March Madness is over, “but the American Collegiate Go Association (ACGA) will keep it alive through April,” promises Cole Pruitt. This Saturday, April 12 and the following week, April 19, the ACGA will host the 3rd annual Collegiate Go League championship on KGS.
At 1 pm EST each Saturday in the KGS “Collegiate Go League” room, matches will be held between the ACGA’s top four finishers from the season. The semifinals will be this Saturday, April 12, with Yale taking on top-seeded U. Mich and U. Toronto against U Maryland. The winners from these 5v5 school-based matches will face off in the finals on the next Saturday, for the coveted ACGA Cup (photo), with cash prizes for the top three winners.
ACGA resident professional Stephanie Yin will be on hand each weekend to provide live commentary of the top boards on KGS, starting at 1:30 PM EST once the matches are underway. “We invite anyone to join the matches and kibitz away,” says Pruitt, “especially students interested in promoting go in primary, secondary, and post-secondary school.”
Members of the Twin Cities Go Club last weekend participated in Passage to China, an annual event celebrating Chinese culture. Held at the Mall of America in Bloomington, MN, and sponsored by the Chinese Heritage Foundation, this event welcomes visitors to experience Chinese dance, music, arts, and crafts.
This is the fourth year the Twin Cities Go Club has participated in the event, hosting a table at which attendees can learn the basics of go, or weiqi, as it is known in China, where the game originated. “Typically, we teach how to surround and capture stones, and then encourage visitors to play a game of capture go,” reports local organizer Aaron Broege. “We also are pleased to play more experienced players in a game of go on the 19×19 board. We have the pleasure of teaching individuals from small children to adults, and most people seem to catch on to the basics quickly. We find that this is great exposure for the game and for the club. Many people seem genuinely interested in finding out more about where to purchase a board and stones, and we have also had people attend our club meetings as a result of seeing us at Passage to China.”
The annual event “has been a great experience for us,” Broege adds, “and opened up some additional outreach opportunities. Last year at this event we connected with the group ‘Families with Children from Asia’ and this past fall we had the opportunity to work with that group at one of their own events near the Twin Cities. This year we met other individuals who would like us to teach go at this year’s Dragon Festival to be held in St. Paul. From exposure through this event, we have found inroads into other outreach opportunities and we are very enthusiastic of the positive effect this will have on the Twin Cities go community.”
photos: (top right): Agnes Rzepecki teaches basic life and death to a particularly curious new student of go. This young individual learned capture go and then insisted on learning the “real game,” and stayed around to play multiple handicap games with us on the 9×9; (bottom left): Yanqing Sun plays a game with a young boy. photos by Aaron Broege
Cho U Advances in Chunlan Cup: The opening rounds of the 10th Chunlan Cup, another Chinese-sponsored international tournament, were held in the city of Taizhou in China on March 26 and 28. Japan had five players seeded in the first round, of whom four won their games, but only Cho U (right) survived the second round. Full results for the opening rounds are given below (note that individual seeds, as opposed to country seeds, join the tournament in the second round).
Round 1 (March 26). Iyama (W) beat Wang Yuanjun 7P (Chinese Taipei) by half a point; Tang Weixing 9P (China) (B) beat Yamashita Keigo by resig.; Cho U 9P (B) beat Fan Hui 2P (Europe) by resig.; Kono Rin 9P (B) beat Fan Tingyu 9P (China) by resig.; Murakawa Daisuke 7P (B) beat Lian Xiao 7P by resig.; Gu Li 9P (China) (B) beat Kim 4P (Korea) by resig.; Tuo Jiaxi 9P (China) (B) beat Jiang Mingjiu 7P (North America) by resig; Mi Yuting 9P (China) (B) beat Mok Chin-seok 9P (Korea) by resig. (Black won seven out of eight games.)
