James Sedgwick is president of the Canadian Go Association, but was competing in the 2014 Korea Prime Minister Cup as a player. Ranka interviewed him at breakfast at the Olympic ParkTel, before the bus ride to the Korea Baduk Association building for the first round.
Ranka: Please tell us about the go community in Canada.
James: Canada is a big country, so it can be hard to get an overall picture of how the community is doing. You notice how one region can have a mini-go-boom for a few years while there's another region where the organizers have fallen away. A lot of Chinese organizations are very active now. There are two or three schools in Toronto that teach kids, mostly Chinese kids from second-generation families, and that's having a big impact. A lot of strong young players are coming in. There was a youth tournament this spring which had forty children under twelve, mostly from these schools.
Ranka: What are the names of these schools?
James: One of them is called the Golden Key Go School, because it operates at the Golden Key Culture Center. They ran the last Toronto Open. Another is just called, in English, the Toronto Go School.
Ranka: And what about the rest of Canada?
James: I think the rest of the community is growing slowly, but when I look at players around my level, about European five dan, there are five to ten of us from a Western background. I don't think there were that many ten or twenty years ago. So it's hard to perceive, but the growth is there.
Ranka: What is it like, trying to organize go in a country as big as Canada?
James: Recently I think we've had a more active executive in the Canadian go organization than we had five or ten years previously, which is a good sign, but it's always a struggle to figure out how you've made a difference at the end of the day. You need the local go communities to do a lot. Well, they're trying, and we're trying too.
Ranka: How was your visit to the Choongam Baduk Academy yesterday?
James: They were very strong, generally stronger than the field here. It was impressive to see. It's always a shock the first time, but I've been to go camps in Shanghai and Beijing -- my wife is originally from Beijing -- so I've had similar experiences elsewhere. It was about what I'd expect at a strong go school here. The intensity of the training the kids go through to get as strong as they are, we're nowhere near that yet in the West.
Ranka: Was it a good warm-up for the KPMC?
James: Oh yes, it got my brain into gear. I'm still thinking through some of the positions in my head. During the tournament I hope I won't make the same mistakes, although I'm sure I'll make make different mistakes.
Ranka: What other hopes and expectations do you have for the KPMC?
James: My hopes are mainly to avoid embarrassment. I'm a little weaker than the last few Canadian representatives. Last year the Canadian representative in the KPMC finished third. I think it's unlikely I'll be able to match that, but my goal is to finish in the top ten.
Ranka: Last year's Canadian representative was Bill Lin. Have you played him very much in Canada?
James: Yes, quite often, in the Canadian Go Association's online Dragon League. That league was created and named by Chuck Elliot, a long-time go organizer in the Canadian prairies who is now in his seventies but doesn't seem able to sit still. I think he's currently involved in setting up some sort of school in China where they teach go and English. I've played Bill maybe five games in the past two years. I don't know that I've been able to win any of them, but I've had chances at fairly late stages in some of the games.
Ranka: Thank you and good luck.
Postscript: After beating Jerusalem Open winner Amir Fragman in round three but losing to the players from China and Chinese Taipei in rounds two and five, James found himself matched against one of Europe's strongest players, Thomas Debarre of France, in round six. The winner of this game would earn an award for placing in the top sixteen. James lost, but still earned an award by placing in the top four in the America and Oceania zone.
- Photo: Ito Toshiko
The Tacoma Go Club held its final event for the recent “Learn Go Week” on September 20 at the Agape Senior Center in Tacoma, Washington. “A great sunny fall afternoon in the Pacific Northwest was enjoyed by newcomers to the newly opened senior center,” reports Tacoma Go Club president Gordon Castanza. After learning the basic rules of go on a 9 x 9 board, some of the fine points of the “Capture Game” were explained on a 19 x 19 demo board.
photo (l-r): Gordon Castanza, Ren Steuernagle , and Tom Cruver. At the end of the event, Reiko Mowery, President Agape Senior Group, and Rina Wariner, Executive Director Agape Senior Group treated the participants to tea and pastries.
