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by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal
Four-way tie in Meijin League: With only one round to go, four players share the lead in the 40th Meijin League, so there is a strong possibility of the league ending in a tie. The four players are Kono Rin 9P, Yamashita Keigo 9P, Takao Shinji Tengen, and Ko Iso 8P, who are all on 5-2 (I overlooked Yamashita in my previous report when I wrote there were three players with two losses). Recent games: (June 25) Kono Rin (B) beat Murakawa Daisuke Oza by resig.; Cho U 9P (W) beat Hane Naoki 9P by resig. (July 2) Takao Shinji (B) beat Kanazawa Makoto 7P by half a point. (July 3) Yamashita Keigo (B) beat So Yokoku 9P by resig.
In the final round, to be played on July 30, Kono plays Cho U, Yamashita plays Ko Iso, Takao plays Murakawa, Hane plays Kanazawa, and So has a bye. Only Yamashita or Ko Iso has a chance of winning the league outright; there could also be a two-way or three-way tie. If Ko is part of a three-way tie, however, he will miss out, as only the two higher-ranked players qualify for a play-off. Hane and Kanazawa have already lost their league places.
Iyama makes good start in Gosei title defense: The first game of the 40th Gosei best-of-five title match was played at the Kansai Headquarters of the Nihon Ki-in in Osaka on June 26. Yamashita is making his third challenge to Iyama Yuta this year; he’s probably sick of the sight of Iyama, but with the latter holding four titles, beating him is the quickest way for Yamashita to make a comeback as a titleholder. As usual with these two, fighting started early and didn’t let up. Yamashita, playing white, acquitted himself well in the middle game, building thickness to counter Iyama’s territory. However, just when the game looked like it was entering a tight endgame contest, Yamashita suffered a hallucination (on move 156) that cost him a large group. He resigned after Black 171. There is a break of nearly a month before the next game, which will be played in Kanazawa City on July 20.
Iyama defends Honinbo title: The fifth game of the 70th Honinbo title match was played on July 29 and 30, so Yamashita had a break of just two days to recover from his loss in the Gosei title match. The venue was the Hotel Hankyu Expo Park in Suita City, Osaka Prefecture, so it was home ground for Iyama. Playing white, Iyama went for territory, letting Yamashita build a moyo. He then set out to live inside the moyo. By white 76, he had parried Black’s attack; when he occupied a key point with 82 he felt that he was ahead. However, he left Black with scope to invade his territory, his plan being to reduce Black’s large center while harassing the invader. However, Iyama slipped up in the ensuing fight, missing a chance to kill Black’s group. That let Black get a ko, but his best ko threat was setting up an attack on the white group that had settled itself inside Black’s moyo earlier. When White finished off the ko and also rescued this group, Black had to resign. The game lasted exactly 200 moves. A generation or two ago, Takagawa lamented that he would have won many more titles but for the existence of Sakata Eio. Perhaps Yamashita may feel the same way about Iyama, he has won just one out of six big-three title matches with him. Nonetheless, he will surely be doing his best to become the Meijin challenger. Once again, Iyama has extended his quadruple crown. This is his 29th title and his 11th big-three title. He has just turned 26 (May 24), so he is roughly four years ahead of the title-winning pace of Cho Chikun and Cho U. He is in 9th place in the all-time list in Japan, six titles behind Rin Kaiho and Yoda Norimoto.
O Keii wins Aizu Central Hospital Cup: The final of the 2nd Aizu Central Hospital Cup was held at the Konjakutei inn in Aizu Wakamatsu City, Fukushima Prefecture, on July 2 and 3. O Keii 2P (W) beat Xie Yimin 6P by one and a half points. O is the daughter of O Rissei 9P, three-time Kisei winner, and older sister of O Keiko 1P (Kansai Ki-in). She is a member of the Nagoya branch of the Nihon Ki-in. This is O’s first title and it comes in her third year as a pro. She is already 28, so she made a late debut, though she is making up for that now. The game didn’t make this week’s issue of Go Weekly, so I don’t have any details yet.
