Peter Smolárik, Slovakia's representative at the 2014 Korea Prime Minister Cup, is a university student who has been an active go player for more than half his life. His extensive tournament career in Slovakia includes 2nd place in the Košice City Championship last November, 5th place in the Slovak Championship last May, and 9th place at the Slovak Go Festival last June. In the KPMC he scored one win, over a young opponent from Australia. Ranka talked to him during the lunch break on the second day.
Ranka: How do you like being in Korea?
Peter: This is my first time in Korea and it's been very good.
Ranka: Do you see any similarities between Korea and Slovakia?
Peter: Both have lots of natural beauty, lots of mountains and hills, and very good skiing.
Ranka: Do you ski?
Peter: No, but the mountains and hills are also good for bicycle riding, which I enjoy.
Ranka: Please tell us how you learned to play go?
Peter: I learned from my father, more than ten years ago, and after that, I went to go clubs. We have a couple of clubs in Košice, where I live, and some more in Bratislava. Mostly I play at the Košice go club, but when I have time I'll go to other clubs for tournaments and competitions.
Ranka: How many tournaments does Slovakia have per year?
Peter: About ten.
Ranka: We understand that Pavol Lisy, who recently became the first European go player to qualify as a pro in Europe, also lives in Košice. Has his becoming a pro made any big changes?
Peter: It didn't draw a big reaction from the news media, but one change it made was that he couldn't come here to the KPMC. So I came instead. But Pavol can still compete in other amateur tournaments in Slovakia.
Ranka: Thank you and good luck this afternoon.
Photo: Ito Toshiko
If you like go, tea and gardens – and are in the Portland, Oregon area – you’ll want to stop by the fifth annual Tea & Arts in the Garden celebration at the Teahouse & Lan Su Chinese Garden this Sunday, October 26 from 11a to 4p. “We’ll spend Sunday drinking great tea and introducing go to people wandering in the garden and stopping at the tea house,” says the Portland Go Club’s Peter Freedman.
SportAccord launches photo contest on Instagram for World Mind Games 2014.
22nd October, 2014: A picture is worth a thousand words. Or in your case, worth a Samsung Galaxy Tab 3!
SportAccord presents the World Mind Games 2014 photo contest and a chance for you to win neat prizes for your interest in mind games. All you need to enter are an Instagram account and decent photography skills.The rules of entry are simple and consist of the following easy steps-1. Click a photograph showcasing your interpretation of any of the 5 mind games at the World Mind Games 2014- chess, bridge, Go, Xiangqi and draughts.2. Upload the photograph on Instagram using the hashtag #SAWMG14.The 3 best photographs would be chose on ‘vision, originality and creativity’. The prizes awaiting the winner are as follows:
1st prize- 1 Samsung Galaxy Tab 3
2nd prize- 1 World Mind Games watch
3rd prize- $100 gift cardThe contest opens from the 22nd of October to the 4th of December, 2014.
So, pick up that camera, get clicking and get winning!
Nihon Ki-In Celebrates 90th Anniversary: The Nihon Ki-in held a party on October 3 at the Grand Hill Ichigaya hotel to celebrate its 90th anniversary with about 350 people in attendance. The Nihon Ki-in was founded in 1924 under the leadership of Baron Okura Kishichiro. It started out with 40 members and now has 320. There are a large number of domestic tournaments, some with very impressive prize money. The Nihon Ki-in has also played a major role in realizing Baron Okura’s dream of spreading go around the world. All the top professionals were in attendance and introduced on the stage, but the first to appear was Yo Seiki 7-dan of the Kansai Ki-in, who had won a tournament final played earlier this day (see item below). photo: Wada Norio, Pres. of the Board of Directors of the Ki-in, Iyama
Yuta (on his right) and other worthies cracking over a wood barrel of sake with mallets. This is a custom on auspicious occasions, on achieving landmarks etc. and especially at the New Year. They will drink some of the sake with square wooden cups.
