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The Power Report: Pair Go Celebrates 25th Anniversary; Korea Takes Lead in Nong Shim Cup; Iyama Makes Good Start in Oza Title Match; Iyama Wins First Tengen Game; Iyama Yuta Defends Meijin Title; Korea Wins O-kage Cup International New Stars Tournament; T

AGA news - Sun, 09/11/2014 - 18:02

by John Power, EJ Japan Correspondent

Pair Go Celebrates 25th Anniversary: One of the biggest developments in go in recent decades has been the rise of Pair Go to worldwide popularity. The holding of the 25th International Amateur Pair Go Championship at the end of October also marked the 25th anniversary of the birth of Pair Go…click here to read more on this and all the following reports.
Korea Takes Lead in Nong Shim Cup: In the three-way team tournament, Korea ended this round with two wins to one each for Japan and China…
Iyama Makes Good Start in Oza Title Match: The 62nd Oza best-of-five is another title match in which Iyama Yuta is facing a younger challenger. The first game was held at the Yokohama Royal Park Hotel in Yokohama City on October 21 and the game was a fierce one, which is usually the case with Iyama, and featured some novel variations…
Iyama Wins First Tengen Game: The first game of the 40th Tengen title match was held on October 24, so Iyama was engaged in three concurrent title matches. Here his challenger is Takao Shinji, holder of the only top-seven title missing from Iyama’s portfolio, the Judan…
Iyama Yuta Defends Meijin Title: In the sixth game of the 39th Meijin title match Iyama took a territorial lead early in the game, then skillfully reduced a large moyo that Kono built…
Korea Wins O-kage Cup International New Stars Tournament: The O-kage (gratitude) Cup is a regional tournament for young players sponsored by an association of tourist shops in Ise City, the site of the famous Ise Shrine. The sponsors held an international tournament for teams from Japan, China, Korea, and Chinese Taipei on November 1 and 2…
Two Meijin League Places Decided: The Meijin is a conservative league, with only three out of nine places opening up every year. Two of the vacant seats were decided on November 6…
Fujisawa Wins Women’s Honinbo: The third game of the 33rd Women’s Honinbo title was held at the Nihon Ki-in in Ichigaya, Tokyo on November 7. Taking black, Fujisawa Rin 2P won by 5.5 points after 233 moves…
Radical Reorganization of Kisei Tournament: There will be complete overhaul of the Yomiuri Newspaper-sponsored Kisei tournament as of the 40th term (the 39th term will be completed with the best-of-seven title match starting in January 2015). The only thing that won’t change is the title match itself. Even with charts, it’s hard to understand the system, but I’ll try to explain it without them…

