Netherlands: Bert Vonk 1d bested Jan Bol 2d (left) at the Centraal Plaasingstoernoii on August 25 in Amstelveen; Ger de Groot 1d placed third. Croatia: The 5th Memorial-tournament Ivica Kuhar finished August 24 in Veliki Grdjevac with Stjepan Mestrovic 1k in first, Vlimir Kuhar 5d in second, and Robert Jovicic 2k in third. Poland: Stanislaw Frejlak 4d won both the first and second week of the Summer Go School Marathon tournament in Przystanek Alaska. Week one finished on August 16 with Andrew Kay 4d in second and Tomas Kozelek 4d in third. During week two, Kay held his post while Marcin Majka 2d placed third.
— Annalia Linnan, based on reports from EuroGoTV, which include complete result tables and all the latest European go news.
This post was updated 9/4 to indicate that the photo is of Jan Bol 2d, not Bert Vonk 1d.
by Roger Schrag
On the way to Tacoma for the US Go Congress last month, we stopped for a few days in Portland, OR. Among other places we visited the Lan Su Chinese Garden in downtown, claimed to be the most authentic Chinese garden outside of China. I had been here before – in 2008 while attending that year’s US Go Congress. A few of the displays had changed in the intervening five years, including this scene in the Scholar’s Study. According to the garden’s tour, this is a place “where the men of the family studied for civil service exams that would ensure the family’s prosperity. It served as a place of comfort for writing poetry, practicing calligraphy, reading and admiring art.” Is the position on the go board viable? How strong were the players? You be the judge.
White: Luciano Salerno (Argentina) 1d
Black: Ofer Ziwony (Israel) 3d
Click here to start the game viewer.
Commentary by Michael Redmond 9p, transcribed by Chris Garlock.
White: Santiago Quijano Novoa (Colombia) 3d
Black: Javier Aleksi Savolainen (Finland) 5d
Click here to start the game viewer.
Commentary by Michael Redmond 9p, transcribed by Chris Garlock.
The second round began at 1:30 at the direction of 9-dan referee Sonoda Yuichi of the Kansai Kiin. Three of the top-rated eastern countries now faced significant opposition: Korea’s Hyunjae Choi was paired against the USA’s Curtis Tang, Japan’s Kikou Emura against Hong Kong’s King-man Kwan, and Chinese Taipei’s Shin-wei Lin against the Ukraine’s Artem Kachanovskyi. The significant opposition did its best, but Choi won by resignation and Lin and Emura won by 6.5 and 7.5 points, respectively. China’s Yuqing Hu also won, defeating Slovenia’s Janez Janza, and Russia’s Ilya Shikshin defeated Malaysia’s Suzanne D’Bel.
In another triumph for the Far East, Singapore’s Jia Cheng Tan (6 dan) defeated Czechia’s Ondrej Silt (6 dan), but Europe bounced back when Csaba Mero (6 dan, Hungary) defeated Hao-song Sun (6 dan, Australia) and Merlijn Kuin (6 dan, the Netherlands) defeated Xuqi Wu (4 dan, New Zealand). In an all-European match, Cornel Burzo (6 dan, Romania) overcame Franz-Josef Dickhut (6-dan, Germany), and in a battle of shodans, Ngoc Cuong Nguyen (Luxembourg) defeated Christopher Welsh (South Africa). The upset of the day was scored by Vladas Zaleskas (1 dan, Lithuania), who downed Frederik Dahl (3-dan Norway).
Aside from this upset, the second round ended normally, but the pairings had become closer. In round three France’s Thomas Debarre will challenge the home-down favorite Kikou Emura while Russia’s Ilya Shikshin tackles Chinese Taipei’s Shin-wei Lin, Hungary’s Csaba Mero takes on China’s Yuqing Hu, and Singapore’s Jia Cheng Tan tangles with Korea’s Hyunjae Choi.
- James Davies
The last German Championship was not so good for me. I seemed to be in bad shape, and I finished sixth. After winning the championship for the previous three years that was a rather shocking drop in performance. So my hope here in Sendai is to get back to what my usual game used to be, and maybe find some inspiration to fight back in Germany in the future. But there are quite a few strong German players coming up now. One of course is Lukas Krämer who won the championship this year, and who will go to China with Benjamin Teuber to study go for half a year. Another is Jonas Welticke, who studied in Japan for three months. Another is Johannes Obenaus, who is 23 years old and will be going to Taiwan for almost a year. After they come back, my chances of becoming German champion again will be rather slim. There are now a lot of German players who are getting stronger. This is good for us because we need to improve our position in relation to the rest of Europe; we’ve lost out place in group A in the Pandanet League and we’d like to regain it.
