by John Power, EJ Japan Correspondent
Iyama Takes Lead, Then Kono Catches Up In Gosei Title Match: The third game of the 39th Gosei title match was held at the Nagaoka Grand Hotel in Nagaoka City, Niigata Prefecture, on August 11. This was three weeks after the second game, which is a long gap for a best-of-five. Playing black, the challenger Kono Rin 9-dan (right, in photo) seemed to have a slight advantage when he won a ko and killed a white group fairly early in the game (before move 100), but he made a couple of slack moves later that cost him his chance to wrap up the game. Worse, he made an overly aggressive answer to a white invasion and ended up on the wrong side of a losing capturing race. He resigned on move 204. The fourth game was held on Iyama’s home ground, the Kansai Headquarters of the Nihon Ki-in, on August 25, but that didn’t help him. Playing white, Kono forced a resignation after 224 moves. I don’t have any information about the course of the game. The deciding game will be played on Kono’s home ground, the Tokyo headquarters of the Nihon Ki-in in Ichigaya, on August 29.
Kono Doing Well In Other Tournaments: Regardless of whether or not he takes the Gosei title, Kono Rin (left) is the in-form player at the moment in Japan (see the TV Asia Cup report below). As of August 23, his win-loss record was 42-12, a winning record of nearly 78%. He has the most wins by a comfortable margin. On August 4, he won the play-off to become the Meijin challenger, as reported earlier. On August 13, he beat Yoda Norimoto 9-dan in the semifinal of the 40th Tengen tournament, so there is a good chance he will be making yet another challenge to Iyama; taking white, he won by 6.5 points. (His opponent in the final will be Takao Shinji, who beat Ichiriki Ryo in the other semifinal on August 21.) He has also reached the semifinal of the 21st Agon Kiriyama Cup.
Lee Se-Dol Wins TV Asia Cup: Lee Se-dol (right) had not won an international title for a while, but he is ahead in his ten-game match with Gu Li and he offered more evidence, if it should be needed, that he is still a force to be reckoned with by winning the 26th TV Asia Cup. In the final, he beat Kono Rin (left, in photo at right). Kono had encouraged Japanese fans by beating the player currently ranked number one in the world, Pak Jung-hwan of Korea, in the semifinal, but he was outmatched by Lee in the final. This is the third time Lee has won this title and the first time for six years. This year the tournament was staged in Beijing.
Full results: Round 1, Game 1 (August 16). Lee Se-dol 9-dan (Korea) (B) beat Tao Xinran 5-dan (China) by resig. Round 1, Game 2 (August 16). Kono (B) beat Li Qinchang 1-dan by 1.5 points. (Though just a 1-dan, the 15-year-old Li won the Chinese qualifying tournament telecast on CCTV.) Round 1, Game 3 (August 17). Pak Jung-hwan 9-dan (Korea) (B) beat Yuki Satoshi 9-dan (Japan) by resig. Semifinal 1 (August 17). Lee (B) beat Iyama Yuta by 2.5 points. Semifinal 2 (August 18) Kono (B) beat Pak by resig. Final (August 19). Lee (W) beat Kono by resig.
Fujisawa Rin To Make First Challenge: The pairing in the play-off to decide the challenger to Mukai Chiaki for the 33rd Women’s Honinbo Title was the same as in the final of the new women’s tournament the Aizu Central Hospital Cup: Fujisawa Rina (right) vs. Okuda Aya (left). The result was the same: a win for Fujisawa. The game was played at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo on August 21; taking white, Fujisawa forced a resignation. Fujisawa is bidding to become the female Iyama Yuta, as she is rewriting the record book for youth landmarks. She will be exactly 16 when the first game of the title match is played on October 8 (birthday September 18); the previous youngest challenger was Xie Yimin at 17 years 10 months.
27th Women’s Meijin League: Two games were played in the first round of the 27th Women’s Meijin League on August 21. Kato Keiko 6-dan (B) beat Chinen Kaori 4-dan by 1.5 points and Mukai Chiaki, Women’s Honinbo, (B) beat Aoki Kikuyo 8-dan by 4.5 points.
