SportAccord World Mind Games North American Player Profiles

The North American delegation to this year’s SportAccord World Mind Games – coming up December 12-18 in Beijing – includes Daniel Ko and Huiren Yang from the US and Sarah Yu and Yongfei Ge from Canada. The American Go E-Journal will once again team up with Ranka to provide coverage this year, with Michael Redmond 9P and EJ Managing Editor Chris Garlock providing play-by-play game commentary on the SAWMG YouTube channel as well as coverage in the EJ. Here are brief biographical sketches of the players.

Sarah Yu 6d is a 23-year-old graduate student in Toronto who’s been playing go for 17 years. She’s looking forward to “learning go from top professional players” at the SAWMG. Her favorite thing about go is that “The rules are simple, but it’s hard to master.” Her advice to players who want to improve is to “Play each move well, work on the skills, and look at professional games.” Her hobbies include playing table tennis.

Daniel Daehyuk Ko 7d, 37, works in accounting and finance in Los Angeles, CA and has been playing go for 32 years. He’s looking forward to “Playing with top professionals and learning from them” at the SAWMG. His favorite thing about go is meeting people and making friends and his advice on how to get stronger is to “Play with someone 2-3 stones stronger and review your games with strong players.” His hobbies include traveling.

Yongfei Ge 8d is a 44-year-old software architect in Scarborough, Canada who’s been playing go for 30 years. He’s looking forward to “playing with top pro players” at the SAWMG and his favorite thing about go is “Winning after hard fight.” His advice to improving is to “review games after playing” and hobbies include video games, books and ping pong.

Huiren Yang 1P is 60 years old; no further information was available at presstime.

via American Go E-Journal

Nihon Kiin & AGA Ink Deal for Iwamoto North America Foundation

A new East Coast Go Center tops the list of projects of the new Iwamoto North America Foundation (INAF), the result of a collaborative agreement with the American Go Association (AGA) approved today by the Nihon Kiin (NK) Board of Directors. The Foundation is named in honor of the late Kaoru Iwamoto and will be funded by the sale of the New York Go Center. “This is a tremendously exciting development in the history of American go,” said AGA president Andy Okun. “We look forward to continuing to work closely with the Nihon Kiin to realize Iwamoto sensei’s vision of spreading go worldwide.” The INAF will be an equal partnership between NK and AGA, with each side contributing three Directors, the NK Chairman serving as Foundation President and AGA  contributing an Executive Director to take care of the Foundation’s regular operation. “I greatly welcome the arrival of this new Foundation,” said Thomas Hsiang, the AGA’s Vice President for International Affairs, who originated the concept for the Foundation and led the negotiations for its creation. “The Nihon Kiin has always been a great friend to American go and the INAF will add a new, grand chapter to this illustrious history.” A Request for Proposal (RFP) for establishing an East Coast Go Center is expected to be sent to regional go communities in the next few months.

Photos: top right: AGA president Andy Okun and NK Chairman Norio Wada signing the INAF Letter of Confirmation in Tokyo on November 5; bottom left: the people involved in negotiating the INAF agreement (l-r): Tadaaki Jagawa (NK VP), Thomas Hsiang (AGA VP-International Affairs), Norio Wada (NK Chairman), Andrew Okun (AGA President), Hiroshi Yamashiro (NK VP), and Shiho Yamada (NK Director in charge of overseas affairs). Photos courtesy Tomotaka Urasoe, NK Overseas Department).

via American Go E-Journal

Andrew Kay British Champion Again; David Lee Holds the Scottish Crown

Andrew Kay 4d retained the British Championship on Saturday November 23, after concluding a straight 2-0 victory over challenger Andrew Simons 4d in the best-of-three final.

Kay first took the title in 2012, after manytime Championship winner Matthew Macfadyen 6d retired. This year the reigning Champion waived his right to bypass the initial qualifying Candidates’ tournament, winning that round to enter the Challengers’ League from which the finalists emerge (see Simons to Challenge Kay for British Championship, EJ 5/27).

