American Go E-Journal

Your Move/Readers Write: Janice Kim and Bill Cobb respond

Wednesday April 25, 2018

Janice on time limits: “More thought-provoking pieces in the E-journal, thank you!” writes Janice Kim. “Many people believe that their Go playing improves given a longer time limit (The Empty Board: Philosophical Reflections on Go #2  4/17 EJ). That’s probably true if the time limits are very short. But beyond familiarity and practice, my thinking is there probably isn’t a discernible difference in quality of the Go playing of most people between having 45 minutes per player of basic time, and doubling that. If people played ‘better’, I’d hypothesize people’s ranks on turn-based servers to be higher than their ranks on real-time servers. Why not try your own experiment?
I’m reminded of one time that I was playing a professional tournament game. At one point, I completely missed an obvious move. I mean I completely missed it in the game, I had to see it in the review to recover from the “blind spot”. I could have sat there for 1 minute or 10 minutes, and I probably wouldn’t have “seen” it, although I was doing plenty of thinking, about other moves. Later this gave me the biggest insight I’ve had into the nature of improving at Go.
To wit: I think the ‘point’ of playing four rounds in the Open, is that it’s a good opportunity for a player to play as much serious Go as comfortably possible, where one is consciously trying to improve in an environment conducive to that. It’s just a side feature that directors can award prizes, and people can win them.
Moving to shorter time limits in the modern professional era is largely about having a broad real-time audience. The players themselves are frequently of the opinion that their best Go is played in about 3.5 hours per person, but I don’t think that most people could tell the difference between those games, and “speed” games on TV, played in an hour.
I know people who are discouraged by the prospect of prizes in tournaments, and I think that’s probably a not-uncommon view, but it’s a difficult one to express. Most directors will see them as an easy essential. I’d probably do something like charge people $20 for every game they lose, to pay for the recorder and the review session.”
Addendum: But seriously. I always liked some tournaments in Korea, where you walked around with a big prize button ribbon on your lapel-region that said how many wins you had, and you self-paired by finding a person with the same ribbon. The prize at the end of the day? Your ribbon. Amazing fun in big venues. It’s also self-selecting if you’re not going to have amazing fun. Not to mention the mysterious smile you could give years later, if you had some colorful ribbon with a big “1″ on it. :)

Bill Cobb on Mott’s comment: “Rick actually supports my point (Your Move/Readers Write: Ratings matter; World ranking data 4/18 EJ),” responds Bill Cobb. “A rating improvement is obviously a kind of prize.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“More thought-provoking pieces in the E-journal, thank you!” writes Janice Kim. “Many people believe that their go playing improves given a longer time limit (The Empty Board: Philosophical Reflections on Go #2 http://www.usgo.org/news/2018/04/the-empty-board-philosophical-reflections-on-go-2/ 4/17 EJ). That’s probably true if the time limits are very short.

 

But beyond familiarity and practice, my thinking is there probably isn’t a discernible difference in quality of the Go playing of most people between having 45 minutes per player of basic time, and doubling that.

 

If people played “better”, I’d hypothesize people’s ranks on turn-based servers to be higher than their ranks on real-time servers. Why not try your own experiment?

 

I’m reminded of one time that I was playing a professional tournament game. At one point, I completely missed an obvious move. I mean I completely missed it in the game, I had to see it in the review to recover from the “blind spot”. I could have sat there for 1 minute or 10 minutes, and I probably wouldn’t have “seen” it, although I was doing plenty of thinking, about other moves. Later this gave me the biggest insight I’ve had into the nature of improving at Go.

 

To wit: I think the “point” of playing four rounds in the Open, is that it’s a good opportunity for a player to play as much serious Go as comfortably possible, where one is consciously trying to improve in an environment conducive to that. It’s just a side feature that directors can award prizes, and people can win them.

 

Moving to shorter time limits in the modern professional era is largely about having a broad real-time audience. The players themselves are frequently of the opinion that their best Go is played in about 3.5 hours per person, but I don’t think that most people could tell the difference between those games, and “speed” games on TV, played in an hour.

 

I know people who are discouraged by the prospect of prizes in tournaments, and I think that’s probably a not-uncommon view, but it’s a difficult one to express. Most directors will see them as an easy essential. I’d probably do something like charge people $20 for every game they lose, to pay for the recorder and the review session.