Promotions: To 9-dan: Mizokami Tomochika (200 wins); To 4-dan: Kanazawa Makoto (50 wins); To 2-dan: Fujimura Yosuke (30 wins).
When you think of a go school you probably imagine us holed up inside for endless hours of study, practice and play. So you would have been surprised to see the Blackie’s International Baduk Academy (BIBA) students recently when we went camping and hit the beach.
After a three-hour drive, we arrived at a cabin on the side of a spectacular mountain; shades of summer camp back in the States. Except that in this cabin there was a very nice go board and bowls of stones waiting for us, and less than ten minutes after we arrived, we were playing go. After losing a couple of games to fellow students, I decided to try my luck on the tennis court just outside the cabin. Tennis is my favorite physical sport, so I jumped at the chance to finally get outside and play and we had time for two matches before lunch.
After lunch, we hiked to a waterfall. It was a bit more strenuous getting there than I’d anticipated but well worth it for the refreshing plunge into the icy waters. When another student dove under the waterfall to try and get a rock from beneath the crashing waters, I had to take the challenge on as well. Just like go, however, it proved to be far more difficult than I had realized. Diving under a waterfall and fighting the current to get to the bottom was very hard! I persevered, however, and was finally able to get a rock as well. Here we are at the side of the waterfall getting ready to take the plunge.
After our trip to the waterfall, we all went back to the camp to play more go and tennis, including doubles and Pair Go. My score for the day: seven games of go, seven tennis matches, and one rock from the waterfall. I slept very well that night but the next day I was really sore! No pain, no gain, right?
A few days after our camping trip, it was time for the yearly trip to the beach. The first day was a bit of a disappointment since the waves were too large and beach security wouldn’t let anyone in. No problem for go players: we went back to the hotel and played go. The second day was far more exciting, still with big waves, but safe enough for us to go in. Again like go, though, appearances were deceptive. After riding the waves a good few times, I was pushed into the beach where I was knocked over and dragged back into the water only to be hit by the next wave. This repeated about four times before I was able to stand up and get out of the current. I probably should have resigned there but no, back in I went. Riding the waves more carefully this time around, I was really enjoying myself, until, a really big wave lifted me and my float ring up, completely flipped me over and threw me into the beach face first. With a bloody nose and sore shoulder, I was 0-2 but not ready to resign just yet and went right back into the water for a few more hours of fun.
Getting good at go is hard work but it’s important to remember to have fun. The BIBA students managed to find challenges on our mountain and beach vacation but most of all we had a lot of fun and welcomed the respite from the continuous study schedule we’re accustomed to. I look forward to our next outing, but now it’s back to work!
Shawn Ray, known as Clossius to his YouTube and KGS fans, recently moved to Korea to do a series of lessons on BadukTV. photos courtesy Ray.
Wei Zhou 7D won the 2014 Korean Ambassador’s Cup, held August 17 in Sydney, New South Wales. Zenglin Wang 5D won the B Division and Florian Max 5K won Division C. The first Sydney Spring Tournament is set for Sunday October 19 in Surry Hills, New South Wales. Click here for the Australian Go Association’s tournament and event calendar. To receive the Australian go news email newsletter, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Horatio Davis, Special Correspondent
The 2014 US Open crosstab has been updated with nearly 60 game records sent in by players. Deadline for submitting game records is this Friday, August 29; email them to email@example.com. Games must be in sgf format with all game info complete, including both players’ full names, and the round number(s); also be sure to name the file in this format: US-Open_Rd1-Su-Kierulf (white player first). The US Open Masters Division crosstab has also been updated with game records of the top-board games.
photo: at the US Open; photo by Dahye Lee
Photographer Sarah Small’s album of 31 images of the 2014 US Pair Go Championships is now posted on the AGA’s Facebook page. Small brings an original and creative eye to the highly popular go variant first introduced in 1990.
photo by Sarah Small
The next session of In-seong Hwang 7D’s online go school starts next week but there’s still time to sign up for the American Yunguseng Dojang. A well-known top player in Europe, Hwang Inseong 7D has participated in major European tournaments since 2005 and is currently the top-rated player in the European Go Ratings. He trained at the Korean Yunguseng Academy, studied Go in Myong-ji University and worked for a baduk TV channel as commentator. The program consists of interactive online lectures, student league-play and game reviews on KGS. Students have access to all past lectures and reviews, including those from the European sister-school, as well as “personal go reports” to help students assess the progress they are making and the areas which need most work. “Great teacher, great sense of humor, and a penchant for understanding how people think,” says one student. “I feel myself getting stronger every day.” Click here for details on the program, schedule and pricing.
