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The Power Report: Pair Go Celebrates 25th Anniversary; Korea Takes Lead in Nong Shim Cup; Iyama Makes Good Start in Oza Title Match; Iyama Wins First Tengen Game; Iyama Yuta Defends Meijin Title; Korea Wins O-kage Cup International New Stars Tournament; Two Meijin League Places Decided; Fujisawa Wins Women’s Honinbo; Radical Reorganization of Kisei Tournament

Sunday November 9, 2014

by John Power, EJ Japan Correspondent

Pair Go Celebrates 25th Anniversary: One of the biggest developments in go in recent decades has been the rise of Pair Go to worldwide2014_11.09_Pair-Go_winners-Kim-Sooyoung_Jeon-Junhak popularity. The holding of the 25th International Amateur Pair Go Championship at the end of October also marked the 25th anniversary of the birth of Pair Go…click here to read more on this and all the following reports.
Korea Takes Lead in Nong Shim Cup: In the three-way team tournament, Korea ended this round with two wins to one each for Japan and China…
Iyama Makes Good Start in Oza Title Match: The 62nd Oza best-of-five is another title match in which Iyama Yuta is facing a younger challenger. The first game was held at the Yokohama Royal Park Hotel in Yokohama City on October 21 and the game was a fierce one, which is usually the case with Iyama, and featured some novel variations…
Iyama Wins First Tengen Game: The first game of the 40th Tengen title match was held on October 24, so Iyama was engaged in three concurrent title matches. Here his challenger is Takao Shinji, holder of the only top-seven title missing from Iyama’s portfolio, the Judan…
Iyama Yuta Defends Meijin Title: In the sixth game of the 39th Meijin title match Iyama took a territorial lead early in the game, then 2014.11.09_meijin-game6skillfully reduced a large moyo that Kono built…
Korea Wins O-kage Cup International New Stars Tournament: The O-kage (gratitude) Cup is a regional 2014.11.09_fujisawa-honinbotournament for young players sponsored by an association of tourist shops in Ise City, the site of the famous Ise Shrine. The sponsors held an international tournament for teams from Japan, China, Korea, and Chinese Taipei on November 1 and 2…
Two Meijin League Places Decided: The Meijin is a conservative league, with only three out of nine places opening up every year. Two of the vacant seats were decided on November 6…
Fujisawa Wins Women’s Honinbo: The third game of the 33rd Women’s Honinbo title was held at the Nihon Ki-in in Ichigaya, Tokyo on November 7. Taking black, Fujisawa Rin 2P won by 5.5 points after 233 moves…
Radical Reorganization of Kisei Tournament: There will be complete overhaul of the Yomiuri Newspaper-sponsored Kisei tournament as of the 40th term (the 39th term will be completed with the best-of-seven title match starting in January 2015). The only thing that won’t change is the title match itself. Even with charts, it’s hard to understand the system, but I’ll try to explain it without them…

Continue reading…)

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Categories: Japan,John Power Report
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2014 International Amateur Pair Go Championship Celebrates 25th Anniversary

Thursday November 6, 2014

Nearly 100 Pair Go Promotion Partners and other guests gathered in Tokyo, Japan on October 24 to kick off a weekend-long celebration of OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAthe 25th International Amateur Pair Go Championships. Hisao and Hiroko Taki hosted a fabulous dinner at the Hotel Okura to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Japan Pair Go Association and the Pair Go tournament. Mr. Taki is the inventor of Pair Go and the founder of the Japan Pair Go Association of which Mrs. Taki (right) is the current managing director. They held the formal dinner to thank everyone for their continuing efforts to promote Pair Go around the world. The Hotel Okura is a hotel established by and named for Kishichiro Okura, one of the founding patrons of the Nihon Ki-in.