 

Rick actually supports my point: a rating improvement is obviously a kind of prize.

Bill

 

New York Institute of Go launches YouTube Channel

Wednesday April 18, 2018

Stephanie Yin and Ryan Li have just launched NYIG_Go, the New York Institute of Go’s YouTube Channel. “The channel will2018.04.15_NYIG-youtube-channel feature videos of the rules of the game, common mistakes, fuseki strategy and more,” says Yin. They also hope to offer daily life and death problems as well. “Over many years teaching at the annual US Go Congress, the most common question Ryan and I received from players at our lectures was ‘How am I able to get to dan level?’” Yin, a professional go player and president/founder of the New York Go Association tells the EJ. “And our answer is always simple: Do two problems every day and I will see you all at the dan-level lecture.”

Your Move/Readers Write: Ratings matter; World ranking data

Wednesday April 18, 2018

Ratings matter: “I disagree with Bill (The Empty Board: Philosophical Reflections on Go #2  4/17 EJ),” writes Rick Mott.2018.04.18_2017GoCongress-IMG_8681 “After running tournaments for almost 30 years, I think 90+% of tournament players are motivated not by prizes, but by ratings.  I don’t know how to get the data, but I’d bet that most go players did well on the standardized tests we all took in school, and start to salivate when offered a test.  Pretty much any kind of test.  We love measuring ourselves.  One of most popular innovations at the New Jersey Open was posting updated ‘tournament ratings’ after every round.  The crowd loved it.” photo: at the 2017 U.S. Open; photo by Chris Garlock

World ranking data: “In a recent EJ article, Bill Saltman expressed his interest in a ‘chart which correlated amateur [ranks] from 30 kyu to 9 dan, country by country, go-server-by go server,’” writes Sebastian Pountney. “I think he will find that the material on this page, the results of a recent survey conducted on OGS, should go some way to satisfying his request. For a simple table of ranks see here specifically.”

The Empty Board: Philosophical Reflections on Go #2

Tuesday April 17, 2018

by William Cobb2018.04.15_empty-board-glowing edges

Except for the 90 minutes basic time of games in the US Open at the Congress, almost all official games in US tournaments have a basic time of 45 minutes. Why? Well, it makes it possible to have four rounds in a day. But why not have three rounds or two? Four rounds make it possible to separate the group for ranking the players for prizes and such. Anyway, most players don’t use the entire 45 minutes, let alone the 90 at the Open. Why? Don’t they have anything to think about in those extra minutes? They’re probably worried about running out of time, but perhaps having a ranking for getting prizes and status seems more important. So the whole idea of modern tournaments is primarily a function of catering to a desire to win prizes rather than to play the best go you are capable of? Yes.

photo/art by Phil Straus

4/24 deadline for first Pennsylvania State Go Championship

Tuesday April 17, 2018

The Penn Go Society will host the first annual Pennsylvania State Go Championship on Saturday, April 28th and Sunday, AprilOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA 29th, 2018. Part of the AGA’s new state championships, the event features five rounds spanning two days, with both handicap and open divisions, and over $1000 in prizes. For more information, check out the PGS website.

Pre-registration is required to participate in the tournament. “Due to security reasons, the building requires us to provide a guestlist ahead of time, or YOU WILL NOT BE ALLOWED inside,” emphasizes Gina Shi. The deadline for registration is April 24th. To register, click here  and complete the registration form. For details, email tournaments@penngosociety.org

Zhao Zhixun 7D tops Austin ‘Not so taxing’ tourney

Tuesday April 17, 2018

Zhao Zhixun 7D topped the ‘Not so taxing’ go tournament, held on April 14th and 15th in Austin, Texas. A total of 26 players 2018.04.17_austin tourneyparticipated ranging from 7D to 24K. Players traveled from Dallas, Houston, Edinberg, Tx and other points closer.