Where’s the 2015 Go Congress? “I’ve heard that the next Congress will be in Seattle or in Minneapolis,” writes Wayne Nelson. “Which is it?”
St Paul/Minneapolis, AKA the Twin Cities: see 2015 Congress Website Launches 8/14 EJ.
Hugh Zhang 7d will be serving a second term as co-president of the American Go Honor Society (AGHS), alongside Calvin Sun 1P, who will be serving his first term. The organization, run entirely by high school students, has opted for two presidents several times before. “It’s great to see a lot of new faces joining the AGHS. I’m excited for the coming year and hope it will be our most successful yet!” Zhang told the E-Journal. “A lot of new ideas were suggested by various members this year, and we hope to implement some of them in the coming year.” Officer positions are still open, and the AGHS has extended the deadline until August 28th. Sign up today and help build the future of American go. Details and the application are available on the AGHS website. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Photo: Hugh Zhang 7d competing in the 2013 Korean Prime Minister’s Tournament.
Registration is now open for the 2014 SportAccord World Mind Games – Pandanet Online Tournament. This year’s go tournament, held jointly with Chess.com and BridgeBase.com, includes different bands and multiple winners in each band. Generous cash prizes will be awarded, along with other prizes such as tablet computers, Swatches, digital cameras, etc. In addition, SportAccord will provide weekly lottery prizes for all players who played in any given week, including computers, TV’s, etc. Click here for details.
Response to our request for US Open (or Masters Division) game records from last week’s US Go Congress has been so enthusiastic that we’re extending the deadline one week. Over 50 games have already been sent in for posting to the official US Open crosstab, so you can check out how your friends (and/or opponents) played (sometimes with variations and comments from pros at the Congress). Games must be in sgf format with all game info complete, including both players’ full names, and the round number(s); also be sure to name the file in this format: US-Open_Rd1-Su-Kierulf (white player first). Email game records by midnight next Friday, August 29 to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- photo by Nate Eagle
The Go and Math Academy in Chicago is looking for volunteers to help to promote go/weiqi at a Chinese cultural festival on September 27. About 1,500 students are expected to attend the daylong festival. “We need volunteers to prepare some activities and interact with visitors,” says local organizer Xinming Simon Guo 2d. “Because we have promoted go in Chicago schools for many years (McCormick Elementary Students Learn Go (And Math)) 7/29 EJ), probably some visitors already know the basic rules.” Contact Guo at email@example.com for details on how to volunteer.
photo: Guo teaching at the LaSalle Language Academy
So you want to run a go demonstration for Learn Go Week (“Learn Go Week” Planned to Launch September 13 7/19 EJ), but aren’t sure what to do? You’re not alone. Since proposing Learn Go Week in July, the folks at Go Game Guru say they’ve received more questions about this than anything else. “The good news is that it’s not that hard, and we’ll work with you to make it as easy as possible,” says GGG’s David Ormerud. They have customizable posters,brochures, printable go sets and much more ready for you to use. Some 15 events are planned so far in half a dozen countries. Read more here.
Reminder to players in last week’s US Open (or Masters Division) tournaments to send in your game record(s) and we’ll add it (them) to the official US Open crosstab. Thanks to Anders Kierulf (at right), Keith Arnold, Andrew Hall and William Luff for sending in their games. Games must be in sgf format with all game info complete, including both players’ full names, and the round number(s); also be sure to name the file in this format: US-Open_Rd1-Su-Kierulf (white player first). Email game records by this Friday, August 22 to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- photo by Nate Eagle
A new AGA chapter has just started up in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago. The Wauconda Go Club meets Wednesdays from 6-9p at Middleton’s on Main, a gastropub in Wauconda, IL. The brand-new club just started on August 4 and organizer Brad Edwards has hopes of “one day developing a small but passionate group of players.” For anyone in the area “looking for a reason to get out of the house on a Wednesday night, have a few drinks and perhaps play a few lively rounds of one of the world’s oldest board games, the Wauconda Go Club is here for you,” says Edwards. Middleton’s offers over 100 types of beer from around the world, “an impressive wine, single malt and Irish whiskey collection” as well as a “well-rounded and eclectic menu.”
