American Go E-Journal

50 years aGO – March 1970

Sunday March 22, 2020

by Keith Arnold, hka with Patrick Bannister

The Third British Go Congress took place on March 21 and 22. A visiting Japanese 4 dan, a Mr. Akiyama, won the British Open Championship, narrowly defeating John Diamond 3 dan who was declared British National Champion. Mr. Diamond would go on to serve as BGA President and win the British Championship 8 times.

European Horst Mueller, 3 dan, played a televised game with Iwamoto 9 dan on March 26th. Iwamoto praised the visitor for his efforts, losing by 3 points in the 5 stone game. Perhaps Mr. Mueller was already working on the German translations included in the “GO; International Handbook and Dictionary” written by John Tilley and first published in the summer of 1970.

Finally we feature this glorious photo of two top Japanese matches. In the foreground, Hashimoto Shoji holds the white stones against Ishida Yoshio in the All Japan Pro Best 10. In the background, Sakata Eio defends the challenge of Ishida’s fellow Kitani disciple, Kato Masao, who takes black in one of the final games of the 25th Honinbo League. The games were played on March 4, I could only find the record of the Honinbo League match (below).

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Redmond on AG-AG Game 38 Saturday night on Twitch

Friday March 20, 2020

Tune in to the AGA’s Twitch channel Saturday night at 8p EDT to catch Michael Redmond 9P and Chris Garlock with their latest live game commentary on the AlphaGo vs AlphaGo series. “I see you guys are having new teaching tools!,” said Nat Cole, referring to Redmond’s ability to draw on the board using OGS. “It’s much more effective than when we had to go off on the a, b, c, d, e points. Thank you for doing that!” “Great stuff!” added Ian Eccleston. “I renewed my AGA membership to help support this content.” Tune in at 8p on Saturday, March 21; viewers will be able to ask Redmond and Garlock questions during the live commentary.

The Power Report: Sumire’s results; Kido Prizes; Shibano wins Shusai Prize; Postponements; Promotion; Obituary: Kubouchi Shuchi 9P

Wednesday March 18, 2020

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Sumire’s results
This year Nakamura Sumire 1P is finding things a bit tougher than last year. Since my previous report, she has suffered two losses, so her record this year is 4-6. Her birthday was on March 2, so the first game below was her last as a ten-year-old.

On Feb. 24, Sumire (B) lost by resig. to Sakaguchi Ryuzo 9P after 176 moves (Prelim. C, 27th Agon Kiriyama Cup, played at the Nihon Ki-in Kansai HQ).

 On March 5, Sumire (W) lost to Horimoto Mitsunari 4P by resig. after 197 moves (Prelim. C, 46th Meijin tournament, same venue as above).

Kido Prizes
The 53rd Kido Prizes were chosen by a committee of representatives from the go media on February 17. As the list following shows, there were few surprises.

Most Outstanding Player: Iyama Yuta
Outstanding Player: Shibano Toramaru
New Star: Son Makoto, King of the New Stars
Women’s Prize: Ueno Asami
International Prize: Not awarded
Most Wins: Shibano Toramaru (52)
Best Winning Percentage: Ichiriki Ryo (77.05%)
Most Successive Wins: Ichiriki & Fujita Akihiko (16)
Most Games Played: Shibano Toramaru (70)

Shibano wins Shusai Prize
On February 12, Shibano Toramaru was chosen as the recipient of the 57th Shusai Prize. This prize is awarded to an outstanding player with good future potential.

Postponements
The corona virus is continuing to affect go tournaments and not just international ones. Among the tournaments that have been postponed are: the 3rd World Go Championship (sponsored by the Nihon Ki-in), the 7th Globis Cup, and the 9th Ing Cup. The international preliminary for the LG Cup, which was scheduled for Seoul in April and which usually attracts about 300 players, has been cancelled; instead, the seats in the main tournament that were at stake were allocated to participating countries based on their past results, with the method of selection being left up to each country. This measure indicates that the organizers are still hopeful of being able to hold the main tournament later this year.

