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Feb. 28 deadline for early-bird savings on Japan Go Congress/Osaka Go Camp

Wednesday February 21, 2018

Early-bird deadline for the third Japan Go Congress and sixth Osaka Go camp is February 28. Click here for details and to save2018.02.20_osaka-camp-300x300 5000 JPY or email osaka.go.2018@gmail.com

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Categories: Japan,Main Page
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In Memoriam: Roger P. Hjulstrom

Tuesday February 20, 2018

Roger P. Hjulstrom passed away on February 13 after a brief illness. He was 62. A self-taught go player and early AGA member,2018.02.19_Roger P. Hjulstrom Hjulstrom (right) enjoyed sharing his love of the game, and taught hundreds of people how to play over the course of decades. He kept the score sheets of tournaments that he organized on a shelf next to the dining table, along with many go books. He also kept a stash of extra chairs to provide additional seating for go gatherings at his house.

In the early days of computer go, Hjulstrom wrote his own go-playing program, and his interest in go was only heightened by the AlphaGo phenomenon. He continued to play in person weekly, and online against computers, improving his playing strength.

He once told a story about how he had invited several Chinese go players from nearby Virginia Tech, for one of the many go get-togethers in his home in Blacksburg, Virginia. The players were from different parts of China, and at one point began discussing the correct way to make dumplings. Soon, Roger’s kitchen was filled with flying flour and excited people sharing their own methods for the ancient arts, translated to a distinctly human, and warm meeting of minds and hearts.

The family will have a service in Massachusetts near his childhood home.

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The Power Report (2): Ida keeps lead in Honinbo League despite loss

Tuesday February 20, 2018

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

Xie wins LG Cup: The best-of-three final of the 22nd LG Cup was held at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo in early February. This is a Korean-sponsored tournament, but the finalists were Iyama Yuta of Japan and Xier Erhao of China, so the sponsors were probably happy to see the game staged overseas. The Nihon Ki-in stepped forward because a Japanese representative had made an international final for the first time since Cho U in 2005 (the 9th LG Cup, which Cho won). Japanese fans are keen to see international success, so staging the tournament made sense for the Nihon Ki-in. Letting Iyama play on home ground might also help him. Xie Erhao, who is just 19, was virtually unknown here, so expectations were high that Iyama would score his first success in a major international tournament. However, Xie is a member of the top group of young players in China, where he is best known for reaching the semifinals of an international tournament, the Bailing Cup, when he was 14. In fighting ability, he turned out to be more than a match for Iyama. In the first game, played on February 5, Xie (W) scored a convincing win, securing a resignation after 180 moves. In the second game, played on February 7, Iyama was doing badly, but he managed to pull off an upset win by half a point. However, in the third game, played on February 8, Xie displayed precise reading and excellent positional judgment and won by resignation after 226 moves. This is Xie’s first international title. First prize is 300,000,000 won (about $280,000).

Park wins New Year’s Cup: The sixth CCTV New Year’s Cup, a tournament held by a Chinese TV station to celebrate the Chinese New Year, was held in Beijing on February 5 to 7 (actually a little before the Chinese New Year, which came on February 16 this year, but CCTV wanted to telecast the games before the winter Olympics started). This is an irregular knockout tournament for the top players from China, Korea, and Japan. Ke Jie represented China, Park Junghwan Korea, and Ichiriki Ryo Japan. The Japanese representative should have been Iyama Yuta, but he was busy with the LG final. The selection of the player challenging Iyama in the Kisei title match to take his place could be taken as de facto recognition of Ichiriki’s standing as Japan’s current number two. In these three-player knockout tournaments, the players draw lots for the initial pairing, in which two of them play each other; the winner then plays the third player; the winner of that game then meets the winner of the first game in the final.
In the first game, Park (white) beat Ichiriki by resignation after 196 moves. The latter then played Ke; taking black, Ichiriki had a good game, but Ke managed to pull off an upset, winning by 2.5 points. In the final, Park (white) beat Ke by resignation after 184 moves. Park’s victory came after four successive wins by China. I also read on the Net that this win enable Park to displace Ke as the world’s number one in a popular ranking system.
Btw, the report in Go Weekly mentioned that, thanks to his match with AlphaGo at the Future of Go summit last year, Ke Jie became well known to the Chinese public. As a result, he received an award as the top sportsman of the year, beating our world champions in sports like table tennis. Ke commented that his followers on Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter, increased nearly one hundredfold, to just under four million.

