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Updated: 41 min 41 sec ago

Member’s Edition: Gansheng Shi 1P on Li Min Cup Game

Tue, 02/02/2016 - 06:01

download SGF file

White: Gu Zihao 4P
Black: Gansheng Shi 1P
Commentary: Gansheng Shi 1P
Game editor: Myron Souris
Published in the February 2, 2016 edition of the American Go Journal

As the North American representative for the 2015 Li Min Cup, Gansheng Shi 1P puts up impressive resistance against Gu Zihao 4P, who goes on to win the tournament. Through 60 moves Gansheng is ahead and controlling the direction of play, when one misplay turns the game around. To keep your practical chances alive when such misfortunes occur, Gansheng reminds us, “It is so important to be patient in these circumstances.”

Already 7-dan at the age of 14, Gansheng Shi won the right to represent Canada at the 2008 World Youth Go Championships, where he competed in Guiyang China. Back home less than a month, Shi then mowed through the competition in the Redmond Cup to win the Senior Division, which he held for two years. In 2012 Shi fought well in the first AGA/Tygem professional certification tourney, earning promotion to Professional One Dan, along with Andy Liu 1P. After the summer of 2013, Shi returned from studying go and competing in Korea. Shi is now at the University of Toronto studying Immunology. The E-Journal is delighted to have him doing commentary, and we know our readers will enjoy his insights.

Categories: World news

Waxler, Rice, Top Portland Chess and Go Tourney

Tue, 02/02/2016 - 00:37

Olin Waxler, in go, and Caden Rice, in chess, took top honors at a three school chess and go tourney in Portland, OR on Jan. 16, reports organizer Peter Freedman.  Nineteen children participated, 8 playing go and 11 playing chess. Waxler, of Beverly Cleary Elementary, had a 3-0 record - taking  first place in go for the third consecutive tournament. In second was Mason Bonner, Irvington, 2-1;  Third, Oliver Kuerbis, Irvington, 1 ½ -1 ½ (one game was judged a tie by the tournament director). Caden Rice, Richmond, took the first place trophy in chess, with Dylan Nakaji, Richmond, taking second and Ai Rose, Richmond, taking 3rd.  “Richmond continues its dominance in chess, and no one seems able to beat Olin in go. Irvington continues to show well in go,” adds Freedman. To add to the festivities, kids received snack packs of black and white mm’s as a door prize. – Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Photo by Peter Freedman.

Categories: World news

Chinese Professionals React to the Historic AlphaGo Win

Sat, 30/01/2016 - 04:20

 The following is translated by Jennie Shen 2P from a WeiqiTV video

Liuxing 7p: before the games, what were you expecting?
FanHui 2p: I was thinking about how to torture/destroy the program, and see how many handicap stones I could give to it.
Liuxing 2p: if you play AlphaGo again, do you have confidence?”
FanHui 2p: I can’t tell you this, it’s a secret. but I can tell you how I felt when I was beaten up by AlphaGo. The first game, I wanted to play a peaceful game, but AlphaGo played an endgame tesuji, I found out I didn’t have a chance. The second game, I was thinking, maybe AlphaGo is just good at endgame, so I should fight. I got a good result after the avalanche joseki, but screwed up at the lower right corner… So, later, I realized, well, humans have emotions, the emotions will effect the game a lot, but this guy (AlphaGo) doesn’t have emotions, nothing affects it, it won’t make mistakes. The 3rd and 4th game, I was already completely destroyed mentally, no confidence at all. Lots of people asked me these questions: were you in bad shape? is this your full strength? some people even asked if I was sandbagging? here’s what I want to say: for humans playing Go, lots of things matter, like emotions, mentality, we can’t play our full strength. I tried my best…but it’s really really painful every time when I lost to Alphago. I felt like the world was turned upside down, it’s ridiculous.”
Shiyue 9p: When I saw the news yesterday, I couldn’t believe it was true. But the 5 games impressed me a lot, I think AlphaGo has pro level, but still there’s a distance from top pros. I don’t know how does machine study by itself, but I know it studies and improves, I think it won’t be easy for Lee Sedol in March. To us pros, we can learn from the program. If the program gets to top level, I will try different moves to play it, programs are tools, depends on how we use these tools. Some people think Go is culture, it’s mysterious, they don’t want to see AI beats human, some people think we can see a bigger picture and the depth of Go with program’s help. It’s our choice.
If AI beats humans, what does this mean to us?
LiZhe 6p: if AI beats human, maybe in March, maybe within a year, it will change the human Go world. We need to face these big changes. For example, as the competition Go weakens, people might focus more on the culture of Go. In the future, AI will help us to learn Go skills, people will start to think about what Go brings to us? Go will become a way of communication.
Kejie 9p : The 5 games were not that impressive, but the scary part is, AI improves. I use to think AI can never beat human, at least it won’t happen within 10 years. but this is unbelievable. When I was looking at the games, I didn’t know which is human, which is machine, I can’t tell the difference, AlphaGo has very good sense of balance. I think Lee Sedol will win the match in March. I really want to play Alphago, not just me, all the active Chinese pros want to play it. I have confidence to win now, but it’s hard to say later. I will still play Go even if AI beats human in the future.
Check out Myungwan Kim 9Ps January 28 commentary on the AlphaGo-Fan Hui games on the AGA YouTube channel.

