School kids in Mexico City capped off their year with tourneys in two locations, reports organizer Siddhartha Avila. “We gave the North american Kyu Championship prizes sent by the American Go Association to Valeria Gonzalez and Samuel Suástegui,” said Avila. “All the kids received a kanji, made by artist Yuko Kosaka, that conveyed a good wish or thought for their lives. We are thankful to have such wonderful people around us, congrats to all the young go players! Pictures of the event can be seen here. Our final tourney was July 5th, it was organized for the students at Gimnasio de Go and hosted by Templo Budista Eko, the tournament was divided in two brackets, 16-20 kyu and 10-15 kyu. We also held a tourney at a Chinese School,Instituto de Idioma y Cultura China, on June 21st. Players ranging from the ages of 5 to 11 competed on 13×13 boards, 1st place went to Nicholas Moran,” Avila reports. Pictures of the event can be seen here. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Photos: top: Siddhartha Avila (standing) observing a game at the Chinese school match; bottom: students compete at the Templo Budista.
Winners report, Gimnasio de Go: 10-15k Bracket: 1. Omar Zavala; 2. Lilian Zavala; 3. Valeria Gonzalez; 4. Paula Herrera; 5. Diego Armando Luciano. 16-20k Bracket: 1. Marcos Gonzalez; 2. Rodrigo Villegas; 3. Dante Zavala; 4. Sebastián Bañuelos; 5. Diego Alí.
Due to technical difficulties with the usual election site the ballots instructing voters to go to www.ballotbin.com have been voided, reports AGA Election Coordinator Arnold Eudell. “If you have successfully voted on Ballotbin your vote will be counted and you will not receive a new ballot,” says Eudell. Every eligible voter should have received a new email that directs them to the Balloteer.com website and includes a voter ID and password. Any questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Chinese Taipei’s Yitien Chan won the 2014 World Amateur Go Championship on July 9, narrowly edging out Korea’s Taewoong Wei and Ruoran Wang of China. The three were all 7-1, so the winner was decided by SOS (sum of opponents’ scores), with Taipei scoring 46 to Korea’s 45, and China in third at 43. This is the first time in nearly 30 years that a country other than the “Big Three” – Korea, China and Japan – has won the WAGC; the last time was 1986, when Hong Kong won, and in recent years, Korea and China have dominated. “The most important thing is to have a good mindset,” Chan (right) told the E-Journal, explaining the key to his victory. “When the situation is not good, just calm down and find a way out.” Past the age at which he could turn pro in Taipei, Chan is in his senior year in college, where he’s studying economics. The 2014 WAGC top 10 was filled out by Hong Kong (4th), the Ukraine (5th), the Czech Republic (6th), Russia (7th), Sweden (8th), Japan (9th) and the USA (10th). Click here for complete 2014 results and here for all WAGC winners 1979-2013.
Round 7: Early morning fog on the final day of the 2014 World Amateur Go Championship gave way to a clear sky and magnificent views of Lake Bomun. But news of the approach of Typhoon Neoguri left many WAGC players worried about their return flights, and there was turbulent weather on the go board in the 7th round as well, with numerous upsets and even a forfeit. Disappointed by his country’s shocking 7-1 loss to Germany in the World Cup semi-final, Brazil’s Csaba Deak earned an equally easy win over Azerbaijan when Bahadur Tahirbayov overslept and missed his morning match. Czech Lukas Podpera won comfortably against Japan’s Kiko Emura, a bitter result for Emura who was pulling out all stops after his disappointing 8th in last year’s tournament. A large Russian group was fatally encircled by China, leaving Dmitry Surin far behind, though the Russian stubbornly played through to the end of his 37-point loss. Korea forced a resignation from the US (click here for the game record) and Chinese Taipei defeated Thailand, leaving the three Asian go giants locked in a tight battle for this year’s title. At the end of the 7th round, Korea and Chinese Taipei had the same tiebreak score of 30 with China close behind with 28, which meant that, assuming that these players all won their final games, the overall winner would depend on the results of their previous opponents, so reporters were keeping a close eye not only on the top matches but on other key ones as well.
