Karoline Burrall (right) has exchanged her role as AGA Tournament Coordinator for work as a Congress correspondent for the AGA E-Journal. “We owe Karoline a huge debt for the tireless work she put in and the extremely professional and skilled job she did in the tournament coordinator position,” said AGA President Andy Okun. “We couldn’t have gotten by without her tremendous effort.” Longtime Southern California player Cherry Shen (left) has taken on the Tournament Coordinator title and the bulk of the job, including managing foreign representative selection. Like Burrall, Shen comes from a family of go players including father Gary Shen, a frequent Congress volunteer and So Cal regular. “Cherry has long shown willingness to help out in many go events and I’m grateful to her for volunteering again,” said Okun. Among other things, Shen won an AGF college scholarship in 2010, represented the US at the World Mind Games in Lille, volunteered for the American Collegiate Go Association, taught go in an elementary school and served as translator for “The Surrounding Game” team. She lives and works in New York, where her day job is in finance, Okun said.
Ida surrenders lead in Honinbo league to Yamashita: Ida Atsushi 8P (right) held the sole lead after the first four rounds in the 70th Honinbo League and seemed to be headed for a rematch with Iyama Yuta Honinbo. However, he has stumbled badly in the latter part of the league, with successive losses. As reported previously, he lost his fifth-round game with Kono Rin 9P in February. In his sixth-round game with Takao Shinji Tengen, played on March 12, Ida (W) lost by resignation. This follows on his loss to Takao in the first game of the Judan title match. Takao already had no chance of retaining his league place, so, as the Japanese idiom has it, Ida was “kicked by a dead horse.” Go Weekly conjectured that Takao perhaps wanted to make sure Ida didn’t get into the habit of winning against him. On 4-1, Yamashita Keigo finds himself in similar position to last year, that is, in the sole lead after five rounds, with the difference that he has already got his game with Ida out of the way. Ida is on 4-2 and his remaining game is against Yo Seiki 7P. Yamashita has two games left and will play Ryu Shikun 9P and Cho U 9P. Cho and Kono are both on 3-2 and also have a chance of winning the league outright or ending in a tie for first.
Ida wins NHK Cup: Although he lost two important games in the Honinbo League and the first Judan game, not everything went wrong for Ida Atsushi recently. In the final of the 62nd NHK Cup, telecast on March 15, Ida beat Ichiriki Ryo 7P and set a new record for the youngest player to win this title. Ida is 20 and he beat the 17-year-old Ichiriki. The game was a fiercely fought one, but Ida, playing black,
forced Ichiriki to resign after 257 moves. This is Ida’s first win in an official tournament.
Meijin League: Two games were played in the 40th Meijin League on March 12. Kono Rin 9P (W, left) beat Hane Naoki 9P by resignation and Murakawa Daisuke Oza (B) beat So Yokoku 9P by resignation. Kono and Murakawa both go to 3-1 and share the provisional lead. Another game was played on March 19. Ko Iso 8P (B) beat Kanazawa Makoto 7P by 8.5 points. Ko joins Kono and Murakawa on 3-1. They are followed by two players on 2-1: Yamashita Keigo and Takao Shinji.
Go lessons in train station: The headline is a little misleading, but that’s how Go Weekly reported it. To celebrate the 120th anniversary of the opening of the Japan Railway station at Ichigaya (the closest station to the Nihon Ki-in), go lectures and teaching games by professionals were staged in an Italian restaurant on the second floor of the building over the station on March 6 and 7. Around 30 people attended the introductory lectures given by Mizuma Toshifumi 7P. About the same number of people played teaching games with five professionals. Not only were these events free of charge, there were also complimentary drinks and snacks.