Categories: World news

Myungwan Kim 9P to Analyze Fan Hui-AlphaGo games this Friday

Thu, 28/01/2016 - 13:00

Myungwan Kim 9P will analyze the Fan Hui-AlphaGo games on the AGA YouTube and TwitchTV channels this Friday at 9p EST (6p PST). And for the first time, the broadcast will be simulcast on weiqitv.com in China. Yesterday’s news that Google’s go-playing AI, AlphaGo, had swept Fan Hui 2P 5-0 rocketed around the world, receiving international coverage including write-ups in the New York Times, Bloomberg News, the BBC, Wall Street Journal, MIT Technology Review, Wired, NPR and blowing up on the AGA’s  Facebook and Twitter feeds.

“I was shocked at how Alphago played,” Kim (left) told the E-Journal. “It played like a human professional. I am sad that this computer program might beat me, but I don’t think it can beat Lee Sedol. I will tell you why in my commentary.” Google DeepMind, the British artificial intelligence company which developed AlphaGo, has issued a challenge to Lee Sedol 9P from South Korea, the top player in the world for much of the last 10 years, to play a 5-game, million-dollar match in March. Andrew Jackson will host the livestream broadcast.

Categories: World news

Game Over? AlphaGo Beats Pro 5-0 in Major AI Advance 

Wed, 27/01/2016 - 19:00

download SGF file

In a stunning development, the AlphaGo computer program has swept European Go Champion and Chinese professional Fan Hui 2P 5-0, the first time that a go professional has lost such a match. “This signifies a major step forward in one of the great challenges in the development of artificial intelligence – that of game-playing,” said the British Go Association, which released the news on January 27, based on findings reported in the scientific journal Nature this week (click here for the video, here for Nature’s editorial, Digital intuition and here for Go players react to computer defeat). NOTE: This story was posted at 1p EST on Wednesday, January 27; be sure to get the latest breaking go news by following us on Facebook and Twitter.

“AlphaGo’s strength is truly impressive!” said Hajin Lee, Secretary General of the International Go Federation and a Korean go professional herself. “Go has always been thought of as the ultimate challenge to game-playing artificial intelligence,” added Thomas Hsiang, Secretary General of the International Mind Sport Association and Vice President of International Go Federation. “This is exciting news, but bittersweet at the same time,” said American Go Association president Andy Okun. “I think we go players have taken some pride in the fact that we could beat the best computers. Now we’re down to Lee Sedol fighting for us.”

Google DeepMind, the British artificial intelligence company which developed AlphaGo, has issued a challenge to Lee Sedol 9P from South Korea, the top player in the world for much of the last 10 years, to play a 5-game, million-dollar in March. “I have played through the five games between AlphaGo and Fan Hui,” said Hsiang. “AlphaGo was clearly the stronger player. The next challenge against Lee Sedol will be much harder.” While Hajin Lee agreed, saying “I still doubt that it’s strong enough to play the world’s top pros,” she added “but maybe it becomes stronger when it faces a stronger opponent.” Fan Hui (left) is a naturalized French 2-dan professional go player originally from China. European Champion in 2014 and 2015, Fan is also a 6-time winner in Paris as well as Amsterdam.

