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Go Spotting: 101 Two-Letter Words

Monday September 17, 2018

“During a recent Scrabble game, someone showed me this book,” writes Ted Terpstra.2018.09.16 2-letter words book2018.09.16 2-letter words book cover

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NC championship set for Sept 22

Sunday September 16, 2018

The North Carolina State Go Champion will be determined in a day-long tournament on September 22 at Umstead State Park in north Raleigh. Competitors from across the state will vie for the title, with prizes and trophies awarded in multiple divisions. The State Go Champion wins a cash prize along with a trophy. All AGA members are eligible to play. However, to be awarded the title of “North Carolina State Champion” you must be an amateur go player who resides in North Carolina at least 50% of the year. Students are eligible.

PREREGISTRATION IS REQUIRED for first round pairing and an early start. To participate in the first round you must register before 8:00 PM Friday, September 21st. This is an AGA rated tournament; you must be an AGA member to play. Register here.

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ICYMI: Ethan Wang wins first official AGA state championship in PA; Tianfu Cup Prelim crosstab posted; Summer of Outreach in Seattle; Janice Kim in NM; Kissinger on AI and go:

Sunday September 16, 2018

Sometimes folks send in reports late, sometimes those reports just get lost in the EJ in-box, but eventually we do catch up…

Ethan Wang wins first official AGA state championship in PA: The Penn Go Society had the2018.09.16 PA state championship distinction of holding the first tournament under the new AGA State Championship system. Held April 28-29 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, more than 40 players attended the event at the Wharton Center for Student Life. In the Dan division, Chase Fu came in first and Ethan Wang and Yu Liang tied for second. In the Kyu division, Alexander Qi took first and Jino Choung and Evan Springer tied for second. $1000 in cash prizes were distributed.  “The Penn Go Society looks forward to next years state championship and looks forward to seeing other states join this system,” said Benjamin Sauerhaft Coplon.

Tianfu Cup Prelim crosstab posted: The crosstab for the 2018 Tianfu Cup Preliminary is now up, and includes the game records. Thanks to TD Jeff Shaevel, Steve Colburn, Dennis Wheeler and Todd Heidenreich for their work getting this done.

Summer of Outreach in Seattle: July was busy for the Seattle Go Center outreach crew, with events on three weekends.  July 1, players from Seattle Go Center and South Sound Go Club staffed a table at the Seattle Storm women’s professional basketball game during the Storm’s “Japan Night” event, and introduced the game to approximately 50 young sports enthusiasts. The following weekend, July 7 and 8, we were at the two-day “Japan Fair” in Bellevue, WA, where Dave Snow’s collection of Hikaru no Go hangings attracted attention from young adults who were in middle school when HnG was new.

2018.09.16-Bart-Jacob-05-01Bart plays go in Cape Town: “While on holiday in Cape Town, South Africa, I was able to stop by the Cape Town Go Club and play a few games,” writes Bart Jacob. “I am on the right side of picture, along with Christian, Sam, Chris and Michael from Cape Town.”

Janice Kim in NM: On September 1, Janice Kim 3p, offered game reviews for players in Albuquerque and Santa Fe. In commenting on game records brought in by local area players, she introduced her overall thoughts about how to play and how to study. She said that she finds players in the US are strong in the opening game but tend to be relatively weak at life and death. She stressed the importance of being able to visualize a sequence in your head. As an exercise, she put up a common joseki on a board, then took it off and asked one of the players to put it up using only black stones. Here’s an example (right). She said that in playing a game she looks for an “I win” move. To find such a move, you must have a good assessment of the overall game status, i.e., you must count. If you judge that you are ahead, the next step is to ask yourself, “How can I possibly lose this game?” and then to take the necessary steps to lock it up. If you judge that you’re behind, “agitate.” You must take risks. “If you lose, it doesn’t matter whether you lose by a half point or twenty.”
- Bob Gilman, Albuquerque Go Club

Kissinger on AI and go: “AlphaGo defeated the world Go champions by making strategically unprecedented moves—moves that humans had not conceived and have not yet successfully learned to overcome,” wrote HENRY A. KISSINGER in “How the Enlightenment Ends” in the June Atlantic. “Are these moves beyond the capacity of the human brain?” Before AI began to play Go, “the game had varied, layered purposes,” Kissinger continues. “A player sought not only to win, but also to learn new strategies potentially applicable to other of life’s dimensions. For its part, by contrast, AI knows only one purpose: to win. It “learns” not conceptually but mathematically, by marginal adjustments to its algorithms. So in learning to win Go by playing it differently than humans do, AI has changed both the game’s nature and its impact. Does this single-minded insistence on prevailing characterize all AI?” And, reflecting on AlphaGo Zero’s mastery of the game on its own, Kissinger wonders “What will be the impact on human cognition generally? What is the role of ethics in this process?”