Pair Go Celebrates 25th Anniversary: One of the biggest developments in go in recent decades has been the rise of Pair Go to worldwide popularity. The World Pair Go Association has 70 member countries and territories, so it’s hard to believe the game was invented in Tokyo just 25 years ago. An international tournament was started immediately, so the holding of the 25th International Amateur Pair Go Championship at the end of October also marked the 25th anniversary of the birth of Pair Go. The rise of the game is mainly due to the vision and dedication of two people, Hisao Taki, its inventor, and his wife Hiroko Taki (right), its main promoter.
        The celebrations were held on a lavish scale and were a great success, culminating in a surprise appearance by one of Japan’s most powerful politicians at the farewell party. Besides the regular annual tournament and the international goodwill match and handicap tournaments that always accompany it, the sponsors organized a dinner party for some of the people who have helped popularize Pair Go, founded a new international tournament for students, and staged two commemorative Pair Go games among top-flight professionals from Japan, China, and Korea. On top of this, the Japan Pair Go Association also unveiled the Pair Go song, a professionally composed and performed song entitled “Pair Go, My Dream.” The main events of the weekend are described below.
        The first big event was a lavish dinner party held at the Hotel Okura Tokyo in the evening of Friday, October 24. The aim was to express gratitude to the Pair Go Promotion Partners who have helped to popularize Pair Go in Japan and around the world. Some 26 PGPPs and other guests had been specially invited to Japan to attend this party (and the tournament). All told, there were 86 guests, including your reporter (on a personal note, this was the first go party in Japan for a long time that I attended as a guest and not as an interpreter). Apart from the excellent meal provided by the head chef of the hotel, there were some unusual features at this party. At one end of the room, there was a string quartet playing music; at the other there were four booths for simultaneous interpreters handling English, Japanese, Chinese, and Korean. This is the first time I have seen either a classical music group or simultaneous interpreters at a go function. The party was also interactive. The host, Hisao Taki, drew from a box the names of a number of people who were to join him on the stage and either ask a question about the future of Pair Go or say something about the game in their countries. The audience was supplied with handheld devices with which they voted their approval of the speakers. The most popular attracted 66 votes.
         On Saturday morning, the first round of the 25th IAPGC was held. In the early afternoon, the goodwill match was held, with some professionals taking part and teaming up with amateurs. In the late afternoon, two special commemorative games were held. After lots were drawn, Xie (Hsieh) Yimin 6P and Iyama Yuta 9P (Japan) were matched against Lee Hajin 3P and Cho Hoon-hyun 9P (Korea) and Zhang Xuan 8P and Chang Hao 9P (China) against Kobayashi Izumi 6P and Cho U 9P (Japan) (the last two teams are both husband-and-wife pairings). This was not a tournament, so the results are not important, perhaps, but just for the record the first-mentioned team won each contest. Live commentaries on these games were given by Ishida Yoshio 9P and Yoshida Mika 8P in Japanese and Michael Redmond 9P (left) in English.
        These events were followed by a welcome party in the evening at which the Pair Go song made its debut with a live performance.
        The Sunday is always the main day of this festival of Pair Go, as three large-scale handicap Pair Go tournaments (known collectively as the Araki Cup) are held in conjunction with the IAPGC. This year, however, there was also a new tournament, the 1st World Students Pair Go Championship, founded as one of the events commemorating Pair Go’s 25th anniversary. Eight teams from Japan, China, Korea, Chinese Taipei, and Thailand took part in a three-round Swiss-system tournament. (Next year, the tournament will be expanded and held independently on a different date from the IAPGC.)
        The weekend concluded with the usual lavish party (the word ‘lavish’ tends to come up often with Pair Go events in Japan), starting with the Awards Ceremony, proceeding to speeches by VIPs, and concluding with the drawing of lots for a large number of prizes donated by sponsors. The surprise guest referred to above was Suga Yoshihide, the Chief Cabinet Secretary, who is one of the top figures in the Abe government. As the chief spokesman for the government, Suga makes almost daily appearances in Japanese TV news programs, so he is almost as familiar a face as the prime minister. There was an audible gasp from the audience, followed by loud applause, when he appeared on the stage. Suga seemed to be well informed about Pair Go;  the main theme of his speech was how much better the Abe government’s policy of promoting gender equality in Japan would be going if they had followed Pair Go’s lead 25 years ago.
        Below are some of the results from the weekend’s play.
The 25th International Amateur Pair Go Championship
        Teams from 21 countries and territories participated. The winning team is the first ever to win the tournament in successive years.
1. Kim Sooyoung 6D and Jeon Junhak 4D (Korea): 5-0 (right)
2. Lin Hsiao-tung 6D and Lai Yu-cheng 7D (Chinese Taipei): 4-1
3. Tsuji Moeka 6D and Tsunoda Daisuke 8D (Japan): 4-1
        The top-placing Western pair was Klara Zaloudkova 3D and Jan Hora 6D of the Czech Republic in 13th place. Yiwen Ye 1D and Daehyuk Ko 7D of the USA came 16th. Click here for complete results, game records, the EJ’s November 6 report and Ranka’s report, which includes brief interviews with the players.

The 1st World Students Pair Go Championship
1. Kim Hyun-Ah 6D and Park Moon-kyo 5D
2. Tsukada Karin 5D and Kebukawa Satoru 6D
3. Hu shih-Yun 6D and Chan Yi-Tien 7D

Korea Takes Lead in Nong Shim Cup: The Korean-sponsored Nong Shim Spicy Noodles Cup is a three-way team tournament among Japan, China, and Korea. The opening round was held in Beijing from October 21 to 24. Japan’s lead-off player, the 17-year-old Ichiriki Ryo, made a good start by winning the opening game, but he lost the next. Korea ended this round with two wins to one each for Japan and China. Note: click here for Go Game Guru’s report on this round, including game records and more photos. Results are: 
        Game 1 (Oct. 21). Ichiriki Ryo 7P (Japan) (W) beat Byong Sang-il 3P (Korea) by resig.
        Game 2 (Oct. 22). Tuo Jiaxi 9P (China) (B) beat Ichiriki by resig.
        Game 3 (Oct. 23). Kang Tong-yun 9P (Korea) (B) beat Tuo by resig. (photo at left)
        Game 4 (Oct. 24). Kang (B) beat Ida Atsushi 8P (Japan) by resig.
        The next round will be held in Busan, Korea, from November 28 to December 3 and the final round in Shanghai from March 2 to 6.