Round 2 (March 28). Zhou Ruiyang 9P (China) (B) beat Iyama by resig.; Cho U (W) beat Jiang Weijie 9P (China) by resig.; Chen Yaoye 9P (China) (W) beat Kono by resig.; Shi Yue 9P (China) b. Murakawa by resig.; Gu Li 9P (China) (B) beat Yi Se-tol 9P (Korea) by resig.; Pak Cheong-hwan 9P (Korea) (W) beat Tang Weixing 9P (China) by resig.; Mi (B) beat Ch’oe Ch’eol-han 9P (Korea) by resig.; Kim Chi-seok 9P (Korea) (W) beat Tuo by resig.
There are five Chinese, two Koreans and one Japanese representative in the quarterfinals. Pairings are: Cho vs. Gu, Shi vs. Zhou, Pak vs. Chen, and Kim vs. Mi.
Ida Becomes Honinbo Challenger: There was a big upset at the end of the 69th Honinbo League. Going into the final round, held on April 3, only two players were in the running: Yamashita Keigo, on 6-0, and Ida Atsushi (left), on 5-1. To become the challenger, Ida would have to beat Yamashita twice in a row. Surprising many go fans, who had expected to see the third big match between Iyama and Yamashita in less than a year (after the 2013 Meijin and 2014 Kisei matches), he managed to do this, winning the play-off held on April 7. This win also earned him an automatic promotion to 8-dan for becoming a big-three challenger, following his jump from 4-dan to 7-dan when he entered the league last year. Ida just turned 20 on March 15. The title match starts on May 14. Below are league results since my last report.
(24 March) Yuki Satoshi 9P (W) beat Yo Seiki 7P by resig.
Final round (April 3) Ida Atsushi 7P (W) beat Yamashita Keigo 9P by half a point; Yo Seiki 7P (W) beat Takao Shinji 9P by 4.5 points; Kono Rin 9P (B) Sakai Hideyuki 8P by 3.5 points; Yuki Satoshi Judan beat Cho U 9P by forfeit. (Cho thought the game was at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo, but when he turned up there learned that it was in Osaka. He published an apology in the current Go Weekly.)
Play-off (April 7) Ida (W) won by 5.5 points.
Placings in the league are as follows: 2nd, Yamashita; 3rd, Cho U (4-3); 4th, Kono Rin (4-3). Losing their places are Yuki Satoshi (3-4), Yo Seiki (3-4), Takao Shinji (1-6), and Sakai Hideyuki (1-6).
Meijin League Update: Ryu Shikun 9-dan (right), a strong player who has been lying low over the last decade, is doing well in the 39th Meijin League. With three wins, Yamashita Keigo is still in the lead, but Ryu, on 3-1, is following hard on his heels, along with Kono Rin 9P (3-1) and Cho U 9P (2-1).
(March 27) Ryu Shikun 9P (W) beat Ko Iso 8P by resig.
(April 3) Murakawa Daisuke 7P (W) beat Hane Naoki 9P by resig.
Promotions: To 2-dan: Kyo Kagen (30 wins)
Obituary: Yoshida Yoichi
Yoshida Yoichi 9-dan, a member of the Kansai branch of the Nihon Ki-in, died on March 26. Born on October 7, 1935, he became a disciple of Hosokawa Chihiro (Senjin). He made 1-dan in 195, reached 9-dan in 1977 and retired in 1997.
by John Power, EJ Japan Correspondent
Xie Defends Women’s Meijin Title: The third game of the 26th Women’s Meijin title match was held at the Nihon Ki-in in Ichigaya, Tokyo, on March 24. Drawing black in the nigiri, Xie Yimin (right) played strongly and scored a solid win, forcing a resignation after 209 moves. She made a good comeback from her loss in the second game. This gave her the match 2-1, so she won this title for the seventh year in a row.
