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by John Power, EJ Japan Correspondent
Takao Scores 900th Win: Takao Shinji’s win in the Meijin League was his 900th as a professional. He is the 21st Nihon Ki-in player to reach this landmark. His record is 900 wins, 385 losses, 2 jigo, 2 no result. photo: Shinji
China Leads In Nong Shim Cup: The second round of the Nong Shim Cup, held in Busan, Korea, was dominated by Wang Xi 9P of China, who won four games in a row, but both Korea and Japan have hung on, each getting one player into the final round.
(Nov. 28) Wang Xi 9P (China) (B) beat Kang Tong-yun 9P (Korea) by resig.
(Nov. 29) Wang (W) beat Murakawa Daisuke 7P (Japan) by resig.
(Nov. 30) Wang (W) beat An Song-jun 5P (Korea) resig.
(Dec. 1) Wang (B) beat Kono Rin 9P (Japan) by resig.
(Dec. 2) Pak Jung-hwan 9P (Korea) (W) beat Wang by resig.
(Dec. 3) Iyama Yuta 9P (Japan) (B) beat Pak by resig.
Hane Wins Crown Title: The 55th Crown title, which is open only to Nagoya Nihon Ki-in players, was won by Hane Naoki 9P. In the final, played on November 29, Hane (W) beat Yamashiro Hiroshi 9P by resignation, thus winning his fourth Crown title in a row and 11th overall. He is within striking distance of Yamashiro’s record of 15 Cr
Gu Wins Japan-China Ryusei Play-Off: In the inaugural Japan-China Ryusei Play-off, Go Li 9P of China showed that he had recovered from his loss in his jubango (ten-game match) with Lee Se-tol by defeating Kono Rin 9P of Japan. Taking black, Gu won by resignation. The game was played on December 6.
Murakawa Takes Oza from Iyama: The second and third games of the 62nd Oza title match were played at the Westin Miyako Hotel Kyoto on November 18 and 20. Having just one rest day between games feels in go terms almost like a doubleheader in baseball.
In Game Two, the challenger Murakawa Daisuke 7P beat Iyama by 1.5 points playing black. The game was close, but Iyama made an attack that was a little over-aggressive. Murakawa erased potential white territory while settling his group and took the lead. The game later became close because of some slack play by Murakawa in the endgame.
In Game Three the titleholder Iyama Yuta pulled off an upset victory by 2.5 points. Murakawa had secured a slight edge with skillful play in a centre fight, but he let himself down with a couple of slack moves later. Once the game turned in his favor, Iyama gave his opponent no chance to stage another upset.
Game Four was played at the Sendai Royal Park Hotel in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture, on December 8. Playing black, Murakawa seized the initiative in the opening and this time managed to hang on to it, despite a difficult middle game.
The final game was played at the Todaya inn in Toba City, Mie Prefecture, on December 16. The first part of the game featured two ko fights, both of which Murakawa won, though Iyama took reasonable compensation. The game went wrong for Iyama in a large capturing race in the center. Iyama made a miscalculation and thought he could win it; when he realized he couldn’t, he sacrificed his group, but in the meantime he had played some extra moves that became a loss without compensation. That decided the game. It ended after 249 moves, and Murakawa won by 1.5 points. (Other details about the game are given in the E-journal’s report of December 21.)
At 24, Murakawa is one year younger than Iyama. The two are good friends and often meet in the same study groups. It’s easy to imagine Murakawa’s feelings as he witnessed the extraordinary success of his friend over recent years. At the same time, Iyama was a good target to aim at, of course, but Murakawa confessed that it was a little disturbing to see an even younger player in Ida Atsushi (aged 20) emerge in this year’s Honinbo title match as the first younger challenger to Iyama. The flow of the match, as described above, shows that Murakawa’s win was not a fluke. His goal now is to do better in international tournaments.