Prizes and certificates were awarded to the winners in three sections:
Open:
1st Zhao Zhixun 7D  (6-0)
2nd Zhu Yi  5D (3-3)
Handicap Division 1:
1st Bart Jacob 3K (5-1)
2nd Ken Blake 1K (4-2)
3rd Jimmy Carter 3K (3-3)
Handicap Division 2:
1st Francois Wolf 10K (4-2)
2nd Ethan Whitman (12K) 4-2
3rd Parus Uch 10K (3-3)

The Power Report: Yamashita Keigo becomes Honinbo challenger; Cho U takes sole lead in Meijin League; 8th Huanglongshi Cup starts; Iyama defends Judan

Tuesday April 17, 2018

by John Power, special Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Yamashita Keigo becomes Honinbo challenger: 
Yamashita Keigo 9P turns 40 on September 6 this year, but he is still a2018.04.16_HoninboLeague member of a small top group that functions in Iyama Yuta’s shadow. At present, the other candidates for membership would be Murakawa Daisuke and Ichiriki Ryo, and players like Shibano Toramaru and Yo Seiki are vying to join it; Cho U (see next news item) is hoping to rejoin it. Members of this group were active in the final round of the 73rdHoninbo League. As the round started, on April 5, three players were still in the running to become the challenger: Yamashita, Ko Iso 8P, and Ida Atsushi 8P. The possibility of a tie, requiring a play-off, seemed quite high, but Yamashita beat Ko and Ida lost his game, so Yamashita won the league outright on 5-2.
Results follow: Yamashita (W) beat Ko Iso by resig.; Shibano (W) beat Ida by resig.; Yo (W) beat Kobayashi Satoru 9P by resig.; Motoki Katsuya (W) beat Hane Naoki 9P by resig.

The most disappointed of these players could be Ida, who won his first four games, taking the sole lead, then fizzled out with three losses. In contrast, Yamashita had reason to be happy, because he started out with two losses in the first three rounds and must have thought he was out of the running. Ko Iso (4-3) came second and retained his place because of his original ranking at no. 4. Motoki (3-4), Hane (2-5, and Kobayashi (2-5) all lost their places, but on the day there was no third- or fourth-place getter in the league. It’s a long time since this last happened. In 1999, there was a play-off among three players for one seat; the last time three players competed for two seats was in 1972. It became less likely in 1978, as in that year the system of ranking players according to their results in the previous league was adopted; only the four “newcomers,” all ranked #5, could now figure in such a tie. That’s what happened this year, presumably for the first and only time. Three of the league newcomers, equally ranked at no. 5, tied on 4-3, so there was a complicated play-off. This was decided by drawing lots to offset the unfairness of the fact that one player will get two chances. First, on April 12, Ida played Shibano; taking white, the latter won by 4.5 points, so Shibano keeps his place. Ida will play Yo on April 2, with the winner getting the fourth place. Yo drew the booby prize, that is, he gets just one chance. The title match starts on May 15.

Cho U takes sole lead in Meijin League: The first game in the fifth or April round of the 43rd Meijin League was played on April 5. Taking black, Cho U 9P (B) beat Kono Rin 9P by resignation. A second game was played on April 12, with 2018.04.16_MeijinLeagueYamashita Keigo 9P (W) beating Ko Iso 8P by resig. Cho now has the sole lead in league, though his nearest rival, Shibano Toramaru 7P, can join him if he wins his fifth-round game. Perhaps Cho is finally coming out of his slump of recent years.  Usually the league is dominated by the top-ranked players, but this year they are doing badly. Numbers 1 to 3 are Takao, Yamashita Keigo, and Murakawa Daisuke 8P; Takao and Murakawa are on 1-3, which comes close to putting them out of contention for the challengership, and Yamashita is on 2-3. No. 5 Kono is on 2-2, and no. 6, Ko Iso 8P, is on 1-2. The two newcomers to the lead besides Shibano are Hane Naoki 9P, on 3-1, which puts him in third place, and Yo Seiki 7P on 1-3.

8th Huanglongshi Cup starts: The 8th Huanglongshi Cup, a team tournament for five-woman teams from China, Korea, and Japan, got off to a start in Taizhou City on April 9. Unlike the Nong Shim Cup, two games a day are played on the first two days, then one on the third day, then two on the fourth, making a total of seven games in the opening round. The time allowance is one hour per player, followed by byo-yomi of one minute per move. The first round was dominated by Li He of China, who scored five wins. The second round starts on June 5.2018.04.16_56Judan3 Iyama
(April 9) Nyu Eiko 2P (Japan) (W) beat O Cheonga 3P (Korea) by resig.; Li He 5P (China) beat Nyu.
(April 10) Li beat Kim Miri 3P (Korea); Li beat Xie Yimin 6P (Japan)
(April 11) Li beat Kim Tae 3P (Korea)
(April 12) Li beat O Keii 3P (Japan); O Yujin 5P (Korea) beat Li.

