Approximately 150 bridge, chess, draughts, go and xianqi players flew into Beijing from December 9-11 for the third SportAccord World Mind games. They were greeted by clear skies and sunshine, and by a team of volunteers who drove them from the airport to the Beijing Continental Grand Hotel, where they will stay.
The bridge contingent is the largest: 24 men from China, Monaco, Poland, and the USA and 24 women representing China, England, Israel, and the USA. They will compete as teams for three days, then as pairs for two days, and finally as individuals for two days.
Chess players make up the next largest group: 16 men and 16 women will compete as individuals in a two-day rapid tournament, followed by a three-day blitz and a two-day Basque system. The field is truly international, coming from Armenia, Bulgaria, China, Cuba, France, Germany, Georgia, Hungary, India, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Russia, Slovenia, Sweden, the Ukraine, the USA, and Vietnam.
Go has the third largest contingent: 18 men and 12 women from China, Chinese Taipei, Europe, North America, Japan, and Korea. The men will compete as teams, the women as individuals, and the Games will also include pair events.
The draughts players consist of 16 men and 12 women, who will vie in two days of rapid competition, followed by a two-day blitz, and then a super-blitz. Like the chess contingent they are highly international, and they represent both hemispheres, coming from Belarus, Brazil, Cameroon, China, Germany, the Ivory Coast, Latvia, Mongolia, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, and the Ukraine.
The xianqi competition has the simplest schedule. The eight men, representing China, Germany, Hong Kong, Macau, the Philippines, and Vietnam, will will play a rapid round robin (one hour per player with 30-second overtime) at the leisurely pace of one round per day. The four women, representing Australia, China, Vietnam, and the USA, will play a two-round knockout.
The first event of the Games was a press conference held on the afternoon of December 11 at the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Press and Publication. Speeches were made by a variety of guests including the President of SportAccord (Marius Vizer) and executives of the Beijing Olympic City. Also present were the two ambassadors for Go, Natalia Kovaleva and Yu Zhiying.
The UCC Go Tournament once again turned out to be a success. The attendance wasn’t as good as last year (18 players), but as usual we had a few international guests from the Netherlands, Germany, France and Poland.
Congratulations to Kim Ouweleen 4d for winning the first prize with 5 wins and to his runner ups – Roman Pszonka 4d (2nd place with 4 wins) and Piotr Rzepnikowski 4k (3rd place with 4 wins).
2 brand new beginner players from UCC also took part in the tournament. Congratulations to Michael Pons for winning the Beginner Prize!
Full results of the UCC Go Tournament 2013 are available here.
Chinese rising star Tang Weixing 3P (left) has overcome Korean legend Lee Sedol 9P (right) to claim the 2013 Samsung Cup. Before the match, played December 9-11 in Suzhou, China, Lee said that he was desperate to win for his country. Having won the Samsung Cup four times, Lee, the defending champion, was considered the favorite by many, including his challenger, but Tang, in his debut in an international final, showed nerves of steel to win the title 2-0. The first game was an intense battle that came to a thrilling climax in a complex ko fight. Many commentators thought that Lee had won this fight with some clever exchanges, as did Lee himself. However Tang was equal to the task, extending his threats and gaining enough from the ko to win by half a point. In the second game Lee, holding black, went on the offensive from the get-go and established a commanding position. Once again, however, Tang resisted solidly to claw his way back, and in the end black did not have enough points. It has been 17 years since Korea has not claimed a major international title. This had Korean fans cheering for Lee in the Samsung final, the last major tournament of the year. Instead, Tang reaffirmed the recent Chinese dominance, leaving Korea winless in 2013. Click here for Go Game Guru’s report on the Samsung semi-finals, which includes interviews with Lee and Tang, photos and game records from the semis.
- Ben Gale, Korea Correspondent for the E-Journal
Ted Terpstra of the San Diego Go Club topped a field of 8 at the December 7-8 go section of the 2013 Las Vegas MindSports event. Sponsored by MindSports International, the event included other “brain” games such as chess, Scrabble, Magic: The Gathering and various miniature war-games. Runners-up in the 4-round go competition were locals Michael Wanek (LV Go Club) in second place and Jun-Suk Kim (LV Go Club) placed third; the three medal winners split a nearly $200 prize pot. During breaks, players were allowed to watch the other games at MindSports, watch sports in the Sports Book, or gamble at the gaming tables. “The event coincided with the National Finals Rodeo,” reports local organizer Chris Tettamanti, “and in the Venetian Hotel venue, there were plenty of places to buy authentic Western wear and cowboy gear. photo courtesy Chris Tettamanti
After three successive years of declining participation, the Syracuse Go Club’s Fall Self-Paired Tournament broke its all-time attendance record on November 23, with the 27 players more than doubling the attendance from the previous year. Players ranging in strength from 5d to 28k played 55 AGA-rated games. Bob Sollish 1d of Syracuse had the best individual record, with four wins and no losses against three other dan players and a 1k player. Every participant was able to select a prize to take home at the end of the day, including several discounted books provided by Slate and Shell.