Tournament action got started on Saturday morning at the Hotel Metropolitan Edmont with the drawing of the opening round pairings for the 32 pairs representing 21 countries and territories. The US pair, Yiwen (April) Ye and Daehyuk (Daniel) Ko, drew a difficult first round matchup and fell to one of the strong Japanese pairs.

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Categories: Japan,Pair Go
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International Go Federation Celebrates Successful Year

Saturday August 31, 2013

The last year has been a very successful one for the International Go Federation, its leaders reported Saturday at the annual IGF General Meeting, held the day prior to the launch of the World Amateur Go Championship, this year in Sendai, Japan.

In addition to successful editions of the WAGC, World Student Oza, World Mind Sports Games, International Pair Go Championship and SportAccord Mind Sports Games, the IGF for the first time directly funded two new projects. The Central and South American Go Propagation Project resulted in 140 go workshops in Venezuela and the 1st International Go Symposium at the 2012 U.S. Go Congress generated tremendous participation from contributors around the world. IGF VP Thomas Hsiang called both efforts “A very good start.”

The IGF also enjoyed financial success in 2012-2013, thanks largely to major financial support from the China Ki-In for the 2012 WAGC and SAWMSG, reported Secretary-General Yuki Shigeno. Another exciting new event, the first Mlily Cup, came together quickly with support from a new sponsor, and although the late start precluded participation by western players this year, the IGF expressed hope that in the next edition there will be slots for players from both the U.S. and Europe.

The 24th annual International Pair Go Championships are coming up in November in Tokyo, and the 3rd edition of the SportAccord Mind Games will be December 12-18 in Beijing (and will be covered again this year by Ranka and the E-Journal). New countries participating in the 2013 WAGC are Brunei and Kazakhstan, and those players received warm welcomes from the IGF leadership and the assembled players.

The final bit of news is that the 2014 and 2015 editions of the WAGC have been confirmed for Korea, the 2014 location definitely in Seoul, with details to be announced at a later date.
– report by Chris Garlock; photos by John Pinkerton

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Pandanet AGA City League Finals this Saturday

Friday August 2, 2013

Team Los Angeles, captained by Andy Okun, will play Team Washington DC, led by I-han Lui, in the inaugural Pandanet AGA City League finals this Saturday at the U.S. Go Congress in Tacoma, WA.

Schedule: Saturday, August 3, 3:00 p.m. (PST): Beumgeon Cho vs Jie Li on Board 1 and Seung Hyun Hong vs Yuan Zhou on Board 3; at 8:30 p.m. (PST) Dae Hyuk (Daniel) Ko vs Eric Lui (Eric Lui is in Seoul Korea to play in the Samsung Cup preliminaries as a representative of the AGA.  Due to this special circumstance, organizers, working with Myung-wan Kim 9P, arranged for a monitor for Eric and a place for him to play in Seoul at the KBA in Pro Room A)All games will be broadcast on IGS: Board 1 on on AGACL1; Board 2 (Daniel Ko vs Eric Lui) will be played directly against each other online; Board 3 will be broadcast on AGACL2.

Player Notes:
Team Los Angeles
Beungeum Cho
 was undefeated in League play with a score of 10-0. Started playing Baduk at the age of 8.  When he was 13 he turned serious and attempted to become a professional Korean Baduk player. At the age of 18 he had to choose between becoming an Yeonguseng (Insei) at KBA and going to University.  He decided to study English in school with an eye towards teaching Baduk internationally.  He is now in Los Angeles teaching Baduk with Kim Myung-wan 9p.
Dae Hyuk Ko learned Baduk at the age of 5 from his parents.  He started actively playing at the age of 15.  In 1998 he moved to the US to study English and go to college.  In 2006, he joined the AGA and started playing in AGA Tournaments.  His wins include the 2008 Korea Times Myung-In Championship in Los Angelese, 2009 Samsung North Americca qualifier, and 2010 the Cotsen Open in Los Angeles. Three time winner of the Santa Monica Cup.
Seung Hyun Hong is substituting for Curtis Tang who was unable to make the finals.  Seung Hyun starting playing Baduk at the age of 6 from his father a 10 kyu.  In middle school, he was a Yeonguseng at KBA for one year.  In 2006 he came in third place in the US Open. Seung Hyun is now focusing on teaching his daughter to play Baduk.  She is 2 years old.