Iyama defends Judan: The third game of the 56th Judan title match was held at the Kuroyon Royal Hotel in Omachi City, Nagano Prefecture, on April 12. Taking white, Iyama 2018.04.16_56judan3 MurakawaYuta (right) won by 4.5 points after 234 moves. Iyama has now won this title three years in a row and for the fifth time overall. The defeated challenger Murakawa Daisuke (left) commented: “Compared to the previous two games, this one was the most regrettable.” In other words, he has some winning chances. According to the Go Weekly commentary, the game was even after the first major fight, involving a ko, ended in a large-scale trade, but in a subsequent border fight, Iyama found a clever move that secured more territory than the spectators had been counting for him. The Grand Champion tournament doesn’t seem to be counted as an official title, so the Judan is Iyama’s 51st title. Incidentally, he has now won 17 games in a row in title matches.

Go a hit at DC Sakura Matsuri festival

Monday April 16, 2018

A beautiful day of sunshine and summer-like temperatures pierced the erratic spring weather in Washington DC for the 58th 2018.04.14_dc-fest-IMG_0667annual Sakura Matsuri street festival last Saturday. Over 20 volunteers from the National Go Center came out to staff a tent on Pennsylvania 2018.04.14_dc-fest-IMG_0693Avenue and teach all comers the game. From the time the gates opened after the National Cherry Blossom Festival parade until the early evening, a lively stream of festival goers enjoyed meeting the volunteers and learning about go.
Local go organizer John Goon, who passed away last year, ha2018.04.14_dc-fest-20180414_142702d organized volunteers from the local go clubs to participate in this event for over a decade, and the NGC was excited to keep the tradition going. “It was wonderful to see such strong volunteer support,” said NGC Executive Director Gurujeet Khalsa. “The NGC is also the sponsoring chapter for the US Go Congress to be held in Williamsburg VA in July, and it is enthusiastic volunteers each year that make the Congress a huge success.”
More pictures of the Sakura Matsuri can be found on the NGC Facebook page. Registration for the US Go Congress is open, and the first-ever Go Congress mobile app for the Go Congress.

photos by Chiemi Mori and Allan Abramson

Your Move/Readers Write: World rankings? Go study abroad? Janice responds to “Philosophical Reflections on Go”

Monday April 16, 2018

World rankings? “Janice Kim’s interesting reflections on ranks made good reading,” writes Bill Saltman. “What might also make good reading would be the first-ever (to my knowledge) chart which correlated amateur from 30 kyu to 9 dan, country by country, go-server-by go server. How does a German 1D compare in strength to an American 1D? What does 5k on KGS equal on Pandanet, or the AGA or French, Russian or Japanese rankings? And where would AlphaGo Zero fall if compared to professionals? Many questions; are there any reasonably quantifiable answers?”

Go study abroad? “I’m a self-taught high kyu/low dan recreational player based in Baltimore, and may be taking a professional break soon to travel, among other things,” writes Greg Lysko. “As part of that, I was thinking of trying to study go outside of the US, possibly in either Korea or Japan, for 1-2 months later this year. Are there programs available/easy for English speaking foreigners to sign up for in either country?”

Janice responds to “Philosophical Reflections on Go”: “Enjoyed this piece by William Cobb,” writes Janice Kim. “It did make me think: I don’t see go as being like death, as an analogy of equal weight to other go analogies. I think go is a conversation between two people, not like a conversation between two people. This has a ripple effect through the ages, even though I personally end. So maybe one could say, go is a connection point between the monads, not like the end of one of them.”

Email journal@usgo.org with your responses and/or suggestions.

