Malaysia was represented at the 2014 Korea Prime Minister Cup by the secretary of its weiqi association, Jimmy Cheng (Cheng Khai-yong in Chinese), who also works as a weiqi (baduk, go) teacher. Ranka interviewed Jimmy after his first-round victory over an opponent from Sweden.
Ranka: How did you learn to play go?
Jimmy: I learned because I watched the Hikaru no Go animations. I started when I was fifteen years old, about eleven years ago. At the time, there were hardly any go players in Malaysia, so at first I was just playing by myself, but afterward I managed to find the Malaysian Go Association, which we now call the Malaysia Weiqi Association, so I joined them and started playing competitively.
Ranka: And when did you start teaching?
Jimmy: Teaching? I started teaching in 2010, only four years ago. Before 2010 there was no weiqi teaching in Malaysia. All of the weiqi players were playing on their own. Actually, there was no institute teaching any game like chess or weiqi in Malaysia. Then, suddenly, a chess academy where they taught Chinese chess and international chess appeared, so I approached them and told them I was good at weiqi, and started teaching there. After that, I started recruiting students, and it all grew to the point where now we have three or four weiqi institutes promoting the game, and I'm also going into primary and secondary schools to teach.
Ranka: Are you based in Kuala Lampur?
Jimmy: Yes, I'm based in Kuala Lampur, and most of our main events are held in Kuala Lampur, but the game has started growing in other places too. One place is a chess academy in Ipoh, which is up north of Kuala Lampur. There's someone trying to promote weiqi in every part of Malaysia.
Ranka: How old are your students?
Jimmy: The yougest I've taught is about six years old, but I've also taught a lot of adults. Normally I teach groups of students, mostly in primary and secondary schools. When adults come, often they want to learn so that they can get their sons or daughters to learn. About half the population of Malaysia is Chinese. They migrated into the country from China a long time ago, but they still relate to Chinese culture, so I'm sure they are potentially interested in weiqi. There is just a lack of information about the game, and how to learn it. So to promote our game to them, what I am doing now is to create places for them where they can learn to play.
Ranka: Do you make a good living at this?
Jimmy: For me, it's actually quite good. I don't belong to any one institute. If there's any place where they need someone to teach, I go there. I've been sort of a pioneer. It was quite hard in the beginning, but now, after these few years, I think I earn about the same as a university graduate. I still don't own my own institute, however. I think that if I had my own institute I could do even better. But I just hope I can spread weiqi all around Malaysia, so wherever they need help, I'll go there and provide them with material assistance, with the teaching materials and equipment that they need.
Ranka: And now, can you tell us about the game you just finished in round one?
Jimmy: Well, first of all, my objective here is to beat the players who are ranked at the same strength as me or below. When I play someone above my strength, it may be kind of hard to win. Before the game I checked my opponent's rank and saw that it was 3 dan, the same as me, so I hoped to win and fortunately, I did. I can't say it was a hard game. I'd call it a comfortable win, although he fought a lot.
Ranka: Thank you very much.
Postscript: In his next game Jimmy outdid himself: he upset Thai 5-dan Vorawat Tanapatsopol. Then after losing to two 6-dans and a 4-dan, he won his last game against another 3-dan opponent, Portugal's Daniel Tome. This earned him a well-deserved award as one of the top four players in the Asian zone excluding China, Chinese Taipei, Korea, and Japan.
- Photo: Ito Toshiko
“An idea for the E-Journal,” writes Eric Osman. “Encourage AGA regular chapter go club meetings to send in pictures from their meetings, and then link to them in the E-Journal. For example, here’s a team game played last night at Western Mass Go’s weekly Rao’s coffee house meeting in Amherst, Massachusetts. They beat us by 14 points despite the 7.0 komi. Yes, it was 7.0, so we could maybe have a tie!”
Great idea! Send chapter meeting photos to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and you could be featured in our next report!
The Korean Prime Minister’s Cup, one of the premier international amateur competitions, took place in Seoul this year. Ireland’s representative was Thomas Shanahan. Over 6 rounds of play, he scored 2 wins over Hungary and Argentina. This placed him in 41st position, just above his seeding of 42nd, and was thus a very good performance. Congratulations to him! The results are available to view here.
You can now read Thomas’s own notes on the event.
Arrived on Wednesday – sandwich for dinner! Next day, tour around a Baduk school and Baduk Association building, then a banquet in the evening – some lovely drummers and then to follow some band whose music can only be called noise. However the food was lovely. Off to bed early for the raging battles ahead. There was much heat; on the board and culinary wise.
First day of games:
There were 6 opponents – Norway, Hungary, Mexico, England, Indonesia and Argentina.
First from Norway on table 1. Unfortunately Odin was not on my side this day and I was defeated but not without the usual scrap here and there spreading all over the board. The game can be found onhttp://www.wbaduk.com/
Second game was with the Hungary. Hadúr was in a funny mood this day, giving Hungary the advantage early on but in classic Irish style the underdog grasps the win. Success!!!