Promotion
To 8-dan: Shuto Shun (150 wins, as of Feb. 25)

Obituary: Kubouchi Shuchi 9P
Kubouchi Shuchi died of old age on January 21, 2020. He was born on January 25, 1920, so he was just four days short of his 100th birthday. A native of Osaka, he became a disciple of Kubomatsu Katsukiyo, hon. 9-dan. He qualified as 1-dan in 1935 and reached 9-dan in 1960. He was one of the leading members of the Kansai Ki-in. He played in four Meijin Leagues and three Honinbo Leagues. My memory may not be reliable, but I seem to recall that in his heyday Kubouchi was fond of playing the 5-4 point, which usually led to exciting games.

The Power Report: Shibano starts well in Judan; 75th Honinbo League; 45th Meijin League

Tuesday March 17, 2020

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Shibano starts well in Judan

The 58th Judan title match got off to a start on March 3, with the first game being played at the Osaka University of Commerce. The defending titleholder, Murakawa Daisuke, played well in the opening and early middle game to take an early lead in territory, but the challenger, Shibano Toramaru Meijin, pulled off an upset in the middle game. Taking white, he won by 3.5 points after 276 moves. The second game will be played on March 26.

75th Honinbo League

After the completion of the fifth round, three players shared the lead on 4-1: Shibano Toramaru Meijin, Ichiriki Ryo 8P, and Kyo Kagen 8P. A crucial game was played on March 12 in which Kyo Kagen beat Ichiriki Ryo, so Kyo has the provisional lead with 5-1. At the other end of the league, Yamashita Keigo has lost his fifth straight game and has already lost his league place.

(Feb. 20) Kono Rin 9P (B) beat Yamashita Keigo 9P by resig.; Kyo Kagen 8P (B) beat Hane Naoki 9P by resig.

(March 5) Shida Tatsuya 8P (B) beat Hane Naoki Gosei by resig.

(March 12) Kyo beat Ichiriki.

45th Meijin League

With one game to go in the March round, the lead is shared by Iyama Yuta and Ichiriki Ryo, who are both on 3-0. They will meet in the April round, so there will then be a sole leader. With 0-4, Yamashita Keigo 9P is doing almost as badly as in the Honinbo League. At least as far as leagues concerned, Yamashita, with a combined 0-9 record, must be undergoing one of the worst slumps of his career.

(Feb. 20) Iyama Yuta Kisei (W) beat Murakawa Daisuke Judan by resig.

(Feb. 27) Ichiriki Ryo 8P (W) beat Kyo Kagen 8P by resig.

(March 5) Rin Kanketsu 8P (W) beat Yamashita Keigo by resig.

Tomorrow: Sumire’s results; Kido Prizes; Shibano wins Shusai Prize; Postponements; Promotion; Obituary: Kubouchi Shuchi 9P

Go players keep going during pandemic

Monday March 16, 2020

Go players are coming up with creative ways to keep playing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The National Go Center in Washington DC is “working to set up both formal and informal offline play,” reports Gurujeet Khalsa. “We have a room on the KGS Go Server where anyone can go. For those of you already familiar with KGS, if you sign in, go to the Rooms Menu, then Room List, you will get a pop-up menu to select a room. Our room is under Clubs on that menu. Click on Clubs and then scroll down to National Go Center.”
There’s also a National Go Center presence on Discord, the free application that many gamers use for voice communication and text chat. It is a good supplement to KGS. KGS has a voice option but the quality is somewhat spotty. Click here for the NGC Discord. “Folks can meet and play informally on KGS anytime,” Khalsa adds. “We’ve been having discussions with the Seattle Go Center and others and are looking at some inter-league type play as well.”

Meanwhile, in New York City, organizer Peter Armenia has created a Gotham Go Group – Manhattan group on OGS (Online Go Server). “So maybe folks can meet there on Tuesdays and Wednesdays to keep as much normalcy in these less than normal times as possible,” says Armenia. “I don’t normally play go online, but I will try to be there to get a game with some familiar faces.”

Armenia adds that “Some folks are talking about getting a KGS Gotham Go Group room going. If that happens I will let you know.”