Just as the Kasparov/Deep Blue match did not signal the end of chess between humans, “so the development of AlphaGo does not signal the end of playing go between humans,” the BGA pointed out. “Computers have changed the way that players study and play chess (see this 2012 Wired article), and we expect something similar to occur in the field of go, but not necessarily as assistance during play. It has been recognised for a long time that achievements in game-playing have contributed to developments in other areas, with the game of go being the pinnacle of perfect knowledge games.”  Added Okun, “go has for thousands of years been a contest between humans and a struggle of humans against their own limits, and it will remain so. We still cycle in the Tour de France, even though we’ve invented the motorcycle.”

The BGA noted that that achievements in game-playing technology have contributed to developments in other areas. The previous major breakthrough in computer go, the introduction of Monte-Carlo tree search, led to corresponding advances in many other areas.

Last year, the Facebook AI Research team also started creating an AI that can learn to play go and earlier today Mark Zuckerberg reported on Facebook that “We’re getting close, and in the past six months we’ve built an AI that can make moves in as fast as 0.1 seconds and still be as good as previous systems that took years to build. Our AI combines a search-based approach that models every possible move as the game progresses along with a pattern matching system built by our computer vision team.”

In a related story, computer scientist John Tromp last week revealed the number of legal go positions, “weighing in at 9*19=171 digits.” Read more here.

Game 1 of the AlphaGo vs. Fan Hui 2P match appears above right. Click below for the match’s remaining game records:
AlphaGo vs. Fan Hui, game 2
AlphaGo vs. Fan Hui, game 3
AlphaGo vs. Fan Hui, game 4
AlphaGo vs. Fan Hui, game 5

Update (11:44pm 1/27): Myungwan Kim 9P will analyze the games played between Fan Hui and AlphaGo during a live stream on the AGA YouTube Channel and TwitchTV this Friday; more details will be posted at 7a EST.

 

Categories: World news

Players Wanted for Chunlan Cup Online Playoffs

Wed, 27/01/2016 - 15:00
The AGA has received a request to send a professional player to China for the 11th Chunlan Cup Selections March 25-28. Opening ceremony is on March 25th. This is the first section of the tournament and players will participate in the other sections if they advance on a date TBA. Airfare, food and lodging will be covered by the organizers. In addition, the minimum prize, for those who lose in the first round, is $2,000 pre-tax. The online play-offs will take place on the weekend of Feb. 20-21 on KGS. Eligibility: US/Canadian citizen, professional player, must meet AGA/CGA eligibility requirements. Must be able to play in the online tournament. Interested players should respond with their names, best form of contact, and KGS IDs before Feb. 10th. If there are multiple interested players, an online play-off will be held. Please send email responses and questions to cherry.shen@usgo.org
Categories: World news

Jasiek Releases “Positional Judgement 2 – Dynamics”

Wed, 27/01/2016 - 14:38

Robert Jasiek has released his 12th book, “Positional Judgement 2 – Dynamics.” Targeted at players 5 kyu to 5 dan, the book focused on “the dynamic aspects of the middle game (influence, aji, fights etc.) and the related positional judgement with theory and examples,” says Jasiek. “While territory characterises peaceful positions, our assessment of dynamic positions includes reductions, aji, potential, influence, thickness and fights. The general theory applying to these concepts raises the quality of our middle game and enables our very profound positional judgement.” 276 pp., EUR 26.50 (book), EUR 13.25 (PDF). Click here for sample pages, a review, and all of Jasiek’s books.

Categories: World news

U.S. Rep Sought for Bailing Cup

Wed, 27/01/2016 - 05:27
Online play-offs to determine the U.S. rep to the 3rd Bailing Cup will take place on the weekend of February 6-7 on KGS. The AGA has received a request to send an amateur player to Beijing, China (China Qiyuan) for the 3rd Bailing Cup in March 11-15th. All expenses (travel, lodging, local transportation, and food) will be afforded by players. Players will compete in one of 48 pools and will qualify for the major competition if they take the top place in their assigned pool.