Yuki Wins Third NHK Cup In A Row: Yuki Satoshi (at right in photo below) has been going through a spell of bad form recently, especially in the leagues, but he is just as strong as ever at fast games. In the final of the 61st NHK Cup, telecast on March 23, he defeated Kono Rin 9P by resignation to win the title for the third year in a row and the fifth time overall (all in the last six years). Winning three in a row matches the record set by Sakata Eio and Yoda Norimoto; in total titles won, he is tied for second with Otake Hideo and Yoda, but here he is still a long way behind Sakata’s ten. Playing black, Kono took the early lead, but in a game marked by violent fighting the lead shifted back and forth, and Kono missed his best chance to take the lead in the middle game. Kono is known for his endgame skill, but here he was outplayed by Yuki.
Yuki Evens Score In Judan: Perhaps his NHK win will become a turning point for Yuki. He followed it up by beating Takao Shinji 9P in the second game of the 52nd Judan title match (photo at left), which was played in Sumoto City on the island of Awaji in Hyogo Prefecture on March 27. Playing black, the challenger actually took the lead in the middle game, but Yuki went all out in the endgame and wrested a half-point lead from him. That makes the score 1-1; the third game will be played on April 10.
Iyama Wins Tournament of Champions: The semifinals and final of the Tournament Winners Championship, a tournament for all 12 title-winners in 2013 plus a player chosen by fan vote, were held at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo on March 22 (the first two rounds were held on February 14 and 15). In the semifinals, Iyama Yuta beat Kyo Kagen, winner of last year’s Nakano Cup, and Yamashita Keigo beat Yuki Satoshi Judan. The final thus became a rematch between the player who only recently fought the Kisei title match, and the result was the same. Taking black, Iyama beat Yamashita by resignation after 189 moves. Iyama was awarded the Prime Minister’s Cup and the Minister for Education and Science’s Diploma. The final was open to the public, being played on the stage in the Nihon Ki-in’s large hall while a public commentary was given simultaneously by Ishida Yoshio 9-dan and Yoshihara Yukari 6-dan. Presumably the players were able to shut out the commentary when they concentrated on the game. However, after the game Yamashita said that he did take in one comment by Ishida, which was, “If the players can hear me, their training as professionals is incomplete.” Usually in a public commentary like this, the commentators take care to avoid referring to the colors, instead holding up a black stone if they want to refer to black. However, Ishida told a story from a public commentary he did a long time ago of a player who told him later that he had relied on Ishida for territorial evaluation and just focused on reading.
Tomorrow: Cho U Advances in Chunlan Cup; Ida Becomes Honinbo Challenger; Meijin League Update; Promotions; Obituary: Yoshida Yoichi
by John Power, EJ Japan Correspondent
Chisato Cup: The semifinals and finals of this new tournament for young players were played in the town of Seiro in Niigata Prefecture on March 1 and 2, but I forgot to include it in my previous report. The favorite of the fans was probably Fujisawa Rina 2P (right), the granddaughter of Fujisawa Shuko, but she lost to Hirata Tomoya 3P in one semifinal. In the other, Suzuki Shinji 4P beat Kimoto Katsuya 3P. Suzuki (B) then beat Hirata by resignation in the final to take the first prize of two million yen (a little under $20,000). In my report on the opening rounds of this tournament, I made a bad guess, based on a Net search, about the business of the sponsor, the Chisato corporation. Apparently it is an insurance agency specializing in towns and village councils throughout Japan.
Japan Eliminated from 2nd Bailing Cup: The qualifying section and the first round of the main tournament of this Chinese-sponsored international tournament were held at the Chinese Qiyuan (Ki-in) in Beijing from March 13 to 18. Seventeen professionals and amateurs from Japan took part in the qualifying tournament, but no one won a place in the main tournament, though Ida Atsushi 7P (left), Ichiriki Ryo 7P, and Son Makoto 3-dan did reach the final round. This is a massive tournament, with 64 players competing in the first round. Japan had three seeded players, but they were all eliminated. Their results: Zhang Tao 4P (China) beat Akiyama Jiro 9P (Japan), Mok Chin-seok 9P (Korea) beat Takao Shinji 9P (Japan), and Wang Xi 9P (China) beat Yuki Satoshi 9P (Japan). Twenty-two Chinese and ten Korean players proceeded to the second round. Incidentally, the two players fighting a jubango at present, Yi Se-tol and Gu Li, were both eliminated in this round. See also Battle for 2nd Bailing Cup Cup Begins 4/3 EJ.
