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Go Spotting: All Is Fair In Love & Go

Thursday September 3, 2020

Andrew Okun reports that Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone’s book This is How You Lose the Time War and its inclusion of Go features in a new tor.com article called All Is Fair in Love & Go: Strategy Gaming in This is How You Lose the Time War. In the article, author Em Nordling states that “Go, in the context of Time War, is time travel. It isn’t just the 19×19 coordinate options that lend the game its complexity (though the 3^361×0.012 = 2.1×10^170 potential moves don’t hurt), but the positionality, the contingency. With the meaning of each move changing over time, its narrative is not linear. Where most strategy games unfold with the grace of a plotted story, Go moves map like a messy history, where meaning is made only in hindsight, where brilliance can turn obsolete and banality groundbreaking.” The book was first featured in Go Spotting by Adam Anaya in June of this year.

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Go Spotting: The History of Home

Wednesday September 2, 2020

Tyler Keithley, president of the Southwest Missouri Go Club, reports that the second episode of The History of Home Narrated by Nick Offerman includes a mention of Go at 48:27 in a transition between explaining the historical importance of board games and the modern pastime of playing video games, and is again mentioned by Twitch streamer Sonja Reid (OMGITSFIREFOXX) around 50 minutes and 30 seconds into the episode.

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Womxn’s Online Go Club holds first meeting, looking for new members

Wednesday September 2, 2020

“We’re very excited to announce the formation of the Womxn’s Online Go Club, a women-led chapter of the AGA,” says founder Samantha Fede. “Our goal is to provide a supportive and friendly place for women to play go online without hostility or harassment.” Inspired by the success of the e-Go Congress in bringing together Go players from around the country as well as various clubs’ successes in continuing their social club feel through video chat meetings after suspension of in-person play, Fede reached out to Lisa Scott and together they contacted women from around the country with the proposal of forming a club.

The club held its first meeting on Thursday, 8/27. A total of 11 Go players ranging from 1d to 10k, including the club leadership and players who joined through word of mouth, got together on a video call and played games on KGS. Players were from all around the country, including Arizona, California, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and New Jersey. “We are actively recruiting members to join the club!” says Fede. “Players who do not identify as a woman or a girl, particularly those who do not feel welcome in cis-men dominated spaces, are also welcome, as long as they are committed to the goals of the club.” The club meets weekly, alternating between Thursday and Saturday nights at 8pm EDT/5pm PDT. Players of all levels including beginners are welcome. To join or learn more, click here to go to our website or email us at womxnsonlinegoclub@gmail.com.

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AGAGD to become official ratings lookup for the AGA

Tuesday September 1, 2020

As reported before the e-Go Congress the Web Team has been working to upgrade the AGAGD to take over for the old Ratings pages. They have been working hard to make sure all of the information has been copied over and enhanced. In the last month we have heard from various Chapter heads and many others with ideas for updates. In addition to the existing features we have added the following recently: Paginated listing for tournaments and all player ratings, header icons to better help sort tables, rating and renewal due for quick searches, tournaments now show date rated. There are still some in-progress upgrades on the system. We are always looking for help, this is an open source project and any interest programmers can contact the volunteer coordinator or webmaster.

The Ratings pages will redirect to the AGAGD starting September 13th.

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The Power Report: Kataoka wins 1100 games; Sumire’s progress

Thursday August 27, 2020

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Kataoka wins 1100 games
A win former titleholder Kataoka Satoshi 9P picked up on July 23 was his 1100th in the 48 years three months of his career (12th fastest). He is the 16th player to reach this mark and the 14th at the Nihon Ki-in. The landmark win came against Fujisawa Kazunari 8P in Preliminary B of the 46th Gosei tournament. His 1000th win came against the same opponent. He has suffered 598 losses and had 4 jigo, giving him a winning percentage of 64.8, which is ninth best.

Sumire’s progress
In my previous report (Aug. 4), I reported on the start of “Sumire’s Oro Challenge,” four three-game matches with Korean players arranged by the Cyber Oro, server, which runs the Nihon Ki-in’s home page. Things started badly when Sumire was unable to pick up a win against Korea’s number two woman player Kim Chaeyoung. However, taking black, she won the second game in her series with Suh (also spelled Seo) Neung-uk 9P. Taking black, she won by 3.5 points. This is no mean achievement, as Suh (aged 62) is no journeyman 9-dan; unfortunately for him, when he was at his peak, Korean go was dominated by Cho Hunhyun and Suh Bongso; he took second place in 13 tournaments. The games with Sumire were played on July 17 and 18. Suh had the lead in the second game, but Sumire pulled off an upset. Sumire had the lead in the third game, but this time she was the one to suffer an upset.