Click here to find a local AGA chapter or go club; if you have local chapter or club news to share, email it to email@example.com
photo by Brad Edwards
The 2014 E-Journal Congress Team provided expanded coverage of this year’s US Go Congress, from top player previews before a single Congress stone was played to live online broadcasts of top boards at all nine rounds of the new US Open Masters Division, as well as more in-depth reporting on other non-US Open/Masters Congress tournaments. This year for the first time the EJ added social media, posting lots of updates and photos on Twitter @theaga and on Facebook, attaining an almost 10,000 reach on Facebook over the course of the week, an impressive 600% increase. Click here for all the EJ Go Congress reports.
This year’s EJ Congress team was led by Managing Editor Chris Garlock, with Todd Heidenreich, Assistant Managing Editor and Steve Colburn, Tech/Game Recorder Support. Joining the team this year was Tournament Liaison/Reporter Karoline Li, who brought much-needed depth and breadth to the EJ’s coverage of other Congress tournaments. Paul Barchilon once again coordinated youth coverage, including both EJ reporting and KGS broadcasts of youth games. KGS continues to be a tremendous partner, with admin extraordinaire Akane Negishi (sweety) and her team of KGS admins, including Sadaharu Wakisaka onsite at the Congress. Masters Division games with audio commentary are available for a limited time free on KGS Plus; look under “Recent Lectures” under USGO5.
The EJ game recording team was anchored as usual by the indefatigable Dennis Wheeler, who, along with Richard Dolen and Nathan Borggren, broadcast the morning US Open Masters Division games. The evening broadcast team included Andrew Jackson, Bart Jacob, Dave Weimer, Nate Eagle and Diego Pierrottet, as well as Wheeler, Dolen and Borggren. Solomon Smilack was on the evening recording team and also did the Friday night live pro commentary simulcast.
Photographer Phil Straus did his usual fabulous job capturing indelible images of the Go Congress, and this year we were able to feature many more of them in a terrific series of albums on the AGA’s Facebook page. Sarah Small covered the Pair Go tournament and her album is also posted on the AGA Facebook page.
Many thanks to the professional go players who participated in the E-Journal’s live audio commentaries on KGS this year; this was a new and very well-received effort, thanks to He Xie 9P, Feng Yun 9P, Myungwan Kim 9P, Jungsang Park 9P, Yilun Yang 7P, Jennie Shen 2P, Stephanie (Mingming) Yin 1P and Shirley (Xuefen) Lin 1P. Thanks to Pro Coordinator I-Han Lui for smoothly coordinating everything and to Daniel Chou and Kevin Hwang for translations.
Special thanks to the tournament directors who worked hard on the Congress tournaments and worked closely with the EJ team to report results throughout the week: Chris Sira for the US Open; Boris Bernadsky, Jon Boley, and Chris Kirschner, US Open Masters Division; Joshua Lee for 9×9; Jim Hlavka for 13×13; Keith Arnold for the Lightning; Todd Heidenreich for Pair Go; Will Lockhart for the Die Hard; Lisa Scott for the Women’s Tournament; Nader Goubran for Midnight Madness; Michael Fodera for the Self-Paired; and Terry Benson for Crazy Go.
- photos (and collage) by Phil Straus, except for the photo of Straus, which is by Steve Colburn, and the photos of Hwang and Pierrottet, by Chris Garlock.
Photo (top row, l-r): Garlock, Negishi, Dolen, Jacob; second row: Jackson, Colburn, Wheeler, Wakisaka; third row: Heidenreich, Sira, Borggren, Barchilon; fourth row: Weimer, Kevin Hwang, Nate Eagle, Diego Pierrottet; fifth row: Boley, Li, Small; bottom row: Smilack, Bernadsky, Straus.
