American Go E-Journal

The Power Report: December updates

Monday December 30, 2019

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Iyama loses Oza, keeps Tengen

   Iyama Yuta started the year with five titles, but ended it with only three. Like the previous year, he lost two titles, but he remains the number one player even in his 30s.

   The fourth game of the 67th Oza title match was played at the Ginbaso inn in Nishiura Hot Spring in Gamagori City, Aichi Prefecture, on November 29. Taking white, Shibano Toramaru Meijin (left) beat Iyama Yuta (right) by half a point. This gave him a lead of 3-1, so he took the title. The first half of the game focused on a struggle by Black to secure life for a group inside White’s sphere of influence. Shibano’s attack was more severe than Iyama had expected: he seemed to read more deeply in this fight. He discarded a group while capturing the tail of Black’s group in sente, so he took the lead here. However, he made a slip later that let Black catch up. The game was decided by the final half-point ko: Black didn’t have enough threats to win it.

   This is Shibano’s second title, so he has clearly established himself as Japan’s number two. Shibano: “There were many difficult positions and tough fights [in the series]. I was lucky to win.” Iyama: “Shibano has developed into a player who can represent Japan. I expect even bigger things from him. [As for being reduced to three titles,] I would like to commend myself for having been able to secure good results over a long period. Going by my recent form, this loss can’t be helped.”

   Iyama came to the fourth game of the 45th Tengen title match in the same position as in the Oza: down 1-2 to a youthful challenger. Kyo Kagen (aged 21) was also the player who put an end to his second grand slam when he beat Iyama 3-0 in the 43rd Gosei title. The 4th game was played at the Hotel New Awaji, a hot spring hotel in Sumoto City, Hyogo Prefecture, on December 9. Taking black, Iyama forced a resignation after 177 moves. This game started with the large avalanche joseki, which was the king of the josekis in the 70s. Kyo got a bad result, with his outside influence not being a match for Black’s territory. Kyo narrowed the gap with some good play later, but Iyama kept the initiative and scored a comfortable win.

   The fifth game was played at the Tokushima Grandvrio Hotel in Tokushima City, Tokushima Prefecture, on December 18. Kyo drew black in the nigiri. The game was a spectacular one: Kyo fell behind, so he started a fight to the death between two large groups; Iyama outplayed him, saving his group and securing the lead. The game ended in a large capturing race that Kyo lost, so he resigned after move 234.

   Incidentally, ever since he won the Honinbo title in 2012, Iyama has always held at least three titles. 

Nakamura Sumire beats 9-dan, is top new 1-dan

   Ten-year-old Sumire is continuing to enjoy good results, scoring a win against a 9-dan, but her winning streak against male professionals has come to an end. Details of her games since my previous report are given below, but first let’s look at an honor she earned off the go board. A meeting of go-linked media representatives to choose the 37th Japan Igo Journalists Club Prize was held at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo on November 26, and, not surprisingly, the unanimous choice was Sumire. There were other landmark performances by young players—for example, Shibano Toramaru’s becoming the first teenaged Meijin and Ueno Asami’s becoming the first woman to reach the final of a tournament open to male and female players—but they did not match the impact Sumire had on both the go world and the general public. The citation read: “[Sumire] attracted attention as the youngest professional in history and has had outstanding results since becoming 1-dan. Her success is worthy of the Special Promotion System.” 

   In a game in the second round of the 45th Kisei preliminary tournament, played at the Nagoya branch of the Nihon Ki-in on November 28, Sumire (W) beat Baba Shigeru 9P (aged 71) by resignation after 260 moves. This took her official record to 13-5 and was her seventh win in a row against male players. After the game, she said: “I thought it was bad for me.” Baba commented: “She played tenaciously at the end. I think the lead changed hands two or three times in the endgame.” Three more wins in the Kisei will secure a seat in the C League, which would be quite a coup.