Tomorrow, Part 4: Takao Takes Tengen Title from Iyama; Promotions; Konishi to Challenge for Women’s Kisei; Good Year for Fujisawa Rina; Cho U Eliminated from Chunlan Cup
Eight top US go players will gather just outside Boston next week to determine the next US professional. Play in the 3rd AGA Pro Qualification Finals starts on Sunday, January 4 and ends on January 10. The games will be broadcast live on KGS from the Nantasket Beach Resort by the E-Journal; morning rounds will begin at 9:30 AM and afternoon rounds will begin at 4:30 PM. The players are Eric Lui 7d, Ryan Li 7d, Yuan Zhou 7d, Jeremy Chiu 6d, Daniel Gourdeau 7d, Ricky Zhao 7d, Ben Lockhart 7d, and Matthew Burrall 6d. The tournament will be played in two parts, a Round Robin Prelim Sunday through Wednesday, followed by the Championship Thursday and Friday. Jeff Shaevel is the Tournament Director, AGA President Andy Okun will be on hand and Chris Garlock and Andrew Jackson will head up the EJ recording team.
photo: Calvin Sun, winner of the 2nd AGA pro tourney in January 2013; photo by Dennis Wheeler.
by John Power, EJ Japan Correspondent
Ida Takes Sole Lead in Honinbo League: Two games in the second round of the 70th Honinbo League were played on November 13. Cho U 9P picked up his first win by beating Ryu Shikun 9P (B) by 3.5 points, and Ida Atsushi 8P (B) beat Mimura Tomoyasu 9P by resignation. This was the second win for Ida (right), the previous challenger. Another game was played on November 20. Yo Seiki 7P of the Kansai Ki-in (W) beat Takao Shinji 9P by 8.5 points. That put both players on 1-1. On November 27, the second round was completed when Yamashita Keigo 9P (W) defeated Kono Rin 9P by resig. That took Yamashita to 2-0, giving him a share of the lead with Ida. Kono had made a bad start with 0-2. What could turn out to be the decisive game in the league came in the third round in a clash between Ida and Yamashita. In the previous league, Ida had caught up with Yamashita in the final round, then beaten him in the play-off. This time, in a game played on December 4, Ida (B) beat Yamashita by 1.5 points. Yamashita will have to play catch-up, but forging ahead of the other players didn’t work for him in either the Honinbo or the Meijin League this year. On December 11, Cho U 9P (B) beat Yo Seiki 7P by resignation. On December 15, Ryu Shikun 9P (B) picked up his first win in the league when he beat Takao Shinji 9P by resignation. On December 18, Kono Rin (W) followed in Ryu’s footsteps by beating Mimura Tomoyasu 9P by resignation. That completed the third round and also the league schedule for this year. The league goes into the new year with a tidy arrangement: the top-ranked player, Ida, leads with 3-0, as mentioned above; the number two and three players, Yamashita and Cho U, are both on 2-1, and the other five players are on 1-2. As yet, no one is out of the running.
Suzuki Leads Women’s Meijin League: Two games were played in the Women’s Meijin League in November. On the 13th, Suzuki Ayumi 6P (W) beat Mukai Chiaki 5P by 1.5 points. On the 20th, Mannami Nao 3P (B) beat Chinen Kaori 4P by resignation. On December 4, Chinen Kaori 4P (B) beat Mukai Chiaki 5P by resignation. Two more games were played on December 11. Kato Keiko 6P (W) beat Aoki Kikuyo 8P by
4.5 points and Suzuki Ayumi 6P (B) beat Mannami Nao 3P by resignation. On 4-1, Suzuki holds the sole lead — every other player has at least two losses.
Iyama Loses Chance for Grand Slam Next Year: Iyama Yuta was eliminated in the quarterfinals of the 53rd Judan tournament, so he lost his chance to aim at a grand slam of the top seven titles in 2015. In a game played at the Osaka headquarters of the Nihon Ki-in on November 28, Kobayashi Satoru 9P (W) beat Iyama by half a point. His prospects subsequently became even more distant, as you’ll see in tomorrow’s report.
