The first annual Vienna International Go Tournament drew 90 players to Austria to enjoy a mid-June weekend of go at the edge of the Vienna Woods, and to compete for prizes ranging from €70 for tenth place to €1000 for first place. Five McMahon rounds were scheduled, with starting points assigned according to the European rating system. The top group consisted of fourteen players rated over 2500, led by Germany's Seok-Bin Cho (2795) and including Ilya Shikshin (2735) and Alexander Dinerchtein (2717), who dominate Russian go and have won ten European Championships since 1999.
The first round started at a leisurely 11:00 on June 15th, with the top fourteen paired against each other. The seven winners included the above three, two from Czechia (Ondrej Silt and Jan Hora), another German (Benjamin Teuber), and one Spanish player (Lluis Oh). In the second round the two Germans kept winning but the Russians were upended: Benjamin beat Ilya and Lluis beat Alexander. Seok-Bin was drawn down against Czechia's Vladimir Danek, whom he beat, and Jan defeated Ondrej in an all-Czech match. In the third round Seok-Bin and Lluis bested Jan and Benjamin to end the day undefeated.
The climactic game was the next morning's confrontation between Seok-Bin and Lluis, both of whom grew up in Korea. Victory went to Seok-Bin, who then downed Ilya in the final round to win the tournament with a perfect 5-0 score. This was Seok-Bin's fourth unbeaten triumph of the year, following Madrid, Amsterdam, and Strasbourg, and it sent his rating over 2800. Meanwhile, Ondrej beat Benjamin and Lluis in the last two rounds to take second place with a 4-1 score. Jan and Lluis tied for third with 3-2 scores and equal SOS points. Also finishing in the money were Benjamin (5th), Ilya (6th), Pavol Lisy (Slovakia, 7th), Pal Balogh and Csaba Mero (Hungary, tied for 8th), and Alexander, who split the tenth-place prize with Austria's Viktor Lin.
Below the McMahon bar, Austrian champion Schayan Hamrah came in 18th; three kyu-ranked players from Czechia (Ondrej Jurasek, Tereza Salajkova, and Petr Kratochvil) earned two books apiece and raised their ratings substantially by winning all their games; and many others earned single-book prizes by winning three of their first four games.
This year the Yellow River Cup was held at the Armed Police Sanatorium in the Beidaihe seaside resort district in Qinhuangdao, 300 km due east of Beijing. A total of 288 players ranked 5 dan and up competed for assorted prizes, including 20,000 yuan (about $3200 or €2500) for individual first place. Among the contestants was He Yuhan, the 13-year-old boy wonder who won the Amateur Tianyuan title in February and the Fengcheng Cup earlier in May.
After disposing of his morning and afternoon opponents on the first day of play (May 27), He faced China's number-three-rated amateur Ma Tianfang in the evening round. He had beaten Ma in the Fengcheng Cup, and now he beat him again. Next morning the other three members of China's top amateur quartet (Hu Yuqing, Bai Baoxiang, Wang Chen) joined Ma in the one-loss group while He continued to win, adding four more victories on May 28 and 29 to his opening streak. Here the tournament adjourned for a day. When play resumed on May 31, He was drawn down against Bai in the morning round. Bai suffered his second loss while He remained undefeated.
The only other undefeated player at this point was Dai Zhitian, a 17-year-old from Shanxi Province who learned go at the age of seven, trained at the Ma Xiaochun Daochang and now trains at the Ge Yuhong Daochang in Beijing, won the Shanxi Championship in 2011, and took eighth place in the national Evening News Cup in January. He and Dai were paired against each other on the top board in the afternoon round, and here He's winning streak ended. Dai, playing white, gradually pulled ahead in the middle game. He, unable to shake his opponent's lead, had to resign.
Four rounds still remained, but as it turned out, the winner of the cup had already been decided. Dai and He continued to beat all comers. Their closest challenger was Li Weiqing, another 13-year-old, who lost to He in the evening round on May 31 and faced Dai in the last round on June 2. In that final match, Dai (black) played a free-wheeling galactic-style game, surrounded a huge area in the center, and won by resignation in 139 moves. Li came in third, He came in second, and Dai finished first with a perfect 13-0 score.
