by Fritz Balwit
The arrival of the English version of Lee Sedol’s Commented Games Volume I in 2011 fulfilled a dream of our go study group: a high-quality, detailed view into the highest levels of the art of go as practiced by the Korean super-talents. We had worked our way through stacks of old Go Worlds, graduated Slate and Shell’s magnificent Fairbairn volumes on Go Seigen’s famous Jubangos. But here was something new and different: Lee Sedol, the world’s number one player famed for games of staggering complexity, uncompromising fighting spirit, quadruple ko and half-point wins. I was immediately struck by the superb quality of the books. Everything from the paper to the layout and its large diagrams made for a most enjoyable reading experience. There are just three games in each volume, but the depth of the commentary more than compensates.
Lee actually wrote three books during a six-month hiatus in his tournament schedule while he worked out some kinks in his relationship with the Korea Baduk Association. Volume Two, now available from GoGameGuru, begins with Lee’s fantastic triumph in Game 3 of the LG Cup against Lee Changho 9P. Lee devotes 100 pages to this game alone. Large diagrams head the chapters and typically include a general point of strategic advice or an insight into the psychology of the game. Indeed, the book abounds in the latter sorts of reflections, both in Lee’s own words and those of the writer, his sister, Lee Sena, who glowingly covers aspects of Sedol’s personal development and the ups and downs of his career. Game Two, against Chang Hao 9P, similarly runs to more than 100 pages and includes commentary and annotated variations at a depth I have never seen before. However, the last game is the best of all. Again, the opponent is the Lee Changho 9P. This time, the occasion is the World Oza 2006. Whereas the first two games will surely repay careful study and help players of all levels to improve their understanding of whole-board vision, deep reading, modern joseki and the like, the last game is best approached as a lesson in humility. I suggest you play through this game with a 6-dan, as we did at our club. He was utterly flummoxed by it and unable to predict the moves or discern the flow of the game. Lee’s avowed dislike of being “coerced” by his opponent manifests itself in a taut duel of nerves in which each player defiantly shifts the location of the battle in what appears, even to strong amateurs, to be chaotic mayhem. The strangeness of this game has its own beauty and excitement, but don’t expect to pick up any tips.
Baduktopia deserves high praise for putting out these splendid books on one of the most exciting players of our generation. (Click here for a review of Volume 1.) The editorial decision to include few but thoroughly commented games with a limited number of moves per diagram results in a book that you can read anywhere, even without a board. The biographical materials add a nice dimension to our appreciation of the life of a professional Go player. All in all, I recommend Lee Sedol’s Commented Games: Volumes I and II without reservation. We await with eagerness the arrival of the promised third volume.
— Balwit (in cap at right in photo above) was The American Go Foundation’s 2011 teacher of the Year
The Portland Go Club is looking for volunteers to help them staff a booth at Mochitsuki, a traditional Japanese New Year’s celebration scheduled for Sunday, January 26, 2014 (the Year of the Horse) from 11am to 4 pm.”We’ll have a booth and are looking for 2-4 volunteers to man/woman it and teach interested people how to play,” says Peter Freedman. “Volunteers will be able to attend Mochitsuki for free. It’s a great holiday and if you like Japanese food you are in for a treat.” The event will be held at the Scottish Rite Center – 1512 SW Morrison Street, Portland, Oregon; contact Freedman at email@example.com.
A go hothouse sprang up in Letchworth Garden City, UK the weekend of November 8-10, when 14 of the UK’s strongest and most promising players congregated at the home of Letchworth Go Club organizers Simon and Alison Bexfield (see New Go Club Blooms in UK’s Garden City, EJ 4/5) for an intensive weekend honing their go skills under the guidance of Juan Guo 5P. Juan, famous for her Internet Go School and a frequent attendee at US Go Congresses, flew in from her home in Holland to be there.
Co-host and participant Alison Bexfield 2d (pictured, right of center) described the event as “inspirational”, explaining that “the weekend was one of a series run by the British Go Association over the past few years to encourage the development of the leading UK players.” The program was developed by British Pair Go Champion Kirsty Healey who also organizes the weekends, which are aimed at increasing the number of players with a European Rating (GoR) over 2400. Invited attendees had to be rated over 2100 or meet other criteria such as being young and rapidly improving players.