Yo Seiki Wins 1st Yucho Cup: This was an unofficial tournament held to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the Nihon Ki-in, though the numbering suggests it will continue. It is organized by the Nihon Ki-in and the main sponsor is the post office bank, the Yucho Bank, with assistance from the Asahi newspaper. It is open to professionals and inseis (apprentice professionals) 20 and under and 7-dan and under. Rules are NHK style (30 seconds per move plus ten minutes’ thinking time to be used in one-minute units). Thirty-one professionals and 11 inseis played in the qualifying tournament, which started on June 11. One insei, Shibano Toramaru, who made his debut as a 1-dan pro in July, won a place in the 16-seat main tournament. In the final, Yo Seiki 7-dan (right) of the Kansai Ki-in beat Motoki Katsuya 3-dan to claim the one million yen first prize.
Ryusei Cup Winner Kono Gets Another Chance: The final of the 23rd Ryusei tournament was held a couple of weeks ago (the game is recorded, then telecast, and Go Weekly is coy about the date it was played). Kono Rin 9P (B, at left) beat Yo Seiki 7P by resignation. This is Kono’s second win in this tournament. There was a surprise waiting for Kono after the game. The sponsors also sponsor a Chinese version of the title, and they have arranged for a Japan-China Ryusei tournament. Kono will play Gu Li, winner of the 5th Chinese Ryusei tournament, in December.
70th Honinbo League Starts: The 70th Honinbo League got off to a start on October 2. The first game matched two players in their 40s who were making a comeback after a period out in the cold. Victory went to Mimura Tomoyasu 9P (back after an absence of four years, at right), who beat Ryu Shikun 9P (out for 11 years). Mimura had black and won by resig. Other results are given below. The most notable is perhaps Ida’s win over former Honinbo Cho U; Ida may have lost the title match to Iyama Yuta, but he is one of the favorites in the league.
(Oct. 9) Yamashita Keigo 9P (W) beat Yo Seiki 7P by resig.
(Oct. 10). Takao Shinji 9P (W) beat Kono Rin 9P by resig.
(October 16) Ida Atsushi 8P (W) beat Cho U 9P by 3.5 points
First of three reports. Tomorrow: Murakawa Wins Kisei B League; Mukai Leads Women’s Meijin League; Iyama Rebounds In Meijin Defense; Iyama Off to Good Start In Judan
University and college students under the age of 30 are invited to compete in the preliminary for the next World Students Go Oza Championship. The 13th World Students Go Oza Championship will be held February 23-27, 2015 in Tokyo, Japan, where 16 students from around the world will compete to decide the world’s number one student player. To select the 16 students, an online preliminary round will be held on Pandanet. Click here for the entry form. The application deadline is Nov 16. Note: students living in China, Korea, Japan and Chinese Taipei cannot participate in the online preliminary round.
photo from 2014 World Students Go Oza Championship by Nikkei Asia Review
The 2014 Samsung Cup semifinals took place in Daejeon, Korea on October 14. Because the “elite eight” consisted of four Chinese players and four Korean players, the sponsor arranged the draw so there would be four “China vs Korea” matches. Though Korea might have had the advantage with its top four players in the semifinals, the Chinese players had high rankings as well, with Shi Yue and Zhou Ruiyang as number one and number two.
The results: two Chinese players and two Korean players will proceed, with Park Junghwan 9p against defending champion Tang Weixing 9p and Shi Yue 9p facing Kim Jiseok 9p. Daejeon will host the semifinals from November 5 through November 7. For more information about the the quarter finals including game records, photos, and Shi Yue’s defeat of recent jabango champion Lee Sedol 9p, please visit Go Game Guru.
—Annalia Linnan, based on a longer article by Go Game Guru
The Irish Open Weekend will be on the weekend of February 6th-8th 2015. More details to follow soon.
Pre-registration for the Cotsen Open will be closing at midnight on Thursday night. After that, players will have to register at the door on Saturday morning. The 2-day tournament will be held on October 25-26 at the Korean Cultural Center in Los Angeles. “We will also be printing hats with the Cyclops Killer logo on them,” reports organizer Samantha Davis. “They will be for sale at the tournament.” Organizers are still looking for more volunteers for setup on Friday from 11am-5pm. “All volunteers will get a free hat and a pizza lunch,” says Davis. Email her at email@example.com. Sponsored by Eric Cotsen, the tournament is one of the biggest on the annual U.S. go calendar and features thousands of dollars in prizes, an Open Division, live KGS commentary on top board games, free masseuses for players, and free food truck lunches to all those who pre-register for both days of the tournament. There will also be a demonstration game between Yilun Yang 7P and Yigang Hua 8P. As usual, everyone who pre-registers and plays in all five of their matches will have their full entry fee refunded; click here to register. Follow the Cotsen on Twitter and Facebook for the latest tournament news.