Other game records: Taipei-Thailand; Australia-Israel
Round 8: In the final round on Wednesday afternoon, Hungarian Pal Balogh had no fear of his Korean opponent, dubbing himself ‘Balogh The Great’ on his score sheet and launching into the infamous taisha joseki, neither of which impressed Korean powerhouse Taewoong Wei whose solid, powerful play soon forced Balogh’s resignation. After being mauled by Korea in the previous round, Jie Liang of the US fared no better at the hands of China (click here for the game record), coming up winless for the day when his time ran out, while Canada’s Yongfei Ge could not erase a 10-point deficit against France’s Antoine Fenech in the endgame and resigned. Costa Rica’s Luis Enrique Boza Araya once again put his money on tengen in one last stab at chalking up his first score, but Azerbaijanian Tahirbayov, rested from his morning’s slumber, prevailed. In a tense showdown between Russia and the Ukraine, it was the latter who took control, fending off the Russian incursion into his territory. Mexico developed a winning position against India but Ricardo Quintero Zazueta managed to give away the game to Sonia Shah in a slip under time pressure.
Other Game Records: Russia-China; Hungary-Korea; Singapore-Taipei
Random Notes: Hungary’s Pal Balogh uses almost no time on his clock yet he always seems to be up walking around the playing area checking out other games…Though most of the players either dressed casually or wore sports coats, India’s Soni Shah brought some welcome sartorial cheer with her colorful saris…No matter how much trouble his stones might be having on the board, eleven-year-old Rafif Shidqi Fitrah always had a bright smile and was clearly enjoying every moment of his time at the tournament…Long after the final game of the tournament had finished, Russia’s Dmitry Surin and the Ukraine’s Bogdan Zhurakovskyi were deep in a review of their game, a perfect example of the power of go to transcend political turmoil. Shah and Fitrah both won special prizes, as did Nhat Minh Vo of Vietnam and Brazil’s Csaba Deak, and Lucian Corlan (Romania) and Tiawattananont Thanapol (Thailand) won this year’s Fighting Spirit awards.
- Reporting by John Richardson and Chris Garlock, photos by John Pinkerton and coordination by Ivan Vigano. Thanks to Thomas Hsiang for translation assistance with the Yitien Chan interview. Click here for Ranka’s complete reports and here for complete results.
After his 5th-round win over Chinese Taipei’s Yitien Chan on Tuesday morning, China’s Ruoran Wang (left, below) must have been eying the 2014 World Amateur Go Championship trophy a bit possessively. After all, he had just beaten the only other top undefeated player, and heavy favorite Taewoong Wei of Korea (at right) had lost by half a point to Taipei in the 3rd round on Monday. But when the dust settled after the 6th round on Tuesday afternoon, the top trophy was once more up for grabs, with China, Korea and Taipei all holding 5-1 records, though on SOS, Korea looks to have the edge.
Meanwhile, the US and Russia, also 5-1, are looking to break back into the top five and Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Canada and the Czech Republic are battling it out for a top 10 finish. The final two rounds on Wednesday will settle things; top pairings for Round 7 are Korea-US, China-Russia, Taipei-Thailand and Hong Kong-Canada. Click here for latest results.
It was Korean maestro Taewoong Wei who derailed China’s march to the title by snatching victory in his 6th-round game Tuesday afternoon against China’s Ruoran Wang, who had taken the lead just that morning with a win against Taipei (click here for the game record). Wang let out a huge yawn at the start of the afternoon round and the game turned into an early running battle with the Korean collecting points on the right side of the board that in the end proved to be too much (click here for the Korea-China game record).
Meanwhile, Jie Liang (US, below right) edged out Yongfei Ge (Canada, below left) by 1.5 points in a North American showdown Tuesday morning that was one of the last games to finish (click here for the game record). Perhaps drained from his hard-fought 4th-round win against Japan on Monday afternoon, Ge fell behind early and Liang was able to maintain his lead into the finish. Liang then drew the Czech Republic’s Lukas Podpera in the 6th-round. Podpera had fought gamely but vainly against Korea in his morning round (click here for the game record) and threw himself into the battle with Liang, winning three fierce ko’s but coming up short in the end and resigning gracefully (click here for the game record).