A large crowd of somber friends shared memories of a great teacher at a memorial held last Friday evening for Sasaki Tadashi 8P, who died last month at 51 (In Memoriam: Sasaki Tadashi 8P 7/28 EJ & The Power Report 7/30 EJ). Players loved the bubbly humor underneath Sasaki sensei’s stoic exterior. Teaching never seemed like work to him, such was his love of the game. Players will also remember him for Baseball Go and his way of comparing territory to countries. During simultaneous games he would give away stones for komi when students made mistakes, and ask for it back when they made good moves. Sasaki sensei brought a lightness to go in the US, and he will be missed.
- Solomon Smilack; photo by Phil Straus
Send in your US Open (or Masters Division) game record(s) in sgf format with all game info complete, including both players’ full names, and the round number(s), and we’ll add it (them) to the official US Open crosstab. Email game records – by Friday, August 22 – to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- photo by Chris Garlock
Mark Lee 7D (Lee Sang Hyeop) defeated Songyan Jiao 7D in just 208 moves on Saturday morning to sweep the 2014 US Open Masters Division, 9-0. Conner Li 3P took second with 7 wins followed by Matthew Hu 2P in third place also with 7 wins. With 6 wins each, fourth place went to Songyan Jiao 7D, Ryan Li 7D took fifth, Andy Liu 1P took sixth, and Calvin Sun 1P took 7th. “My opponents were very tough but I think maybe I was a little lucky,” the modest 17-year-old former insei from Korea told the E-Journal after his final win. “After my first couple of wins I was able to build my confidence.” Lee (left) said that he was so focused on playing his best in each game that “I wasn’t really thinking about winning the championship, so it’s just now starting to sink in.” The Masters is the first title that Lee, who studied with Myungwan Kim 9P (at left, with Lee, reviewing Saturday’s game) when he was younger, has won since he was 11. “It was clear to me (back then) that he was very talented and smart and had a lot of potential,” said Kim. Lee, who’s thinking about moving to the US, will be visiting Kim in Los Angeles for a few months this autumn, teaching go and studying English, and plans to compete in the Cotsen Open at the end of October. “As a former insei, he dedicated his whole life to studying go to be a pro,” said Kim. “While it may be still an ongoing project he hopes to find some other meaningful work in his new life in the US.” Click here for the Masters crosstab. NOTE: Masters Division games with audio commentary are available for a limited time free on KGS Plus; look under “Recent Lectures” under USGO5. photos by Phil Straus (right) and Chris Garlock (left)
US Open: top winners (6/7D): 1st: (tie) Xiaotian Hu & Xuyu Xiang; 3rd: Daniel Chou; click here for complete winner’s list. NEW THIS YEAR: Send us your US Open game record in sgf format with all game info complete, including both players’ full names, and the round number, and we’ll add it to the official US Open crosstab. Email them – by Friday, August 22 – to email@example.com.
Other Events: Jeff Wu 5k won the 13×13 kyu championship in a final game with Ann Wu 10k, while April Ye 1D took the dan championship. In the 9×9 tournament, Dirk Riedeman 3D won the dan division, while Matt Mo 10k won both of his playoff games to win the kyu division. Speedy players Yukino Takehara 1k and Will Lockhart 5D progressed furthest in Lightning Tournament’s kyu and dan divisions respectively. Julian Erville 1D took first place in the Midnight Madness, followed by Yukino Takehara 1k in second place, and Jeremy Chiu 6D won first place in the Die Hard Tournament on Wednesday with a perfect four-win record. In the Women’s Tournament: Top Bracket: 1st: Chen Jiahui (4-0); 2nd: Wan Yian; 3rd: April Ye. Middle Bracket: 1st: Kelly Liu (4-0); 2nd: Yoko Ohashi; 3rd: Amanda Miller. Bottom Bracket: 1st: Marjorie Hey; 2nd: Alexandra Platz; 3rd: Kaoru Hidaka. 13×13 photo by Karoline Li
NOTE (8/17): the US Open results PDF has been updated to the correct final report and the 9×9 dan winner has been added.