In the first game of the final, played on November 16, Simons (B) resigned whilst in byo yomi.

In the second, Kay (B) – known for his fast and combative play – once again squeezed Simons for time, pushing him into byo yomi with nearly an hour of main time (out of three) left on his own clock. Simons ran out of time in his fourth period of byo yomi. However, comments by referee Tim Hunt suggest Simons probably had about a four-point lead when his flag fell.

Kay said of the decisive game, “Andrew Simons gave me a very tough game” and thanked the large number who watched and commented on the game as it was broadcast live on KGS.

Click here for the Game 1 record, and here for the Game 2 record; game records contain unmoderated spectator comments. Click here for Guo Juan’s professional audio analysis of Game 2.

In other British news, David Lee 3d of Dundee won the separate Scottish Championship for the fourth consecutive year, beating Matt Crosby 3d (Edinburgh) in the final. Four players competed in a knockout on KGS in the final stages. The semi-finalists were Piotr Wisthal 1d (Aberdeen) and Crosby’s initiate, Martha McGill 1k, also of Edinburgh.

Report by Tony Collman, British correspondent for the EJ. Photo courtesy of Kay’s website.

via American Go E-Journal

Lee Sedol vs Gu Li showdown scheduled for 2014 – MLily Gu vs Lee Jubango

The dates for the much anticipated jubango between Lee Sedol 9p and Gu Li 9p have been announced, and the match will start in January 2014.

The MLily Gu vs Lee Jubango will be sponsored by MLily. The official launch of the match was held on November 24, 2013, at the Conrad Hotel in Beijing, China.

Lee Sedol Gu Li MLily Gu Lee Jubango 2 550x417 picture

Lee Sedol 9 dan (left) and Gu Li at the launch of their jubango.

What the … is a jubango?

A jubango (十番碁 in Japanese – literally ‘ten boards of Go’) is a 10 game match between two noteworthy players, which has traditionally been used to determine who the stronger player is.

Jubango rose to prominence in Edo period Japan as a way of resolving disputes between top Go players and their houses and have been a popular format for sponsored matches between top players in the modern era.

The most famous jubango in recent times have been those played by Go Seigen, against various top Japanese players, in the first half of the 20th century.

A statement from the Chinese Weiqi Association

Liu Siming, the president of the Chinese Weiqi Association, said:

“The jubango between Gu Li and Lee Sedol is finally going to start in 2014 and many Go fans have been looking forward to it. Each of the 10 games will be played in a different city.”

“I think these two players are the best choice for a jubango, and the games will be very exciting. There hasn’t been a jubango like this in the last 70 years, but we’ve pushed ahead to make this one happen.”

“Gu Li and Lee Sedol both were both born in 1983, and Lee is just one game ahead in their head to head record.” (currently 18-1-17 in Lee’s favor – with one draw because of a quadruple ko)

“There are many rising stars today, but Lee and Gu are still the best, since they’ve won 14 and 7 international titles respectively.”

“It’s a very special event with a lot of prize money, and I hope that both players can create great games, which they can be proud of.”

Note: We believe Mr Liu’s “70 years” comment refers to the famous jubango between Go Seigen and Kitani Minoru, played between 1939 and 1940.

Liu Siming Lee Sedol Gu Li Ni Zhanggen MLily Gu Lee Jubango 550x380 picture

From left: Liu Siming, Lee Sedol, Gu Li and Ni Zhanggen.

Comment from MLily

Ni Zhanggen, the president of MLily said, “I hope that many people will follow this match, and I hope that both players will play their best, regardless of the prize money.”

MLily, the sponsor, is a mattress and bedding company which also sponsors the new MLily Cup.

The match schedule

Lee Sedol MLily Gu Lee Jubango 2 300x507 picture

Lee Sedol stands in front of a commemorative banner with his name (李世石) written in calligraphy.

The games will be played on the last Sunday of each month, with the first game scheduled for January 26, 2014, in Beijing. See the Pro Go Calendar for other dates.

