Go Spotting: Go in John Green’s Crash Course World History; China’s News Silk Road Strategy & Go

Go in John Green’s Crash Course World History: “Hey, I was watching John Green’s Crash Course World History 2 series and spotted both a depiction of and mention of go,” writes Evan Hale of the Columbus Tesuji Go Club. “In the episode, Green covers the Heian 2015.07.21_Go Spotting - Crash Course World History 227Period of Japan and mentions go when talking about how the elite, upper class spent their leisure time. The mention is a little bit after 7:00 in the video.”

China’s News Silk Road Strategy & Go: In Weiqi Versus Chess (Huffington Post 4/3/2015), David Gosset says that “China’s New Silk Road strategy certainly integrates the importance of Eurasia but it also neutralizes the US pivot to Asia by enveloping it in a move which is broader both in space and in time: an approach inspired by the intelligence of Weiqi has outwitted the calculation of a chess player.” Thanks to reader Ted Joe for passing this along.

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Jonathan Hop Returns with Translated Pro Game Commentaries and Twitch TV Games

Go author and blogger Jonathan Hop has launched a project to translate videos of professional games with commentary into English. “It’s all free and available on YouTube for all to see,” he tells the E-Journal. Hop says he’ll “try to do one or 2015.07.21_Hop-translationstwo a week depending on my schedule.” Available so far: Mukai Chiaki vs. Yamada Kimio, Cho Sonjin vs. Yukawa Mitsuhisa in the 63rd NHK Tournament, Takemiya Masaki vs. Goto Shungo and Kanazawa Makoto vs Akiyama Jiro in the 63rd NHK Cup.

2015.07.21_hop-twitchHop is back teaching and playing go after a long hiatus. After going to Korea, studying at a professional dojo and writing four books on go, he realized he didn’t want to be a professional go player, “So when the game felt like a chore, when studying was no longer exciting, I just plain stopped,” he writes on his blog. But now he’s heading to China next month and says “There’s no way I’m going to be in China and not play. So I decided I needed to get back in shape before I go.”

In addition to the pro game translations, Hop is playing on Twitch TV and archiving the games on YouTube. He’s also offering to review kyu level games or low level dan games for free and make videos of the review available on Youtube; send games to sundaygolessons@gmail.com. He’s also planning a go-playing marathon when he reaches 1,000 subscribers, and says that “I think I’m at 997 which is close enough for me to schedule it.  Sunday August 2nd, 12 straight hours of go beginning around 11 a.m.”

Photos: (right) Cho Chikun commenting the Mukai Chiaki vs. Yamada Kimio game; (left) Hop playing on Twitch.TV

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EJ Congress Team Seeks Game Recorders; Bring Your Racquets!

The American Go E-Journal has a few openings on its US Go Congress team. Anyone interested in helping record/broadcast top-board games at the US Open should email journal@usgo.org. Prior experience is useful but not absolutely 2015.07.21_2014Masters-DSC_0084necessary. You must be available either mornings (Sun-Sat) or evenings (Sunday, Tuesday, or Friday). “This is a terrific opportunity to get an up—close look at top-board games at a major tournament and be a part of the team bringing this event to the world,” says E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock. “Plus, it’ll improve your own go!”

Tennis Alert: Tennis players be sure to pack your racquets, as there are courts available at this year’s Congress site and E-Journal editor Chris Garlock will be organizing games throughout the week. Email journal@usgo.org if interested in participating.
photo: The EJ’s Dennis Wheeler records a 2014 US Open Masters game; photo by Chris Garlock


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US Open Master’s Division to offer $5,000 top prize

The US Open Master’s Division will again be a 9-round event with a top prize of $5,000. This section is open to all professionals and 7 Dan players. Additionally, players below 7-dan who earned points in AGA qualifier tournaments will be 2015.07.21_2014-masters-DSC_0087
eligible to compete in this section. As was done last year, the top three North American finishers in this section will get prizes with a top award of $2,000.