In addition to the cup, Dai received an immediate promotion to 7 dan, the highest amateur rank awarded in China. Asked about future plans, Dai said that his dream is to play go professionally, but if he does not make pro this year, he will proceed with higher education.
Dai was not the only winner. There were also team prizes (the team from the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics took first place) and prizes for the best youth, female, and senior players. Even those who do not understand Chinese will enjoy seeing Dai, He, Li, and other winners and contestants in Sports-Sina's slide show.
The 2013 Swiss Go Championship was played in seven leisurely McMahon rounds May 18-21 at Veyrier, near Lake Geneva. Sebastian Koch (3 dan), Felicien Mazille (2 dan), and Sebastian Ott (1 dan) ended with identical 6-1 scores (Koch beat Ott, who beat Mazille, who beat Koch), but Koch was one SOS point ahead of Mazille and Ott, and Mazille was two SOSOS points ahead of Ott, so they finished in order of their ranks. This is Sebastian Koch's fourth Swiss championship, following 1997, 2002, and 2004 (and a near miss in 2009). Sylvain Praz (2 kyu) took 8th place and will represent Switzerland at the World Amateur Go Championship in Sendai, while Sebastaian Ott will play in the Korea Prime Minister Cup. Noted author and translator Monique Golay (7 kyu) took part and finished 19th. Last year's champion Armel-David Wolff, who came in 6th in Amsterdam earlier in May, did not compete, but Amsterdam winner Seok-Bin Cho (8 dan) was on hand to analyze games.
The 34th World Amateur Go Championship will open on August 31 and be held on September 1-4 at the Sendai City Information & Industry Plaza in the AER building in Sendai, Japan. Located next to Sendai Station, AER is a popular commercial complex with many shops and restaurants.
Entry applications from 60 countries and territories have been received so far; a lively tournament is anticipated.
In the past the World Amateur Go Championship has been held in the spring, but this year the schedule was moved back because of the effects of the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011.
Thanks to support from all over the world during the past two years, most of the regions hit by the earthquake are now recovering. It is hoped that through the game of go this tournament will give the world proof of the recovery and encourage the local people to press ahead with the long recovery process.
The preliminary rounds of the Mlily Cup, a new world go open tournament sponsored by a noted manufacturer of mattresses, pillows, and other bedding supplies, were played at the Chinese Weiqi Association's quarters in Beijing May 21-24 under the auspices of the International Go Federation. The purpose of the preliminary rounds was to select 50 players to join 14 seeds in the main tournament that starts in July. Four of the 50 slots were reserved for female pros, and four were reserved for amateurs.
The amateur slots were contested by sixteen players from China, eight from Korea, three from Japan, two from Chinese Taipei, and one each from Europe and North America. China and Korea chose their participants through national qualifying tournaments. Japan sent in three young players (Yamado Mao, Shimizu Kosuke, Wu Poyi) who are currently studying at the Hong Dojo in Tokyo with hopes of making pro shodan this fall. Chinese Taipei sent junior high-schooler Huang Shih-yuan (a top insei) and the veteran Dr. Chen Shi. The North American player was Toronto University student Ryan Li, winner of the Waterloo Go Tournament in March. Europe was represented by Dr. Manuela ('Manja') Marz, a junior-professor of bioinformatics at the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena, Germany who made the trip to Beijing accompanied by her three-month-old daughter Larissa.
The victor of Waterloo and the professor of bioinformatics fell in the first round on May 21. In an unusual development, Manja's game was temporarily suspended at move 119 so that she could breastfeed Larissa. Three Korean and five Chinese players also lost, as did both of the players from Chinese Taipei and all three of the Japanese. Hong-sensei spoke with his three pupils by phone afterward. 'They felt as if they had run into a wall,' he said.