 

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Your Move/Readers Write: More thoughts on Go vs. go

Sunday September 16, 2018

Avoiding grammatical confusion: “While the style sheet (Your Move/Readers Write: Go or go? 8/20 EJ) may be consistent and logical,” writes former EJ editor Terry Benson, “the reason I continue to capitalize Go and have (most of the time) for nearly 50 years is to distinguish it from the verb and grammatical confusion. Chess, checkers, and backgammon don’t have that problem… or the many puns on the name of our game.”

Makes sense but maybe not sensible: “That public domain games like chess, poker, and backgammon are not capitalized, and therefore Go should not be capitalized either, makes sense,” writes Janice Kim. “Identifying Go as public domain, however, seems less important than identifying it as a game. It may be a specific, overarching concern when the word ‘go’ is in the top 20% of words used in English, has dozens of definitions as different parts of speech, and is used to signify the game only by a small portion of the people who play that game. In the meantime, a look at Merriam Webster online indicates that Go the game is often capitalized, and Wikipedia capitalizes it. These aren’t the definitive guides to proper grammar, but it’s indicative of how widespread and accepted it is to capitalize the word ‘Go’ when referring to the game. Luckily in this case the ease of specifying what one is referring to, is not come by an uncomfortable practice such as using male pronouns arbitrarily or exclusively. It’s nice that we have a word, Go, that can be used universally to signify the game. It makes sense that the E-Journal chooses not to capitalize it, but we can assume that there is little ambiguity for average readers of the E-Journal. Meanwhile, people will probably be capitalizing it in other places, not until Go reaches household popularity with consistent agreed-on grammar usage, but as long as there is a word ‘go’ that means something else.”

Logical but lacks clarity: “In the ‘go’ vs. ‘Go’ debate logic is on the side of the E-Journal’s position in favor of the lower-case spelling,” writes Fred Baldwin. “The name of our favorite board game is a common noun like ‘chess’ and ‘poker,’ not like ‘Risk’ or ‘Monopoly.’ Unfortunately, ‘go’ as a noun is easily confused with one of the most commonly used verbs in English. We should avoid any typographical convention that makes a sentence, a headline or a poster unnecessarily difficult for a reader to understand without having to make extra effort. So I favor ‘Go’ on the grounds that writers and editors should not hesitate to break rules for the sake of clarity. Apparently, the New Yorker, a magazine known for its attention to clear writing, agrees. As a distinguished U.S. jurist, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., once wrote: ‘A page of history is worth a volume of logic.’ Or, as a not especially distinguished U.S. Senator once said: ‘Sometimes a man has to rise above principle.’”

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Go Spotting: PBS’ Space Time

Sunday September 16, 2018

Space Time: “Recently the very succesful PBS series ‘Space Time’ did two episodes on entropy, where they used the game of 2018.09.16_space-timego to explain how entropy works,” writes Guillermo Molano. You can find the first episode here.
Thanks also to Daniel Gentry, David Kent and Peter St. John for spotting this.

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Cotsen Open website back up; pre-register for full benefits

Saturday September 15, 2018

The website for the 2018 Cotsen Open is back up. The tournament is on October 13th-14th; pre-registration will close on2018.08.01-cotsen-open Tuesday, October 9th, at 11:59pm. Day-of registration will also be available for $25. Pre-registration comes with benefits, including $20 entry fee and free food truck lunch on both days. As always, everyone who pre-registers and plays in all 5 of their matches has their full entry fee refunded. Also on tap: the Kogi food truck both Saturday and Sunday and Yilun Yang will do his pro game on Sunday.

 

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In Memoriam: Dr. Chun-Shan Shen

Thursday September 13, 2018

By Thomas Hsiang2018.09.13_Shen CS

Dr. Chun-Shan Shen, a multi-time US go champion, passed away on September 12 at the age of 86.  Dr. Shen was born in 1932; received his B.S. degree in physics from the National Taiwan University in 1955 and Ph.D. in astrophysics from the University of Maryland in 1961.  He worked briefly at Princeton University, then NASA, before taking a teaching position at Purdue University.  In 1973 Dr. Shen returned to Taiwan and joined the faculty of Tsinghua University.  In 1988 he became a Minister Without Portfolio in the Taiwanese government.  In 1989 he returned to Tsinghua as the Dean of Science and became Tsinghua’s President in 1994 until his retirement in 1997.