Ichiriki Sets Record: The first of the four vacant seats in the 39th Kisei Leagues has been taken by Ichiriki Ryo 4-dan (right). In the final, held on March 21, Ichiriki (B) beat Cho U 9P by 7.5 points. At 16 years nine month, he is the youngest player to win a seat in any of the three leagues. This feat also earned him an automatic promotion to 7-dan. The previous record for the Kisei Leagues was 17 years ten months, set by Iyama Yuta. Iyama still holds the Meijin League record, at 18 years five months, and Yo Seiki set a new record for the Honinbo League last year of 18 years two months. On April 3, the second of the vacant places went to Cho Riyu 8P; playing white, he beat Seto Taiki 7P by 8.5 points.
Tomorrow: Xie Defends Women’s Meijin Title; Yuki Wins Third NHK Cup In A Row; Yuki Evens Score In Judan; Iyama Wins Tournament of Champions
“I expect you’ll have many responses to Stuart French’s question (looking for 1940′s article about how Japanese generals used the game of go to strategize WWII in the Pacific) in the April 7 E-Journal (Your Move/Readers Write: More Responses to The Popular Go Quiz Question), but I give mine anyways,” writes Reinhold Burger. “I think the article may have been a piece in the May 18 1942 edition of Life Magazine (pp. 92-96), entitled ‘Go: Japs play their national game the way they fight their wars.’ The map in question is on page 96. Btw, it includes a photo of Edward Lasker placing a stone on the board.” Burger goes on to wonder “if this is a serious example of the game. After 42 moves, neither player has touched the lower left corner (i.e., where the Indian ocean lies). But I am quite weak (DDK), so perhaps a stronger player could comment.”
Thanks also to David Doshay, Grant Kerr and quizmaster Keith Arnold, who also flagged the same article. It also appears on page 26 of The Go Player’s Almanac published by Kiseido, reports Richard Bozulich.
EJ reader Simon Guo found this description of how to use Perl to parse a go game record file in Simon Cozens computer language book, Advanced Perl Programming.
Nominations for the American Go Foundation’s Teacher of the Year award are now open. The award is presented each year at the U.S. Go Congress and recognizes an outstanding American teacher. The winner will receive an all expenses paid trip to the congress. To be eligible, a teacher must be a member of the AGA, have been teaching go to children for at least two hours a week (during the school year) for two years, have started a go club or organization for youth, and have helped their students enter appropriate tournaments, if possible. If you would like to nominate someone for this award, including yourself, e-mail email@example.com. Nominations are due by May 5th and should include a description of the teacher’s activities, how long they have been teaching, and how many students attend their program. - Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Photo: Last year’s winner Richard Moseson from New York. To read more about Richard’s work, click here.
In the A League, Seattle 1 defeated Los Angeles (2-1), Canwa Vancouver 1 def Toronto (3-0) and Greater Washington def
Boston (2-1). In the B League, San Francisco 1 def Washington DC 1 (3-0), New York City def NC Raleigh (3-0) and Chicago def Washington DC (3-0). In the C League, West Tennessee/Memphis def Lincoln (2-1), Katy, TX 1 def Canwa Vancouver 2 (2-1), Syracuse def Seattle 2 (3-0), and Katy TX 2 def Brentwood/Nashville (2-1).
The included game this month comes from Katy TX 2 (Bao Doan/missuhcl) vs Brentwood/Nashville(Seth Cardew/sleazypnut). This was a close game with both players fighting for territory throughout.