Iyama defends Kisei title: Iyama Yuta (right) emerged from one of the worst slumps of his career just in time for the 7th game of the 39th Kisei title match. After Iyama started the match with three wins, Yamashita fought back. Last year, the Kisei title match between these two followed the same pattern, but Yamashita ran out of steam in the sixth game, letting Iyama clinch his title defence. This year, Yamashita won three games in a row and his momentum seemed to be unstoppable. There were bad omens for Iyama. At the end of last year, he took a 2-1 lead in both the Oza and Tengen title matches, but went on to lost both by 2-3. Now he had missed three chances to defend his Kisei title. In short, he had missed seven chances to clinch a title win. Also, in the past there have been nine best-of-sevens in which one player won the first three games and the other the next three and in six cases the player making the comeback has won the seventh. It’s unlikely that players pay as much attention to statistics like these as go journalists or fans, but Iyama was certainly looking vulnerable. The game was played at the Ryugon inn in Minami Uonuma City in Niigata Prefecture on March 19 and 20. Being the seventh game, the nigiri to decide the colors was held again, and Iyama drew black. It may sound like a contradiction, but he played calmly but aggressively. Yamashita also fought hard, so the game became a very complicated one, with strategic sacrifices being made by both sides. The turning point seems to have come when Iyama played a move that looked like bad style but that cut off some white stones and made them heavy. They became a burden on Yamashita, and thereafter Iyama held the initiative. Despite attempts to complicate the game by white, he held on to the lead and won by 5.5 points after 216 moves. This is Iyama’s third Kisei title in a row and his 28th title overall. He also retains his quadruple crown. Having turned the corner with this win, he will probably face his Honinbo and Meijin defences with renewed confidence. The Age of Iyama continues!
57-year gap in women’s game: Sugiuchi Kazuko 8P (left) is 88 years old but still an active player (as is her husband Masao, who is six years older). In the final of Preliminary A in the Women’s Honinbo tournament, Sugiuchi (B) beat Nagashima Kozue 2P, who is aged 31, by 2.5 points, so she won a place in the main tournament for the first time in 15 years. Sugiuchi won the predecessor of this tournament, the Women’s Championship, four times in a row (from 1953 to 1956). I don’t know what the record age gap is (it’s probably held by her husband), but it would be nice to see a game between Sugiuchi Kazuko and the 16-year-old Fujisawa Rina.
Retirements: Two players are retiring as of March 31. They are Su Kaiseki 7P and Sato Machiko 2P. Both will be promoted by one rank. Su was born in Shanghai on September 22, 1948 and qualified as a pro at the Nihon Ki-in in 1968. He reached 7-dan in 2000. Sato was born on January 20, 1949. She became a disciple of Kitani Minoru, qualified as a pro in 1972 and was promoted to 2-dan in 1981. She is the wife of Sato Masaharu 9P.
After-school go club teachers in Seattle have often used handouts with go problems, but this year they have started giving each student their own workbook with their name on it. The results were surprising: the beginners really liked the books, sometimes more than playing. One student told me he was going to sign up for the spring session just so that he could finish his workbook! The go clubs are in local elementary schools, and most of the students are in grades 1-3. The Center is mostly using English translations of the “Level Up” books by Lee Jae-Hwan, with some of the “Speed Baduk” workbooks by Kim Sung-Rae as well.
The workbooks have been an education for the teachers as well. The books use a lot of repetition, and progress much more slowly than the typical introductory class at the Seattle Go Center. “Level Up” doesn’t introduce the concept of “two eyes” until the end of the 2nd volume. Apparently, the students like the repetition, as it makes the problems seem easy. But over time, they get a thorough grounding in the fundamentals. The “Level Up” series has 10 volumes; the “Jump Level Up” series follows that.
Finding the beginning volumes of either series in the U.S. can be hard, but the “Level Up” books can be ordered directly from Korea. They are shipped by international surface mail, so it takes a while for them to arrive. One order took about 2 weeks, another order, about 8 weeks. To order books, contact Baduktopia at firstname.lastname@example.org. More information on Baduktopia can be found on Facebook. Photo/Report by Brian Allen
Li Keqiang’s Go Metaphor: In a departure from previous years, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang did not cite any traditional Chinese sayings or poems at a recent news conference after the annual National People’s Congress. Instead, he used a go metaphor to convey his message. “In weiqi – a chessboard game invented by the Chinese – one has to both plan the big picture and also get the key moves right,” he said, explaining his strategy in managing China’s economy.
- Based on a report in the South China Morning Post; thanks to Melanie Manion and Dave Weimer for passing it along.
More on Legal Go Positions: “A colleague of mine 30 years ago offered a very clever way of accurately estimating the number of legal go positions, (Number of Legal 18×18 Go Positions Computed 3/17)” writes Eric Osman. “His name is Peter Sichel and his clever way was this: generate random board arrangements, and see what percentage of those are legal. If you want more accuracy, generate some more! The estimate for the number of legal positions is merely your percentage of legal ones multiplied by the total number of possible positions which of course is 3 to the square of 19 power.”
