While esports have becomes hugely popular in recent years, garnering large audiences, broadcast on ESPN and major sponsorships, they may still have something to learn from the ancient game of go. That’s the premise of “Go: The First Generation of Competitive Games,” an article published recently in “1337,” major e-sports trade magazine. “Despite similarities, go and esports are worlds apart in terms of perception,” writes Michael Cohen. “While go is intertwined with some national cultures, esports faces the stigmatization of video games as a whole.” Noting that go is “accepted by all generations as a legitimate game of mental strength and strategy, as well as a tool for teaching life values to children and adults alike,” Cohen suggests that go “may also be a predictor of what esports can hope to become throughout everyday life.” In an ironic turn, “it looks like they’re looking to go for an example for how to make the jump to legitimacy as a reputable pastime, compared to how we look to them for tips on marketing, sponsorship, and promotion,” says AGA VP of operations Andrew Jackson, who sent us the article.
Myungwan Kim 9P, Feng Yun 9P (r) and six other professional go players have now been confirmed for this year’s US Go Congress. The pro roster thus far includes Chinese professionals Wang Qun 8P and Cao Youyin 3P, Korean pro Hajin Lee 3P, Secretary General of the International Go Federation, as well as American professionals Yilun Yang 7P, Mingjiu Jiang 7P and Jennie Shen 2P. The chance to attend lectures by professionals and play in simultaneous games with them is one of the major attractions of the annual Congress for many attendees. This year’s Congress runs August 1-9 in St Paul, MN. Click here for details and to register. photo: Feng Yun 9P at the 2014 US Go Congress; photo by Chris Garlock
Update (6/11): updated to clarify which country each professional represents.
Iyama takes 3-0 lead in Honinbo title match: In the 70th Honinbo title match, Yamashita Keigo is seeking to regain the title that he lost to Iyama Yuta in 2012. He is also seeking revenge for his loss to Iyama in this year’s Kisei title match. As defending champion, Iyama is hoping to maintain his quadruple crown; after losing two titles at the end of last year, he will be anxious to avoid any further reductions to his swag. Also, if he defends his title, it will be his fourth in a row, so he will draw near to qualifying for the title of Honorary Honinbo.
Just as in the Kisei title match, Iyama has made a great start, sweeping the first three games. In the Kisei, Yamashita staged a recovery, winning three games in a row himself. Will he be able to do it again?
The first game was played in the Fugetsuro pavilion in Shizuoka City on May 13 and 14. This was the hometown of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the warlord who founded the Tokugawa Shogunate, and the game was one of the events in the celebration of the 400th anniversary of Ieyasu’s death. The Fugetsuro is located on the estate of the 15th and last shogun, Tokugawa Yoshinobu. Yamashita drew black in the nigiri. He was doing fairly well in the fighting, but a couple of slightly dubious moves let Iyama into the game. Yamashita then made a misreading about a possible capturing race and so failed to play the best move. Although he was still ahead on the board, he couldn’t give the komi, so he resigned after 164 moves.
The second game was played at the Shikimeien garden in Naha City, Okinawa on May 25 and 26. Fierce fighting started in the opening. In the middle game, Yamashita (white) made a fatal blunder and fell behind. Iyama wrapped up the game safely, and Yamashita resigned after 177 moves.
The third game was played at the Jozankei Resort Spa Mori no Uta (Song of the Forest) in Sapporo City, Hokkaido on June 3 and 4. In this game, there was no major fighting — when the first proper fight looked like breaking out, the players settled for a peaceful trade, and when another fight looked like starting, it again ended peacefully. In each case, it was Iyama (white) who made the decision to avoid a fight; it retrospect, it can be said that he was confident he had a lead and he denied Yamashita any chance to exert his strength. The latter resigned after 142 moves.
Tomorrow: China wins 4th Mt. Tiantai Nongshang Bank Cup; Yo Seiki wins Okage Cup; Hane senior wins 1,200 games
Twelve-year-old Jyun-Fu Lai 7d of Chinese Taipei (right) and Korea’s Changhun Kim 6d were the only two undefeated players at the end of the second day of the 2015 World Amateur Go Championships (WAGC) in Bangkok, Thailand on June 8. Indonesia’s 12-year-old Rafif Fitrah 4d had notched a surprise victory over Ondrej Silt 6d (Czech Republic) in the only major upset of the first day of the WAGC on June 7, as both Rounds 1 and 2 concluded with few surprises. Danny Ko (US) is 3-1, defeating Germany, Israel and Indonesia and losing to Chinese Taipei in the second round. Canada’s Juyong Koh is also 3-1, beating Poland, Russia and and Colombia and losing to Korea in the 3rd round. Click here for latest results. The festivities kicked off on Saturday morning with a friendship event and the Annual General Meeting of the International Go Federation (IGF) was held that afternoon (click here for full report). Highlights of the reports included the uncertain future of the Sport Accord World Mind Games (SAWMG), which may move from an annual event to biennial, possibly restarting in 2016 in China. China is likely to again host the World Mind Sport Games, probably in Macau in 2016. China will also host next year’s WAGC, although the exact location is yet to be decided. Also reported was the release of the IGF Facebook page and YouTube channel. In other reports, Poland’s Koichiro Habu 4d missed a critical move that could have allowed him to snatch victory from Canadian Juyong Koh 7d, both playing for their first time at this event.