And this just in from Jonathan Hop: “I just wanted to drop you guys a line and let you know I opened my new site.” The subscription service provides full access to the video library, go problem sets, and a dashboard to track your progress in different skills. “It’d definitely give people something to do while we’re all practicing social distancing!” says Hop. 

Got go news? Email it to journal@usgo.org!

The Power Report: Iyama overcomes Kono fightback in Kisei title match; Yoda resumes playing; Top four decided in 1st Hakata Kamachi Cup; New pair wins Professional Pair Go Championship

Monday March 16, 2020

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Iyama overcomes Kono fightback in Kisei title match

Iyama

As noted in my previous report, Iyama Yuta won the first three games in the 44th Kisei title match, but Kono saved the first kadoban. In the fifth game, which was played at the Hotel Kagetsuen in the town of Hakone, Kanagawa Prefecture, on February 26 and 27, Kono continued his fightback. Taking white, he won by resignation after 232 moves. Kono had fallen behind in territory, but managed to pull off an upset. Iyama was apparently quite crestfallen at his failure to convert his early lead into a win. With this win, Kono reached his “norm”against Iyama: two wins.

The sixth game was held at the Tokiwa Hotel in Kofu City, Yamanashi Prefecture, on March 5 and 6. Taking white, Iyama won by 3.5 points after 262 moves. The game featured hectic fighting from the outset, but Kono was let down by a slack move with Black 137—White had a good counter that he had overlooked. This decided the game and gave Iyama the series 4-2. By winning his eighth Kisei title in a row, he matched the record set by Kobayashi Koichi. It also matches Iyama’s personal record set in the Honinbo title. He can now aim at becoming the first player to win two titles ten times. Whatever happens after this, his victory ensures that Iyama remains the number one player for another year.

Kono

For the fourth time, the third win in a best-of-seven challenge to Iyama proved elusive for Kono. Aged 39, he cannot expect many more chances to take a top-three title.

Yoda resumes playing

In my previous report, I gave the details of the suspension from play of Yoda Norimoto by the Nihon Ki-in. Since then, Yoda has sued the Nihon Ki-in at the Tokyo District Court. On March 11, the Nihon Ki-in announced that the suspension would be lifted until the result of the court hearing has been given. It is expected at the end of April.

Top four decided in 1st Hakata Kamachi Cup

The first and second rounds of the new Hakata Kamachi Cup were held at the Tokyo headquarters of the Nihon Ki-in on February 15 and 16. The final four—Ueno Asami, Fujisawa Rina, Mukai Akiko, and Nyu Eiko–were players who have been prominent in women’s go recently, but there were some notable results on the way. Competing in the main tournament were the ten players who qualified in the preliminary round, five seeded players, and one wild card, Hei Jiajia (aka Joanne Missingham) of Taiwan. It’s unusual for an overseas player to be given a seat in a domestic tournament, but Hei is popular with local fans. Full results are given below. (The semifinals and final are scheduled for April 13 and 14.)

Round 1 (Feb. 15) Ueno Asami, Women’s Honijnbo, (B) beat Yashiro Kumiko 6P by resig.; Nakazawa Ayako 5P (B) beat Cho Chen 2P by resig.; Xie Yimin 6P (W) beat Tsukuda Akiko 5P by resig.; Mukai Chiaki 5P (B) beat Mannami Nao 4P by 1.5 points; Hei Jiajia 7P (Taiwan) (B) beat Omori Ran 1P by resig.; Nyu Eiko 2P (B) beat Tatsumi Akane 3P by resig.; Tsuji Hana 1P (B) beat Inaba Karin 1P by resig.; Fujisawa Rina, Women’s Hollyhock Cup-holder, (B) beat Moro Arisa 1P by resig.

Round 2 (Feb. 16) Ueno (B) beat Nakazawa by resig.; Mukai (W) beat Xie by resig.; Nyu (B) beat Hei by half a point; Fujisawa (B) beat Tsuji by resig.