Two unusual occurrences highlighted details of the AGA rules at the Portland Go Tournament last weekend.
One game involved a seki with points: two black groups, each with one eye, separated by a white group with none. The white group shared one liberty with each black group, which neither player wanted to fill. The Japanese rules give no points in seki, but the AGA rules make no such special exception; black’s eyes are territory. These two points did not affect the outcome of that game.
A second game was resolved by mathematical proof. At the end of the game, the score was a tie on the board, so white won by the half-point komi. (This was a “one stone handicap” game). Later, black discovered a stone on the floor that he claimed was a prisoner of his. Could it be determined if that stone came from this game? Another player argued that the tie on the board was impossible, given that there was no seki and both players played the same number of moves. Working with several players, the tournament director constructed a proof of this fact. If both players played the same number of moves, the total number of stones on the board (after filling prisoners into territory) must be an even number. Since there are 361 points on the board, the total amount of territory (i.e., the number of vacant points) must be odd. Both players therefore cannot have the same score, so a stone did disappear from this game. White bowed to this logic and the result was reversed.
The tournament was held October 18-19 on the picturesque campus of Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon. 32 players participated.
The winners, from first to third in each division, were:
Open division: Kaichi Suzuki (5-0), Boyang Chen (founding the University of Oregon Go Club), Xudong Zhao
Dan division: Ben Hakala, Maxwell Chen, Troy Wahl
Single-digit kyu division: Daniel Takamori, Sam Levenick (president of the Lewis & Clark Go Club), Robert O’Malley
Double-digit kyu division: Ethan Zhuang (5-0), Roger LaMarche, Vivienne Blandy
Top youth player: Ethan Zhuang
Top female player: Vivienne Blandy
The tournament director wishes to thank Yellow Mountain Imports for a discount on prizes, GoClubs.org for their outstanding tournament software, the Lewis & Clark College Go Club for access to the rooms, and the various volunteers who brought boards, snacks, etc.
- Peter Drake, TD
photo: Daniel Takamori (left) and Thor Dodson enjoy a bonus game in the 75-degree October sun while waiting for the end of the last round.
The 16th Ibero-American Championship was held in Quito, Ecuador, from October 10 to 12. Forty-seven players from 11 countries participated: Argentina (4), Brazil (5), Columbia (2), Ecuador (23), Guatemala (1), Mexico (1), Korea (1), Peru (2), the United Kingdom (1), USA (4), and Venezuela (3). Players ranged in strength from 6d to 10k. Fernando Aguilar (6d) of Argentina won the championship with a 7-0 score. Click here for complete results.
“I had a great time,” said Bob Gilman, one of the US players. The other US players were John Harriman 2D, Devin Fraze 3k and Tania Kadakia 5k. “The games were good ones; the players friendly; and the event well organized. Quito is a lively and interesting city. I was able to get along well despite my poor Spanish.”
Eighteen players entered the September 18 Cocoa Go Tournament in Cocoa, Florida, with ranks from 4-dan to 25-kyu and ages that spanned more than 60 years. The two youngest players are shown below (top left) facing off in Round 2. Eddie Crawford 25k is on the left and Yuliang Huang 15k is on the right. Lu Mueller-Kaul 16k and Lewis Hyman 14k are
at the back of the table. The event was a one-day Swiss with three rounds and three categories, hosted by the Space Coast Area Go Association. First place winners were Steve Barberi 1k, Tony Vick 6k, and Heather Crawford 14k. Prizes were donated by Slate and Shell and Yellow Mountain Imports and were awarded to the first three places in each category. Cocoa is located in Brevard County on the east central coast of Florida, near the Kennedy Space Center. The Central Brevard Library provided a free meeting room for the event. A pizza party followed the event at the home of Bart and Judy Lipofsky.
