San Diego Club First to Redeem Chapter Reward Points

The San Diego Go Club was the first to redeem Chapter Rewards points, getting reimbursed $34.50 for pizza at their Winter Soiree. “The new 2015.04.19_San-Diego-mr-naAGA club rewards program helped pay for pizzas for the 30 plus players who came to our go party,” Ted Terpstra reports from San Diego. “The San Diego Go Club earned points through club members playing rated games and signing up for or renewing AGA memberships. The pizzas provided a pleasant social hour after the games were completed.”

Click here to see the totals for rewards points earned through February. Click here for details on how the new program works. Address any questions to rewards@usgo.org.
photo: Mr. Na, 7P, playing a simultaneous exhibition against club players at the San Diego Winter Soiree; photo courtesy Ted Terpstra

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Ida Atsushi becomes youngest Judan in history – 53rd Judan

Ida Atsushi 8p has won his first major title and become the youngest Judan in history, defeating Takao Shinji 9p in the 53rd Judan with a 3-2 score.

The fifth game of the best of five title match was played on April 22, 2015, at the Nihon Kiin, Tokyo, Japan.

Takao Shinji 9p (left) and Ida Atsushi 8p at the 53rd Judan final.

Takao Shinji 9p (left) and Ida Atsushi 8p at the 53rd Judan final.

Record breaker

As we said above, the 53rd Judan is Ida’s first major career title.

Ida also recently won the 62nd NHK Cup, defeating Ichiriki Ryo 7p, in March, 2015. That was his first career title and, only a month later, he’s added the Judan to the list.

In both cases, Ida broke existing records as the youngest ever player to win those titles – with the new records being 20 years and 11 months, and 21 years old respectively.

Not bad for a 21 year old!

Iyama Yuta 9p held the previous record for the Judan, which he set at 21 years and 11 months when he won the 49th Judan (against Cho U 9p) in 2011.

Cho U set the previous NHK record at the 49th NHK Cup  in 2002 – he was 22 years and 2 months old at the time.

Ida Atsushi 8p, just after he became Judan.

Ida Atsushi 8p, just after he became Judan.

Ida Atsushi

Ida Atsushi was born in 1994, and became a pro in 2009.

In 2014, Ida became the challenger for the 69th Honinbo title. He lost 4-1 to Iyama Yuta 9p at the time, but he must have learned a lot and become more powerful through that experience.

He defeated Kobayashi Satoru 9p in the challenger decision match in February, 2015, to challenge Takao Shinji for the Judan.

Ida is one of two top prospects amongst the young pros in Japan at the moment. The other is Ichiriki Ryo 7p, who won the 1st GLOBIS Cup in 2014.

These two players are the future hope for Japanese Go, following Iyama Yuta.

Many Japanese Go fans want to see them become stronger and challenge top Chinese and Korean players.

I also hope that they can lead other young and talented Japanese players to a higher level of play.

Is Ida 9 dan yet?

Some readers might be wondering whether this victory means Ida Atsushi will be promoted to 9 dan.

In the modern Japanese ranking system, players are only promoted straight to 9 dan for winning an international title, or one of the ‘big three’ Japanese domestic titles (the Kisei, Meijin and Honinbo).

Winning the Judan once would be enough to get Ida promoted to 8 dan, except he’s already 8 dan! Assuming that Ida doesn’t win any other titles in the meantime, he’ll be promoted to 9 dan if he successfully defends the Judan next year.

Takao Shinji

Takao Shinji won the 46th Judan, defeating Cho Chikun 9p in 2008, but he lost the title to Cho U in the following year.

Ida Atsushi 8p (left) and Takao Shinji 9p, after game 3 of the final.

Ida Atsushi 8p (left) and Takao Shinji 9p, after game 3 of the final.

Five years later, he returned as the challenger and won the 52nd Judan against Yuki Satoshi 9p in 2014.

However, once again, it didn’t last. This time he lost the Judan to a new, young challenger – Ida Atsushi.

Nevertheless, Takao still holds the Tengen, which is another major Japanese title.