   The sponsors of the 2nd Wu Qingyuan (Go Seigen) tournament arranged as a side event a best-of-three match between Sumire and Wu Yiming 2P of China. It had the grand title of the Japan-China Women Super New Stars Invitational Best-of-Three. The result was a 2-0 win for Wu, who had just turned 13. This victory won her a seeded place in the 3rd Cup next year. The games were played in the Wu Qingyuan Hall in Fuzhou City, which is the hometown of Wu Qingyuan, in Fujian Province on December 2 and 3. Taking black, Wu won the first game by resignation; in the second game, Wu (W) won by 2.5 points. Sumire’s parents accompanied her on the trip, and her father, Shinya 9P, commented: “Overall, she showed all her strength. This result reflects her present level.” Sumire again attracted a lot of attention and a photo of her was used for the cover of the weiqi magazine Weiqi Universe. Incidentally, her opponent Wu became 1-dan last year in the Chinese qualifying tournament; she was one of 14 women who were successful. This year another 12 women made it, but Wu is still the youngest female player in China. (These games are not counted by the Nihon Ki-in as official games; just guessing, but the reason might be that, as invitational games, they are not in a tournament open to other women players.)

   On December 9, Sumire played Hane Ayaka 1P in the preliminary tournament for the 7th Aizu Central Hospital Women’s Hollyhock Cup. Taking black, Sumire won by 7.5 points after 290 moves. Her record against Hane, daughter of Hane Naoki Gosei, is now 2-0. She needs two more wins to get a seat in the main tournament. The game was played at the Nagoya Nihon Ki-in.

   On the 12th, Sumire played Komatsu Daiki 3P in Preliminary B of the 59th Judan tournament. Taking black, she lost by resignation after 202 moves. This put an end to her winning streak against male players. 

   On December 16, Sumire played Nyu Eiko 2P in one of the finals of the preliminary round of the 45th King of the New Stars tournament. Nyu (W) won by 6.5 points. The game was played at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo.

   On December 19, Sumire played Takatsu Masaaki 1P in the preliminary tournament of the 45th Kisei tournament. Taking white, Sumire won by resignation after 294 moves. 

   On December 23, Sumire played Tafu Kae 3-dan of the Kansai Ki-on in the preliminary round of the 5th Senko Cup. Taking white, she won by resignation after 224 moves. The game was played at the Kansai Ki-in. Two more wins will secure her a seat in the main tournament, in which the top 16 women players compete.

   Sumire’s last official game of the year was played at the Kansai headquarters of the Nihon Ki-in in preliminary C of the 46th Meijin tournament on December 26. Her opponent was Yamada Wakio 7P, younger brother of Yamada Shiho 7P, whom she beat in October (their younger brother is Yamada Kimio 9P). Taking white, she secured a resignation after 144 moves. Actually her opponent had the lead, but, according to Ishii Kunio 9P, “as if entranced, he played a move he shouldn’t have,” so she pulled off an upset. This result was reported on at least 11 different news sites on the Net,  

   Sumire’s record for the first “year” (actually nine months) of her career was 17-7, a winning record of 70.8%. These stats were the best of the 13 new 1-dans who debuted in 2019. That’s a remarkable performance, and no one can claim to have foreseen it. In an interview after the award ceremony for the above-mentioned press prize, held on December 17, Sumire commented: “I won more than I expected, so I’m happy Becoming a pro and being able to travel to China and Taiwan for games was great. I’ll do my best to get stronger next year.” Her first 2020 game is on January 13. She plans to attend a summer camp in Japan at the end of December and to make a study trip to Korea in the new year.

Choi wins 2nd Wu Qingyuan Cup

   The semifinals and finals of the 2nd Wu Qingyuan Cup World Women’s Championship were held in the Wu Qingyuan Hall in Fuzhou City in Fujian Province. Fuzhou was the birthplace of Wu Qingyuan (Go Seigen). As reported in the June 23 issue of this journal, three Chinese and one Korean made the best four. In the semifinals, held on November 30, Choi Jeong 9P (Korea) beat Li He 5P and Wang Chenxing 5P beat Rui Naiwei 9P. The latter was apparently an epic game. The 28-year-old Wang became well known when she won the 4th Bingsheng Cup in 2013. She married Liu Xing 7P and after having a baby in 2017, became famous for taking it with her around the country as she played in the women’s team league. The 55-year-old Rui, who has won 13 women’s titles, seemed to have a sure win, but Wang fought back, securing a four-approach-move ko, usually quite disadvantageous (she had to add four stones before it became an immediate ko), for a group of hers that had been captured. Somehow she pulled off an upset. Rui was bitterly disappointed: as a disciple of Wu’s, she would have loved to win this tournament.