Today (writing on August 16), brief details of the remaining two matches were finally published (the go press shuts down for O-bon in midsummer; this is a kind of All Souls’ Day; dead relatives are said to return to visit their relatives; in an ordinary year, millions of people would return to their ancestral homes and visit the family graveyard). The report is very brief: Sumire lost 0-3 to Suh Bongsu, but picked up a win against Jeong Yujin 1P.

The final result was one-sided, but, as usual with these special projects, Sumire was ridiculously outmatched. In that context, she deserves to be commended for her win against the 9-dan. Playing the legendary Suh Bongsu is also an honour shared by none of her contemporaries in Japan. Incidentally, Sumire has now played nine games against five 9-dans and won two of them. Just to recap: besides the games described above, she beat Baba Shigeru 9P on November 28 last year, lost to Hane Yasumasa 9P on January 16 this year, and lost to Sakaguchi Ryuzo 9P on February 24 this year.

A Sumire brand has appeared. A major sauce manufacturer created “Sumire-chan’s Barbecued Meat Sauce” (“chan” in an affectionate title used for young children) and distributed it free to participants in a go festival held at the Umeda Go Club in Osaka on July 19, 26, August 2 and 9. It was also sold for 300 yen a bottle. As far as I know, it is not being generally distributed.

Promotion
To 6-dan: Kawai Shoji (90 wins)

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The Power Report: Moon wins Globis Cup; Takei wins Discovery Cup; Kisei S League; Ichiriki wins 45th Gosei

Wednesday August 26, 2020

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Moon wins Globis Cup
The 7th Globis Cup, an international tournament for players under 20, was originally scheduled for May 8 to 10, but was delayed by the virus. It was finally held on the net on August 1 and 2. The winner was the 17-year-old Moon Minjeong 2P of Korea. In the semifinals, he beat Liao Yuanhe 8P of China. The final was played on the afternoon of the second day; taking white, Moon beat Li Weijing 8P by resig. First prize is 3 million yen (about $28,150).

Takei wins Discovery Cup
The Discovery Cup is a new tournament for players and inseis at the Nihon Ki-in and the Kansai Ki-in 18 or under and 2-dan or under. After a Net preliminary round, the top eight faced off in a three-round Swiss tournament held at the Nihon Ki-in on August 11. No inseis or women players made the cut. Takei Taishin 1P scored three wins in a row and took the prize of 200,000 yen ($1,876).

Kisei S League
The contest has heated up in the 45th Kisei S League, with four players on 2-1. Kyo Kagen, who had made the best start, stumbled in the third round. Results since my previous report follow. For the record, Yamashita Keigo 9P and Yo Seiki 8P, both on 4-1, share the lead in the A League. Recent results:
(July 20). Murakawa Daisuke 9P (B) beat Kono Rin 9P by resig.
(July 30) Ichiriki (W beat Kono Rin 9P by resig.
(August 3) Takao Shinji 9P (W) beat Kyo Kagen 8P by resig.

Ichiriki wins 45th Gosei
Ichiriki Ryo 8P had nine titles but so far no top-seven ones. That changed with his 3-0 victory over Hane Naoki in the 45th Gosei title match. The result of the first game was given in my previous report. The second game was played at the Central Japan headquarters of the Nihon Ki-in on August 3 but being on home ground didn’t help Hane. Playing black, Ichiriki won by resignation. The third game was played at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo on August 14. This was Hane’s 44th birthday, but fate was not kind to him. Playing white, Ichiriki forced a resignation after 160 moves. On his sixth top-seven title challenge (the others were all to Iyama Yuta), he was finally successful, and, as luck would have it, his first title was one of which his family’s newspaper is a co-sponsor. With his 10th title, Ichiriki is already 24th in the all-time title standings in Japan.

