American Go E-Journal

The Power Report: Iyama extends lead in Meijin League; Kisei S League; Suzuki to challenge for Women’s Hollyhock Cup

Tuesday June 30, 2020

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Iyama extends lead in Meijin League

   With Iyama maintainaing his unbeaten record in the 45th Meijin League, it’s looking more and more as if he will be the one to challenge the new Meijin, Shibano Toramaru. Shibano has won their only previous title match, but he is finding Iyama a different proposition in two-day games. We shouldn’t make any predictions, however, as Ichiriki Ryo is following hard on Iyama’s heels with just one loss. Recent results follow. Incidentally, Iyama’s win below is his ninth in a winning streak that started on March 5.

(June 15) Ichiriki Ryo 8P (W) beat Kono Rin 9P by 3.5 points.

(June 18) Kyo Kagen 8P (W) beat Rin Kanketsu 8P by resig.

(June 25) Iyama Yuta Kisei (B) beat Kyo Kagen by resig.; Kono Rin 9P (B) beat Hane Naoki Gosei by resig.; Ichiriki (B) beat Rin Kanketsu 8P by resig.

Kisei S League

   The S League in the 45th Kisei tournament completed its first round with the games below.

(June 18) Kono Rin (W) beat Takao Shinji 9P by resig.

(June 22) Kyo Kagen 8P (W) beat Murakami Daisuke Judan by resig.

Suzuki to challenge for Women’s Hollyhock Cup

   Suzuki Ayumi, holder of the Women’s Kisei title, won the play-off to decide the challenger to Fujisawa Rina for the 7th Hollyhock Cup. At the age of 36, she seems to be enjoying a renaissance in her career. Her opponent in the play-off was the 23-year-old Iwata Saeka 1P, who is a new name to me. Though born in Tokyo and a disciple of Ishida Yoshio, she is a member of the Kansai Ki-in. She let slip her first chance at glory.

Semifinals (June 20) Suzuki Ayumi, Women’s Kisei, (B) beat Xie Yimin 6P by half a point; Iwata Saeka 1P (W) beat Nyu Eiko 2P by half a point.

Final (June 21) Suzuki (W) beat Iwata by resig. 

Tomorrow: Ichiriki to challenge for Gosei; Tournaments canceled; Retirement: Honda Kunihisa

Latin American Go Congress canceled

Tuesday June 30, 2020

It’s official. The 4th Latin American Go Congress, which was to be held in Buenos Aires in October 2020, has been canceled. “The coronavirus pandemic will still take some time to bring under control in Argentina and it has become apparent that a Congress in October is no longer feasible in the current year,” reports Haroldo Brown. Current plans are for Argentina to hold the Congress in October 2021.  In a related update, Brown says “It is likely that we will hold some sort of Latin American online tournament in October but have no specific news on this as we are just beginning to think about it.”

Categories: Latin America,Main Page
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Your Move/Readers Write: Strict observance of masking and other sanitary practices

Monday June 29, 2020

“Peter Armenia is missing the point in his comments about Roger Schrag’s letter,” writes Steve Burrall. “I don’t doubt that he is correct about that particular photo depicting relatively low-risk conditions based on details he provided, but E-Journal readers had no way of knowing those details.  For all we know, that could have been some superspreader about to sneeze over his improperly-worn mask on somebody else’s type 1 diabetic kid over the Go board.  Putting the word ‘safely’ on a photo of a guy wearing a mask on his chin was unfortunate. One of my reactions upon seeing the photo was in fact happiness that a Go club is active again in person, but for that to happen everywhere and for an in-person Go Congress to happen again, chances are it will take strict observance of masking and other sanitary practices to make it safe and legal.”
Editor’s note: The wording on the original post was not Armenia’s and while there are clearly different opinions and varying levels of comfort, we’re confident that all can agree that strict observance of masking and other sanitary practices are key to everyone’s safety and health as we work through this crisis together. Let’s keep the life and death problems strictly on the board!

The Power Report: Shibano takes Judan title, sets new records; Iyama extends lead in Honinbo title match; Sumire’s “second start” improves on her first

Monday June 29, 2020

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Shibano takes Judan title, sets new records

   Even though professional go resumed on June 1, it took over two weeks for the 58th Judan title match, which had been interrupted with the score tied at 1-1, to get underway again, so in the end there was a break of close to three months. On June 17, the third game was finally played at the Nihon Ki-in headquarters in Tokyo. Taking white, the challenger, Shibano Toramaru Meijin, forced Murakawa Daisuke Judan to resign after 176 moves. 

