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Power Report (2 of 2): Ueno to challenge for Women’s Kisei; Awards for Iyama and Habu; World Go Championship 2018

Tuesday December 19, 2017

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal21fkisei_challenger Ueno

Ueno to challenge for Women’s Kisei:
A fresh face will be challenging Xie Yimin for the 21st Women’s Kisei title early next year. The play-off to decide the challenger was held in the Ryusei TV studio located in the basement of the Nihon Ki-in headquarters in Tokyo on December 11. Ueno Asami 1P (right), 21 fkisei Okudawho is aged 16 and who qualified as a pro last year, beat Okuda Aya 3P (left); Ueno had black and secured a resignation after 199 moves. She will be just 16 years two months when the title match starts on January 19 and will be the youngest challenger ever. She lowered the record of Nyu Eiko, set last year, by about a year.

Awards for Iyama and Habu: A government spokesman announced last week that the Prime Minister, Abe Shinzo, was considering giving People’s Honor Awards to the top go and shogi players Iyama Yuta and Habu Yoshiharu. Going by the timing, it would seem the idea was sparked by a recent achievement of Habu. Earlier this month, he won the Ryuo tournament for the seventh time and so qualified for the title of Eternal Ryuo (also translated as “Lifetime Ryuo”). The wording sounds grander, but this seems to be the equivalent of the “honorary” titles in go. The point was that Habu has qualified for the “eternal” title in all of the top seven shogi titles, an unprecedented feat. The reason for also giving a People’s Honor Award to Iyama was his success in achieving a grand slam of the top seven go titles for the second time.

Iyama (aged 28) and Habu (aged 47) will be the first board-game players (or mind-sport athletes, if you prefer) to win this award. Previously, it has been given to 23 individual athletes in various sports, actors, singers, composers, etc., and to all the members of the women’s soccer team that won the World Cup in 2011. The wording that the government is “considering” making these awards may seem a little funny, but surely the Prime Minister won’t change his mind. An official announcement is expected to follow within the year. The story was the lead-off article on the front page of the December 13 morning Yomiuri Newspaper and also featured on the front page of the afternoon edition. The criterion for the awards is: a person with conspicuous achievements who is widely loved and respected by the people and who have given bright hope to society.(Conditions for the shogi “eternal” title seem slightly easier for some of the titles than for honorary titles in go. They range from five cumulative wins to five wins in a row or ten cumulative wins, the latter being the condition in go. There are actually five variations in the conditions.)

World Go Championship 2018: The Nihon Ki-in has announced that this tournament will be held in March next year. It’s actually the second time: the 1st World Go Championship was held in March last year, but the next one is not being called the “2nd.” Last year, four “players” took part, one of them being the AI program DeepZenGo. First place was taken by Park Junghwan of Korea, 2nd by Mi Yuting of China, 3rd by DeepZenGo, and 4th by Iyama Yuta. Next year, six players will take part: two from Japan, two from Korea, one from China, and one from Chinese Taipei. Note that Korea is not being favored over China. As host country, Japan gets two slots (the host country gets more seats in many international tournaments); Korea gets two because the previous winner, Park, is seeded (as in the TV Asia tournament). The other participants will be: Iyama Yuta and the winner of a qualifying tournament open to the top four place-getters (after Iyama) in the prize-money rankings for Japan; Shin Jinseo 8P for Korea; Ke Jie for China; and Wang Yuanjun 8P for Chinese Taipei. The time allowance will be three hours per player, with the last five minutes being allotted to byo-yomi. Games will start at 10:30 a.m. and there will be no break for lunch. Prizes are: 1st, \20,0000,000 (about $182,000); 2nd, \5,000,000; 3rd & 4th, \2,50,000; 5th & 6th, \1,000,000. Park and Iyama will be seeded into the second round.

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Wainwright edges Evenson in Inaugural Danger Monkey Go Club tourney

Monday December 18, 2017

The inaugural Danger Monkey Go Club AGA-rated tournament in Denver was very successful, reports Stu Horowitz. Eleven players were split into two sections. First place in the dan section went to Eric Wainwright, 1 dan, in a tiebreak over Kent Evenson, 1 dan, both with 2-1 records. The winner in the kyu section with a perfect 3-0 record was Mune Ganbaatar, 12kyu. Mune and her older brother, Billy, 3kyu, are  students in the Boulder Kids and Teens program at the Boulder Public Library.

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Power Report (1 of 2): Tuo of China wins Agon Kiriyama Cup play-off; Meijin League starts; Honinbo League; Chinese program wins computer go tournament

Monday December 18, 2017

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal2017.12.18_19 Agon leftMutsuura

Tuo of China wins Agon Kiriyama Cup play-off: 
The 19th Agon Kiriyama Cup Japan-China Play-off was held at the Westin Hotel in Beijing on December 6. Tuo Jiaxi 9P (aged 26, below left) of China beat Mutsuura 2017.12.18_19agonn TuoYuta 7P (aged 18, at left in photo at right) of Japan. Tuo had black and secured a resignation after 135 moves. This was China’s 1th win in this series (Japan won the first four and Iyama Yuta won the 17th play-off).