Tomorrow: Kataoka wins 1100 games; Sumire’s progress

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The Power Report: 13th Chunlan Cup; Fujisawa defends Hollyhock Cup; Iyama to challenge for Meijin

Tuesday August 25, 2020

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

13th Chunlan Cup
The Chunlan (literally, Spring Orchid) Cup is a Chinese-sponsored international tournament that is held every two years. First prize is $150,000, and the current titleholder is Park Junghwan of Korea. Like many other tournaments, it was postponed because of Covid-19, but the two opening rounds were finally held on the net at the end of July. As usual, the best eight were mainly Korean (four) and Chinese (three) players, but this year a new star from Chinese Taipei, Hsu Hao Hung (Xu Haohong in Pinyin) 6P, wedged into their ranks. He has already beaten two Chinese former world champions, and in the quarterfinals, presumably to be played at the end of the year, he will be matched against the Chinese number one. Hsu was born on April 30, 2001, and became 1-dan in 2013. Results follow. 

Round 1 (July 29) Murakawa Daisuke 9P (Japan) (B) beat Ryan Li 1P (US) by resig.; Yo Seiki (Yu Zhengqi) 8P (Japan) (B) beat Ilya Shikshin 3P (Russia) (by resig.); Shin Jinseo 9P (Korea) (W) beat Iyama Yuta 9P (Japan by resig.); Lian Xiao 9P (China) (W) beat Shibano Toramaru 9P (Japan) by resig.; Kang Dongyun 9P (Korea) (B) beat Motoki Katsuya 8P (Japan) by resig.; Byun Sangil 9P (Korea) (W) beat Mi Yuting 9P (China) by resig.; Xu Jiayang 8P (China) (W) beat Kim Jiseok 9P (Korea) by resig.; Hsu Hao Hung (Ch. Taipei) (W) beat Shi Yue 9P (China) by resig.

Round 2 (July 31) Ke Jie 9P (China) (W) beat Kang by resig.; Tang Weixing (W) beat Shin Minjun 9P (Korea) by resig.; Lian (W) beat Park Junghwan 9P (Korea) by resig.; Byun (W) beat Yang Dingxin 9P (China) by resig.; Shin (W) beat Xu by resig.; Hsu (B) beat Chen Yaoye 9P (China) by resig.; Fan Yuting 9P (China) (B) beat Murakawa by resig.; Park Yeonghun 9P (Korea) (B) beat Yo by resig.

Quarterfinal pairings) Ke vs. Hsu, Tang vs. Park, Lian vs. Byun, Fan vs. Shin.

Fujisawa defends Hollyhock Cup
The main point of interest in the 7th Hollyhock Cup was whether the veteran player Suzuki Ayumi 7P (aged 36), who has won three women’s titles, could make a comeback. She met with doughty resistance from the titleholder Fujisawa Rina (aged 21), so the answer is, not this year. What with the truncated schedule of these matches that have been delayed by Covid-19, everything was over in a flash, giving the challenger little time to enjoy the exhilaration of fighting in a title match. The first and second games were played at the Nihon Ki-in on July 27 and 29. In the first game, Fujisawa took white and won by half a point after 259 moves. This was a painful loss for Suzuki, as she miscounted and had thought she was winning. There was just one day’s rest before the second game, which is not much time to recover from a half-point loss. It was played at the same venue. Taking black, Fujisawa won by 8.5 points. She won this title for the fourth year in a row and the fifth time overall; it is her 13th women’s title (second to Xie Yimin on 27).

Iyama to challenge for Meijin
It’s the practice to play all the games in the final round of the Meijin title on the same day, unlike the other rounds, to add to the drama. Go journalists originally dubbed this “the go world’s longest day,” playing off a famous movie called “Japan’s Longest Day,” which dealt with the infighting within the government about how and when to surrender, following the dropping of the atom bombs in early August in 1945. This year, perhaps influenced by global warming, “Go Weekly” referred to the day of the final round as “Japan’s hottest day.” It was a day of tension not only for the players competing for the challengership but also the players struggling to keep their seats in the league. A league seat is more valuable in games fees that some of the minor titles.

Ominous note for Shibano Meijin: Iyama has challenged for and won the Meijin title twice previously, and each time he won the league 8-0. Results since my last report follow. The title match will start on August 25
(July 23) Rin Kanketsu 8p (B) beat Murakawa Daisuke by 1.5 points.
(July 27) Iyama Kisei (W) beat Cho U 9P by half a point.
(Final round, (Aug. 6) Hane Naoki Gosei (B) beat Cho U 9P by resig.; Yamashita Keigo 9P (B) beat Kyo Kagen 8P by resig.; Iyama Yuta Kisei (B) beat Rin Kanketsu 8P by resig.; Ichiriki Ryo 8P (W) beat Murakawa Daisuke 9P by resig.