When I was four years old I started collecting beer caps. When I was five years old I had thousands of them. I was playing with the white and brown ones, because they were the ones I had most of. My father saw me playing with them and remembered the game of go, so we made a board out of paper and that’s how I got started. I began going to tournaments in Slovakia, and I had a teacher: Miroslav Poliak. He’s now 1 dan but he used to be 3 dan. We used to play, like, once a week.
In the spring of 2009 I went to King’s Baduk Center in Korea for three months. That was the first time I studied go from books. We had to solve life and death problems. I was doing that for maybe three hours a day. I also replayed professional games, and played against an 8-dan professional player. I went to Korea as a 1 kyu and came back 3 dan. That motivated me; that’s when I began playing go seriously. I started to play on KGS, and began to focus on doing better in tournaments. I don’t think I could play go professionally in Asia, but now we are starting to organize a professional league in Europe, with support from China. If it becomes possible to play go professionally in Europe, that is something I will really try to do.
- James Davies
Artem Kachanovskyi (Ukraine, 6d) reviewed his second game of the tournament, where he lost by 7.5 points to Shin-Wei Lin (Chinese Taipei, 7d).
Artem: The game took a sour turn in the opening, leaving me with a position I didn’t know how to save. I invaded his large central territory and gained a good result, taking good compensation in exchange for sacrificing a group with ko. A big fight followed, where I was left with a choice: to attack his weak group or to take points calmly. Thinking I was ahead, I chose the latter, but he unexpectedly made many points too, leaving an unclear endgame that I finally lost. I was a little disappointed.
Ranka: What have you been doing recently, and what are your hopes for the tournament?
Artem: I am studying at university, with a part time programming job in the afternoon developing factory systems. This is my third time in Japan, and of course I would like to reach a high position in the tournament, but I have no specific goals.
Ranka: What about your go study? You seem to spend less time on KGS these days.
Artem: Actually I have been taking a bit of a break from go and didn’t really do any serious study for two years. It is only since this year’s European Go Congress that I properly got back into it. Since then I have begun to play on Tygem, where I want to reach 9d as soon as possible to be able to play the strongest possible opponents. In terms of study methods, my preferred approach is reviewing professional game records, in particular games commented by the players themselves. I like to see how they are thinking.
- John Richardson; photo John Pinkerton
There were no surprises on the top boards on the first day of the 2013 World Amateur Go Championship, as strong players dominated weaker opponents in the early rounds. China’s Yuqing Hu, one of that country’s strongest amateurs, defeated Belgium’s Lucas Neirynck and Slovenia’s Janez Janza; Korea’s Hyunjae Choi beat Andrew Kay of the UK (right) and Curtis Tang of the US; Tapei’s Shin-Wei Lin defeated Thiago Sinji Shimada Ramos of Brazil and Artem Kachanovskyi of the Ukraine; Russia’s Ilya Shikshin beat Charlie Akerblom of Sweden and Suzanne D’Bel of Malaysia; Hong Kong’s King Man Kwan defeated Bertan Bilen of Turkey and Kikou Emura of Japan. Curtis Tang of the US defeated John Erickson Javier of the Philippines and lost to Korea, and Canada’s Bill Lin defeated Alexander Bukh of Kazakhstan and Aleksandar Savchovski of Bulgaria. In other results, France’s Thomas DeBarre defeated both Ireland’s James Hutchinson and Denmark’s Per Marquardsen, while Czechia’s Ondrej Silt lost to Singapore in the second round, after defeating Lithuania’s Vladas Zaleskas in Round 1. Click here for full results; here for selected game records and here for the player roster. Four matches are broadcast each round on Pandanet and WBaduk. Click here for Michael Redmond 9P’s commentaries on the Round 2 Finland-Colombia and Argentina-Israel games.
-Chris Garlock; photo by John Pinkerton; game commentaries by Michael Redmond
In these first-round games, very strong players make short work of their
weaker opponents. Curtis Tang 6D (US) needed just 100 moves to force a resignation from 4-kyu John Erickson Javier (Phillipines), while Alexandr Bukh 5k (Kazakhstan) didn’t last much longer against Bill Tianyu Lin 7D (Canada), resigning after 103 moves (click here for Michael Redmond’s game commentary). In his game commentaries, Michael Redmond 9P shows how the games were actually over much earlier. We’re also including the uncommented records for the Serbia-Nepal and India-Australia games.
Alexandr Bukh, Kazakhstan’s representative, has only been playing for about five years, and this is his country’s first appearance in the WAGC. “For as long as I can remember I have been captivated by Japanese culture,” he says, “both the new and the old, and this led me to discover the game of go. I spent some time working in a company importing used vehicles from Japan, and through this I had the chance to learn some Japanese.” His visit to Sendai for the WAGC is his first time in Japan. Back home, Bukh travels each week to the city of Karaganda to play at its go club, “which has roughly ten regular players,” and he’s met another twenty or so other players across the country. “Recently there has been a surge in interest in go,” Bukh said, which lead to Kazakhstan’s invitation to play in this year’s WAGC. “The most popular sports in Kazakhstan are ice hockey, soccer and martial arts,” said Bukh, “I hope go will soon become one of them.”