Iyama Makes Good Start in Oza Title Match: The 62nd Oza best-of-five is another title match in which Iyama Yuta is facing a younger challenger. In the Honinbo title match it was the 20-year-old Ida Atsushi 8P; this time it is the 23-year-old Murakawa Daisuke 7P (right) of the Kansai Ki-in, who is two years Iyama’s junior. The first game was held at the Yokohama Royal Park Hotel in Yokohama City on October 21. The playing room was a Japanese-style room on the 65th floor of the Landmark Tower, in which the hotel is located.
        The game was a fierce one, which is usually the case with Iyama, and featured some novel variations. Murakawa played a move that was too tight (86) and another move that was dubious (110), so Iyama took the lead. However, both players hallucinated in the endgame fighting. Iyama, playing black, made an attack inside Murakawa’s corner that wasn’t a threat; the latter could have switched elsewhere after Iyama’s fourth move in the corner, but he answered, so Iyama didn’t suffer for his misreading. Apparently, however, Murakawa would not have taken the lead even if he realized what was going on, because at this stage of the game a move elsewhere would not have been big enough to upset Iyama’s lead. The game became very close subsequently only because of slack play by Iyama, and at times it looked as if either player could have won.
        The game ended after 244 moves, with Iyama edging Murakawa by half a point. The second and third games will be played at the same venue, Kyoto, on November 18 and 20. ‘Bundling’ the games has become the practice recently because of the busyness of the tournament scene in the autumn.

Iyama Wins First Tengen Game: The first game of the 40th Tengen title match was held on October 24, so Iyama was engaged in three concurrent title matches. Here his challenger is Takao Shinji, holder of the only top-seven title missing from Iyama’s portfolio, the Judan. The game was played at the Yumoto Sakakibara-kan inn in Tsu City, Mie Prefecture. Iyama (W) beat Takao by resignation after 188 moves. According to Go Weekly, Iyama dominated the game. He has held the Tengen title for three successive terms and won each title match 3-0, so this is an ominous start for Takao. The second game will be played on November 11. photo: Takao defeated Kono Rin 9P on Sept 26, earning the right to challenge Iyama.

Iyama Yuta Defends Meijin Title: The sixth game of the 39th Meijin title match was held at the Kami-Suwa Aburaya Inn in Suwa City, Nagano Prefecture, on October 29 and 30. Taking black, Iyama took a territorial lead early in the game, then skillfully reduced a large moyo that Kono built. The latter didn’t seem to make any really bad moves, but was outmaneuvered by Iyama. The final margin was 3.5 points in Iyama’s favor after 215 moves. This gave him a lead of 4-2, so he won the title for the second year in a row and the fourth time overall.
        Iyama faltered a little earlier in this match, with two successive losses, but this win was his fifth in a row, all played during October, in three different title matches, so he seems to be back in peak form. Not only did he maintain his sextuple crown, he is still on track for aiming at a grand slam next year. The Meijin is Iyama’s 26th title overall, which puts him in 9th place in the all-time rankings. However, the players in joint 7th place, Rin Kaiho and Yoda Norimoto, are a little ahead of him, with 35 titles each, so it could take him a year or so to catch up.

Korea Wins O-kage Cup International New Stars Tournament: The O-kage (gratitude) Cup is a regional tournament for young players sponsored by an association of tourist shops in Ise City, the site of the famous Ise Shrine. The 5th Cup was held on May 15 and 16 and won by Ichiriki Ryo 7P (see my report at the end of May). The sponsors held an international tournament for teams from Japan, China, Korea, and Chinese Taipei on November 1 and 2. Each team had two male and one female players, and the games played by the latter were also counted in a female tournament. The first-stage was an all-play-all league,  after which the top two teams met in the final and the bottom two in the play-off for third place.
        In the first stage, the Chinese team, led by the 17-year-old Ke Jie 4P, who is already the number-three-ranked player in China, won all nine of its games. Korea beat Japan and Chinese Taipei and Japan beat Chinese Taipei. In the final, however, Korea beat China to win the cup (Na Hyeon 5P beat Ke). Chinese Taipei beat Japan in the play-off for third. In the women’s tournament, Pak Chi-yeon 3P defeated Cao Youyin 3P in the final and Xie Yimin of Japan beat Su Shengfang 2P of Chinese Taipei.