The players will take a break in June, when the 2014 FIFA World Cup is held in Brazil. (Go players like to stay up late and watch the football too! icon smile picture )

The time limit for each game is 4 hours for each player and the first player to win 6 games will win the match.

The winner will receive the entirety of the prize money – 5 million RMB (approximately $820,000 USD at the time of writing).

There’s no official prize for the loser, but there’s a consolation prize of 200,000 RMB (about $33,000 USD).

If the score is tied at 5-5, the prize will be split 50/50, with no tie breaker planned.

An interview with Lee Sedol and Gu Li

Gu Li MLily Gu Lee Jubango 2 300x298 picture

Gu Li stands with a commemorative banner of his name (古力) in calligraphy.

Lee: I’ve lost some important games against 90s generation players over the last two years. Some of them are already playing at the top level, but it’s hard to answer your question. I’m more experienced so, if I play with them at the moment, I think it’s 50/50.

Gu: The 90s generation players are already very strong. I sometimes feel they’re stronger than me. I can’t agree that the 80s generation still rules the Go world. There are many top players today, but I still feel confident when I play against one of them in the final of a tournament.

The time limit for this match is 4 hours each, which is quite unusual these days. What do you think about this? And most of the games will be played in China, does that put Lee Sedol at a disadvantage?

Gu: This will be my first time playing a game with this much thinking time. I normally play faster than Lee Sedol does, so it’s not good for me. However, I want to show my potential in this series, in 2014.

Lee: It’s reasonable to have more thinking time for such an important match. I’ll be able to play better with more time to think. I’m already used to playing in China, so that won’t be a problem.

How will you prepare for the jubango?

Gu: I’ve been studying by myself to prepare for the match. This match will be a very important part of my career and my life.

Recently, you’ve reclaimed the #1 rank in Korea. Is that related to this match in any way?

Lee: No, I don’t think so. There were many lightning games in the first half of 2013, and I lost many of them. However, there have been more games with longer time limits in the second half of the year, and I’ve been able to achieve better results in those games. That’s all there is to it.

Follow the Gu vs Lee jubango in 2014

Go Game Guru will follow the jubango between Gu Li and Lee Sedol game by game in 2014, and you can follow it with us!

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More photos

Lee Sedol Gu Li MLily Gu Lee Jubango 2 150x150 picture
Lee Sedol Gu Li MLily Gu Lee Jubango 3 150x150 picture
Lee Sedol Gu Li MLily Gu Lee Jubango 150x150 picture
Liu Siming Lee Sedol Gu Li Ni Zhanggen MLily Gu Lee Jubango 150x150 picture
Lee Sedol MLily Gu Lee Jubango 2 150x150 picture
Gu Li MLily Gu Lee Jubango 2 150x150 picture
Lee Sedol MLily Gu Lee Jubango 150x150 picture
Gu Li MLily Gu Lee Jubango 150x150 picture
MLily Gu Lee Jubango 150x150 picture

via Go Game Guru

Pair Go Tournament at Seattle Go Center Dec. 7

The Seattle Go Center is proud to present a gala evening of Pair Go. On Saturday, December 7 there will be a two-round Pair Go tournament featuring a dessert buffet sponsored by Bakery Nouveau of Seattle and prizes for the top teams. The tournament will be played by International Pair Go rules, so participants are encouraged to dress in formal or semi-formal attire.