“I went to New York for a vacation, and when I went to the American Museum of Natural History, at the Japanese Hall, I saw a board of go and stones. I was surprised of the size, because I had never seen a Goban for real,” writes Mateo Nava, of Mexico City.
A special E-J Column by Janice Kim 3P
Going out jogging, it’s right on the surface of my memory how the air tasted, like an apple, and the way the sidewalk curbs looked in that light, gray on gray, appearing out of the mist like phantom tracks. If it had been raining, there’d be sounds, the splish-gerr-splish of some unseen tires driving through a puddle. Back at home we still have an old pinon tree that you could climb up, and then on to the roof.
On weekend afternoons my activity was to ride my bike to the store, and rent a movie to watch at home. My favorites were “Journey to the Center of the Earth” with James Mason, and “The Golden Voyage of Sinbad” with the old Ray Harryhausen monsters. Later the grocery store put a Ms. Pac-Man arcade game in the back storeroom. The nearby 7-Eleven had Tempest (awesome) and Centipede (slightly less awesome), thus in the shopping district of my own small town forming the classic arcade triumvirate that makes me feel truly special because, I was there. I had a long blister on the side of my hand from using it like a blade with the dial controller, gaining precision and more speed than possible just by turning it with my fingers.
Later someone figured out how to pry open the front panel near the Insert Coin slots, so you could click a small red button inside to increase number of games left on the digital counter. Once you could insert your quarter without that delicious frisson of fear — will it be worth it? Will I ride out this quarter, or will it be wasted on some stupid slip on the first alien attack wave? — the fun was spoiled, and once the summer moment was gone and you could play endlessly for free, it was impossible to recall why it was ever fun in the first place.
I loved board games, but had trouble getting anyone to play. My personality seemed dull to myself, and to lack sparkling qualities. I framed my analysis of the structure and meaning of a game in terms of how to win, and didn’t understand the point of playing otherwise. Sometimes I would say something, or examine flowers or things people left in the street, and people would snort or snicker, or look worried or irritated. My sister was popular and had close friends, but I was too much of an accountant, with friendship owed and due, to be very much fun for anyone. Or maybe it was because I was really different than everyone I knew, invisibly at first, then for certain when I lived in as the only girl insei in Korea, without the ability to speak Korean. Even though the purpose of being there was to play a board game, I still couldn’t get anyone to play very often, because I was one of the least skilled there.
But there were moments. Like when I couldn’t go to the summer camp at the Buddhist temple because they didn’t have girls’ accommodations, and when they came back, Yu Chang-hyuk walked into the research room before everyone else and saw me sitting alone and came over and gave me a hug. Later I beat him for the first and only time in my life, and he sat there muttering to himself, “I don’t know how it is that I won every battle, but lost the war.” That’s how a decade later in another moment, I gave a computer program a 25 stone handicap and defeated it at the AAAI conference. I watched Yu Chang-hyuk play a game online sometime after that, and some kibitzers were saying his moves didn’t make sense, and I wrote that he was the very best player in the world. Someone asked “Why do you say that?” and someone else answered, “Because she LOVES him, ha ha.”
We really can do almost anything. I can see how and why, but also where it is all going. We will all lose in the end, and go to the great review in the sky. The other day my son said that they’ve made big steps in plastification and we may be able to live forever, and I’m thinking about that digital counter in the arcade and the air that tastes like apples and the pinon tree and I find myself hoping we both die too soon to be made into plastic. I’m just looking for another summer moment. Seems like go is our best chance.