- report by Bart Lipofsky
Category 1 (above 5K)
1 Steve Barberi 1K AGA 2323
2 Johnathan Fisher 3D AGA 21138
3 Joseph Carl 2K AGA 7767
Category 2 (above 11K)
1 Tony Vick 6K AGA 19856
2 Paul Wiegand 7K 8204
3 Anthony Yon 6K 15880
Category 3 (above 30K)
1 Heather Crawford 14K AGA 18750
2 Yuliang Huang 15K (tie) AGA 20387
2 Lu MuellerKaul 16K (tie) AGA 20961
3 Eddie Crawford 25K 21449
October 25: Austin, TX
Austin 2014 Fall Classic
Bart Jacob firstname.lastname@example.org 512-659-1324
October 25: Lawrenceville, NJ
One-Day Go Tournament
Ronghao Chen email@example.com 908-872-6202
Get the latest go events information.
The Choongam Baduk Dojang (go academy) has been a driving force behind Korean Baduk for the past two decades. In the 1990s it was not only a training place for young aspirants but also a meeting place where some of the strongest Korean players would get together to analyze games and investigate new moves. In 2011 it was reorganized in its present form by the merger of three dojangs. When the players at the 2014 Korea Prime Minister Cup visited it on September 18, they were welcomed by its headmaster Choi Gyubyung, 9-dan. He explained that Choongam was currently the leading baduk academy in Korea, having the largest number of insei and having turned out the largest number of professional players. Photos of these pros adorned the hallways. The 51 KPMC contestants were then matched against a like number of Choongam students for a friendship match. While the match was in progress, Mr Choi kindly consented to an intervew with Ranka.
Ranka: Please tell us a little about the history and organization of Choongam.
Choi: Choongam has a long history, and I've been with it since the beginning. It was founded in its present form in 2011 by Yang Jaeho, Yoo Changhyuk, and Heo Janghoe, all professional 9-dan. It has students of many levels, up to the insei level. There are different rooms for students of different levels. As a pupil advances from level to level, he or she moves up from room to room.
Ranka: How many foreign students do you have?
Choi: At present Benjamin Lockhart, from America, is studying here, and we have students from Taiwan as well. In the recent past we've also had European students, from Czechia, France, and Poland, for example.
Ranka: How was today's friendship match organized?
Choi: We matched the KPMC contestants against the Choongam students in order of rank, for the contestants, and rating, for the Choongam students. We excluded the top twenty Choongam students, so we started with number twenty-one, who was matched against the top ranked KPMC contestant, and then so on down.
Ranka: What do you think are the keys to becoming a good baduk player?
Choi: To start with, memory is important, as it is in any form of education, not just baduk. You have to gain and retain knowledge. But the most important thing in baduk is to develop the ability to figure things out for yourself. To do some original thinking during your games.
Ranka: How do you view the current baduk competition between China and Korea?
Choi: Last year China pulled ahead of Korea, but I think this may be a temporary situation. China has a very good educational system, however. It will be very interesting to see how the contest between China and Korea develops in the future.
Ranka: Thank you very much.
Postscript: Ranka was unable to keep tally of how all the friendship matches turned out, but at the top end, the KPMC contestants had a tough time. Although the KPMC champion-to-be Wei Taewoong won his game, China's Hu Yuqing, twice world amateur champion, lost to Choongam's Cho Namkyun, and Japan's Tsuchimune Yoshiyuki lost to Choongam's Moon Hyojin. At the bottom end, however, where the Choongam side consisted mostly of primary school students who were still near the beginning of their serious baduk studies, it was a different story. Ranka is pleased to report that some of the smallest European countries can still produce players who can defeat some of the kids at Korea's leading baduk academy.
New York University Game Center Director Frank Lantz’ keynote speech at this year’s US Go Congress (Game Theorist Frank Lantz on why go should be “A little less Tang Dynasty and a little more NASCAR” 8/13 EJ) is now available online. Click here for a video of the talk, here for a Powerpoint version and here for a PDF. Lantz says he’s interested in “continu(ing) to be involved in helping grow and promote go worldwide.”