Just a few weeks after the conclusion of the historic jubango between Gu Li 9P and Lee Sedol 9P, Kiseido is releasing its latest book, which provides an in-depth analysis of the first five games of the historic ‘Death Match’ between two of the strongest go players of the modern era. Having been rivals for many years, with an almost even score of games won against each other in international tournaments, the ten-game match between Korea’s Lee Sedol 9p and China’s Gu Li 9p would definitively decide the ‘best player’ amongst these titans. “Modern Master Games Volume 2: The 2014 Ten-Game Match Between Gu Li and Lee Sedol Part 1: Games One to Five” is compiled and written by Rob van Zeijst, and co-edited by Michael Redmond 9P. Both players are famous for their severe attacks and their fighting skills. Gu has a thick style accompanied by an exquisite feeling for the opening, while Lee plays a fast, profit-oriented game, leaving behind thin positions. This contrast between styles is what made for the innovative and exciting games this year that would decide who will be crowned as the ‘strongest player of the 21st century’. Available ($ 25.00/ € 20.00) on October 15.
Seth Wax 5d and Aaron Murg 15k won the West American Student Go Championship, held Sept. 27th at the University of California Riverside. Twelve college students competed, in dan and kyu sections. After three intense rounds of playing, Wax, a student at UC Irvine, topped the dan division with a 2-1 score. Murg, from San Diego, won the kyu division with the same record. “It was surprising to see people coming from places so far away to participate in this tournament,” said organizer Yunxuan Li. “Most of the participants came from Santa Monica, and San Diego. Everyone had a lot of fun communicating through go and we want to continue this tournament next year.” - Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Photo: From left to right: Yunxuan Li 6d, Seth Wax 5d, Aaron Murg 15k, and Clement Wong 2k
Spain: Juan Sampedro 3k bested Antonio-Eloy Martin 6k at the VI Open Cadiz on September 27 while Juan-Domingo Martin 10k placed third. United Kingdom: Jitka Bartova 1d (left) took The Swindon on September 28. Behind her were Richard Hunter 2d in second and Toby Manning 2d in third. Austria: Also on September 28, The Seewinkel Go tournament finished in Apetlon with Ondrej Kruml 5d in first, Dominik Boviz 4d in second, and Michael Forstenlehner 1k 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
Get the latest go events information.
Malaysia was represented at the 2014 Korea Prime Minister Cup by the secretary of its weiqi association, Jimmy Cheng (Cheng Khai-yong in Chinese), who also works as a weiqi (baduk, go) teacher. Ranka interviewed Jimmy after his first-round victory over an opponent from Sweden.
Ranka: How did you learn to play go?
Jimmy: I learned because I watched the Hikaru no Go animations. I started when I was fifteen years old, about eleven years ago. At the time, there were hardly any go players in Malaysia, so at first I was just playing by myself, but afterward I managed to find the Malaysian Go Association, which we now call the Malaysia Weiqi Association, so I joined them and started playing competitively.
Ranka: And when did you start teaching?
Jimmy: Teaching? I started teaching in 2010, only four years ago. Before 2010 there was no weiqi teaching in Malaysia. All of the weiqi players were playing on their own. Actually, there was no institute teaching any game like chess or weiqi in Malaysia. Then, suddenly, a chess academy where they taught Chinese chess and international chess appeared, so I approached them and told them I was good at weiqi, and started teaching there. After that, I started recruiting students, and it all grew to the point where now we have three or four weiqi institutes promoting the game, and I'm also going into primary and secondary schools to teach.
Ranka: Are you based in Kuala Lampur?
Jimmy: Yes, I'm based in Kuala Lampur, and most of our main events are held in Kuala Lampur, but the game has started growing in other places too. One place is a chess academy in Ipoh, which is up north of Kuala Lampur. There's someone trying to promote weiqi in every part of Malaysia.
Ranka: How old are your students?
Jimmy: The yougest I've taught is about six years old, but I've also taught a lot of adults. Normally I teach groups of students, mostly in primary and secondary schools. When adults come, often they want to learn so that they can get their sons or daughters to learn. About half the population of Malaysia is Chinese. They migrated into the country from China a long time ago, but they still relate to Chinese culture, so I'm sure they are potentially interested in weiqi. There is just a lack of information about the game, and how to learn it. So to promote our game to them, what I am doing now is to create places for them where they can learn to play.
Ranka: Do you make a good living at this?