   The fourth game was held at the same venue on June 26. Playing black, Shibano won by resignation after 141 moves. This gave him his third concurrent title, to go with the Meijin and Oza titles, and broke some records set by Iyama Yuta. At 20 years seven months, he is the youngest player to secure a triple crown, the previous record being Iyama’s 23 years one month. Shibano achieved this feat five years nine months, after becoming a professional; that put a big dent in the previous speed record, Iyama’s ten years three months. 

Iyama extends lead in Honinbo title match

   I gave the result of the second game of the 75th Honinbo title match in my previous report (June 22), but I have some supplementary information, so please bear with me. The game was played at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo on June 13 & 14, having been transferred from the originally scheduled venue, the Kokura Castle Garden in Kita-Kyushu City, because of a recent resurgence of the coronavirus in that city. It is the first Honinbo title game to be held at the Ki-in for 45 years. The last such game was the 7th game of the 30th title match. As it happened, the referee for this game was Ishida Yoshio, also known as 24th Honinbo Shuho, and he played in the 1975 game, beating Sakata Eio and winning the Honinbo title for the 5th year in a row. 

   As with Game One, there were no party or other related events, though what was called a “mini” press conference was held. Iyama took a small lead in the middle-game fighting and used great skill to convert this into a solid lead. Shibano resigned after 143 moves.

   The third game was played at the originally scheduled venue of the Takarazuka Hotel, Takarazuka City, Hyogo Prefecture. Taking white, Iyama played positively in the opening and scored another convincing win. Shibano resigned after move 172. This was Iyama’s third one-sided win in a row, so Shibano’s Honinbo challenge seems to be in bad trouble. 

Sumire’s “second start” improves on her first 

   Japan’s youngest professional player, eleven-year-old Nakamura Sumire 1P, had a very successful first year, scoring 24 wins to 17 losses in 2019 and posting the best winning percentage for a 1-dan. Things had been a little tougher for her this year, though her record of 7-10 before Covid-19 put a stop to professional go, was nothing to be ashamed of for a new 1-dan. The enforced break does not seem to have affected her form and she has already evened her score for the year. On June 18, taking black, she beat Sano Takatsugu 8P by resignation after 141 moves in Preliminary C in the 69th Oza tournament. This was her first official game since April 6 and was played at the Kansai HQ of the Nihon Ki-in. On June 25, taking white, she beat Ms. Deguchi Mariko 1P in the final round of the preliminary tournament for the 5th Senko Cup by half a point. This secured her a seat in the main tournament (the best 16). Deguchi being her senior, this game was played on her home ground, the Kansai Ki-in. On June 29, Sumire (W) beat Araki Issei 4P by 6.5 points in Preliminary B of the 30th Ryusei tournament. Araki is a fellow member of the Nihon Ki-in’s Kansai HQ, so that is where the game was played. Just for the record, Sumire’s score to date is 27-17. Three straight wins is a great way to get back into the swing of across-the-board. Sano 8P commented that he had checked out some of the games Sumire played on the net during the enforced break and he got the impression her game was maturing. To his cost, he was able to confirm this.

Tomorrow: Iyama extends lead in Meijin League; Kisei S League; Suzuki to challenge for Women’s Hollyhock Cup

AlphaGo vs. Lee Sedol Game 2, revisited, plus AlphaGo vs. The World

Sunday June 28, 2020

If you missed the live commentary — originally aired on May 17 on Twitch — by Michael Redmond 9P and Chris Garlock on the second game of the historic 2016 AlphaGo vs. Lee Sedol match, it’s now been released on the AGA’s YouTube channel. Click here to check it out. “Those days of Lee Sedol and you two doing the commentary were some of the most enjoyable times during that AlphaGo match,” said Mike Young. “I got really excited about Go for awhile.”

While there was no live broadcast this Sunday, Redmond and Garlock will return on Sunday July 5 at 8 PM EDT on AGA Twitch. Meanwhile, you can check out their new AlphaGo vs. The World series playlist, with new releases of commentaries on the AlphaGo Master games every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 11 AM EDT.

