Amir Fragman 4d won the 2013 Jerusalem Open Baduk tournament, held during the Passover holiday and initiated and hosted by the Korean Culture Center in Jerusalem. Twenty four players competed in the tournament, played March 28-29 in Jerusalem, Israel. In second was Ali Jabarin 5d and third was Ofer Zivony 3d. Tournament results.
- Shavit Fragman
Although springtime in Siberia doesn’t hold quite the same allure, as, say, Paris, nearly three dozen go players gathered in Tomsk the last weekend in March for the second annual Tomsk Go Festival. The March 30-31 event featured a tournament, simuls and discussions about developing go in Siberia, the vast and remote area that comprises the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation,Tomsk, with a population of just over half a million, is one of the biggest and oldest Siberian towns, celebrating its 400th anniversary in 2004. The festival tournament’s players hailed from various Siberian regions and even included a visiting guest from Mexico. Another honorary guest was Natalia Kovaleva 5d (photos), one of the strongest women players in European go, who was once the European female go champion and won the Russian female go championship several times. Kovaleva not only won the 5-round tournament but took part in the side events including the simuls, signing a goban which will be auctioned off. Kirill Denisov 4d took second place and in third was Pavel Prisupa 2d. A major part of the festival focused on the future of Siberian Go, which is a challenge due to the difficulty of players from the far regions of Russia attending the major tournaments and go events in Moscow and Saint-Petersburg. Siberian go centers work to catch up through club, students’ and regional activities and numerous tournaments held each year in different cities in the region. Organizers hope that the success of this year’s Tomsk festival shows that the vast Siberian go community can soon compete with the leading regions.
- Daria Koshkina; photos: Kovaleva with statue of writer Anton Chekhov in Tomsk (top right) and playing (left); photos by Roman Malakhov. Click here for his album on Facebook. CORRECTION: this post has been updated to reflect Kirill Denisov’s 4d rank (not 3d as originally reported).
A new go club is about to bloom in the historic English town of Letchworth, “The first garden city in the world.” Beginning April 18, the Letchworth Garden City Go Club will meet weekly on Thursday evenings at the Central Methodist Church Hall (at right; Norton Way South, entrance £3). Organizer Alison Bexfield 2d previously ran the now-defunct Letchworth Go and Puzzle Club with husband Simon 1k, but they could no longer manage the commitment after their kids were born. Now that her children are old enough to play too, Bexfield is committed to introducing a new generation to the game, and is simultaneously launching the Letchworth Junior Chess and Go Club at the same venue at an earlier time. Bexfield is currently organizing the 2013 British Open Tournament and British Go Congress in nearby Stevenage. “By running the British Open I thought I would see if there were any local players lurking that might give sufficient local interest to restart a public club,” she says. Details of all British clubs are available on the British Go Association’s Clubs Page.
- Tony Collman
SOLD! Gobans, Books For Sale: Aged go player downsizing. Need to sell kaya, 6.25” goban with stones, hinged folding table top goban with stones in portable box. Also an extensive go library of some 60 books, mix of Japanese and English. Note the large Goban has a surface crack of minor importance. I’ve had this for over 50 years and is stable – perfectly useable and could be repaired. All available for your pickup in Winchester, VA. Alternatively could be picked up in Manhattan, NYC. Phone Bob McCallister 540-665-5897. Willing to accept any reasonable offer. UPDATE 4/8: ALL ITEMS HAVE BEEN SOLD.