- Steve Colburn, TD
“Thanks for asking this great question about popular go references, (Go Quiz: Who Pulled Off the “Miraculous Upset”? 4/4 EJ)” writes Stuart French from Melbourne, Australia. “A few years ago I saw an Australian newspaper article about how the Japanese generals used the game of go to strategize the war in the Pacific. It included a map of SE Asia, from Japan down to Darwin with a Go board super-imposed over the top. I assume ~c.1943. Did anyone submit this to you as one of the options, or have you seen a copy of it? I am chasing it down to use in my Go and Complexity presentation and would really appreciate an electronic copy.” If anyone’s come across this, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Love the Camel ad,” writes Bob Barber in Chicago, Il, also in response to last week’s quiz. “David Matson has it, and a photo of the same situation, with David playing Black. I see that the new paperback edition of Shibumi has a go board on the cover, and a few stones. The central stones make an empty triangle. This may be intentional, and not just a stupid mistake. Years ago, Alan Mishlove showed me a video of Richard Boone, as Paladin, playing go. Far out.”
And in response to quizmaster Keith Arnold’s comment that he was expecting “A Beautiful Mind” to be the winner, noting that “the go scenes are less than convincing…” Rick Mott in Princeton, NJ responded “…Meaning the position in the overhead board shot was utterly ridiculous, doubtless set up by some random prop guy who didn’t play. Yet somebody taught the actors to hold the stones the proper way.” Mott goes on to say that “Hollywood is very, very good at faking things if you don’t know what you’re looking at. Years ago, I had a chance to visit a special effects house on a technical project, the short version is that the effects for the ‘planet at the end of the universe’ in Star Trek V were done with an electron microscope using a digital imaging system made by the company I worked for at the time.”
Get the latest go events information.
In “Why does Bill Gates want to be a better Go player?”, David de Ugarte says that “The birth of videogames and Apple’s first steps, free software’s first steps, and even the platforms that allowed for the organization of tens of thousands of volunteers for the earthquake in Haiti, all have something in common: their creators cited Go as a source of personal inspiration and related it to their form of innovating and thinking.” de Ugarte’s fascinating March 14 post on the Las Indias blog asks “What good is Go to those who change the world?” and takes a look at the go lessons learned and applied by Atari founder Nolan Bushnell, Nintendo’s Hiroshi Yamauchi (right), Tron’s Ken Sakamura, Richard Stallman of GNU (/Linux), Microsoft’s Bill Gates and young extrepreneur Luke Biewald (left), the creator of Crowdflower. de Ugarte has published two other posts on go, Reason Against Force and How Go Became The Favorite Game Of Anarchist And Libertarians. He’s an economist, technologist “and entrepreneur committed to new models of economic democracy.”
Thanks to Mark Gilston & Bart Jacob for passing this along.
Two new books have just been added to our “New and Noteworthy” page: “Games of Wonder” is an English translation by Ruoshi Sun of Yi Miao, a collection of 40 famous games by some of the best players in the Qing Dynasty, and “Whole Board Opening Problems” by Yuan Zhou draws problem situations from actual games played by amateurs and pros.
The Summer Go Camp page has been updated for 2014, when the camp will be held August 3-9 at YMCA Camp Kresge in White Haven, PA.
- Greg Smith, AGA website team
Update (4/10/14): The title of one of the books has been corrected to “”Games of Wonder” .
Albert Yen 6d and Brandon Zhou 4d both won 2-0 in the final rounds of the Ing Foundation’s World Youth Goe Qualifier, held in Menlo Park CA on March 29th. Yen, who is 14 and lives in Illinois, squared off against Aaron Ye 6d, who is competing in the Senior Division for the first time – after having dominated the Jr. Division for several years. Meanwhile, Zhou, age 10, defeated Ary Alden Cheng, to win the Jr. Division. Zhou hails from Atlanta GA, and is one of the most promising youngsters on the national scene. He only recently began professional lessons, as there are no pros in Atlanta, and has been studying with Alexander Dinerchtein online. Both boys will travel to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for the World Youth Go Championships, August 13-17. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Photos by Ernest Brown: Albert Yen 6d (l) and Brandon Zhou 4d (r).