The San Diego Go Club became the first AGA chapter to take advantage of the free pizza offer (AGA Chapter Offer: Play Go, Get Free Pizza! 10/3 EJ) when it held a go party on October 12 at the home of the chapter’s president. Twenty people turned out for the noon-5 p.m. event and seven new members were signed up for the AGA. While many self-paired games were played, only three AGA rated games were played. “At 5 p.m., everyone enjoyed pizza,” reports club president Ted Terpstra. Chapters that meet in October, play at least one rated game, order pizza and send in a photo of the festivities — and the receipt– will have the cost of the pizza reimbursed. This offer only valid for AGA chapters; if your club is not a chapter, click here to sign up as a chapter today. Send your receipts to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Thousands of students, parents, and residents from the Chicago area visited a 4-hour Chinese Cultural Festival on Sept. 27th,” reports organizer Xinming Simon Guo. “This fun and educational event is held to promote Chinese culture and art, and also to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Confucius Institute Day. It is organized by the Confucius Institute in Chicago, Chicago Public Schools, and the Confucius Institute at Valparaiso University. Weiqi/go is one of the most popular booths among 20 different Chinese cultural and art activity booths. As one of the organizers, I couldn’t stay at the booth to promote weiqi as usual. So I turned to the AGA for help. An E-J announcement soliciting help drew two volunteers from the Chicago weiqi community, Nathan and Nicole. They were put in charge of an activity called “Weiqi in 5 minutes” to introduce fundamental rules to passersby. Participants who could solve 80% of the go problems got gift tickets which could be redeemed during the event,” said Guo. CCTV (China Central Television), the largest network in China, broadcast the cultural festival on its international channel. A one-minute video clip featuring the weiqi booth, is here. “It is said that CCTV plans to promote more weiqi on their channels,” says Guo. “I believe the major reason is that Xi Jinping, the President of China, knows how to play weiqi, which was confirmed by Nie Weiping 9P.” - Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor, Photo by Xinming Simon Guo: Nathan and Nicole teach kids how to play go.
This is a continuation of an interview Ranka had with Alexandra when she played in the first World Mind Sports Games in Beijing six year ago. At that time she had interrupted her university studies in Hungary to study go at the International Baduk Academy in Korea. That interview ended with Ranka asking Alexandra what her future plans were. She said she wanted to get stronger at go, see how much progress she had made a year later, and then decide what to do next. What she eventually decided to do was to enroll as a graduate student in Korean literature at a Korean university. Studying Korean literary theory and writing a thesis in Korean left her little time to play go, so when she earned her degree and returned to Hungary, she was playing only at about the 1-dan level. Nevertheless, when a call went out on the Internet for someone to represent Hungary at the 2014 Korea Prime Minister Cup, she answered it.
Ranka: How did you get started playing go?
Alexandra: Actually I got started by accident when I was fifteen. I was looking around on Internet sites, I think Japanese-related sites, and I found this site about go and I got really interested in it. So I started to play on KGS and later looked for some Hungarian players, and that is how I started the game.
Ranka: And how did you come to pursue a graduate degree in Korean literature?
Alexandra: That actually developed from my interest in Korea. After I spent one and a half years in Korea I went back to Hungary and graduated from my university, and after that I went to one of these reading evenings. It was something like a reading circle. They were reading Korean writers' short stories, and I really liked them. I really liked their atmosphere. They were very, like, harmonious. And so when I later applied for a scholarship to Korea, a governmental scholarship, I thought, I could study Korean literature in Korean, which is an asset, and I'm also kind of interested in Korean literature, so why not?
Ranka: Can you tell us about one Korean author that you particularly like?
Alexandra: Of course! To start with, I like female writers a lot, because in Hungary thare are not that many of them; it's still mainly male writers that dominate the scene. One of the writers I like is Kong Ji-young. She's quite famous and has a lot of works in translation. I particularly like her because I wrote my thesis about her. She's one of the first female writers that got really famous. She writes about things in a very female way that I like very much.
Ranka: What does she write about?
Alexandra: Well, she writes about several things, but the short stories I particularly like from her are about making the transfer from the eighties, when Korea was still sort of a dictatorship, to the nineties when they finally became democratized. It became an inner struggle inside Korean people, especially Korean youth, university students. At one time in the eighties they thought that socialism was going to be the way to go, but at the end of the eighties a lot of Eastern European socialist states became democratic. So they had this whole world collapsing inside them. How were they to overcome the collapse?
