Ireland’s largest Go and Chinese Chess tournament, The Confucius Cup, will occur next year the weekend of March 4th-6th 2016. More details to follow soon.
by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal
Aoki makes good start in Women’s Meijin League: The last game of the third round of the 28th Women’s Meijin League was played on September 24. Taking black, Aoki Kikuyo 8P beat Chinen Kaori 4P by resig. Aoki is now 2-0 (she had a bye in the second round), so she shares the provisional lead with Fujisawa Rina, also on 2-0 (she has a bye in this round).
Awaji scores 1000th win: A win in Preliminary B of the 64th Oza tournament on September 24 was Awaji Shuzo 9P’s 1000th official win. Awaji (right) is the 17th player at the Nihon Ki-in to reach this landmark. His record is 592 losses, 3 jigo, and 1 no-result, a winning percentage of 62.6. Awaji was born on August 13, 1948 in Tokyo. He became a disciple of Ito Tomoe 7P, made 1-dan in 1968 and reached 9-dan in 1984. He also graduated from the College of Law (note that this is not the same as a law school in the US) of Aoyama Gakuin University. He has won four minor titles, but challenged unsuccessfully for the Gosei, Tengen, Honinbo and Meijin titles.
Yuki wins 24th Ryusei tournament: Yuki Satoshi 9P won the 24th Ryusei tournament by default. On the day of the final, Cho Chikun’s wife fell critically ill (she died the following day), so he was unable to play. The result was just revealed in this week’s Go Weekly because the organizers took a while to make their decision. Nonetheless, this counts as a title for Yuki and is his 13th (he is now 21st on the all-time list).
Grand slams update: With the theoretical revival of Iyama’s chance of achieving a simultaneous grand slam of the top seven titles, Go Weekly published some statistics. Three players have scored a cumulative grand slam: Cho Chikun, Cho U, and Iyama Yuta. Three players have won six of the top seven: the late Kato Masao (missing the Kisei), Rin Kaiho (missing the Kisei), and Yamashita Keigo (missing the Judan despite three challenges). Next is Kobayashi Koichi with five (missing the Honinbo and the Oza). They are followed by three players who have won four: Otake Hideo, Takao Shinji, and Hane Naoki. Note that this list refers only to current titles. Sakata Eio won seven titles in 1961 and 1964 (in the latter year the only open title he missed out on was the Judan). The final stage of the 54th Judan tournament starts on October 1. Both Iyama and Yamashita have made the final 20.
A chess player discovers go: “I was a chess player my whole life,” writes David Coffin. “I’m 31 years old and just starting out in the game of iGo. I call the game iGo cause I heard the Japanese call it iGo. I am amazed by the depth of the tactics in this game. It’s this tactical thinking and the great tradition of the game that keep me coming back. I’ve read a couple of the Janice Kim books and plan on finishing her series. I get the American Go eJournal every day and read about the game. Thanks for your commitment to this board game.”
We love to hear from readers! Write us at email@example.com
Searching for a go book: “I discovered go in a local bookstore in Cleveland, where I also found a board and pieces, in a classic games book for kids,” writes Sharon Cenna. “The shelf also contained a wonderful, hard -back, oversized volume, with history of go in Asia, including many interesting art reproductions.It was quite large, with many pages. I couldn’t afford it at the time, circa 2006, and I’m trying to locate it now. If anyone knows which book this is, and where to find it, I would deeply appreciate any help you might offer.”