Dr. Shen was well-known for his deep and broad knowledge in many topics.  He famously delivered many lectures bringing astrophysics and space science to the general audience, both in US and in Taiwan.  He was a prolific writer, authoring hundreds of articles on educational policies, politics, and literature, with many deep insights, some of which changed history.  For example, he is credited with suggesting the use of “one country, two systems” policy that eventually peacefully resolved the China-Taiwan and China-Hong Kong quandaries.  Another famous example was how he eased the bloodshed during the 1980 “Formosa Incident”.  That year, a group of Taiwanese took to the street to seek political freedom.  When the protest turned violent, many people were arrested.  Then-president Chiang Ching-Kuo had wanted to severely punish the protestors, including executing a couple of the leaders.  Dr. Shen took upon himself to dissuade Chiang, defending the protestors as patriotic and intelligent young people.  Chiang yielded, bringing a potentially violent episode to a peaceful closure.

Dr. Shen published a number of books, including the three famous autobiographies “Three Chapters of a Floating Life”, “Another Chapter”, and “An ‘After’ Chapter”.  In them he first described the three important parts of his life: science, go and Bridge, and literature; followed by a discussion of his view on the politics in Taiwan; ending with an honest, almost cutting, look into his relationships with the women in his life and a discussion on life and legacy.

During Shen’s earlier life in US, he was among the top go players.  AGA old-timers will remember his many battles with Takao Matsuda in the 1960’s for the “US Honinbo” title, predating the current “US Open Championship”.  His last visit to an AGA event was in 1997, when he came to the Lancaster Congress and won every game he played.  None of them counted because he did not register in the US Open.  Still, he cheerfully crowned himself the “Off-Stage Champion”!

In addition to go, Dr. Shen was a top-notch Bridge player.  He joined the Taiwanese team that won second place in the 1969 and 1970 Bermuda Cup, the only world championship at that time, finishing only to the legendary Italian Blue team.

Most of all, to many who have interacted with him, Chun-Shan was a fun, humorous, honest, and devoted friend.  He was never pretentious, never aloof; his great intellect was never overbearing.  He will be greatly missed.

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Applications open for 17th World Students Go Oza Championship prelim

Wednesday September 12, 2018

The 17th World Students Go Oza Championship will be held from Feb 18 to 22, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan.  Sixteen students from around the world will come together in Japan to decide the world’s number one student player.  To select the 16 students, an online preliminary round will be held on Pandanet.  Two students from the Americas will be selected; their airfare and accommodations will be covered by the event organizers.  Click here  for details and here for the entry form . The application deadline is Oct 21. Students under the age of 30 and currently enrolled in an American university/college may participate in the preliminary round, irrespective of their nationality.

 

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The Power Report (3 of 3): Yamashita wins Kisei S League; New Pair Go World Champion Pair; Iyama starts Meijin defense with a win; Yamashita to challenge for Tengen title; Fujisawa to challenge for Women’s Honinbo; Promotions; Nakayama the most prolific go writer?

Wednesday September 12, 2018

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Yamashita wins Kisei S League: 
Two games in the 43rdKisei S League were played on July 9. Yamashita Keigo 9P (B) beat Ichiriki Ryo 8P by resig. and Takao Shinji 9P (W) beat Cho U 9P by half a point. On 4-0, Yamashita was the only unbeaten player; there is no play-off in ties in this league, so Yamashita won the league regardless of his result in the fifth and final round. In the running for second place—and a place in the knockout tournament to decide the challenger–were Kono Rin 9P and Kyo Kagen Gosei, who were both on 2-1. They played each other on August 30. Taking white, Kyo won by resignation. This gives him provisional second place. If he loses his final game, the winner of a game between Kono and Takao Shinji will edge him out, as both are ranked higher in the league. In contrast to the Meijin League, in which he won all his games, Cho U has lost all his games; on 0-4, he can’t hope to avoid demotion.