 

The Power Report: Chunlan Cup starts; Ueno receives prize; Iyama wins 2017 Grand Champion tournament

Monday April 16, 2018

by John Power, special Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Chunlan Cup starts:
The Chunlan Cup is a Chinese international tournament held every two years and sponsored by the 2018.04.15_12chunlan MotokiL LeeSedolRChunlan Group, which started out manufacturing electrical goods and which is said to be one of the 50 biggest industrial groups in China. The first two rounds of the 12th Cup were held in Taizhou City, Jiangsu Province, on March 21 and 23. Five young players from Japan took part; four of them were eliminated in the first round, but Motoki Katsuya picked up a win he will remember all his career when he beat the legendary Lee Sedol of Korea by 3.5 points. However, he was eliminated in the second round. Five Chinese and three Koreans made it to the quarterfinals, including the world’s top two, Park Junghwan and Ke Jie. Full results are given below. We do not have a date for the quarterfinals.
2018.04.15_12Chunlan Motoki RRound 1 (March 21): Kim Jiseok 9P (Korea) (B) beat Ichiriki Ryo (Japan) by resig.; Motoki Katsuya 8P (Japan) (B) beat Lee Sedol 9P (Korea) by 3.5 points; Xie Ke 5P (China) (B) beat Kyo Kagen (Xiu Jiayuan) 7P (Japan) by resig.; Peng Liyao 5P (China) (W) beat Shibano Toramaru 7P (Japan) by resig.; Kang Dongyun 9P (Korea) (B) beat Yo Seiki (Yu Zhengqi) 7P (Japan) by resig.; Lian Xiao 9P (China) (W) beat Chen Qirui 5P (Chinese Taipei) by resig.; Dang Yifei 9P (China) (W) beat Shin Jinseo 8P (Korea) by resig.; Pavol Lisy 1P (Europe) (W) beat Eric Lui 1P (North America) by resig.
Round 2 (March 23): Gu Zihao 9P (China) (W) beat Motoki by resig.; Dang (B) beat Tan Xiao 7P (China) by resig.; Chen Yaoye 9P (China) (W) beat Lisy by resig.; Xie (W) beat Tang Weixing 9P (China) by resig.; Park Junghwan 9P (Korea) (W) beat Peng by resig.; Ke Jie 9P (China) (B) beat Kang by resig.; Kim (W) beat Xie Erhao 9P (China) by resig.; Park Younghoon 9P (Korea) (B) beat Lian by half a point.

Ueno receives prize: The photo shows Ueno Asami at the Prize Ceremony for the 21st Women’s Kisei title. Ueno won it 2018.04.15_womens-kisei21_shuisiki02on January 29 this year by defeating perennial women’s champion Xie Yimin 2-0. At 16 years three months, she became the youngest-ever holder of this title. The award ceremony was held at the Tokyo Dome Hotel on March 28. In the photo, Ueno is flanked by Iyama Yuta (on the left), who gave a congratulatory speech in Ueno’s honor, and Takao Shinji, who proposed the toast. Ueno’s bright red kimono, a furisode, which is worn by unmarried women, matches the youthful optimism of the new titleholder.

Iyama wins 2017 Grand Champion tournament: The Grand Champion tournament is a tournament for all the current titleholders 2018.04.15_2017GC7 KonoLeftIyamaRightplus some of the top players in the prize-money list. The semifinals and semifinal of the 2017 version were held on March 31. The semifinals were played in the morning. Kono Rin 9P, playing white, just barely managed to edge Ichiriki Ryo, winner of the previous tournament, by half a point. In the other game, Iyama Yuta (W) beat Motoki Katsuya 8P by resig. Iyama later commented that he was lucky to eke out a win in this game.
The final was played in the afternoon and telecast on the Igo Shogi Channel and also relayed on the Nihon Ki-in’s net channel Yugen-no-ma. Taking black, Iyama secured a resignation after 195 moves. In the key fight of the game, Iyama flattened out White’s moyo; some white stones cut off his group, but he set up a one-eye vs. no-eye capturing race with them, so this was a big gain.
Here are more details for those interested. The tournament follows the NHK format: 30 seconds per move plus ten minutes of thinking time, to be used at will in one-minute units. Up to the third round, games are played on the net; the final is a public game, played on a stage in front of an audience, with a public commentary being given on another part of the same stage. (Just for the record, the tournament name until two years ago was Go Tournament Winners Championship.)
Tomorrow: Yamashita Keigo becomes Honinbo challenger; Cho U takes sole lead in Meijin League; 8th Huanglongshi Cup starts; Iyama defends Judan