Choi Hyeonjae (Korea's amateur Kuksu) defeated China's top-rated Hu Yuqing. Choi, Jeong, Lee, and Oh will return to Beijing for the first round of the main tournament on July 9.The Chinese accordingly outnumbered the Koreans 11-5 in the second round, but the Koreans now stood their ground, even dispatching Wang Chen, one of China's top four amateurs. The other three of the top four (Hu Yuqing, Bai Baoxiang, and Ma Tainfang), together with China's Zhao Yiwu, advanced into the third and final amateur round on May 23, but there disaster awaited them. Jeong Seunghyeon, Lee Changseok, and Oh Jangwook, currently ranked 9th, 12th, and 15th in the Korean insei league, defeated Bai, Zhao, and Ma, respectively, and in a game that may foretell the outcome of this year's World Amateur Championship,
The day after the Korean amateurs' smashing success, Chinese pros closed out the professional preliminary rounds in smashing style themselves, taking 32 of the 42 men's slots (Koreans got the other 10) plus three of the four women's slots. The fourth winning female pro was Australian-born Joanne Missingham, aka Hei Jiajia, who has played for Oceania in the Denso Cup and for Chinese Taipei in the World Mind Games and now gets another chance at a world title.
Just three months after winning the Amateur Tianyuan title, 13-year-old He Yuhan has added the Fencheng Cup to his trophy bag. Fengcheng is a central Chinese city that has prospered through agriculture and coal mining. The prizes in the Fengcheng Cup ranged from 50,000 yuan (over $8000 or €6000) for 1st place down to 500 yuan for 33rd-50th places. There were also prizes of 5000 to 600 yuan for the best ten seniors (age 35 and up) and cups for the members of the best teams. Over 150 players took part. The games were played at the four-star Hongzhou Hotel.
The competition began on May 12. In the afternoon round on that day He Yuhan was paired against Qian Liuru, the only player he lost to in the Amateur Tianyuan. Revenge was duly taken: He won; Qian ended up in 59th place. Round six featured a match between China's two top rated amateurs, Hu Yuqing and Bai Baoxiang. Bai (number two), the Fengcheng Cup winner last year, won this game to stay undefeated. Also undefeated at this point were number-three-rated Ma Tianfang and He Yuhan.
In the seventh round He took undisputed possession of the lead by beating Ma while Bai lost to Ye Lingyun, who eventually finished 8th. For the rest of the tournament He could not be dislodged from first place. In the next two rounds He defeated Liao Yuanhe, a player near his own age but even younger, who was on his way to a 4th-place finish, and Kang Rui, who finished 14th. He finally lost in the tenth round, to Xie Ke (who finished 7th), but then He defeated Bai Baoxiang by resignation in the eleventh and final round on May 17, sending Bai down to 13th place, although with the consolation of a team cup. Ma Tianfang, the Fengcheng Cup winner in 2009, finished 2nd with a 9-2 score, one game behind He's 10-1. Click here for a Java replay of the He-Bai game (He is black)
Dutch go organizers took advantage of a four-day weekend to stage no less than five tournaments in and around Amsterdam on May 8-12, drawing players from all over Europe to celebrate Ascension Day on the go board. There were six different winners, representing the Netherlands, Germany, and Russia.
The action started with a five-round handicap blitz for early arrivers, held on ther evening of May 8 at the Cafe Batavia in Amsterdam. The victor was Kim Ouweleen, who works at the Het Paard Chess and Go Bookshop, which sponsored the event. Niels van den Bogaert shared second place with a pair of players from Finland: Olli Pukkinen and Johannes Laire.
The largest event (81 players) was the 42nd annual Amsterdam International Tournament that began the next day. German players have done well in this tournament for the past few years, and this year they did so again. Seok-Bin Cho, a former Korean insei who moved to Hamburg in 2005, won in all six rounds to take first place for a third time (he also won in 2006 and 2012). Lukas Krämer (Bonn) finished right behind him in second place. Bernd Shütze and Matthias Terwey finished eighth and ninth, giving Germany four of the top ten spots. This was Seok-Bin's second triumph in eight days: he also won the Madrid Tournament in Spain on May 4-5. Full results are here.