Eligibility: US/Canadian citizen, must meet AGA/CGA eligibility requirements. Must be able to play in the online tournament* and the major tournament sections if player advances. Interested players should email their names, best form of contact, and KGS IDs to cherry.shen@usgo.org before January, 31st. If there are multiple interested players, an online play-off will be held. Dates for the first, second and third rounds are June 28th to July 2nd. The fourth round will be held August 25th to 30th and the final competition will be September 20th to 22th and December 14th to 17th

*Note: This selection tournament applies to amateurs only.  Any professional players may directly register with Bailing Cup and participate in the preliminary round.
- Cherry Shen
Categories: World news

Amateur Pair Go report

Sun, 24/01/2016 - 22:54

Korean pair Jeon Yujin-Song Hongsuk won the 26th International Amateur Pair Go Champion in Tokyo held December 5-6 at Hotel Metropolitan Edmont. Amy Wang 4D and Danny Ko 7D represented the United States. It was the second time the two had represented the US. “Amy represented in 2013 and I represented in 2014, so we pretty much knew the drill,” says Ko.

There were 32 teams including 12 Japanese pairs. “We drew a difficult first round match-up and fell to one of the strong Japanese pairs (7 Dan male and 6 Dan female) on Saturday morning (Dec 5). The game was somewhat competitive but we fell behind after a mid-game fight and lost about 10 points.”

After the first round, players and guests prepared for the goodwill game wearing national costumes. “Amy and I decided to wear ‘old western’ costumes. It was a great chance to meet other players and guests. I paired with a 6 Dan Japanese lady and played against Hajin Lee 3P and a Japanese 6-dan male player (left). It was my first time to play Hajin although we have been good friends for many years.”

“Sunday morning, we played Indonesia in the second round. We led the game with comfortable margin and won the game by resignation,” Ko told the E-Journal. “We drew the one of Japanese pairs (7-dan male and 5-dan female) again in the third round. The game was very competitive and both teams had many chances throughout the game. We pretty much lost the game at the last fight and lost about 5 points.”

In the 4th and 5th rounds, the US team played Mongolia and Finland. winning both games in less than 100 moves by resignation. Their 3-2 result  resulted in 16th place for the US. “The result was a little disappointing since we were hoping to win four games,” says Ko. “But we played very competitively against two Japanese pairs so it was not a bad performance. Click here for complete results.

 

Categories: World news

The Power Report: Judan challenger: Iyama or Yo; Meijin League Update; Lead shared in Honinbo League; Women’s Meijin League concludes; Iyama makes good start in Kisei defense

Fri, 22/01/2016 - 01:59

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Judan challenger: Iyama or Yo: The new tournament year at the Nihon Ki-in got off to a good start on January 7. Most of the interest focused on the semifinals of the 54th Judan tournament. The Judan is the only top-seven title Iyama Yuta doesn’t hold; if he becomes the challenger, he has a chance of achieving a simultaneous grand slam. In his semifinal, Iyama (B) beat Imamura Toshiya 9P by resignation. His opponent in the play-off to decide the challenger to Ida Atsushi will be Yo Seiki 7P of the Kansai Ki-in. In his semifinal, Yo’s opponent, Shida Tatsuya 7P (B), forfeited the game because of an illegal move when he recaptured a ko immediately, without making a ko threat. (To be precise, Yo’s ko threat was a ko capture in a position that was a double ko; Shida, who was in his last minute of byo-yomi, should have captured the other ko.) Last year Yo lost the play-off to decide the Oza challenger to Iyama, so he will be seeking revenge. This chance comes on January 21.

Meijin League Update: The first game of the second round of the 41st Meijin League was played on January 7. Ko Iso 8P (B) beat Hane Naoki 9P by resignation. At this point, Ko, on 2-0, took the provisional lead. On January 11, Takao Shinji 9P (B) beat Kono Rin 9P by resig. and joined Ko in the provisional lead.

Lead shared in Honinbo League: The first game in the fourth round of the 71st Honinbo League was played on January 7, with Ichiriki Ryo 7P (B) beating Yamashita Keigo 9P by 4.5 points. On January 14, Yo Seiki 7P (W) beat Motoki Katsuya 7P by resig. This was Motoki’s first loss, so he now shares the lead with Yo; both are on 3-1. Takao also has only one loss, so he has a chance of joining them in the lead.

