Weiqi and the Brain

In this post, I am going to share how Weiqi can help in developing our human brains.
Firstly, let us understand what are the functions of our brains. Our brains are divided into two hemispheres, left and right.
The Left Brain, the primary function is to perform tasks like:
  1. Logical thinking
  2. Mathematical calculations
  3. Science
  4. Solution finding
  5. Reasoning
The Right Brain, will be performing tasks like:
  1. Arts and Music appreciation
  2. Designing
  3. Creativity
  4. Speeches
  5. Visualization understanding
Left and Right Hemispheres
So, how does learning and playing Weiqi help in developing the brain?
I will relate and expound 5 areas in our daily lives that can be improved if we apply the strategies that we learnt from Weiqi.
  1. In Education, Weiqi could enhance the students’ mathematical skills, including problem-solving, pattern recognition etc. Art students begin to train themselves by looking out of the box, exceeding boundaries, unlimited thinking. The combination of both important logical and creativity skills will definitely help any student in his or her linguistic learning, ie writing and speaking.
  1. In Businesses, managers look to have a holistic approach in running their businesses. Embracing day to day new challenges, adapting to an ever-changing environment to suit business requirements and stay competitive in the market. Weiqi is such a competitive mind sport that many business owners adopt this game’s tactical strategy in their businesses. In the brain part, design skills are needed for product innovation, cost-effective budgeting and business planning, whereas the left brain will play the role of calculating, budgeting, execution of plans and ensuring success.  http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20141208000697
  1. In relationships, Weiqi teaches every individual to look outwards for connectivity. Great accomplishments are built by networks of different talents. People may be individual, but a connection of individuals becomes a powerful organization. Connections are formed usually not by logic calculation, but rather use of linguistic skills. So now you can see the art in Weiqi helps developing the connectivity skills of a human interacting with another human.
  1. In Family, we seek to create a safe settlement in our home. Every individual needs a home base before any form of endeavour outside the home life. Hasn’t Weiqi taught us that we should first settle with a home base before attacking weak stones to secure victory? (In a game example, no strong player would enter into the board’s centre when his / her home base territory is being invaded?) To have a warm and safe home or settlement, we will need both good logical, constructive sense and good emotions to build and live in. These senses are scientifically found in the brain.
  1. In Finance, we seek to make more than we lose, get the best bargains in the market rather than paying overpriced products. Occasionally, pampering ourselves with pricier things that will feed our egoistic emotions. But that is fine, as long as we can justify that the investment on the things that we need (logical) or we want (emotional).
There is an endless list of good things that Weiqi can bring to us. Please drop a comment below if you can share any experience that Weiqi has brought to your life.

Weiqi Group Lessons in Town Area

Weiqi Course for Beginners

Duration: 10 lessons, 1.5 hours each lesson, once a week

Venue: Chinatown @ Blk 334 Kreta Ayer Rd

Teacher: Benson 4 Dan, Singapore Weiqi Association

Course details and registration form: https://bit.ly/3mAZFn

Weiqi Course for Intermediate

Course details and registration form: https://bit.ly/3gZHI0R

Please contact me at HP: 81009466 (Whatsapp or SMS) to inquire the lesson details.

Benson (Teacher)

Email: benson@weiqi-to-go.net

Network, network and network

Weiqi is a game that subtly teaches us using networking skills to accomplish great goals.

In the beginning, Weiqi is just a blank board without a single stone. Then a stone is placed as the game commences. Then the game progresses, more and more stones are added. Stones are then linked together to form boundaries and defensive lines. At the end of the game, we can see many stones are connected to form countable territories on the board. The more stones that are networked the more territories will be surrounded. In other words, the more stones remain on the board, the stronger the position the stones have become.

Stones that are not connected will be killed and removed. And that is the name of the game.

Image result for weiqi

Networking indeed is a powerful tool in our life. Businesses require networking to maintain growth and relevance. The individual requires connectability to sustain employment. No one person or business is a standalone island.

The more a person is networked, the more useful the person has become; the talent of that person becomes amplified.

Weiqi resembles life. It teaches us useful wisdom. That is to be well networked in life. Great businessmen network to grow their business empire.  McDonald’s had 2 stories. First was that the original McDonald’s brothers did not like the idea of networking and in the end, they had to force sell their business to Ray Croc and exit the market. The second story was that Ray Croc networked McDonald’s and became the biggest fast food chain in the whole world.


The Balance of Weiqi

The balance of Weiqi is probably one of the most difficult concepts of play in the game. It is simple to understand at the theoretical level but it becomes technically difficult when comes to play.

Too much territory loses control over the centre and affects mid game fights later on in the game. Whereas too much external influence usually begets a low territory count that may put you in an out-of-balance situation.