Goban For Sale: Selling a very nice goban. Unused condition. Weight is around 30 lbs. shinkaya wood 5.9 inches thick. $300 plus shipping (US shipping only). Keith Schkoda email@example.com
Junfu Dai 8D (right) successfully defended his title against Lluis Oh 6D in the 41st Paris International Go Tournament at the Lycée Louis Le Grand on April 1. Though it was the first time Spanish player Oh placed, it was Dai’s third victory in four years, a reign broken only by Liu Yuanbo’s win in 2011. However, there may still be hope for Oh, as Dai was runner-up in 1996 and 2008 before he finally became champion. Joining Dai and Oh in the ranks as top Europeans is Romanian player Cristian Pop 7D. No stranger to tournaments, Pop has won the championship in his home country six times. Founded in 1972, the annual Paris International Go Tournament now holds a level 5 ECup rating and is hailed as “one of the largest go events in Europe behind the European Go Congress.” For more information about this year’s tournament including rules, registered players, and results, visit the official Paris 2013 website.
- Annalia Linnan; photo courtesy EuroGoTV, which includes selected game records
A small but appreciative crowd turned out for an evening of go with Japanese 4-dan professional Narumi Osawa in Washington, DC on April 2 during the city’s Cherry Blossom Festival. Osawa’s free talk and simul at the Japan Information and Cultural Center (JICC) included a collaborative game with beginners — including a pair of young children — and a simul with seven pairs of players. “I found it creative that she let beginners take turns to play,” said local organizer Edward Zhang, “as well as teaching along the way when seeing an opportunity in the game. I also loved the Pair Go format of the simul, encouraging communication and collaboration. Her successfully getting students involved by asking many many questions is consistent with some other Japanese pros I met in Go Congresses.” Ms. Osawa is not only a pro from Nihon-Kiin, but also a special envoy of the Japanese government, which may account for the enthusiastic presence of the embassy’s Minister for Public Affairs Masato Otaka for the entire evening. As the visiting go players pondered moves during the simul, embassy staff clustered around a small board off to the side as they tried to solve life and death problems. “Special thanks to JICC director Izumi Seki, who initiated and organized this special event,” said Greater Washington Go Club organizer Haskell Small. Among those in attendance were former AGA President Allan Abramson and new AGA Board Chair Gurujeet Khalsa. Osawa will reportedly be in the US for two months before heading Brazil for a week.
- report/photos & collage by Chris Garlock
Viktor Bogdanov 4d (photo), won the Yama no Kaze 4 tournament, held March 23-24 in Basssano del Grappa, Italy. In second place was Fausto Predieri 1k and third was Leonardo Giuliato 3k. Click here for results.
- EuroGoTV; click here for all the latest European go news
While most people probably think about soccer when they hear about the German Bundes League, there’s also an equivalent for go. The German Go Bundes League is one of the biggest western go leagues (the Pandanet-AGA City League just started this year). It was started in 2005 and is organized much like the soccer league. There are currently 83 teams from all over Germany, divided into seven leagues. All leagues but the fifth contain 10 teams who play nine rounds from September to May. At the end of the season the top teams are promoted to the superior league while the worst-performing are demoted. The fifth league is the entry point for new teams, so it contains more teams than the other leagues, currently 29. While every team has up to ten players, only four members play for their team at a tournament. More than 650 players take part in the Bundes League, and nearly all of the strongest German go players can be found on their home town’s team. But the league is not just for the strongest players, it gives everybody the chance to fight for their city and to grow stronger together with the team. Because of the large distances between the teams most of the matches are played online using the KGS go server. However, offline matches are allowed if two teams are closely located or meet each other at a tournament. The large advantage of games played online is that fans can follow the match from their home computers and root for their favorite teams. The current season is about to end: seven of the nine matches have been played and at the moment the ‘Leipziger Loewen’ (Leipzig Lions) team is in first place in the top league, having just beat the formerly leading team in a close match. But the Lions must keep up their good results in the last two matches to hold onto their league; it’s this sort of hotly-contested competition that makes the German Bundes League so popular.
- Jan Engelhardt, E-Journal Correspondent
“I found this in an old manga called Vagabond which follows the swordsman Miyamoto Musashi,” writes Taylor Litteral. It was in Volume 6, chapter 50, page 6.