Women’s Meijin League concludes: The final round of the 28th Women’s Meijin League was held on January 7. Aoki Kikuyo 8P had already won the league in the fifth round, but she won her final game as well to finish with a perfect score. Results: Aoki (W) beat Fujisawa Rina 3P by resig.; Okuda Aya 3P (B) beat Kato Keiko 6P by resig.; Suzuki Ayumi 6P (B) beat Mannami Nao 3P by 2.5 points. The title match with Xie Yimin will start in March.

Iyama makes good start in Kisei defense: The first game of the 40th Kisei title match was held at the Konjakutei inn in Higashiyama Hot Spring in the city of Aizu-wakamatsu in Fukushima Prefecture on January 14 and 15. The defending champion Iyama Yuta (aged 26) drew white in the nigiri to decide the colors. The challenger Yamashita Keigo 9-dan (aged 37) made a positive start, playing aggressively in the opening. The game was decided by a ko fight in which Yamashita sacrificed a group in order to win a ko started after White invaded a black position. Iyama took the lead in this exchange and hung on for a win, rebuffing some do-or-die attacks by Black. Yamashita resigned after 202 moves. The second game will be played on January 28 and 29.

Categories: World news

Dallas Tournament Aims to Build Go Community in South Central US

Thu, 21/01/2016 - 14:09

The upcoming South Central Go Tournament in Dallas February 13-14 “aims to bring together players in the south central part of the country to enjoy a weekend of competition, and to build a sense of community amongst one another,” says organizer Bob Gilman. As of January 18, 22 players have registered, 14 from Texas and 8 from other states. Find more information on Facebook. Note that there is a special rate at the Residence Inn, Plano, Texas for players coming from out of town. This rate is available through January 22. Also, provided there are sufficient registrations, players will get access to video reviews of selected games by prominent teacher In-seong Hwang. Registration for the tournament is open here. For more information comment on Facebook or write Bob Gilman.

Categories: World news

One Week Left to Register for Kyu Championships

Tue, 19/01/2016 - 18:58

Registrations for the North American Kyu Championship (NAKC) are due by January 26. Any kyu players under the age of 18, from Canada, the United States, or Mexico are welcome to join. Junior (under 13) and Senior (under 18) players will compete with each other, but crystal trophies will be awarded to both the best Junior player and the best Senior player in each bracket – all the way down to double digit kyu. The winner of the top bracket will also be allowed to join the Redmond Cup, a youth tournament traditionally only open to dan players. Thanks to the AGF, any participant who competes in every round, win or lose, will be eligible for the choice of a $400 scholarship to the summer AGA Go Camp or a $200 scholarship to the 2016 Go Congress. All four rounds will be held on KGS on January 30. For more details, visit the NAKC’s official Rules and Format page. To register, click here-Story and photo by Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth editor. Photo: Kyu players honing their skills at the 2015 US Go Congress in St. Paul.

 

Categories: World news

City League players in the AGA Pro Exam

Tue, 19/01/2016 - 15:00

Three of the eight competitors in the recent 2015 AGA Professional Qualifying tournament are players from the AGA City League. They are tournament winner Eric Lui 1p of the Greater Washington team, Aaron Ye (Bay Area team) and Jeremy Chiu (San Francisco 1 team). Ye (right) gave Eric Lui (left) a tough challenge in the final matches of the tournament. Other professionals who play in the AGA City League are Ryan Li 1p (2014 AGA professional, Canwa Vancouver 1 team), Tim Song 1p (Greater Washington), and Huiren Yang 1p (Boston).
- Steve Colburn; photo by Chris Garlock

Categories: World news

AGA City League’s 3rd Round Set for Sunday January 24th

Mon, 18/01/2016 - 21:19

Round three of the AGA City League will take place this Sunday, January 24 at 3p EST. Throughout the day you can catch your local and favorite players from around the US and Canada. Check the schedules for each league to see when they are playing: League ALeague BLeague C.