Two Meijin League Places Decided: The Meijin is a conservative league, with only three out of nine places opening up every year. Two of the vacant seats were decided on November 6. Ko Iso 8P (B) beat Oba Junya 7P by resig and So Yokoku 9P (W) beat Yamada Akiyoshi 9P
by resig. Ko makes an immediate comeback after dropping out of the previous league and So makes his debut.

Fujisawa Wins Women’s Honinbo: The third game of the 33rd Women’s Honinbo title was held at the Nihon Ki-in in Ichigaya, Tokyo on November 7. Taking black, Fujisawa Rin 2P (right) won by 5.5 points after 233 moves. This gave her a 3-0 lead over the titleholder, Mukai Chiaki, so she took the title. At 16 years one month, Fujisawa set a record as the youngest player to win this title (the previous record of 17 years 11 months was set by Xie Yimin).
        It’s astonishing how quickly Fujisawa has developed. As the granddaughter of Fujisawa Hideyuki (Shuko), she attracted a lot of attention when she qualified as professional 1-dan in 2010, but few fans expected her to start winning titles so soon. In June this year, she set a record for the youngest woman title holder ever when she won a new tournament, the Aizu Central Hospital Cup, at the age of 15 years nine months, and already she is a dual titleholder. Actually, one could claim that she is now the top woman player. Xie Yimin also holds two titles, the Women’s Meijin and the Women’s Kisei, but in prize money they are both outranked by Fujisawa’s tiles (7,000,000 yen for the Aizu Central Hospital Cup and 5,800,000 yen for the Women’s Honinbo to 5,000,000 each for Xie’s titles). Fujisawa is having a good financial year for a third-year junior high school student.

Radical Reorganization of Kisei Tournament: There will be complete overhaul of the Yomiuri Newspaper-sponsored Kisei tournament as of the 40th term (the 39th term will be completed with the best-of-seven title match starting in January 2015). The only thing that won’t change is the title match itself. The Kisei was launched in 1977 with the most complicated system among Japanese tournament at the time. It was simplified a little in its 10th term, then changed to the current system, a knock-out tournament leading to two six-player leagues and a playoff to decide the challenger in its 25th term. It has now been changed to a very complicated system, featuring, for the first time in the go world, leagues in four stages. Even with charts, it’s hard to understand the system, but I’ll try to explain it without them.
        First, there is a preliminary tournament with about 400 players in it, including four amateurs, the top four place-getters in the Net Kisei Tournament. The top 16 go up to the C League (a five-round Swiss System for 32 players), of whom the top six are promoted to the B1 and B2 Leagues (eight players each), of whom the top four join the A League (eight players), of whom the top two join the S League (six players). (These promotions take place the following term.) The challenger is then decided by an irregular knock-out tournament known as a “paramasu” (Paramas?). The number one player in the C League plays the number one player in the B League (there will be a play-off between the B1 and B2 winners); the winner plays the number one player in the A League; the winner plays the number two player in the S League; the winner then plays a best-of-two match with the number one player in the S League, but the latter is given a one-win advantage to start with (that is, he needs to win only one of the two games).
        For the 40th term, the members of the S, A and B Leagues have already been decided. The top three players in each of the 39th League have been seeded into the S League (two of the names are not known exactly: they will be the loser of the upcoming title match and the loser of the play-off to decide the challenger). The other six members of the two leagues are in the A League. The other members of the A and B Leagues were chosen on the basis of their results in the Kisei tournament in the last three years.
        This is an extremely complex system. The big innovation is that 62 players will get to play in leagues instead of just 12. Also, in theory, an amateur could become Kisei.