Eleven-year-old Jeremy Chiu 5d has won the Junior Division of the US Youth Go Championships (USYGC), finally defeating his longtime rival Aaron Ye 5d. The tourney began on Jan. 20th, but the final rounds weren’t completed until March. Chiu got off to a good start in the double-elimination tourney by defeating Willis Huang 3d in the first round, and then beating Ye in round 2. Chiu then went on to defeat Redmond Cup runner up Austen Liao 3d, and then Brandon Zhou 2d – who at just nine years of age is a player to watch out for. Chiu finally got his face off with Ye on March 16th, in a game with heavy fighting. Ultimately, Ye’s center group was caught without eyes, and short on time, and he was forced to resign. The game record is below, look for a Feng Yun commentary on another match from this series in the near future. Chiu also won in the Ing Foundation’s World Youth Qualifier, and will be going on to compete in Prague this summer, along with Andrew Lu 6d, who also won both the USYGC Senior Division and the Ing Qualifiers. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Photo by Muling Huang
“Registration for the AGA Summer Go Camp is now open,” reports camp director Amanda Miller,”we welcome campers from the ages of 8 to 18 to attend for a week of go-playing and fun.” For the convenience of the campers and their families, payments can be made online, although some forms must still be mailed directly to the organizers. The camp will take place two weeks before the Go Congress from July 20 to July 27 and will be held at YMCA Camp T. Frank Soles in Rockwood, Pennsylvania. Registration information and forms can be found here. Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Photo by Amanda Miller: Mingjiu Jiang 7p playing a simul at last year’s camp.
The upcoming Rocky Mountain Spring Go Tournament on April 13th will have prizes for the winners in Dan, Kyu, and Double Digit Kyu brackets, and will also be raffling go sets “and other fun prizes,” promises organizer Paul Barchilon. “Even if you don’t win your section, you could go home with a nice prize,” he adds. The top section will also be a qualifier for the North American Masters Tournament (NAMT) at the US Go Congress. “We will try to have a beginners section as well, on 13×13, and AGA membership will not be required to play in that section,” says Barchilon. “There are no fixed rounds, so there shouldn’t be too much waiting for games. Players will be paired as they are available. These are handicap games, but an attempt will be made to pair as many even games as is practical.” The NAMT section will have four rounds, and all games will be played even. To register, email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and the rank you would like to play at. You may also leave a message at 303-440-7124.
photo: at the 2012 NAMT Qualifier at the Boulder (CO) Kids and Teens Go Club, photo by Paul Barchilon
by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the American Go E-Journal
A Good Week for Yuki: The last week of March was undoubtedly one of the best of Yuki Satoshi 9P’s career. On the 23rd, Yuki (right), the top player of the Kansai Ki-in, defeated Takao Shinji 9P in the final of the 8th Daiwa Securities Cup. Taking black, Yuki won by 3.5 points. As of this term, the Daiwa Cup, a tournament played on the internet, was upgraded to an official title, which means two things. First, it was opened to participation by Kansai Ki-in professionals, which gave Yuki his chance. Second, it is now included in the tallies of official titles won by a player. Just for the record, Yuki’s predecessors (in order) are Takao, O Meien, Takao again, Kono Rin for the 4th and 5th cups, and Iyama Yuta for the 6th and 7th (none of these players can include the cup in their official tallies; that makes a difference, especially for someone like Iyama, who, on present form, can be expected to challenge Cho Chikun’s all-time record of 72 titles). First prize is 3 million yen (about $32,000).
The next day, Sunday the 24th, the final of the 60th NHK Cup was telecast on NHK educational TV. Taking white, Yuki defeated Iyama Yuta by 9.5 points to win the NHK Cup for the fourth time and twice in a row for the second time.
This game would actually have been played a week or two before telecasting. Yuki’s win put an end to a losing streak against Iyama of ten games in a row.His last previous win was in the final of the same tournament in 2010, when he won this title for the first time.