- Ranka Online
Players from six continents and assorted islands will gather at the Montien Riverside Hotel in Bangkok for this year’s World Amateur Go Championship June 7-10. The Asian contingent will be young, including 12-year-old contestants from Chinese Taipei, Indonesia, and Malaysia and teenagers from China, Hong Kong, Korea, Macau, Singapore, and host country Thailand. Japan will field a two-time former world champion, and Europe will field several players who have placed high in past years. Danny Ko represents the US and Juyong Koh is playing for Canada. Click here for video self-introductions by sixteen of the fifty-eight players. Click here for the list of players and the event schedule. The events main sponsors are CP All, The Siam Commercial Bank, and Red Bull. Seven games each round will be broadcast on Pandanet. Ranka Online will carry reports of the entire event.
- Ranka Online
The AGA is selecting three players to represent North America in the 2015 Samsung Cup World Baduk Masters World Division. The 12-player World Division will be played August 2nd – 5th in Seoul, Korea. Interested players should be available to play in the online selection tournament on the third and fourth weekend of June. Eligibility: AGA/CGA member and US/Canada citizenship, AGA 6.0 minimum rating required, amateur or certified professional by the AGA; US players must meet the AGA overseas eligibility criteria. The selection tournament will be held on KGS Go Server. Interested players should send their names, AGA number and rating and country of citizenship to email@example.com by midnight, Sunday, June 14th. Note that the format of the tournament is single elimination so players may be out earlier than August 5.
The three selected players will each receive a $1,000 stipend toward their expenses traveling to Korea, but must arrange their own air travel and lodging. The World Division winner will play in the Main Round of the Samsung Cup, so there is a chance that players will go back to Korea in the second week of September. The winning player will also receive approximately $5,000 in Main Round prize money. Note that AGA professionals can participate in the Samsung Cup General Division at the end of July although there are no monetary subsidies. Interested AGA professional players should email Cherry Shen for Main Division details.
The local chapter of the American Go Association met at the Seattle Go Center on Tuesday, May 26, and unanimously elected Peter Nelson 5d (right) as the new Chapter Representative. They also changed the name of their chapter to “Seattle AGA Chapter” from “Seattle Go Center”. The Seattle AGA Chapter is organizationally distinct from the nonprofit that runs the Seattle Go Center, although many local players are members of both groups. The name change was intended to reduce confusion between the two groups. The Seattle AGA Chapter sponsored the Tacoma Go Congress in 2013.
Nelson will be attending the U.S. Go Congress in Minnesota this August, and the Annual Meeting of Chapter Representatives. He has been a regular at the Go Center since moving to Seattle from Minnesota in 2014. He has given many teaching games at the Go Center, and he also teaches online as longstridebaduk. Nelson has done well in local tournaments, winning the Seattle Pandanet Team Qualifier in September of 2014, and placing second in the Open Section of the 2015 Spring Tournament, losing only to Edward Kim 7d. He may be contacted by email.
- Brian Allen
Note: this is a translation from the French Go Review, with which the E-Journal is now exchanging reports. It’s a bit longer than our usual reports but we wanted to give you a sense of their style. You can find the original report here.
The village of Guitte, hidden in the countryside half an hour outside the Breton capital welcomed anew the Rennes Tournament during Easter weekend. Irene, the manager of the Ker Al Lann holiday camp still doesn’t know the rules of go, but she understands one thing very well, that the regulars who descend there every year to put stones on a board require only a few things: a room to play quietly and repose until nightfall and some good meals to reset their clocks to zero.
Forty-odd players came together to do battle, but the duel was limited to a battle in fuseki, joseki, or tesuji. Because the fabric of the Rennes Tournament is not based on the diverse range of drinks consumed, nor the korrigans (French leprechauns) who tickle the feet of those who go to bed late to wake them up in time for the next round; it is made from the innumerable activities and games that the organizers offer to the participants. Thus, we have presided over a second Olympiad of go and outdoor games, won this year by an all-female team, the Gazelles, composed of Christèle Derrien (whose cakes we enjoyed all weekend), Brigitte Doisneau and Élise Cherbonnel. They lead the competing teams in a programme mixing skill and endurance : pétanque, Möllky and Go-Athlon (10 minute blitz on a 13×13 board). The prize for our three winners: a magnificent chocolate goban!