In parallel with the Amsterdam International, the European Pair Go Championship was played at the here.European Go Cultural Centre in Amstelveen, with 24 competing pairs. Ilya Shikshin and Svetlana Shikshina, the brother-sister pair from Kazan, Russia were the unbeaten winners; they will now represent Europe at the SportAccord Mind Games in December. Alexander Vashurov (also from Kazan) and Natalia Kovaleva (Chelyabinsk) led the group of seven pairs with 4-2 results to take third place. Czechia's Jan Hora and Klara Zaloudkova defeated Alexander and Natalia to finish second. Complete results are
May 10 was given over to the DNM Amsterdam Rapid, a five-round handicap tournament with 30-minute sudden-death time limits. As in the pair championship, two Russian players proved unbeatable, but this time it was Ilya Shikshin and Natalia Kovaleva who won all their games. Natalia had defeated Seok-Bin Cho with a two-stone handicap in the second round, and she did likewise against Ilya in an extra playoff game to win the tournament. Full results are here.
The fifth tournament was the Kunwa Children's Tournament, which was held on the last day of the Go Together. Although most of the six contestants were from the Netherlands, the winner was a guest from Germany: Ferdinand Marz. Pepijn Joost Jacob took second place.
Last week, once again, members of the Argentine Go Association (AAGo) gathered at the Japanese Garden of Buenos Aires for the celebration of Kodomo No Hi (Children’s Day in Japan) to teach the game of Go to the ones interested, activity which thankfully is becoming regular.
Amongst other great things for the day, the nice people of the Japanese Garden built a giant 7x7 Go board on the floor, with tape and black and white pillows, which was a source of great fun for both kids and grown-ups. Besides, for the latter, big explanatory posters were printed, with a brief history and explanation of the game, so everyone could quickly understand what was going on.
As times goes by and the events held jointly by the AAGo and the Japanese Garden become recurrent, everything gets bigger and, at the same time, easier. Some of the kids had been there already last year, so they knew what was going on and, better yet, they were looking forward to it. Everyone had a really good time, and the possibility of opening up a special course of Go for kids at the AAGo appeared. With some luck, this may come true sometime this year.
One of the aims of these experiences, besides having the kids and the parents know that this great game exists, is to build, step by step, a new reality in which Go is actually played and enjoyed by people of all ages. To take every chance to play some good Go is, of course, the next goal. But above all, having little ones as young as 5 or 6 years, playing and learning Go just in front of you, makes the future, and the present, look brighter than ever.
Report and photo by Luciano Salerno (AAGo).
One hundred go players converged on Praha on the weekend of May 4 and 5 for the 42nd International Prague Tournament, better known as the Sixth Korean Amabasador Cup. They came from Austria, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Slovakia, Switzerland, and all over Czechia. The top Czech players turned out in force, but it was Slovak champion Pavol Lisy who emerged unbeaten from the five rounds to win the cup. In the last two rounds Pavol defeated Czechia's Go Baron Ondrej Silt and youth champion Lukas Podpera. Ondrej and Lukas both defeated fellow Czech Jan Hora, who took fourth place. Pavol and Jan defeated Austrian Viktor Lin, who finished fifth, and it was Ondrej and Jan Hora who downed European Champion Jan Simara, consigning him to sixth place. Czechia's Stepan Hrbek (10 kyu) equalled Pavol's feat by winning all five of his games and took 47th place in the McMahon standings.
Complete results are here.
Hard on the heels of the Thailand 15-Dan Go League, the 17th Thailand Open Go Tournament was held on May 4-6 at the Nong Nooch Garden & Resort Hotel in Pattaya, a major Thai resort city. It was divided into four sections: high dan (3 dan and up, 32 contestants), low dan (1-2 dan, 36 contestants), high kyu (1-4 kyu, 24 contestants), and low kyu (5-8 kyu, 30 contestants). Each section was run as a separate Swiss system.
The high dan section was won by Vorawat Charoensitthisathien, the 5-dan Assumption University student who played on the Thai team at the 2010 Asian Games and will represent Thailand at the 2013 World Amateur Go Championship. Second place went to Nuttakrit Taechaamnuayvit, 4 dan, Thailand's player at the 2013 World Student Oza. Choltit Rattanasetyut, 5 dan, who took 11th place in the 2011 World Amateur Go Championship, finished third despite beating Nuttakrit in round 2 (he lost to Vorawat in round 4). None of these three lost to anyone else. Last year's winner Krit Jamkachornkiat encountered Vorawat in round 1 and Nuttakrit in round 5 and finished fourth.
