Players in the 34th World Amateur Go Championship began arriving Friday in Sendai, Japan, registering at the Hotel Monte Hermana, where a playing room has been set up (and where some players, shrugging off their jetlag, immediately began playing go).
Saturday’s schedule is light, with a friendship match in the morning, followed by the International Go Federation’s General meeting in the afternoon, followed by a press conference and then the traditional opening ceremony and reception in the evening.
The 8-round tournament — with a field of 62 top amateur players from as many countries — begins Sunday and runs through Wednesday, with rounds each morning and afternoon. On Thursday, the players will tour the nearby area ravaged by the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami, before returning home. In cooperation with Ranka, the E-Journal will file daily reports on all the action, including tournament result updates, game commentaries, photos and daily recaps. Reports will first appear on the AGA’s website and then in the following day’s EJ.
- photos: left: US player Curtis Tang; top right: first games; bottom right: registering; report/photos by Chris Garlock
Where’s U.S. Go News? “No U.S. go news at all?” writes Allan Abramson in response to the 8/29 EJ, which featured reports on go in Japan and the UK. “Perhaps someone needs to be assigned to make or find news?”
We welcome go news from across the United States and around the world; send reports and photos to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jie Li Strong But Not Pro: “While Jie Li is undoubtably quite strong, he’s not actually a professional, let alone 9P,” writes Pierre Mohan (“Where are the strongest Go Clubs” 8/29 EJ). “He’s an amateur,” confirms Brian Allen. “However, he is 9.27 in the AGA ratings, only a stone away from Myung Wan Kim 9p at 10.25 in the AGA ratings.”
More On Strong Go Clubs: “Regarding today’s ‘Your Move’ (“Where are the strongest Go Clubs” 8/29 EJ), Joy Craft may be interested in visiting the website of the Bay Area Go Player’s Association, since she lives in the SF Bay Area,” suggests Steve Burrall.
China and Korea are favorites again this year to win the 34th edition of the World Amateur Go Championships, which will be held on September 1-4 in Sendai, Japan. Beginning September 1st, Ranka Online and the American Go E-Journal will provide full daily coverage of the championship.
The field of 62 players from as many countries will range in age from 14 to 57 and in official rank from 7 kyu to 8 dan. Yuqing Hu will represent China and Hyunjae Choi is playing for Korea; those two countries have not dropped a single game to any other country in this event since 2006. The players from perennially strong Chinese Taipei, Japan, and Hong Kong (Wei-shin Lin, Kikou Emura, and King-man Kwan) will also bear watching, particularly 14-year-old Lin, who will move on from the World Amateur to a pro career in Taiwan.
These Asians will be challenged, however, by a strong European contingent, led by Slovakian prodigy Pavol Lisy, who finished runner-up to former Chinese pro Fan Hui in this year’s European Championship. Joining Pavol will be four other young finalists from the European Championship: Thomas Debarre (France), Ilya Shikshin (Russia), Artem Kachanovskyi (Ukraine), and Nikola Mitic (Serbia). Also competing will be such established European stars as Ondrej Silt (Czechia), Csaba Mero (Hungary), Cornel Burzo (Romania), Merlijn Kuin (Netherlands), and Franz-Josef Dickhut (Germany).
Challenging the Asians and Europeans will be a pair of North American students: Curtis Tang (US), a UC Berkeley student who trained for a year at a go academy in China, and Bill Lin (Canada), who played in the World Mind Games last December and is coming off a 3-1 defense of his Canadian Dragon title.
The Southern hemisphere will be represented by Hao-Song Sun (Australia, 11th place at the 2008 World Mind Sports Games), Xuqi Wu (New Zealand, 12th place at the 2009 Korea Prime Minister Cup), and a pack of hopeful new players from South America and South Africa.
In the past the World Amateur Go Championship has been held in the spring, but this year the schedule was moved back because of the effects of the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011. Thanks to support from all over the world during the past two years, most of the regions hit by the earthquake are now recovering. It is hoped that through the game of go this tournament will give the world proof of the recovery and encourage the local people to press ahead with the long recovery process.
- Ranka Online
NOTE: This report has been updated to reflect Curtis Tang’s status as a college student, not high school.
Paul Taylor 2d of the St Albans Go Club, UK took the gold medal for 19×19 go by just half a point at the 17th Mind Sports Olympiad (MSO) in London on Sunday August 25 (Mind Sports Olympiad Under Way in London, 8/18 EJ).
British Go Association (BGA) VP Tony Atkins 1d (right) of Reading, UK, who also organized the go events and ran a free introduction to the game, as well as acting as arbiter for the games, had to content himself with the second place silver medal. Michael Webster 1d of the Central London Go Club took bronze after a tie-break with Alistair Wall 1d of Wanstead Go Club, UK. Click here for full results.