Round three will have a game review from Hajin Lee 3p. Watch all of the live coverage on Pandanet app on your WindowsOSX, linux 32bit and 64bitiOS, or android. Games will be played in the ‘AGA City League’ and ‘AGA City League (Manual)’ Rooms.
- Steve Colburn

Categories: World news

Mark Lee Wins San Diego Go Championship

Mon, 18/01/2016 - 14:00
Mark Lee’s year is off to a strong start. In the ultimate game of the 2016 San Diego Go Championship — held January 10 — Lee 7d beat UCSD freshman Weihan Huai, a professional from China, in the Open section, to become the first non-UCSD student to win the annual event. Lee’s win came just a week after he won the sixth annual Jin Chen Memorial Tournament in Seattle on January 3. With twelve dan-level players in the San Diego Open division, this was the largest and strongest field to play in the five-year-old event.

In the handicap section Sam Tregar 5k, Luke Weatherby 8k and James Acres 1k all had perfect 3-0 records with Tregar winning the title on tie-breaker over the 18 contestants.

Players came from as far as  Los Angeles and Phoenix, to enjoy a day of fierce competition. The tournament was co-hosted by the San Diego Go Club and the UCSD Go Club.

An added bonus was that newly minted AGA pro Eric Lui 1P dropped in to observe, comment and join half the contestants for the post-games dinner at a local Japanese restaurant.

- report/photos by Ted Terpstra; (top left) Mark Lee (left) playing Weihan Huai (with Eric Lui watching, back, second from right); (top right) Mark Lee (left) receiving his cash prize from Ted Terpstra (president, SD Go Club); (bottom right) Group shot of 2016 SD Go Championship. (bottom left)  Sam Tregar (right) Handicap-section winner. 

Categories: World news

Kansai to Host First Japan Go Congress

Mon, 18/01/2016 - 13:30

The first Japan Go Congress will be held July 15 through 18 in Takarazuka, Japan, and organised by the Kansai Ki-in. In addition to a main tournament, the Congress — at which 200-300 participants are expected — will offer a variety of side events such as lectures, teaching games with professionals, and other traditional Japanese games. Famous for its Grand Theater, Takarazuka is also known as the “city of opera.” Situated northwest of Osaka, it is outside of typical urban tension, but still easily accessible. Available accommodations include Daikin Dormitory, the Takarazuka Inn Hotel and the Takarazuka Hotel; click here for details. “The Kansai Ki-in warmly welcomes players from abroad,” reports their Go Congress Team.

Just before the Japan Go Congress, the 4th Osaka Go Camp — also organized by the Kansai Ki-in — will be held from June 26 to July 14. Last year there were more than 70 participants at the camp, where “You can train with professionals in a cozy environment and do sight-seeing,” report organizers.

Categories: World news

Your Move/Readers Write: Weiqi Teacher Needed in Maryland; Go Photo; Turing, Mrs Morcom and Go; Taranu’s Timing; Wrong Rank; Go in WSJ

Mon, 18/01/2016 - 13:00

Weiqi Teacher Needed in Maryland: The Hope Chinese School  is looking for a go teacher for a Saturday afternoon class, reports Edward Zhang. “It’s a great school with several hundred students registered.” The class is at Winston Churchill High School, 11300 Gainsborough Road, Potomac, MD 20854. Hourly rate is at least $23; contact Ms. He 703-585-7164.

Go Photo: “Young Buddhas playing the game we love,” writes Richard Simon. Snapped January 08 on Roosevelt Ave. near Main St., Flushing, NY in a store window by Felice Simon.

Turing, Mrs Morcom and Go: “Not sure if anyone has submitted this one,” writes John Hager, “but in the book ‘Alan Turing: The Enigma‘ (chapter 3) it mentions that Turing taught his friend’s mother, Mrs. Morcom, to play go. “Also mentioned (is that) not much go (was) played at Princeton when Alan Turing was in residence.”
Speaking of Princeton, we have it on good authority that this year’s New Jersey Open — the 57th — will be held March 19-20; details should be posted on our calendar soon.