Categories: World news

Kim Jiseok 9p to Challenge Tang Weixing 9p in Samsung Cup Finals

AGA news - Sun, 09/11/2014 - 17:12

The 2014 Samsung Cup semifinals finished on November 7 in Daejeon, Korea with Korea’s number two player Kim Jiseok 9p (left) to face defending champion Tang Weixing 9p. Kim’s rise to the top included solid wins against the top Chinese player Shi Yue 9p. Meanwhile, Tang was forced to play three intense games as himself and Korea’s top player Park Junghwan 9p trapped each other in many complicated territory battles.
Though Kim and Tang have played four other games together (Kim in the lead at 3-1), the 2014 Samsung Cup finals will be Kim’s first appearance in an international final. The match will take place on December 9 through December 11 in Xian, China. For more information about the semifinals including photos and game records, please visit Go Game Guru.
–Annalia Linnan, based on a longer article by Go Game Guru 


Categories: World news

EuroGoTV Update: Ukraine, Germany, Finland

AGA news - Sun, 09/11/2014 - 17:00

Ukraine: The Kharkiv Championship 2014 finished on November 2 with Oleksandr Hiliazov 1d in first, Anton Boreiko 4k in second, and Lenid Shumakov 5k in third. Germany: Also on November 2, Jonas Welticke 5d (left) took the NRW-Meisterschaft 2004 in Duesseldorf while Barbara Knauf 3d came in second and Bernd Radmacher 5d placed third. Finland: Juri Kuronen 6d bested Jusso Nyyssonen 5d at the Finnish Championship League in Helsinki on November 2. Javier-Aleksi Savolainen 5d was third.
– Annalia Linnan, based on reports from EuroGoTV, which include complete result tables and all the latest European go news; photo courtesy of EuroGoTV

Categories: World news

Out of Print Oromedia Books on Sale at Go Game Guru (And Going Fast)

AGA news - Sun, 09/11/2014 - 16:23

Out of print go books from OroMedia are available at steep discounts but they’re going fast. Go Game Guru is currently selling out of print gobooks from OroMedia at discounts of more than 50% off. OroMedia, based in Korea, was the publisher of more than 20 go books in English, as well as other Korean language books and magazines. The company went out of business in 2013, and Go Game Guru has purchased their remaining stock. “Because we were able to buy these books at a discounted price, we can offer much lower prices to customers than usual,” says Go Game Guru’s David Ormerod. The majority of the books are priced at $10 or less, and are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Seven of the books are already out of stock; click here for an up-to-date list of all the books on sale.

Categories: World news

Washington Post Plugs Go

AGA news - Sat, 08/11/2014 - 00:09

The Washington Post included an article on go on November 4th, reporting on a tourney held in Arlington, VA. “Frederick Bao studies the yellow board that sits on the table between him and Sarah Crites,” wrote Jennifer Huget in her article. “Clasping a white ‘stone’ between the pad of his middle finger and the nail of his index finger, he makes his move, tapping the stone onto the board. Then he quickly slaps the palm of his hand on one end of a clock that also sits on the table.” The full article is here. NOVA Go Club member Gary Smith notes “while Sarah Crites, 13k and Frederick Bao,1d did not meet in the tournament, the photo in the Post was of a practice game during registration.” -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.  Photo and quotes courtesy of The Washington Post.

Categories: World news

Pie in the Empty Sky

AGA news - Fri, 07/11/2014 - 13:00

The Empty Sky Go Club got in just under the wire on the AGA’s free pizza offer with a party on October 30th. “Thanks to the AGA for this awesome offer for October!” says Steve Colburn of the Rochester, NY club. 

Categories: World news

Weiqi Wows in Chicago Public School Cultural Event

AGA news - Fri, 07/11/2014 - 03:44

Students, parents and educators from across Chicago gathered on November 1 to celebrate the Chicago Public Schools Seal of Bi-literacy program, designed to help students to learn and understand more than one language, culture and art. Volunteers from the local community, the Go and Math Academy and the Confucius Institute in Chicago participated to promote Chinese language and arts. Visitors, especially young kids, were attracted by go, known as weiqi in China. “Some kids stayed at our booth and played weiqi for more than an hour,” reports Xinming “Simon” Guo. “They even called their friends over to learn the game together. Photographers and news video camera crew also circled around our booth and the weiqi board. The event organizer told us that our booth, with the weiqi game introduction and Chinese characters Tattoos activity, was the most popular one among all exhibitors.” photos courtesy Simon Guo; click here for more photos.

Categories: World news

2014 International Amateur Pair Go Championship Celebrates 25th Anniversary

AGA news - Thu, 06/11/2014 - 13:18

Nearly 100 Pair Go Promotion Partners and other guests gathered in Tokyo, Japan on October 24 to kick off a weekend-long celebration of the 25th International Amateur Pair Go Championships. Hisao and Hiroko Taki hosted a fabulous dinner at the Hotel Okura to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Japan Pair Go Association and the Pair Go tournament. Mr. Taki is the inventor of Pair Go and the founder of the Japan Pair Go Association of which Mrs. Taki (right) is the current managing director. They held the formal dinner to thank everyone for their continuing efforts to promote Pair Go around the world. The Hotel Okura is a hotel established by and named for Kishichiro Okura, one of the founding patrons of the Nihon Ki-in.

