Irvine, CA
5th Zheng Go Tournament
Yixian Zhou missbear@gmail.com 626-617-5870
Kevin Chao kevingochao@gmail.com 949-616-4423

March 6 – April 24: Portland, OR
2018 Rating Tournament and Club Championship
Roy Schmidt rcschmidt76@gmail.com

Get the latest go events information.

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Silver Anniversary of the Redmond Cup – Registration Now Open

Sunday February 18, 2018

20771547_1491980427527052_1440893765_o-600x3372018 marks the 25th anniversary of the Redmond Cup, which began in 1994. Named after Michael Redmond, the only player of non-Asian descent to ever achieve the rank of professional 9 dan, the Redmond Cup has represented the highest-level of competition for youth players in North America. Four of the five current AGA pros are former Redmond Cup champions, and many former champions have represented the US or Canada in international competition.

Preliminaries will be played on KGS, with the top two players in each the Junior (12 and under) and Senior (13-17) division receiving invitations to the finals, which will be held in July at the 2018 US Go Congress in Williamsburg, Virginia. Courtesy of the American Go Association and the American Go Foundation, finalists will also have all basic expenses covered to attend the 2018 US Go Congress, and any participant who completes all rounds of the preliminary tournament will be eligible for a $400 scholarship to the AGA Go Camp (details TBD) or a $200 scholarship to the 2018 US Go Congress.

Players must have an accredited rank of 1 dan or higher, be residents of the US, Canada, or Mexico, and have an active membership with any of aforementioned countries’ Go association to register for the Redmond Cup. Please consult the Rules and Regulations for more information about the tournament. Registration is now open and will close on March 7th. - Story and photo by AGA Youth Coordinator Justin Teng. Photo: 2017 finalists Aaron Ye (l) and Muzhen Ai (r). 

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“The Surrounding Game” launches worldwide

Saturday February 17, 2018

Starting today, “The Surrounding Game” (2017) is now available worldwide on digital streaming, DVD and Blu-ray. The award-winning2018.02.15-surrounding-game-streaming documentary tells the story of go, from the four arts of ancient China to modern-day international competition, to the growth of the game in the West.

“I am so proud of everyone who worked on this project and brought their energy, their creativity, and their passion to it” says director Will Lockhart, “and we are all so excited to be able to finally offer the film for home use!” Click here for a short interview with Lockhart by AGA Broadcast Coordinator Michael Wanek.

In addition to the main feature, the filmmakers are releasing six never-before-seen deleted scenes and interviews. “This is some of our favorite material that didn’t quite make the final cut, and we think you’re gonna like it!” says Lockhart. The extras are included on the new DVD and Blu-ray discs, and are also available separately on digital download and streaming.

To meet the demand of an international audience, the film includes subtitle options in ten languages and counting. “We were blown away by all the requests we received from around the globe for translations” reports producer Cole Pruitt. “On the discs there are subtitles available in English, Spanish, French, German, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Russian – and Italian and Portuguese will be available on streaming as well. We want Go players around the globe to be able to use this film as a new way to spread the game, as we have seen firsthand its ability to connect with people outside of the gaming community.”

Available for streaming and download here, and on DVD and Blu-ray here.

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Go Spotting: Altered Carbon

Tuesday February 13, 2018

The premise of Netflix’s new sci-fi show Altered Carbon is simple: After 250  years of suspended animation a prisoner is2018.02.13_alteredcarbon_kovacs_vertical-core_rgb_us-1 returned to the world with exactly one chance to save his life – he must solve a “mind-bending” murder. And, oh, by the way, his consciousness has been digitized, downloaded  and stored in the “cortical stacks” implanted in the spine of his new body.

AC‘s central protagonist, Takeshi Kovacs, is of Japanese descent and sometimes plays go. In a flashback during Nora Inu (#7 – between the 40th and 42nd minute) Kovacs plays go with his sister as they talk. The ‘board’ presented here is a roll-up, either vinyl/cloth (or the futuristic equivalent), though the go-ke appear to be chestnut. The game in progress presented, however, appears believable. Toward the end of Rage in Heaven (#9) a goban is featured on camera twice; it appears this is a “set piece,” although a character picks up and plays with a stone. The same table goban in Rage in Heaven appears at the beginning of season 1′s final episode, The Killers (#10.)

The future Altered Carbon depicts is less than optimistic; think the bluesy, morose zeitgeist of Blade Runner, as opposed to the love letter to humanity that was InterstellarAltered Carbon is based on the Richard Morgan novel of the same name, his first book in the Takeshi Kovacs cyberpunk trilogy.

- Charles “Doc” Sade

 

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New York Go Expo set for this weekend in NYC

Monday February 12, 2018

The 2018 New York Go Expo will take place this weekend, February 17-18 in Manhattan at the China Institute (40 Rector St,2018.02.12_ny-go-expo_orig 2FL, New York).

The Go Expo is aimed both at go players and the general public. Aside from the invited team tournament, the Expo will emphasize creativity and collaboration, “especially when go is tied seamlessly with education,” says organizer Stephanie Yin. “Our goal is to pair all interested attendees in a simultaneous game with a strong go player.”