   The final is a best-of-three. On December 2, Choi (W) beat Chen by resig. and on the 3rd, Choi (B) again won by resig., so she took the title 2-0. First prize is worth 500,000 yuan (about $71,500). Choi has also won the Bingsheng title four times. She confirmed her standing as the world’s number one woman player.

Cho U wins Japan-China Kiriyama Play-off

   The 21st Japan-China Agon Kiriyama Cup Play-off was held at the Guangzhou Garden Hotel in Guangzhou City in China on December 3. Taking white, Cho U 9P (Japan) beat Fan Tingyu 9P (China) by 1.5 points after 300 moves. This is the first win for Japan in four years and its sixth overall. It is also Cho’s first win in five appearances.

Suzuki to challenge for Women’s Kisei

   The play-off to decide the challenger to Ueno Asami for the 23rd Women’s Kisei title was held in the Ryusei Studio in the basement of the Nihon Ki-in on December 5. Playing white, Suzuki Ayumi 7P beat Nyu Eiko 2P by resignation. Suzuki will be making her first challenge for this title and playing in her first title match since 2015. The best-of-three will get off to a start on January 16.

75th Honinbo League

   After three rounds, league debutant Kyo Kagen 8P has the sole lead with 3-0. He is followed by four players with one loss. Recent results: 

(Dec. 5) Hane Naoki Gosei (W) beat Shibano Toramaru Meijin by resig.; Ichiriki Ryo 8P (B) beat Yamashita Keigo 9P by half a point; Kyo Kagen 8P (B) beat Yokotsuka Riki 7P by resig.

(Dec. 19) Kono Rin 9P (W) beat Shida Tatsuya 8P by 2.5 points.

45th Meijin League

    The new Meijin League got off to a start on December 12. Ichiriki Ryo (B) beat the previous Meijin Cho U 9P by resig.; Hane Naoki (W) beat Yamashita Keigo by 2.5 points; and Kyo Kagen (B) beat Murakawa Daisuke Judan by resig. The first round was concluded on December 26, when Iyama Yuta clashed with Kono Rin, who will challenge him for the Kisei title in January. The result was a convincing win for Iyama, who, playing black, forced a resignation after 161 moves. Kono will have to rethink his strategy over the New Year.

Ueno sets women’s record

    In a game played on December 26 in Preliminary C of the 46th Meijin tournament, Ueno Asami (aged 18) (B) beat Mitsunaga Junzo 6P by half a point. This was her 44th win (to 25 losses), so she broke the record for most wins by a woman player set by Fujisawa Rina last year. She also maintained her third place in the most-wins list.

First pros from Southeast Asia

   The Winter Qualifying Tournament for new professionals next year was held in October and November and concluded on November 24. Usually the top two place-getters qualify as 1-dan, but for players from outside the Far East there is a rule, known as the Special Qualification for Overseas Citizens, according to which a 50-50 score earns you the status of a probationary 1-dan. Two players have just qualified under this rule. They are Chang Fu Kang of Malaysia and Fitra Rafif Shidoki (this spelling is just a guess) of Indonesia. They both scored 9-5 and finished 4th and 5th respectively in the 16-player tournament. Chang was born on January 30, 2003 and is a student of Hong Seisen 4P of the Kansai Ki-in. He learnt go in Shanghai as a preschooler; he wanted to become a pro, but thought that he might have trouble as a Malaysian. Fortunately, he heard about the Nihon Ki-in system and has been studying in Japan since January this year. Fitla was born on August 12, 2002 and has no teacher. He commented: “I want to do well, so people don’t think I’m weaker than regular professionals.” Although his parents are Indonesian, he was actually born and brought up in Tokyo.

