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.
here.The 2013 British Go Congress was held April 5-7 in Stevenage, a town near London, at a hotel that was formerly the home of Oliver Cromwell's secretary. It began with a 9-dan pro lesson from Michael Redmond, who was attending the Congress as part of a one-week teaching tour of Britain. This was followed by a lightning handicap tournament won by ten-year-old Oscar Selby, a fast-improving 12-kyu from Epsom. Then came the British Open, a six-round McMahon event. Sixty-seven players participated, fifteen of them in the top (2-4 dan) group. All but two were British, but the two exceptions did rather well. Zebin Du, a Chinese exchange student taking a semester abroad at Nottingham University, won all his games to finish first. His key victories were over fellow-student Yuanbo Zhang, who finished second, and last year's winner Andrew Kay, who finished third.Zebin's triumph was reported as far away as Ningbo, China, with a photo and comments that can be read in English
Full results of the British Open are given here.
Located in the Latin Quarter of Paris, the Lycée Louis-le-Grand is a secondary school with a long list of famous alumni (Degas, Poincare, Lafayette, Voltaire,...). From March 30 to April 1 it hosted a long list of European go talent: a total of 213 players, 50 of them dan ranked, who were competing in the Paris Go Tournament. The schedule included a 6-round McMahon main tournament and an evening blitz tournament on March 31. Most of the contestants were from France, but the top ten finishers in the main tournament also included players from Austria, Romania, Czechia, and Spain.
The undefeated winner was Junfu Dai of France (formerly China), who also won in 2010 and 2012. He clinched first place by defeating Europe's top rated player Hui Fan in round 5. Junfu has been a major force in French go for the past five years and is the author of a French go book about the middle game. Working as a financial director at Ascendeo has not slowed down his go activity; this year he was undefeated in large tournaments in Antony in February and Levallois in March as well. Photos of him playing in Paris can be found here.
Three more players would have been undefeated if they had not lost to Junfu Dai, and they took the next places. Finishing second was Lluis Oh of Barcelona, Spain (formerly of Seoul, Korea), who lost to Junfu in round 3. Lluis came to Spain as part of Korea's overseas baduk promotion program. He tells his own story in English and Spanish here.
Third and fourth places went to Cristian Pop (Romania) and the former Chinese 2-dan pro Hui Fan (France), who were making strong returns to major competition after periods of inactivity. Fifth to seventh places fell to Czech Go Baron Ondrej Silt, Romanian go instructor Cornel Burzo, and French youth champion Tanguy le Calvé, who won the blitz tournament. Eighth and ninth places were taken by a pair of Austrians, Hamrah Schayan and Viktor Lin, who might also have been undefeated if they had not encountered Junfu, Cristian, Hui, Ondrej, and Cornel. Tenth place went to France's Antoine Fenech, winner of the European Youth Masters' Cup in 2007, who downed Hungarian star Pal Balogh in round 5.
There was one other undefeated contestant. France's Kévin Trouilleux (1 kyu) upset Jean-Loup Naddef (3 dan) and Romania's Lucretiu Carlota (5 dan) in the last two rounds to earn 35 McMahon points and finish 26th. Full results are available here.
The tournament to select the player representing Chinese Taipei in the upcoming World Amateur Go Championship was held at the Ta-an Junior High School in Taipei March 16-17. The entry requirement was an amateur ranking of 6 dan or higher. The 65 participants included several insei and, at the other end of the spectrum, Chen Shi, winner of professional titles in the mid-1980s, who took a decade out to earn a PhD in chemistry in the United States, later retired as a professional go player, and now competes as an amateur.
Dr. Chen was one of sixteen who survived the initial rounds played on the 16th. About half of the other survivors were insei, but most of them fell in the next two rounds, which narrowed the field down to just four players. All four were junior high-school students: Wang I-nan, the local favorite since he attends Ta-an Junior High; Huang Tao-lung of Yuang-lin Junior High; Tseng Ping-sin, who attends Yung-an Junior High and played for Chinese Taipei in the International Amateur Pair Go Championship in 2011; and Lin Hsin-wei of Fushan Junior High in Kaohsiung. Lin was the only insei left and he was in good form; he had posted the best record (12-2) in the February Southern Taiwan Insei League. In his last game on the 16th he had beaten Lo Sheng-chieh, men's bronze medalist at the World Mind Sports Games in Lille last August.
In the afternoon playoff among these four, first Tseng defeated Wang and Lin defeated Huang; then Lin decisevely beat Tseng to win a place at the WAGC, plus a first prize of 30,000 Taiwan dollars (about 1000 U.S. dollars). Wang beat Huang to take the third prize (10,000 Taiwan dollars).
here.The Irish Go Congress, held on the first three days of March at the Teachers Club in Dublin, began with a handicapped five-round Swiss System rapid tournament played on the evening of March 1. Sixteen players participated, bearing six nationalities and ranks ranging from 4 dan to 10 kyu. Chinese 4-dan Yuanbo Zhang took first with a perfect 5-0 score, beating Zebin Du, another Chinese 4-dan, in the final round. Thomas Shanahan (7-kyu) and Irish champion Roman Pszonka (3-dan) scored 4-1 results to take third and second places, while Du Zebin finished fourth. Full results are
Next came the main event, the 2nd Confucius Cup, a five-round McMahon tournament played on March 2-3 with sponsorship from the Confucius Institute for Ireland. The field now expanded to 48 players of 11 nationalities, ranked 6 dan to 20 kyu. In the first round Roman Pszonka lost to the 6-dan, Hungary's Csaba Mero, who had won the 1st Confucius Cup last year. Csaba then beat the eventual 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 6th placers -- Zebin Du (China), Antoine Fenech (France), Brunner Vit (Czechia), and Renaud Julien (France) -- in succession to take first place, while Roman placed eighth. The key game was Csaba's half-point victory over Zebin Du in round 2. Two kyu-level players, Roger Daniel (UK) and Mikulas Kubita (Czechia) also finished unbeaten. Full results are here.