In the previous afternoon’s 13×13 event, Chris Volk from Germany took gold, while the silver medal went to Jay Rastall. Martyn Hamer won the bronze, but only after a tiebreak playoff with Matthew Hathrell, who nevertheless won medals in several other events. Click here for full results.
Click here for full MSO medal awards.
Strongest Go Clubs? “Can you tell me where the strongest go clubs are in the US?” asks Joy Craft. “I live in CA near Stanford University and want to know what cities in the US have serious clubs with professional players.”
Jie Li 9P has been showing up at the Greater Washington Go Club lately, the Seattle Go Center routinely hosts pros and strong players, and we hear that very strong players show up at clubs in LA and San Francisco as well. If other clubs have strong players attending, email us at email@example.com. Club contact info is online here.
“First 20 Hours” Redux: “In the book “The First 20 Hours: How to Learn Anything…Fast” by Josh Kaufman, there is a whole chapter devoted to Go in a nutshell,” reports Vincent DiMattia.
See our 6/18 report Expert On “How to Learn Go in 20 Hours”
E-Journal Japan Correspondent John Power catches us up on go events in Japan and international events in which Japanese players took part. Click here for Part 1 and Part 2.
Kisei Leagues Update
July 25: (A League) Yamashiro Hiroshi 9P (W) d. Yamashita Keigo Meijin by 3.5 points. (B League) Murakawa Daisuke 7P (B) d. Takao Shinji 9P by 1.5 points; Mizokami Tomochika 8P (W) d. 25th Honinbo Chikun by resig.
August 8: (B League) Takao Shinji 9P (W) d. Mizokami Tomochika 8P by resig.
August 15: (A League) Yoda Norimoto 9P (B) d. Cho U 9P by 1.5 points; Yamashita Keigo Meijin (W) d. Kobayashi Satoru 9P by resig.
To review the state of the leagues, Yamashita Keigo, on 3-1, will win the A League if he wins his final game. The previous Kisei, Cho U, has dropped to 1-3,
so he has to worry about keeping his place. The B League is lagging a little
behind. Murakawa Daisuke, on 3-0, has the sole lead; next is 25th Honinbo Chikun on 2-1.
8th Samsung Cup Qualifying Tournament: The Samsung Cup has become the most diversified of the international tournaments, offering seats to players in various categories through the large-scale qualifying tournament: general (which could be interpreted as meaning purely on strength), senior, female, and world. The number of seats at stake in these sections respectively was 14, 2, 2, and 1. Only one of the 30 Japanese players who made the trip to Seoul to compete was successful: Komatsu Hideki 9P (aged 46), who won a place in the senior section for the second year in a row. The qualifying tournament was held in Seoul from August 2 to 7. Komatsu had to win five games in a row to get into the main tournament. The seeded players from Japan are Takao Shinji and Yuki Satoshi. The opening round, a complicated double elimination, will be held from September 3 to 5.
26th Women’s Meijin League Starts: The new Women’s Meijin League has got under way and first round and the first two games in the second round have been played. (25 July) Suzuki Ayumi 6P (B) d. Okuda Aya 3P by 1.5 points; Ishii Akane 2P (W) d. Mukai Chiaki 5P by resig. (August 1) Suzuki Ayumi 6P (B) d. Yoshida Mika 8P by half a point; Kato Keiko 6P d. Chinen Kaori 4P by forfeit.
(August 8). Kato Keiko 6P (W) d. Ishii Akane 2P by resig.
Murakawa to Battle Shida in Agon Kiriyama Cup Final: Two new stars will battle it out in the final of the Agon Kiriyama Cup: Murakawa Daisuke 7P of the Kansai Ki-in (aged 22) and Shida Tatsuya 6-dan of the Central Japan branch (Nagoya) of the Nihon Ki-in (also 22). In the semifinals, held on August 19, Murakawa (W) d. Cho U by resignation and Shida (B) defeated Ichiriki Ryo 3-dan by half a point. The final will be held in Kyoto on October 5.
Yamashita Keigo or Akiyama Jiro to be Tengen Challenger: The semifinals of the 39th Tengen title were held on August 22. Yamashita Keigo Meijin (B) beat Cho U 9P by resignation and Akiyama Jiro 9P beat Yo Seiki 3P, also by resignation. The winners will meet in the final to decide the challenger to Iyama Yuta. Cho U has had a terrible summer: he missed a chance to challenge for the Meijin title, he dropped out of the running in the Kisei league, and he lost in the Tengen and Agon Kiriyama Cup semifinals. Not so long ago, when he was winning three or four titles every year, he looked a certainty to challenge the record for most titles won, but now his prospects don’t look nearly as good. The record, 72 titles, is held by Cho Chikun (25th Honinbo Chikun); Cho U is in sixth place with 38.
Yashiro Kumiko Promoted: Ms. Yashiro Kumiko was promoted to 6P (90 wins) on July 12.