He challenged and defeated Iyama Yuta in the 40th Tengen title match, in December 2014.

That was quite sensational, because Iyama had been practically invincible in Japan for a couple of years before that.

Takao showed his strength in the Tengen final, but he couldn’t repeat the feat this time.

Summary of games 1 to 4

(Note: you can find the game records just below. And if you’d like to discuss the match, please feel free to leave a comment. Everyone is welcome.)

Takao Shinji got off to a good start in the final.

Game 1 was peaceful and territorial, which is Takao’s favorite kind of game, and he won without any trouble. There weren’t any good chances for Ida to fight properly in that game, because Takao’s moves were smooth and solid.

However, Ida tied the match by winning game 2. There were some battles, and Ida managed them quite well to grasp his first win.

After winning game 3 as well, Ida took the lead. Game 3 was very interesting, with lots of nice tesujis by both players. Both Black and White built huge territories, and Ida won the game with excellent play in the endgame.

However, Takao returned fire in game 4. He took an early lead after a big ko at the top and he maintained his lead smoothly and flexibly. Ida couldn’t find any opportunities to fight back.

The score was tied at 2-2.

Game 5 – Brief commentary

Game 5 was the title match decider. Both Takao and Ida played quite cautiously to begin with, but Ida (Black) invaded White’s area at the bottom with 31 and 33, and the first fight began.

The result up to White 50 seemed to be even, but White 56 was a brilliant move, and White (Takao) took the lead up to 62.

Black 71 and 75 formed a nice combination, and Black 79 was a good tesuji to help catch up.

Black started to fight again with 99, and he got some points up to 115. However, White’s responses were also good, and the game was still very close.

White 154 was a skillful move to remove Black’s eye potential, but Black responded well with 155 and 157.

White went all out with 182, but Ida seemed to be expecting that. Black 189 was a nice counter, and the game reached its crescendo.

Black 199 was the correct move, and White’s big dragon couldn’t make two eyes. White 212 was tricky, but Ida responded accurately, and Takao resigned soon afterwards.

53rd Judan: the scene after game 5 finished.

53rd Judan: the scene after game 5 finished.

Game records

Ida Atsushi vs Takao Shinji – Game 1

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Takao Shinji vs Ida Atsushi – Game 2

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Ida Atsushi vs Takao Shinji – Game 3

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Takao Shinji vs Ida Atsushi – Game 4

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Ida Atsushi vs Takao Shinji – Game 5

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Lee & Janowski Split Top Honors in Syracuse

A record 38 players, including 16 students high school age or younger, participated in this year’s Salt City Tournament in Syracuse, New York 2015.04.21_Syracuse-Beckheld on Saturday, April 11. In the A division, Yeunggeul Lee 2d (at right in photo) and Scott Janowski 1k both 2015.04.21_Syracuse-cakefinished with 3-1 records and split the top prize money, and Jared Beck 3d (at left) took the cash prize for 3rd place. High school student Jake Game 5k swept all four of his games in the B division, with RIT student Kyle Cutler 9k and third grader Liya Luk 11k taking the next two places, both with 3-1 records. Eric Li 22k won the C division with a 4-0 record, and Casey Beach 19k and Rachel Liu 20k both went 3-1 to finish in 2nd and 3rd place.

Every player was able to select a nice prize at the tournament this year thanks to the greatly discounted books provided by Slate and Shell. And the wife of tournament organizer Richard Moseson again baked and decorated the problem cake, shown here just before the problem portion was consumed (black to play). See lots more photos on the club’s Facebook page.

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SmartGo Books Releases 3 New Titles

SmartGo’s Go Books for iOS and Macintosh has released three new books. The Go Books app for iPad, iPhone, and Macintosh now offers a total2015.04.19_Elephant-slices of 102 interactive books about go, including the three newest ones, two of which are available exclusively on Go Books. Iwamoto Kaoru 9 dan’s “Reductions” is a companion volume to “Invasions,” teaching how reduce many common formations. It’s also available in print from Slate & Shell. “Just Enough Japanese, Vol. 1” by Richard Hunter provide the most relevant kanji for understanding Japanese go books and is exclusively available in Go Books. In Thomas Redecker’s “Igo Hatsuyōron 120: An Elephant in Slices,” the most difficult go problem is split into 120 simpler problems. Only available in Go Books.