Registration for the tournament will be open between 6:00pm and 6:45pm with the first round beginning at 7:00pm. The fee for participants is $5.00 for annual and lifetime members of the Seattle Go Center, $5.00 for children under 18 and $10.00 for non-member adults.  Photo and photo styling by Anne Thompson.


via American Go E-Journal

British Championship Game 2 to Broadcast on Saturday

The potentially decisive Game 2 of the British Championship (British Championship to Feature “The Two Andrews” 11/3 EJ) will be broadcast on KGS in the English Room (not the British Room, as previously reported) on Saturday, November 23. Broadcast will start at 10a UCT; look for the game owned by BGAadmin, or from 11a, a clone owned by guojuan with her professional audio commentary and analysis. Kay won the first game, so if he wins tomorrow he retains the title.
– Tony Collman, British correspondent for the EJ

via American Go E-Journal

Go Spotting: Heathers, The Economist, Hunter X Hunter

“In the movie Heathers (1989, at right), in Veronica’s room, before the hanging scene.
– Michael Wall

“In the October 26 issue of The Economist, on page 8, there is a photo of a couple of old-timers playing Baduk. Underneath is the rather dispiriting label: ‘Not much else to do.’”
– Bob Barber

“The latest episode (102) of Hunter X Hunter featured go. When describing the game, one character says, ‘It may look simple at first, but it is a complex game.’ They play a game, and discuss the general strategy of disrupting your opponents rhythm.”
– Nick Prince

via American Go E-Journal

8 Young North Americans Want To Be Next AGA Pro

Who will be the next American pro? Eight young North American go players will battle it out for the honor and opportunity early next year in Los Angeles at the second AGA Pro Certification Tournament. The field includes four Americans and four Canadians, all of whom are quite young. 24-year-old Eric Lui, who used to be among the youngest at tournaments is the oldest participant in this tournament. Lui and Jianing Gan (17) are both seeded players from the previous Pro Qualification Tournament; Calvin Sun (16) and Bill Lin (17) qualified at this year’s US Go Open; Ben Lockhart (20) qualified at the Gotham Go Tournament; Daniel Gourdeau (20) qualified at the Canadian Open, Andrew Lu (16) at the Cotsen Open and Ryan Li (19) was the last qualifier, winning last Sunday’s Online Pro Prelim. The AGA Pro Certification Tournament will be held January 2-8 in Los Angeles and all boards will be broadcast live on KGS by the E-Journal. photo: at the 2012 AGA-Tygem Pro Tournament; photo by Nam Chi-Hyung

via American Go E-Journal

Go Spotting: Bleach & Star Trek: Enterprise

“I recently spotted go in the anime ‘Bleach’” reports Tyler Keithley. “Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find a screenshot, but it is shown briefly about midway through Episode 258, titled ‘Stray Snake, Tortured Monkey’”.

Matthew Clark spotted go in Star Trek: Enterprise. “In Season 2, Episode 22 at 29:45, there is a scene with commander Tucker and an alien he is trying to teach to think for herself,” Clark reports. “After showing the alien the film ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’, they are playing go on a floor board in the Commander’s quarters. Tucker says that after just one day of instruction, the alien is able to beat him,” which had taken others months to achieve.


via American Go E-Journal

Your Move/Readers Write: Advice on College Go

“I am a high school student who is also a 5 Duan go player from Shanghai, China,” writes Liwei (David) Xu. “Although I continue my study, I have never given up my hobby. And I am preparing for the application of the US univeristies and I have already achieved my SAT and TOEFL scores. I hope to keep on my hobby in the university. I want to study in a university with the background of go in the US; can you give me some advice?”
“We are always delighted to hear about strong young players who are coming here!” responded EJ Youth Editor Paul Barchilon “To learn more about which colleges have a strong go playing community, visit the ACGA website.” He also suggested the Xu plan to attend the annual US Go Congress, and reach out to some of the strong players here in America, “many of whom are involved in organizing go activities in various schools.” Justin Teng, a strong player and freshman undergraduate at the University of Maryland-College Park (and now Assistant Youth Coordinator for the AGA) adds that “Many of the top universities in the country all have go clubs (Princeton, Yale, Harvard, MIT, etc). I would say University of Toronto has some of the strongest players (although it’s in Canada), along with University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and Princeton University. I can’t speak for how active all of the other university go clubs are, but I think maybe it’s best to pick a university that has a strong program for whatever major you are interested in pursuing, and then see if any of them have go clubs. I suspect you will be applying to some of the top universities, and most of them will have a go club.”


via American Go E-Journal