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The AGA Go Camp will take place from July 18th through July 25th at YMCA Camp Kern in Oregonia, Ohio (just 40 minutes from Cincinatti). Directors Amanda Miller and Nano Rivera return to organize the event, and they invite campers of all skill levels, between the ages of 8 and 18, to join them for a week of go-playing and fun. More information regarding the camp will be available soon, and registration should open within the next two weeks, keep your eyes out for future announcements in the E-J. Potential campers who participated in the NAKC or Redmond Cup are eligible for a $400 scholarship, and need-based scholarships will also be available. Any questions can be e-mailed to Amanda Miller at email@example.com. -Story and Photo by Amanda Miller.
The School Teams Tournament has extended their registration deadline to this Wednesday, to catch any last minute teams that didn’t have time to sign up. The tourney starts this Saturday. All matches will be played online, and schools from Canada, the US, and Mexico are all invited. Scholarship and cash prizes will both be distributed. To register, fill out the form here, by March 25. More information may be found on the AGHS website.
Players from the University of Tokyo edged out players from UCLA in an online friendship match on Saturday, February 14. The University of Tokyo team defeated the UCLA team with a 3-2 record. Players from both teams are active members of their university go clubs. On the top board, Chaohao Pan, the UCLA team captain, yielded to Kentaro Tsutsumi after he lost a string of key stones when trying to capture Tsutsumi’s invading white dragon. On the second board, Norman Tsai from UCLA lost to Hikaru Ishikawa in a game that was peaceful and balanced until the eightieth move, when Ishikawa fatally punished an overplay by Tsai. Leo Zhang scored UCLA’s first victory with a win on the fifth board against Takaya Matsuura, whose mistake in the early endgame cost him the life of a huge group. The game on the fourth board was also decided by an endgame error, but in this case it cost UCLA’s Chenyi Zhu the game against Keito Tabuchi. UCLA’s other win came from Izuki Matsuba, the only club member from Japan, who defeated his compatriot Shuhei Nakajima with a solid lead throughout the game. “It is a great experience to play with the Japanese players,” said Chenyi Zhu. “They are strong, but I am confident that the victory will belong to us the next time.“
Julie Burrall 1d topped the Davis/Sacramento Go Club’s Spring Tournament at the Rancho Cordova library on March 14. There were 10 players. Burrall won the upper division, and Tai-An Cha, 5k, won the lower division. The library co-sponsored the event and advertised it at the library. “In addition to the tournament, we set up an area to teach beginners about go,” reports Willard Haynes. “We introduced the game to five people. We also celebrated Pi Day with a chocolate cream pie.”
photo: John Patterson teaching.
Number of Legal 18×18 Go Positions Computed; 19×19 On The Horizon: “It took about 50,000 CPU hours and 4PB of disk IO, but now we know the exact number of legal 18×18 Go positions,” johntromp wrote in a recent post on slashdot. “Seeking computing power for the ultimate 19×19 count,” the post continues. “Thanks to the Chinese Remainder Theorem, the work of computing L(19,19) can be split up into 9 jobs that each compute 64 bits of the 566-bit result. Allowing for some redundancy, we need from 10 to 13 servers, each with at least 8 cores, 512GB RAM, and ample disk space (10-15TB), running for about 5-9 months.”
Thanks to Steve Colburn for passing this along.
Latest XKCD Go Comic: In a possibly related development, here’s the latest go comic from xkcd, “A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language.”
John Power, Japan Correspondent
China Beats Japan in Agon-Kiriyama Play-off: The 16th Agon Kiriyama Cup Japan-China Play-off was held at the Kyoto headquarters of the Agon sect of Buddhism on March 14. Representing China, the 17-year old Ke Jie (right), winner of the Chinese version of this title, beat Iyama Yuta of Japan, so China won this title for the 12th time in a row. Holding white, Ke secured a resignation after 146 moves. Iyama seems to be in the worst slump of his career. Besides this defeat, he lost the two title matches he played at the end of last year and he has just lost three games in a row in the Kisei title match. The seventh Kisei game is going to be extremely important for him.