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Final round of the Pandanet-AGA City League this weekend

Pandanet Finals 2014 CrowdWho will go on to the finals of the Pandanet City League championship at the US Go Congress?

In the A League, Boston won their match in the last round making the race for the top very tight. Los Angeles, Greater Washington, and Boston each have 6 points each, but LA and Gr Washington both are outscoring with 9 board points. In this last match up none of the top teams will face each other. Which team will come out on top and travel to the Twin Cities in their last head-to-head match up?

The B League will have a tough fight for second place as it stands now. NC Raleigh and Bay Area are two board points behind Princeton. In the final round Raleigh faces off against the undefeated Princeton for the B League championship. Will Princeton come out on top or will Raleigh and Bay Area kick their games into high gear and make it a tight race?
The C League is also fighting for its second place winner. Berkeley has become a runaway running all of their matches by 2-1 against their opponents. Atlanta 2, DC Team 3, and Boston 2 will have tough matches in the last round.

Make sure to watch LIVE games on Pandanet this Sunday, April 26th in the AGA City League and AGA City League (Manual) rooms. Check out the latest client from Pandanet.  Away from your computer when the games are going on? Download the Panda-Tetsuki app for Android and iOS!  pandalogo-4885cf7392ac5bc75a68d553b7287b04

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Go Classified: Players Wanted in Monterey Bay; Demo Boards Available

Players Wanted in Monterey Bay, CA: We hope to find both a North and South County venue for evenings of go play once or twice a month. 2015.04.19_demo-board-classifiedClick here for details.

Full-size Demonstration boards available: Board dimension 36″x36″; professionally printed/mounted/framed; includes a full set of magnetic stones. Board and stones $500 USD (easel not included) + shipping and handling. Only 6 boards left. Email marinicj@hotmail.com for details.

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An Younggil’s Pro Go Videos: How to maintain a small lead – Lian Xiao vs Kim Jiseok

This game, from the 16th Nongshim Cup, was very exciting. There was heavy fighting in the top left corner, but the game soon became well balanced.

The middle game was calm and quiet, but there was an big, unexpected ko at the end of the game and it’s exciting to watch.

You’ll learn how to play when you’re ahead by a small margin, and see a nice sacrifice strategy.

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Game record

Lian Xiao vs Kim Jiseok

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Myungwan Kim 9P to Teach at Go Camp

2012.12.08_MyungwanKim_DSC_0373The AGA East Coast Go Camp has announced Myungwan Kim as the teacher for this year’s camp.  Kim is a 9-dan professional, and the only player dispatched to the United States by the Korean Baduk Association since 2008. Kim has more than 10 years of teaching experience, and his students include several US Youth representatives, such as Aaron Ye, Andrew Lu, and Brandon Zhou. He is also three-time US Go Congress Open division winner and currently holds the highest player ranking in the AGA.

Camp directors Amanda Miller and Nano Rivera welcome all campers to join them for a week of go-playing and fun. “If you’re a go player between the ages of 8 and 18 and would like an opportunity to study go for a week with a professional teacher, then the AGA Go Camp is for you,” says Miller.

Go Camp 2014 (51) copyAnyone who participated in the North American Kyu Championships or the Redmond Cup is eligible to receive $400 off the price of the Go Camp, courtesy of the American Go Foundation. Youth who did not participate in either tournament, but still need financial assistance, are eligible for need-based scholarships here.  Visit the camp website  for general information, pictures from past camps, and news regarding this year’s upcoming Go Camp.  Any questions about camp should be addressed to  agagocampeast@gmail.com. -story by Fernando Rivera. Pictures: top: Myungwan Kim live commenting a tourney match, bottom: campers practice their archery skills at last years camp. Picture by Amanda Miller

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