Third game against Mexico – a disaster – it was all so normal until I realised that so much was dead on the board – just outdone by the cheeky Xipe-Totecian Mexican 5D!
Fourth game against old rivals – England. A nice game, went back a forth, unfortunately….
Fifth game against Indonesia – 4 point game – what more can I say.
Ahhh, and then there was Argentina. Fairly bad from the start, lots dead on the board, about to resign but decided to battle on- and then it was there- the light at the end of the tunnel, found the crucial cut .Yes!!! Cú Chulainn was with me in spirit that game.
Final result – 2 out of 6. Rest of the time was spent; eating Kimchee, rice and other fancy Korean food, visiting a palace, playing a 9P and another professional at the Baduk festival (1004 simultaneous games at once), getting ripped off in touristville and doing some Swing dancing. All in all – fair craic.
To encourage chapters of the American Go Association to keep the momentum from “Learn Go” week going, the AGA is offering a special deal during the month of October. Chapters that meet in October, play at least one rated game, order pizza and send in a photo of the festivities — and the receipt– and you’ll have the cost of the pizza reimbursed. “We appreciate the great work our chapters are doing and this is a fun way for them to reach their members” says Andrew Jackson, AGA VP of Operations. This offer only valid for AGA chapters; if your club is not a chapter, click here to sign up as a chapter today. Send your receipts to email@example.com.
Two French scientists have decided to apply network science to the game of go, according to a 2012 report on the Wired blog we just came across. “They constructed their networks in a simple way,” Samuel Arbesman reported in Network Science of the Game of Go (4/20/2012). “If one board position can lead to another, they are connected. Using a dataset of about 1,000 professional games and 4,000 amateur games, they began to construct these networks.” Arbesman says the network analyses in the paper “are a bit odd, though they find many classic graph structures, such as a heavy-tailed link distribution and high amounts of clustering.” And though the networks constructed from amateur and professional games were distinct, Arbesman said that “while I know that network pictures are usually inscrutable hairballs, I was disappointed that networks weren’t visualized at all.” Still, he concluded, “this a fun little network analysis and I recommend checking it out.” photo courtesy Wired blog
Both James have now secured victory in the Irish Correspondence Championship. James Hutchinson topped the Open section with 9 wins, losing only one game. That game was to Martin Klemsa, who shared second place with Irina Davis and Noel Mitchell. Earlier this year, James Aitken had won the Intermediate section. The competition proved to be quite popular, with 21 people taking part. Planning for next year can now begin, and all suggestions are welcome. Next year we might have some prizes!
The Tacoma Go Club is getting back into the go business after “a little hiatus, reports club president Gordon Castanza. The TGC sponsored three events during Learn Go Week” last week and is meeting at the Asia Pacific Cultural Center, 4851 S. Tacoma Way, Tacoma, WA 98409 every Monday from 3 – 6p. The club also meets at Bluebeard’s Café, 2201 6th Ave., Tacoma, WA 98403 (by prior arrangement. Call or e-mail Gordon or Tom), and Starbuck’s, 34024 Hoyt Rd. SW (340th and Hoyt next to Walgreen’s), Federal Way, WA 98023 (by prior arrangement. Call or e-mail Gordon or Tom). During the Tacoma Go Club’s third “Learn Go Week” event last Saturday, “two new players appeared at the Bluebeard Coffee Shop in Tacoma to learn the fine points of both high handicap games and the subtleties of the territory-destroying ‘monkey jump,’” says Castanza. Players from left to right were Mike Malveaux, Tom Cruver, and Mark Mattson, who was playing Castanza, who doubled as official photographer.
The mysterious death of John Bender, the Philadelphia go player who died under suspicious circumstances in 2010 (In Memoriam 10/10/2013) was the subject of the September 27 edition of “48 Hours,” reports Phil Straus, who taught Bender to play go in the mid-1980’s. In “Paradise Lost” correspondent Susan Spencer investigates “How did a Wall Street millionaire end up shot dead in his bedroom?” Bender’s go-playing is not mentioned, although his prowess at poker is.
photo: John Bender, lecturing on the importance of plans and ideas, and how unimportant details and final results are, at the 1987 US Go Congress, Mt. Holyoke College, Massachusetts. photo by Phil Straus
The Seattle Go Center is celebrating its 19th anniversary with a tournament this Sunday, Oct. 5. Titled “19×19x19“, the AGA event will have an open section and several handicapped sections. Registration is from 10:00- 10:30 at the Go Center, and the total purse for prizes will be $500. Last year they had 24 players, with six players who were 5 dan or stronger. More information is available at the Go Center website. Photo: Dong Ma 6d plays Edward Kim 7d at the 17th Anniversary Tournament in 2012, with Dennis Wheeler recording the game. Photo/Report by Brian Allen.