New Pair Go World Champion Pair: In 2016, a Pair Go World Cup was held and was won by the Chinese team of Yu Zhiying 5P and Ke Jie 9P. Last year, a World Championship was held in two stages. The first part was a tournament to decide the pair to challenge the reigning world champion pair of Yu and Ke. The Chinese pair defended their title. This year another world championship was held, but with a different result. The first stage, held on August 20 and 21, was won by the Korean team of Choi Jeong 9P and Park Junghwan 9-dan. They won their challenge to the Yu/Ke pair and so now reign as the Pair Go World Champion Pair. Taking black, Choi and Park won by resignation after 183 moves.2018.09.12_meijin1 Iyama left

Iyama starts Meijin defense with a win: The first game of the 43rd Meijin title match was held at the Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo on August 28 and 29. Taking black, Iyama Yuta made a good start to his defence, forcing the challenger Cho U 9P to resign after 239 moves. In a variation of a recently popular “joseki,” a massive ko fight (worth 45 points) started. With move 81, Iyama ignored his opponent’s ko threat and finished off the ko, but ceding the ko was also feasible, as in exchange Black would have got a large-scale attack on White. Next, an enormous fight started on the other side of the board, featuring two more large ko fights. White suffered further damage in one of these fights and, although he managed to wall off a large territory, he was unable to match Black on territory. The second game will be played on September 12 and 13.

Yamashita to challenge for Tengen title: Not everything is going smoothly for Kyo Kagen, the new holder of the2018.09.12_tengen chall Yamashita left-2 Gosei title. The play-off to decide the challenger for the 44thTengen title was held at the Nihon Ki-in on September 3. Playing white, Yamashita Keigo 9P beat Kyo by resignation after 226 moves. Yamashita turned 40 three days later, so he is nearly twice Kyo’s age. This will be Yamashita’s first appearance in the Tengen title match since the 36thTengen in 2009. He won the 30thand 35thtitles. The match with Iyama Yuta will start on October 19.

Fujisawa to challenge for Women’s Honinbo: Fujisawa Rina has a chance to take back the title she lost to Xie Yimin last year. In 2018.09.12_WomHonin Fujisawa leftthe play-off to decide the challenger for the 37th Women’s Honinbo Title, held at the Nihon Ki-in on September 6, she beat Ueno Asami (B) by resignation. The title match will start on October 16.

Promotions
To 8-dan: Kyo Kagen for winning the Gosei title (as of August 4)
To 4-dan: Kumamoto Shusei (50 wins, as of August 3)
To 3-dan: Otani Naoki (40 wins, as of July 27)

Nakayama the most prolific go writer?
In the August 21 issue of this journal, Kent Olsen expressed interest in the number of books Nakayama Noriyuki had written. I have no way of doing a count, but I do recall a conversation decades ago in which Nakayama mentioned that he had already written over 200 go books. He added that publishers liked him because, if required, he could write a book over a weekend. Some of his books would have been published under the names of top professionals, with the actual writer getting a credit as “writer” or “editor” or sometimes not being mentioned at all.

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The Power Report (2 of 3): Park wins Kuksu Mountain; New star wins 1st Go Seigen Cup; Cho U to challenge for Meijin title; Kyo wins Gosei title

Tuesday September 11, 2018

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal2018.09.11_kuksu mt final Park left

Park wins Kuksu Mountain: The Bailing Cup was immediately followed by the 5th Kuksu Mountains International Tournament, held in Jeollanam-do in Korea. Three Japanese players took part but were all eliminated in the first round. Kang Dongyun 9P (Korea) (B) beat Iyama Yuta by resig.; Shin Jinseo 9P (Korea) (W) beat Yuki Satoshi by resig.; and Park Junghwan 9P (Korea) (B) beat Ichiriki Ryo 8P by resig. These games were played on July 28. Park went on to win the tournament, beating Wang Yuan-jun 8P of Chinese Taipei in the final on July 30. A Pair Go tournament was also held with mixed teams made up by drawing lots. Lu Minquan 4P (China) and Lee Chang-ho 9P (Korea) beat Hei Jia-jia (Joanne Missingham) (Chinese Taipei) and Wang Lei 8P (China) in the final.