Ironically, Iyama had enjoyed much better form in the NHK Cup up to the final, scoring decisive wins over Komatsu Hideki 9P, Mizokami Tomochika 8P, Hane Naoki 9P, and Kono Rin 9P. In contrast, Yuki struggled, almost losing to Kurahashi Masayuki 9P before he pulled off an upset, beating Akiyama Jiro 8P by half a point, and then needing all his patience to prevail in tough games with Murakawa Daisuke 7P and Yamada Kimio 9P. Yuki dominated the final however, as Iyama chose a slightly unreasonable variation early in the game and got a bad result; he admitted later that he wasn’t really in the game after his opening setback.
Both players will represent Japan in the TV Asia tournament, usually played towards the end of spring.
Yuki’s third success was his win in the second game of the 51st Judan title match on the 28th. This evened the series and kept alive his chances of taking his second top-seven title. The game was played in Tamana City in Kumamoto Prefecture. Taking white, Yuki won by 2.5 points. The third game will be played on 4 April.
Takao takes sole lead in Honinbo League: After the first five rounds, only two players were left undefeated in the 68th Honinbo League: Takao Shinji 9P (at left) and Cho U 9P, who are both former Honinbos. The winner of their 6th-round clash, held on March 27, would take a big step towards becoming the challenger to Iyama Yuta Honinbo. Both sides played very fast for such an important game. Cho, in particular, took almost no time on his moves. He seemed to make the better start, but in the middle game Takao made a skilful sacrifice, then took advantage of his superiority in ko threats to start a ko fight that clinched the game. In the end, Cho, who played black, had to resign.
In the final round, Takao plays Imamura Toshiya 9P, who is on 2-4, and Cho plays Yamashita Keigo 9P, who is on 4-2. Whatever happens, Takao will at least make a play-off.
Gu Li Wins Agon Kiriyama Cup Play-off: Cho U played his Honinbo League game on a Wednesday instead of the usual Thursday because he had to play the 14th Agon Kiriyama Cup Japan-China play-off on Saturday, March 30. The extra rest day didn’t help: for the 10th year in a row China won this play-off.
This year it was Japan’s turn to host the play-off. The last international event held in Japan, the International Amateur Pair Go Championship in November 2012, was boycotted by China to show their displeasure with the Japanese government’s nationalization of the Senkaku Islands, but fortunately Gu Li (right) turned up for this game. Taking white, he won by 4.5 points to score his fourth victory in the play-off. After winning the first four play-offs, Japan has been outclassed in this play-off.
38th Kisei Leagues: The four vacant seats in the upcoming Kisei Leagues have been decided. They have gone to Yamashiro Hiroshi 9P (making an immediate comeback after being eliminated in the previous league), 25th Honinbo Cho Chikun, Kiyonari Tetsuya 9P, and Murakawa Daisuke 7P. Murakawa, the top player of his age group at the Kansai Ki-in (he is 23), is making his debut in a league. Kiyonari, also from the Kansai Ki-in is playing in his second Kisei league.
Longtime go writer John Power is a veteran author, translator and compiler of go books and magazines.
“And a Happy April Fools’ Day to all the eJournal team! (Exciting Crop of New Go Books Discounted 50% Today Only 4/1 EJ)” writes Jean DeMaiffe. “ I can hardly wait to fill in my go library with your excellent selection of discounted books today. I cannot begin to tell how excited I am to see that someone has finally written a definitive book on the value of the 1-1 point in the opening. I can’t wait to share it with my students.”
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James Kerwin 1P, the first Westerner to become a professional player at the Nihon Ki-in, has retired as of 31 March. A disciple of the late Iwamoto Kaoru 9P, Kerwin became professional 1-dan on February 14, 1978. The following year he won the 1-dan section of the Kisei tournament. Although he went back to the US to teach a couple of years later, Kerwin had retained his affiliation with the Nihon Ki-in. “I was informed that they now have a mandatory retirement rule, so I obliged,” Kerwin tells the E-Journal. “While I have retired from the Nihon Ki-in, I have not retired from go.”