One comment: Yamashita was having a horrible time before the virus shutdown, having lost all his games so far in the Honinbo and Meijin Leagues, so Covid-19 has not spoilt things for everybody. In the former league, you can lose your place with 4-3 but retain it in the latter with 3-5 (on top of which it pays more).

Tomorrow: Moon wins Globis Cup; Takei wins Discovery Cup; Kisei S League; Ichiriki wins 45th Gosei

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Member and volunteer applications open to high school students for the New York Go Honor Society 2020-2021 year

Sunday August 23, 2020


The 2020-2021 Year New York Go Honor Society (NYGHS) application will be open until September 15, with selections announced September 30. This year’s application is open to all North American youth players who would like to be part of the NYGHS family. To join, one must be a high school student between grades 8-12 with a minimum rank of AGA 10 kyu or stronger. More information on eligibility and roles can be found here, with more details on the NYGHS website.

The NYGHS was established in September 2019. Within the past year, the five youth members in NYGHS have had many achievements and contribution to Go communities, including the organization of two New York Go Leagues, a free open tournament for all players. The first league had over 90 participants. The NYGHS is a non-profit chapter supported by the New York Go Association (NYGA). The NYGHS executive team includes multiple honorary members from Harvard, Yale, MIT, and Princeton. The board members, such as the chairman and board of directors, will be selected from the applicants in a self-recommended fashion, by NYGA officers and honorary presidents.

The mission of the NYGHS is to learn the philosophical ideas that have been embedded in Go for thousands of years. It is a platform that provides young Go players an environment to enrich their Go experience, improve their organizational skills, and broaden their horizons. Specifically, through the NYGHS, our Go players will work together to hone their leadership, logical reasoning, and problem-solving abilities. They will also communicate and cooperate with students from top American colleges to expand social skills and enrich personal accomplishment.

“Big thanks to Ryan Li 1p, who was the first honorary president for the year 2019-2020, for leading our NYGHS members to accomplish many proud achievements to the Go communities in the past year. Our members reached out to 50 elementary and middle schools in New York; organized the New York Go League, established the NYGHS logo and its own social media platforms, and much more,” says Stephanie Yin, president of the NYGA and AGA VP for Development. “The upcoming honorary president will be Lucas Baker, a former software engineer on the Google DeepMind AlphaGo Team. I am sure our members will have a great time learning from and working with him!”

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Go Spotting: Windy City Blues

Sunday August 23, 2020

Ted Terpstra reports that in Sara Paretsky’s 2009 collection, Windy City Blues, there is a 13-page story called “The Takamoku Joseki” beginning on page 246, in which her female private detective, V.I. Warshawski, solves a murder mystery at a Go gathering of Japanese, Korean, and American Go players at an apartment in Chicago.

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Alexander Qi 5d wins New York Youth Open with perfect record

Sunday August 23, 2020

The New York Go Association successfully held the 3rd annual New York Youth Open (NYYO) in the AGA Tournament Room of KGS on July 25, Saturday. This year, the NYYO attracted a record high 91 players from the United States and Canada. The players, ranging from 5 dan to 25 kyu, played four Swiss-paired even games in 8 divisions based on their rank. After a day of tough fighting, Alexander Qi emerged as the winner of Division A with a perfect 4-0 record.

Division Winners:
Division A (3D and above): Alexander Qi 5d
Division B (1D to 2D): Andrew Zhang 2d
Division C (2K to 1K): Stephanie Tan 2k
Division D (5K to 3K): Jason Yang 3k
Division E (8K to 5K): Mark Zhang 7k
Division F (12K to 9K): Isaac Zhang 9k
Division G (16K to 12K): Chenxi Du 13k
Division G (25K to 17K): Matthew Wang 18k

The team of tournament directors used the Golaxy system to actively monitor the usage of AI, for the first time in youth tournament in North America, in Division A. The NYGA expect to reinforce fair competition in all online tournaments through better anti-AI rules and practice, and encourages players to record their full games with video cameras in all high-level online competitions in the future.

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