Hungarian Schoolkids Championship: The Hungarian Schoolkids Championship, a class C tournament, played on 3/7/2015 in Budapest, Hungary, was won by Dominik Boviz 4d (photo), second came Viktor Toth 13k and third was Barnabas Kollner 8k. Result table.
Trigantius: The Trigantius, a class A tournament, played on 3/7/2015 in Cambridge, United Kingdom, was won by Charles Hibbert 3d, second came Andrew Simons 4d ( photo ) and third was Alex Rix 3d. Result table.
In-seong’s Spring Go Camp: Set for April 16-19 near Freiburg, Germany. Info/registration here.
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The Manhattan Go Club and Seattle Go Center top the first month of the new AGA Chapter Rewards program, earning 150,000 and 125,000 points, respectively. AGA chapters earn points when they get new or renewing members or when their members play rated games. Small and medium clubs get an extra multiplier to earn points faster. “We got off to a great start in January with new and renewing memberships” says Rewards Coordinator Gurujeet Khalsa. Seventy one chapters earned a total of 2,412,500 points, “almost $2,500 that chapters can get reimbursement for expenses related to go promotion.” Click here to see chapter-by-chapter results for January, and details on how points are calculated. Activity by members unaffiliated with a chapter still earn points in an AGA pool (see instructions here on how to affiliate with a chapter). To redeem points, take a picture of a receipt with a smartphone and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Put in a one line description of what the go promotional activity was (e.g. “Advertisement for Cherry Blossom tournament”). Also include the chapter name and the name and address for reimbursement. Reimbursement is to the person listed as the chapter organizer or to a club account with the chapter name. Address any questions to email@example.com.
Former Korean insei Mark Lee took home the $700 first-place prize at the 2015 Southern California Go Championship, held the weekend of February 28-March 1 in Monterey Park, California. Seventy two players from Southern California and as far away as the San Francisco Bay area, Arizona, Oregon and Atlanta, Georgia participated in the tournament, which featured a total prize purse of $3,000 and was organized and directed by Kevin Chao. Thanks to sponsorship by the World Journal and American Asia Culture Exchange Association, the event took place at the spacious headquarters of the Los Angeles division of the World Journal (http://www.worldjournal.com/page-about_us-e/).
Open Section: 1st place Mark Lee (5-0), 2nd place Danny Ko (4-1), 3rd place Youwhan Kim (4-1), 4th place Qipeng Luo (3-2), 5th place two-time defending champion Evan Cho (3-2).
Dan Section: 1st place Tyler Oyakawa (5-0), 2nd place Brandon Zhou (4-1), 3rd place AGA president Andy Okun (4-1), 4th place Ted Drange (4-1), 5th place Hanhua Li (4-1)
Upper Kyu Section: 1st place Suttiat Boonchuen (5-0), 2nd place Julie Burrall (4-1), 3rd place Aijun Song, 4th place Alfred Foung (4-1)
Mid Kyu Section: 1st place Ross Secrest (4-1), 2nd place John Bulcher (4-1), 3rd place Michal Lebl (4-1)
Lower Kyu Section: 1st place Dowson Yang (4-1), 2nd place Derek Su (3-2), 3rd place Vivie Truong (3-2)
Photos: (top right) James Guo, president of World Journal L.A., presents the first place trophy to Mark Lee; tournament playing venue. photo by Kevin Chao.
by John Power, EJ Japan Correspondent
Yamashita Draws Level in Kisei, Forcing Decisive Game 7: The sixth game of the 39th Kisei title match was held at the Gyokushoen Arai inn in Izu City, Shizuoka Prefecture, on March 11 and 12. Taking black, Yamashita Keigo 9P (right) defeated Iyama Yuta 9P by resignation after 189 moves. Yamashita has now won three games in a row, so the title match goes down to the wire. The final game will be played on March 19 and 20.
Xie Defends Women’s Meijin Title: The second game of the 27th Women’s Meijin title match was played at Heian Jogaku University, a private women’s university in Kyoto also known as St. Agnes’ University, on 11 March. Xie Yimin, playing black, forced Suzuki Ayumi 6P to resign after 177 moves and so won this title for the eighth year in a row.
Europe’s newest professional go players are Mateusz Surma (left) from Poland and Ilya Shikshin from Russia. Surma took first place in the European Pro Qualification tournament, held March 6-8 in Pisa; Shiksin was second. They join Pavol Lisy and Ali Jabarin, who were the EGF’s first pros last year. Click here for details on the 2015 tournament, including links to some of the tournament games. The four EGF professionals are now qualified for the Grand Slam Tournament in Berlin coming up April 3-6.