Registration is now open for this year’s Santa Monica Coffee Cup, the 8th year of the caffeinated event, to be held on June 14 in Santa Monica, CA. “As always, the tournament will be AGA-rated and three rounds long,” reports organizer Andy Okun, “with prizes including coffee beans and the eponymous and storied ‘Coffee Cup,’ hand-painted in this year’s theme color of vivid auburn (#922724)” Click here for online registration and further details. The event will again be held at the award-winning UnUrban Coffee House (www.unurban.com), through the generosity of proprietress Pam Stollings (right). “The turkey chili is outstanding,” Okun adds. For more info reach him at email@example.com.
Last week’s quiz: Before turning to the poll results, here’s my personal all-time favorite go reference. This Camel ad from the late 1970s should have worked. It was certainly popular, often featured on the back covers of numerous magazines. While not the best board, the bowls are nice, the board position reasonable, the decor splendid and our hero dutifully takes black against the master – top marks. And for coolness it hits the all-time high. I mean, he has a piercing gaze, cool mustache, is at home in a world few men ever see and women bring him drinks. Unfortunately, it only got more folks addicted to smoking, and not go.
I found all of your responses interesting, from the mysterious “Love and Go” by Wando Wende (on which I could not find any information) to the intriguing – and new to me — French cartoon “Code: Lyoko”, which certainly looks interesting and features the characters playing the game and discussing it, reports Alison Fotness. Brian Kirby offers “PopCo”, a novel that features go prominently. Others chose brief references in “Tron: Legacy” and “Da Vinci’s Demons” while I was surprised no one chose “Star Trek” appearances or the cool background ambiance appearance in “24″. It was great to hear from old friend David Erbach, editor of the early journal “Computer Go,” who suggested Henry Kissinger for featuring go in one of his books. Ramon Mercado came up with the interesting choice of “ATARI” the computer game company. Full marks go to Drew Chuppe for selecting the film “Heaven Knows Mr. Allison”. This World War II drama features Robert Mitchum as a soldier stranded on a Japanese-occupied island. While breaking in to a store-room for food, he tensely hides while two soldiers play a couple of games. A popular film, an accurate depiction as well as a wonderful use of the game as part of a suspenseful part of the plot makes this perhaps the greatest western film reference, but at the time, as an obscure game played by the “enemy”, it failed to gain go much popularity here. Finally, Michael Goerss intrigued me with his spotting of go in Martin Sheen’s hotel room in “Apocalypse Now” but I must confess, I do not see it.
Tenuki-ing to those chosen by more than one of you, the films “A Beautiful Mind” and “Pi” garnered two votes each. I must say I was expecting “A Beautiful Mind” to be the winner. The Best Picture Oscar winner certainly wins the popular honors, and many folks got interested in go as a result, but the go scenes are less than convincing and minor. Darren Aronofsky’s “Pi” does a better job and go is more central to the plot, thanks no doubt in part to credited guidance by “Go Advisors” including former AGA President Barbara Calhoun, Michael Solomon and the late Don Wiener (misspelled in the credits as “Dan”). Sadly, this first effort by the director of many critically acclaimed films was not widely seen. Your quizmaster will have to go along with the choice of 6 of you: “Shibumi” by Trevanian. The thriller features go-related section headings and a marvelous, lengthy section about the main character’s training and playing of the game. And if a film version ever makes it to the screen the novel’s number one position could be solidified (or destroyed). Many, many players were intrigued by the game as presented in the book, and learned to play as a result. So, until Steven Spielberg makes “The Tesuji Kid” about an unpopular but cute middle schooler who comes across a small asian garden while hiding from some bullies, meeting three old men playing go who teach him lessons from the game, which become lessons in life, foiling the bully, impressing his/her teachers and getting the boy/girl – Trevanian is number one. Congrats to Steve Miller of Ramsey, MN, this week’s winner, randomly chosen from those who suggested Shibumi.