Taranu’s Timing: “Aren’t you forgetting Romania’s Catalin Taranu?” writes Michael Alford. (Our “Finland’s Tormanen becomes pro shodan, 12/30 Power Report” said that Tormanen “is the first Westerner to become a professional at the Nihon Ki-in since the late Hans Pietsch 6P in 1997.”) “I think Catalin became Nihon Kiin pro in 1998. Catalin is 5p.”
The Igo Nenkan (the Yearbook put out by the Ki-in) just gives 1997 as the year both Pietsch and Taranu became pros. Go World 79 (page 9) has more details. Catalin Taranu won the qualifying tournament at the Nagoya branch of the Nihon Ki-in and became pro 1-dan in April (probably as of April 1, as that is the usual practice, but this is not specified). Go World says: “Catalin was followed by Hans Pietsch at the Tokyo branch of the Nihon Ki-in. . . . Hans was given special permission to become professional shodan and he made his debut in late April.” So Hans is the most recent before Antti, though just by a matter of weeks. Btw, Catalin, like Michael Redmond, became pro the legitimate way, strictly through competition. (They are the only two. None of the Western pros at the Korean Ki-in made it through competition.) Hans Pietsch, Manfred Wimmer, and James Kerwin were all given special permission to become pro. However, the probationary status is regularized when you gain promotion, as Wimmer and Hans did. Hans earned promotion to 4-dan on merit.
– John Power

Wrong Rank: “…this is mostly tongue in cheek,” writes Keith Arnold. “In your nice thank you article (AGA Pro Tourney: Final Results and Team Credits) you got one of the ranks wrong. You list ‘Eric Lui 7d’…missed your first chance to say ’1p’ Had to do it.”

Go in WSJ: “Here’s a nice article freshly enpixellated in the Wall Street Journal on go and computers,” writes Matt Bengtson.

Categories: World news

Strong North American Go Team Headed for Huai’an for Inaugural IMSA Games

Thu, 14/01/2016 - 02:18

In February, a strong North American Go team will head to Huai-An in Eastern China’s Jiangsu Province, for the first ever International Mind Sports Association Elite Mind Games. Mingjiu Jiang 7p and Eric Lui 1p of the US, along with Ryan Li 1p and Sarah Yu 6d of Canada will play from Feb. 24 to March 4 in the city of five million. The three men will play in a men’s team competition against teams from Europe, China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan, while Yu, who just competed in Los Angeles as the first woman candidate for AGA pro, will play in a 12-player woman’s individual tournament. Yu and a male player will also take part in a three-round pair go knockout. The IMSA Elite Mind Games are similar in format to the SportAccord World Mind Games, which took place each December from 2011 to 2014 but not in 2015.

Categories: World news

Second Australian Go Congress Starts Friday

Wed, 13/01/2016 - 22:00

The second Australian Go Congress kicks off this Friday, January 15 and runs through the 19th at the Sydney Parramatta Novotel in Parramatta, NSW, Australia. The main tournament will be played over five days; in addition there will be other competitions, lessons and opportunities to play simultaneous games against some of the world’s top professional players. There is a substantial prize and gift pool across different divisions.

The Congress will be held in the heart of Parramatta, close to the central business district, restaurants and cafés. It is also close to Parramatta’s shopping centre and public transport. It takes just 30 minutes by train to reach Sydney’s Harbour Bridge, Opera House, harbour, casino and more.

To assist people on their first visit to Sydney, Congress organizers will also provide a free city tour. Click here for Congress details.

Categories: World news

Mark Lee wins Jin Chen Memorial Tournament in Seattle

Wed, 13/01/2016 - 04:53

Mark Lee won the sixth annual Jin Chen Memorial Tournament, held at the Seattle Go Center on January 3.  Lee (in yellow shirt) was visiting from California; readers may remember that he was undefeated in the U.S. Open in 2014.  Dong (David) Ma placed 2nd in the Open Section of the Jin Chen, which had eight players.  The Handicapped Sections had 20 players.   The Dan Handicapped Section was won by Zhihong Yao, with Dengda (Dan) Tang placing 2nd.  The SDK section was won by John Johnson, with Eric Backus placing 2nd.  The DDK  section was won by Elan Ma, with Michael Hixenbaugh placing second.  Elan Ma, who was undefeated in her games, also won the Youth Prize.  
- photo/report by Brian Allen

Categories: World news