Suzuki and Rin Win Pair Go Tournament For Married Couples: One of the events commemorating the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Nihon Ki-in was a Pair Go tournament for married couples. There are 16 or 17 professional couples in Japan (I have lost count), of whom eight took part. The first two rounds in the knockout tournament were played on October 6, and the final was held on November 22, which is known as ‘good married couples’ day. If you take the first syllables of the numbers in 11/22 in Japanese, you get ‘ii fufu,’ a homophone for ‘good married couple.’ (Japanese are found of turning numbers into mnemonics). In the final, Suzuki Ayumi 6P and Rin Kanketsu 7P (W) defeated Mimura Kaori 2P and Tomoyasu 9P by resignation.
Meijin League Starts: The first game in the 40th Meijin League was played on December 4. Ko Iso 8P (W) beat Hane Naoki 9P by resignation. Two more games were played on the 11th. Kono Rin 9P (W) beat So Yokoku by resignation and Murakawa Daisuke (B) beat Kanazawa Makoto 7P by 13.5 points. Incidentally, Kono’s win ended a losing streak of ten successive games, starting with the fourth game of the Meijin title match (a contrast to his winning streak of 19 games earlier in the year). The final game of the first round was played on Christmas Day. The new Tengen Takao Shinji (B) beat Yamashita Keigo 9P by half a point.
Tomorrow, Part 3: Takao Scores 900th Win; China Leads in Nong Shim Cup; Hane Wins Crown Title; Gu Wins Japan-China Ryusei Play-Off; Murakawa Takes Oza from Iyama
Ichiriki Wins Ibero-Japan Cup: This is a new tournament founded to encourage young players. It is open to players under 18, including inseis (professional trainees), and games are played on the Net. In the final, played on November 11, Ichiriki Ryo 7P (right), taking white, beat Kyo Kagen 2P by 6.5 points.
Yamashita Repeats as Kisei Challenger: The play-off to decide the challenger for the 39th Kisei title was held at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo on November 13. It featured the same players as the previous year, Yamashita Keigo 9P and Murakawa Daisuke 7P, and had the same result: a win for Yamashita. Taking black, Yamashita won by resignation. Yamashita’s previous challenge was rebuffed 4-2 by Iyama, but Yamashita has an affinity for this title: he has won it five times in all, including a run of four terms in a row, and has played in the title match eight times. Aged 36, he will soon qualify as a “veteran,” so he will be hoping to do better this time. The first game will be played in Osaka on January 15 and 16.
Kanazawa Wins Third Meijin Seat: Winning a seat in a league earns you an automatic promotion to 7-dan if you have not already made it. There has been a rash of such promotions in the last year or two (Yo Seiki, Ida Atsushi, Ichiriki Ryo), and now Kanazawa Makoto has joined them. The 4-dan beat O Meien 9P in the final round to win a seat in the 40th Meijin League. The game was played on November 13; taking white, Kanazawa won by 1.5 points. His promotion to 7-dan came the following day. The 22-year-old Kanazawa won the 37th King of the New Stars title in 2012. He looked a little disappointed when he realized he would no longer be able to play in this title or in the Hiroshima Aluminium Cup, both of which are restricted to players under 7-dan. Incidentally, Kanazawa’s father is Kanazawa Moriei, a former top amateur player who is a go writer for the Mainichi Newspaper.
Motoki Wins Hiroshima Aluminium Cup: The Hiroshima Aluminium Cup: Young Carp Tournament is a two-day knock-out tournament for Nihon Ki-in players 30 or under and 6-dan or under. The 9th cup was played at the Central Japan Newspaper Building in Hiroshima City on November 15 and 16. In the final, Motoki Katsuya 3P (aged 19) (W) beat Mutsuura Yuta 1P (aged 15) by 2.5 points to win his first title. Fujisawa Rina made it to the semifinals but lost to Motoki.