- Bukh interview by John Richardson; game commentary by Michael Redmond; edited by Chris Garlock
The 34th World Amateur Go Championship Begins: The 34th World Amateur Go Championship began with a rousing opening ceremony and reception at the Sendai International Hotel on the evening of August 31…click here for Ranka’s report.
Round 1: The first round was paired by the traditional WAGC method, which matches the middle half of the field (28 players this year) at random against the first and fourth quarters (14 players each)…click here for James Davies’ report.
Interview with Christopher Welsh (South Africa): “Go is not as popular in South Africa as it is in some European countries. We have perhaps a hundred registered players. Perhaps fifty of those are regular club and tournament players. There are some initiatives to bring go into the townships in South Africa, which are going encouraging well, but its difficult make these initiatives happen.” Click here for the full interview by James Davies.
Goodwill Event: For the players at the 2013 World Amateur Go Championship, the first official event was a Goodwill Event held on Saturday morning, August 31, at the AER complex in Sendai. Naturally, it was a go-playing event. The Championship contestants were paired against a group of local players of all ages…click here for the full report.
3rd World Amateur Go Championship: The program of the 3rd WAGC (1981) is now available in PDF file format: click here to download.
photos by Ivan Vigano
In these first-round games, very strong players make short work of their weaker opponents. Curtis Tang 6D (US) needed just 100 moves to force a resignation from 4-kyu John Erickson Javier (Phillipines), while Alexandr Bukh 5k (Kazakhstan) didn’t last much longer against Bill Tianyu Lin 7D (Canada), resigning after 103 moves.
In his game commentaries, Michael Redmond 9P shows how the games were actually over much earlier.
Commentaries transcribed by Chris Garlock
The first round was paired by the traditional WAGC method, which matches the middle half of the field (28 players this year) at random against the first and fourth quarters (14 players each). The field was so strong that the contestants from Canada and the USA, two countries that have frequently finished in the top eight in the past, found themselves placed in the middle group. Both of them won their first games, along with all 14 players in the top quarter of the field.
On paper the closest first-round match was between a pair of 3-dan’s: Malaysia’s Suzanne D’Bel and Colombia’s Santiago Quijano. Suzanne opened on the tengen point, framed a huge area in the center, and won by resignation. The closest games on the board were the half-point wins by Xuqi Wu (4 dan) of New Zealand against Alberto Zingoni (2 kyu) of Italy and Artem Kachanovskyi (6 dan) of the Ukraine against Krysztof Giedrojc (4 dan) of Poland. The New Zealand-Italy game was very nearly an upset. ‘I got an easy game when my opponent made a mistake in the opening,’ said Alberto, ‘but I made a one-point mistake near the end.’ The Ukraine-Poland game was the last to finish. While Artem and Krysztof were painstakingly playing out the endgame, Kikou Emura (7 dan) of Japan and Javier Savolainen (5 dan) of Finland were engaged in a lengthy, serious, and mostly silent post-mortem analysis of their game, which was won by the Japanese player.
- James Davies
I’m 1 dan in South Africa and this is my first WAGC. The tournament is amazingly well organized, a very slick operation, impressive in many respects.
I lost my first game, but I had a very strong opponent (Franz-Josef Dickhut of Germany), and I guess my performance was reasonable.
Go is not as popular in South Africa as it is in some European countries. We have perhaps a hundred registered players. Perhaps fifty of those are regular club and tournament players. There are some initiatives to bring go into the townships in South Africa, which are going encouraging well, but its difficult make these initiatives happen. The South African Go Association is a completely volunteer organization, and it’s hard to get people to spend their days teaching and evangelizing about the game.
So we’re finding it very difficult to grow the game organically.
The Hikaru no Go thing was a big external boost. Something like that would be great. I work as a computer programmer, and I only took up the game in my late thirties, so I’ve only been playing for seven or eight years. I regret not starting sooner. I may already have plateaued at my upper limit, but we’ll see. I’ll keep trying. Go is my main non-work activity. It’s kind of an obsession, as I suppose it is for many people.
Playing online? I guess I play online a lot, because it’s so easy, but I don’t really enjoy it. It’s a good way to try out openings, but I prefer to play when there’s something at stake, some rating points perhaps–then I can get motivated and bring my best to the game.
- James Davies
More Strong Players: “The University of Michigan go club has strong players,” writes Alex Heath (Your Move/Readers Write: Strongest Go Clubs? 8/28 EJ). “They won the Collegiate Go League championship games undefeated with Zifan Yang 7d (though he told me he was a 9d on tygem), Seungjin Lee 7d, Troy Zhao 7d, John Starkweather 5d and Anbo Chen 4d.”