Ranka: You now work as a translator. Have you translated any go books from Korean into Hungarian?
Alexandra: No, because the go population of Hungary is only about 100 to 150.
Ranka: What do you translate?
Alexandra: Well, right now I'm just starting out, so I'm trying to establish myself as a freelancer. So far I've mostly translated literature, and that's what I'm most interested in. Much of my work has been proofreading translations by Koreans who are translating Hungarian literature into Korean: famous Hungarian writers or famous Hungarian historical books. I've also worked as an interpreter; I interpreted for a well-known writer when he was in Hungary. His name is Yi Mun-yeol and he's very famous in Korea, so I was really happy to have that chance.
Ranka: We wish you good luck in your career.
Alexandra: Thank you.
- Photo: Ito Toshiko
The American Go Association’s Twitter account is about to cross the 1,000-follower mark. Those following @theaga are the first to get the AGA’s go news, like Monday’s posting that the 2014 US Open ratings had been released or the Cotsen Open’s request for “Volunteers Needed to help with setup on Friday,October 24, 11am -5pm. Pizza lunch provided.Please contact Samantha at CotsenOpen@gmail.com” Please follow us now @theaga and retweet widely.
Andre Connell is a Johannesburg-based information technology consultant who represented South Africa at the 2014 Korea Prime Minister Cup in Seoul. Ranka spoke with him after he had played two rounds and split two games with very different Asian opponents.
Ranka: How did you learn about the game of go?
Andre: I learned about the game at Stellenbosch University, which is where I studied. We have a student center where the students can go and get fairly cheap food, and the go club used to meet there. So one evening I walked past and asked the guys, 'What are those? Can you eat them?' Which is kind of the standard question. It started from there and I've been playing ever since.
Ranka: How many years ago was that?
Andre: That was in '95, so it was nineteen years ago.
Ranka: How has go developed in South Africa during those nineteen years?
Andre: It's grown. During the Hikaru no Go phase when everyone was watching the manga, it grew quite a lot. We've kept a few of those players, and I think the general level in South Africa has improved quite a bit. We have one very strong player, Victor Chow, who has been playing in South Africa and is pretty much the strongest guy around in our country, but there are a lot of the rest of us who have also increased our level. I'd say we've got between five and ten players at around the two to four dan level now, which is much better than, let's say, fifteen or twenty years ago when I started, when we had only a couple of dan players. So that's basically where we are at the moment. We're not as strong as many of the European countries, for example, but we're doing fairly well.
Ranka: Does Victor Chow teach the rest of you?
Andre: Yes. We generally play against him in tournaments. Every time you get to a tournament, which can be about two to five times a year, you get to play a game against him, and it's pretty much a teaching game.
Ranka: Do you also go into the places where the original African population lives?
Andre: The townships, for example. One of our strongest clubs is actually in Soweto. We have a couple of players from there who have actually gone to the World Amateur Championships and to the KPMC. I think about seven or eight years ago Julius Paulu went to the World Amateur Champs, and Welile Gogotshe went to the KPMC four years ago. Julius was around 1-dan. He's unfortunately passed away since then, but Welile is one of the strongest players in South Africa. He's probably around 3-dan. He's doing very well.
Ranka: And now, can you tell us about your first game, this morning?
Andre: My first game this morning was against Mongolia. It was quite a tight game. I had a large lead up to about move 100, and then I kept losing little chunks of territory and stones, and eventually managed to sneak it by 2-1/2 points, but it was quite tight at the end. It was one of those that almost got away. At least it was 'almost' -- it didn't get properly away.
Ranka: And what was the story this afternoon?
Andre: I played against the Korean player. He is very strong, quite a few stones stronger than I am, but it was a lot of fun. I tried to attack one of his groups. It didn't work out too well, and then he had one of my groups on the run. It managed to live, but he ended up taking a quarter of the board in return, so he was twenty or thirty points ahead and there was no way I could catch up, unfortunately.
Ranka: Thank you and good luck in the upcoming rounds.
Postscript: In the remaining rounds Andre faced four European opponents and beat one of them to finish 36th.
- Photo: Ito Toshiko