Meijin League starts: The first two games of the 43rd Meijin League were played on December 7 and were won by two former Meijins. Cho U 9P (B) beat Hane Naoki 9P by resig. and Yamashita Keigo 9P beat Yo Seiki 7P, also by resig. Another former Meijin won the third game, played on Dec. 14: Takao Shinji 9P (B) beat Ko Iso 8P by resig.

Honinbo League: The second game in the third round of the 73rd Honinbo League was played on December 7. Ko Iso 8P (W) beat Kobayashi Satoru 9P by half a point. One more game was played on December 14. Ida Atsushi 8P (B) beat Motoki Katsuya 8P by resig. On 3-0 Ida retains the sole lead; Ko is now 2-1, and Motoki and Kobayashi are 1-2.

Chinese program wins computer go tournament: A new tournament for computer go programs, the AI Ryusei Tournament, got off to a start on December 9 and 10. It was held in the UDX Building in front of Akihabara station in Tokyo. Seventeen programs, including four from overseas, took part, with the Igo & Shogi Channel acting as the main sponsor. The tournament is a successor to the UEC Cup, held for ten years by the University of Electro-Communications of Chofu City in Tokyo. FineArt of China, regarded as the favorite as the last winner of the UEC Cup, and DeepZenGo of Japan made the final. Playing white, FineArt won by resignation after 248 moves. It has been developed by the Tencent corporation.

Tomorrow: Ueno to challenge for Women’s Kisei; Awards for Iyama and Habu; World Go Championship 2018

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Elite Mind Games wrap-up

Sunday December 17, 2017

The go activities during last two days of the IMSA Elite Mind Games included three medal competitions: pair go, men’s  blitz and2017.12.17_pair go last round - Canada vs EU women’s blitz.  The format for these tournaments were new: the six teams were divided into three tiers, China and Korea, Japan and Taiwan, Europe and America.  Then one team from each tier is drawn to form a group of three teams.  In the first day, each group play within the group to determine the three teams’ position. Then in the second day, the top 2017.12.17_pair-go medalistsfour teams from the two groups play two rounds to determine the top four finishers, while the two third place teams play to decide the 5th and 6th places.  In the end, Ke Jie from China won the men’s blitz, while Korea took the two other gold. Japan won all four bronze medals, a surprisingly good result.  Canadian pair Sarah Yu and Ziyang Hu (at left in photo above right) played hard to narrowly defeat Manja Marz and Mateusz Surma (above right) and took a valuable, lone, 5th place for the American team. Wan Chen lost to Manja Marz of Germany, and Mingjiu Jiang forfeited his game with Ilya Shikshin. For the whole event, Ziyang Hu was the top performer from America’s team, winning two games – one against Surma in team play and one in pair go.
During the closing ceremony, medals were awarded in all five mind sports represented by IMSA. China and Russia were the big winners, followed by Ukraine and Korea.  It was announced that the next chapter of this event will likely be held in mid-November, 2018. It is expected that the final details will be announced in February next year.
- Thomas Hsiang; photo above left: Pair Go finalists
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AlphaGo Zero-AlphaGo Master: An early mistake, then things get interesting

Sunday December 17, 2017

“I think Master made a mistake fairly early in this game,” says Michael Redmond 9p in his fourth commentary on the AG Zero2017.12.17_ag-ag-zero-master-4 games. “Then it was supposed to be an easy game for Zero, but Zero made it really interesting, and there are points in the game where I think Master had a chance to win. There’s a big fight toward the end.”

Click here for Redmond’s video commentary, hosted by the AGA E-Journal’s Chris Garlock, and see below for the sgf commentary. To support this content, please consider joining or renewing your membership in the American Go Association; click here for details.

Note: The video commentary team will be taking a break over the holidays to rest up, recharge and work on plans for 2018. Watch for a 2017 recap interview coming soon and more updates and videos in the New Year!

Video produced by Michael Wanek and Andrew Jackson. The sgf files were created by Redmond, with editing and transcription by Garlock and Myron Souris.

[link]

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Evanston Go Club’s “Rated Games Night” gets underway

Thursday December 14, 2017

The Evanston Go Club had its second Rated Games Night last week. “The first Wednesday of every month will be Rated Games2017.12.14_evanston Night”, said club president Mark Rubenstein. “Some of our members have recently joined the AGA, and they’re highly motivated to improve their rating. It’s also an opportunity for those members who can’t make it to our tournaments to get some rated games in, and push themselves to get stronger.”