Jimmy: For me, it's actually quite good. I don't belong to any one institute. If there's any place where they need someone to teach, I go there. I've been sort of a pioneer. It was quite hard in the beginning, but now, after these few years, I think I earn about the same as a university graduate. I still don't own my own institute, however. I think that if I had my own institute I could do even better. But I just hope I can spread weiqi all around Malaysia, so wherever they need help, I'll go there and provide them with material assistance, with the teaching materials and equipment that they need.
Ranka: And now, can you tell us about the game you just finished in round one?
Jimmy: Well, first of all, my objective here is to beat the players who are ranked at the same strength as me or below. When I play someone above my strength, it may be kind of hard to win. Before the game I checked my opponent's rank and saw that it was 3 dan, the same as me, so I hoped to win and fortunately, I did. I can't say it was a hard game. I'd call it a comfortable win, although he fought a lot.
Ranka: Thank you very much.
Postscript: In his next game Jimmy outdid himself: he upset Thai 5-dan Vorawat Tanapatsopol. Then after losing to two 6-dans and a 4-dan, he won his last game against another 3-dan opponent, Portugal's Daniel Tome. This earned him a well-deserved award as one of the top four players in the Asian zone excluding China, Chinese Taipei, Korea, and Japan.
- Photo: Ito Toshiko
“An idea for the E-Journal,” writes Eric Osman. “Encourage AGA regular chapter go club meetings to send in pictures from their meetings, and then link to them in the E-Journal. For example, here’s a team game played last night at Western Mass Go’s weekly Rao’s coffee house meeting in Amherst, Massachusetts. They beat us by 14 points despite the 7.0 komi. Yes, it was 7.0, so we could maybe have a tie!”
Great idea! Send chapter meeting photos to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and you could be featured in our next report!
The Korean Prime Minister’s Cup, one of the premier international amateur competitions, took place in Seoul this year. Ireland’s representative was Thomas Shanahan. Over 6 rounds of play, he scored 2 wins over Hungary and Argentina. This placed him in 41st position, just above his seeding of 42nd, and was thus a very good performance. Congratulations to him! The results are available to view here.
You can now read Thomas’s own notes on the event.
Arrived on Wednesday – sandwich for dinner! Next day, tour around a Baduk school and Baduk Association building, then a banquet in the evening – some lovely drummers and then to follow some band whose music can only be called noise. However the food was lovely. Off to bed early for the raging battles ahead. There was much heat; on the board and culinary wise.
First day of games:
There were 6 opponents – Norway, Hungary, Mexico, England, Indonesia and Argentina.
First from Norway on table 1. Unfortunately Odin was not on my side this day and I was defeated but not without the usual scrap here and there spreading all over the board. The game can be found onhttp://www.wbaduk.com/
Second game was with the Hungary. Hadúr was in a funny mood this day, giving Hungary the advantage early on but in classic Irish style the underdog grasps the win. Success!!!
Third game against Mexico – a disaster – it was all so normal until I realised that so much was dead on the board – just outdone by the cheeky Xipe-Totecian Mexican 5D!
Fourth game against old rivals – England. A nice game, went back a forth, unfortunately….
Fifth game against Indonesia – 4 point game – what more can I say.
Ahhh, and then there was Argentina. Fairly bad from the start, lots dead on the board, about to resign but decided to battle on- and then it was there- the light at the end of the tunnel, found the crucial cut .Yes!!! Cú Chulainn was with me in spirit that game.
Final result – 2 out of 6. Rest of the time was spent; eating Kimchee, rice and other fancy Korean food, visiting a palace, playing a 9P and another professional at the Baduk festival (1004 simultaneous games at once), getting ripped off in touristville and doing some Swing dancing. All in all – fair craic.
To encourage chapters of the American Go Association to keep the momentum from “Learn Go” week going, the AGA is offering a special deal during the month of October. Chapters that meet in October, play at least one rated game, order pizza and send in a photo of the festivities — and the receipt– and you’ll have the cost of the pizza reimbursed. “We appreciate the great work our chapters are doing and this is a fun way for them to reach their members” says Andrew Jackson, AGA VP of Operations. 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 email@example.com.