The low dan section was won by Phumin Kongmaung, 2 dan, a student at the Chamnong Business Technological College. The high kyu section was won by Sirathep Chen, 1 kyu, an 11-year-old middle-school student at Assumption College in Bangkok. Emboldened by his victory, Sirathep went right on to take the Thai Go Association's tough shodan qualification test and is now 1 dan. The low kyu section was won by Bunyapon Jaiaree, 6 kyu, a high school student at Assumption College in Samut Prakan.
More pictures and results (mostly in Thai) can be found here.
Although the Nordic Championship that was to be held in Odense in March had to be canceled for lack of a venue, the Danish Championship took place on schedule, April 26-28, at the Copenhagen Go Club. It was a 6-round McMahon tournament with fourteen players, half dan, half kyu. The top of the field included three 4-dans but it was a young 3-dan, Arne Ohlenbusch, returning after a three-year absence from this event, who won all his games and gained his first championship. Former Danish champions Jannik Rasmussen (4-dan), Torben Pedersen (3 dan), and Thomas Heshe (4 dan) finished with identical 4-2 scores; Jannik took second place on SOS and Torben took third on SOSOS. Rasmus Bisschop-Larsen (5 kyu) also scored 4-2, and finished ninth. The full results are here.
Chinese and Japanese embassies and consuls have been sponsoring major go tournaments in Russia since the 1990s. The latest two were held in St Petersburg on two weekends in February and April: the Weiqi Cup of the Consulate General of the People's Republic of China on February 16-17, and the Japan Consul Cup on April 13-14. Both were topped by a pair of players from Kazan: 3-dan pro Alexander Dinerchtein and 7-dan amateur Ilya Shikshin.
Each tournament was divided into A, B, and C leagues. The A league was an elite double-elimination knockout . The B and C leagues were six-round McMahon tournaments, B for dan and single-digit kyu players, C for double-digit kyu players.
The participants in the A league of the February Weiqi Cup included included three who among them have won the European Championship twelve times: the above Alexander and Ilya, and Petrozavodsk State University's go-playing mathematician Alexey Lazarev. In the first two rounds, Alexey was eliminated by losses to Oleg Mezhov and Vasiliy Andrienko, but Ilya beat both Vasiliy and Oleg, and Alexander beat Andrey Cheburakov and Dimitri Surin. In the third round Alexander and Ilya had byes while Vasiliy and Oleg beat Dimitri and Igor Nemliy, who had eliminated Andrey in round two. In the last round Alexander defeated Ilya to win the cup, while Vasiliy defeated Oleg to take third place and Dimitri defeated Igor to take fifth.
The B league drew 27 dan-ranked and 65 kyu-ranked participants, including some from Belarus, China, and the Ukraine. The undefeated winner was Chinese 7-dan Ying Li, while Russians Timur Sankin and Anton Zatonskikh finished second and third, and Tatarstan champion Alexander Vashurov finished fourth. Timur and Alexander earned promotions into the A league for the Japan Consul Cup in April. Complete results are here.
The outcome of the April A league resembled the outcome in February. The duo from Kazan, Alexander Dinerchtein and Ilya Shikshin, again won their first two games, and Alexander beat Ilya to take the cup while Ilya finished second. Alexander Vashurov and Timur Sankin took third and fourth places; Dimitri Surin and Igor Nemliy again took fifth and sixth.
The 86-player April B league ended with a husband-and-wife clash between Igor Burnaevskiy and Dina Burdakova. Though outranked (4 dan to 5 dan), Igor asserted male superiority to win the game and take first place with a 5-1 score. Dina's score was also 5-1, so she finished second, ahead of Alexey Lazarev, who had the best 4-2 result. Don't miss Daria Koshkina's report on Dina and Igor.
The C leagues drew over thirty players in both events. Jakov Galunov (14 kyu) was the undefeated victor in February, while Vladimir Sulimov (16 kyu) took first place in April. Russian go players were also busy between the two Consul Cups: at the Moscow Kido Cup, the Polymetal Rapid Cup, and the Tomsk Go Festival, for example. A recent interview with Alexander Dinerchtein can be read here.