This Week’s Quiz: Hearty congratulations to Gu Li for taking game three of the jubango; could this be the start of a comeback? In the Japanese top titles, the matches are best of seven. Who was the first player to come back from an 0-3 deficit and win a title in what was termed a “miraculous upset”? Was it Sakata Eio, Rin Kaiho, Kato Masao or Cho Chikun? Click here to submit your responses and comments.
Simultaneous games with strong players continue to be available to AGA members in the AGA Community Room on KGS. For April, simuls are now scheduled in the evenings beginning this Saturday, April 5 and continuing on Wednesday, April 9, Saturday, April 12, and Wednesday, April 30.
The full simul schedule through June is available here. “Volunteers are adding simuls to the schedule on an on-going basis, so keep checking it for the latest information,” urges organizer Bob Gilman.
Since this program began in October 2013, there have been 128 games played. “These simuls are a great way to test your strength and develop your game,” Gilman says. “You will have the chance to learn tactics and strategies from a stronger player. There will generally be a brief review afterwards. And don’t worry about being ‘too weak.’ These are handicap games and intended to help you learn.”
The games are played in the AGA Community Room on KGS (under “Clubs”) in the Rooms List. If you need room access, email firstname.lastname@example.org with your AGA ID number and KGS username.
Competition has begun for the second Bailing Cup, a biennial event backed by the Guizhou Bailing Group, a Chinese pharmaceutical company, and held under the auspices of the International Go Federation, the People’s Government of Guizhou Province, the Guizhou Sports Bureau, and the professional go associations of China, Japan, and Korea.
Four preliminary rounds were held March 15-16 in Beijing, and the 48 survivors then joined 16 seeded players from China, Chinese Taipei, Japan, and Korea in the main tournament, with the first round held on March 18. Click here for Round 1 results and games, along with some of the preliminary games.
One of the winners in the prelims was a young Chinese pro who had recently won the Shanghai Jianqiao Xinren Wang tournament. This event is known as the Rookie King tournament, but this year’s king was Wu Zhibao 5P (Yu Zhiying, at left), a female player. It’s extremely rare for a go tournament that is open to both men and women to be won by a woman; in the entire history of professional go it has happened perhaps five times. Three of those victories were by Rui Naiwei 9P (right), who Wu faced in the first round of the Bailing Cup, losing by resignation.
The second round has yet to be scheduled; the ultimate winner of the second Bailing Cup is due to be decided next year.
- based on James Davies’ detailed report on the IGF website; game records from www.go4go.net/
UK: Andrew Kay 4d led the Birmingham on March 29. Behind him were Alex Kent 3d in second and Alistair Wall 2d in third. Serbia: Also on March 29, the 3rd Memorial Milos Vucicevic finished in Kragujevac with Zoran Jankovic 4d in first, Dragan Dubakovic 3d in second, Mihailo Jacimovic 1k in third. Germany: Bernd Radmacher 4d (left) bested Jonas Welticke 5d at the 4th Recklinghaeuser Guzumi in Recklinghausen on March 30 while Martin Ruzicka 2d came in third.
– Annalia Linnan, based on reports from EuroGoTV, which include complete result tables and all the latest European go news; photo courtesy of EuroGoTV
The full name is the Bailing Cup World Go Open Tournament. Held under the auspices of the International Go Federation, the People's Government of Guizhou Province, the Guizhou Sports Bureau, and the professional go associations of China, Japan, and Korea, this biennial event is backed by the Guizhou Bailing Group, a Chinese pharmaceutical company. It began in 2012, the year in which the Bailing Group launched a collagen skincare product under the name of Aitou (the Chinese name of the tournament that year was the Bailing Aitou Cup). The inaugural cup was won in 2013 by Zhou Ruiyang, who went on to earn a gold medal in pair go at the 2013 SportAccord World Mind Games. The competition for the second cup began on March 16, 2014 in Beijing.