Two French scientists have decided to apply network science to the game of go, according to a 2012 report on the Wired blog we just came across. “They constructed their networks in a simple way,” Samuel Arbesman reported in Network Science of the Game of Go (4/20/2012). “If one board position can lead to another, they are connected. Using a dataset of about 1,000 professional games and 4,000 amateur games, they began to construct these networks.” Arbesman says the network analyses in the paper “are a bit odd, though they find many classic graph structures, such as a heavy-tailed link distribution and high amounts of clustering.” And though the networks constructed from amateur and professional games were distinct, Arbesman said that “while I know that network pictures are usually inscrutable hairballs, I was disappointed that networks weren’t visualized at all.” Still, he concluded, “this a fun little network analysis and I recommend checking it out.” photo courtesy Wired blog
Both James have now secured victory in the Irish Correspondence Championship. James Hutchinson topped the Open section with 9 wins, losing only one game. That game was to Martin Klemsa, who shared second place with Irina Davis and Noel Mitchell. Earlier this year, James Aitken had won the Intermediate section. The competition proved to be quite popular, with 21 people taking part. Planning for next year can now begin, and all suggestions are welcome. Next year we might have some prizes!
The Tacoma Go Club is getting back into the go business after “a little hiatus, reports club president Gordon Castanza. The TGC sponsored three events during Learn Go Week” last week and is meeting at the Asia Pacific Cultural Center, 4851 S. Tacoma Way, Tacoma, WA 98409 every Monday from 3 – 6p. The club also meets at Bluebeard’s Café, 2201 6th Ave., Tacoma, WA 98403 (by prior arrangement. Call or e-mail Gordon or Tom), and Starbuck’s, 34024 Hoyt Rd. SW (340th and Hoyt next to Walgreen’s), Federal Way, WA 98023 (by prior arrangement. Call or e-mail Gordon or Tom). During the Tacoma Go Club’s third “Learn Go Week” event last Saturday, “two new players appeared at the Bluebeard Coffee Shop in Tacoma to learn the fine points of both high handicap games and the subtleties of the territory-destroying ‘monkey jump,’” says Castanza. Players from left to right were Mike Malveaux, Tom Cruver, and Mark Mattson, who was playing Castanza, who doubled as official photographer.
The mysterious death of John Bender, the Philadelphia go player who died under suspicious circumstances in 2010 (In Memoriam 10/10/2013) was the subject of the September 27 edition of “48 Hours,” reports Phil Straus, who taught Bender to play go in the mid-1980’s. In “Paradise Lost” correspondent Susan Spencer investigates “How did a Wall Street millionaire end up shot dead in his bedroom?” Bender’s go-playing is not mentioned, although his prowess at poker is.
photo: John Bender, lecturing on the importance of plans and ideas, and how unimportant details and final results are, at the 1987 US Go Congress, Mt. Holyoke College, Massachusetts. photo by Phil Straus
The Seattle Go Center is celebrating its 19th anniversary with a tournament this Sunday, Oct. 5. Titled “19×19x19“, the AGA event will have an open section and several handicapped sections. Registration is from 10:00- 10:30 at the Go Center, and the total purse for prizes will be $500. Last year they had 24 players, with six players who were 5 dan or stronger. More information is available at the Go Center website. Photo: Dong Ma 6d plays Edward Kim 7d at the 17th Anniversary Tournament in 2012, with Dennis Wheeler recording the game. Photo/Report by Brian Allen.
European youth go champion Lukas Podpera, who was Czech champion in 2013 and came in sixth in the World Amateur Go Championship in 2014, started the 2014 Korea Prime Minister Cup by beating Lou Mankao, a 5-dan from Macau. The game ended well before lunch, so Ranka took the opportunity to ask him about his experiences at the Choongam Baduk Academy, where he had studied in the past.
Ranka: When did you first attend the Choongam Baduk Academy?
Lukas: I first attended the Choongam Baduk Dojang two years ago when I told Mr Kim Sungrae, who is now one of our referees, that I would like to study baduk seriously somewhere in Korea. He recommended Choongam as the best, the biggest, and the most famous dojang in Korea, so I went there for one month, and then I returned a year later, last year, again for one month.
Ranka: How much do you think those two months improved your game?