In the evening, the place was filled with games large and small, the more athletic passed the time with table tennis, whilst the rest amused themselves at the carrom table. Meanwhile, the former winner of the blitz tournament played all the while, whilst serving drinks at the bar.
For the other nocturnal side events, Alban Granger defeated Mael Rabase to win this year’s Phantom Go World Championship, the famous Blitz (is Wrong) Championship passed into the hands of Tanguy Le Calvé (who faced Jean-Loup Naddef in the final), and the backgammon tournament was energetically won by Emeric Salmon who faced a very combative Florence.
And what about the go? We are getting there. Forty participants and 5 rounds full of surprises, notably Remi Vannier, our president, who in a style as thoughtful as the thought he put into succeeding to beat successively Tanguy Le Calvé and Mathieu Delli-Zotti, the joint winners of the tournament (4 points each, Mathieu winning on tiebreak while also being the official barman). We can equally cite Emmanuel Nadeau, a young player who arrived in Canada and for whom the Breton air seemed to suit very well, since he managed to score 4 points in his category and shone brilliantly in the egg chase of Saturday morning.
In conclusion, it was a very beautiful weekend, and we are able to give you the dates of the 5th to 8th of May 2016 to book in your diary for next year’s event.
Translated from the French by Mathieu Delli-Zotti, Ian Davis & Olivier Dulac; photos by Sébastien Cordrie and Bertrand Vachon
The Academia Cubana de Go has announced that it will host the 17th Ibero-American Championship tournament in Havana October 9-11. US players are very welcome, organizers say. “I had a great time,” says Bob Gilman, who was one of four US players at last year’s Ibero-American Championship in Quito, Ecuador in 2014
The relaxation of restrictions on travel to Cuba by US citizens should make it easier for US players to travel to Havana for this tournament, says Gilman, who visited Havana in 2013 with a group of US players. “Travel for a competition is now permissible under a ‘general license.’” While prior government approval is not necessary, travelers must maintain documentation for five years that this travel meets the specifications in the Treasury Department regulations. “I am doubtful whether a trip extending much before or after the tournament would meet the regulatory standards for travel for a competition,” says Gilman. “Another possibility would be a ‘people to people’ group trip such as in 2013.” While this would permit seeing more of Cuba, it “requires more organization and has its own set of regulatory standards to meet,” notes Gilman, who adds “I would be interested in hearing from US players interested in making the trip.” Write Gilman here.
The AGA, together with the American Go Foundation (AGF), will bring two Cuban players to the US Go Congress in St. Paul this August and is raising funds to support the effort . “Cuba has a very active go community,” says AGA Director Bob Gilman, who has taken the lead in organizing this visit, “Bringing these Cubans to the Go Congress will help build links with players in the United States and is very timely as relationships between the US and Cuban governments continue to improve.”
The players are Rafael Torres Miranda, President of the Academia Cubana de Go, Cuban 2 dan, and Professor Lazaro Bueno Perez from the province of Camaguey, Cuban 8 kyu. Professor Bueno has been active in teaching the game in his home province. Because the Cuban players cannot afford the trip on their own, the AGF is conducting an independent fund-raising campaign to bring them to the Congress. For more on how to support the effort, see the additional information here.
Thanks to a new reciprocal agreement between the American Go E-Journal and the French Go Review, readers of both publications will benefit. The FGR is translating longtime go journalist John Power’s reports for the E-Journal into French and publishing them on the Revue Française de Go blog (three have been published so far ; click here for the most recent one). In return, they will be providing English translations of selected reports on the FGR blog for publication in the E-Journal.
“Go is a global game and we’re tremendously excited to launch this cooperative publishing venture with our colleagues in France,” said E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock.
Ireland secured victory in their final league match of the campaign with a 3-1 win over Greece. The top two boards were shared in early games over the weekend, whilst reputation alone was enough to secure boards 3 and 4, as the Greeks were obviously too frightened to face John and Tibi. This victory secured our position as the best team in the bottom half of the division!
After eight years, EuroGoTV has shut down. “We started just as a place where the go-player could watch instruction videos and video reports, but soon EuroGoTV changed to a real go-news site with live video streaming,” writes founder Harry Weerheijm in the final edition of EuroGo TV’s email newsletter on May 27.
Nearly 3,000 tournament reports were published on the EuroGoTV website, including tens of thousands of photos of go events across Europe. EuroGoTV regularly streamed live video of tournament games and posted “over 900 videos” on YouTube, according to Weerheijm (right). EuroGoTV’s newsletter was widely ready by go players throughout Europe and was a reliable source of European go news for the E-Journal.