Your Move/Readers Write: More on “Gotham Go back in action”

Sunday June 28, 2020

“I am very disappointed by the E-Journal article “Gotham Go back in action,” writes Roger Schrag. “The article includes a photo of two people playing go ‘safely’; one player is wearing a mask incorrectly with their mouth and nose completely outside the mask, while the other player is not wearing a mask at all. Scientists and epidemiologists the world over agree that wearing masks is key to slowing the spread of Covid-19. By suggesting go players don’t need to wear masks in order to play safely in person does a gross disservice to the go community.”
Gotham Go organizer Peter Armenia responds: “I would guess most epidemiologists would think the situation depicted here is quite safe. They are two low-risk individuals, in a currently low risk (less than 1% positive test rate for Covid19) location, outside 4+ feet apart. The kid’s parents and adult pictured were provided detailed information on playing safely and urging every individual to assess their risk and personal situation to determine what is safe for them. It’s not up to the AGA or the Gotham Go Group to tell people what they can choose to do.

NOTE: The opinions expressed in letters to the editor are not necessarily those of the American Go Association. The E-Journal welcomes letter to the editor, which are subject to editing.

The Empty Board: Philosophical Reflections on Go #15

Friday June 26, 2020

By William Cobb

I was chatting with the young man to whom I am teaching go the other day and I remarked that he was beginning to make a lot more plays that were like those of a real go player. His reply was that that might be true but in fact he felt like most of the time he had no idea what was going on.  It struck me immediately that I feel that way a lot of the time also. Moreover, often when I did think I knew what was going on I was mistaken. This feeling of being caught up in a rapidly shifting and somewhat puzzling situation is an inescapable characteristic of the game of go. This, of course, is another of the many ways in which playing go is like living life. Hopefully, with time and experience you begin to get some idea of what is going on in life. You recognize more of the actual opportunities facing you and you get a more realistic idea of what you are likely to be able to do in particular situations. Plus you also develop a better sense of what to expect from others.

Lately we’ve all been dealing with a host of realities we had not really been expecting though we knew such things were possible. It is very frustrating, not unlike playing an even game against a player who is much stronger than you. The new restrictions on living are too much like being told you can play a game of go but you have to hold the stones two inches above the board, drop them, and not move them afterwards. It would be hard to enjoy playing that way just as it is hard to enjoying living the way we have to now. Actually, the present situation has made playing go seem more like a very orderly activity—certainly one that involves virtually no frustrations. The lack of clarity about what is really going on in a game is now rather comforting in comparison with just living life.

photo by Phil Straus; photo art by Chris Garlock

Your Move/Readers Write: More applause for AGA Statement on Injustice

Friday June 26, 2020

“Add my applause to the AGA statement on injustice,” writes Steven Burrall. “Even though Go players are a very nice bunch of people and perhaps need to hear the message less than members of most organizations, I think it is a great time for all organizations to publicly affirm the principles that are now building momentum to correct persistent inequities in racial justice.  Anyone who has done work for the AGA knows that there was no waste of money and resources in calling attention to the issue; a volunteer stepped up to write an excellent statement and I appreciate it.”

Gotham Go back in action

Thursday June 25, 2020

photo courtesy Peter Armenia

The Gotham Go Group was back in action — safely — on Tuesday at the Hungarian Pastry Shop.

50 years aGO — June 1970

Thursday June 25, 2020

Keith Arnold, hka, with Patrick Bannister

On June 4 the Nihon Kiin Igo Festival was held.  There were a variety of events, but the greatest excitement was created by the 2nd place finish in the All-Japan Ladies Amateur Championship of an 11-year-old prodigy, Ashida Isoko (pictured)  She would enter the pro ranks in 1975. Today she’s a 6d player with Kansai Ki’in. Her biggest tournament victory so far was taking 1st place in the Kakusei in 1985.

On June 9, veteran player Hashimoto Utaro completed his victory in the Asahi Pro Best Ten (picture) with three straight wins over Kato Masao. (game records: Game 1; Game 2; Game 3).  He held off other young players – Rin Kaiho, Ishida Yoshio and Otake Hideo in the course of this triumph.

Go Review reports that William Pinckard returned to Japan and was furthering his go studies at Iwamoto’s Go Salon and had achieved 2 dan.

Finally, on June 14, the North American Honinbo match was held via telephone.  New York’s Takao Matsuda turned back the challenge of the West Coast’s Shigeo Matsubara.