Lukas: Both times, after I studied at Choongam there was a European Go Congress and I played really badly in it. I had learned a lot of new stuff, my head was thoroughly confused, and I didn't know what to do. But now, two years after first going to Choongam, I believe I've improved by at least one stone, from average European 5-dan to strong European 6-dan. So I had to be patient a bit and wait for the results, but the results came.
Ranka: How did you study there?
Lukas: I remember that in the morning there was always almost no one there. Some of the kids went to school, because they were generally about five years younger than me. So in the morning I would do life and death problems and replay games. They way they replay games is not like the European way, where we replay from books very slowly, reading the commentaries. They would replay the game really fast. Sometimes it would take them only fifteen minutes to replay a game. So sometimes I replayed ten or fifteen games a day. And also we played some kind of league games, usually with fast time limits, like at most half an hour of basic time.
Ranka: Do you think you learned a lot by replaying all those games very fast?
Lukas: Yes. At least my reading became much better than before. Before I was like all Europeans, much slower than the Asians, because they're reading by shapes and we're only reading by moves. Although I was much better than them at positional judgement, they would always exploit some of my aji, or kill me somewhere, That didn't happen in Europe. So my reading improved a lot, I think.
Ranka: What other foreign students did you meet there?
Lukas: I guess the most well known European student there was Mateusz Surma, a 5-dan from Poland. He stayed there for two years, I think, so he had been there the longest, but there was also Rémi Campagnie from France, another 5-dan; he was studying there for three months. There were no other European students, but from the USA there was Benjamin Lockhart, who is studying there still, and from Canada there was Gansheng Shi, who stayed for two months.
Ranka: How do you hope to do in the KPMC this year?
Lukas: Two months ago I played in the World Amateur Go Championship and did really well, so I would like to get a similar result. I would like to win five games, which is probably what is needed to finish at least in sixth place.
Ranka: Thank you very much.
Postscript: After lunch, Lukas lost to Juang Cheng-jiun (Chinese Taipei) in the second round, but he won his next three games, beating Kim Ouweleen (Netherlands), Thomas Debarre (France), and Doyoung Kim (New Zealand). In his last game he fought valiantly but unsuccessfully with Tsuchimune Yoshiyuki (Japan) for a place in the top six. Tie-breaking points put him ninth.
The 2014/5 season of the European Team Championships started tonight on Pandanet. Ireland were drawn against newcomers Lithuania, the strongest Baltic nation. They managed a fairly solid 3-1 victory over our team, with only new captain James Hutchinson salvaging a point. Hope is not lost though, as Ireland traditional plan is to start slowly, before tilting the head back for a late surge toward the finish line. Next fixture on the list is Portugal.
The 2014 US Open Masters tournament has now been rated, and the other Congress tournaments are expected to follow suit soon. “We are
cleaning up the last few membership issues and glitches in the data,” said AGA President Andy Okun. “I hope to have the games from the US Open rated within the coming week, with the Die Hard, Self-Paired and Midnight Madness very close behind. I am grateful for everyone’s patience.” Okun said that the kinds of issues that sometimes delay ratings “…errant digits in AGA ids, getting everyone’s renewals and new memberships processed, handling overseas guests and the like…” are amplified in a tournament with more than 300 players like the US Open. Watch the EJ for news about Congress ratings.
photo of the 2014 US Open main playing area by Chris Garlock
Ge “Johnny” Wang took the high-dan first place honors at the fourth annual Emory University Chinese Student/Scholar Go Tournament on September 27 in Atlanta, GA. “Johnny has attended the tournament every year and this was his year to shine,” said TD Jeff Kerlagon. “This is a great event at a wonderful location,” Kerlagon added. “The Atlanta Go Club is very appreciative for Emory University for hosting us for the fourth year.”