Therefore, it will be a challenge to teach and impart the concept to Weiqi learners. Yet if the concept of balance is well understood, the Weiqi learner will improve the game by leaps and bounds.

During the elementary days of our Weiqi learning journey, most of us were taught in basic lessons on taking territory above controlling the board’s centre influence. This is not a fully correct pre-learnt concept.

With enough playing experience and understanding, most matured high-level players knew that they must balance territory and influence.

Therefore, a good balance in the game is having a sufficient amount of territory with ample support of influence towards the centre of the board or vice versa.

This concept of good territory-influence balance gives the player a better selection of josekis 定石 (prefix formation of stones usually in the corner) right at the start of the game. Hence able to control the mid-game better.

On an additional side note to promote the application of balance in Weiqi into our real lives:

Sometimes, we have to make a radical or life-changing decision in difficult situations. Applying this concept of balance could sometimes paint a clearer or bigger picture (as in Weiqi’s influence) and declutter hidden dangers of immediate gain (as in Weiqi’s territory).

I hope we can all learn together the balance of Weiqi and apply this valuable concept in our lives.

Intrinsic Value of Weiqi

Q: Why do parents send their children to Weiqi lessons in spite of computer AI domineering humans in the game in this age?

A: There are a few points to answer this commonly asked question.

1. Life values learned in the game.

Example as in the Ten Commandments of Weiqi 围棋十决

As in the list, all items are applicable to real life. I will give each an example in a later article.


2. Cultural values learned in this game. Manners, greetings, patience and respect.

These traits are not taught by computers nor by our mainstream school teachers and professors.

Our school teachers had taught us to excel in our academics but in human to human relationships, this area has failed miserably. This could be the fundamental reason why social problems are occurring in our society.


3. The true values of winning and losing.

This may look abstract but I think it is still not difficult to understand.

For example, a person may win in an argument with his friend or spouse in a short-term dispute, but he may lose this person’s friendship in the long term.

A very smart and intelligent guy may win arguments all the time, but he may not have a close friend at all as his way of debating may turn away many friends who find him domineering in conversation.

Learning Weiqi teaches us how to keep balance in the area of assessing winning and losing situation. In the first commandment of Weiqi, “Do not overly be greedy in winning”, teaches us to keep in check our attitude when comes to winning.


Overall, in summary, the trend of computers winning human may seem to have a negative impact on the development of promoting the game in the short term, but I believe the understanding of the intrinsic (or core nature) value of the game of Weiqi like its cultural and educational values will outlast and turn the trend eventually.


How Do Online Ratings Compare? OGS Seeks Input for Ratings Survey

How do you know what rank to choose when checking out a new go server? Maybe you visited Sensei’s World Wide Rank Comparisonmaybe you guessed. “The team at OGS wants to dispel some of this mystery, so we’ve created a quick and easy survey to collect feedback about ranks of popular servers and we’d really appreciate your participation,” says Akita Noek. The brief survey takes less than two minutes to complete and you can see the results as soon as you are done. “So far we’ve garnered about 650 responses, but only 86 data points contain AGA data, which is a little over half of what we have for the EGF (146 responses),” says Noek, “so we’d really like to fill that gap a bit in order to get a good rank mapping to and from AGA ranks for the various servers.”

“The results will be used by OGS to further refine our rankings and ratings and bring our system in line with our users’ expectations,” says Noek. “We’re collecting rank data for all the main major servers as well as the AGA and EGF, as well as community impressions about how they feel about the ranks on different servers/organizations. We’ll be making the results of the survey public in both a summarized form as well as the raw data for anyone to use.”

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The Power Report: Iyama regains sextuple crown; Surprise leader in Honinbo League; Women’s Meijin League; Judan semifinalists; Xie regains Women’s Honinbo title

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Iyama regains sextuple crown: The third game of the 41st Tengen title match was held at the Munakata Yurix in Munakata City, 2015.11.29_41tengen-IyamaFukuoka Prefecture on November 25. Taking black, Iyama Yuta (right) forced Takao Shinji (left, in white shirt) to resign after 147 moves. Iyama took a 2015.11.29_41tengen_02decisive lead in the first large fight of the game and wrapped it up by killing a large group. This win won back the title he lost to Takao on December 19 last year. He also once again held six of the top seven titles; this is his third sextuple crown. Overall, this is his 34th title, and his winning streak is now 24, which puts him in equal second place in modern tournament records with Rin Kaiho, Hon. Tengen. With his twelfth successive win in title matches, he also equals another record, one set by Sakata Eio. Iyama’s cumulative record in title matches is 100 wins to 49 losses, a winning percentage of 67.1%. (Note: the Munakata Yurix is an elaborate complex of facilities including a large library, planetarium, various halls, and sporting facilities.)