Email any tips/suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Qiu Jun 9P and Li Qincheng 1p evened their Chang Qi Cup semifinal matches Sunday, defeating Tuo Jiaxi 9P (left, below right) and Lian Xiao 7P, respectively, to force third-game deciders on Monday (these should be broadcast live on KGS, starting at 9:30a EST). Once again the two younger players, Li and Lian — who are good friends as well as fierce competitors — finished first, with Li winning by resignation not long after the lunch break, while the Qiu-Tuo game again went the distance, a 7-hour, 231-move marathon that drew nearly 300 spellbound viewers on KGS (Qiu is at right, in light shirt) . There were also professional game commentaries broadcast on the AGA’s YouTube channel, which are available for review. Here are links to the four Round 1 and 2 game records: Rd1 LiQinCheng v. LianXiao , Rd1 TuoJiaxi v. QiuJun , Rd2 LiQinCheng v. LianXiao , Rd2 TuoJiaxi v. QiuJun . (you can also find them on KGS; look under ChangQi1 and ChangQi2)
In the inaugural American Chang Qi amateur tournament, Seo Joon Jung (right in photo above left) prevailed over Evan Cho in a dramatic final round Sunday afternoon, with Cho taking second place. Other top winners and a complete cross tab will be published later this week.
“This was a wonderful event that showed off the Ing Foundation’s commitment to go in North America, the strength of the North American go community and the vibrant go life here in Boston,” said American Go Association President Andy Okun.
This pro matches were played live at the Student Organization Center at Hilles, Harvard University, in Cambridge, MA, and were sponsored by the American Collegiate Go Association and the Shanghai Ing-Changki Weiqi Education Foundation in conjunction with the Chinese Chang Qi Cup and the American Go Association. The Changqi Cup is one of China’s most generously sponsored tournaments, with a winner’s prize of about $70,000 USD. It’s jointly hosted by the Chinese Go Association and the Shanghai Branch of the Ing Foundation. The tournament first started in 2004 in memory of Ing Chang-ki.
- report by Chris Garlock; photos by Chris Garlock (right) and Andy Okun (left), Photo at left: Will Lockhart, Cole Pruitt, Liu Siming and Seo Joon Jung
The third game of the 40th Meijin title match was held at the Tokiwa Hotel in Kofu City, Yamanashi Prefecture on September 24 and 25. Playing white, Iyama Yuta Meijin beat Takao Shinji Tengen by resignation after 148 moves. Iyama now needs just one more win to defend his title. Eighty moves were played on the first day, and Takao commented: “I spoiled it on the first day.” Actually, however, according to Go Weekly, he did not play any moves that could clearly be labeled as dubious. Rather, as Takao indicated after the game, he had regrets about some of his moves, as in retrospect he didn’t feel that they were the best attacking moves. Thanks to his skill at settling weak groups, Iyama seems to have gained a slight edge. On the second day, Iyama drew further ahead. In the end, Takao had to play unreasonably, and Iyama wrapped up the game by attacking and bringing down a large group. The fourth game will be played on October 5 and 6. The pressure on Takao has increased; he will want to avoid a repeat of his 0-4 loss to Iyama in the 35th Meijin title match. This, by the way, is Iyama’s 13th successive win. He is now fourth on the list of most games won. He probably has more games left this year than most of his rivals, so he should move up a place or two.
- John Power
An artificial intelligence machine called Giraffe that has taught itself to play chess by evaluating positions much more like humans and in an entirely different way to conventional chess engines may well be the future of AI, according to a recent report in the MIT Technology Review. “Straight out of the box, the new machine plays at the same level as the best conventional chess engines, many of which have been fine-tuned over many years,” the report says. The technology behind the new machine — developed by Matthew Lai (left) at Imperial College London –is a neural network that consists of several layers of nodes that are connected in a way that change as the system is trained. “Lai says it should be straightforward to apply the same approach to other games,” the report concludes. “One that stands out is the traditional Chinese game of Go, where humans still hold an impressive advantage over their silicon competitors. Perhaps Lai could have a crack at that next.”
Thanks to Fred D. Baldwin for passing this along.
The Chang Qi Cup Round 2 semifinal games are underway now and being broadcast live on KGS and YouTube. Qiu Jun 9P and Li Qincheng 1p are battling to force deciding matches; both lost their first-round matches yesterday, to Tuo Jiaxi 9P and Lian Xiao 7P, respectively.