Tournament action got started on Saturday morning at the Hotel Metropolitan Edmont with the drawing of the opening round pairings for the 32 pairs representing 21 countries and territories. The US pair, Yiwen (April) Ye and Daehyuk (Daniel) Ko, drew a difficult first round matchup and fell to one of the strong Japanese pairs.

Two special events occurred on Saturday afternoon. The first was the traditional annual Goodwill Game, a popular single-round Pair Go event allowing the attending professionals, Pair Go Promotion Partners and other invited guests an opportunity to enjoy a Pair Go game during the weekend. The participants in the Goodwill Game are encouraged to wear traditional national costumes (right), which makes the atmosphere of these friendly matches even more enjoyable.

The second was a special Pair Go match between professional players from Japan, Korea, and China. At the end of this one-round event, Hsieh Yi Min, 6 Dan and Yuta Iyama, 9P from Japan defeated Lee Hajin, 3P and Cho Hoon-Hyun, 9P from Korea. In the second match Zhang Xuan, 9P and Chang Hao, 9P from China defeated Izumi Kobayashi, 6P and Chang Hsu, 9P from Japan

Sunday was another very busy day with three separate tournaments occurring simultaneously. The 32 pairs involved in the main Pair Go Championship had a long day with Rounds 2 through 5 this day. In the end, the final match pitted Lin Hsiao-Tung and Lai Yu-Cheng from Chinese Taipei against Kim Sooyoung and Jeon Junhak from Korea, with the pair from Korea winning the championship. Including their loss in the first round, along with a loss to Hong Kong China, and wins against Switzerland, Thailand, and Serbia, April Ye and Daniel Ko (below) finished 3-2 for the tournament, earning a 16th place finish for the United States.

In addition to the main tournament, the first World Students Pair Go Championship was held. This tournament matched eight pairs representing Japan, China, Korea, Chinese Taipei, and Thailand. At the end of three rounds, the final match saw Kim Hyun-Ah and Park Moon-Kyo from Korea defeat Hu Shih-Yun and Chan Yi-Tien from Chinese Taipei for the championship. The organizers from the Japan Pair Go Association and the World Pair Go Association plan on expanding this tournament to include pairs from additional countries around the world.

Finally, a four-round open handicap tournament was held, attracting 129 pairs divided into three different sections.
- report/photos by Todd Heidenreich, longtime director of the US Pair Go Championships.


Categories: World news

EuroGoTV Update: Romania, Switzerland, Belgium

AGA news - Tue, 04/11/2014 - 14:00

Romania: The 8th Shodan Trophy finished on October 25 in Bucuresti with Iulian Lungu 1d (left) in first, Tiberiu Barbu 2k in second, and Francisc Budai 2k in third. Switzerland: Lorenz Trippel 2d took the Coupe Patrice Gosteli in La Chaux-de-Fonds on October 26 while Dominik Mueller 3k came in second and Felicien Mazille 1d placed third. Belgium: Also on October 26, Vladimir Danek 5d bested Kim Ouweleen 4d at The Brussels 2014. Olivier Drouot 3d was third.
– Annalia Linnan, based on reports from EuroGoTV, which include complete result tables and all the latest European go news; photo courtesy of EuroGoTV

Categories: World news

The Art of Propaganda: North Korea’s Mansudae Art Studio

AGA news - Tue, 04/11/2014 - 13:30

This oil painting depicting a go game between a young Korean girl and an older western man is featured in an October 31 ArtNet News report about North Korea’s Mansudae Art Studio. Perhaps the world’s biggest art factory, “It employs around 4,000 laborers of which under a quarter are artists who mostly graduated from the Pyongyang University of Fine Arts. The studio churns out propaganda for the Kim family leadership, producing everything from trinkets to murals and gigantic Soviet-style monuments.” This piece, entitled “Confrontation” is by Kim Hyon Myong.

Thanks to David Fruchtenicht for passing this along.