Ultimately, the burdens of the time and energy necessary to run EuroGoTV combined to make continuing the service untenable for Weerheijm, who also expressed disappointment that more go players didn’t pay to access the videos and that tournament organizers rarely used EuroGoTV as a tool to attract sponsors. He thanked his partner Judith van Dam, Catalin Taranu 5p, Peter Dijkema, Olivier Dulac, and EuroGoTV’s VIP members for their support for the project.
“Harry has been a tireless member of our small band of Western go journalists,” said E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock. “He has single-handedly set a very high bar for the rest of us and we owe him a great debt for all his hard work promoting go. We are very sad to see the end of EuroGoTV but wish Harry all the best in the future.”
The EJ plans to continue covering the European go scene through the efforts of European Correspondent, Kim Ouweleen. Anyone interested in joining that team can email firstname.lastname@example.org. The EJ is also in the process of developing plans for video coverage from this year’s US Go Congress; stay tuned for updates on that effort soon.
With the latest release of GoClubsOnline attendees can now pay their tournament or event fees via PayPal. Look for payments due and PayPal prompts during online registration for a tournament or event to see if this convenient option is offered by organizers. When PayPal is offered by the hosting club and payments are due, attendees can pay either via PayPal or with a credit card. GoClubsOnline (GCOL) doesn’t handle any of these funds and organizers can manage their PayPal account completely independently. “Organizers can set whatever fees they wish to charge, especially if they want to supplement a prize pool!” says GCOL’s Robert Cordingley. “Club organizers can separately and simply set up a club PayPal account, then include the account name in the Payment Method section of a tournament or event profile and it’s good to go.”
Youwhan Kim 7d, former Korean insei and winner of last year’s Cotsen Open (10/26 EJ), will be sipping his coffee from the 9th annual Santa Monica Coffee Cup. Kim (right) took top honors by going 3-0 in the one-day tournament, beating fellow Korean visitor Seunghee Ryu 7d in the final. Ryu and Kim were the strongest of a strong “Espresso” section; eight of the 48 competitors were 5d or stronger. Other 3-0 winners were Tyler Oyakawa 3d in the Java Section, Jeff McLellan 4k in the Mocha Section, Greg Kulevich 8k in the Latte Section and Jeremy Cook 17k and Ryan Kim 23k in the Decaf section. In addition to hand-painted mugs and tiles for first through fourth place, winners and placers got bags of organic Peruvian light-roast coffee ground and packed by owner Pam Stollings of the UnUrban Coffeehouse. Players with no wins received a portable go board courtesy of the Korean Baduk Association as a consolation prize. TD Joe Cepiel also awarded one of the KBA boards to the youngest player attending, six-year-old Oliver Williams (at left, with Andy Okun and Myungwan Kim 9p), who completed a game in good form. The turnout, close to the Coffee Cup’s highest, was boosted not only by visitors from Korea, but by large contingents from San Diego and Arizona and a player from Hamburg, as well as the cool, sunny weather.
- report/photos courtesy Andy Okun
The first American Chang Qi tournament will be held this fall in conjunction with the semi-finals of the 2015 Chang Qi Cup, which will be held in the US in September, the first time a professional go tournament semi-final will be held in North America. A major Chinese go tournament, the Chang Qi Cup semis will feature four of the world’s top go professionals, live review and commentary from the legendary Chang Hao 9P and a major American amateur tournament, all held at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA, September 26-28.
“This tournament is a great opportunity to see top pros battling it out in person,” says local organizer Cole Pruitt. “We expect to draw many of the strongest players in North America to compete” in the inaugural American Chang Qi tournament which will offer a total prize pool of at least $15,000 distributed across several divisions. “Every part of the event is free for the public and online registration is coming soon!”
Supported by the Shanghai Ing Foundation, the event is organized by the American Collegiate Go Association. the tournament will be AGA-rated and will be jointly hosted with the American Go Association. The American Chang Qi tournament will include a special ‘university showdown’ where students can win prize money for having the best turnout from their school, the best record during the tournament, and more. “On Saturday night, we’re planning a special ‘Students and Professionals’ night out, where students at the event can hang out with and get to know professional players visiting from China,” adds Pruitt.
“As we gear up for the event, we want to bring on university students to help us organize it and make it an incredible event. We encourage all interested students to apply to be an organizer. In exchange for helping us run the event, we’ll cover your travel, room, and board in Boston during the event and you’ll get behind-the-scenes access, wine-and-dine the visiting pros from China, and more.”
photo: Chang Hao 9p competes at the 10th Chang Qi Cup back in 2013 (credit: Go Game Guru)