Just two and a half weeks after the 2013 World Amateur Go Championship ended, the knockout tournament to select the Japanese player for the 2014 WAGC was held at the Nihon Kiin in Tokyo. Emura Kikou, who was highly dissatisfied with his 8th place at the 2013 WAGC, came determined to win another try, but he was competing against four higher-finishing WAGC contestants of years past, including former world amateur champions Hiraoka Satoshi and Hironari Hirata. In the first round, played on the morning of September 21, Emura had a tough game against a highschool lad from Aichi prefecture, but managed to win by 1.5 points.
In the next round he faced a gentleman from Mie prefecture whose white beard set off a fierce-looking black mustache and black eyebrows. Emura won this game by resignation, and then defeated a former Student Meijin from Tokyo by 23.5 points to complete a successful first day. In the meantime, Hirata lost in the first round and Hiraoka lost, to another highschooler, in the third round.
On the morning of September 22 Emura was paired against an opponent who had been all-Japan Student Oza in 2003. Emura won by 4.5 points, and then beat the 1987 Student Honinbo Iwai Shinichi by 1.5 points in the semifinal round. His final opponent was Wakabayashi Daisuke, a university student from Tokyo who was having the tournament of his life: he had overcome the highschool genius who overcame Hiraoka.
Playing white in the final game, Wakabayashi went for a large area in the center. Emura reduced it by setting up a ladder, then playing a ladder break. White fought back by cutting off the ladder breaking stone, but black won the ensuing capturing race. Emura was over 20 points ahead when Wakabayashi resigned. In the playoff for third place Iwai beat Sakamoto Shusaku, Japanese Student Champion in 1994 and 1995.
At the awards ceremony Emura said, 'I played terribly in the World Amateur and felt terrible afterwards, but after getting past the first round here yesterday, I regained confidence and was able to concentrate. I hope to take this attitude into the World Amateur next year. I want revenge.' His chance for revenge may come even sooner, since he will also represent Japan in the upcoming Korea Prime Minister Cup on October 12-13.
Russia: The Russian Championship semifinal finished on September 22 in Saint Petersburg with Timur Sankin 6d (left) in first, Andrej Cheburakhov 5d in second, and Igor Nemlij 5d in third. Romania: Alin Badea 1d bested Sorin Sora 4d in the 4th Radu Baciu Grand Prix – stage 8 tournament in Craiova on September 15. Adrian Nedan 2k placed third. Poland: Also on September 22, Marcin Majka 3d won the Polish Championship Qualification in Lodz. In second was Sebastian Pawlaczyk 3d and Majus Misiak 2d came in third.
- Annalia Linnan, based on reports from EuroGoTV, which include complete result tables and all the latest European go news
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Honolulu Go Club member Brian Johnson has just published Beginner’s Mind: an Introduction to the Game of Go, an introductory go eBook. Johnson is a teacher at Punahou School who teaches a credit high school go course called “Buddhism and the Game of Go” and introduces around 150-200 students each year to the game. The ebook’s text is designed to take advantage of the touchscreen features of the iPad and contains numerous picture galleries, animations, and interactive elements to help explain and clarify basic and more advanced concepts of go strategy. Only available for the iPad, it’s $9.99 in the iTunes Store, where you can download a free sample.
- Sid Kobashigawa, Honolulu Go Club
The entire Spring 2013 issue of Library Trends magazine is devoted to how to develop gaming programs in libraries. The authors agree that with libraries seeking a relevant connection to Internet-savvy young users, games can draw young people in. Various authors discuss the merits of video, tabletop, card, and role-playing formats. Among them is Thomas Maluck (right), a teen services librarian at Richland Library in Columbia, SC. In an article entitled “Play It Loud,” Maluck describes Go Your Own Way, a program he developed after seeing the AGF booth at the American Library Association convention in New Orleans in 2011. “Go encouraged positive parent-child communication,” he writes. “In one session, as a child learned the rules and played a practice game, his mother tried to kibitz over his shoulder. Her well-intentioned advice was based on a logical understanding of an aggressive, checkers-like strategy, but . . . the child’s understanding of the game was more advanced than his mother’s. Staff invited the mother to play and watched them both develop personal strategies and counterstrategies over the course of several games.” Although Library Trends is published by Johns Hopkins Press, it is not freely available. You’ll need access to Project MUSE; try your local public or university library. It’s an interesting issue.
- Roy Laird
The go part of the 2013 SportAccord Mind Sport Online Tournament has just gone into the final stage. Over 1000 go players worldwide participated in the largest-ever online tournament. Three regional preliminary tournaments were held for Asia, Europe and Africa, and the Americas. The winners from four separate rank divisions in each region then participate in the finals. Many prizes are provided by Pandanet and by SportAccord, including tablet computers, digital cameras, etc. The top winner from the Open division will win an all-expense-paid trip to Beijing to observe the Third SportAccord World Mind Games held December 12-18 and to receive his trophy. In addition, all players who finished the preliminary round will be placed in a lottery pool for a grand prize of an iPad. The games are held on the Pandanet Internet Go Server (IGS). Click here for finalists, schedule, go client, and other details.