Categories: World news

Yilun Yang 7P on Cotsen 2014 Demo Game

AGA news - Tue, 04/11/2014 - 05:01

download SGF file

As a special free bonus for all E-Journal readers, Yilun Yang’s recent Cotsen demo game commentary appears here. Full AGA members get exciting commentaries like this every week. The game commentaries alone are worth the price of AGA membership . For youth memberships the deal is even better, just $10 a year! To sign up for the members edition, register with the AGA here .

White: Yigang Hua 8P
Black: Yilun Yang 7P
Commentary: Yilun Yang 7P
Game editor: Myron Souris
Published in the November 4, 2014 edition of the American Go E-Journal.

In this Cotsen demo game between strong pros, Yilun Yang 7P provides a detailed but clear fuseki analysis that players of all strengths can grasp. And stronger players will find Yilun Yang’s explanation of the middlegame’s attack and defense ideas especially insightful.

Yilun Yang 7P is one of the most popular go teachers in the US. You can reach him at

Categories: World news

Young Lions Nov. 22-23

AGA news - Tue, 04/11/2014 - 00:29

The Young Lions Tournament, hosted by the American Go Honor Society (AGHS), will take place on November 22 and 23 in the AGHS Tournaments Room on KGS. The first round will begin at 1 pm EST, and the second round at 4 pm EST. The second day will follow the same schedule. “This tournament is one of the biggest youth go events in America,” says AGHS Promotion Head Amy Su, “young go players will fight tooth and claw to emerge on top, will you be the one to lead the pride this year?” Anyone 18 or under may participate, and there will be prizes for the winners in multiple categories.  Visit the official Young Lions website for more information, to register fill out this form. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor

Categories: World news

Go to Innovation in Berlin

IGF - Mon, 03/11/2014 - 20:06

Go to Innovation is the name of a go tournament that will be held at the Wuhldeheide Innovation Park in southeast Berlin, November 14-16. True to its name, the tournament will feature an innovative eight-round Hahn system, which adds some new twists to the usual McMahon system. There will also be prizes ranging up to a thousand euros for first place, a jackpot for winning eight games, and free draught beer on the 15th.

The list of registered players so far includes over twenty dan-level players (up to 7-dan) and over twenty kyu-level players (down to 18-kyu) with strong representation from Germany and Czechia. Some very strong players are also coming from Great Britain, Sweden, Austria, and Spain.
Further information is available in English here and here.


Categories: World news

This Week’s Go Calendar: San Francisco and Burlington

AGA news - Mon, 03/11/2014 - 14:24

November 8: San Francisco, CA
Bay Area Go Fall Tournament
Jay Chan 909-618-8749
Steve Burrall 916-688-2858

November 9: Burlington, VT
Three Dragons Emerge from the River Go Tournament
David Felcan 802-860-9587

Get the latest go events information.

Categories: World news

Go Spotting: Destiny’s Go Gauntlets

AGA news - Mon, 03/11/2014 - 14:00

In the game Destiny once you hit Level 5 you can buy “Snakeline 4.5 gauntlets,” which are “tough, menacing, and I swear- make you unbeatable at Go.” Thanks to Michael Albert for passing this along, though he doesn’t say whether the gauntlets have actually made his go invincible.

Categories: World news

Kwon Kapyong 8P, Lee Sedol’s Teacher, Visits Feng Yun Go School

AGA news - Sun, 02/11/2014 - 15:12

Students at the Feng Yun Go School got a special treat last month when Kwon Kapyong 8P paid a visit. “Among other accomplishments, Mr. Kwon was Lee Sedol’s teacher,” reports Paul Matthews on the school’s website. “In fact, almost 20% of all Korean professional players were taught in his school.” Matthews reports that Feng Yun 9P “had a long talk with Mr. Kwon, and offered to help in his efforts to promote go in the United States.” They also discussed differences between teaching young students in Korea and in the United States. Parents in east Asian countries are willing to support their child in putting a lot of time into go study because there are more professional career opportunities there, American parents want to use go as an educational tool to train critical and logical thinking, problem solving, concentration, and good learning habits. The October 3 visit included a friendship match between six of Mr. Kwon’s students and the Parsippany students. Accompanying Mr. Kwon were Kim Young Ran, CEO of the Kwonkapyong International Baduk Academy, Joseph Sung, translator, and Kim Dae Yol, a very strong amateur player and go club entrepreneur in New Jersey.
photo: Kwon Kapyong 8p, Feng Yun 9p, and Joseph Shun are standing; Kim Dae Yol and one of Mr. Kwon’s stronger students are seated in the foreground.Click here to see more photos by Paul Matthews

Categories: World news

AGA Pizza Offer Brings Out Players in Long Island

AGA news - Sun, 02/11/2014 - 14:36

The Long Island Go Club on October 12 hosted a pizza party (more photos on our Facebook page) thanks to the AGA’s special October free pizza AGA Chapter Offer. AGA chapters in San Diego and the Twin Cities also hosted AGA pizza parties.