The format was a mix of formal teaching from Juan on particular openings, interspersed with games and reviews of those games. Intensifying the complete absorption in go, many slept at the Bexfields’ or in nearby accomodation and the event was catered throughout by Simon Bexfield.
Participant Tim Hunt 2d (pictured, center), a senior IT developer at the Open University, told the EJ: “The event was excellent, as usual. Guo Juan is a fantastic teacher. The Bexfields are wonderful hosts.”
Check out Juan’s Facebook page for more photos.
Report by Tony Collman, British correspondent for the EJ. Photo by Juan Guo; (L-R) Matthew MacFadyen 6d, Richard Hunter 3d, Tim Hunt 2d, Alison Bexfield 2d, Matt Scott 2d.
Precise Counting At The Spicy Noodles Cup: According to an article on the fourth game of the Nong Shim Spicy Noodles Cup (full details of the opening round given in my previous report), there was some precise counting going on. At the end of the game, Fan Tingyu (right), who had won three games in a row, and Kang Tongyun were engaged in a half-point ko fight. Fan calculated that he had one fewer ko threat and that losing the ko would lose the game by half a point, so he resigned. If the game had continued, four ko threats (and replies) and four ko captures were the only moves remaining, apart from filling a few dame points, so the game was very close to being finished anyway, but Fan decided not to waste further time. Apparently it’s not unusual for Chinese players to resign half-point losses, but that shows a lot of confidence in your counting. photo courtesy EGC2014
Yuki Satoshi Breaks Losing Streak To Win Seat In New Meijin League: Yuki Satoshi (left) had a horrible time in the last two Meijin Leagues, losing sixteen games in a row (the losing streak actually started three leagues ago), but he ended his bad run with wins in the last two rounds of the 38th league. Nothing daunted, Yuki will be back to try his luck again in the upcoming 39th league. In the play-off for a seat, held on October 31, he defeated Cho Sonjin 9P (W) by resignation. This will be his fifth Meijin league in a row. The other two play-offs were held on November 7. Ko Iso 8P (B) defeated Ichiriki Ryo 3P by 3.5 points and Ryu Shikun 9P (B) beat Nakano Hironari 9P by 6.5 points.
Kyo Wins Nakano Cup: The Nakano Cup is a privately sponsored tournament founded by the late Nakano Koji. Although he died in 2004, he had made financial provision to keep the tournament going. The 10th Cup was won by 15-year-old Kyo Kagen 1-dan, a Taiwanese player who became a professional earlier this year.
Globis To Sponsor New International Tournament: Globis, a Japanese corporation that specializes in education and training for business, has founded a new international tournament for young players. It will be for players under 20 and will get under way next spring and have a first prize of three million yen. Sixteen players will take part: six from Japan, three each from Korea and China, and one each from Chinese Taipei, Europe, North America, and Oceania.
“I am demanding a recount!” Richard Bozulich tells the E-Journal after his bid for New York City Comptroller came up short last week. With his 1,124 votes lagging even the 5th-place candidate, however — and well behind winner Scott Stringer’s 782,703 votes — the longtime go writer’s chances look vanishingly slim. Bozulich was nominated by the Personal Freedom Party to be its candidate for Comptroller after the party was notified that Kristin Davis, its original nominee, was ineligible (Richard Bozulich Reportedly Throws Hat Into New York Comptroller Race 7/17 EJ). “It would be fantastic for go in New York and around the world if I became comptroller,” said the undeterred Bozulich, who turned up at the recent Cotsen Open. “With $111 billion in pension funds to play with, go would become the most popular game in the world.” photo: Bozulich (at left), glimpsed at the recent Cotsen Open in Los Angeles, talking to AGA President Andy Okun; photo by Chris Garlock
The Irish Championship came to a close at the Dublin Club on Wednesday night. The defending champion, Roman Pszonka, had an early gain in the opening, but Noel Mitchell came out on top in the end, winning by 1.5 points. Noel thus won the match by 2 games to 0, meaning that this living legend has now won the title 16 times in all, no mean feat! Read on to see the game
[Embedded SGF File: IGA Final Game 2]