The Expo is free to the general public. A repertoire of events revolving around go will be held, from beginner to advanced, and players of all ages are encouraged to attend. “We’d like to see our participants learn, share, and advance in and outside of go,” says Yin.

Besides the pro activities and other go-related activities, the first Dreamworks School Invitational will take place at the Expo. Mrs. Liao is sponsoring this tournament and wishes to provide an opportunity for the younger generation for youth players in New York to meet current students in esteemed universities such as in the Ivy League Schools. She wishes that participants can learn, share experience, and improve, in and outside of Go. She also encourages go to be introduced into children’s studies.

Teams have been invited from universities including Harvard, Yale, Princeton, MIT, Brown, Cornell, Columbia, the University of Chicago, the University of Toronto, as well as the American Collegiate Go Association, and the New York Institute of Go, which will also field a NYIG Wildcard team.

Click here for details.

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SRP Alpha Go Video Released

Monday February 12, 2018

Last month Dave Liang and Sun Yunfan, the musical duo known as The Shanghai Restoration Project (SRP), released their2018.02.12_srp-video new album R.U.R., leading with the single “Alpha Go.”

The pair recently followed that up with a supporting video for the song, produced and animated by Yunfan.

Alpha Go explores a future robotic world, devoid of humans. It is both an  elegy and tribute to Ke Jie’s defeat by the AlphaGo AI. As such it is not a surprise to see the many go references in the video.

The new video can be viewed on Neo Cha.

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Upcoming Go Events: Chandler, Plano, San Francisco, San Diego

Monday February 12, 2018

February 17: Chandler, AZ
2018 Phoenix Chinese Week Go Open
Quan Li gb081449@gmail.com 602-326-7556
William Gundberg bill@azgoclub.org 480-831-5567

February 17-18: Plano, TX
2018 South Central Go Tournament
Bob Gilman bobgilman.aga@gmail.com 505-842-5541
Scott Ellerman dallasgo@gmail.com

February 18: San Francisco, CA
Jujo Ing Cup
Ernest Brown indagoe49@gmail.com 415-606-7641
Michael Bull bull@lmi.net 510-220-0760

February 25: San Diego, CA
7th Annual San Diego Go Championshikp
Ted Terpstra ted.terpstra@gmail.com 619-384-3454

Get the latest go events information.

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AGA becomes certifying organization for Presidential Volunteer Service Awards

Monday February 12, 2018

The AGA has successfully applied to become a certifying organization for the Presidential Volunteer Service Awards, according to2018,02,12_Presidential Volunteer Service Awards AGA President Andy Okun.  “It is a chance for our volunteers to receive recognition from the wider community for the hours they put in,” said Okun.  The award is given based on unpaid hours logged as a volunteer, with bronze medals for 100 or more hours in a calendar year, silver over 250 hours, and gold over 500 hours.  For teens and children the hours are less.  A volunteer who has logged more than 4,000 hours in total qualifies for a lifetime award.  The awards program has existed under several names since the 1980s, and includes a certificate, a signed letter from US president Donald Trump, and the choice of a pin, coin, or medallion.  The first recipient of an award, a bronze medal, will be Wenguang Wang, of Santa Clara, California, who teaches weekly go classes for school children, runs several tournaments, and organized and ran last year’s Go Camp.  Wang was 2017′s AGF Teacher of the Year as well.  AGA volunteers interested in being considered for the award should contact Volunteer Coordinator Bob Gilman at bobgilman.aga@gmail.com or Okun at president@usgo.org.

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Gao Jiaxin wins 22nd Orsay Tournament

Sunday February 11, 2018

Traditionally Orsay is the first (in all senses of the word) tournament of the new year in France. It allows players to meet up 2018.02.11_orsay_2018_01again and to break their New Year’s resolutions – I’m going to make 5 dan by Wednesday. As usual it took place in Bouvêche, a unique building in the grounds of the Orsay castle. 59 players took part, 18 of whom were dan level, most where from locals Île de France, but others came from Brittany, Rhone Alpes, Alsace, and elsewhere. As befitting France, the food available was also an important element, and special mention must also be made for Anne-Claire who prepared around 15 Galette des Rois (a traditional cake) for the players to enjoy. Inseong Hwang (8-dan) was on hand to give commentaries to the tournament participants.

2018.02.11_orsay_2018_05At the top of the table, the big winner with five victories, there was Gao Jiaxin (7-dan), who had helped many of the young players at the local Orsay club progress. In second place with 4 victories was Benjamin Blanchard (4-dan). After this several players trailed in with 3 victories apiece.

Other notable performances: Guillaume Ougier (1-kyu) with 4 victories and a loss to his sister (we expect a good atmosphere at their house) ; Li Liyun (13-kyu) 5 victories ; Robin Rouillon (17-kyu) 4 victories. Remember their names for the future.

- Ian Davis, based on original article by Benjamin Hellouin
 photos: Anne-Claire and Julien preparing the food; Ariane Ougier – Jiaxin Gao; photos by Ralf Wurzinger

 

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