- Martin Stiassny, EGF President
San Diego Go Club members taught go to all interested and played exhibition games at the Tenth Annual Cherry Blossom Festival at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park in San Diego on March 7 & 8. Thousands came out to the garden in 70 degree weather to see the bursting cherry blossoms on over 150 trees. A new $3,000,000 expansion of the garden, including a tea house next to a water fall and koi pond, is almost compete. Club volunteers were kept busy both days from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., teaching go to eager parties ranging in age from 5 to 85. So many people were eager to learn go that they had to queue up for lessons. Many copies of “The Way to Go,” donated by the American Go Foundation, were given to those who showed interest in learning the game.
- report/photo by Ted Terpstra, President, San Diego Go Club. Photo: San Diego Go Club member Les Lanphear (right, in hat) explaining the intricacies of go;
by John Power, EJ Japan Correspondent
Korea Makes Good Start In Women’s Tournament: The first round of the 5th Huanglong Shuangdeng Cup World Women’s Team Championship was held in the city of Meiyan in Jiangsu Province. It is run along similar lines to the Nong Shim Cup, but is split up into just two stages. Korea made a great start when O Jonga 2P won the first five games, but China won the final two games. The second round starts on April 5. Results are:
Game 1 (March 1). O Jonga (Korea) (W) beat Okuda Aya 3P (Japan) by resig.
Game 2 (March 2). O (B) beat Li He 5P (China) by resig.
Game 3 (March 3). O (W) beat Kibe Natsuki 1P (Japan) by resig.
Game 4 (March 4). O (W) beat Wang Chenxing 5P (China) by resig.
Game 5 (March 5). O (W) beat Fujisawa Rina 2P (Japan) by resig. (photo)
Game 6 (March 6). Song Ronghui 5P (China) beat O by 2.5 points.
Game 7 (March 7). Song (B) beat Hoshiai Shiho 1P (Japan) by resig.
Multiple Tie In Meijin League: One game was played in the 40th Meijin League on March 5. Yamashita Keigo 9P (B) beat Cho U 9P by 5.5 points. Yamashita improved his score to 2-1 and Cho dropped to 1-2. Yamashita shares the lead with four other players: Kono Rin, Takao Shinji, Murakawa Daisuke, and Ko Iso.
Two Young Players Make NHK Cup Final: Probably not many fans predicted the finalists in the 62nd NHK cup. In the first semifinal, telecast on March 1, the 17-year-old Ichiriki Ryo (W) defeated quadruple title-holder Iyama Yuta by resignation. Ichiriki played brilliantly in the middle-game fighting. Ichiriki made his debut in the NHK Cup this year and so far has won five games in a row, all with white. In his last two games before the semifinal, he beat Kono Rin 9P and Takao Shinji 9P. The second semifinal was telecast on March 8. Playing black, the 20-year-old Ida Atsushi 8P (he turns 21 on March 15) beat Hane Naoki 9P by 6.5 points. In the third round, Ida eliminated the winner of the last three NHK cups, Yuki Satoshi 9P.
To 9-dan: Hoshino Masaki (200 wins)
To 3-dan: Tsuruta Kazushi (40 wins)
Obituary: Okubo Ichigen
Okubo Ichigen 9P (right) died of pneumonia on March 2. Born on March 15, 1929, Okubo became a disciple of (Ms) Masubuchi Tatsuko 8P. He made 1-dan in 1944 and reached 9-dan in 1968. He retired in 1999. He won the rating tournament in 1948 and 1950. In 1965, he played in the final of the Oza tournament, but lost 0-2 to Handa Dogen. He won a number of Kido Prizes during his career. In the late 60s or early 70s, he made a long instruction tour of North America that was a bit of a landmark at the time.
March 14: Sacramento, CA
Davis/Sacramento Spring Quarterly
Willard Haynes firstname.lastname@example.org 916-929-6112
March 14: Tempe, AZ
Arizona AGA Rating Tournament
William Gundberg email@example.com 480-831-5567
March 15: Portland, OR
Sunday Chess and Go Tournament
Peter Freedman firstname.lastname@example.org 503-242-4203
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