   The last player to qualify under this system was Antti Tormanen of Finland four years ago. (Probationary players become full-fledged professionals when they earn promotion to 3-dan, which requires 50 wins. Until then, they receive just half of the regular game fees.) The new pros will start their careers on April 1. 

Promotions

To 9-dan: Omori Yasushi (at right; 200 wins, as of November 29)
To 8-dan: Mochizuki Ken’ichi (150 wins, as of December 13)
To 3-dan: Oomote Takuto (40 wins, as of December 20) 

Redmond’s Reviews, Episode 16: Michael Redmond 9P vs Otake Hideo 9P

Friday December 27, 2019

Grab an extra-large bucket of popcorn and tune in to the AGA’s YouTube Channel at 6p today when Redmond’s Reviews Episode 16, with Chris Garlock and Michael Redmond 9p is released.

In this 90-minute episode, Michael reviews his game with Otake Hideo 9P. This game was played in August 2019, just a week after the RR #15 game against Ishida Yoshio that started Redmond’s winning streak. The game was in a different tournament than the Ishida game — this one is from the Oza — but Redmond once again has white, plays the star points and the opening is similar to the game against Ishida. Things take a few different turns in this game, and Redmond provides a detailed and entertaining commentary.
In his prime, Otake held a number of titles, including the Meijin. “He said he didn’t like to get too busy,” so Otake never held multiple titles, Redmond says. Otake plays “a very natural style and tends to play for thickness, but he can play any kind of game.”

“Great to see one of Michael’s games, and congratulations on the nailbiting win!” commented Rory Mitchell on RR #15. “Interesting background on how computer analyses are being used by pros and amateurs alike nowadays.” Quang Nguyen said that “I subscribed to this channel for Redmond’s brilliant analyzing, seeing him analyzing himself makes me understand better how to make more of my games and how to improve.” Tolux303 added “Early Christmas with this many Redmond vids!”

Video produced by Stephen Hu, Allen Moy, Chris Garlock and Andrew Jackson.

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50 years aGO: December 1969

Tuesday December 24, 2019

Keith Arnold (hka) with Patrick Bannister

On December 10 we see the daughter of the great Kitani, then Kitani Reiko 6 dan (right), defeating Honda Sachiko 4 dan to even up her defense of the 16th Ladies Honinbo Title. She would lose the decisive game on Christmas Eve. She was also the wife of Kobayashi Koichi 9 dan and mother of Kobayashi Izumi 6 dan. It is noteworthy that while she held this title half a dozen times, her great father and dominant tournament playing husband never managed to capture the Honinbo title.

On December 17 rising star Ishida Yoshio 4 dan captured the first game of the 17th Nihon Kiin Championship over veteran Ohira Shuzo 9 dan. We know Ohira 9 dan s the author of the book translated as “Appreciating Famous Games” by Ishi Press. Of course, Ishida now 9 dan is still active, a recent Redmond Reviews featured a game of Michael’s with him recently.

On Christmas, Otake Hideo 8 dan completed his sweep of Sakata Eio 9 dan in the Judan title. Go Review, while praising the young man’s victory, shared a classic go fan’s lament, “ Sakata, who once had many big titles became a mere 9 dan, losing the last title he had”. Here’s a shot of the first game of that match.

Finally, in its tenth issue, The British Go Journal reported the promotion of John Fairbairn to 2 dan. In addition to being the greatest baseball fan in England, fantastic Scots dancer and best inside London tour guide a dad could ask for, John is a prolific translator and author of go books – including “Appreciating Famous Games,” and my all-time favorite, “Kamakura.” If that is not enough, surely his role with the late T Mark Hall on the GoGod game collection and database cement his place on the Mount Rushmore of Western Go.