As the tournament wears on the challengers are cranking up the pace, and many games are now reaching their conclusions before the one hour mark. Players are getting more experimental too, with Francis Roads (United Kingdom) taking two 5-4 points and 3-3 sightings coming from the New Zealand and Swiss camps. Dominique Versyck (Belgium) was delighted with his 6th-round defeat of India’s Soni Shah 1D, taking apart a large central group that he allowed he “didn’t need to kill but, well, might as well.” While “perhaps not the politest solution,” Versyck’s victory pushed him to a respectable three wins out of six. Twelve-year-old Nhat Minh Vo (Vietnam) steered his 6th-round game into a huge central battle, culminating with a semeai where it was his stones, and not those of Australian opponent Sang-Dae Hahn, that perished in the fight.
Other Round 5 game records: Sweden-Russia
Other Round 6 game records: Thailand-Slovakia; ChineseTaipei-Ukraine
Shigeno Passes the Torch: This year’s WAGC marked the retirement of Yuki Shigeno (at right) from her post as the Secretary General of the International Go Federation (IGF), where she’s served since 2006. Hajin Lee (left) of the KBA is the IGF’s new Secretary General. Shigeno and her husband Ivan Vigano, who edits Ranka, have been longtime friends and supporters of the E-Journal’s WAGC team; we deeply appreciate the many kindnesses she’s shown us over the years and wish her the very best as she continues her work promoting go at the Nihon Kiin. Click here for Ranka’s complete report.
- Game reports by John Richardson, game records by Chris Garlock, photos by John Pinkerton and coordination by Ivan Vigano. Click here for Ranka’s complete reports and here for complete results. Matches are broadcast live each round on WBaduk.
Aji’s Quest, the popular online comic about a quoll who plays go, has published its last panel, author Colette Bezio announced on July 5th. Her comic strip was launched two years ago and has grown to 180 pages, and attracted an international audience of kids and adults. Fans followed the witty adventures of a quoll named Aji, on his long quest to become a go master. On the way he encounters a huge variety of go playing animals and creatures, all of whom illustrate different aspects of the game, and provide some kind of lesson to help Aji along the way. “A sequel is possible… I even have a couple of ideas,” said Bezio, “but I have to get back to some other projects before I even think about it seriously.” The strip can be read on Bezio’s website here, and was also featured on Tigersmouth. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Drawing by Colette Bezio: Aji confronts his worst nightmare, the evil white stones monster.
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Korea and Japan, two of the favorites to top the 2014 World Amateur Go Championship, both lost by half a point to their respective opponents from Chinese Taipei and China in the third round of the WAGC on Monday morning. China and Chinese Taipei then solidified their status as clear favorites by handily winning their 4th-round games Monday afternoon, with the Czech Republic’s Lukas Podpera (left) the only other 4-game winner, while Japan’s dwindling hopes were dashed by Canadian Yongfei Ge. Korea, meanwhile, kept their hopes alive with a 4th-round win over Hong Kong. Click here for complete results.
Korean star Taewoong Wei (at right), the clear favorite to win the first WAGC to be held in Korea, felt he had a comfortable lead coming out of the fuseki in the 3rd-round game, but young Yitien Chan (at left in photo) from Chinese Taipei came up with an unexpected play at move 98 that both agreed in their review later (click here for the commented game) gave Chan a winning position, although fierce and complicated play continued for another 200+ moves.
Japan’s Kiko Emura, hoping for victory after a disappointing 8th place in last year’s tournament, also lost a half-pointer to China’s Ruoran Wang; their 3rd-round battle kept fans on the edge of their seats as the two players tussled over an intense endgame in which Emura was constantly under time pressure. As it turned out, the pressure extended to Emura’s clock button, which finally broke, allowing Emura’s time to expire, and bringing play to a halt as a crowd gathered around the board awaiting the referees’ decision as to how to continue the game. It was decided to keep playing with a new clock, giving the Japanese player one final byo-yomi period. “I was happy with how things were going,” said Emura, “but before I knew it I wound up half a point behind. I’m used to fast time limits but this clock business added to the stress of this important game.”