The regular 6-round event will continue as before, open to everyone. Players who qualify for the Master’s Division but do not wish to play 9 games can sign up for the 6-round Open event instead. However, there is no crossover between sections once play begins, and players in the Master’s Division are expected to commit to play the full 9 rounds. Jon Boley is the Tournament Director for the Master’s Division this year.
photo: top-board action at the 2014 US Open Masters Division; photo by Chris Garlock

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AGA YouTube Channel Features Haylee-Sibicky Pair Go Game Tonight

Hajin Lee 3P and her European Go Federation pair-go partner Fabien will play Andrew Jackson 4D and fellow Seattle Go Center teacher Nick Sibicky 4D in a pair go game on the AGA Youtube channel tonight, July 18, starting at 11p PST (1a Sunday EST).
“The AGA’s official Youtube channel has been revamped in advance of the upcoming 2015 US Go Congress, and we’d like to re-introduce it to members with a pair go match between a few well known YouTube go players” says Jackson, the American Go Association’s VP of Operations.  “Hajin will also be recording her comments for her 100th video on her channel, so this should be quite a celebratory evening”

The game will be broadcast live on the 
AGA Youtube channel, and “all the video content from the 2015 US Go Congress will be posted there, so please subscribe!” urges Jackson. More details on the format can be found in Jackson’s announcement video.

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Cho Hye-yeon to Attend Congress; Change in Taiwan Delegation

hsi Word comes to the E-Journal of two last minute changes in the ranks of the professionals visiting the US Go Congress in Minneapolis-St. Paul.  One is that the Korea Amate031216-chohy01[1]ur Baduk Association will be sending Cho Hyeyeon 9p, a star player and active promoter of the game.  Cho, who also attended the 2008 Congress in Portland, works, teaches and plays tirelessly, among other ventures running a go club at the US Army base at Yongsan in Seoul.  Meanwhile, difficulties of making last minute travel arrangements have caused the Taiwan Chiyuan to substitute His Yun Tang 2p, also known as Debbie Tang, for the earlier announced Wang Yuanjun 7p.  Like Cho, Tang speaks English.  She has been pro since 2004 and taught at the European Go Congress in 2012.

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Go Commentary: Takemiya Masaki vs Cho Chikun – 5th Igo Masters Cup

This game is from the final of the 5th Igo Masters Cup.

The game was played between Takemiya Masaki 9p and Cho Chikun on July 11, 2015, in Tokyo, Japan.

Takemiya Masaki 9 dan (left) and Cho Chikun 9 dan at the 5th Igo Masters Cup

Takemiya Masaki 9 dan (left) and Cho Chikun 9 dan at the 5th Igo Masters Cup

The Igo Masters Cup

The Igo Masters Cup is a Japanese Go tournament for veteran players over the age of 50.

There are preliminary matches, but former major title holders don’t need to play in the preliminaries and can start in the round of 16.

Cho Chikun defeated Hane Yasumasa 9p, Hikosaka Naoto 9p and Kobayashi Satoru 9p to proceeded to the final, and Takemiya Masaki defeated Rin Kaiho 9p, Ishida Yoshio 9p, Yamashiro Hiroshi 9p.

The prize money for the winner is ¥5 million Yen (approximately $40,000 USD), and ¥1.5 million Yen for the runner up.

Cho Chikun

Cho Chikun 9 dan at the 5th Igo Masters Cup.

Cho Chikun 9 dan at the 5th Igo Masters Cup.

Cho Chikun 9p was born in 1956, in Korea, and he went to Japan to study Go when he was 6 years old.

He became a pro in 1968 when he was only 11 years old, and he took his first major title (the Pro Best Ten) in 1975.

He never stopped playing throughout his career, and he’s won 73 titles in total. That’s a record in Japan.

The former record holder was Sakata Eio 9p (1920-2010), with 64 career titles.

Cho also won two international titles – the 4th Fujitsu Cup in 1991, and the 8th Samsung Cup in 2003 (defeating Park Younghun 9p).

At the time of the 8th Samsung Cup, Cho was 47 years old, and Park was only 18. It was amazing to see Cho defeating a far younger opponent to win another international title.

In 2012, he achieved 1400 career wins, which was also a new record in Japan, and he’s still going.