Photo credits: Go Review, Igo Club and Melanie Arnold

Categories: 50 years aGO,Main Page
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Steve Burrall edges Horn to win Davis-Sac Winter tourney

Tuesday December 24, 2019

Steve Burrall 3D edged out Jeff Horn 1D to win the Davis/Sacramento Go Club’s Winter tournament on Nov. 30. The event was held in the Arden-Dimick Library in Sacramento.

Clockwise from left: Shi, Burrall and Horn.
photo courtesy Willard Haynes

Burrall and Horn tied 2-2 in the upper division, with Burrall the winner on tie breaks. Yangquingwei Shi 3k, won the lower division with a 3-1 record. Mr. Shi was playing in his first AGA event.

Haskell Small tops NGC Winter Warmer

Tuesday December 24, 2019

The last tournament of NGC’s 2019 calendar — the Winter Warmer Tournament on December 14 — was won by Haskell (Hal) Small 1K, whose 3-1 score topped the field of 19 players. Everyone with at least two wins was able to choose a Go book as a prize, and all were encouraged to study hard and be ready for even fiercer competition at the Lunar New Year tourney in February. Peter Schumer (pictured) came down from Vermont just for the tournament and his first visit to the NGC. “A fun surprise for all who know Peter!” said NGC Executive Director Gurujeet Khalsa.

Other winners: Qingbo Zhang 5D, Edward (Zhiyuan) Zhang 5D, Patrick Sun 4K, Barreal Anderson 6K, Derek Zhou 7K, Ed Caldeira 8K, Marion Edey 9K, Garrett Smith 10K, Tonya Perez-Lopez 17K, and Laurie Ensworth 19K.

Midwest Open 2020 planned for January 18 & 19 to feature live music and a regional championship

Sunday December 22, 2019

The regional state championship for Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky, and West Virginia will take place during the Midwest Open January 18th and 19th 2020 just north of Columbus Ohio. “I hope to turn this tournament into a regional staple,” says organizer Devin Fraze. Inspired by the experience of attending the 2019 Cotsen Open, Fraze is aiming to create a truly unique experience for players. The tournament will feature live musical performances, opened by Hal Walker, a local Go player who plays a unique set of instruments. The tournament will also feature pro reviews, and an innovative pairing system to maximize games played. Registration fees will be $30 per day or both days for $10 off at a total of $50.

There will be an overall regional Tournament Champion, with four more champions specific to each state (OH, TN, KY, WV) awarded to the top performing players from their respective states. Find more information about the championship rules here. The website will also be updated to feature some exciting names from the Go community including 8 dan Korean professional Yoonyoung Kim. For more information and registration visit gohio.org.


Joshua Lee declared Virginia State Champion

Sunday December 22, 2019

Perpetual trophy

Joshua Lee 6d defeated Qingbo Zhang 5d in the final of the 1st Virginia State Go Championship, held at Korean American Baduk Association in Annandale VA on November 16, 2019. The game was full of battles, but Lee kept a solid lead throughout the game. The Virginia chapters will host the next qualifier for VA Championship in summer of 2020. “We hope for more female and youth players in the next VA State Championship to win the prepared perpetual trophies,” says organizer Edward Zhang. “With AGA’s 50-State Championship program running for multiple years now we’ve been able to follow the progress of players all over the country.” Updated information for the Virginia Go Championships can be found here.

Joshua Lee 6d

Organizers and Volunteers Acknowledgement:
CAFA Inc, Liang Yu, Justin Teng, Gary Smith, James Lee, Gurujeet Khalsa, Weiping Chen, Xinyu Zhang, Anna Liu, Qingbo Zhang, Grace Shan, Yuchen Zhu, Mark Keam, Ge Li, Dinny Li, Xinran Zuo, Huiming Zeng, Jing Zhang, Sihao Li, Jingfei Chen, Yufei Jiang, Shuo Wang, Jingyi Zhang, Kevin Wu, Xi Chen, Zhenying Gu, Kejun Kang.