- Thomas Hsiang
“The AGA made my club possible 10-15 years ago,” responded on local go club organizer to a recent survey. “As long as I have a working memory, I will be grateful for this.” Said another, “People want to know why they should join the AGA. Usually the only reason they do is because they want to play in an AGA rated tournament.” Wondered another, “Can you provide any other reasons I or my club should rejoin the AGA outside of general support?” A whopping 85 club leaders across the United States responded to the survey last June, which queried them on club revenue sources, tournaments, meeting frequency, advertising methods, internal chapter email list maintenance, size and reach, and AGA membership. The AGA’s Board of Directors has been studying the survey responses and is “already using the results of the survey to plan additional chapter and member services” says survey organizer Greg Smith. “We did learn, however, that there are some misconceptions out there about the AGA and the services it provides. Many people made suggestions about what the AGA could do, when the AGA already does those things.” Smith credited Philip Waldron for establishing a valuable baseline in his “2008 Chapter Report” and Lisa Scott for collating the new survey’s responses. “We’ll both begin following up using the AGA Chapter List over the next few months, correcting the misconceptions there and in the E-Journal,” Smith said. Click here to see a detailed report on the survey.
LA’s BEST, an award-winning after-school program serving 194 high-needs elementary schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District, is establishing go programs in 12 schools, according to AGA President Andy Okun and LA’s BEST Director of Education Stela Oliveira. ”For those of us who have seen how captivating, fun, and beneficial go is for little kids, this is an incredible chance to spread the benefits of the game and bring something new and exciting to a bunch of students,” said Okun. The program started over the summer with a trial run at two elementary schools, Latona and Lareto. Aside from providing equipment and sets of Hikaru no Go, the AGA and the AGF also provided teacher training, led by former AGF teacher of the year Vincent Eisman, who held a small training in June and a larger one in late September. The AGF is providing continuing support through the school year as well. To donate money to help cover training costs and equipment expenses click here.
Gotham Go Group organizer Peter Armenia’s recent email to New York City go players was a model of efficient play, celebrating a club success, promoting an upcoming tournament and urging membership in the AGA.
“Well it’s that time of year again,” Armenia reported in an email with the subject line “The Benefits of Membership.” “It was early October, 2011 that I put out the word that regular weekly Go would be returning to New York City. We have been going strong at the Hungarian Pastry Shop ever since, regularly getting between 12 and 20 players every week. On top of that: We had a very successful first Gotham Go Tournament last January with nearly 60 players; And another coming up in October! Click here to register; And the US Go Congress is coming to NYC next year!
“One thing I did that October is register with the American Go Association as an AGA affiliated club,” Armenia continued. “Not only does this help our club get noticed, it also supports Go in the United States. It only costs $35/year for our club, which I pay out of pocket (small donations from members are certainly welcome but not required). If you are a lapsed member of the AGA I urge you to renew today. If you have never have been a member of the AGA I urge you to take advantage of a special half price offer they have through our chapter. This is a special discount offered through our chapter club (the Gotham Go Group). Note:If you want to get this discount, send me an email and I will email you the discount voucher to use on the AGA website. And remember, to play in the upcoming tournament you need to be a member of the AGA, so join today.”
Other chapters are welcome to adapt this model to help build their own local clubs and the AGA, Armenia tells the E-Journal. “The more each chapter succeeds the more we all succeed,” he says. “It’s important to keep things simple, consistent, and to make coming out to play go easy and enjoyable. Do what you can to make a community around your go club.”
photo: Armenia (right) at the January 2013 Gotham Tournament; photo by John Pinkerton
“This is the pinnacle of game design. So simple, yet so deep.” “This was on the front page of (Reddit’s) r/gaming today,” reported djedi25 on September 28. “Expect a spike in go searches! There’s also a discussion going on here”
The Triangle Go Group hosted its 2013 tournament in an autumn outdoor setting at the Umstead State Park in Cary, North Carolina on Sept 21. Following tradition, the 30 participants were treated to a picnic lunch and all the entry fees were returned to the players as prize money. As dusk settled on the final game to be completed, Liqun Liu 7D topped perennial champion Changlong Wu 7D in a showdown for the Open Section championship. The A section (1D-2k) was swept by Seth Cardew, also with a perfect 4-0 record, with Brian Wu 3-1 placing second. In the B section (6-11k) Kerianne Squitire, Andrew Zhang, and Alvin Chen tied with scores of 3-1. Finally section C (14k+) was swept by Justin Zhang 4-0, with Colin Zhang, playing in his first tournament, finishing second with 3-1.
- report/ photo by Charles Alden; photo: photo, tournament winner Liqun Liu (seated, right) faces Jeff Kuang in the third round as Eric Zhang and Frank Salantrie observe.