Other Round 3 Game Records
Norway-Sweden: Includes comments/variations by Thomas Hsiang, Hajin Lee & the players
Lithuania-Denmark: Comments/variations by the players, plus Pal Balogh (Hungary) & Fredrik Blomback (Sweden), in photo at left.
Uncommented game records: Japan-China; Vietnam-Ukraine.
In the 4th round, Malaysia’s Suzanne D’Bel (below, right) finally got the chance to show why the Japanese press call her “Tengen Girl”, drawing black and deploying her trademark tengen strategy. A fight erupted in the first few moves that engulfed the entire board, eventually leading to death and destruction, and the defeat of her Portugese opponent, Pedro Pereira (click here for the game record). Meanwhile, Costa Rican system engineer Luis Enrique Boza Araya once again tried again to mimic D’Bel’s winning strategy but was clinically dispatched by his Swiss adversary Sylvain Gasana Praz.
Canadian Yongfei Ge snuffed Japan’s Kiko Emura’s ambitions once and for all in an exciting 4th-round game in which Ge built – and defended — a gigantic central moyo. Emura went all in with a desperate invasion but it was not enough to shake Canada’s WAGC veteran (click here for the game commentary).
Previous Round Updates: Yesterday’s WAGC report has been updated to include the Japan-Netherlands Round 1 game and we’ve also added the following Round 2 games: Belgium-Czech Republic; Taipei-Hong Kong; Korea-Canada.
- Game reports by John Richardson, game records by Chris Garlock, photos by John Pinkerton and coordination by Ivan Vigano. Click here for Ranka’s complete reports on the third round and fourth round and here for complete results. Matches are broadcast live each round on WBaduk.
Round 1 Reports, Game Record & Photos
There were no surprises for top seeds in the first two rounds of the 35th Annual World Amateur Go Championship in Gyeongju, Korea on Sunday, July 6. In the first-round Japan-Hungary match, the game reached an essentially lost position with only three minutes used on Pal Balogh’s clock. After a twenty minute deliberation, the Hungarian left the playing room but returned minutes later to choose the only possible continuation and struggle through a futile battle to the bitter end. In the Hong Kong-Netherlands game, Naisan Chan (at left in photo) enclosed the Dutch envoy’s central-right stones in another first-round battle but no amount of tsumego wizardry could save Merlijn Kuin’s (right) group from inevitable demise. “I thought W58 was good enough but to be honest I didn’t read it out very carefully,” said Kuin. “I should have taken more time to consider my options.” Click here for the Hong Kong-Netherlands game record.
Other interesting first-round games included Costa Rica versus Belgium, this year seeing a new player, the Costa Rican system engineer Luis Enrique Boza Araya, attempt a tengen-based strategy. He was unable to use the central stone, however, and suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of Belgian accountant Dominique Versyck. Suzanne D’Bel, known by the Japanese press as ‘Tengen Girl’, took white in her game against Andreas Götzfried of Luxembourg, so we have yet to see if she too will employ this unusual opening strategy.
Sweden-US: Jie Liang (US) let his advantage slip away in the middle game as Sweden’s Fredrik Blomback squeaked out a narrow win. Click here for a game commentary by Kim Seung Jun 9P of Blackie’s International Baduk Academy (www.bibabaduk.net), with assistance by Shawn Ray 4D.
Lithuania-Canada (click here for game record): As to be expected in a match-up between a 3-dan and a 7-dan, Canada’s Ge (below at right, reviewing the game) cruised to an early lead; the middle-game death of one of Petrauskas’ (Lithuania) groups simply hastened the inevitable.
Round 2 Reports, Game Record & Photos
After a lunch of fish and assorted kimchi, the players returned to the underground playing area for the second round. Within fifteen minutes Hungary’s Pal Balogh’s game had yet again finished in a flurry, but this time with victory over Khatanbaatar Tsend-Ayush, a hotel manager from Mongolia. Also quick to finish was the US-India game, both players playing very rapidly until the end. Soon after, South African John William Leuner was defeated by Danish postman Arne Steen Ohlenbuch when his group became entangled in a web of black stones.