Team Washington DC
Jie Li has represented the United States nearly a dozen times in top international invitational championships, and has won 11 North American titles, 7 U.S. national titles, and 13 regional titles. Though not holding a professional certificate, he is one of the strongest go players in the United States, playing at an equal level with many American professionals and has earned the all-time-most North American and US titles combined.
Yuan Zhou 7D
was born in Tianjin, China. His father taught him to play go at the age of six and he was twice invited to represent Tianjin in the All China Go Prodigy Cup. In 1989 Zhou immigrated to the USA, joined the American Go Association (AGA) and became a US citizen. Zhou was the president of the University of Maryland Go club, from which he earned a BS in Electrical Engineering, and became increasingly involved in AGA events, winning many go tournaments, including 30 U.S. go titles and has represented USA in international tournaments many times (WAGC, Korea Prime Minister Cup, World Pair Go Championship, etc). Zhou was also elected to be the AGA board of directors in 2005. Zhou is also a popular author, teacher and lecturer; he lives in Germantown, Maryland.
Eric Lui achieved amateur one dan at the age of 6, representing the US internationally in Seoul, Korea a year later. To date, he has had about a dozen international representations to the World Youth Go Championship, WAGC, Korean Prime Minister Cup, World Student Go Oza, Pair Go, and the Samsung. Eric holds Japanese go in high esteem, citing Kobayashi Satoru and Takemiya Masaki among his favorite players. He also has great admiration for Ma Xiaochun and Yoo Changhyuk.

 

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New Sao Paolo Go Club Opens with Style

Sunday November 25, 2012

Go clubs are generally pretty quiet places, where the most you might hear is the click of the go stones, perhaps the rattle of a teacup. But on November 15 the brand-new Paulista Go Center in Sao Paolo, Brazil rocked as visiting pro Murakami Akihide 2P (right) danced to South Korean rapper  PSY’s global hit Gangnam Style, now YouTube’s most-watched-ever video. Earlier in the evening, Murakami – who was part of an 18-member delegation from Japan — participated in a more traditional exercise, playing a game (left) with Wang Sen Feng (KGS wsfbr 5d), currently the strongest player in Brazil. The new club and attendant festivities were just the latest in a “very fruitful year for go in Brazil,” reports Thiago Sinji Shimada. In addition to sending representatives to the World Students Go OZA Championship in Japan, the World Amateur Go Championship in China, the World Mind Sports Games in France and the International Amateur Baduk Championship KPMC in Korea, “We implemented a go program in some schools across the country (Go Teaching Project Takes Root in Brazil 6/18/2012 EJ),” says Shimada, who a few years ago helped found a go school, the Insei Brazil, in collaboration with the Nihon Kiin of Brazil.

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Categories: World
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The Spirit of Play: “I’m Stuck”

Monday October 29, 2012

There are countless books, dictionaries and other materials aimed at expanding knowledge in go. But Argentinian champion and teacher Gabriel Benmergui 6D says that “what most of these resources don’t take into account is that there are many things that happen to the players, before, during and after the game that have just as much effect on the result.” In this new column for the E-Journal, Benmergui goes beyond tactics and strategies to look at the player, with a goal of helping develop “an unshakable spirit.” This article is dedicated to Benmergui’s first teacher, Franklin Bassarsky, “the greatest teacher I could ever become,” who recently passed away. “He was Argentina’s greatest go teacher,” says Benmergui, “creating generations and generations of go players here.”