The matches are being played live at the Student Organization Center at Hilles, Harvard University, in Cambridge, MA. Area go players are welcome to stop by and check out the action, including the Chang Qi amateur tournament also underway, sponsored by the American Collegiate Go Association and the Shanghai Ing-Changki Weiqi Education Foundation in conjunction with the Chinese Chang Qi Cup and the American Go Association.
- Chris Garlock
In a nice bit of timing, the semi-finals of China’s Chang Qi Cup were held on US soil on Saturday, the day after Chinese President Xi Jinping capped his first U.S. visit with a meeting with President Obama and a black-tie state dinner at the White House. Four of the world’s strongest go players competed for the coveted title; Qiu Jun 9P, Lian Xiao 7P, Li Qincheng 1P and Tuo Jiaxi 9P. Lian Xiao 7P, playing black, won his game against Li Qincheng in 161 moves, shortly after the lunch break. One of the rising stars of the go world, Lian is ranked #11 in China (as of March 2015), has already won several domestic titles and continues to climb the rankings. This would be the biggest title of his career so far. Just after 4pm, Tuo Jiaxi 9P, playing white, edged out Qiu Jun 9P by a single point — the game is scored with Ing counting — in a 241-move nail-biter that had the more than 200 KGS viewers on the edge of their collective seats wondering who would triumph. Tuo Jiaxi is one of the top players in China. He won the 2014 LG Cup, has reached several quarter- and semifinals, and was ranked #1 in the country for a while back in 2013. He won this tournament in 2010, and should be one of the favorites this year to win the Chang Qi Cup. Tuo is #6 in the world, while Qiu is #23, according to Remi Coulom’s GoRatings.org. “It was a very close game for a long time,” Tuo told the EJ after the game, “but as a professional I’m used to playing long games so it was no problem.” He and Qiu know each other’s games so well that Tuo said he planned no special preparation, “just rest and relaxation.”
The semifinals are a best-of-three series, so the players will meet again on Sunday, September 27; the games will be broadcast live on KGS (starting at 9:30a EST) with commentary on the AGA’s YouTube channel. Depending on the results, there may be final round(s) on Monday.
The semifinals were held in Cambridge, MA at Harvard’s Student Organization Center at Hilles, sponsored by the American Collegiate Go Association (ACGA), the Shanghai Ing-Changki Weiqi Education Foundation and the American Go Association (AGA), which also hosted the inaugural American Chang Qi Tournament, drawing over 200 go fans to both play and watch on a gorgeous sunny fall day.
The Changqi Cup is one of China’s most generously sponsored tournaments, with a winner’s prize of about $70,000 USD. It’s jointly hosted by the Chinese Go Association and the Shanghai Branch of the Ing Foundation. The tournament first started in 2004 in memory of Ing Chang-ki.
- report/photos/collage by Chris Garlock; translation assistance by Cheng Hao; tech support by Steve Colburn
East Coast go players — especially those in the Boston area — are counting down the hours to this weekend’s first American Chang Qi tournament. The tournament is being held September 26-27 in conjunction with the semi-finals of the 2015 Chang Qi Cup, at which four top pros from China will compete for a berth in the Chang Qi Cup finals. The weekend promises a go bonanza for both players and observers, who will be able to compete in the amateur tournament as well as watch the pro games; for those who can’t make it in-person, there will be full coverage of the entire weekend’s events on the AGA’s live broadcast channel (starting at 9a EST on Saturday), on KGS and in the E-Journal. Online registration (free) is continuing, but there will be on-site registration from 8:30 to 9:30 on Saturday. Visit the ACGA’s website for more details.
Photo: Chinese Chang Qi delegation at dinner at the Yenming restaurant near Harvard Square Thursday night. Standing (l-r): Qiu Jun, Lian Xiao, Li Qin Cheng, Tuo Jia Xi (click here for their profiles) and AGA President Andy Okun. Seated (l-r): Shao Weigang 9p, Ying Ming-haw, son of the founder of the Ing Foundation, Hua Yigang 8p, former president of China Qiyuan, currently VP of Chinese Weiqi Association and Wang Yi 5p, captain of the Chinese National Weiqi team.