Seventeen players attended the Emory tournament. Matthew McCawley took 1st place in the Kyu division. “Matthew has been improving all year and he took control for top honors this year,” said Kerlagon. “The real highlight of the tournament was a fine showing of Atlanta youth in the Children’s Group. These young men are the champions of the future. Brandon Zhou is a strong young player. The rest of the group was attended by Ethan Zhou, Edwin Lin, Alex Lin, and Daniel Luo. Currently they are studying with Frank Luo. We look forward to their progress and wish them luck in next year’s tournament.”
photos: right: Emory children’s group (right; bottom left to right, Alex & Ethan Zhou; top left to right, Edwin Lin & Daniel Luo); left: Emory High Dan Division winners (Front row, left to right, Edwin Lin & Daniel Luo; Top row left to right, Darrell Speck, 2nd Place Feijun “Frank” Luo, 1st Place Ge “Johnny” Wang, 3rd Place Huan Tan, Tony Cha).
by John Power, EJ Japan Correspondent
Kisei Leagues: One game was played in the 39th Kisei A League on September 11. Takao Shinji 9P (B) beat Kono Rin 9P by resignation. Both players are now on 2-2 and will be fighting to keep their places in the league in the final round. Incidentally, this was Takao’s second win against Kono in four days. Kono has gone into a bit of a trough after his winning streak of 19 games came to an end. A game was played in the B League on September 18. Kobayashi Satoru 9P (B) beat Murakawa Daisuke 7P (right) by resig. This game has an effect on the standings. Murakawa missed his first chance to win the league and is now tied on 3-1 with Kobayashi and Yoda Norimoto 9P. However, if he wins his final game, Murakawa will still win the league, thanks to his number-one ranking. If he loses, however, Yoda is next in line: if he wins his final game, he will win the league regardless of Kobayashi’s result, as he is ranked number two. If both Murakawa and Yoda lose and Kobayashi wins, he will win the league. Pairings in the final round are: Murakawa vs. Cho Chikun 9P (1-3), Yoda vs. Cho Riyu 8P (1-3), and K
obayashi vs. Yuki Satoshi 9P (1-3).
Kono Takes Lead in Meijin Title Match: Kono Rin has shown that he is going to give Iyama Yuta a real run for his money. After losing the opening game, Kono (left) won the next two to take the lead in the 39th Meijin best-of-seven title match. The second game was played at the Chokoro inn in Hawai Hot Spring in the town of Yurihama in Tottori Prefecture on September 18 & 19. The game featured fierce fighting from the start, with almost no fuseki. In the midst of a center fight, Iyama (B) played a move he regretted, and the game started to tilt in Kono’s favor. He cut off a large black group that couldn’t get two eyes, so Iyama resigned on move 200. Picking up your first win in a two-day game is important for your self-confidence. Perhaps that was reflected in Kono’s play in the third game, which was held in Jozankei Hot Spring, Sapporo City, Hokkaido on September 25 & 26 (the name of the venue has 14 characters in it and I have no idea how to read it).
Playing black, Kono secured a resignation after 169 moves. In the middle game, Iyama seemed to make a miscalculation about the importance of a ko he let Kono set up: he thought he could handle it more easily than turned out to be the case. This turned the game in Kono’s favor. He now has the initiative in the match. The fourth game, scheduled for October 6 and 7, will be very important
for Iyama’s chances of keeping his sextuple crown.
Women’s Meijin League: The 27th Women’s Meijin League is close to the halfway mark, with all but one game in the third round having been played. Two players are undefeated: Mukai Chiaki, Women’s Honinbo, who has played three games, and Mannami Nao 3-dan,
who has played two. Recent results: (Sept. 18) Aoki Kikuyo 8P (W) beat Chinen Kaori 4P by 3.5 points. (Sept. 24) Mukai Chiaki (B) beat Ishii Akane 2P by resig. (Sept. 25) Suzuki Ayumi 6P (B) beat Kato Keiko 6P by resig.
Ichiriki Wins 39th King of the New Stars Title: Ichiriki Ryo 7P (right) has set another record, becoming, at 17 years three months, the youngest player to win the King of the New Stars title. The previous record, 17 years five months, was set by Yoda Norimoto 31 years ago. (If you are wondering about Iyama, he never won this title; he disqualified himself at the age of 16 by winning the Agon Kiriyama Cup and earning promotion to 7-dan). Ichiriki defeated Shida Tatsuya 7P 2-1. Only players under 7-dan qualify for this tournament, so this was the last chance for both players (they were promoted during the current term). Game 1 (Sept. 11). Ichiriki (B) by half a point. Game 2 (Sept. 17 ). Shida (B) by resig. Game 3 (Sept. 25). Ichiriki (B) by resig.