8thVirginia Open Winners Report on 9/28.
Open Division 1st-4th places: Eric Lui 3-0, Justin Teng 2-1, Qingbo Zhang 2-1, Joshua Lee 2-1.
Women’s 1st-2nd places: Sarah Crites, Ivy Zhang
Expert Division 1st-3rd places: Xuhui Zhang 3-0, Jialong Qing 2-1, Jiayang Su 2-1.
Intermediate Division 1st-3rd places: Derek Zhou 3-0, John Christensen 2-1, Bob Crites 2-1.
Novice Division 1st-2nd places: Adam King 2-1, Evan Moore 2-1.

photos by Liang Yu
report by Edward Zhang

Redmond’s Reviews, Episode 15: Michael Redmond 9P vs Ishida Yoshio 9P

Saturday December 21, 2019

In this episode, Michael Redmond reviews his game with the legendary Ishida Yoshio 9P. This game started Redmond’s winning streak earlier this year; up to this game Redmond had never won against Ishida.
A student at the legendary Kitani Minoru go school, Ishida’s fellow students included Cho Chikun, Kobayashi Koichi, Kato Masao, and Takemiya Masaki. He joined the dojo at a young age like his fellow students and became a professional in 1963 when he was 15. His dan rank grew quickly because of the Oteai. He would go up the ranks faster than rules allowed after winning the first 14 Oteai games when he was being promoted from 6 to 7 dan. He reached 9 dan in 11 years, faster than most other players. Ishida was given the nickname “The Computer” because his yose play and counting skills were far more accurate than other pros.

Click here to see the video, produced by Stephen Hu, Allen Moy and Andrew Jackson.

[link]

Livestreams from Southeast Asia GO Congress

Monday December 16, 2019

Tune in to the AGA’s Twitch channel this week for livestreams from the Southeast Asia GO Congress. Here’s the schedule:

Dec 17, 9:30-11:30 AM SG [Dec 16, 8:30-10:30 PM ET] Masters R3 (with Yang Shuang 2p)

Dec 19, 9:30-11:30 AM SG [Dec 18, 8:30-10:30 PM ET] Masters R4 (TBA)
Dec 19, 2:30-4:30 PM SG [Dec 19, 1:30-3:30 AM ET] Special Event: Southeast Asia vs. AI (with Michael Redmond 9p)

Dec 20, 9:30-11:30 AM SG [Dec 19, 8:30-10:30 PM ET] Masters R5 (TBA)
Dec 20, 2:30-4:30 PM SG [Dec 20, 1:30-3:30 AM ET] Special Event: Gals vs. Guys (with Cho Hye-yeon 9p)

Dec 21, 9:30-11:30 AM SG [Dec 20, 8:30-10:30 PM ET] Masters R6 (TBA)
Dec 21, 1-3 PM SG [Dec 21, 12-2 AM ET] Redmond’s SEA Congress Reviews (with Michael Redmond 9p)
Dec 21, 3-5 PM SG [Dec 21, 2-4 AM ET] Special Event: Singaporean 7-dan Title Match, Game 1 (TBA)

Dec 22, 1-5 PM SG [Dec 22, 12-4 AM ET] Special Event: Singaporean 7-dan Title Match, Game 2 & 3 (TBA)

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Shirley Lin 1P wins women’s individual championship in China-ASEAN Weiqi International Invitation Tournament

Monday December 16, 2019

The 15th China-ASEAN Weiqi International Invitation Tournament 2019 was held in Nanning, Guangxi from December 8th to 11th 2019. Thirteen teams from ten countries were invited to attend the event including two American teams representing Los Angeles and Las Vegas. After six rounds in the men’s team competition, Kevin Huang 6d and Blake Kang 5d representing Los Angeles won third place with teams from Thailand and Taipei taking first and second respectively. Shirley Lin 1P from Los Angeles played in the women’s individual competition and won the championship. Yangu Yunqi from China and Shu Jingwen from Taiwan took second and third place. Kevin Huang 6d from Los Angeles and Ti Ma 6d from Las Vegas took fifth and sixth places in the men’s individual competition.

report and photos provided by Shirley Lin 1P