Ida keeps lead in Honinbo League despite loss: After five rounds in the 73rd Honinbo League, Ida Atsushi 8P, the unsuccessful challenger from four years ago, seems to have a good chance of getting another crack at Iyama Yuta, also known as Honinbo Monyu. Ironically, he has held on to the sole lead despite losing his latest game. In the final game of the fourth round, Ida beat Kobayashi Satoru 9P by 2.5 points; this took his score to 4-0, and he was the only undefeated player. In the fifth round, Ida lost to Yo Seiki, but his nearest rival, Ko Iso 8P, also lost his fifth-round game, so Ida remained one point clear of the field. In another interesting game in the same round, league newcomer Shibano Toramaru 7P beat Kobayashi Satoru 9P; this improved his score to 3-2, so he now has a good chance of keeping his place in the league despite his bad start (two losses in the opening three rounds). Results since my last report are given below.
(Jan. 25) Ida (B) beat Kobayashi Satoru by 2.5 points.
(Feb. 1) Shibano Toramaru (B) bear Kobayashi Satoru by resig.
(Feb. 8) Yo Seiki 7P (B) beat Ida by resig.
(Feb. 15) Hane Naoki 9P (B) beat Ko Iso by resig.

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Categories: Japan,Main Page
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Yuan Zhou sweeps DC Chinese Lunar New Year tourney

Monday February 19, 2018

Forty five players participated in the 11th annual Chinese Lunar New Year tournament on February 10th. The event was held2018.02.19_Ching-Sung Chin(l)-yuan-zhou-khalsa-clny for the first time at the National Go Center in Washington DC with 2018.02.19_dc-screenshot_stream_room_camoverall first place going to Yuan Zhou 7D with a 4-0 record. Josh Lee 6D was second at 3-1.

Nathan Epstein has been building up the broadcasting capabilities at the National Go Center and was joined in the broadcast room by local AGA Pro, Eric Lui 1P, for live streaming of all rounds on Twitch. They were joined with remote live commentary by Sichen Zhong, Michael Fodera, Stephen Hu, and Robert Tirak.

Other winners this year were:
3D-4D division – Frederick Bao 4D (1st), Bryan Kim 4D and Yangqing Sun 3D (2nd)
1D-2D division – Quinn Baranoski 2D (1st), Ryan Hunter 2D and Chang Choi 1D (2nd)
1K-5K division – Patrick Sun 5K (1st), Kathy Qiu 3K and Mike Lash 4K (2nd)
6K-8K division – Sarah Crites 6K (1s2018.02.19_Ching-Sung Chin(l) Hank Chao (r) IMG_5133t), Bob Crites 6K and Joon Lee 6K (2nd)
9K-12K division – Alvin Pee 12K (1st), Raymond Luo 10K (2nd)
13K-19K division – Qidi Xu 15K (1st), Julian Turim 15K (2nd)
20K+ division – Antonina Perez-Lopez 20K (1st), Ethan Tung 22K and Justin Wang 30K (2nd)

“A special thanks to our sponsors for this tournament who have donated great trophies and prizes each year,” said Gurujeet Khalsa. Dr. Yeni Wong, Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO), Culture Center of TECRO, and Financial Accounting Tax Specialists, Inc. as well as the organizers: Great Falls Go Club, (Dr. Ching-Sung Chin) and Hai Hua Community Center (Mr. Hank Chao).

photos: bottom left: Ching-Sung Chin (left), Khalsa and Hank Chao (right); top left: Twitch stream room; top right: Ching-Sung Chin, Yuan Zhou and Khalsa. 

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AlphaGo vs. Alphago; Game 16: “Unusual and different”

Monday February 19, 2018

This game features the mini Chinese opening, and “It’s a fighting game and gets exciting pretty quick,” says Michael Redmond 9p2018.02.16 AlphaGo16 in his commentary on the AlphaGo self-play game. “It’s unusual and different.”
“Thanks so much for continuing the AlphaGo 50 Self-Played-Game Series!” said commenter dontbtme. “It has a very unique flavor while still displaying diverse openings, plus the players being equally matched, the tension rarely drops till the very end.”

Click here for Redmond’s video commentary, hosted by the AGA E-Journal’s Chris Garlock, and see below for the sgf commentary. To support this content, please consider joining or renewing your membership in the American Go Association; click here for details.

Video produced by Michael Wanek and Andrew Jackson. The sgf files were created by Redmond, with editing and transcription by Garlock and Myron Souris.

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Problem of the Week

Middle Game Joseki

Black to play