New star wins 1st Go Seigen Cup: The Wu Qingyuan (Go Seigen) Cup World Women’s Championship is a new international tournament organized by Fuzhou City, the birthplace of Go Seigen, in Fujian Province. The early rounds were held from April 26 to May 1, as described in my June report. The best-of-three final between Kim Chaeyoung 4P and Choi Jeong 9P, both of Korea, was held recently. The latter was the overwhelming favorite: she had already won two world titles and hadn’t lost even one of her 11 games with Kim. However, Kim surprised her by taking the title with straight wins. The games were played on July 23 and 25; Kim won the first with white, then with black won the second by 5.5 points. Choi had a negative record against China’s number one woman player Yu Zhiying of 9-15. During the break in the tournament before the final, Kim studied Yu’s games intensively to work out how to beat Choi. That worked. In recognition of her victory, she was promoted to 5-dan. One of the parallel events was a Pair Go tournament for family pairs. It was won by Rui Naiwei 9P and her husband Jiang Zhujiu 9P; second was Kim Songle 5P and his daughter Kim Dayoung 3P; third was Nyu Lili 5P and her daughter Nyu Eiko 2P; and fourth was Nyu Xianxian 3P and her husband Michael Redmond 9P.

Cho U to challenge for Meijin title: After holding the lead all the way in the 43rd Meijin League, Cho U 9P did not2018.09.11_meijin-chart falter in the final two rounds and so earned the right to play in his first top-seven title match since the Kisei in 2013. Cho actually secured victory when he beat Ko Iso in the July round, as his 7-0 score put him two wins clear of the field, but he put the icing on the cake with another win in the final round. Cho commented that he felt it was important to maintain his momentum by winning all eight games in the league, all the more so to match Iyama Yuta’s record in the previous league. CLICK HERE for the Asahi newspaper’s special English coverage, including reports, videos and commentary by Michael Redmond 9P. 

Putting aside the ultimate success of his challenge, Cho seems to have come out of his slump of recent years. In 2009, he became the first player to hold five of the top seven titles simultaneously and in 2010 the second player to score a cumulative grand slam. However, he was the main victim of the rise of Iyama Yuta. He lost the Meijin title to him in 2009, the Judan in 2011, the Oza in 2012 and the Kisei in 2013. This is his chance to take revenge and make a comeback.

Shibano Toramaru’s performance is also worth of note: a score of 6-2 in a top league is impressive. He won his first three games, seemed to be going downhill when he lost the middle two, but rallied to win the last three and take second place. He will surely emerge as the challenger before long.

Results of games played since my previous report follow.
(July 19) Cho U (W) beat Ko Iso 8P by resig.; Shibano Toramaru 7P (B) beat Kono Rin 9P by 3.5 points.
(August 2) Cho U (W) beat Takao Shinji 9P by resig.; Kono 9P (W) beat Yamashita Keigo 9P by resig.; Shibano (W) beat Ko Iso 8P by resig.; Murakawa Daisuke 8P (W) beat Hane Naoki 9P by resig.

Kyo wins Gosei title: The third game of the 43rd Gosei title match was held at the Kansai Headquarters of the Nihon 2018.09.11_43gosei3 KyoKi-in in Osaka on August 3. Taking white, Kyo forced a resignation after 224 moves. The 20-year-old Kyo is the first player of the younger generation to beat Iyama in a title match. As in the first two games, he was able to match Iyama in the precision of his reading and his fighting skill. It’s safe to say that not many people expected him to take the series 3-0.

This brought an end to Iyama’s second septuple crown. He extended his reign to 290 days compared to 197 days for his first grand slam. After his first grand slam was ended 2018.09.11_43gosei3 Kyo leftby the loss of the Meijin title, Iyama was able to hold on to his other titles, then to resurrect the septuple crown by regaining the Meijin title the following year. Of course, he will attempt to repeat this feat, but he has now turned 30, so maintaining peak form may prove tougher.

Kyo won the Gosei title just five years and four months after becoming a professional, which is a new speed record for a top-seven title. At 20 years seven months, he is the youngest Gosei ever and the third-youngest player to win a top-seven title (the record is held by Iyama, who won the Meijin title at 20 years four months.) Iyama’s reign as Gosei lasted for six years. More stats: Iyama has played in 49 title matches and lost eight of them; this is the first time he has suffered straight losses.

Kyo: “When I became the challenger, I felt happy just to be able to play a match with Iyama Sensei. For much of the time, the first and third games were bad for me, so I guess I was lucky.”

Iyama: “I don’t think that holding seven titles is a normal state, so I wasn’t strongly focused on defending. Though I would have liked to make the match more exciting—lasting just three games was a pity. I felt from early on that the third game was bad for me. I did have chances, but I couldn’t make the most of them. I hope I can learn from this defeat and come back stronger.”

Tomorrow: Yamashita wins Kisei S League; New Pair Go World Champion Pair; Iyama starts Meijin defense with a win; Yamashita to challenge for Tengen title; Fujisawa to challenge for Women’s Honinbo; Promotions; Nakayama the most prolific go writer?

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