Xinming Simon Guo 1d, of Chicago, Illinois, has been named the AGF Teacher of the Year, winning a free trip to the 2015 U.S. Go Congress in St. Paul, Minnesota. Guo has been active in youth go promotion for years, first partnering with the Confucius Institute in Chicago in the fall of 2012 to offer go instruction to Chinese language classrooms. “This program has been very successful,” Guo told the Journal. “Some schools requested more instructional hours, and some schools added go to their after-school program. More teachers joined this program in 2014 and 2015. One school started a tournament after my introduction courses. Meanwhile, I have started to train teachers to meet the increasing demand for go in Chicago’s schools.”
In 2012, Guo founded the GoAndMath Academy, whose mission is “to use go to help develop students’ math ability, especially number sense.” In 2013 and 2014, Guo organized several workshops, one was to aid Chinese teachers in the Chicago area in bringing go to the classroom as a part of Chinese culture. The other two workshops were directed towards math teachers at ICTM (Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics) in October of 2013 and MMC (Metropolitan Mathematics Club of Chicago) in February of 2014. “During these workshops, I gave a presentation on the link between go and Common Core State Standards,” Guo told the E-Journal. “I taught teachers how to play go and how the game can be integrated into math classrooms. Specifically, the teachers learned ways to incorporate go to help students develop number sense and incorporate three domains in Common Core standards — Counting and Cardinality, Operations and Algebraic Thinking, Number and Operations in Base Ten.” Guo’s approach to integrating go into American school curricula affected about 3,500 students and 50 teachers in 2013, and subsequently 6,500 students in 2014.
“As a licensed math teacher and a go instructor, I will continue to research how go helps develop students’ number sense and other math abilities. Currently, I am designing a go and math curriculum that can be easily used in school settings, especially in math classrooms.” Guo is currently affiliated with over forty schools in the Chicago area, three universities, and three museums and libraries. Guo will give a talk at the US Go Congress on Monday, Aug. 3. “My plan is to let go players know that go can help math and it is correlated with the new Common Core Math Standards. This is a powerful research result to extend go to school programs, and this is what I have done for years. Usually I present this go and math correlation to math teachers and educators in conference. I will adjust it for go players. I am a go player for math teachers and math teacher for go players,” adds Guo. -EJ special report, by Amy Su. Photo: Guo (standing) teaching kids, from GoandMath Academy’s Facebook page.
This is the last week to save on US Go Congress registration; the Congress price goes up July 1.
The latest list of professional go players attending this year’s US Go Congress includes Myungwan Kim, Yilun Yang, Hajin Lee, Feng Yun, Jennie Shen, Wang Qun, Cao Youyin, Ryo Maeda, Koyo Hoshikawa (right), Xuefen (Shirley) Lin and Mingjiu Jiang. Inseong Hwang 8d, a longtime go teacher in Europe, has also just confirmed he’ll be attending this year’s US Go Congress.
The top four AGA-rated under-16 girls (as of August 1, 2015) who enter at the Congress will compete in the first-ever Girl’s Tournament.
Tennis-playing go players can bring their racquets; the Congress site has courts and EJ Managing Editor Chris Garlock will take on all comers.
Ishi Press Archives recently announced the release of a second group of four out-of-print Ishi Press go books. The reprints are available through Amazon and include The Great Joseki Debates by Honda Kunihisa, The 3-3 point: Modern Opening Theory by by Cho Chikun, All About Life and Death Vol. 1 by Cho Chikun and All About Life and Death Vol. 2 by Cho Chikun.
At its June 7th board meeting, the Iwamoto North American Foundation for Go approved a request for proposals for the establishment of a Go Center on the East Coast. The foundation is seeking proposals by December 1, 2015. The RFP can be found on the foundation’s web page. Please direct any questions to board members Thomas Hsiang (thsiang@UR.Rochester.edu), Andy Okun (email@example.com), or Dave Weimer (firstname.lastname@example.org).