The inaugural Thailand 15-Dan Go League unfolded over a three-month period from February through April 2013. Although it ended in victory for a team from Korea, there were lots of prizes for teams and individuals from Thailand as well, thanks to sponsorship by several Thai companies.
Twenty-six teams participated, each limited to five dan-ranked players with a maximum total strength of 15 dan. Most of the teams were organized by Thai firms, but there were also teams from Chinese Taipei, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam, as well as a combined Laos-Singapore team. The field was divided into two sections, thirteen teams apiece, and a full round-robin was played in each section in February and March. During this stage the Thai teams competed weekly at the CP Tower in downtown Bangkok, while the foreign teams competed online from their home countries. Each team fielded four players in each match.
Arirang, the Korean team, got off to a good start in the Black section by shutting out the Thai Panasonic team 4-0 in round 1. Arirang met with stiffer resistance in rounds 2 and 3, drawing 2-2 against teams representing Zorus and Ichitan. The Ichitan team was led by Vorawat Charoensitthisathien, who was soon to win the WAGC selection tournament and will represent Thailand at the next World Amateur Go Championship. In round 4, however, Arirang began a six-match winning streak by shutting out the Foremost team, headed by 'Iron Hammer' Pariwat Sompaokaew, a 5-dan veteran of the 2007 World Student Go Oza and Korean Prime Minister Cup and the 2008 World Mind Sports Games. Although Arirang drew once more, against the Glory-Thai team, they remained undefeated and finished first in the Black section, while Foremost took second place.
Meanwhile, the Vietnamese team from Saigon was winning the White section, with the team representing MFEC, a Thai IT services company, coming in a close second. The Saigon team was led by WAGC and KPMC veteran Le Mai Duy (7th in the KPMC in 2007). The MFEC team was led by Nuttakrit Taechaamnuayvit, also known as 'The Killer'. who gained third place in a tournament held last November in Nanning and had his 4-dan Thai rank officially raised to Chinese 5-dan.
The final stage was a round-robin among the four teams that took the top two spots in each section, each team now fielding all five of its members. The two foreign teams made the trip to Bangkok to compete in person. The action started with Arirang defeating MFEC and Foremost defeating Saigon on the morning of April 26. In the afternoon Arirang defeated Saigon and MFEC defeated Foremost. This established a clear pecking order that was finalized the next day, Arirang beating Foremost again and MFEC beating Saigon.
At the awards ceremony on the afternoon of April 27, Korsak Chairasmisak, president of the Thailand Go Association, presented the victory cup to the Arirang team (Yunjeong Jang, 5-dan; Sunghyun Park, 4-dan; Solbin Kim, 3-dan, Hyunwook Cho 2-dan, Eunjin Park 1-dan). This came with a prize of 90,000 bahts (about $3,000 or €2,000). MFEC received the 80,000-baht prize for the best Thai team, while the Foremost team took home a 70,000-baht runner-up prize. Pariwat Sompaokaew won the MVP award for being the Thai player to win the most games. MFEC's Phatraphon Aroonphaichitra won the Woman Warrior award for being the Thai woman to defeat the most male opponents. PTT's Nonthawat Tanthanasiwakun won the Rising Star prize awarded to the Thai high-school student who won the most games. These three individual prizes were also worth 70,000-bahts apiece, and in addition, all twenty players in the final stage received a 10,000-baht participation award.
Photos of the awards ceremony and charts of the Black and White round-robin results can be found here.
The video clip of the awards ceremony at the bottom of this page is worth a look even if you don't understand Thai.
The final stage of the 2013 Belgian Championship was a round robin among ten players, held on two weekends in March at a bar–restaurant in Antwerp. Two of the contestants were unbeaten on the first weekend: Lucas Neirynck, the highest ranked at 5 dan, and Kevin Prist, 2 dan. On the second weekend these two dropped one game apiece, Kevin losing to Jan Ramon (4 dan) and Lucas to Kwinten Missiaen (3 dan), and then they met in the final round. In that showdown Lucas beat Kevin by half a point to take the championship for a second straight year, while Jan finished second by one tie-breaking point. Kwinten came in third and Kevin fourth.
Complete results are here. Further details of the final game are here.