Categories: World news

Go Spotting: US Army War College Quarterly

AGA news - Sun, 02/11/2014 - 14:00

Once again, go is providing insights into US/China diplomacy. In the recent US policy of “rebalancing toward Asia,” Michael Spangler, writing in the Summer 2014 issue of Parameters, the US Army War College quarterly, suggests that “Another way to look at this is to imagine a Chinese game of weiqi, the popular Asian game of black-and-white pieces in which two opposing players strive to surround the other. China’s July 2012 establishment of Sansha City on Paracel Island seized by force from Vietnam in 1974 was the precursor of its new weiqi games with the Philippines and Japan.” In “Rebalancing the Rebalance,” Spangler, a visiting fellow at the Army War College in Carlisle, PA, adds that “It is key that Manila’s talks not give Beijing any preponderant advantage by isolating or leveraging the Philippines against other disputants. In other words, this weiqi-like diplomatic negotiation can be completed as China’s future negotiation partners consult with each other.”
Thanks to Don Travis, a historian at the War College, and a new go player at the Carlisle Go Club.

Categories: World news

Hiraoka Returns to WAGC

IGF - Sat, 01/11/2014 - 21:57

On the afternoon of September 21, 2014, Hiraoka Satoshi, three times amateur Honinbo and twice world amateur go champion, found himself facing a neurosurgeon. More precisely, he was facing Osawa Shinichiro, a member of the faculty of the Department of Neurosurgery in the Graduate School of Medicine at Tohoku University. Between them was a go board, and they were about to play the game that would decide which of them would represent Japan at the 2015 World Amateur Go Championship in Thailand.

Hiraoka had been seeded into the 60-player selection knockout and given a bye in the first round, so he reached the final game by defeating only four opponents: a veteran from Chiba, a middle-school student from Fukuoka, an insei from the Kansai Kiin, and Mori Hironobu, another seeded player, who had played in the WAGC in 2007. Dr. Osawa, the amateur meijin of Miyagi, had entered at the first round and downed five opponents, including a former amateur Honinbo and an insei from Nagoya. Those were in addition to the opponents he had beaten in the Miyagi qualifying tournament. His appearance in the final game was no surprise; he has beaten professional opponents in the Agon Cup. The presence of insei among Hiraoka's and Osawa's opponents was a little unusual -- Japanese insei rarely take part in amateur tournaments -- but in any case, none of the insei reached even the semifinal round.

Instead, all four of the semi-finalists were in their thirties or forties, far past insei age. In contrast, the last eight world amateur go champions have all been in their teens or twenties. And none of them have been Japanese. Japan did rather well in the WAGC in the last decade of the 20th century, taking five championships against three for China and two for Korea, but since 2001 Japan has won the WAGC only once, and after Mori's third place in 2007, no Japanese player has finished higher than fifth.

The job of lifting Japan's sagging fortunes will fall to Hiraoka, for he beat Dr. Osawa by 9.5 points. Hiraoka was in his mid-twenties when he first won the WAGC in 1994, and in his mid-thirties when he won it again in 2006. Can the JR freight railwayman win another world championship in his mid-forties, or can he at least restore Japan to a place among the top four? We'll find out next summer.

- James Davies



Categories: World news

“Cartography” Puts Go on the Map

AGA news - Sat, 01/11/2014 - 20:45

Cartography is a new map-making, territory claiming, strategy game based on the game of go. Developed by Jon Adams, the game’s map is made up of interlocking triangular tiles, with walls that divide the map, allowing territory to be defended or captured. Players create and claim territory, and capture opponents, in an effort to control the map, which, like go, changes as you play. “Strategy is key and chance doesn’t determine the winner,” says Adams. Like go, “Cartography is easy to learn and challenging to master!” Adams has already raised over $14,000 of his $15,000 Kickstarter campaign to launch the game.
Thanks to Jeff Diamond for passing this along.

Categories: World news
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