World Go News A Plus: “I was very surprised to see the ‘”Where’s U.S. Go News?’ item in the most recent E-Journal,” writes Nate Eagle. “The E-Journal maintains an impressive pace, especially given the relatively small go community in the United States. I’m very happy to get news about go in the rest of the world. Frankly, I’d enjoy even more coverage by Americans about go activity in other countries. Things like the Power Report are a great start, but I’d love to get more stories about the rich world of go that happens beneath the top title matches. Thanks for all of the great work you guys do – the E-Journal is the best part of my AGA membership.”
Fresh from his first game this morning, the Kazakhstani representative Alexandr Bukh (‘zoigo’ on KGS) gave us an insight into his background and the evolving go scene in Kazakhstan.
Ranka: Tell us a bit about how you got into go.
Alexandr: I have been playing for around 5 years. For as long as I can remember I have been captivated by Japanese culture, both the new and the old, and this led me to discover the game of go. I spent some time working in a company importing used vehicles from Japan, and through this I had the chance to learn some Japanese.
Ranka: So this opportunity to visit Japan means a lot to you?
Alexandr: Yes. It is my first time in Japan… and my excitement is hard to put into words.
Ranka: Could you describe go scene in Kazakhstan?
Alexandr: Each week I travel to the city of Karaganda to play at its go club, which has roughly ten regular players, and aside from this I have met another twenty or so other players across the country. Recently there has been a surge in interest – in fact, this year is the first we have been represented in the World Amateur Go Congress. The most popular sports in Kazakhstan are ice hockey, soccer and martial arts – I hope go will soon become one of them.
Ranka: Do you have any interests other than go?
Alexandr: My first love is anything to do with computers, but I also am interested in aircraft modeling and electronics. And now is a great opportunity to deepen my interest Japanese culture first hand.
Ranka: Thank you for your time, and we hope you enjoy the tournament.
- John Richardson
The 34th World Amateur Go Championship began with a rousing opening ceremony and reception at the Sendai International Hotel on the evening of August 31. Norio Wada, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Nihon Kiin, welcomed all the players and wished them good games. Emiko Okuyama, the 34th Mayor of Sendai, dressed in jaunty black and white, added her welcome. The Netherlands’ Merlijn Kuin gave the contestants’ pledge, thanking the many sponsrs who had made it possible for all the players to come and saying how happy the were to be in Sendai. Former Honinbo and Meijin Takemiya Masaki, the chief referee, urged the players to enjoy the Championship to the fullest. And in addition there was some swashbuckling pageantry commemorating the founding of Sendai by Date Masamune, plus a lively ‘sparrow dancing’ exhibition with audience participation, and a vigorous demonstration of calligraphy by a team of schoolgirls wielding giant-sized brushes with musical accompaniment on the shamisen.
The first round began under clear skies at 9:30 the next morning, in the large playing room on the fifth floor of the AER complex. The fifty-six players were all in their seats when Takemiya Masaki give the instructions to choose colors and start playing. As at the goodwill match the previous day, the atmosphere was one of quiet concentration. Meanwhile, on the sixth floor, there was an atmosphere of energetic bustle as some 200 local children gathered for a separate tournament, the first of several parallel events that will take place during the World Amateur Championship.
“Think for yourself, play your own game, and make your best effort.” That was the advice Kikou Emura (left) of Japan gave to amateur players who want to improve their game, in response to a question from E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock at the Saturday afternoon press conference at the World Amateur Go Championship.
“You must love go,” said China’s Yuging Hu , adding “and try hard.” Korea’s Hyunjae Choi said that “Studying and playing a lot helps.”
Ilya Shikshin of Russia agreed that “you must love go and play a lot, but also I think you must never give up. There’s always another way to learn, even when you get frustrated.”
And Malaysia’s Low Khin Su said that “The important thing is to enjoy the game and always make an effort to improve.”
The players also shared their favorite players. For Emura, it’s Fujisawa Shuko and Sonoda Yuichi; for Yu, Fujisawa Shuko; Choi’s favorite is Cho Chikun, Shikshin’s is Go Seigen and Su’s is Ohashi Hirofumi.
In other comments, Shikshin said that “I know many in Europe are expecting a good performance from me, and I will do my best despite disappointing results at the European Go Congress earlier this month,” while 32-year-old Yuging Hu acknowledged that “the majority of strong Chinese players (are) in their 20s” and said that “This is all the more reason to take this competition seriously and work harder.”
- includes reporting by John Richardson; photo by John Pinkerton.
The program of the 3rd WAGC (1981) is now available in PDF file format. Click here to download a copy.
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 of the cup 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 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