“The AGA Go Camp would like to extend a hearty thanks to Kiseido, Slate & Shell, and Yellow Mountain Imports for their generous donations to the 2015 camp,” says camp director Amanda Miller, “in addition to go lessons and outdoor activities, we also run small tournaments and other go-related activities every night. These activities include 13×13, pair go, and team tournaments, and we plan to use these items as prizes in those events. We’ve received some especially generous donations this year, and we have more than enough to go around, so every camper should receive at least one prize!” Donations include books, travel go sets, and other go-related merchandise.
For anyone between the ages of 8 and 18 who wants to join in the fun, there’s still time to register. This year’s camp will take place from July 18th to July 25th at YMCA Camp Kern in Oregonia, Ohio. Directors Amanda Miller and Nano Rivera are excited to have Myungwan Kim 9P as this summer’s professional teacher, and they invite those interested in the camp to apply for need-based scholarships, which are still available. Anyone who participated in the NAKC or the Redmond Cup is eligible for a $400 scholarship. “The camp currently has 15 registered campers from the ages of 8 to 18 and with strengths ranging from 30-kyu to 1-kyu. Camp should be a lot of fun, regardless of age or rank,” adds Miller. For more information, visit the camp website, or email Amanda Miller at email@example.com. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Photo by Amanda Miller: Campers showing off their prizes at last year’s camp.
by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal
Lead changes again in Meijin League: Things were shaken up again in the sixth round of the 40th Meijin League and Ko resurfaced
with the provisional lead. Three games were played on June 4. Ko Iso 8P (W) beat Kono Rin 9P by resig.; Cho U 9P (W) beat Kanazawa Makoto 7P by 2.5 points; and So Yokoku 8P (W) beat Takao Shinji by resignation. That left three players on two losses: Ko (5-2), Kono (4-2), and Takao (4-2). Kono has the advantage of being the top-ranked player in the league, but Ko has the advantage of having won an extra game. He gets a bye in the next round, then plays Takao in the final round. Incidentally, the above-mentioned loss cost Kanazawa his place in the league.
Mimura Kaori Promoted: With 40 wins in the cumulative-win system, Mimura Kaori earned promotion to 3-dan on June 11 (though the promotion officially took effect on the following day). Mimura was born on July 31, 1981; she is married to Mimura Tomoyasu 9P. Her younger sisters are Mukai Chiaki 5P (born on December 24, 1987, and Nagashima Kozue 2P, born on October 3, 1984.
Yamashita picks up first win in Honinbo title match: After making an awful start, Yamashita Keigo (right) has finally picked up a win in the 70th Honinbo best-of-seven title match. The fourth game was played at the Olive Bay Hotel in Saikai City, Nagasaki Prefecture on June 16 and 17. Iyama had scored convincing wins in the previous two games, putting a lot of pressure on the challenger. However, Yamashita dominated this game right from the start, and Iyama never had a chance. Taking white, Yamashita forced a resignation after just 128 moves. In retrospect, Iyama queried his 23rd move. Yamashita had played a probe with White 22, and Iyama answered it aggressively rather than safely. However, he was taken aback by Yamashita’s next move, an invasion-cum-attack that was a line deeper — and much severer — that he had expected. Although extremely difficult fighting followed, Yamashita held the initiative for the rest of the game. Yamashita is one of the best fighters in Japanese go; Iyama will probably avoid going toe-to-toe with him after this. This is the third time in a row that Yamashita’s first win in a best-of-seven with Iyama has come in the fourth game. In last year’s Kisei title match, he managed to win two games before losing the match. In this year’s Kisei title match, he improved that to three games before dropping the seventh game. If the upward trend holds, however, he should win this match. The fifth game will be played on June 29 and 30. First, however, the two will meet in the first game of the 40th Gosei title match, scheduled for June 26.
Kisei S League: One game in the 40th Kisei S League was played on June 18. Taking black, Takao Shinji Tengen beat Yamashiro Hiroshi 9P by resignation. This game completed the second round. Yoda Norimoto 9P has the sole lead with 2-0. In the A League, Kono Rin 9P has the sole lead with 4-0.