Tomorrow, Part 2: Ida Takes Sole Lead In Honinbo League; Suzuki Leads Women’s Meijin League; Iyama Loses Chance For Grand Slam Next Year; Suzuki And Rin Win Pair Go Tournament For Married Couples; Meijin League Starts
The North American Kyu Championships (NAKC) returns this year, and will be held on KGS, on Saturday Feb. 7th. The NAKC will welcome kids who live in both Canada and Mexico to compete with their counterparts in the US. Dan level players will be able to compete in the Redmond Cup (including players from Canada and Mexico). Youth who compete in either event will also be eligible for $400 scholarships to the AGA Go Camp, or $200 scholarships to the US Go Congress, courtesy of the AGF, on a first come first served basis.
Brackets in the NAKC will be divided by rank, with a new bracket formed approximately every 5 ranks or so depending on the range of participants. Within brackets, all games will be played even. Depending on the number of entrants in a given bracket, there will be either 3 or 4 rounds. There will be a trophy for the best Junior player (under 13) and the best Senior (under 18) in each bracket. Jr. and Sr. level youth will compete together. Registration is now open for the NAKC, and more information can be found on the AGA webpage for youth events. The deadline for the NAKC is Feb. 3rd. to register, click here. -Story and Photo by Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Photo: Kyu players competing at the US Go Congress in NYC.
Return of The Hedgehog: “The French movie ‘The Hedgehog’ has a mention of go and a scene showing the game,” writes Bart Lipofsky. “It’s based on the book ‘The Elegance of the Hedgehog’ by Muriel Barbery, which mentions the game at a dinner table discussion. The adult is corrected by the young girl concerning rules.”
Previous EJ reports include Go Art: “The Hedgehog” Now Available Online (11/28/2012 EJ) and Your Move/Readers Write: The Elegant Hedgehog Pops Up Again (9/1/2012).
’42 Ozu Film: In the 1942 movie There Was a Father (“Chichi ariki”), directed by Ozu Yasujiro, “There are views of a go parlor at minute 35, then further mention of the game later,” reports Bob Barber.
For more about go on film, check out the European Go Federation’s Go Filmography.
Former AGA Board Chair David Weimer tipped us off about a forthcoming book with a go-themed cover. International Relations Theory, The Game-Theoretic Approach is by Andrew H. Kydd, a colleague of Weimer’s in the Political Science Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Madison, WI. “Written for advanced undergraduate and graduate students, this is the first textbook on international relations theory to take a specifically game theoretic approach to the subject,” according to the book’s description on the Cambridge University Press website. “International relations theory is presented and analysed using simple games, which allow students to grasp the concepts and mechanisms involved with the rationalist approach without the distraction of complicated math.” The book is due out in March.
In-seong Hwang 8D’s online go school starts its fourth American season – and 11th European season – next month and is accepting new students now. Click here for details on the American Yunguseng Dojang and here for the European Yunguseng Dojang. A well-known top player in Europe, Hwang Inseong 8D trained at the Korean Yunguseng Academy, studied Go in Myong-ji University and worked for a baduk TV channel as commentator. The program consists of interactive online lectures, student league-play and game reviews on KGS. Students have access to all past lectures and reviews — more than 100 lectures and over 2,000 game review videos — as well as “personal go reports” to help students assess the progress they are making and the areas which need most work. “After just one year, the American league already has the biggest number of players, thanks to the members who bring their friends,” says Hwang. “Since we have more members, the next season league will be much more interesting and competitive!” Click here for details on the program, schedule and pricing.
Late in the afternoon of December 17, go players at the 2014 SportAccord World Mind Games attended their second awards ceremony in the Beijing International Convention Center. This time the awards for pair go were given out. China’s Yu Zhiying and Mi Yuting collected their second gold medals, Korea’s Choi Jeong and Na Hyun collected their first and second silver medals, respectively, and China’s Cathy Chang (more formally, Chang Kai-Hsin) and Lin Li-Hsiang received their first bronze medals.