A common situation for go players is the feeling of not moving forward or improving, of being stuck. The reality is that most players go through this phase, and there are actually well-known rank barriers, located around 9k, 5k and 2k, ranks that hold unusually high concentrations of players. In Lessons in the Fundamentals Kageyama 7P said “You can identify when you are stuck when you find yourself playing for fun, with disregard of the outcome. Maybe you even read books but they don’t help you improve. You also rarely review the games you play.”

As a teacher I have seen many go players “plateau” like this. Their common denominator is a fear that they’ve peaked, that they’ve reached their maximum potential and that studying any further will be a waste of time. This usually happens when players are no longer improving naturally, as they tend to do between learning the rules up to around 10k, where just getting advice and playing was enough to steadily improve. The truth is that expecting to go up in rank with little or no effort is like expecting to lose weight without diet and exercise. So when people ask me “I’m stuck, what should I do?” I immediately respond “What are you doing to improve?” And it’s no surprise for me to hear “I watch and play games” as if that alone were an appropriate level of training.

My advice: Just do it! If you want to improve you have to be proactive. You have to set goals and perform a more rigorous training regime. Solve life and death problems, read books with the intention of putting in practice the knowledge gained. Take lessons. Remember that people improve at different speeds, but with effort everyone improves.

Gabriel Benmergui lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Argentinian Champion in 2011 and 2012, he has extensive international amateur tournament experience, representing South America twice at the World Student Oza, two-time Prime Minister Cup representative for Argentina, captained his country’s team in KABA’s World Team Championship in 2005 and was Argentina’s representative for the 2005 WAGC. Benmergui studied go in Korea, in Lee Sang-hun’s dojang, at Kim Sung Rae’s KBC and at BIBA (Blackie’s International Baduk Academy) and now runs the Kaya.gs Go Server. Photo graphic by Chris Garlock

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SPOT1 FINAL FOUR SET TO PLAY SATURDAY

Thursday May 6, 2010

THIS JUST IN (5/7, 7:51p): Live from Beijing, Kuo Yin 3P will provide game commentary for the SPOT1 games begining at 1P Saturday. Runner-up at the 2008 US Open, Kuo only lost to Kim; Kuo holds a BA from Fudan University, and won the China Ing Cup University Championship in 2006.
It’s perhaps no coincidence that the Final Four players in the Strong Players Online Tournament I (SPOT1) are all students. Leading contender MyungWan Kim 9P – a two-time U.S. Open champion — studies accounting at UCLA and besides school he focuses on sharpening his go skills.  “I  really enjoy teaching go,” Kim tells the E-Journal, and, with his summer break starting soon, “I can also teach outside of L.A. , especially before the US Congress.” Kim likes to teach principles instead of techniques, because one can self-study techniques. “The principles I teach apply to both high-kyu and dan players.” About the final four games ahead Kim said “I am studying Lee Se-dol’s games these days, and and I feel I am getting back my strength.” Kim’s semi-final opponent is Michael Chen 7D, 2006 NAIM champion and 2009 US Open runner-up. Chen is a junior at Princeton University, with an emphasis in finance, who’s hoping to get some experience in an investment bank before entering his senior year this fall. Chen has improved his game rapidly during the last few years while maintaining an excellent GPA at Princeton, providing a great example to youth players that one can play go well and do well in school at the same time. The other semi-final match-up is between Jianing Gan 6D and Eric Lui 7D. Just 13 years old, Gan is a bit shy in face-to-face play, and plays much better online. The only Canadian in the Final 4, Gan says that “I am so lucky that I have the opportunity to challenge the top players of North America. I will take each game seriously.” Lui 7D attends the University of Maryland, and has represented United States internationally for the last four years: World Amateur Go Championship (2009), World Student Oza (2008), International Amateur Pair Go Championship (2007) and Korea Prime Minister’s Cup (2006). SPOT1 is sponsored by American Go Association. The Strong Players Online Tournament I resumes this Saturday, May 8 at 1p EST on KGS.
– Reported by Tournament Director Zhiyuan “Edward” Zhang