Tokyo perspective on the LG Cup: The E-Journal has already featured a report on the 20th LG Cup, held on June 8 and 10. Here is how the opening rounds looked from Tokyo. The big surprise was that the most junior Japanese representative, Yo Seiki 7P (actually, a Taiwanese member of the Kansai Ki-in), had the best results. While the other players were eliminated in the first round, Yo, who was making his debut in a full-scale international tournament, won his way through to the quarterfinals. He joins four players from Korea and three from China. In the first round, Yo (W) beat Peng Liyao 5P of China by resignation. In the second round (left), he bested Lee Donghun 5P of Korea; again Yo had white. The latter win gave him revenge for his loss to Lee in the Globis Cup. Two years ago, Iyama Yuta and Takao Shinji also made the best eight but were then eliminated. The challenge for Yo will be to go further. He could become a new hero for Japan. The quarterfinals are scheduled for November 16.
Congress Airport Shuttle: For those finalizing their US Go Congress travel plans, Congress organizers have coordinated with SuperShuttle to provide a quick and easy way for attendees to get from the MSP airport to the University of St. Thomas. Click here to arrange a shuttle that will be ready when your plane lands and takes you directly to St. Thomas. $15 one-way or $26 round trip.
EJ Adds Video Streaming: In addition to the E-Journal’s usual comprehensive coverage of the annual US Go Congress, including daily top-board broadcasts on KGS, updates on the website, Twitter and Facebook and daily E-Journal reports, we’ll also be testing some live-streaming video of top-board games this year. “We’re excited to expand our coverage and hope to develop some innovative approaches,” says Andrew Jackson, who’s coordinating the effort for the E-Journal. “We’ll be streaming the Hajin/Sibicky game as well.” Click here to check out a test stream Jackson conducted recently at the Seattle Go Club.
More go players and teachers are starting to stream their games on Twitch, the world’s leading video platform and community for gamers. More than 45 million gamers gather every month on Twitch to broadcast, watch and chat about gaming. Several go players are getting in on the action, including Shawn Ray 4d, who reviews games and holds lectures; Battousai 5d, who teaches and has lectures using different go servers; and Xiaocheng-Stephen Hu 3d, who goes over many go concepts.
Shawn Ray will have Yoonyoung Kim 4p, a pro from South Korea, in his next lecture this Saturday at 8 pm central time, on June 20th. “This should be a fun event as well as my first professional guest on stream. If it goes well I also plan to do more events like these,” Ray notes. The event can be watched on Ray’s Twitch channel here. He also has a list of teachers that are streaming reviews and teaching games, which can be found here.
Xiaocheng-Stephen Hu, also known as xhu98, is the host of an ongoing tournament between teachers found on OGS and KGS. The schedule and participants can be found here. “I am really enjoying the tournament,” says Triton Perrin, “of course I am not strong enough to get far, but it has inspired me to work just a little bit harder to do my best against other teachers I look up to. To me, it seems like this tournament is helping the go community come together and get more people involved.” Hu has a lecture every Friday for all ranks, and occasionally has players join him in his lectures. Times can be found on the spreadsheet link from Shawn Ray above.
Josh Allen, also known as Battousai, has been doing lectures for years, and now puts his videos on his website, as well as Twitch and YouTube. Click here to visit his site. Allen has lectures every Wednesday afternoon from 3pm to 9pm EST. “I love games and problems, but I don’t even play go,’ says username Wreqt, “I stick around because I like you. Your instruction and teaching is fantastic, and it is a blast to hear your commentary on this game. Thanks for such a great channel!”
- Special report by Austin Freeman. Image: Battousi’s cartoon version takes on bots, from www.dwyrin.tv.
The Baltimore Go Club was the first to take advantage of paying their annual chapter dues with AGA chapter rewards points. “It was simple. I just sent an email to firstname.lastname@example.org requesting to renew with points,” club President Keith Arnold said. “They checked that we had the necessary 35,000 points and that was it.” All point totals earned through April can be found here.