The online pair go qualifying tournament will be held this weekend with a possible extension to Monday if needed. The winners of the qualifiers will get 50 percent of the round-trip airfare cost, and the meals will be covered from Friday evening to Tuesday morning. The championship will be held in Tokyo, Japan from December 4th to the 8th, and this will be a 4-round Swiss system with a 45 minute sudden death time limit.
To be eligible for the tournament and the championship, you must have been an AGA member for at least one year, an amateur player, an undergraduate or graduate student of a University/College, under the age of 30, a US citizen, and you must have lived in the US for at least six years in the last twelve years
Interested players should email email@example.com with their names and best method of contact as soon as possible as we need to select a representative by October 1st. Please email even if you don’t have an immediate partner. - Austin Freeman. Photo from World Amatelur Pair Go Website.
Connaught secured their third inter provincial title with a 2-1 victory over Ulster. Congratulations to them.
The Triangle Go Group of central North Carolina hosted the 15th Triangle Memorial Tournament at its traditional outdoor setting in Umstead State Park in Cary NC on September 19. The sensation of this year’s tournament was 18-year-old Andy Zalesak 2D, who defeated the top four rated players to capture Section A, his second 4-0 sweep of a North Carolina tournament this year. Sharing second place at 3-1 were Dalan Robertson and John Moore. Other section winners were Kerianne Squitire and Bob Bacon, 3-1 in Section B (6-7k); Vincent DiMattia, Alvin Chen, and Dale Blann, all 3-1 in Section C (9-11k); and Alex Kuang 16k with a perfect 4-0 in Section D.
Following tradition, lunch was provided for the players and all entry fees, plus an additional donation from the club, were returned to the players in prizes. The tournament honors the memory of two Duke mathematics professors, Joe Shoenfield and Richard Scoville, who for decades played go daily at lunchtime and were mainstays in creating a go tradition in central North Carolina.
- Charles Alden; photo: Andy Zalesak (right) vs. Dalan Robertson at the Triangle Memorial Tournament; photo by Bob Bacon
“Before I started playing go, I was constantly bullied and abused. Once I discovered Hikaru No Go, I have not looked back. Since I started playing go my life has changed. I play not only to better myself as a human being but to communicate with others who do not speak my language. It is because of go I now have friends from all over the world: China, Japan, Korea and Mexico, just to name a few. I play go because it saved my life. I play go because it lets me be me.”
Why do you play? Tell us in 100 words or less your favorite thing about the game of go, include your name, age, how long you’ve played go, where you live and your home go club, and email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include a current photo!
by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal
Kyo Kagen wins two junior titles: Kyo Kagen 3-dan (right) is continuing his impressive form and has won two titles in the last week. On September 13, the semifinals and final of the 2nd Yucho Cup Youth Championship/Nakano Koji Memorial were held at the Nihon Ki-in. In the semifinals, which started at noon, Kyo (W) beat Yo Seiki 7P by resig. and Motoki Katsuya 7P (W) beat Son Makoto 3P, also by resig. The final started at 3 o’clock, and Kyo (B) beat Motoki by resig. after 143 moves. This is an unofficial title sponsored by the post office bank (Yucho) for players under 21 and under 8-dan. Kyo also won the 10th term of the Nakano Cup, the predecessor of this tournament. These games were sandwiched in-between the first and second games of the 40th King of the New Stars title match. In the first game, played on September 11, Kyo (B) beat Hirata Tomoya 4P by resig. after 175 moves. In the second game (September 16, above left), Kyo (W) won by resig. after 194 moves, so he took the title with straight wins. This is his first official title. He turns 18 on the 24th.