Medals were also awarded for individual contract bridge, Basque system chess, super-blitz draughts, checkers, and xiangqi. Four countries picked up their first gold medals here: Monaco, for whom Geir Helgemo came through in open bridge; Cameroon, whose draughts star Jean Marc Ndjofang won the men’s superblitz; Vietnam, whose Ngyuen Hoang-Yen shone in women’s xiangqi; and Italy, which proved to have the world’s top two checkers players.
All told there were 24 separate events in this year’s world mind games, and mind athletes from 20 different countries and territories won medals. Between them, China and Russia took the gold medals in half the events, winning six each. Russia outpointed China in silver medals, but China outpointed Russia in bronze, won medals in a greater number of disciplines (all but draughts), and won the greater total number of medals – by a wide margin if China’s medals in the team and pair events in go and bridge are counted as multiple medals. All of Russia’s medals came in individual competition in chess and draughts. Full results and further details can be found on the SportAccord schedule and results page and news page.
At the closing ceremony at the V-Continent Beijing Parkview Wuzhou hotel, Mr Hai Zhenwen, deputy secretary general of the organizing committee, praised the successful conclusion of the four-year series of SportAccord World Mind Games in Beijing. China’s former ace weightlifter Ma Wenguang, representing SportAccord Asia/Pacific, thanked the city of Beijing and expressed a hope that world mind games would continue elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific area in the future. Mr Vlad Marinescu, Director General of SportAccord, said that he had been humbled at finding himself in the midst of so many geniuses but inspired by the enthusiasm of Beijing’s children, and noted that on the publicity front, this year the games had achieved a 50% growth over last year on all media platforms. Mr Chen Jie, deputy director of the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Sports, thanked the organizers for their hard work, after which he and Mr Marinescu exchanged gifts, and then everyone settled down to a good dinner.
- James Davies
This is the game in which China’s Yu Zhiying and Mi Yuting won the gold meal in pair go by defeating Korea’s Kim Choi Jeong and Na Hyun. Click here for the sgf game file.
Black 37 (A in diagram 1, played by Choi) defends against a double peep at B, but lets white jump to C. Black is playing too safe. She should have capped at 1 in diagram 2. If white peeps, pushes, and cuts as shown in the diagram, black can give up two stones, after which white will be unable to reach the center. Then black can develop on a truly large scale by pressing white down on the lower side as shown (moves from 11 to 15 in diagram 2).
Black 43 (played by Na) was also too conservative. Black should have occupied white 52, the junction point of his framework on the right side and the white framework on the lower side. When white got to play 52, the Chinese pair had a territorial lead.
White 64 may have been an overextension. Black 65 immediately started to threaten white’s thin position. With 66, white began dancing around to protect the weak white stones in this area and the weak white group at the top. But white danced successfully. By the time white played 92, white’s weak stones and group were out of danger.
Black 111 (Na) may have been the decisive mistake. Before playing here, black could have made sente moves at 112 and 150. Instead, white was able to play 112 and 148-150 in sente, gaining approximately seven points.
Black’s last chance was to start the ko at 157, but black lacked the necessary ko threats. Black 159 was inadequate. White simply ended the ko with 160, gaining as much at the top as was lost in the bottom left corner. When black renewed the ko challenge at 183, white accepted by cutting at 184. When Yu took the ko with white 194, Na decided that black’s prospects were too poor to continue and offered to resign, and his partner agreed.
- Ranka, based on commentary by Michael Redmond 9p.
This is the game in which Chinese Taipei’s Chang Kai-Hsin (Cathy Chang) and Lin Li-Hsiang (White) won the bronze gold meal in pair go by defeating Japan’s Fujisawa Rina and Ida Atsushi (Black). Click here for the sgf game file.