New pair wins Professional Pair Go Championship

The semifinals and final of the Professional Pair Go Championship 2020 were held at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo on March 1. Because of the corona virus, there were no spectators, although Pair Go tournaments thrive more than ordinary tournaments on the close contact between players and spectators. For their part, the organizers were probably relieved at being able to complete the tournament schedule. A live commentary was broadcast on the Net. In one semifinal, the pair of Okuda Aya 4P and Murakawa Daisuke Judan beat Chinen Kaori 6P and Motoki Katsuya 8P; in the other, Suzuki Ayumi 7P and Yo Seiki 8P beat Yoshida Mika 8P and Onishi Ryuhei 5p. In the final, Okuda & Murakawa (W) beat Suzuki & Yo by 10.5 points.

Tomorrow: Shibano starts well in Judan; 75th Honinbo League; 45th Meijin League

AGA Encourages Players to Stay Home

Saturday March 14, 2020

The following statement has been released by the American Go Association’s Board of Directors.

“Generally, the AGA considers promoting face-to-face go to be one of it’s biggest priorities. As COVID-19 has progressed, however, it has become clear that practicing social distancing is something that everyone needs to do for their health and the health of those around them.

With that in mind, the AGA is encouraging folks to cancel or postpone all planned club and tournament events in March and April. This is a developing situation that is changing weekly (and lately daily), and we hope that we will be able to resume in-person play soon – once the pandemic has subsided.

The Seattle Go Center in Seattle and the National Go Center in Washington, DC have both suspended tournaments and face-to-face play and are closely monitoring the situation. Updates are at seattlego.org and nationalgocenter.org.

At this time, the AGA is making no recommendations about events in May or any time after that. Preparations for the US Go Congress in Estes Park at the beginning of August are continuing, even as we develop contingency plans in case the effects of the pandemic continue into the summer. Congress staff are working closely with the YMCA and monitoring recommendations from public officials. Colorado has declared a state of emergency and recommended postponing gatherings of 250 or more for the time being.

Stay safe – and maybe take this opportunity to rediscover online go playing, read some go books, and watch some of the many videos available on Twitch and YouTube!”

“Alphago to Zero” Twitch stream draws record crowd

Friday March 13, 2020

More than 13,000 viewers — a new record for the AGA’s Twitch channel — tuned in for Thursday night’s Twitch broadcast featuring Michael Redmond 9P and Chris Garlock discussing their new book “Alphago to Zero” and reviewing a game from the historic 2016 showdown between the world champion and the DeepMind AI. “Their passion for this game is infectious,” said CalmExit. The two talked about what it was like to provide the English-language commentary for the 2016 match for a global audience with intense media attention, and took questions from viewers. Chayashida wondered about “Michael and Chris’s thoughts, looking back, four years later…on the actual match as well as how AI has changed the game in the past 4 years.” And sam83a wondered “Does Michael plan writing other books using AI other than this 4-volume series? For example revisiting his san ren sei book, or analyzing historical classical games.” Check out the video to hear the answers to those questions and more, as well as Redmond’s review of Game 4 — chosen by a viewer poll — of the AlphaGo-Lee Sedol match. “I absolutely love how much Redmond loves the game,” said Trevoke. Stephen Hu produced the stream.

Stay home, watch go! Pandanet City League this weekend

Friday March 13, 2020

Self-Isolation? Recovering from St Patty’s Day? Miss other sporting events? Logon to Pandanet this Sunday March 15th at 3pm EST/12pm PST and watch some go! Many of the country’s top players are playing throughout the day. Check out our schedule pages for your favorite players and local teams for the times they’re playing.

A League B LeagueC LeagueD League

Registration Open for 2020 AGHS School Team Tournament

Thursday March 12, 2020

“Registration for the 2020 AGHS School Team Tournament is now open through March 31st, ” says Promotion Head Sophia Wang, “All participants must be North American residents in grades K-12 and attend the same school as their teammates. Each team has 3 players, with no more than 5 teams per institution. A total of four rounds will be held on two Sundays—April 5th and 12th—at 10am and 1pm PST each day. Players of all four rounds will receive a participation prize, and the top teams in each division will receive cash and trophies.”

Click here for registration
Click here for detailed rules