“I have the deepest gratitude to the Nihon Ki-in for training me in the game I love so much and for accepting me as one of them,” Kerwin said in a note accompanying his official retirement letter. “During the years I lived in Japan I gained the greatest respect for the Japanese people and a love of their culture and art. I came to Japan because I could not reach my potential as a go player in my own country. When I returned to the United States, I wanted to help advance the level of teaching in the United States so other players could reach their potential without living abroad. Even today American players cannot reach their full potential here, but they can come much closer. I am pleased that I could contribute to that advance in a small way, and the Nihon Ki-in made that possible. I must also say the many efforts the Nihon Ki-in has made to assist Western go players are extraordinary.”
Three other players retired on the same day (which is the end of the financial year in Japan). They included Haruyama Isamu 9P, known in the West for his frequent instruction tours and for co-authoring a classic Ishi Press/Kiseido book Basic Techniques of Go.
- John Power; photo courtesy Nihon Ki-in
Steve Colburn has posted a short (2:43m) video of Chang Hao 9p’s comments on his recent game with Andy Liu (Game Commentary: Chang Hao 9P – Andy Liu 1P 3/23/2013 EJ) at the ACGA Spring Expo. “I wish I had gotten Andy as well but he was too quick,” says Colburn. “Andy first commented that ‘this was the most terrifying game I’ve ever played.” He also notes that “One missed translation from (Chang Hao’s) speech is ‘I would like to see more American go players in international tournaments in the future.” The ACGA held this event March 23-24 at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA. Chang Hao’s translator was Yi Tong. photo: Chang Hao (left), Yi Tong and Andy Liu (right)
The British Online League’s fifth season opened on March 22. Eighteen teams of three players each, loosely organized geographically, will compete in three divisions through the end of the year in the “British Room” on KGS. The league was established in October 2009 to encourage interaction between players in different areas of the country and online play among members of the British Go Association (BGA), though only team captains need be members. There is a prize for the winning team in each division, funded from entry fees. The first division winner, which last season was Edinburgh, also holds the GoGoD Shield and each player in that team wins a GoGoD disk as part of their prize. The league is organized by John Collins on behalf of the BGA.
- Tony Collman, Correspondent for the E-Journal, based on reports on the BGA website
Leading go publishers are releasing a number of exciting new books that already seem destined to be classics in the field. Go Seigen’s 1-1 Point Modern Opening Strategy has just been published by Slate & Shell, based on a manuscript that had been thought lost for years. “Go’s deep but straightforward analysis of the power of the 1-1 point opening may well revolutionize opening theory,” says S&S. Adding to their legendary “Get Strong” series, Kiseido is offering Get Strong at Gote, which “explores the subtle strength of refusing to take sente.” In a related volume, Kiseido is re-releasing The Art of Aji Keshi, long out of print but back by popular demand “for players who want to master the ability of eliminating absolutely all play in a given situation.” From Yutopian comes a pair of books for players looking to make the jump to the next level. Making Bad Shape and All About Heaviness are “encyclopedic references no serious go player will want to be without,” promises Yutopian. Finally, SmartGo Books is releasing four brand-new books by the prolific 9-dan professional Michael Redmond — How To Die In Gote, The Joy Of Being Thick, The Wrong Direction and 21 Kyu in 21 Days – in 14 different apps and online platforms. A 50% discount is being offered on all the books above in a special 1-day offer that expires at midnight on April 1.
- David Stevenson
Paris is lovely in the springtime and especially so for go players, with the 41th Paris International Go Tournament taking place this weekend at the Lycée Louis Le Grand. With over 200 players are already registered, the 3-day tournament is one of the largest go events in Europe and is set for March 30 through April 1; click here for details and to register. Fans can also follow top-board action on KGS and on EuroGoTV.