Surprise leader in Honinbo League: A surprising player has taken the sole lead after just two rounds in the 71st Honinbo League. The2015.11.29_honinbo-league final game of the second round was played on November 26, and league newcomer Motoki Katsuya 7P (W) beat Yamashita Keigo 9P, the top-ranked player in the league, by 1.5 points. Motoki is the only player on 2-0.

Women’s Meijin League: In a game played on November 26, Chinen Kaori 5P picked up her first win. Playing white, she beat Kato Keiko 6P by resignation. Chinen was already doomed to lose her league 2015.11.29-women's-meijin-leagueplace, but this win ensured that she had the company of Kato (both are on 1-4).

Judan semifinalists: In the Judan tournament, in which the focus of interest is Iyama’s attempt to go for a genuine grand slam, two more semifinalists have been decided. Imamura Toshiya 9P beat Ichiriki Ryo 7P and will face Iyama in one semifinal. Shida Tatsuya 7P beat Kobayashi Satoru 9P and will meet either Yo Seiki 7P or Takao Shinji 9P in the other semifinal.

Xie regains Women’s Honinbo title: After a gap of two terms, Xie Yimin has won back the Women’s Honinbo title. The fifth game of the 2015.11.29_34fhoninbo5_234th title match was played at the Nihon Ki-in on November 27. Taking white, Xie (right) won by resignation after 272 moves. Fujisawa Rina (left) had looked like defending her title when she won the first two games, but then Xie made a stubborn fightback to take the next three. As she also holds the Women’s Meijin and Women’s Kisei titles, Xie once again has a triple crown.

Retirement: Ogoshi Ichiro 8P retired as of November 30. Born in Oita Prefecture on November 7, 1954, Ogoshi became a disciple of Kitani Minoru and made pro 1-dan in 1976. He reached 8-dan in 1999. After retirement, he plans to devote himself to spreading go in Kushiro City, Hokkaido.

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Japanese Go Exchange Visits Mexico

7“Mexico gladly welcomed the Sociedad Internacional de Intercambio de Go  (SIIG) from Japan, for the first three days of October,” reports Sid Avila. SIIG is a delegation of players, built mainly by retired business men and women, who travel around the world playing and sharing through go.

This is the fourth time SIIG has visited Mexico, and they went to three locations on this trip: Pipiolo art elementary school where Siddhartha Avila teaches a curricular go program; National University, where Emil Garcia leads a team of instructors who teach at open workshops; and Ejoki Buddhist Temple where Ricardo Quintero teaches go on weekends.

Ms. Marcela Zepeda, the principal of  Pipiolo, introduced the Japanese group to the students on the first day. The children performed traditional dances and Mexican songs, followed by a rengo atari-go game with kindergarden children, and a three round pair-go tournament with 36 pairs of Japanese go players and Mexican school children mixed.

The university venue, on October 2nd, was the Contemporary Arts University Museum square, where a Mexico-Japan tournament was held in a 4 round system. Japan won all four rounds and a crystal tablet was given to  SIIG President Sugime Masanao by Daniel Morales, the Mexican Go Association’s treasurer, as acknowledgment of their visit. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor, with Emil Garcia and Sid Avila. 

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Iyama Yuta wins 41st Tengen and 63rd Oza

Iyama Yuta 9p came back to Tengen by defeating Takao Shinji 9p with a 3-0 score.

The 41st Tengen final, game 3 was played on November 25, 2015 in Fukuoka, Japan, and Iyama Yuta won by resignation at 147 moves.

Takao Shinji 9 dan (left) and Iyama Yuta 9 dan at the 41st Tengen final.

Takao Shinji 9 dan (left) and Iyama Yuta 9 dan at the 41st Tengen final.


Return match of Tengen

In 2014, Takao Shinji challenged for the 40th Tengen, and he defeated Iyama Yuta with a 3-2 score to become a new Tengen.

However, Takao didn’t succeed to defend Tengen title against Iyama.

This year, Iyama Yuta defeated Yuki Satoshi 9p at the challenger deciding match, and he became a challenger.

Game one of the final, Iyama built a big moyo over the center for Black, and White invaded. Black attacked White’s invading stones fiercely, and there was a serious capturing race in the center.

Iyama Yuta 9 dan, reviewing the game just after finishing game 3.

Iyama Yuta 9 dan, reviewing the game just after finishing game 3.

Unfortunately for White, Black had one more liberty to win the race, and the game was over at the same time.