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Categories: U.S./North America
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The Power Report: Kido Prize winners announced; Top prize-money winners in 2018; Iyama wins 56th Shusai Prize, Ishida wins Okura Prize

Sunday March 17, 2019

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Kido Prize winners announced
The 52nd Kido Prizes will be awarded at a ceremony scheduled for March 26. They are awarded to the top Nihon Ki-in performers of 2018 in various categories and are named after the predecessor of the magazine “Monthly Go World.” They were selected by a committee of go journalists on February 5.
Most outstanding player: Iyama Yuta, quintuple crown. Iyama has now won this prize for seven years in a row.
Outstanding players: Cho U (won the Meijin title), Kyo Kagen (won the Gosei title)
New Star: Ueno Asami (won a women’s title in her second year as a pro)
Women’s Prize: Fujisawa Rina (won three women’s titles)
International prize: Shibano Toramaru (for beating Ke Jie in the Japan-China Ryusei play-off)
Most wins: Shibano Toramaru (46-23)
Best winning percentage: Fujita Akihiko (83.67%)
Most successive wins: Koike Yoshihiro (19)
Most games played: Shibano Toramaru (69)

Top prize-money winners in 2018
As usual, Iyama was far ahead of anyone else. His income dropped by ¥13,000,000 from last year owing to his loss of two titles from his septuple crown, but it’s considered a major achievement to top one hundred million yen. There’s a big drop to the next player in the list, but Ichiriki is doing well when you consider he’s also a university student. This year only one woman player made the top ten compared to two last year.
1. Iyama Yuta: ¥146,960,000 (about $1.3 million) (top for the eighth year in a row, clearing one hundred million yen for the seventh year in a row)
2. Ichiriki Ryo 8P: ¥51,617,199 (2nd for second year in a row)
3. Cho U: ¥41,519,000
4. Yamashita Keigo: ¥32,838,813
5. Shibano Toramaru: ¥22,266,400
6. Fujisawa Rina: ¥21,897,900
7. Kyo Kagen: ¥20,288,300
8. Kono Rin: ¥18,696,277
9. Hane Naoki: ¥12,746,400
10. Motoki Katsuya: ¥12,485,000

Iyama wins 56th Shusai Prize, Ishida wins Okura Prize
Both these prizes were decided on February 12. The Shusai Prize is awarded to a player with outstanding results in the previous year and who has a promising future. For the seventh year in a row, it went to Iyama Yuta, which is a new record.
The 48th Okura Kishichiro Prizes were awarded to three amateur players who have played a prominent role in spreading go and to Ishida Yoshio, otherwise known as 24th Honinbo Shuho.

Tomorrow: Another Ueno makes pro; Yang wins LG Cup; China’s overwhelming win in Nong Shim Cup

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Go featured in Chicago museum exhibit

Wednesday March 13, 2019

“I was invited to the opening ceremony of a new exhibition at the Chinese American Museum of Chicago,” writes Xinming (Simon) Guo. 2019.03.13_Chicago-exhibit1The exhibition, “The Chinese Helped Build the Railroad – The Railroad Helped Build America,” features the history of the 12,000 plus Chinese 2019.03.13_Chicago-exhibit2workers who contributed in the building of the world’s first Transcontinental Railway in United States in mid-19th century.

“I was so astonished when I found a Weiqi game in the exhibition,” says Guo. The introduction says that these Chinese railroad builders worked in inhospitable environment of the American West and gathered to play fan-tan (a gambling game) or Weiqi after more than 10 hours of back-breaking work each day.

This exhibition will last for one year “and it is a perfect opportunity to promote Weiqi (Chinese for Go). I have been working with the museum for many years. We have organized Weiqi workshops, Weiqi courses, and Weiqi culture stations in the museum several times. With the help from local go community, we will work together to start a new add-on service — providing on-site hands-on Weiqi workshop for students visiting the museum on school field trips.”

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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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