- report/photo by Richard Moseson
photo: Xinde Ji 5d (left) plays an unrated high-handicap game with first-time participant Yan-Yeung Luk 13k, while Luk’s daughter and a friend, also players in the tournament, look on.
The South London Go Club held a very successful teaching day and tournament for some two dozen kyu-players at the Quaker Meeting House, Croydon on Saturday December 7. In the morning three dan-grade volunteers from the British Go Association (BGA) gave 50-minute teaching sessions in rotation to three groups selected by grade, and in the afternoon each group played a Swiss tournament, while the teachers — joined by Paul Smith 1d, who was escorting his young son Edmund to the event — played a round-robin. For the teaching sessions, our correspondent “added a stone to the weak group”:
British Champion Andrew Kay 4d gave an extremely lucid presentation on probe stones, which he described as stones which ask a question of the opponent. It is though, he explained, actually a trick question designed so that however it is answered, it will receive a response which makes it the wrong answer. He went on to demonstrate exactly what he meant in practical terms on the board, using first a life-and-death situation in the corner, then a joseki not well-known even to low-dan players.
BGA stalwart and AGA member Francis Roads 2d (left, pointing at board) chose a game submitted to the event by one of the attendees for review as the teaching material. It became the subject of a “penny go” exercise, whereby at critical junctures in the review each member of the student group was invited to place a penny where they thought the next play should be. Showing great tact and sensitivity to the diffidence of the learners, Roads not only withheld the identity of the game’s players but even made himself absent as the (identical) pennies were placed. One of the teaching points he was most emphatic about was controlling the knee-jerk tendency of weaker players to “obey the 5cm rule”, ie unthinkingly responding to any move with a play within 5cm of the opponent’s last stone.
Tim Hunt 2d also used a game review to illustrate various teaching points, particularly in the opening. He, however, made his points using a high-level professional game, so here it was more often an analysis of why this or that move was a good one, compared to the students’ various suggestions. The game was from round 1 of the 1998 Japanese Oza qualifiers which Michael Redmond won as white against the legendary Cho Chikun. When Redmond visited the UK earlier this year Hunt had heard someone ask him his favourite game, and this was it. The teacher needed no recourse to a game record, as he had clearly studied it in great depth and knew every move as well as numerous possible variations at each stage.
After a short break for lunch, the tournament(s) got under way: three rounds with half an hour per player then sudden death, and handicaps (for the students, but not the teachers), set equal to grade difference, komi 7.5. Natasha Regan 1k of Epsom won in the first division (1k – 5k), narrowly beating Sue Paterson 4k of Arundel by one point in the third round, with Chris Volk 2k of Reading pushing Paterson into third place with one point more on aggregate. In the second division (6k – 10k) Peter Fisher 7k of Leicester was victorious, while Francis Moore 6k of the home club placed second and Malcolm Hagan 6k of Winchester third. In the third division (11+k) Gerry Gavigan 12k, also of South London, won and Adam Field 13k of Winchester and 8-year-old Edmund Smith 13k of Milton School took second and third place respectively. In the teachers’ tournament, Tim Hunt prevailed, winning all three games.
All the prizes were books aimed at improvers: Understanding Dan-level Play, by Yuan Zhou; How Not To Play Go, also by Yuan Zhou; Attack and Defence, by Ishida Akira and James Davies; Opening Theory Made Easy, by Otake Hideo; Go Proverbs vol 1, published by the Nihon Ki-in and finally Go By Example: correcting common mistakes in double-digit kyu play, by Neil Moffat. Prizes went to all with three wins and some with two. In addition, two copies of Anders Kierulf’s SmartGo Kifu iPhone/iPad app, donated to the event by the author, went to the first takers.
The event was the first of its kind for the South London Go Club, but it is intended that it should become an annual event, though perhaps at a different time of year according to organizer David Cantrell, a man with a large beard and quirky sense of humour who signs off unofficial correspondence with such improbable self-stylings as “London Perl Mongers Deputy Chief Heretic”, or “Enforcer, South London Linguistic Massive” often appending an epigram such as, “Human Rights left unattended may be removed, destroyed, or damaged by the security services.”
Report and photos by Tony Collman, British correspondent for the E-Journal.