Although only one rated game was played last week, Rubenstein is optimistic about the program. “We are purposefully keeping the structure very open. You can play any number of rated or un-rated games; there’s no pressure to play rated games, it’s just an option. We have clocks for those who want to use one, and signs letting onlookers know that a rated game is in progress. It lends a slightly more serious tone to the evening, which is a nice change of pace.”
Last week’s game was between Scott Gerson (5k) and David Rockwell (5k), pictured here; Scott took black and won. Scott has light-heartedly suggested that the second Wednesday of every month should be Trash-Talk night… but Rubenstein needs some convincing.
photo by Mark Rubenstein
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Go miscellany Year End Edition (bonus)

Thursday December 14, 2017

Being a collection of interesting items – in no particular order – that have landed in our in-box in recent months but never made it into the E-Journal.

New adds to Kiseido’s year-end sale: Kiseido has added a few more items to their year-end sale of go books and go2017.12.14-stop-go-murder equipment, including the 2018 Ukiyo-e Calendar , shell & slate go stones, a new original ukiyo-e print and of course go books.

Stop, Go Murder: A story about murder, the game of go, and the role of happenstance in shaping our lives. Introduces Steven Crane, a homicide detective who has come to see his life, including his current case, as a deceiving game of go. A first novel  — available on Amazon — from Paul Freeman, the former mayor of Laguna Beach, CA, who is available for book signings and other go club functions: call Ken Levine at (818) 414-6002. Bulk club discounts are available.

 

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Elite Mind Games Day 4 report

Wednesday December 13, 2017

The last day of women’s team competition saw plenty of sparks, but the only surprising result was Fujisawa Rina defeating the2017.12.13_Women's team medalists world’s top-ranked female player from China, Yu Zhiying.  Japan was then in a position to tie or defeat China, depending on the outcome of the other game bewteen China’s Lu Minquan and Japan’s Nyu Eiko. In that a game, Nyu played well to be ahead for most of the game, but she slipped in the yose when both players were in byo-yomi.  After 6+ hours of play, the score was an unusual W+1.5 point due to a single-shared-liberty seki.  Another game that could have sent shockwave through the tournament was between Canada’s Sarah Yu and Korea’s Choi Jeong.  Sarah was in a difficult position from the start, but she fought hard and was about to win a large-group semeai with a favorable yose-ko.  Sarah was in byo-yomi 2017.12.13_Men's team medalistsand could not read in out, missing her chance.  She missed a second chance to create a triple ko, which would have tied the game according to the tournament rules. As a result, Korea took first place, China dropped to second, and Japan received a hard-earned bronze medal.
On the men’s side, the games were all lopsided.  Taipei could not follow its previous day’s performance and lost to Korea 0-2. In the end Korea was first, China second, and Taipei third.
Tomorrow the action switches to Pair Go and men’s and women’s blitz go. In two days, there will be three more medals to be won.  For all three tournaments, the first day will be a three-round preliminary.  Participants are divided into two groups.  Preset seedings separate China and Korea, Japan and Taipei, North American and Europe into the two groups.  The groups’ top finishers will meet to determine 1st and 2nd place, etc, in the second day.
- Thomas Hsiang; photos: (right) women’s medalists; (left) men’s medalists
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Seattle prepares for Pair Go Night this Saturday

Wednesday December 13, 2017

The fifth annual Seattle Pair Go Gala will be held this Saturday, Dec. 16, at the Seattle Go Center.   2017 Pair Go Flyer_finalRegistration is at the beginning of the tournament, from 6-6:30 pm. The gala will follow International Pair Go Rules, so teams must have both a female and male player. Last year’s tournament had 24 players, and lots of cake. Photo by Anne Thompson, https://tenukihandcrafts.com/, report by Brian Allen.

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Go miscellany Year End Edition (3 of 3)

Wednesday December 13, 2017

Being a collection of interesting items – in no particular order – that have landed in our in-box in recent months but never 2017.12.13-Myosu_Magazine_FirstIssue_1-320x213made it into the E-Journal.

New go mag launched: Myosu, a new Korea-based go publication, was quietly launched last June. Myosu is a Korean term meaning ‘excellent move’. The team is based out of Myongji University, headed up by Editor-in-chief Le Kieu Khanh Linh. “In this magazine, we want to share all kinds of stories from the Baduk world; not only news and playing techniques, but also insights into Baduk culture, people, etc. We hope that we can connect the Baduk world and bring our community closer.”

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making: There is a passing mention of go on page 149 of The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente. It occurs when the main character, September, is talking to Death.
“Death, I don’t know what to do.”
“It’s very brave of you to admit that. Most knightly folk I happen by bluster and force me to play chess with them. I don’t even like chess! For strategy Wrackglummer and even Go are much superior.”
- Willard Haynes

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