Women’s Meijin League: One game in the 28th Women’s Meijin League was played on September 10. Fujisawa Rina Women’s Honinbo (W) beat Chinen Kaori 4P by 7.5 points. On 2-0, Fujisawa shared the lead with Mannami Nao 3P. This game completed the second round. On September 17, Okuda Aya 3P (W) defeated Mannami Nao by resig. and Kato Keiko 6P (B) defeated Suzuki Ayumi 6P by 3.5 points. Mannami is now 2-1, along with Okuda. If Fujisawa Rina wins her third-round game, she will have the sole lead.
Iyama ekes out narrow win in Meijin: The second game of the 40th Meijin title match was played at the Hotel Oncri (written “onkuri” in Japanese) in the hot spring resort of Furuyu in Saga City, Kyushu on September 17 and 18. After very complicated fighting in the first 150 moves, the challenger, Takao Shinji 9P, took the lead around move 170, but he slipped up at least twice in the endgame, letting Iyama Yuta Meijin catch up and then stage an upset. Iyama, who had black, won by half a point (right). Losing a game like this is very painful and puts the challenger under a lot of pressure. Incidentally, this win was Iyama’s twelfth in a row. Another statistic: this win by the player with black stopped a winning streak of seven by White in games between these two players. Overall, Iyama now leads Takao 25-13, and White has won 23 of these games. The third game will be played on September 24 and 25.
Responding to popular demand, Slate and Shell has just published a second volume of “Deep Thought: Extremely Thoroughly Commented Pro Games,” by popular author Yuan Zhou. It contains three games with virtually every move explained and almost every diagram showing only one new move. “Unlike normal problem books, the ‘problems’ here are not limited to local situations,” says Slate and Shell publisher Bill Cobb. “You must always keep in mind the whole board. Read this way, the books provide an excellent study of opening, middle game, life and death, and endgame problems, considered in terms of what is going on elsewhere in the game.” Sample pages can be seen on the web site. Available now at a special introductory price.
by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal
Iyama to challenge for two more titles: At present, Iyama (right) has four titles — Kisei, Meijin, Honinbo, and Gosei – but he is making a determined effort to retrieve the glory days of his sextuple crown. All he has to do is to win back the two titles he lost towards the end of last year. His campaign is running smoothly and last week he won the play-offs to decide the Oza and Tengen challengers.
First of all, the final of the 63rd Oza tournament was held at the Kansai headquarters of the Nihon Ki-in in Osaka on Monday, September 7. Iyama (B) beat Yo Seiki 7P of the Kansai Ki-in by resignation after 157 moves (left). This earned him a rematch with Murakawa Daisuke Oza, also of the Kansai Ki-in, who took the title from him last year. Murakawa showed tenacity in recovering from a 1-2 deficit to win two games in a row. Yo Seiki has been securing excellent results recently, regaining his Honinbo League seat immediately after dropping out and reaching the best eight in an international tournament, the LG Cup, but if you want to take a title in Japan, virtually the only way to do so is by defeating Iyama Yuta. Interviewed after the game, Iyama commented: “Since losing in the Oza match last year, the desire to return to the same stage has been one of the major factors motivating me. I hope to make a better showing than last year.”
Later in the same week, on Thursday, September 10, the play-off to decide the Tengen challenger was held at the same venue (games are usually played on the home ground of the higher-ranked player). Taking white, Iyama forced Yuki Satoshi 9P (Kansai Ki-in) to resign after 228 moves (left). Yuki was also strongly motivated for this game, as he had won the title in 2010, but lost it to Iyama the following year. He actually got off to a slightly superior start, but slipped up in the early middle game (right). Iyama now has a big opportunity to regain his sextuple crown, but he is looking further ahead than that. After the Tengen game, he commented: “I’m happy that the link to my goal of winning seven crowns has not been cut.” To keep this possibility open, Iyama has to make sure he keeps winning in the Judan tournament while fighting three title matches. The Oza title match starts on October 20 and the Tengen three days later.