- Gurujeet Khalsa
If you’re considering attending this year’s US Go Congress, register before July 1 and save $50. That’s when the late registration fee goes up to $100. This year’s Congress runs August 1-9 in St Paul, Minneapolis.
In addition to lots of go — tournaments, lectures, pro simuls and more — the Go Congress offers exciting options for the traditional day off on Wednesday. “The votes from our online survey are in: the riverboat ride in Stillwater, MN and spending time in the Uptown region of Minneapolis generated the most interest for day off activities,” reports Aaron Broege.”If you choose to join the group going to Stillwater, this will include time to explore the picturesque downtown Stillwater and, of course, go on a 2.5 hr boat ride on the St. Croix river, complete with food and music. The Stillwater main street is home to numerous bars, coffee shops, restaurants, and antique shops.
If you prefer to stick around the city, the Uptown area is a perfect place to spend your day off, Broege says. “The highlight of this region is the chain of four lakes (Cedar, Lake of the Isles, Calhoun, and Harriet), all of which have separate biking and pedestrian paths around them.” Near Lake Calhoun you can rent bikes, canoes, kayaks, paddle boards, paddle boats, and more. “Lake Calhoun and Harriet have beaches if you just want to take a dip.” When you’re ready to take a break from the activities, the adjacent area is filled with restaurants, shops, and theaters. Within walking distance from Uptown is the Walker Art Center, which focuses on modern artistic exhibits. The outdoor sculpture garden associated with the Walker, home to the Spoonbridge and Cherry — aka the cherry spoon — is a must-see landmark of the Twin Cities. This area provides a great example of how the Twin Cities beautifully blends urban living with natural beauty.
“For those with other interests, we are going to include recommended outings in the Congress booklet,” Broege adds. “There is so much to explore in the Twin Cities that we want to give individuals the chance to put together their own adventure.” Keep up-to-date on even more news and things to do in the Twin Cities through the 2015 Go Congress Facebook page.
photos: (top right) A riverboat on the St. Croix River passing under the bridge in Stillwater; (bottom left) downtown Minneapolis as seen from Lake Calhoun.
A go-playing President of the United States would probably be a better president. That’s according to David Z. Hambrick, a professor in the Department of Psychology at Michigan State University who wrote recently in Scientific American that “my colleague Brooke Macnamara and I found that fluid intelligence—the general ability to reason and think logically—was a strong positive predictor of skill in the board game GO, as measured by a laboratory task that was specially designed to measure a GO player’s ability to evaluate game situations and select optimal moves. In turn, performance in this task was strongly related to a player’s tournament GO rating.” Hambrick adds that while IQ isn’t the only predictor of presidential success, “what science tells us is that a high level of intellectual ability translates into a measureable advantage in the Oval Office.”
Thanks to Mark A. Brown for passing this along. Photo credit: Sam Boulton Sr. via Wikimedia Commons
Incumbents Chris Kirschner and Martin Lebl are running unopposed to retain their seats in the Western and Central regions, respectively while newcomers Diego F. Pierrottet and George Lebovitz will be contesting the Eastern region.
“Chapter reps, please take time to insure your contact information is correct for the both the AGA chapters list and the chapter membership/contact information,” says Arnold Eudell. “You should have already received your preliminary voting rights report. Any further information about the election will come through these sources.” Contact Elections@usgo.org with any questions.
No Japanese Pros? “I see the E-Journal is reporting the pros coming to the Go Congress (Top Pros Confirm for US Go Congress 6/8)” writes Bill Chiles. “I’m a bit shocked there are no Japanese pros coming. Why is that?! Maeda Sensei is almost always there at the very least.”
We should have specified that this was a preliminary list; the Nihon Kiin and Kansai Kiin in Japan and KBA in Korea have not yet provided the names of their pros who will be in attendance.