Cho won the 1st Igo Masters Cup, defeating Kobayashi Koichi 9p in 2011, and he won the 4th Igo Masters Cup, defeating Kobayashi Satoru 9p in 2014. He was aiming for a third win in this final.

Takemiya Masaki

Takemiya Masaki 9 dan at the 5th Igo Masters Cup.

Takemiya Masaki 9 dan at the 5th Igo Masters Cup.

Takemiya Masaki was born in 1951, and he became a pro in 1965.

He won the 31st Honinbo title, defeating Ishida Yoshio in 1976, and it was the first major title of his career.

In the following year, he lost Honinbo title to Cho Chikun, but he came back to win the Honinbo again, and won it five more times afterwards.

He held the Honinbo for four consecutive years, from 1985 to 1988, and was hoping to become an Honorary Honinbo by defending the title for one more year. However, Cho Chikun was the challenger in 1989, and Takemiya didn’t succeed.

In 1988, the Fujitsu Cup was established as the first international title, and Takemiya became the first international champion of the historic title. He defeated Rin Kaiho 9p in the final.

He wasn’t satisfied with one victory though, and he won the 2nd Fujitsu Cup too (defeating Rin Kaiho again) in 1989.

In the same year, the first international lightning Go tournament was established. Takemiya became the inaugural winner of that too, after defeating Kobayashi Satoru 9p in the final.

He performed very well in that tournament, and continued winning the title for another three years; defeating Lee Changho 9p, Cao Dayuan 9p and Cho Hun Hyun 9p in the finals.

In 1995, he won the 20th Meijin, defeating Kobayashi Koichi 9p, and it was his first Meijin title. However, he lost the title to Cho Chikun in the following year.

In 2009, he proceeded to the final of the 56th NHK Cup, but lost to Yuki Satoshi 9p.

This was his first appearance in the final of the Igo Masters Cup, and Go fans were expecting an exciting match for the final.

Opposing styles of  play

Takemiya Masaki 9 dan (left) and Cho Chikun 9 dan, when the game was finished.

Takemiya Masaki 9 dan (left) and Cho Chikun 9 dan, when the game was finished.

Both Takemiya and Cho are from the Kitani dojo (Kitani Minoru 9p, 1909-1975). However, ironically, their styles of play are complete opposites.

Cho’s style of play is very dynamic and passionate. He used to play extremely territorial games when he was in his 30s, and he was also famous for spending a long time to think and making accurate moves in byo-yomi.

He’s regarded as the master of two day matches, like the big three Japanese titles (Kisei, Meijin and Honinbo), and he was nearly always playing frantically, in the last byo-yomi, by the end of his games.

On the other hand, Takemiya was very famous for his cosmic style of play. He preferred to call it ‘natural style’ himself, but most people call it cosmic style.

His large scale style of play was very new and sensational at the time, and many Go fans were impressed and fascinated by his humongous moyo games.

His unique center oriented style of play, with his creative point of view, was like a romantic dream. Practically nobody else could mimic Takemiya’s style and win, so he was very highly regarded by other top players.

When I was an insei, I liked their styles of play very much and I greatly enjoyed replaying their games. Their games were always exciting and fun to watch, with their opposing, colorful styles of play.

Let’s have a look at the final of the 5th Igo Masters Cup.

Takemiya Masaki 9 dan (third from left), and Cho Chikun 9 dan at the presentation.

Takemiya Masaki 9 dan (third from the left), and Cho Chikun 9 dan at the presentation.

Commented game record

Takemiya Masaki vs Cho Chikun

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RFP for East Coast Go Center


At its June 7th board meeting, the Iwamoto North American Foundation for Go approved a request for proposals for the establishment of a Go Center on the East Coast. The foundation is seeking proposals by December 1, 2015.  The RFP can be found on the foundation’s web page: http://www.inaf-go.org/.  Please direct any questions to board members Thomas Hsiang (thsiang@UR.Rochester.edu), Andy Okun (andy@okun.name), or Dave Weimer (weimer@lafollette.wisc.edu).






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