In the four preliminary rounds, a special bracket was set aside for women, ensuring that four of them would reach the main knockout tournament. One of the winners in this bracket was a young Chinese pro who had recently won the Shanghai Jianqiao Xinren Wang tournament. This U16(male)/U18(female) event is known as the Rookie King tournament, but this year's king was Wu Zhibao, a girl. There was no women's bracket: she had to beat five opponents of the opposite sex. It is extremely rare for a go tournament that is open to both men and women to be won by a woman. In the entire history of professional go it has happened perhaps five times. The past Rookie Kings have all been male, and many of them are now among China's top stars, such as the above Zhou Ruiyang.
After her Rookie King victory, Ms Wu was asked who she considered to be the strongest woman go player in China. Her reply was, 'Rui Naiwei. When I play her I usually lose.' Not surprisingly, Ms Rui also won one of the four women's places in the Bailing knockout. She is something of a living legend, the equivalent in go of Judit Polgár in chess. In a career spanning China, Japan, the USA, and Korea, she has accomplished the rare feat of winning major tournaments open to men three times: the Chinese Hutang Cup in 1989, the Korean Guksu title in 1999, and the Korean Maxim Cup in 2004. She has also won well over thirty women's professional tournaments and was the first woman anywhere to earn a 9-dan ranking in go. Now she and her husband Jiang Zhujiu, likewise a 9-dan pro, operate a go school in Shanghai, but she continues to compete and do well, winning Chinese women's tournaments in 2012 and 2013 and capturing the women's silver medal at the 2012 SportAccord World Mind Games.
The other two women who survived the Bailing preliminaries were a pair of young Koreans, Choi Jeong and Park Jiyeon, who were taking time out from a Korean women's title match in which they were tied neck-and-neck. In the men's division, one of the survivors was the Chinese amateur Ma Tianfang, and another was from Chinese Taipei, but the rest were all Chinese and Korean pros. The survivors, 48 in all, joined 16 seeded players from China, Chinese Taipei, Japan, and Korea in the main tournament.
The first round of the main tournament was held on March 18. The two Korean women, Choi and Park, found themselves matched against Korean men, to whom they lost. Ma Tianfang, though ranked among the 'Four Heavenly Kings' of Chinese amateur go, bowed to a Chinese 9-dan. The players from Japan and Chinese Taipei all lost to Chinese and Korean opponents. And what of Wu Zhibao and Rui Naiwei, the two women with proven records of triumph over men? As luck would have it they were matched against each other.
After the game a Sports-Sina reporter asked Ms Rui whether she had felt apprehensive about facing the Rookie King, or confident that her greater experience would give her the advantage.
Rui: 'I did not feel very confident. Aside from winning the Rookie King title, Wu has been making progress on all fronts. I was expecting a good, tough game.'
And how did it turn out?
Rui: 'For quite some time the lead remained unclear. Then I lost patience and invaded the top right corner. My opponent didn't have much time to consider her reply, and decided to let me live there so that she could rescue two stones in another part of the board. After living in the corner, I finally found myself in a comfortable position.'
The exchange Rui is describing took place between moves 68 and 77. It was a prelude to all-out war, but after parrying the attacks Wu staged in the center of the board and doing some effective counterattacking herself, Rui won by resignation at move 162. The game record can be viewed here (Rui is white).
In the second round, which has yet to be scheduled, Rui will face Korea's top-rated Park Jyeonghwan. The ultimate winner of the second Bailing Cup is due to be decided next year.
- James Davies