The opening pattern up to white 8 has become very popular quite recently and appeared in several SportAccord games.
Up through black 71 (the marked stone in diagram 1) the position is about even. White appears to have more territory, but the white position on the lower side is thin and can easily be invaded, so black is not behind. In fact, if black had played 71 at 1 in diagram 2, black might well have been ahead. White cannot cut black apart. Given the continuation through black 9, black is solidly linked up and the white group cannot make two eyes on the right side, so black will be able to attack it in the center.
The move that Ida Atsushi chose for black 71 was readily answered by white 72, and black 73 let white break up black’s right side territory in sente with 74 and 76. Aside from losing territory, black was placed on the defensive, and would be hampered in going deeper into the white territory at the bottom.
From this point on, the fighting in the center became quite confused. White’s top group seemed to be in trouble, but it could never be killed unconditionally, except at the sacrifice of an even larger black group. When white 168 connected the ko in the top left, white had a clear territorial lead.
By white 186 black’s position had become untenable and the Japanese pair resigned.
- Ranka, based on commentary by Michael Redmond 9p.
This is the game in which the Russian brother-sister pair of Ilya Shikshin and Svetlana Shikshina, both former European champions, defeated Russia’s Natalia Kovaleva and France’s Fan Hui to take fifth place in the mixed pairs competition. Click here for the sgf game file.
White 8 to 16 are one variation of a popular joseki. This variation and others appeared several times during the week of World Mind Games.
White 38 (the marked stone in diagram 1) was a mistake. The critical issue here is the relative strength of the groups in the center. If the white pair had played as shown in diagram 2, their own center group would have had the upper hand, and they would then have been free to deal with the loose black framework on the right side.
If black had captured white 98, the white group in the center would have been in serious trouble. Apparently Ilya decided that invading the bottom right corner first would be a safer way to win, but this is not necessarily true. If white had played 123 in sente before black did so, then given the same continuation on the rest of the board, the final margin would have been only half a point. As it was, black won by 1-3/4 stones, or 2-1/2 points.
- Ranka, based on commentary by Michael Redmond 9p
The final round of pair go competition at the 4th SportAccord World Mind Games was played in the morning of December 17. Deputy referee Michael Redmond gave the starting instructions. The gold medal game was televised, so Michael next moved into the broadcast booth to do the live commentary.
That game started well for the Chinese pair, due in particular to a couple of overly conservative Korean moves (Choi Jeong’s black 37 and Na Hyun’s black 43, click here to download the sgf file.) in the opening. The Koreans’ conservative style gave their opponents Yu Zhiying and Mi Yuting a territorial lead. Although the Korean pair gained ground through good play in the center, forcing the Chinese to go on the defensive, the Chinese pair handled their weak stones very well and maintained their advantage. Then as the endgame began the Koreans missed making a couple of valuable sente moves and found themselves definitely behind in territory. Although they tried to catch up in a ko fight, they lacked adequate ammunition, lost the ko, and resigned. China had swept all the gold medals in go. Korea’s silver is at least an improvement on the bronze the Korean pair got last year.
The battle for this year’s bronze was won by Chinese Taipei. The Japanese pair (Fujisawa Rina and Ida Atsushi) began well enough, but gave away territory in order to embark on a long and confused fight that did not turn out well for them, and eventually had to resign. The new pair from Chinese Taipei (Cathy Chang and Lin Li-Hsiang) played very well this year, as a different pair from Chinese Taipei had also done in winning the silver medal last year.
The all-European battle for fifth place was waged for the larger monetary prize (5000 USD) instead of medals. After some initial fighting, it turned into a close but peaceful contest of very large territories. The winners, with one stone or two points to spare, were former European champions Svetlana Shikshina and Ilya Shikshin. Their opponents Natalia Kovaleva and Fan Hui took sixth place (4000 USD).
- James Davies