In game two, the opening was relatively peaceful, but Iyama started to play aggressively after he failed fighting at the top.

Takao (Black) was clearly ahead up to 81, and Black maintained his lead until the end of middle game.

However, Black 149 was a crucial mistake, and White caught up through to 180. The game was still very close, but Iyama showed his special technique, and he won the game by half a point.

In game three, Takao seemed to lose his fighting spirit after losing his won game in game two. Iyama showed his power through the game, and he captured White’s huge group to finish the series.

Iyama had held Tengen for three years from 2011 to 2013, so this was his forth Tengen title.

Another return match of Oza

Iyama Yuta 9 dan (left) and Murakawa Daisuke 8 dan, reviewing game 2 from the 63rd Oza final.

Iyama Yuta 9 dan (left) and Murakawa Daisuke 8 dan, reviewing game 2 from the 63rd Oza final.

Meanwhile, there was another title match played between Iyama Yuta 9p and Murakawa Daisuke 8p.

Murakawa challenged for 62nd Oza last year, and he defeated Iyama to become a new Oza.

That was very surprising and sensational, because it was the first time that Iyama lost to a younger player than him in the final match.

This year, Iyama defeated Yo Seiki (Taiwanese name Yu Zhengqi) 7p at the challenger deciding match, and he became a challenger for another return match of 63rd Oza.

Game one of the final was very exciting with a whole board fighting. Murakawa (White) took the lead at the fighting on the left side, and he was leading in the middle game.

However, White 140 was careless, and Black 141 to 145 were exquisite sequence to help his left side group, and his left side group lived in sente up to White 150.

Black’s sequence from Black 151 to 165 was bold and severe, and Black caught up through a big trade up to White 172.

Iyama Yuta 9 dan, reviewing game 3 from the 63rd Oza final.

Iyama Yuta 9 dan, reviewing game 3 from the 63rd Oza final.

The game was very close, but Iyama managed to win by half a point, and that was a painful defeat for Murakawa.

After losing game one, Murakawa appeared to be too disappointed, and he didn’t show his strength next two games.

Iyama won game two and three relatively easily, and he returned to Oza with a 3-0 score on November 19, 2015.

He had held the Oza in 2012 and 2013, so this was his third Oza title.

Iyama Yuta’s ambitions

Iyama’s been holding Kisei, Meijin, Honinbo, Gosei, and he’s just returned to Tengen and Oza, so he’s holding six out of seven major titles in Japan.

Judan is the only title which is out of reach from Iyama Yuta, and Ida Atsushi 8p defeated Takao Shinji 9p to become a new Judan in April, 2015.

So far, he is proceeded to the semifinals of the 54th Judan, and is going to play against Imamura Toshiya 9p next.

It will be interesting to see if or not Iyama’s dreams of achieving the gland slam of Japanese Go, by claiming all seven major titles simultaneously will come true in 2016.

Game records of 41st Tengen

Iyama Yuta vs Takao Shinji – Game 1

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Takao Shinji vs Iyama Yuta – Game 2

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Iyama Yuta vs Takao Shinji – Game 3

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Game records of 63rd Oza

Iyama Yuta vs Murakawa Daisuke – Game 1

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Murakawa Daisuke vs Iyama Yuta – Game 2

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Iyama Yuta vs Murakawa Daisuke – Game 3

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Myungwan Kim to broadcast Nongshim Cup games Sunday and Monday

The last few games of the current stage of the Nongshim Cup will be broadcast on the AGA’s YouTube channel Sunday and Monday nights, 2015.11.28_Ichiriki-Ryo-Nongshim-Cupstarting at 9:30pm PST.

The Nongshim Cup is a major international championship with each country fielding a team of five players. The tournament is a “win and continue” format, where the winning player will continue to face opponents from the other countries, alternating, until only one country has any players remaining. This year, for instance, Ichiriki Ryo (right) put Japan off to a great start by winning the first three games (see GoGameGuru’s report here)

Adding to the complications, the teams get to keep the order of their roster a secret: Gu Li or Choi Cheolhan will play the next player on the Japanese roster — but Japan won’t announce their next player until after Saturday’s match.

“It’s a complicated format to describe, but ultimately each country is bringing their strongest players. Each national organization takes this competition extremely seriously, and we should get some real fireworks,” said the AGA’s Andrew Jackson, “I’m really thrilled Myungwan Kim has been organizing these broadcasts and I’m excited to see some world-class go!”

The remaining players on the Japanese side are Murakawa Taiske, Gono Lin, and Iyama Yuta. The remaining players for China are Lian Xiao, Ke Jie, and Gu Li. Korea still has Lee Sedol, Choi Cheolhan, and Park Jungwhan.

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