This was not the only spectacular game of the afternoon. A large crowd gathered around the Indonesia-Luxembourg match-up as semeais erupted and dead stones littered the board. Malaysian representative Suzanne D’Bel launched a fierce attack on Brazilian Csaba Deak and, although he managed to dodge this assault, another group came under fire, leading to a decisive victory for D’Bel.
But the bloodshed didn’t stop there. An audible groan was let out by the UK’s Francis Roads (at left) as he tried to find a way to save his group from Australian Sangdae Hahn’s deadly onslaught (click here for game record). Not finding a solution, the stone in Roads’ hand was slammed back into the pot, followed shortly by resignation. The candidates from Costa Rica and Portugal joined the list of casualties as large groups were swallowed up by their Belarusian and Lithuanian counterparts.
Round 2 game records:
New Zealand-Ireland (photo of Ireland’s John Gibson at right)
No suprises again at the top, as Korea, China, Japan and Chinese Taipei all won their games. A highlight was Korea-Canada, with Canada’s Yongfei Ge, back again from last year, putting up strong resistance in a relatively peaceful game. His 45-point lower side was not quite enough to overcome Taewoong Wei. Japan vs Singapore took the longest to finish but in the end Kiko Emura’s lead in territory sealed another Japanese victory.
- Game reports by John Richardson, game records by Chris Garlock, photos by John Pinkerton and coordination by Ivan Vigano. Click here for Ranka’s complete reports on the first round and second round and here for complete results.
Why top players love go is as varied as the players themselves, but they all pretty much agree that in order to get stronger, “you must love the game.” So said Japan’s Emura Kiko at a brief press conference on the opening day of this year’s World Amateur Go Championship, echoed by Malaysia’s Suzanne D’Bel Low, Korea’s Taewoong Wei, China’s Ruoran Wang, Vietnam’s Nhat Minh Vo and the Czech Republic’s Lukas Podpera, who were selected to answer questions at the press conference. “Go enables me to meet a lot of new friends, who become part of my family,” said Low. “Each game reveals my opponent’s style and personality,” added Podpera. At just 13, Vo is the youngest player at the WAGC, but already the game has enabled him to “meet a lot of interesting new people and travel around the world to share the go spirit,” he said. And while all the selected players said that lots of play and study is necessary to improve, Podpera was the most specific, noting that “In Europe we are failing at life and death (tsume-go) so that’s what we must study to improve.” Wei was even more succinct, saying that the three things necessary to get better at go are “Will, confidence and concentration.”
- Chris Garlock; photo by Ivan Vigano
The 35th World Amateur Go Championship got underway Saturday morning in Gyeongju, Korea with the traditional Friendship Match between local go players and the WAGC players from around the world. Gathered in the main playing area on the first floor of the Hotel Hyundai, the WAGC players’ places were marked as usual by their nation’s flags and the locals eagerly joined them for a spirited round of friendly but intense matches. At the head of the room were pro Kim In 9P (at right in photo at lower left) playing a teaching game with a local luminary beneath the WAGC banner. Gyeongju City, along with the Republic of Korea, is hosting the WAGC in this scenic resort in the Bomun Lake resort area. In the back of the room, professional Hyun Wook Lee (at right in bottom right photo) played a 10-on-1 simul while Ms. Yun Jin Bae gave some three dozen avid youngsters a go lecture. After an opening ceremony and banquet on Saturday night, the tournament will begin Sunday and run through Wednesday, with games scheduled each morning and afternoon. The E-Journal and Ranka are teaming up again this year to provide full coverage of the WAGC, including updates on each round, player interviews, game commentaries, photos and final daily results at the end of each day.
- report/photos by Chris Garlock
July 15 is the deadline to reserve the lowest hotel prices for US Go Congress attendees at the Hotel Pennsylvania. “After July 15, we cannot guarantee room availability or prices, so you’d have to book rooms at the hotel’s normal rates instead of our special discounted rates,” says Congress Director Matthew Hershberger. “We’ve negotiated incredibly low rates with the Hotel Pennsylvania for go players, so don’t miss out!” Late fees for Congress registration will also go up after July 15. The US Go Congress runs August 9-17 in New York City.