Kisei Leagues: The final game in the S League of the 40th Kisei tournament was played at the Nihon Ki-in on September 10. Playing white, Takao Shinji Tengen beat Kobayashi Satoru 9P by resig. The place in the league are: 1. Yamashita Keigo (4-1); 2. Murakawa Daisuke Oza (3-2); 3. Yoda Norimoto 9P (3-2); 4. Takao (2-3); 5. Yamashiro Hiroshi 9P (2-3); 6. Kobayashi (1-4). The top four players keep their seats, but actually Takao is not yet assured of staying in 4th place. If the winner of the B or C League were to become the challenger, Takao would be bounced out. At that point, Yamashita would remain in the league, but the loser of the title match would take the number one seat in the S League, so Takao would also drop to the A League. This is yet another permutation in the complicated tournament system the Yomiuri Newspaper came up with.
Previously we reported that Kono Rin 9P had won the A League in the sixth round. In his last game, Kono (B) beat 25th Honinbo Chikun by 8.5 points, so he finished the league undefeated on 7-0. The game was played on September 10. On September 17, the play-off between the winners of the B1 and B2 Leagues was held. Yamada Kimio 9P (B2 winner) (W) beat Awaji Shuzo 9P by 8.5 points. Yamada thus earned a place in the tournament to decide the challenger. He is guaranteed a place in the A League next year. From the B1 League, Awaji (first on 5-2) and Ryu Shikun 9P (second on 4-3 — thanks to being ranked number one, he pipped the other three players [out of eight] who also finished on 4-3) will be promoted to the A League. They will be joined by So Yokoku 9P, who was second in the B League. Second place in the A League was also decided on September 17 when Ichiriki Ryo 7P (B) beat Cho Riyu 8P by resig. Ichiriki earns a place in the S League.
Tomorrow: Kyo Kagen wins two junior titles; Women’s Meijin League; Iyama ekes out narrow win in Meijin
A touchscreen go board built in the middle of a pedestrian shopping street in Vienna won this year’s World Wide Iwamoto Award from the European Go Center. Second place was taken by Will Lockhart and Cole Pruitt for their feature length documentary about go, “The Surrounding Game.”
The Public Touchscreen Go Table project was the work of a team led by Daniel Bösze, board member of the Austrian Go Federation, who wrote the software and negotiated with the city of Vienna to install the board. The project about a year and a half from start to opening ceremony and cost about $20,000 out of pocket, not including donated project planning and coding time, including $11,000 for the board itself. Since it opened in October 2014, the table has been averaging about 100 games a day, benefiting from a location on one of the busiest shopping streets in Mitteleuropa, Mariahilfer Straße. The board has room for two games at a time and is shielded from sun and rain by two large parasols. Bösze was awarded €1,000 for first place.
Pruitt and Lockhart meanwhile were awarded second place and a €500 “encouragement award” for their film, with which EJ readers are familiar. It is currently being finished up so it can be submitted to film festivals this fall and winter. It will premiere in Spring 2016.
Third place, also €500, went to Proyecto Gakko no Go, which since 2008 has taught go to low-income children at in the Jesús Maestro School in Petare, Caracas, Venezuela, one of the more marginalized and dangerous favelas in the country. The project was organized by Sister Marsela Mujica of the Catholic organization Fe y Alegria, who became enchanted by the Hikaru no Go manga. Starting with essentially nothing, she received support from the Venezuelan Go Association, Fe y Alegria, the Thai Go Association, Sociedad de Intercambio Internacional de Go, the Colegio Japones de Caracas and the International Go Federation, along with teaching visits from Argentinian player and organizer Fernando Aguilar.
“My congratulations to the three winners and hats off all the people who submitted projects,” said AGA president Andy Okun, who along with Aguilar and a half dozen other go officials and organizers, served on the Iwamoto Award jury. “It is amazing what people can do when they are tireless and dedicated.” The Iwamoto Awards seek to encourage projects that promote the spread of go. They are named for the late Japanese champion Iwamoto Kaoru, a tireless advocate for go for many decades, and are run by EGC with support from the European Go Federation and Nihon Ki-in.
Details of all the submitted projects can be found on the EGC website.
- Andy Okun